July 30th, 2010

Juiced.GS in 2011, online index, and digital issues

Juiced.GS, the last remaining Apple II publication in print, announced at KansasFest 2010 that it will continue to publish in 2011. Subscriptions and renewals for its sixteenth annual volume are currently being accepted. Prices are $19 for United States customers and $26 for international.

Acknowledging the history behind its status as the longest-running Apple II print publication, Juiced.GS has catalogued its first fifteen years of content into an online index. Search, sort, and download listings of over 700 articles, or drill down from volume to issue to article.

Selected previously published Juiced.GS content has been compiled into thematic issues known as Juiced.GS Concentrate. For the first time ever, readers can purchase and download this magazine’s content in PDF format with full-color graphics, text and code that can be copied and pasted, and bookmarks. The launch lineup of Concentrates include issues on BASIC programming, TCP/IP programming, and podcasting, with prices currently ranging from $5 to $12 based on the amount of content.

For more details, see the Juiced.GS blog.

July 28th, 2010

ReactiveMicro to sell limited run of Mockingboards

Good news for Apple II enthusiasts looking for a Mockingboard. Henry Courbis of ReactiveMicro wrote in let us know that a small run of cloned Mockingboard “C” boards should be available in the store soon. These boards are identical to the Mockingboard clones sold under the GSE-Reactive brand a few years ago. Pricing was not provided.

July 26th, 2010

Pre-orders open for Apple 1 cassette interface replica

Mike Willegal wrote in to announce he was taking pre-orders for his Apple 1 cassette interface. We’re a bit late posting it here, as we received it during the Pre-KFest rush. Mike’s complete announcement is attached:

Fellow Apple 1 and II fans,

Many of you may know that I have been working on a replica ACI (apple cassette interface) for the Apple 1. Some info on the ACI and my replica progress may be found on this web page:

http://www.willegal.net/appleii/aci.htm

In order to move ahead on this project, what I have decided to do is to accept pre-orders for kits at a reduced price of $75. This is the original price for an ACI, something that I really wanted to hit, but the high cost of some of the components make it a difficult price to maintain with the low quantities of stuff I normally sell. I will take pre-orders at the $75 price up through Oct 1, 2010. Around Oct 1st, I’ll start ordering components for kits and expect to be able to ship kits by late October or early November.

Once the pre-order phase is over on October 1st – I’ll be raising price to $100, with the exception of those who buy a Mimeo 1 kit at the same time. Those would buy a Mimeo kit at the same time, will get the special $75 price.

Send an Email to me at mike@willegal.net for pre-ordering information, before sending money.

Regards,
Mike Willegal

July 24th, 2010

KansasFest 2010 Keynote posted

Courtesy of Ken Gagne, we now present the KansasFest 2010 Keynote featuring Mark Simonsen of Beagle Bros.


Mark Simonsen’s keynote speech at KansasFest 2010 from Ken Gagne on Vimeo.

July 24th, 2010

Apple II History site receives makeover

Dr. Steven Weyhrich announced today that the Apple II History site has received a significant site update, and is now running WordPress. The new site features -=new content=- and is online right now. Check it out!

Edit: We’re adding a video of Steven Weyhrich’s announcement courtesy of Ken Gagne.


Apple II History redesign unveiling from Ken Gagne on Vimeo.

July 24th, 2010

Legend Industries Ltd. products reclassified freeware

Tony Diaz of the Apple II Lost Classics Project announced today that Dave Heiden of Legend Industries Ltd. has generously reclassified all of Legend’s products as Freeware. All rights are being retained, and the release is applicable for non-profit, private enjoyment only. CSA2 regular Richard Jackson is credited with obtaining the reclassification and for also providing all of the initial scans of the related material.

July 24th, 2010

Resource Central catalog reclassified under Creative Commons

A2Central is pleased to announce Tom Weishaar has generously reclassified the copyrights of the entire Open-Apple and Resource Central catalog to the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.

The following titles are covered by the reclassification:

  • Open-Apple/A2Central Newsletters
  • A2Central On Disk
  • Script-Central
  • TimeOut-Central
  • Stack-Central/Studio City
  • 8/16-Central
  • Macrocosm
  • Fishhead’s Children

The collections will eventually be available from the Apple II Lost Classics Project.

July 24th, 2010

KansasFest 2010 – Friday

After having missed the first 24 hours or so of this year’s festivities (including what I understand was an excellent keynote speech), I quickly settled in to the late-July routine here at Rockfest: presentations, impromptu hallway brainstorming sessions, and late-night runs to restaurants of dubious quality.

By Friday morning, the effects of sleep deprivation are beginning to settle in on some of the late-night crowd.  The group at breakfast is noticeably smaller and dragging the body out of bed in time for the first sessions a little harder.  We’re at just over the midway point, and things are going well.

Overall, there’s been a much stronger emphasis on 8-bit machines than at some of the recent KansasFests past, and it’s a welcome change.  Not that I don’t enjoy the focus on the IIGS, but it’s nice to know that there are some Apple II’ers keeping the 8-bit spirit alive.  Martin Haye and Ivan Drucker in particular have presented some amazing stuff that doesn’t require a IIGS.

Martin kicked off the day’s session schedule with a continuation of his two-part NakedOS/Super-Mon series, again using only his Apple II Plus not only to demonstrate his extensions to the Apple II’s system monitor, but to run the presentation as well.  Neat!  Super-Mon provides some powerful additions to the monitor that will immediately benefit anyone programming in Assembly or just poking around.

Ken Gage followed this up with the next part in his ongoing series of Classic Gaming Inspirations.  Essentially, Ken gives us a look at some modern games available to users and links them back to their humble beginnings as Apple II titles.  Arkanoid, Dark Castle and Maelstrom are just a few examples of the titles covered.

From here, Ken launched right into the next session, one not originally on the schedule and showing a few of the latest and hottest Internet memes.  If you haven’t seen the hilarious Double Rainbow guy (and the inevitable parodies that followed it – Double Taco Bell, anyone?) or the ongoing Old Spice Guy videos that became so popular Alyssa Milano herself got caught up in them, make sure you head over to YouTube to give them a viewing or three.

Next up was a technical session from Wayne Arthurton covering methods for optimizing algorithms in AppleSoft BASIC.  Wayne decided that he needed better performance from BASIC on his 4MHz Apple IIc Plus and found some neat techniques to make it happen.

Following lunch at the cafeteria at Massman Hall, Stavros gave everyone a demonstration on how to use an Apple II as a dumb terminal for Mac OS X.

Unfortunately, I can’t really say much more about the presentations put on by Wayne or Stavros, as I instead retreated to my room for a bit to catch up on a few personal projects I’d been promising myself to work on when I’m here in Kansas City.  I emerged in time to take in Geoff Weiss’s session on GNO/ME – good, but very technical stuff that was mostly over my head.

My favorite session of the day however was from KansasFest newcomer Melissa Baron, who took the popular Oregon Trail edutainment title and replaced all of the existing in-game text with her own hilarious blend of l337, chatspeak and LOLcats syntax.  After we all got a good laugh from the resulting messages in the game, Melissa surprised us all when she explain her method for replacing the text: she simply opened the Oregon Trail disk image file in TextEdit and replaced the text one character at a time.  Melissa then demonstrated another Apple II technique she calls “glitching”.  This involves replacing a single character in the disk image file – again in TextEdit – with a different character to produce random graphical weirdness on the screen when the image is loaded in an emulator (or, presumably, a real Apple II).  The new and innovative things people come up with to do on the Apple II more than thirty years after its introduction always amazes me and it’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to KansasFest.

Following Melissa’s session, everyone got dressed up for the Dinner Banquet festivities.  Tom Vanderpool of Resource Central joined Dennis Doms as guests of honor and Dennis later chose Tony Diaz’s circuit board tie as the winner of the Annual Roger Wagner Tie Contest.  This year also saw the start of a new annual award given to those members of the Apple II community who go above and beyond in their dedication and contributions to our hobby: the Apple II Forever Award. Inaugural winners were Tom Weishaar, Dennis Doms, Tom Vanderpool and Ellen Rosenberg of Resource Central, as well as this year’s keynote speaker Mark Simonsen of Beagle Bros.  But the best moment of the night was when the award was also given to Juiced.GS’s publisher and KansasFest committee member Ken Gagne.  The look of shock on his face was priceless.

Wrapping up the activities, which were held in the campus pub this year, was a rousing round of live-action interactive fiction, starring Ken Gagne as the computer, and the rest of the KansasFest attendees each taking turns as the player.  Repeated attempts to kiss the princess were met with hilarious results.  Following this, we made our way over near the dorms for the annual photo before being turned loose for an evening of socializing.  A few folks headed to the Apple Store, though I heard later they got there just as it was closing, and a planned game of Apple II Jeopardy to be emceed by Tony Diaz never materialized.

Later on, attendees were rounded up to help unload items from James Littlejohn’s Big Green Bus (yes, it needs to be capitalized) in preparation for the opening of Sean Fahey’s Garage the next morning.  Following that, a large group headed out for a late-night Steak ‘n Shake run.  I considered tagging along, but decided against it – the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak and I spent the rest of the night organizing and posting my photos before turning in.

July 23rd, 2010

KansasFest 2010 – Thursday

Thursday was the first full day of sessions, and we were excited to see what the presenters would come up with this year. Peter Neubauer started us off with a presentation on Macrosoft, an Applesoft-like programming language that allows one to achieve machine language speed without having to write assembly code. Peter used Macrosoft to create last year’s winning Hackfest entry. He demonstrated the impressive graphical speed gains achieved over Applesoft. Other nice features are the lack of line numbers (it uses labels), and the ability to interleave assembly and Macrosoft code in the same program. It provides a handy ascii-based status indicator during the compiling process, and you can watch the conversion of your program to assembly in real time. Peter also compiled a short history of Macrosoft after interviewing creator Alan Floeter. Was it used for any commercial software releases? He would love to know if you have any info. Through an arrangement with Mike Harvey’s Nibblesoft, Peter is selling copies of Macrosoft plus the Assembler for $23.95 at the Saturday swap meet. It also comes with a 200 page pdf manual.

The next session by Eric Shepherd was delivered remotely over iChat. Entitled ‘What’s New in iPad Programming”, Sheppy covered the differences between programming for iPad vs. iPhone, such as taking into account multiple screen orientations and screen ratios. To demonstrate, he took his ‘Shepfari’ web browser created during his 2008 iPhone programming session and updated it for the iPad. He took us into the iPhone simulator to show us how to make changes to the graphical user interface. This included turning it into a universal app, and fixing the screen size, location of the address and status bars, and more. Click here to download the Xcode project code.

The last morning session was an engaging panel discussing Apple’s trend towards walling off hardware from the user, thus widening the divide between users and programmers. The Apple II was a very open system, and Apple has increasingly moved away from this from the Mac to the iPhone/iPad. Ken Gagne moderated and kept the discussion moving while panelists Martin Haye, Ivan Drucker and Mike Maginnis gave their thoughts and jousted with each other.

The afternoon sessions kicked off with Martin Haye introducing his new disk operating system, NakedOS. Martin described his goal of writing an original arcade game in 48K, and his need for a DOS with a tiny memory footprint so he can have more room for game levels and other goodies. The 5 1/4” only disk format is standard 6/2 nibble and uses no filenames, only numbers. When not in use essentially all memory is freed up. Compared with DOS 3.3 and ProDOS, reading an entire disk using NakedOS is 45% faster, and write speeds are 30% faster. It uses a scattershot method to read and write to every sector, unlike DOS 3.3 which reads and writes every other sector. Martin is already hard at work on version 1.1. NakedOS is distributed here.

The next session by Tony Diaz looked at the use of baking soda to remove the yellowing that plagues many old computer cases. By controlled sandblasting, he proved that yellowing can be removed without harming the plastic or changing the surface composition of textured plastic. He discussed the benefits of sandblasting versus using a chemical solution such as Retr0bright. Note that you will look like a ghost after sandblasting, with white powder everywhere.

Dagen Brocke’s session on off-platform Apple II development was geared to get everyone’s creative juices flowing. He presented methods to make protoyping in BASIC easier, including using a pseudo BASIC that removes line numbers and replaces them with labels; and writing chunks of BASIC as functions in another language (such as PHP). He created functions to take any GIF image, remap the colors, and spit it out in BASIC–this process can facilitate bringing images into older systems. He also explored HTML5 canvas objects, which lets you draw on the screen similarly to Applesoft.

The final session of the afternoon by Mike Maginnis looked at the much maligned Apple III. The failure of this system as a business computer was also Apple’s first big product failure, and “infinite, incalculable amounts” of money were lost. Mike stripped down an Apple III to the bare case, so we could see the design flaws. The Apple III had many unusual features, such as a diagnostic code-only ROM, a severely limited 48K Apple II emulation mode, and a clock chip that often couldn’t keep time. As a business machine, users bemoaned the lack of an internal hard drive and no high res color monitor. Mike said that users turned to magazines and user groups for help after Apple abandoned the machine. Apple III emulation in this day is sparse, consisting of Sara running on Mac and also built into the Multi Emulator Super System, but apparently not working.

Dinner was in-house and during the evening we were treated to a special one-hour cut of Jason Scott’s new 2-DVD documentary Get Lamp, which is devoted to the story of text adventures and interactive fiction. After the showing, we were taken aback to learn that each KFest attendee was to receive a free copy of the film, to be mailed within two weeks. Jason provided copies at cost and former KFest ‘Grand Gouda’ Steve Godzilla Gozdziewski generously donated the funds to cover those costs. To tide us over until the films arrive, Ken Gagne handed each person a beautiful, numbered, heavy metal coin that is a ‘feelie’ included with each copy of the film (just like the feelies included in the old Infocom games).

The halls were alive until the wee hours with the sounds of clacking Disk II drives, Apple II music, and keyboards tapping as coders worked on their sessions and Hackfest projects. The best part was seeing friends hanging out together in the hallways and rooms sharing their passion.

July 22nd, 2010

Ewen Wannop releases SAM2

In case you missed the announcements in Juiced.GS or Usenet newsgroup comp.sys.apple2, prolific Apple IIGS programmer Ewen Wannop has released a new version of Spectrum Automated Mailer, or SAM2. Ewen’s complete announcement is attached.

**NEW** – SAM2 email client for the IIgs!

From the stable of Spectrum, SAFE2, and SNAP, the venerable email client SAM morphs into a sleek new SAM2.

SAM2 is a stand-alone Freeware email client that uses POP3 and SMTP mail servers to retrieve and send your email.

The Main SAM2 Features:

  • Multiple email accounts
  • Multiple Mailboxes
  • Address Book
  • Custom Filters
  • Junk Filter
  • Send and Receive attachments
  • HTML display for messages with HTML
  • Download URL linked files directly
  • Simple Text Editor

To use SAM2, you will need a IIGS running System 6.0.1, Marinetti 3.0.b3 or later, and a connection to the Internet. SAM2 works best with an Ethernet connection, such as with the Uthernet card, though it can be used with any TCP/IP Link Layer that Marinetti supports.

Installation instructions, the SAM2 manual, and all the necessary files, are included within the archive. Optionally you can also download a deluxe PDF version of the manual.

Download SAM2 and the PDF manual from my web site:
http://homepage.mac.com/speccie

Ewen Wannop

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