Beagle Bros

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Not to be confused with Beagle Boys.
Beagle Bros Micro Software, Inc.
Type Private
Industry Software
Founded 1980-10-01
Founder(s) Bert Kersey
Defunct 1991
Headquarters San Diego, California, United States
Key people Bert Kersey, Alan Bird, Jack Cassidy, Mark Simonsen, Rob Renstrom, Randy Brandt, Dan Verkade, Matt Reimer, Mark Munz

Beagle Bros was an American software company that specialized in creating personal computing products that were both useful and whimsical. Their primary focus was on the Apple II family of computers.

History[edit]

Beagle Bros (the lack of a period at the end is intentional; according to the company, "there wasn't room") was founded in 1980 by Bert Kersey and expanded over the years to include a wide variety of staff members, programmers, and designers. Whereas most software companies focused on professional users and business systems, Kersey founded the company with the intention of supporting the "hobbyist" users who had sprung up when affordable personal computers were made available to the general public.

As a result, much of the Beagle Bros product line consists of software that put the creative power in the hands of the user or expanded popular products of other companies. Apple Mechanic allowed users to create their own shape tables (an early form of sprites) to create their own games, DOS Boss let users patch the disk operating system, and Beagle Bag had a number of simple but fun games written in BASIC that budding programmers could also list out and learn from. In the early days, every Beagle Bros order also included a "Peeks, Pokes, & Pointers" chart, a wall poster that budding Apple programmers could use. One use was to protect their boot disk by entering the Peeks and Pokes that would disable the Control+Reset function that hackers would to use to access the boot disk programming. Another was as a reference for the memory locations that did useful things on the Apple II. The company also later released a Big Tip Book containing many programming tips for Apple hobbyists and also published a Tip Disk. The company took great pride in not copy-protecting their software.

When the Apple IIgs was released, Beagle Bros was among the first companies to release high-quality packages that took full advantage of that computer's capabilities. Both Platinum Paint and BeagleWrite GS (acquired and repackaged) are still regarded as being among the high points of commercial IIgs software.

Beagle Bros reached a new audience when they began producing add-ons for the AppleWorks integrated package. Their first AppleWorks add-on, released in 1986, was the MacroWorks keyboard shortcut utility by Randy Brandt. Beagle Bros programmer Alan Bird later devised an API for creating AppleWorks add-ons, which they dubbed TimeOut. The company produced an extensive and ever-expanding line of TimeOut products. TimeOut programmers Alan Bird, Randy Brandt and Rob Renstrom were tapped by Claris to develop AppleWorks 3.0, and the TimeOut API itself became a part of AppleWorks with version 4.0 (created by Randy Brandt and Dan Verkade; released by Quality Computers). Eventually the TimeOut API was made public and a number of non-Beagle TimeOut applications were released.

The end of an age came in 1991 when then-owner Mark Simonsen licensed the Beagle Bros Apple II line to Quality Computers. Quality Computers subsequently went through several acquisitions and no longer exists. However, many Beagle Bros "classics" were released as freeware[1] in the mid-1990s, including most of the company's early utilities and games. Today, their programs are available[2] on the Internet.

BeagleWorks, the company's main Macintosh product, was licensed to WordPerfect Corporation in 1992, where it became WordPerfect Works. This product was later discontinued after WordPerfect was acquired by Novell. The company also produced a few small Macintosh and PC utilities.

Many former "Beaglers" have continued to be involved in the software industry; for example, Joe Holt is one of the authors of iMovie, and Alan Bird has worked on Eudora and was the author of the OneClick shortcut utility for Macintosh. Randy Brandt created Online Army Knife, an award-winning Macintosh spell checker, and continued publishing AppleWorks products through his JEM Software spin-off. Mark Munz created Deja ][, which allows AppleWorks to run under Mac OS X. The company's founder, Bert Kersey, started a model train company after selling Beagle Bros, featuring much of the same humor, but is now retired and living in Fallbrook, California with his wife Sharon and a backyard full of barn owls.

Style[edit]

Perhaps the most memorable aspect of Beagle Bros was their use of vintage woodcut art in their print material. While many computer and software companies in the 1980s aimed for flashy, high-tech logos and advertising, Beagle Bros cultivated a nostalgic, down-home feel in keeping with their intended mission of creating software that was welcoming to inexperienced computer owners.

Humor permeated Beagle Bros products, even extending to the warning label printed on their 5.25" disk jackets. Unlike most disk care labels, which warned that magnets, water, and high temperatures could damage disks, Beagle Bros' warning icons admonished users not to use their disks as kites, fold them into paper planes, set fire to them, or feed them to alligators.

Another delight was the "two-liner" computer programs that peppered Beagle Bros advertising and mailers. Each new Beagle Bros communication contained one or more Applesoft BASIC programs tucked away in speech balloons or whitespace. The two-liners were always nigh-impenetrable, yet extremely clever, little programs that showcased unusual tricks or capabilities of the Apple II. At first these were written by Kersey himself; later, users began submitting their own. Eventually, almost every Beagle Bros release came with a selection of these "miniprograms" either on disk or in the box inserts.

Software[edit]

Title Author(s) Published Description
Apple Printer Lo-res graphics and titling program
Alpha Plot Bert Kersey and Jack Cassidy 1980 Hi-res graphics program
Apple Mechanic/Shape Mechanic Bert Kersey 1982 Hi-res shape/font editor; multiple other utilities
Apple Mechanic Typefaces Bert Kersey Twenty-six fonts for use with Apple Mechanic
AppleWorks 3.0 Companion Patches for various AppleWorks 3.0 modules
Bag of Tricks Don Worth and Pieter Lechner Examine, edit, reformat and repair disk data (published by Quality Software)
Beagle Bag Bert Kersey and the Beagle Bros staff A collection of games including Buzzword!, Elevators, Hang Person, Magic Pack, Oink!, Pick-A-Pair, Quick-Draw!, Slippery Digits, Sub Search, TextTrain, Triple Digits and Wowzo, plus the Beagle Menu utility
Beagle BASIC Mark Simonsen 1983 An expanded version of AppleSoft BASIC with various new commands
The Beagle Compiler Alan Bird 1986 AppleSoft BASIC program compiler
BeagleDraw Robert A. Hearn and Jeff G. Erickson 1989 Apple IIGS graphic application, formerly TopDraw
Beagle Graphics Mark Simonsen Graphics editor in 16-color double hi-res
Beagle Screens Fred & Sara Crone, Matt Reimer, Bert Kersey and Robert Renstrom 1986 Full-screen captionable clip art
BeagleWorks 1992 Later renamed WordPerfect Works, then PerfectWorks
BeagleWrite, BeagleWrite GS ProDOS-based GUI word processor, acquired from Styleware where it had been named MultiScribe
BeagleWrite Desk Accessories Adds a clock, calendar and calculator
BeagleWrite Picture Manager Allows import of Print Shop (8-bit) and Newsroom images
Big U Randy Brandt 1986 ProDOS utilities including CRT.WRITER, FILE.MOVER and KEYCAT.80
D Code Alan Bird AppleSoft program optimizer and debugger
DiskQuik Harry Bruce and Gene Hite Creates a virtual disk in RAM
DOS Boss Bert Kersey and Jack Cassidy DOS 3.3 enhancer and command editor
Double-Take Mark Simonsen Various small utilities including two-way text scrolling
Extra K Alan Bird and Mark Simonsen 1985 An extended memory utility allowing AppleSoft to use a second 64K bank of memory in an upgraded IIe or IIc
FatCat Alan Bird Disk library cataloguer
Flash Joe Holt 1989 Tool to copy files over AppleTalk, integrated into the Finder. Beagle's first Macintosh program
Flex Type Mark Simonsen 1982 Variable-width hi-res text utility
Font Mechanic Mark & Jon Simonsen 1985 Thirty fonts for use with Shape Mechanic
Frame-Up Tom Weishaar 1982 Apple presentation program
GPLE Neil Konzen 1983 Global Program Line Editor for AppleSoft BASIC programs. Originally published by Synergistic Software, 1982.
GS Font Editor Font editor for AppleWorks
I.O. Silver Brad Wilhelmsen 1984 Popular strategy/action game
MacroWorks Randy Brandt 1986 Macros (keyboard shortcuts)for AppleWorks 1.3
Master Find Master Mind-style game
Minipix Fred & Sara Crone A three-disk series of clipart collections
Outliner Randy Brandt 1990 AppleWorks 3.0 Word Processor outlining
Platinum Paint Matt Reimer Apple IIGS paint program
Point-to-Point Gary Little Telecommunications program
Power Print Robert Renstrom Dot matrix printer utility
Pro-Byter 1985 Disk editor and ProDOS utilities
Program Writer Alan Bird 1987 AppleSoft program editor
ProntoDOS Tom Weishaar Accelerated version of DOS 3.3 with other additional features
Resource Disk Sample file disk for SuperFonts Activity Guide
Shape Mechanic Bert Kersey and Mark Simonsen Shape animation and screen fonts
Silicon Salad Bert Kersey and Mark Simonsen Various tips, tricks and utilities from Beagle Bros Tip Books 5, 6 and 7
Super MacroWorks Randy Brandt 1986 Macros (keyboard shortcuts) for AppleWorks 2.0
TimeOut series Various add-ons for AppleWorks 2.0 and newer built on the TimeOut core technology created by Alan Bird. Includes products detailed below, plus MacroEase, MacroTools, Paint, TeleComm and Utilities
TimeOut DeskTools Howard Bangerter, Alan Bird, Glenn Clawson, Mark de Jong & Dan Verkade 1987 Calculator, Calendar, Case Converter, Clock, Data Converter, Dialer, Envelope Addresser, File Encrypter, Note Pad, Page Preview, Puzzle, Word Count
TimeOut DeskTools II Dan Verkade, Glenn Clawson & Randy Brandt 1988 Area Codes, Calculator+, Clipboard Viewer, DirecTree, Disk Tester, File Search, Measurements, Printer Manager, Screen Out, Screen Printer, Stop Watches
TimeOut FileMaster Randy Brandt 1987 File and disk utilities
TimeOut Grammar Dan Verkade Grammar checking for the AppleWorks Word Processor
TimeOut Graph Robert Renstrom 1987 Graphing for the AppleWorks Spreadsheet
TimeOut MacroEase Randy Brandt & Mark Munz 1990 Macro-related Timeout apps and sample macros
TimeOut MacroTools Randy Brandt 1988 Macro-related Timeout apps and sample macros
TimeOut MacroTools II Randy Brandt 1988 Macro-related Timeout apps and sample macros
TimeOut PowerPack Randy Brandt 1988 ASCII Values, AWP to TXT, Category Search, Desktop Sorter, File Librarian, Help Screens, Line Sorter, Program Selector, Triple Clipboard, Triple Desktop
TimeOut QuickSpell Alan Bird 1987 Spell checking for the AppleWorks Word Processor
TimeOut ReportWriter Dan Verkade 1989 Relational reports for the Data Base and Spreadsheet
TimeOut SpreadTools Alan Bird, Randy Brandt and Dan Verkade 1988 CelLink, Block Copy, Error Analyzer, Bird's Eye View, AutoZoom, Data Converter, Cross Reference, Formula/Value Switcher, Quick Widths, Row Column Converter
TimeOut SideSpread Mark Simonsen 1987 Wide paper printing for the AppleWorks Spreadsheet
TimeOut SuperFonts Mark Simonsen 1987 Graphical fonts for the AppleWorks Word Processor
TimeOut SuperForms Dan Verkade Form generation
TimeOut TextTools Mark Munz, Randy Brandt and Howard Bangerter assorted tools
TimeOut Thesaurus Alan Bird Synonyms in the AppleWorks Word Processor
TimeOut UltraMacros Randy Brandt 1987 Keystroke recorder and macro programming language
Tip Disk#1 Bert Kersey One hundred tips from the Beagle Bros Tip Books
Triple-Dump Mark Simonsen and Robert Renstrom "Print anything" utility for dot matrix printers
Utility City Bert Kersey 1982 Twenty-one separate Apple utilities
Zoom Graphix Sends hi-res images to any graphics-compatible printer

References[edit]

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