WOzFest DB9 Announcement

I’m very happy to announce the date for the next WOzFest, WOzFest DB9 – Saturday 28 April 2018, starting around midday Sydney time (UTC+10:00).

The theme for WOzFest DB9 is “Communications” – serial, networked, wireless, and wired. The name, and therefore theme, were suggested by Michael from The Retro Computing Roundtable podcast – thanks, Michael!

I’m hoping to have some Skype calls teed up to discuss communications issues retrocomputer-related, both back in the day and in the modern age – but given how far in advance I’m announcing this WOzFest, I haven’t gotten to that part of the organising yet…I have some great potential callers in mind, though.

Attendees are welcome to bring their favourite retrocomputer-related communications gear, and we’ll log in to some Internet-connected BBSes on the day. We may even be useful and compare the performance of an Apple //e when using an Uthernet or an Uthernet II in telnet65.

Existing projects, related to the theme or not, are more than welcome to be brought along as well – whether it be repairs, disk imaging, upgrades…whatever you want to work on. Being near the end of Retrochallenge 2018/04, I’ll likely incorporate some of my entry-related work into the day.

As always, it will be held at my place at Wollstonecraft, on Sydney’s Lower North Shore – contact me for the address. Start time is 12:00(ish), with an expected finish time of around 21:30.

No lunch provided, but nibbles, soft drinks and Apple cider will be available (I ask for a small contribution towards snacks), and we’ll all chip in for delivery pizza for dinner whenever we notice we’re hungry.

I hope to see you there!

WOzFest 8-bit Photo Galleries

Below are my photos from the WOzFest 8-bit, including a couple provided by Melody from Paleotronic.

Not really ready for attendees!

Trying to clear some Retrochallenge backlog.

Eight europlus motherboards.

Lasers and Cats don’t normally mix well.

Chatting with Steven Weyrich. [credit: Melody from Paleotronic]

Projects move ever forward. [credit: Melody from Paleotronic]

WOzFest 8-bit Recap

The last WOzFest for 2017 was held in mid-November, later than I intended due to a long recovery from the flu. The theme was 8-bit computers, especially, but not limited to, Apple 8-bits.

We had nine attendees in all, with Melody and April from Paleotronic making it all the way up from country Victoria to attend.

I used the opportunity to do a little bit of extra work on my “europlus Refurbapalooza” – I basically took apart all my europluses, and ordered the base pans by serial number, the motherboards by date code, and the power supplies by serial number.

Then, via this arrangement, each system was composed of these “chronologically aligned” sub-parts. I still have some cleaning and testing to do, as well as the replacement of any missing or damaged feet, and I expect these tasks to form the basis of my RetroChallenge 2018/04 entry.

Murray, who had brought a Hitachi Peach to WOzFest S7,D2, had recently acquired a second one, and he brought both along as alternative 8-bits. More work was done trying to identify components or assess the viability of connecting peripherals. Murray has posted info on the machine and his growing collection, and is even planning on hosting a gathering he’s tentatively named “PeachFest” in the new year – can’t wait!

Craig brought his Laser 3000 and Dick Smith Cat – these machines were quite clearly manufactured in the same factory, with the Dick Smith machine being re-labelled for sale in those stores.

Craig found a specific version of BASIC (v3.0) on one of the machines which other enthusiasts of these clones had been looking for, so he’s going to make sure the ROMs get imaged.

We had a couple of great Skype calls – the first was from Jonathan Zufi of The Shrine of Apple website (which is currently shut down) and author of the book Iconic. Jonathan regaled us with tales about his history with the Apple ][, his collection efforts for the Shrine and Iconic, and various trials and tribulations around publishing and selling the book. As a special treat for attendees, Jonathan gifted attendees with a copy of Iconic, which was exceedingly generous of him.

The book has exquisitely detailed photos of Apple products going all the way back to the Apple-1 – Jonathan said he didn’t want to create a product catalog of Apple devices, so not every device is shown, but I like to think he has showcased all the major elements of Apple design and the machines (and peripherals and packaging) those elements have been used in. It’s well worth getting your hands on if you can.

The second Skype was from another well-known Apple ][ author, Steven Weyrich, of the Apple ][ History website, which Steven has published in book form as Sophistication & Simplicity. Michael from RCR had brought his copy, and it’s a great book full of great stories about the history of Apple and the Apple ][.

We also chatted about how Steven first got into writing the history when he was on GEnie and how it morphed into a website. I’ve put it on my todo list for the new year to buy a copy, and it will make a great addition to the WOzFest Library.

Jon worked on his //c+, Andrew on one of his europluses, and Melody and April gave us an update on everything they’ve been doing at Paleotronic. As always, photos from the event (including a couple from Melody) are available in a separate Photo Galleries post.

There was pizza and cider, of course, and I believe a good time was had by all – as always, I’m very much looking forward to the next WOzFest, which I’m about to announce!

WOzFest S7,D2 Photo Galleries

Below are my photos from the gathering at Adrian’s and WOzFest S7,D2, including a tweeted photo and a link to an attendee’s gallery.

Update: Jeremy’s photos from Adrians gathering have been posted.

Adrian had both familiar and rare items on display the week before WOzFest S7,D2.

Adrian had both familiar and rare items on display the week before WOzFest S7,D2.

All ready on the day.

All ready on the day.

Comparing circuit board component variations (as you do).

Comparing circuit board component variations (as you do).

Proof that autocorrect is trainable.

Proof that autocorrect is trainable.

Not an Apple, but still a fruit – an Hitachi Peach.

Not an Apple, but still a fruit – an Hitachi Peach.

So many bytes free at 40 columns…

So many bytes free at 40 columns…

…80 columns, not so much! I guess the extra characters have to be stored somewhere.

…80 columns, not so much! I guess the extra characters have to be stored somewhere.

A double interface card from the Peach.

A double interface card from the Peach.

Tony has many stories to tell…

Tony has many stories to tell…

…and circuit boards to show…

…and circuit boards to show…

…so many circuit boards…

…so many circuit boards…

…and rareties, like this prototype ADB keyboard with development Apple ][ interface card.

…and rareties, like this prototype ADB keyboard with development Apple ][ interface card.

Before he arrived, Rob tweeted this image of his preparations:

Rob has subsequently posted his images from the day.

 

WOzFest S7,D2 Recap

Sydney put on a glorious spring day for WOzFest S7,D2 attendees recently.

For enthusiasts who had not been able to make it to Oz KFest 2017, it was the last opportunity to catch Tony Diaz before he flew back to the States.

The previous week, Adrian had hosted us at his office and showed off parts of his massive Apple-related retrocomputer collection, and Tony also attended that gathering – there were some enthusiasts who could only make one or the other gathering, so it was good we were able to cater to schedules in that way.

Similar to what later became known as WOzFest-1, Tony showed attendees the rare and interesting items he had brought with him and told the stories about them. Tony’s talks and items are real eye-openers, and if you ever get the chance to catch one of them, I highly recommend it. A sense of them will be gained when the videos from Oz KFest 2017 are released.

Breaking with recent tradition, and in light of the “late notice” nature of this gathering, I didn’t organise any Skype calls for this WOzFest – but I think being able to discuss Apple ][ and retrocomputer topics with Tony in person more than made up for this “shortcoming”.

Two traditions which were fulfilled were: at least one attendee travelled from interstate (Tim from Canberra); and we had pizza for dinner (of course!).

As sometimes happens, some non-Apple retrocomputing technology made an appearance, in this case Murray brought his recently-acquired Hitachi Peach (at least it’s a fruit!), a machine I’d never seen, although I was at least vaguely aware they existed.

It was interesting seeing it in operation, and I found small details intriguing, like it reporting different amounts of free memory depending on whether it was started in 40 or 80 column mode (as more memory had to be dedicated to screen memory to hold the extra characters). For some reason, what I found most fascinating was that it had three separate “?” keys!

The A2Heaven FASTChip //e which had been eagerly played with at Oz KFest also came along and WOzFest attendees who hadn’t seen it were as blown away as it seems everyone is upon seeing it in operation.

A few attendees stayed till after midnight, which was well past my bed time, but it’s nice to be able to provide a venue for such things. As always, photos from the event (and one from Adrian’s) are available in a separate Photo Galleries post.

Because this recap is so delayed, I don’t have to say “I can’t wait for the next WOzFest”, as WOzFest 8-bit has already been held, and I’m publishing its recap at the same time as this one – I’ll see you “there”!