July 29th, 2007

FASTDSK – new disk imaging tool for 8 bit Apple II computers

Jean-Marc Boutillon’s freeware FASTDSK program images 5 1/4″ disks, and runs under ProDOS on 8 bit Apple II computers. It features logging and auto-name generation, which makes it useful for converting large stacks of floppies to DSK format images. The program was written with Merlin assembler 8 and the source code is available.

July 26th, 2007

IDEfile ProFile emulator boards to be ordered

Patrick Schaefer has posted to comp.sys.apple2 that he’s preparing to order the next batch of IDEfile pc boards, and that if anyone wants one, they should contact him. The IDEfile is an Apple ProFile emulator (FAQ) for the Apple III and Lisa series that utilizes an IDE hard drive to replace the original device.

No info on if the IDEfile can be used with an Apple II equipped with a ProFile controller, does anyone know?

July 24th, 2007

HackFest 2007 winners announced

HackFest is an annual Apple II programming contest held during KFest. It begins at 7 am on Wednesday and ends Saturday morning. This year we had five talented participants.

Fifth place – Matthew Schock crammed hard to learn C and the result was a program that allowed drawings to display as a movie by using timing between wipes.

Fourth place – Margaret Anderson developed an application to solve substitution cipher puzzles.

Third place – Thomas Compter wrote a Weight Watchers point calculator program.

Second placeAndrew Roughan wrote Share Clip GS (tentative name), an amazing program that allows the clipboard from a IIgs to be shared with a Windows or Mac clipboard over a network. It may be available in the coming months for download. It interfaces with existing versions for Linux, Windows and MacOS X.

First place – Michael Mahon presented his NadaNet ball demo. Michael’s two networked Apple II computers passed a bouncing ball back and forth between each screen, all while maintaining the correct angle and trajectory as the ball crossed from one monitor to the other. Many of us in the audience saw this as the beginning an Apple II network game of Pong!

Prizes were awarded to each participant, and included an Apple IIc Plus and case (donated by James Littlejohn), an APC surge protector, a nice set of computer speakers, a copy of Steve Wozniak’s book iWoz, and a Chop Shop Apple II t-shirt. Many thanks for the prize donations by Howard Katz (over 20 prizes!), Sean Fahey and Ryan Suenaga of A2Unplugged.

July 24th, 2007

KansasFest 2008 scheduled

Tony Diaz has confirmed that KansasFest 2008 has been booked and scheduled for July 22 through 27, 2008! This will mark the 20th anniversary of KFest, the largest annual gathering of Apple II enthusiasts from around the world. Start planning to attend now!

July 24th, 2007

Sweet16 2.0 public beta 1 released

Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd has posted Sweet16 2.0 Public Beta 1, which is now available from his Mac Downloads page. It has a number of nice improvements, among which are:

  • OpenGL accelerated graphics.
  • Color fidelity improved.
  • Resize your IIgs video window to any size you like.
  • Mount your 800K floppy disk images as SmartPort hard disks by default if you want to.
  • Fixed bugs with finding and remembering the location of the ROM file.
  • Now recognizes Mac file types for various disk image formats including 2mg, DiskCopy 4, and DiskCopy 6. Improved recognition of disk images in general.

There are other enhancements too, that Sheppy will post more on later.

Please keep in mind that this is a beta, and almost certainly has significant bugs. While it has some nice new features, it’s not necessarily reliable!

July 23rd, 2007

KFest 2007 – GShisen contest showdown!

Max Jones was kind enough to write up the results of the GShisen contest, as well as organize and run the event. Thanks Max. Here is his report:

Geoff Weiss set the world on fire in the championship round of the GShisen Contest with a blistering time of 2:53 to claim the 2007 title. He needed that kind of performance to defeat Margaret Anderson, who also turned in an impressive time of 3:26. (The GShisen game number played in the championship round was 9197.)

Geoff’s victory earned him a $50 product discount on any title in the Syndicomm software arsenal. The second-place prize for Margaret was a 2008 subscription to Juiced.GS.

Earlier in the day, Margaret had won the second round of the contest, followed by Geoff. Placing third in the second round was Sarah Shepherd, followed by Bruce Baker and Carl Knoblock (a former champion).

Congrats to the winners and all the participants in this year’s contest.

July 23rd, 2007

KFest 2007 – Saturday report

Here we are at the last full day of KFest. It’s tough knowing this year’s event is winding down, but you realize at the start of the day that it’s up to you to make the most of it: enjoy the remaining sessions; witness the culmination of HackFest and the GShisen contest; the last lunch together; the annual KC Masterpiece outing; the final evening of wandering the halls and visiting with friends both old and new; chatting up the Apple II or working on ideas for new hardware or software programs to take our little computer to the next level. It’s the kind of night you don’t want to end.

Those who have early flights on Sunday reluctantly hit the sack around 1 AM. Many others make it until 2 or longer. The thing we can all hold onto through the goodbyes are the promises to come back next year. It’s an event that is open to all. Maybe 2008 will be the year you make your first outing to Kansas City.

But I’m jumping ahead…

Saturday started off with the now familiar cafeteria breakfast. I was tempted to ask Tony Diaz to let me open a box of his Frosted KrustyO’s breakfast cereal (where does he find this stuff?).

Ryan Suenaga began the day’s sessions with his “Suck Free Zone 2007”. He once again proved he definitely does not suck by releasing a new Apple IIgs program—SMS NDA. This New Desk Accessory lets you send SMS messages to any cell phone—how cool. The program requires Marinetti, and he hopes to make it available for download soon.

Next up was Carrington Vanston’s Podcasting 101. His session was a very entertaining look at how to start podcasting on a budget, while not sacrificing sound quality. He covered microphones, amplifiers, recording devices, and tips and techniques to make your podcast sound great. Carrington is the creator of an Apple II podcast called 1 MHz.

Our final session was led by Ryan Suenaga. He led a live recording of his podcast A2 Unplugged (or Unpugged as it was known at KFest). Eric Shepherd and Ken Gagne joined Ryan for a review on the week’s activities. The podcast will be available soon.

The afternoon’s main event was the announcement of the winners of HackFest 2007. There were five entrants this year. More details will be published in a separate post to A2Central.

Other events included the Swap Meet/Vendor’s Fair and evening trip to KC Masterpiece. There was much food consumed and plenty of good cheer to go around.

The last official event of the night was the GShisen gaming showdown between the top seeded Margaret Anderson and equally formidable Geoff Weiss. Check out the separate post for details.

July 21st, 2007

KFest 2007 – Friday report

In hopes of giving Sean a break to catch up on sleep, I’m going to give the Friday KFest update. As the days progress, it gets harder to make it to breakfast hour. This day was probably the fullest yet.

The first morning session was presented by Michael Mahon and covered his NadaNet project in depth. It was quite a sight to see him send a picture of a house from one Apple II computer over an RCA cable and see the same picture appear on a different Apple II’s screen. His network can reach speeds of 10 Kb/sec. A few of us are envisioning next year’s KFest where each room has an Apple II, all networked together using NadaNet–maybe for messaging or posting the day’s schedule. Very exciting.

Bruce Baker continued his multi-year project of demonstrating a selection of Apple II games from SoftDisk. The entire audience participated in a game of Twist, where we tried to come up with as many 5-letter words as possible from a rotating letter grid. This participation continued with a ‘guide the ball’ type game called Place Ball, involving levers, diverters, and bouncing bumpers. Other games included Dangerous Dave Returns (platformer), Osmosis (solitaire-type game), and a shoot ’em up typing tutor game.

Ed Eastman took us through the basics of soldering with a hands-on demonstration. He described the necessary equipment, warned us not to sniff the burning flux, and gave attendees a chance to try their hand at soldering a few resistors. I used what he taught me to put together a NadaNet adapter kit on Saturday night.

GS/OS, the operating system of the IIgs, was the subject of Geoff Weiss’ afternoon session. He walked us through a quite complete tour of the file system. If you are used to the IIe and were ready to start using the IIgs, this session provided a good foundation.

Tim Kellers closed out the day with an introduction to FreeBSD, a UNIX-like operating system that is used in Apple’s OS X. It’s free like Linux, but prides itself on being secure and robust.

The evening was our traditional KFest banquet, a slightly more formal event that didn’t fail to bring out the laughs and good times. While dining we were treated to a slide show looking back at the history of Apple. “MC for Life” Ken Gagne then presented an entertaining review of Roasts of KFest past with help from Sheppy, Geoff and Ryan. Another slide show trip down memory lane showed old photos of past KFests (nothing too incriminating). More raffle prizes were distributed, and then the famous Roger Wagner tie contest closed out the evening. Geoff Weiss took first place with his warped “tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree”.

And the fun did not stop even there! About half the group headed out to the traditional late movie, split between Transformers (overall, a thumbs down) and Die Harder (mixed reviews). The abortive 1 AM Denny’s run of the night before was rectified with a successful outing tonight. Most were asleep by 3:30 am (except those finishing up their HackFest projects).

July 21st, 2007

Gamebits to publish Juiced.GS in 2008

Announced at KFest last evening is that Syndicomm, publisher of Juiced.GS from 2002 to today, will be handing over the reins of the last remaining Apple II publication still in print to Gamebits, a sole proprietorship owned by Ken Gagne, editor-in-chief of Juiced.GS. Subscription prices for 2008 will remain the same as they were for 2007: $18 for USA customers, $26 for international.

July 20th, 2007

A2Unplugged show #0012 released

Podcast host Ryan Suenaga presents A2Unplugged, show #0012. In this episode, Ryan with guests Carrington Vanston and Andy Molloy take their shenanigans on the road, podcasting “live” from KFest.

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