Dedication

It takes a lot to inspire dedication – people have to care very deeply about something to be dedicated to it.

Apple ][ aficionados are by no means the only dedicated species on this planet: car enthusiasts, Raspberry Pi tinkerers, painters on art tours – we all share a degree of passion which outsiders often view askance…while being so dedicated to their own “thing” such as a football team, a TV show, or a favourite restaurant.

But today, I was reminded of just how dedicated my fellow redo-computer enthusiasts were, in a few (very) different ways.

Firstly, there was an e-mail from Ken Gagne, the Editor-In-Chief and Publisher of Juiced.GS, the world’s only remaining (and longest running) Apple ][ print magazine. [Disclaimer: Ken kindly commissioned a story for the June ’16 issue of Juiced.GS on WOzFest from me.] To continue sourcing material for and publishing Juiced.GS takes a special kind of dedication. I burned out after only a few years of co-editing the Club Mac magazine, MACinations – Ken has been Editor-In-Chief of Juiced.GS since 2006! And, it seems, he has no intention of stopping – what an effort!

Secondly, Jeremy, an attendee of WOzFest /// posted his gallery of photos from the event on the WOzFest /// Galleries post I finally got around to putting up. Jeremy drove up for WOzFest /// from Canberra, a 6-hour round trip. And Jason and Geoff flew up from Melbourne to attend – it takes a certain kind of dedication (or crazy) to go so far for what is, in effect, a one-night informal gathering of Apple ][ collectors – what an effort!

And lastly (for now), there’s Steve Chamberlin, of Big Mess o’ Wires. I’d been following Steve’s travails around sourcing/reproducing DB19 connectors for his most excellent Floppy Emu disk drive emulator for many retro-Apple computers. It turns out, Steve has bitten the bullet and organised manufacture of 10,000 (yes, 10,000!) DB19 connectors to supply not just his own needs, but (as a group purchase) the needs of other retro-enthusiasts, including Atari and NeXT enthusiasts.

Steve had already gone above and beyond in extending his Floppy Emu beyond its original scope of being an early Macintosh floppy drive emulator. It now emulates pretty well any Apple drive designed to use the DB19 connector, including SmartPort drives, the Macintosh (non-SCSI) HD20, Apple ][ drives and Lisa drives. Steve could have quite rightly rested on his laurels and said, “No more DB19? No more Floppy Emus!”. Instead, he took the bull by the horns and solved his own supply issue and that of other enthusiasts – what an effort!

With dedication like the above, there are many exciting days ahead for us Apple ][ collectors!

WOzFest /// Galleries

Here are my pictures from WOzFest /// – feel free to post links to your own galleries in the comments!

A bare-bones IIgs.
A bare-bones IIgs.
How tidy!
How tidy!
Now we're cooking’!
Now we’re cooking’!
What could it be? The 4play pre-reveal.
What could it be? The 4play pre-reveal.
The fun continues.
A not-so-bare-bones IIgs.
The 4soniq is revealed.
Jason was a lucky winner on the night.

WOzFest /// Recap

Oh, what a night!

We had 18 attendees, which ended up being a little cramped, but no tempers were frayed (well, none of the attendees’ tempers were frayed, but that’s a different story).

Early attendees were the interstate visitors Geoff and Jason (they were at a bit of a loose end) and über-locals Jon and Andrew.

Others arrived throughout the afternoon and evening, and it wasn’t long before the work table (the fancy name for my table tennis table) was covered with Apple ][’s in various states of déshabillé.

When a //c for a new young enthusiast, Charlie, seemed to have auxiliary memory issues, Jon (thanks!) was tasked (by me) to troubleshoot the problem and figure out how to get a working machine (thanks, Craig, for spares).

When Hans, the author of Caverns of Mordia, arrived with a disk of the game to be imaged, Jason (thanks!) was tasked (by me) to try and image the disk for preservation as he had brought his EDD+ card with him.

When the pizza delivery guy arrived, he was fascinated with what we were doing, and asked to look around. He ended up getting a tour from Christian (thanks!) of the various machines, their histories, etc. and he left with several photos, I suppose to show off to his mates. The costs of the pizza was covered by a mystery donor attendee (thanks!).

At 8pm, the developer of the first surprise new hardware product being announced, Alex Lukacz, videoed in via Skype to give an overview of the 4play digital joystick interface card.

The 4play allows up to four digital joysticks (including the Atari 2600 joystick) to be connected to a slotted Apple ][. Alex had secured support for the card in KABOOM!, allowing the user interface to be navigated via attached joysticks and for gameplay to incorporate connected digital joysticks.

What Alex didn’t know was that Jon Co had approached me about also releasing the 4soniq four channel/surround-sound interface card (co-developed with John Valdezco) on the night. I thought KABOOM! would be a perfect demo program for the 4soniq, so I sent the request to Jesse Blue of Ninjaforce. He took up the challenge (thanks!), and with only 10 days’ notice, was able to bake in support for the 4soniq into KABOOM!.

Once Alex had made his announcement of the card and KABOOM!’s support of it, I then handed over to Jon, who could then announce his card…and KABOOM!’s support of it! Players then got to play the surround-sound and digital joystick enhanced KABOOM! using both cards.

Michael from the  Retro Computing Roundtable brought a bottle of 1987 port which was then served up for attendees – it was a nice touch to have an era-appropriate tipple to go with our retro-computers. Michael also kindly left a magnum of 2002 Redman Cabernet Sauvignon as a thank you for my hosting WOzFest /// and gifted a copy of Steven Weyhrich’s excellent Apple ][ history Sophistication & Simplicity: The Life & Times of the Apple II Computer to Charlie. Thanks, Michael, for your extraordinary generosity.

I had a great time, there was a great vibe, and I think the new products were a hit. I’m not sure yet when the next WOzFest will be, but I’m already looking forward to it.

WOzFest /// Approaches!

One week to go till WOzFest ///!

I’ve been scrabbling to get ready – it’s more work than I expected, partly because the Man Cave was in a worse state than I expected after our renovations, but also because I’m divesting myself of so much of the retro-computing material I’ve collected to focus on my Apple ][ passion, the Apple ][ europlus. What that means is heaps of processing and selection that needs to be done on top of just prepping the Man Cave for not far off 20 visitors. I’m hoping this Anzac Day long weekend will give me the time I need to get things prepared.

It now looks like we’ll have at least two products announced and demonstrated on the night, and that’s not all that’s happening.

Ken Gagne, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Juiced.GS is generously providing us with a door prize! The winner gets to choose one of:

  • A 2016 subscription to Juiced.GS (a US$27 value);
  • A 2017 subscription to Juiced.GS (a US$27 value);
  • Opus ][: The Software (as a disk image download – a US$25 value); or
  • Opus ][: The Source (as a disk image download – a US$25 value).

The aim is to have an Apple ][ select the winner via a random draw – details to be announced. The winner doesn’t have to be present when the prize is drawn, but only attendees on the day will be eligible.

Thanks, Ken, for helping someone get lucky at WOzFest ///!

We’ll have at least two out-of-towners attending, with Geoff and Jason flying up from Melbourne.

Although it’s a work day, I’ve settled on a midday start for those who can make it then. Product announcements and the prize draw won’t happen until after business hours when the bulk of attendees are expected to be here.

But it’s shaping up as a great gathering of Apple ][ aficionados – tinkering, soldering, reconfiguring, cider, pizza, prizes, video hookups, new products! If that sounds like your kind of thing, drop me a line.

WOzFest /// Announcement

In Sydney on 29 April, 2016?

Love Apples, especially of the ][ variety?

Join me (and around 10-15 other retro-enthusiasts) at WOzFest /// – an Apple-lovers’ gathering at Wollstonecraft (on Sydney’s Lower North Shore).

Bring your soldering irons, bring your projects, bring your discards, but most of all bring your enthusiasm for…

…an exciting new Apple ][ hardware product to be announced – and demonstrated – on the night!

It’s not my product, but I’m overjoyed to be providing the venue (and audience [i.e. attendees]) for the announcement. I’m sure quite a few Apple ][ enthusiasts’ buttons will be pressed by it – it’s a real game changer! Beyond that, I can’t say anything about it.

It’s not strictly an Apple ][-only affair – there’s plenty of crossover into early Macs (and sometimes other computer brands) as well. We’ll have a few out-of-towners attending, and apple cider and pizza are the refreshments of choice.

“WOzFest ///? What of WOzFest 1 and ][?”, I hear you say.

WOzFest 1 was a hastily convened after party for OzKFest 2015 to take advantage of the fact Tony Diaz, who had flown over from the States, was in Sydney, along with his huge collection of Apple and Apple-related prototypes and gear. It provided a great impetus to tidy up the man cave and continue the OzKFest spirit.

WOzFest ][, held in July 2015, was a little more organised, and featured an Apple IIgs sound card “sound-off”. It also saw testing of a prototype of the Universal Drive Adaptor for the Floppy Emu. A surprise was the fact that Steve and Karina Howell from the Carte Blanche II project were in attendance.

I have a few projects I haven’t been able to get to because of the renovations – including testing my Uthernet II and testing my two Silentypes now I have the appropriate interface card, so I’ll try and get to that on the night. I’m aware of other attendees’ projects which will be worked on as well.

Drop me a line if you’d like to attend – it’s going to be a great night!

A new ]HOME

Welcome! I’ve decided to try self-hosting this blog – it may not see me posting more often, but I do want to make it more “my” place.

So, this is “The europlus Zone” – I’ll be consolidating things like the files for my Silentype Font under this domain (☑︎ done!), as well as the pictures I’ve placed on an old site I’d previously hung off my business’ domain (☑︎ done!).

I am hoping, now that our renovations are almost finished, to get back into retro goodness – consolidating and documenting my collection, testing my two Silentypes now I have an Apple ][ interface card for them, mucking around with the Uthernet II, writing a few more posts here and, should I be ready, finally entering the RetroChallenge.

Just a quick shout out to David Finnigan of the Mac GUI and A2HQ – without him starting the A2HQ hosting area, I wouldn’t have bothered starting this blog. I’m hardly changing the Apple ][ world, but it is a place for me to share what retro things I have done.

Apple ][europlus forever!

][ Years Later

Wow!

I mean, real life really gets in the way, sometimes.

Moving, unpacking, re-organising, work, painting, nausea, planning renovations, dealing with strata stuff (as an owner and Executive Committee member), enjoying time with the family and just vegging out at times has seen the time just fly.

As I’m sure is not uncommon with personal blogs, my last post was certainly never meant to be “My Last Post”, but it so easily could have been. Even with nine post ideas/drafts in place before my hiatus, it’s taken this long to put fingers to keyboard.

This year, however, has seen my Apple ][ interests re-invigorated, and there’ll be posts (and pictures) about the whys and wherefores of that re-invigoration, hopefully shortly.

The best intentions often go astray, but I have a cunning plan to keep me on the top of my game, ahead of the pack, my head above water, two steps in front, and…umm…I suppose…umm…posting more often.

I could barely post less often, could I⁈

Hiatus? I hate it!

Well, it’s been 5+ months since I last put finger to keyboard and posted here. An unexpected hiatus brought on by bouts of the ’flu and the trials and tribulations of moving.

However, the blog is not forgotten, just temporarily on hold. Issues around the move now settle quicker than they arise, and something secured in our new place is a 41m² (440ft²) storage room, meaning I get to keep my Apple ][ collection at home (let alone at all) with a lot of space left over for workbenches and systems to be permanently set up – there’ll even be room for non-computer stuff!

So it’ll be a veritable retro-renaissance for me once we get through a few more move tasks and I start to get benches set up. That’ll also, hopefully, allow and drive a more regular posting schedule here.

Hope to see you here again soon!