November 5th, 2013

John Romero and Craig Johnston launch Apple Time Warp podcast

There’s a new Apple II podcast, and it’s hosted by Craig Johnston and (*the*) John Romero. Check out the pilot episode of Apple Time Warp, available on iTunes or as a direct download here. If you’re a serious Apple II enthusiast, prepare to squee! It’s really very good.


AppleTimeWarp

Apple Time Warp is a nostalgic look at the early years of Apple II gaming featuring stories of the programmers and software companies that brought computer gaming out of it’s infancy and into the mainstream. Let’s hope they do the Apple Time Warp again. It’s just a JMP to the left…

Thanks and additional reading via Ken Gagne of Apple II Bits

October 15th, 2013

Wendell Sander’s Apple 1 Project

Wendell Sander is giving the Apple 1 serious love with technical notes, modifications and schematics for new cards he’s designed. Check out his site, The Apple 1 Project. If you’re a fan of the original Apple Computer, you won’t be disappointed.

Hey, while we’re talking about the Apple 1, there’s another one up for auction.

September 23rd, 2013

Movie props from ‘JOBS’ movie now on eBay

Items claimed by the seller to be movie props from the recent ‘Jobs’ biopic starring Ashton Kutcher are being listed en eBay at reasonable prices (that obviously won’t stay reasonable for much longer). Check them out at http://www.ebay.com/sch/matt_five_star_studios/m.html?item=221288156901

The stampede will now start in 3… 2… 1…

September 16th, 2013

Wayne Green (1922-2013)

I noticed on my Twitter feed this morning that Matthew Reed marked the passing of Wayne Green, who died September 13th, 2013. Mr. Green published several technical oriented books and magazines, notably BYTE, 73, Kilobaud, 80 Microcomputing and for the Apple II series, inCider.

Our condolences go out to Mr. Green’s family and friends. We at A2Central will remember Mr. Green as a publisher who helped launch an industry and inspired a generation of tech savvy computer users and professionals.

September 12th, 2013

Original Mac dev team gathers to remember the Twiggy Drive

As an Apple II fan site, we don’t post very many articles about our frenemy, the Macintosh. That’s unfortunate, because I’ve often felt several of the Macintoshes (especially later models) were amongst the best Apple II peripherals ever made.

This story posted on CNET today is an exception, as it features pictures and anecdotes from many of the early Apple employees who worked on the Apple II and the first Mac. Check out Apple’s ‘Twiggy Mac’ comes back to life by Dan Farber. It’s an interesting read for Apple history buffs.

September 9th, 2013

Jim Salmons announces The Softalk Apple Project


Softalk_Project


Jim Salmons has announced The Softalk Apple Project, a site dedicated to preserving one of the most iconic (and ironically short-lived) Apple II magazines ever published.

At just four volumes, there are still over 9,100 pages of features, tips, reviews, advertising and Apple II history to be OCR scanned, edited (via crowd-sourcing) and eventually published as PDF and web issues. Look for an upcoming Kickstarter project to fund the team’s efforts.

July 24th, 2013

KansasFest 2013 is officially here

Tuesday

KansasFest seemed to start early this year, as some of the Apple II faithful began arriving Monday in anticipation of Tuesday’s usual early move-in day. Once Tuesday arrived, people started unloading their gear, computers and supplies for the week-long experience. We have *several* new attendees this year, and the dorms are buzzing with rumors that Woz will make an appearance. Meanwhile, old and new friends alike are prepping for one of the most epic KansasFests ever. Tonight we’ll dine out, and then head back to the dorms.

Wednesday

Hackfest kicks off today! It’s like the Apple II version of Beyond Thunderdome.

This morning started out with sorting and organizing recent acquisitions for the somewhat annual ‘Garage Giveaway’. Magazines, manuals and disks full of software were donated for attendees to peruse and add to their collections. As the time approached for the event, KFester’s were circling the table like sharks. It’s safe to say, many a suitcase will be going home stuffed with Apple II goodies. Special THANKS go out to Ray Merlin and George Osner for their contributions to the Apple II Community and Archive.org.

Today’s first official scheduled activity is the KFest Kookout provided by the grillmeister, Kirk Mitchell. The Kookout gives early and later arriving attendees an opportunity to ‘meat and greet’ over hamburgers and hotdogs (and even some vegetarian fare). Yum-yum, thanks Kirk, for slaving over that hot grill.

Next up, the keynote by Randy Wigginton – not to steal Randy’s spotlight but… WOZ IS HERE! Randy Wigginton gave us a thrilling account of how Apple started, from the Homebrew Computer Club all the way up to the Macintosh. These weren’t the usual tales you may have read about over and over — Randy had several inside stories, humorous anecdotes about Woz, Jobs and his own experiences at Apple (often with additional comments from Woz) that had the crowd laughing and hanging on his every word. A Q&A ensued afterwards. Cameras were rolling, so hopefully someone will have this posted online soon.

Back to Woz… he’ll be here all day tomorrow and part of Friday participating in sessions. SQUEE!

After a short break, Eric ‘Sheppy’ Shepherd showed off the new Sweet16 3.0 which is available NOW from: http://www.sheppyware.net/downloads/downloads-mac/files/Sweet16_3.0.zip

After dinner, Rob Walch presented his annual update on the state of all things iOS related. Rob showed off his favorite new apps and add-ons for this year.

Dagen Brock released Recre8, an iOS-based pocket reference for 6502 and 65816 processors.

The evening session track started with Charles Mangin demonstrating his RetroConnector products that we’ve previously posted news about.

Next up, Tony Diaz hosted the Apple II Roadshow, where he pulled out some of his older Apple II collectibles and discussed their history. Attendees were invited to bring their own vintage or unidentified hardware to share, with Tony identifying, commenting and appraising various pieces of equipment.

Dagen Brock then hosted a workshop on assembly language programming that was standing room only.

The last activity for the evening is the annual ‘Bite the Bag’ contest. As of this update, the game was still in progress — no winner as of yet. UPDATE: Daniel Kruszyna wins! Congratulations Krue.

Thursday

As KansasFest progresses, people get up later and fewer people make it to breakfast. Still, there was a sizable group of tired, hungry KFester’s in the cafeteria this morning.

We have a real Apple 1 in the building. Chris from Chicago brought his Apple 1 to power up with Woz in attendance.

This morning’s first session is Apple IIe repair and restoration presented by Jay Graham. Jay took us through tear down, cleaning, soldering and other tips to bring a broken old Apple IIe back from the grave.

Martin Haye was up next for a tutorial on boot tracing and removing copy protection. Before he launched into his session, Martin previewed a new RPG game he’s been helping to create called ‘Lawless Legends’ that in appearance seems similar to Ultima and Bard’s Tale. It’s early in development, but it looks very interesting. After that bombshell, Martin proceeded to give us a crash course in the monitor, examining and changing contents of memory, data registers, etc. Today’s victim for deprotection is Might & Magic, a popular RPG game from ‘back in the day’.

Before the break, Brian Wiser announced an updated special edition of the WozPak, produced by himself and Bill Martens with forwards by Woz, Randy Wigginton, Andy Hertzfeld, Keith Walls, Robert Clardy and Wendell Sander. The book is 350 pages, and it’s available for ordering online at the introductory price of $39.95 USD. Order your copy today at wozpak.callapple.org

Our next presenter is Ivan Drucker to talk about the Raspberry Pi. Today’s presentation is an orientation of the RPi, preparing us for tomorrows in-depth A2SERVER and A2Cloud sessions.

Afterwards there was a *massive* autograph and picture session with Randy and Woz. Many attendees got their treasured Apple II artifacts signed and then posed for pics with our esteemed guests. Woz and Randy have been great and are very approachable — two of the nicest people you could ever meet. Once the autographing frenzy died down, Woz (and nearly everyone else) then went upstairs to the lobby to boot the Apple 1 (it worked) and several attendees were allowed to write and run programs on it. Thanks Chris for sharing your Apple 1 with us.

Eric ‘Sheppy’ Shepherd guided us through the new Sweet16, showing us some of the new features and then presenting a tutorial on how to use it. Sweet16 with it’s EmuPacks, networking, Mac integration and powerful debugger has become (imo) the most capable and feature-rich Apple IIGS emulator in existence.

Our next session is Tony Diaz on the theory and design of the Disk II. Tony *completely disassembles* a Disk II, and then puts it all back together, then calibrates and tunes the drive back to 100% functionality.

Charles Mangin taught us how to level-up the easy way using a hex editor. Using Bard’s Tale as an example, his hex-edited characters were quickly invincible (or at least had a fighting chance), ready for Bard’s Tale’s worst monster encounters.

Matt Hellinger then presented a session on ‘Teach US Kids To Program’ which I have to admit I missed due to a co-worker needing tech support. :(

There was some soldering tutoring going on… I should have gone to that.

Stephen Buggie then launched into his hardware hacking session. Buggie is well known for his BUGG-POWER PC power supply conversions, disk drive R/W switch and other useful hacks.

Now it’s getting late, and we still had another session (wow, we have a lot of sessions this year)… Martin Haye presented part 2 of his boot tracing and deprotection series. All I can say, when it comes to cracking, Martin has old skool skillz.

Our last activities for the night were Brian Wiser’s ‘Firefly’ session (many of us are fans of the show) and the annual Krispy Kreme doughnut social. We do the latter in memory of our late friend, Ryan Suenaga. Donations were accepted to benefit a scholarship program that’s been created in his name.

Friday

Last night, some of us made the Steak and Shake run and didn’t get back until almost 2:00AM. I was one of them… and I’m a little tired.

Steve Weyhrich took us through the historical development and evolution of Apple’s DOS options for the Apple II, including DOS, CP/M, ProDOS.

Kelvin Sherlock is up next with Cross Development with MPW (Macintosh Programming Workshop). Mmm, programming. Kelvin started with the history of MPW, it’s relatives, variants and system requirements before explaining what a pain it is to use. He didn’t want to use an old Mac (or Mac emulator) for his projects, so he’s developed a new utility to run MPW tools in OS X’s terminal, basically an MPW emulator for Mac OS X. Details to come later on where to get it (it’s open source).

Here is the source code and installers from the MPW session.

Installers:
https://github.com/ksherlock/mpw/releases/tag/r-0.7.1-kf

Source code:
https://github.com/ksherlock/mpw
https://github.com/ksherlock/mpw-tools
or
https://bitbucket.org/ksherlock/mpw
https://bitbucket.org/ksherlock/mpw-tools

mpw is the emulator itself. mpw-tools is some replacement utilities (GetEnv, SetFile, Duplicate) which were built into the MPW shell.

Due to technical problems with his Apple ///, Mike Maginnis couldn’t present his session, so Tony Diaz jumped in with a second Apple II Roadshow. He showed off several prototype motherboards (including the IIx and Mark Twain), Twiggy drives and other gear.

Next was Ivan Drucker, to demonstrate A2SERVER and A2Cloud. There must be a Murphy-virus circulating, as he had technical difficulties as well. Still, Ivan gave a great intro and description of A2SERVER before having to end his session.

Brian Wiser is up again showing the history of popular copiers, packers and BBSes. It’s a kind of Apple II Americana, looking at old magazine ads and talking about which copy cards and software were most effective, etc. Overall, a fun, nostalgic session.

The last session before dinner is Peter Neubauer with an in-depth discussion on Localtalk networking. Peter reviewed the evolution of Apple’s networking protocols and hardware through the years and explained it’s benefits for the Apple II.

Usually, we have a banquet for dinner but this year it was decided to keep things simpler and have the festivities in the dorm. Carl Knoblock, Mike Maginnis, Antoine Vignau and Olivier Zardini (the latter two make up Brutal Deluxe) were awarded the ‘Apple II Forever’ award. A special ‘KansasFest Forever’ award was presented to Ken Gagne, formerly known as the busiest man in the Apple II Community. Congratulations to all of you! Prizes were awarded to Melissa Barron and Krue who won the best door sign prize, and Geoff Weiss took the tie contest. Next year’s conference was also announced, so mark your calendars and make plans to attend KANSASFEST 2014 JULY 22nd-27th at ROCKHURST!

Later in the evening, Dagen Brock held part 2 of his assembly language course while other attendees socialized, played Starship Artemis or participated in the Structris tournament. Juiced.GS generously sponsored this years pizza night (thank you Ken) and there was much rejoicing. Around 11:00PM many of us participated in a Skype video call to our friends in Australia. After some technical difficulties, we were able to finally connect and exchange pleasantries and a few good-natured barbs with our counter-parts down under.

Steve Kazoullis sent us some news from down under…

The second OzKfest kicked off on Saturday 27 July, to coincide with Kansasfest. After a four-year gap, we returned bigger and better with new faces and inspiration.

On our first day, Michael Mulhern started us off with an overview of virtual machines, and running emulators within virtual machines. Jason Griffiths showed us the SAM (Software Automatic Mouth) card, and his efforts to create a kit to replicate it. He gave away some kits for attendees, as part of a fun quiz.

Matt Jenkins took us through RAM in relation to the Apple II. He demonstrated a surprise project in which he has created a prototype “Scramworks” card using a single modern chip. Nick Marentes took us through his restored Apple ///. He then demonstrated the Maximite computer, a modern take on the hobbyist computer. He showed us some of his programming projects, including various demos and his game “Donut Dilemma”, a port of a TRS-80 Color Computer game.

Our skype link-up with KansasFest was fun, after some minor hiccups we did manage to link up, and cyber-socialise.

Andrew Roughan then took us through his experiences with NFC on the iPhone, and drscribed the function and limitations while exploring some possible current and future uses. Michael Mulhern outlined cc65, and the process of cross-compiling for the 6502 in C, on OSX. Alex Lee showed us some of his work on the “What is the Apple IIGS” web site. he described the best techniques for scanning Apple II documents and took us through the optimal settings and techniques for monochrome and colour documents.

After a meal together, we returned to the venue and carried on with individual and group projects. Jon Co described and demonstrated the process of converting a 1MB RAM card into a 4MB card, somewhat long and tedious process. The individual projects went well into the night.

Saturday

Ken Gagne announced Juiced.GS is still going strong and will continue on into 2014, which is remarkable. Juiced.GS is the longest running Apple II print magazine EVER. Ken also introduced some new compilations that he’ll offer for sale during the vendor fair and online at https://juiced.gs/.

Our community is made up of very creative people, and our next session was lead by two of them. Melissa Barron and Daniel Kruszyna (aka Krue) put on a workshop for homemade floppy sleeves. Something so simple, deceptively easy and artistically interesting, attendees soon had colorful, customized floppy sleeves to store there precious disks in.

John Lane was up next to show us his techniques for converting some DOS 3.3 game to run on ProDOS. That can be handy, especially if they can be put on a mass storage device.

Stephen Buggie had his second session, where he demonstrated his techniques for tuning 5.25 disk drives using manual and software-assisted methods.

Next up, the vendor fair and exhibition. Syndicomm, Juiced.GS and a few individuals were there, selling their new and used products. Some of the items I saw for sale were RAM and SCSI cards, InnerDrives, books and magazines, BUGG-POWER supplies among other things. A few exhibits were also underway. Krue lined up a set of Apple II computers and launched a demo he created — I think it was called ‘Satin Weave’. Ivan Drucker was able to unkink his earlier A2SERVER and A2CLOUD demo, and successfully demonstrated them during the fair.

Hackfest winners were announced (Margaret Anderson took 1st), prizes selected and there was much cheering and clapping. There were a lot of nice prizes this year, donated by generous members of our community.

KansasFest 2013 was one of the best, for sure. As we started to wind down, some of us headed out to a local Greek restaurant for dinner while others went to see a movie (Pacific Rim) at a theater that had unlimited play arcade machines for five bucks. Others stayed in to socialize or pack and prepare for their early morning departures.

And that’s what we did on Sunday; we cleaned up our area, packed and after some farewells, we headed home.

I can’t wait for next year. Apple II Forever!

June 20th, 2013

Woz attends historic testing of five Apple 1 computers

Today’s Woz-stalking is courtesy Dean Nichols and The San Jose Mercury News. Tuesday, June 18th saw Steve Wozniak and several other *very notable* attendees gathered at History San Jose to power-on and test no fewer than five Apple 1 computers. How many of us wish they could have been there to see that?

June 17th, 2013

OzKFest dates announced, July 26-28 Brisbane Australia

Andrew Roughan has announced the date and location of the (we think) second-largest gathering of Apple II users in the world.

The Australian retro computing gathering, OzKfest, will be happening in Brisbane, Australia, July 26-28. That’s just 6 weeks away. Steve Kazoullis and I would like you join us for a few of days of retro inspiration, Aussie ingenuity and camaraderie.

Some of the confirmed sessions include:

  • Live discussion of the events of KanasFest that will have taken place in the previous days
  • Matt Jenkins will take us on a ‘A trip down Memory lane’
  • There will be a demonstration of the Carte Blanche with HDMI adapter in an Apple IIe (courtesy of Stephen Howell)
  • I will be demonstrating The Complex, a turn based, multi player, RPG created by Sean Craig (who may be in attendance)
  • Skype link up with Woz
  • Skype link up with KansasFest attendees

I keenly anticipate some hardware hackery from Alex Lukacz and Jon Co and I’m sure Alex will be bringing his turtle robot controlled via Bluetooth. There may even be some Apple interfaces with the Raspberry Pi. We also have some presentations related to other classic computer platforms and current hobbyist innovations such as the Maximite.

The website has all the logistical details including a registration form. Session details will be updated shortly. http://ozkfest.net/

There will be a few attendees of past KansasFests and the previous OzKfest and we hope to imbibe the KansasFest spirit into OzKFest again this year.

Now is the time to get your registration form in, arrange how to get there and where you’ll stay. If you need help, let us know how we can help.

If you have an idea for a session that you’d like to present, please let us know so we can allocate a time slot for you. If you would like to learn something, let us know what that is and we will try to find a presenter for that topic, e.g. Stephen Wright would like an introduction to IIgs development and I’d like to find out how to change and manage disk images within ActiveGS.

Steve and I are really excited about this event and can’t wait to see you there! Reminder that the ‘Downunder Chat’ happens every Friday night from 9pm Australian EST in irc.a2central.com #a2.chat

May 30th, 2013

Melissa Barron’s Glitch screencaptures on display at Furtherfield Gallery

If you find yourself in jolly ol’ England this summer, say between the dates of June 8th and July 28th, be sure to stop in at the Furtherfield Gallery’s McKenzie Pavillion in London and personally see Melissa Barron’s Glitch screencapture weavings on display as part of the Glitch Moment/ums exhibit.



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