July 30th, 2009

Apple II emulator reviews & interviews on RetroMacCast

The RetroMacCast podcast has been on an Apple II emulation kick lately! In Episode 125 (iTunes), hosts James and John talk about Apple II emulators for the Macintosh, including OSXII, AppleIIGo, and KEGS. A week later, in Episode 126, (iTunes) they interview Colin Klipsch, developer of the Catakig emulator.

This is the same podcast that earlier this year conducted a KansasFest interview after reflecting on the Apple II’s various operating systems. Who knew a podcast with “Mac” in the title could be so Apple II-friendly?

July 23rd, 2009

KansasFest 2009 – Wednesday

When I got back to XL last night it was almost 1:00am, and many attendees were still up sociallizing and working on projects. I made the rounds to a few rooms to say hi and eventually hit the sack over an hour later.

Wednesday is the first official day of KFest. I used the morning to unpack my stuff and settle in. It’s a good thing I packed light this year. My room has only a small desk and there isn’t much room to spread my gear out.

This year, I brought an Apple IIc Plus with me so that I could participate in this year’s RetroChallenge. I’ve chosen to simulate the experience of having just picked up an Apple II at a garage sale or thrift store with no software to go with it. The challenge is to get disk images from sites on the Internet and reconstitute them into floppies with the help of programs like ADTPro. This isn’t hard to do — it’s actually very easy, but it’s a process I’ve never had to do before today. I’ve always had access to bootable disks and applications. Sure, I use disk images with emulators, but I don’t recall ever needing to transfer one to a real disk before.

I think this will be an interesting, albeit rudimentary excercise. I often get e-mails asking “I just picked up an old Apple II, how do I get software for it… how do I boot it… where can I get programs” and so on. I know the answers to those questions, but now I’ll have more empathy having experienced these problems myself.

I’m also going to try to get the IIc Plus set up as a terminal to my Macintosh via serial port. I’ve been itching to get on IRC with it for a long time, but I’ve never gotten around to doing it.

Lunch on Wednesday is a special event — the KFest Kookout, with Kirk Mitchell reprising his role as Master Chef. Kirk has been doing this for several years now, and The Force is strong with him… and his spatula.

Today’s BIG event is the Keynote. This year we have the pleasure of welcoming Jason Scott as our presenter. I recorded Jason’s speech but was unable to get the Q&A that followed, which is a shame, because it was every bit as informative and entertaining as the keynote itself. If you ever have a chance to see Jason Scott in person, I encourage you to do so. He’s funny, witty and tells great stories.

I have to apologize for the quality of the video. The lighting conditions were poor, and the Flip MinoHD I used didn’t fare so well. Oh, and it’s limited memory bit me when the keynote ran over 50 minutes (when the Q&A started). Next time, I’ll use something better.

KansasFest 2009 Keynote with Jason Scott from Sean Fahey on Vimeo.

OK, YouTube… YouSuck. We’ll post the video somewhere else when time permits.

Ken Gagne had the next session, which was a collection of retro-themed freeware and shareware games for the Mac. Most of the games contained design elements and genre play styles that were first pioneered on the Apple II and arcade machines back in the day. I’ll post the list of games soon — Ken will be sending it out to the KFest mailing list later.

In [today’s] gaming session, I showed many classic Apple II games, which you can view here:


Below is a list of those games and what Mac game you can download that echo those Apple II experiences. Some notes: Grid Wars is no longer available for download, and the last two games (Maelstrum’s Mansion and Thule Road Trip) are Web-based games you play in a browser, regardless of your platform.

Montezuma’s Revenge & Conan = Midnight Mansion

Robotron = Grid Wars

Lode Runner = Android

Qix = l1neum

Choplifter = Chopper

Solstice = Alien8

Shadowgate = Maelstrum’s Mansion

Oregon Trail = Thule Road Trip

The final session featured Rob Walch of Today In iPhone showing our group the still relatively new iPhone 3GS.

After that, it was back to the dorm for more hanging out, programming and craziness. Syndicomm and Juiced.GS brought in pizza and pop for everyone (thanks guys!). Afterwards, I got a few sneak peeks at a some of the new products being released this week (more on those when the time is right).

July 21st, 2009

KansasFest 2009 – Tuesday

Today is our early registration day, when many (probably most) of us are arriving, checking in and moving into our dorm rooms. We’re in Xavier-Loyola this year; probably my favorite of the dorms we’ve stayed in. It has a nice large common area for attendees to mingle, and it’s easy to move equipment in and out of because it has a convenient curb-side drive in front of the entrance.

So far, the weather is cooperating — it’s not as hot and humid as it usually is for this time of year, and even though rain is a definate possibility, we’re getting moved in with minimal hassle.

I’ve counted about a dozen people who have arrived ahead of me. Plans are being made for tonight’s informal activities. Some people are heading out to Sweet Tomatos to eat, others are planning to take in a Royals Baseball game… and I’m heading out seeing Poison, Def Leppard and Cheap Trick in concert at the Sprint Center.

Tomorrow, the main event begins!

Wanted: We’re looking for someone attending Mt. KeiraFest to post information on the event here on A2Central.

July 15th, 2009

Gizmodo ’79 reviews the Apple 1 and Apple II Plus

The Gizmodo crew takes a time warp back to 1979 and reviews the Apple 1 and Apple II Plus. Groovy, man.

July 14th, 2009

A2RetroSystems has Uthernet cards again

Glenn Jones of A2RetroSystems announced today that the ever popular Uthernet is back in stock and ready for ordering. If you’ve been pining for an Uthernet card, act quickly — they always go fast.

July 11th, 2009

Alex Lukacz UFIC project

Alex Lukacz has finished his UFIC (USB to IDE Controller) project, an ingenious way to access the compact flash installed on a MicroDrive controller in an Apple II, without having to open the case up.

When the Apple II is turned on, the compact flash card works normally on the MicroDrive card. When the power to the Apple II is off, the UFIC allows another computer to interface to the compact flash so it can be easily manipulated by a program like CiderPress. This is a major hassle saver, making backups and installing new software even easier and more convenient.

Alex has other projects (some we’ve covered) that you might be interested in. Check them out at: http://lukazi.blogspot.com/

July 11th, 2009

Virtual Apple ][ website updated

Bill Martens writes:

The latest version of the Virtual Apple ][ Website, Version 4.4 has been released. The new version of the Virtual Apple ][ site features the latest ActiveGS emulator plugin which runs on both Mac OS 10.5.x and PC based Windows 2k and newer. The plugin is compatible with IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera and other browsers.

Thanks to Oliver Goguel of the Free Tools Association, the site also now allows users to save games on the disk images in their browser cache. We have been working closely with Oliver over the past few months to bring support to the Mac platform for all disk images on the site. We have also reformatted the site making it fit in 1024 x 768 screens.

Currently there are over 1400 Apple ][ and IIgs disk images on Virtual Apple ][ and more are being added to the site everyday.

URL: http://www.virtualapple.org

July 5th, 2009

Apple //c VGA interface announced for KFest

Ferdinand Meyer-Hermann has announced he will be demonstrating his VGA interface for 8bit Apple II computers at KFest. Additionally, A2Central has learned that the the first version of Ferdinand’s VGA adapter will be for the Apple //c and IIc Plus, followed later by a version for slot-equipped Apple II computers. We’ve heard that a small production run of these adapters may be for sale during KFest at a special, discounted conference-only price.

The adapters will be sold exclusively through ReactiveMicro. A2Central will post pricing and ordering information as soon as details are disclosed at KFest.