July 30th, 2006

Lunar Productions site relocates

A few years ago I placed Foundation, our IIgs resource editor, into the public domain. The entire package including full source code, is available. There’s no warranty, no support (unless you catch me in a weak moment), no anything… just free stuff from the past that someone may find useful.

July 29th, 2006

Terry Olsen releases updated Internet Modem, supports telnet services

Internet Modem, a telnet to modem emulator for Windows has been updated to version 6.7.29.1. With Internet Modem, an Apple II can be interfaced via serial port to a host PC, and use a telecomm client (ProTERM) to connect to telnet-based services like Syndicomm.

July 27th, 2006

Replica 1 SE available now

Vince Briel has announced that his Replica 1 SE is now available for sale. He has 50 boards in stock. Included with the Replica 1 is KRUSADER, a symbolic assembler, by Ken Wessen.

July 27th, 2006

MSN and CNet give Wozniak and Segway Polo the raspberry

MSN and CNet pan Wozniak and declare Segway Polo as being one of the worst technologies of 2006 (so far).

July 27th, 2006

KansasFest 2007 scheduled!

KansasFest 2007 has been scheduled for July 17 through 22, 2007! Start saving your pennies today!

July 26th, 2006

Marinetti 3.0b3 update released

Version 3.0b3 of the Marinetti TCP/IP stack has been released. To install it, you need to first have an installation of Marinetti 3.0b1, then unpack the updated TCP/IP extension on top of that.

July 24th, 2006

KFest Day 6 – 07/23/06

Time to pack, say our farewells and move out. Today we say goodbye to our friends, and promise to try to make it back next year to KFest 2007. We shake each others hands, sometimes exchange an affectionate hug because it was great to see each other again in person. We are all friends in the Apple II community.

It’s also the time when some of us exchange “white elephants” which are prizes we may not want, things we hauled in but don’t necessarily want to take home or something you know a buddy wants. Tony Diaz was good to me this year and gave me a touchtone decoder for my AppleCat collection and a BitMouse card. James Littlejohn kindly gave me a 13/16 sector Bell and Howell drive controller. I think we all do this and it’s a lot of fun. I gave away a few controllers and a joystick I didn’t need anymore.

Finally, it was time to pack up. It wasn’t as hot as Tuesday was when we moved in. Andy Molloy was there to help me and I sure did appreciate his assistance loading my car.

I decided to follow some of the airport-bound folks out for lunch where we stopped at a Pizza Hut. There we prolonged the KFest experience just a little longer and I got to see some of the funniest Ken/Ryan/Jeri shenanigans that can only truly be appreciated in person. Those guys are wacky. And then it was time to say goodbye for the last time.

As I drove home, I reflected on the previous week and all that we had done together. I felt this was a pretty good KFest and I’m already looking forward to 2007. But for now, I just want to get home to my little girl, who will be 5 years old in a few months… because I know we’ll be like velcro as soon as I get home.

Special Thanks to: Carl Knoblock for taxi services, Howard Katz for prize patrol and to everyone who gave a session. Thank You for making this KFest so much fun. See you next year!

July 24th, 2006

KFest Day 5 – 07/22/06

It usually hits me the night before, or sometime on Saturday that KFest is almost over. I’ve been so busy having a good time with everyone, the time just flies by.Saturday, especially this year, seems to be a cram day. That prevented melancholy from settling in.

Before we got started, we learned from Howard Katz that Mark Munz is busy porting Deja II to OS X as a universal binary. Deja II exists soley as a platform to bring classic 8-bit Appleworks to the Mac. I happen to like Appleworks a lot so this is great news for me.

Andy Molloy demonstrated SAFE 2, an FTP client for the Apple IIGS that is still currently in beta. SAFE 2 is a stand alone app, meaning that unlike it’s predecessor, it doesn’t require Spectrum to function. SAFE 2 is programmed by Ewan Wannop, one of the most respected programmers in the Apple II community.

Paul Zaleski promoted wiki usage to archive and share information that largely echoed points from Sheppy’s keynote.

Next up, or rather down under, we had a long distance call and presentation all the way from Australia from Andrew Roughan on the state of Marinetti. Andrew announced that Marinetti 3.0b3 is available now, and that he expects an official 3.0 will be out by the end of this year. Andrew also announced a site for technical papers on Apple II programming but I (gasp) lost the URL. I expect we’ll post it as news on A2Central soon.

Moving on, it was time for the HackFest judging. The judges were Howard Katz, Mark Percival and Sean Fahey. Our entrants this year were: Eric Shepherd, Margaret Anderson, Matt Schock, Stavros Karatsoridis and Geoff Weiss. We had some very good entries this year and the judging was tough but in the end, Margaret Anderson was declared the First Place Winner with her “Sudoku Solver” written in Applesoft. Second Place was awarded to Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd for his retro-inspired game “Icon Invaders”. Matt Schock took third with “Revenge of Four”, an oriental themed combat game (still in early development). Matt’s programming skills improve every year and it’s evident in his annual HackFest entries. Geoff Weiss showed his Diamond Mine (or Bejewled) game DM8, but it wasn’t quite finished and borrowed code from other open source programs, and Stavros made a KFest Trivia game programmed in SuperPilot.

The last official presentation is one of the best, and ironically, one of the most frustrating. Tony Diaz brought with him several prototypes of various Apple II models and peripherals and passed them around. Many of these prototypes didn’t make it into production, so it’s a unique way to see what Apple engineers were trying to accomplish, but couldn’t deliver due to some reason or another. Many of these are unique, one of a kind parts. Of course, the Mark Twain (ROM 04) GS is something to behold and steals the show, but equally impressive for me is the Golden Gate IIe, which was the initial attempt to bridge the Apple II and Macintosh product lines.

The Vendor Fair was next. I saw a couple of deals go down on premium parts like accelerators, RAM cards and a few controllers. There was quite an array of software to pick through that Bruce Baker brought, and new products from Syndicomm. I picked up a couple new No-Slot-Clocks for what I considered a good deal.

Later in the afternoon, it was time for the evenings final traditional activities. A trip to BBQ Heaven aka, KC Masterpiece and a movie. We went to see Superman Returns. It got mixed reviews from our group, but I for the most part enjoyed it. The scene with shuttle and jet aircraft just blew me away. The rest of the movie didn’t keep up with the pace set by that scene so it wasn’t quite as engaging for me.

Well, it’s time for more socializing and karaoke. KFest is almost over… and everyone can feel it.

July 24th, 2006

KFest Day 4 – 07/21/06

Sleep deprivation has turned me into a walking Apple II geek zombie.This morning we started off with Ryan Suenaga announcing his new podcast “A2 Unplugged”. I knew Ryan had been kicking this idea around for awhile so I was pleased to hear he had decided to do it. Obviously he’s going to focus exclusively on the Apple II, which guarantees it a slot in my iTunes library. More details will be forthcoming.

Up next, Sheppy gave a cool demonstration on virtual and emulated computing on his MacBook Pro using SheepShaver, which runs Macintosh Classic (pre-OS X), Parallels and Boot Camp. Parallels allows you to run a virtual x86 machine in tandem with OS X on your MacTel, either in a window or full screen, whereas Boot Camp is a boot loader that let’s you choose between OS X and something else, like Windows XP or Linux that runs exclusively at startup.

After lunch, I demonstrated The SVD, or Semi-Virtual Diskette designed and sold by Eric Rothfuss. When used in conjunction with a host PC, you can download disk images to the device and then use it as one or two virtual 5.25 floppy drives on your Apple II. It’s an amazingly well done piece of work and the support Mr. Rothfuss provides via his website is nothing short of superb.

Austin Phelps turned up the geek quotient by giving us an indepth course on how to build a RAID array. Attendees learned about what kind of RAID options exist, their pros and cons, and how to choose the best option for the application.

Our very own Margaret Anderson took us on a discovery of interactive fiction, which is the term applied to text-based/text-action games. This gaming genre was made famous by Infocom and their popular line of text games back in the 1980’s and it still has it’s devoted fans today.

Some of us bailed out of the session schedule at this time to make a dumpster dive at the local computer surplus. I nabbed an old iMac G3, and Paul Zaleski managed to save an Apple IIe and some cards. We were disappointed to find a lot fewer Apple II bones to pick over, but we made an arrangement with the operator of the facility to hold some stuff back so we could go through it next year.

The next session was Andy Molloy demonstrating Skype, a peer to peer communications application.

This year, we didn’t have a banquet or a roast. Instead, we opted to take a humorous look back at KFest’s past, and to reflect on the current state of the Apple II community. Ken “MC for Life” Gagne gave us a cautious but hopeful look into the future as we continue to push back the boundries of our allegedly obsolete Apple II computers. Ken pointed out many of the achievements that have been accomplished, new products and even more importantly, the new people in our community since 2001.

Webcasting is a huge logistical pain in the posterior — but this year, I wished Ken’s speech could be made available for everyone who couldn’t be at KFest this year. The message was that good. Thanks Ken!

The rest of the evening was spent wrapping up hackfest projects, visiting with friends and whatever else. I marveled at Paul Zaleski’s 18MHz Transwarp GS, and Tony Diaz brought enough gadgets to outfit a platoon. Later, Jeri Ellsworth brought out her Playstation for an impromptu karaoke night in the dorm lobby. I can only assume the student resident assistants think we’re crazy by now.

It must have been 11:30pm or so, which is really quite early, when a group of us headed out to IHOP for breakfast. It’s a tradition really, but we don’t usually go until 1:00am or later. The IHOP was busy and couldn’t seat us so we boogied over to Denny’s instead and got waited on immediately. The server there was phenomenal – she didn’t write down anyone’s order, memorizing everything and didn’t make a single mistake. I was impressed.

And then it was back to the dorm where I crashed. It was quite a day.

July 23rd, 2006

Hackfest 2006 contest winners announced

Paul Zaleski provided this detailed summary of the KFest Hackfest contest. This year’s entries were mighty impressive.
Hackfest is the annual programming contest at KFest. Programming can’t start until the beginning of the conference and the contest concludes on the last full day of KFest. Participants are judged on the completeness of their entry, programming experience, and by the quality of their program. The top entries at KFest 2006 were (in no particular order):

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Geoff Weiss – Applesoft – Bejeweled

Geoff wrote this Bejeweled clone in Applesoft using Low Rez graphics. It looked pretty darn good for being Low Rez. Rather than detailed “jewels” he just used different colored rectangles. Mouse capability was included.

—————–

Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd – C – Icon Invaders

Eric created a game which icons drop down the screen at different rates and you have to shoot them ala Space Invaders style. Pretty cool
looking. The game pulls the icons out of the GSOS icons folder, both small and large.

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Stavros Karatsoridis – SUPERPILOT – Kfest Trivia

Stavros crated a Kfest Trivia game using SUPERPILOT. This was one of 2 entries which was 100% complete at presentation time.

——————–

Margaret Anderson – Applesoft – Soduku Problem Helper

This text was the other 100% complete Hackfest entry. It displays 9 Soduku problems on the screen and helps you solve them, offering
suggestions for possible solutions if you would like. The program used keyboard onscreen editing with a side menu.

———————

Matthew Schock – Applesoft – RPG Game

Matthew wrote a text based Samurai Role Playing Game with ASCII graphics and animation, animated stick figures included.

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The winners were:

1st Place: Margaret Anderson
2nd Place: Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd
3rd Place: Matthew Schock

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