WOzFest 13 Sector Announcement

I’m very happy to announce the date for the next WOzFest, WOzFest 13 Sector – Saturday 20 July 2019, starting around midday Sydney time (UTC+10:00).

I haven’t set a theme for WOzFest 13 Sector – 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).

While there is no theme, I will be continuing to work on software 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. Since WOzFest 12:00, I’ve been able to capture 25 original disks which I don’t think have been captured elsewhere.

I’m expecting at least two Applesauces to be on hand, mine and Russell’s, and hopefully Michael from The Retro Computing Roundtable will be able to locate his in the 8bit Bunker. Michael has recently won an auction of 2 dozen Sunburst titles which he’s hoping to prepare flux images of at WOzFest 13. Michael has previously preserved a Sunburst title (Learning to Cope with Pressure) at WOzFest PR#6.

I expect Applesauces to feature reasonably prominently at WOzFests for the foreseeable future. Not only on the strength of how many disks I have to image, but also based on the interest so far expressed by attendees and other members of the community.

Attendees are welcome to bring as many disks as possible for imaging – I’m not sure how many we’ll get done, though, at 3-5 minutes each (including entering metadata). I think I have about a thousand which need processing – and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration!

Existing projects 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, 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 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!

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!

Retrochallenge 2017/10 Entry – europlus Refurbapalooza Ep. 3

Retrochallenge time is almost upon us again, and, after two prior entries helping me move my europlus refurbishment project along, there’s no way I wasn’t going to enter again!

And so, for the third Retrochallenge in a row, I am entering my “continuing stooooooory” of a europlus Refurbapalooza into the mix for Retrochallenge 2017/10.

I’m now at the stage of chronologically aligning the base (with serial number) to power supply to motherboard – my intention is to troubleshoot the motherboards once attached to the bases and connected to the power supplies, but before affixing the top case – it will make swapping chips out that much easier, especially at the front and back of the motherboards.

I’ll also aim to replace any missing/damaged/moved rubber feet on the bases, and hopefully clean the top plastic cases.

My minimal aim is to have at least one extra fully operational unit by the end of October – given the glitches I saw when I quickly ran through all the machines, I think it’ll be a stretch to get them all working, but I will try.

If you’re vacillating about entering, or have never considered entering, I can highly recommend it as a way to help you move your retrocomputing project/s forward.

For anyone who does enter, whether for the first time or as a returning entrant, I wish a heartfelt “Good luck!”

Retrochallenge 2017/04 Recap – europlus Refurbapalooza Edges Along

I was right in my suspicion that I would not get as much done with my europlus refurbishment this time ’round, but I am actually happy with what I got done during April (and just outside the competition deadline) given my “real life” constraints.

During April, I tested the electrolytic capacitors on all seven of my europlus AA11040C power supplies, developed my capacitors “Spec & Check” sheet for that model PSU (which was definitely not on my original April agenda), and during WOzFest PR#6, I replaced the filter capacitor on one of my PSUs and tested it in a europlus.

On 1 May local time (after “tools down”), I found some time towards the end of the day to replace the necessary filter and electrolytic capacitors on the remaining six PSUs, and all but the last one are now working.

That last one is a bit of an oddball compared to the others – it had a large filter cap (which had blown) and resistor soldered directly across the Live and Neutral pins of the power cord socket on the PSU case. It’s also the highest serial number AA11040C I have.

Subsequent discussions on the local Apple ][ enthusiasts mailing list were held regarding this apparent modification – in fact, it looks like the PSU shipped from the factory with this modification. This is consistent with several such examples owned by local enthusiasts, and the cord socket being riveted to the case as with the other PSUs (although rotated 180° compared to my other AA11040Cs).

In the longer, later Apple //e PSUs (the AA11040C was used in the plus, europlus and //e), this larger filter cap and resistor were incorporated into the main circuit board of the PSU, further strengthening the evidence the capacitor and resistor on the socket were a modification made by Apple in-factory.

The PSU should work without them (it’s not working, so will need further investigation), but I will replace the blown filter cap and the resistor (which I removed when I removed the filter cap) once I’ve got the PSU working.

Anyway, it was an instructive April for me, and I’m pleased with having six refurbished PSUs and having created the “Spec & Check” sheet – roll on the next Retrochallenge!

WOzFest PR#6 Galleries

Below are my photos from WOzFest PR#6 and Andrew’s tweeted photos.

Jeremy has shared his photos as well.

Dressed appropriately

Dressed appropriately

The attendee gifts are ready

The attendee gifts are ready

The fun begins

The fun begins

In full swing

In full swing

The gift revealed

The gift revealed

So useful!

So useful!

Andrew’s disk sorting

Andrew’s disk sorting

One europlus PSU repaired

One europlus PSU repaired

Neville’s imaging continues

Neville’s imaging continues

That’s a wrap!

That’s a wrap!

The neglected book scanner

The neglected book scanner

WOzFest PR#6 Recap

I think WOzFest PR#6 was a great success.

As usual, things officially kicked off at midday – Jon (half of Manila Gear and WOzFest regular) was first to arrive just before starting time.

By the time of our first Skype at 13:00, we had about six or seven attendees – the Skype caller was Paul Hagstrom, of Yesterbits and the Retro Computing Roundtable. We had a good chat about his history collecting and preserving retrocomputers, and he had several impressively precarious-looking towers of computers all around him in his office.

With a couple more attendees having arrived, our second Skype at 14:00 was with another American, John Morris, who has come to prominence on the Facebook Apple II Enthusiasts group recently as he develops Applesauce, a USB interface for the Disk ][ 5¼″ floppy disk drive which allows that drive to be connected to modern computers. John recounted his programming history and the motivations behind the Applesauce.

It was exciting to hear about John’s plans for the device, and we got the lowdown on such issues as imaging speed (unprotected disks to .dsk file in under 11s!), his new file format and the rationale for it (bit copy with more information than an EDD file, but at about a quarter of the size!), and his discussions with developers of Apple ][ emulators and solid state disk drive emulators to support the new format. I think Applesauce is going to be in high demand – I know I certainly want one.

At 15:00 we got to Skype with Terry Stewart from New Zealand about his history with retrocomputers and preserving them, especially makes and models particular to the Australasian market. Terry’s site has extensive information for use by retrocomputer enthusiasts, and his videos are always informative.

Jon had organised our next Skype call as a product update – I didn’t have any direct knowledge of the content of the call, but I expected it to be with his Manila Gear partner, John Valdezco, and about their recently released No Slot Clock (NSC). It turned out, however, to be with John Brooks (so many Jo[h]ns!), along with Michael Guidero, and started just before 16:00.

John Brooks released a couple of ProDOS updates last year, the first in 30 years, adding new features and bringing a smile to Apple ][ enthusiasts’ faces around the world. He was able to tell WOzFest PR#6 attendees that he’s adding native support for any NSC (including the DClock)  to ProDOS – it will automatically determine which clock is present – as well as native support for the Ramworks and RamFactor memory expansion cards (which should include the Apple //c RAM expansion card).

Other exciting news is that John is working on Bitsy-Rip, which, as described by John, “will make a digital image of 5¼″ disks, including copy-protected and failing disks. Bitsy-Rip uses the built-in IWM (Integrated Woz Machine) chip of the Apple IIgs to make EDD-like ‘complete’ disk images, but with no additional slot cards or hardware required.” WOzFest PR#6 attendees were lucky to get the first public demonstration of Bitsy-Rip at work, and it it feels like we’re entering a golden age of disk preservation between Bitsy-Rip and Applesauce.

Michael Guidero has recently released new ROM versions for the Apple //c and //c+, which had been very favourably received by owners of those machines. Leslie had arrived at WOzFest PR#6 with some EEPROMs burnt with the new version for attending //c owners, so Michael’s update was well-known to them, and they were able to relay their enthusiasm, questions and observations to him directly.

We still had one final Skype call to receive – at 16:30, Jorma Honkanen, a well-known Finnish Apple ][ enthusiast, dialled in to have a chat about his own retrocomputing history and preservation efforts.

Jorma relayed the difficulties he’s had securing hardware and software in Finland, where the Apple ][ was never as prevalent as in other countries like Australia and the U.S. and he told us he’s only been an Apple ][ enthusiasts for a few years – all of which makes the material he has secured and preserved, and his efforts, all the more impressive!

My thanks go out to all the Skype callers, who took time out from their Friday nights or Saturdays to chat with a bunch of Apple ][ enthusiasts in Sydney.

That brought to a close the “organised” parts of WOzFest PR#6, and people returned to the projects they’d started, or started working through the projects they’d brought. We also snuck in a couple of pizzas a little later than usual as my wife had catered finger food snacks throughout the afternoon – the snacks were very enthusiastically received.

Michael from the RCR podcast received a sheet feed scanner brought up by Jeremy, who drove up from Canberra again (what a trooper!). They then proceeded to work together to preserve a couple of software packages and associated documentation.

One of those was Learning To Cope With Pressure by Sunburst Communications. The other title was Sandy’s Word Processor, which was an Australian Apple ][ title. Thanks Michael and Jeremy for your ongoing preservation efforts!

Andrew worked on testing the capacitors in a Mac LC 630 PSU, and also sorted through a whole heap of 3½″ and 5¼″ floppy disks. On the manual labour front, he cut down plastic shells for the two ends of a IIgs VGA adaptor cable he’s been working on.

Andrew also told attendees about the release of AFPBridge, by Stephen Heumann. AFPBridge, to quote its own info pages, “is a tool that allows an Apple IIgs to connect to an AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) file server over TCP/IP. AFPBridge works by using the existing AppleShare FST, but redirecting its network traffic over TCP/IP rather than AppleTalk.” This will greatly simplify file server access for IIgs users with an Ethernet card in their machine.

Craig worked on a few things throughout the day. Firstly, he, Leslie and David installed the new //c and //c+ ROMs Leslie had brought. The testing of them included installing an A2Heaven Apple IIc RamExpress II expansion card – the goal was to use this card as a battery-backed up RAM disk with the new ROMs.

After a bit of work, David worked out the RAM card needed to be zeroed out using the new ROM’s tools before the RAM disk was then formatted by Copy II+. This then allowed the //c and //c+ to have a super-fast booting (2s), battery backed up 1MB RAM-based ProDOS disk.

Craig was also keen on getting a G4 Mac mini I’d passed on to to him tested, his goal being to get it booting into Mac OS 9. I think an iBook G4 I had also passed on to him provided a proof-of-concept boot via Firewire Target Disk Mode.

Jon worked on testing a pre-release copy John Brooks’ forthcoming ProDOS update with the Manila Gear NSC – this NSC will not only work with the Apple //e, but also the original Apple ][ and Apple ][ plus (and europlus, of course – my only currently operational europlus was used for testing this NSC) and the Apple //c and Apple //c+.

Leslie installed the new //c and //c+ ROMs he had brought, and helped out with advice and help on other projects as well.

Tim had brought an interesting collection of Apple ][ expansion cards with him from Canberra – I’m constantly amazed and thrilled that attendees would travel so far. David also made the trip down from the Blue Mountains via public transport.

Neville, who had provided the impetus to Hans Coster to re-release Caverns of Mordia, also attended – Neville had just that morning written about finding Caverns of Mordia, reaching out to Hans, and the resulting re-release of the software at WOzFest 5¼″ – it’s well worth the read for fans of preservation, digital archeology, and text adventure games.

Neville’s project was to check on his IIgs and associated equipment, which hadn’t been powered on for some 20-odd years. The IIgs powered up first go, but the monitor wasn’t faring so well. He was able to use another monitor to boot up, which allowed him to check his “Cutting Edge” brand 100MB SCSI drive.

After a bit of wrangling, Neville was able to image the four partitions on the SCSI drive to disk images via my CFFA3000 card. Each of the three main 32MB partitions took around half an hour to image! I believe there were a small number of disk errors while copying, but he’s since reported to me that the disk images have successfully loaded via the Sweet16 IIgs emulator. Throughout this project with his IIgs he was greatly helped by Jeremy, Leslie, and Jon.

I was able to get rid of some of my excess computers and associated bits: two //e’s, several Mac minis, several laptops, an old Airport Express or two – but I still have more material to shift, so hopefully the disposal doesn’t slow down.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any scanning done with the book scanner, but I have it on extended loan for a month or so, so I’m hoping to get at least a few books scanned and I’ll post-process them later.

I was able to successfully replace the filter cap in one of my europlus PSUs and test it with my known-working motherboard – this as part of my Retrochallenge entry, and more details on that are in my wrap up blog post.

Because the neighbours most likely to be disturbed by noise were away on holiday, we were able to kick on a little later than usual, and the final six or so attendees finished up their projects for the day and headed off at about 23:00.

As usual, I’ve posted the WOzFest PR#6 photos galleries in a separate post.

I know I’ve missed projects and attendees, but I can’t keep track of everything! I know some attendees come to just enjoy the vibe, some to see other attendees’ interesting items, some for the Skypes, and some to work on other people’s projects and share their knowledge and skills. These various motivations for attending are what make WOzFest so much fun to host, and I can’t wait for the next one!

WOzFest PR#6 Approaches

It’s now less than two weeks to WOzFest PR#6 and I’ve barely begun prepping.

The re-organisation of the Man Cave has begun, and I’m hoping to have that much further along before the big day.

I’ve had to pare back my Retrochallenge ambitions as I’ve just had too much real life stuff to find much free time anywhere.

That may also mean I pare back my book scanning ambitions – I still aim to have a book scanner at WOzFest PR#6 (subject to its availability), but I may not get to the post-processing stage, so it might be primarily for basic demonstration purposes.

Despite this, I think attendees are in for a treat with the four Skype sessions I’ve teed up with well-known retrocomputer enthusiasts/preservationists from around the world, and, although I’m not aware of any new product announcements happening on the day, there will be a timely update on a product announced during a previous WOzFest.

The usual schedule applies: start from around midday (Sydney time, UTC+10:00), I’ll pepper the Skype calls and product update throughout the event, dinner (pizza) will likely be around the 18:00-19:00 mark, and a wrap-up by sometime between 21:30 and 22:30 (depending on attendee energy and sound levels).

I hope to see you there – please let me know if you’re planning on attending.

Jason Scott Puts Call Out for Apple ][ Software Collections

Are you, or someone you know, sitting on a horde of unpreserved Apple ][ software?

Jason Scott has put out the call for such collections which might still be “in the wild”.

In his capacity as Software Collections Curator at the Internet Archive, Jason has been instrumental in garnering preserved titles for that site and making them playable, in-browser(!).

The summary in Jason’s post says:

Conditions are very, very good right now for easy, top-quality, final ingestion of original commercial Apple II Software and if you know people sitting on a pile of it or even if you have a small handful of boxes, please get in touch with me to arrange the disks to be imaged.

I don’t really need to add anything to what Jason has already said in that summary, or in the detail Jason adds in his post – if you have (or know of) such a collection, reach out to Jason (or me) to find out how you might be able to preserve it.

Maybe we can get some disk preservation done at WOzFest PR#6 – with newer versions of i’m fEDD up and Passport available (and other products in the pipeline) it might be a good time to redouble our Apple ][ preservation efforts!

Your only other job is to spread the word!