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.

 

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”!

WOzFest 8-bit Announcement

I’m very happy to finally announce the date for the next WOzFest, WOzFest 8-bit – Saturday 18 November 2017, starting around midday Sydney time (UTC+11:00).

The theme for WOzFest Slot 7: Your Card was the Apple IIgs, Apple’s only non-8-bit Apple ][. It therefore seemed appropriate to set the theme for WOzFest 8-bit to all the other Apple ][s (which were 8-bit)…and the Apple-1, Apple /// and Apple ///+.

On the Apple ][ front, this runs the gamut of the original Apple ][, the ][+, the //e, the //c,  //c+, and the IIe LC PDS card – and variants such as the euromod, the europlus (of course!), the j-plus, etc. And that’s without even starting on the numerous clones!

I have a couple of great Skype calls teed up to discuss this seminal time of Apple’s history – so many iconic models and such a phenomenal growth time for the company.

Attendees are welcome to bring their favourite 8-bit computer(s!) – I’ll even allow ring-ins if you have a non-Apple 8-bit you’d like to bring along. Projects are more than welcome to be brought along, of course – whether it be repairs, imaging, upgrades…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 S7,D2 Announcement – and a Bonus Sydney Gathering!

I’ll try and be a little more timely in my Oz KFest 2017 reminisces than I was with my WOzFest Slot 7: Your Card Recap, but in the meantime, I have great news: WOzFest S7,D2 is about to be held – details to follow after a short diversion…

As I recounted in Juiced.GS, the first gathering I held, before it was known as WOzFest, was in the afterglow of Oz KFest 2015, as Tony Diaz, who had attended all the way from the US, was in Sydney before flying back.

Seizing an opportunity to again see the items he had brought with him (and he had brought numerous supremely interesting items), and to hear his stories about them, I held a gathering for what I thought would be Sydney-siders who hadn’t been able to make it to Oz KFest.

We set a precedent that first gathering which is a bit of a WOzFest tradition now – there was an interstate attendee, Kim, who had made it all the way from Tasmania. So far, there has only been one WOzFest without an interstate attendee (WOzFest ][), and it is amazing to me that people are prepared to travel so far for what is, at its heart, a small enthusiast’s gathering in a small-population city (from a global perspective).

Well, Tony has again attended an Oz KFest, and again brought a metric shed-load of historical Apple-related items…and will again be in Sydney before heading back to the US – this time for two Saturdays.

So, over the next two Saturdays, 9 and 16 September, we’re having two gatherings in honour of Tony’s presence in Sydney!

And the first one will not even be a WOzFest!

Local enthusiast Adrian has offered space he has available for a short while at Mosman on Sydney’s Lower North Shore for the first gathering – Adrian has a staggeringly large Apple-related retrocomputer collection, and has promised some interesting items to complement Tony’s. Adrian was featured on Episode 81 of RetroMacCast (almost 10 years ago!), and I know he’s made some interesting acquisitions since then.

Start time on the 9th is 14:30 Sydney time, with an expected finish time of 21:00 – contact me for the address if you can make it.

And then, as indicated above, on 16 September we’ll hold WOzFest S7,D2. There are currently no Skype calls planned, and, given its short lead-time and the fact I’m reserving my 8-themed name for later this year, it has a name which reflects its “between 7 and 8” nature (and it ties in nicely with the “Slot 7” name for the most recent “full” WOzFest).

The usual schedule applies – start time is midday Sydney time, if people are still here at dinner time we’ll get some pizza, and we’ll aim to finish by about 21:30.

Holding two events gives Oz KFest non-attendees the maximum flexibility to attend and see Tony and his items – some couldn’t make 9th, and some couldn’t make the 16th, so I’m really pleased that between Adrian and I we’re able to cater to as many enthusiasts as possible.

I hope to see you on one or both of the coming Saturdays!

WOzFest Slot 7: Your Card Recap

Apologies for the delay getting this recap out – real life interferes with more than just my Retrochallenge entries! But given Oz KFest 2017 has started, I thought I’d better get a wriggle on! Photos are in a separate post as usual.

We had a pretty good turnout on the day, with around 12 attendees all up. Most attendees had to leave by about 17:00, so I didn’t end up leaving many attendees alone when I had to get ready for my night out, and those remaining had left before I left home myself.

Melody and April, authors of the Octalyzer, had driven up from Melbourne – they attended KansasFest last year and wanted to capture some of the KFest magic by being here for the Skype hookup to Kansas City. They discussed their work on the Octalyzer with attendees, who were impressed by its features such as 3D rendering of Apple ][ programs, rewind functionality, and online access to disk images.

Speaking of which, the hookup went pretty well with a reasonable number of KFest attendees hanging around in the basement to say “Hi!”. WOzFest regulars Michael and Jeremy were there, and another Aussie, Steve from Brisbane, also participated.

Audio was acceptable overall, but is always the weak link in the hookup – there were a couple of other groups of KFest attendees in the basement along with the Skypers, and I think that may have made the audio a little more challenging for Michael’s laptop to pickup properly.

That said, it’s great to check in with the KFesters and capture just a little bit of what it’s like to attend – Jeremy made that a little easier by providing a couple of 360° 3D pictures which we looked at in Sydney using Jon’s ViewMaster phone-holder. It was amazing to look around and feel like you were in Rockhurst. I’m sure nothing beats the real thing, though!

Craig worked on some custom ROMs for his //c+ which Leslie had burnt for him, and Mark discussed his IIgs port of Asteroids and checked out The Octalyzer.

Andrew worked on a few projects: he troubleshot a non-working Ensoniq chip in one of his IIgs’s; he changed the config of a Toshiba FlashAir SD card (which has built-in WiFi and HTTP POST-based access to contents) with the aim of updating it from an emulated IIgs build environment; he helped David check his //e PSU; and he helped Murray check the operation of his IIgs and IIgs PSU.

Look for an announcement soon on a mini-WOzFest in honour of Tony Diaz’s attendance at another Oz KFest – the gathering I held after Oz KFest 2015 before Tony flew back to the US became the seed that has germinated into WOzFest, so it seems appropriate to have another gathering with him in Sydney before he flies back this year.