Australia’s April Retro-Extravaganza

UPDATE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, I unfortunately have to postpone WOzFest 12:00 – the new date is Saturday 25 May 2019, all other details remain the same. Steve in Brisbane has decided to also postpone QFest 12 to the same date. This of course means there won’t be a video hookup to GORF, which is a real shame.

With the announcements of WOzFest 12:00, QFest 12 and GORF in late April, Australia is set to have a great Autumn for retro-enthusiasts, especially those on (or able to get to) the Eastern Seaboard.

I’ve always encouraged other enthusiasts to have gatherings, and frequent WOzFest attendee Murray has had a couple at his place over the last few months, which he has christened Nozfest – the most recent, Nozfest II, was held in mid-January.

We had QFest 11 coinciding with WOzFest 11sec, and were Skype chatting throughout those events, including our Skype call to John Morris, the developer of the Applesauce Floppy Drive Controller.

But GORF is the first multi-day retro-event I’m aware of in Australia since OzKFest 2017, and I’m really excited that it’s being held.

I became aware of GORF as I was finalising the date for WOzFest 12:00 – I had to think long and hard about the timing of WOzFest 12:00 once I was aware of GORF on two fronts: I badly wanted to go to GORF, and if I couldn’t I didn’t want to “interfere” with it.

However, the stars were not quite aligned for me to attend (much as I was sorely tempted) and I had a few reasons to stick to my chosen date – that plus the fact Steve in Brisbane could also accommodate that date for a QFest made it a pretty easy decision to stick to my original plans for 27 April.

What this does, then, is give those who can’t attend GORF but can get to Sydney or Brisbane an opportunity to feel some retro-love that weekend – and I’m hoping to do a three-sided video hookup between WOzFest 12:00, QFest 12 and GORF to further minimise our sense of loss. (If possible, I’d love that to be streamed, but this is the first anyone has heard of it!)

If you can make any of these three events, please do – it’ll be a landmark week for Australian retro-enthusiasts. If you can’t, consider holding one yourself, and maybe we can have many simultaneous retro-gatherings not just in Australia, but in other countries, too…oh come on! I can dream, can’t I?!

QFest 12 Announcement

UPDATE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, I unfortunately have to postpone WOzFest 12:00 – the new date is Saturday 25 May 2019, all other details remain the same. Steve in Brisbane has decided to also postpone QFest 12 to the same date.

From our Northern Apple ][ Compadres comes the following announcement:

I am very happy to announce QFest 12, to be held in Brisbane on Saturday 27 April 2019, concurrent with WOzFest 12:00 and GORF, starting around midday Brisbane time (UTC+10:00).

As with previous QFests, there will be projects to work on, and an Applesauce on hand. We will enjoy video hook-ups with our Apple II brothers and sisters at other events around Australia. All food and drink will be provided.

If you wish to attend, please email me privately and I will provide the address.

I will see you there!

Steven Kazoullis

I’m pleased that there’s another Australian Apple ][ gathering happening on 27 April – it’s going to be quite a weekend for retrocomputer enthusiasts along the Australian Eastern Seaboard, it’s quite unprecedented!

WOzFest 12:00 Announcement

UPDATE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, I unfortunately have to postpone WOzFest 12:00 – the new date is Saturday 25 May 2019, all other details remain the same. Steve in Brisbane has decided to also postpone QFest 12 to the same date.

I’m very happy to announce the date for the next WOzFest, WOzFest 12:00 – Saturday 27 April 2019, starting around midday Sydney time (UTC+10:00).

The primary theme for WOzFest 12:00 is “time” – encompassing, among other things, time-related hardware and software, the ravages of time and what we might (or might not) do about them, and strategies for finding time to have fun with our retrocomputers.

Something new this WOzFest is a theme-related hardware project for attendees – it’ll be a treat to have the first WOzFest-branded product for attendees to work on, and the first product release at a WOzFest for some time. It’s an international collaboration which spans the timezones, and all I can say about the release of this particular product is: it’s about time!

For several reasons, there’ll be a secondary theme this time, and one not unrelated to prior WOzFests – preservation with the Applesauce. Applesauce is John Morris’ phenomenal USB interface for Apple ][ disk drives which takes Apple ][ software preservation to new heights by capturing magnetic flux-level images of disks. My interest in such devices goes back a way.

I’m expecting several Applesauces to be on hand – I’ve ordered a second-run unit for use by WOzFest attendees which arrived a short while ago, Michael from The Retro Computing Roundtable podcast received the upgrade board for his first-run unit and will be bringing it, and new WOzFest attendee Russell is expecting to be on hand with his second-run unit as well.

Attendees are welcome to bring as many disks as possible for imaging – I’m not sure how many we’ll get done, but it’ll be interesting to see how Applesauce works with a variety of disks. I think I have about a thousand which need processing – and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration!

Existing projects, related to the themes or not, are more than welcome to be brought along as well – whether it be repairs, upgrades, show and tells of new acquisitions…whatever you want to work on.

I’m still to organise any Skype calls but I am hoping we’ll be able to organise some sort of video hookup to GORFThe Great Oz Retro-Technology Festival – being held in Melbourne 24-28 April 2019 and organised by frequent WOzFest attendees Melody and April. There’ll definitely be another video hookup, which I hope to share details of shortly.

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, appropriately, 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!

QFest 11 Announcement

From our Northern Apple ][ Compadres comes the following announcement:

Hot on the tail of the announcement of WOzFest 11sec, I am very happy to announce QFest 11, also to be held on Saturday 13 October 2018, starting around midday Brisbane time (UTC+10:00).

An Applesauce unit will be on hand, for us to co-image disks in the Sunshine State! I’m sure there will also be plenty of other projects to keep us occupied, including some cross-Skyping with WOzFest.

The meet will be at my place (inner-Brisbane Southside). Please contact me privately to confirm your attendance for catering purposes, and for the address.

Look forward to seeing you there! It’s been a little while since we’ve had a local Brisbane event.

Steven Kazoullis

It’s great there’s another Australian Apple ][ gathering happening, but I’m absolutely thrilled it’s coinciding with WOzFest 11sec – can’t wait for the Skypes!

Here’s hoping we can co-schedule events in the future, but even if there’s a second stream of Australian Apple ][ gatherings, I’m still chuffed! The more the merrier, I say!

WOzFest 11sec Announcement

I’m very happy to announce the date for the next WOzFest, WOzFest 11sec – Saturday 13 October 2018, starting around midday Sydney time (UTC+11:00).

The theme for WOzFest 11sec is Applesauce, which takes 11 seconds to image unprotected Apple ][ 5¼” disks. Applesauce is John Morris’ phenomenal USB interface for Apple ][ disk drives which takes Apple ][ software preservation to new heights by capturing magnetic flux-level images of disks. My interest in such devices goes back a way.

I’ve organised one Skype call and, for once, I’m going to pre-announce who’ll be at the other end – John Morris has agreed to call in and discuss Applesauce. It’ll be a treat for attendees, and there’ll be at least one Applesauce on hand for attendees to check out thanks to Michael from The Retro Computing Roundtable podcast who secured one of the first run of the device – thanks, Michael!

Attendees are welcome to bring as many disks as possible for imaging – I’m not sure how many we’ll get done, but it’ll be interesting to see how Applesauce works with a variety of disks. I think I have about a thousand which need processing – and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration!

Existing projects, related to the theme or not, are more than welcome to be brought along as well – whether it be repairs, upgrades, show and tells of new acquisitions…whatever you want to work on.

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 X Announcement

Yes, I know I’ve been slack not posting my WOzFest DB9 Recap and Photos Galleries, but I am able (and happy) to announce the date for the next WOzFest, WOzFest X – Saturday 21 July 2018, starting around midday Sydney time (UTC+10:00).

I haven’t set a theme for WOzFest X – however, I have organised the usual Kansas Fest video hookup we try for each year. The Skype call is slated to start at around 14:00 local time (23:00 Friday Kansas City time). Frequent WOzFest and Kansas Fest attendees Melody & April, publishers of Paleotronic Magazine (and authors of the microM8 emulator), will be hosting the Kansas City end of the Skype call.

Attendees are welcome to bring their favourite retrocomputer-related gear – interesting new acquisitions are always popular, as are the projects other attendees are working on.

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 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.