ADTPro 1.3.0 Released

David Schmidt, curator of the ADTPro project, has announced the release of version 1.3.0.  According to the posting in CSA2, ”

Just a quick purge of CVS as I prepare to get going on the new wide protocol in earnest – this should represent the known bugs up to today of the “1-byte protocol” ADT-compatible ADTPro client and server.

There’s no new functionality, just a cleanup of earlier problems caused by yours truly.  There will be maintenance as required of the 1.x line going forward, but all new enhancements will go into the upcoming “wide” (as-yet-unnumbered) version.
1.3.0 – April 6, 2014
Bug fixes:
* Re-enable 19200 baud rate for serial client (removed in 1.2.8) – the Mac LC/Apple IIe card requires this speed
* [Client] Don’t bother turning the drive motor on early (introduced in 1.2.9) with Audio protocol”

First report on the new Uthernet II

Uthernet II

Uthernet II

As promised, the beta Uthernet II card has finally arrived for me to test out and share my feedback. Big thanks to Glenn Jones of A2RetroSystems for including me in his beta testing program and allowing me to give the Apple II world a preview of this exciting new technology!

My first impression after opening the box and removing the bubble wrap is that this is definitely a little card! If you thought the original Uthernet was small, the Uthernet II is around half the size, despite having more components on its face.

In less than 35 lines of 6502 assembly code, I was able to setup and configure the Uthernet II with MAC and IP addresses, and I could ping it from across the network. I think we’re going to see a lot more Internet-enabled programs for the Apple II once the Uthernet II is out.

Read my full report here

The Northern Spy — Don Your Computers

northernspy3

by Rick Sutcliffe
April 2014

Wearable computing technology
has been the “latest” buzz longer than most ideas (indeed longer than some ideas endure from conception to death), generating endless speculation about who will bring out what product in the genre and when. As often the case, the Spy has the inside track. Mind, he does not deal in speculation or rumour. However, he does keep his ear to the ground, his eye on the horizon, his nose to the grindstone, his hand in the industry, and his mind on the probabilities, which for simultaneity may be a literal anatomical improbability and for metaphorical use too much a melange merely to be termed “mixed.”
One new technology recently in the news was a means to read the brain’s diversified visual storage and reconstruct memories of faces–touted as useful in identifying perpetrators of crimes. Sounds quite interesting. Add this to a new manufacturing technique from I.R.C. for integrated circuits that strings out the components as hair-thin threads emanating from a flexible substrate rather than on fixed two-dimensional silicon surfaces, and to the more-than-substantial stories of research into wearables at Apple, and it is not difficult to forecast that the Spy’s long-predicted (since before 1990) PIEA (Personal Intelligence Enhancement Appliance) may soon be a reality.
For those new to the Spy’s work, and in particular those who haven’t read his “Fourth Civilization” text, or his novels in which the PIEA plays a prominent role, the basic premise was that of the Metalibrary (universal hyperlinked storage of everything informational, with devices called MTs (Metalibrary Terminals) that served for as information access, communication, computation, and reader combined as one. The PIEA is the portable version of an MT, with glasses or an implanted eye-screen for video, ear buds or implants for audio, a throat microphone, a belt-slung tablet that a user grips with one or both hands to code text and data for addresses, queries, and texted responses, and incorporating a diamond-coated screen for times when the eye-wear was deemed inadequate. Throw in an optional neural interface and you have the ultimate in what older SF referred to as the “pocket brain”–a true intelligence enhancement appliance to which can be offloaded computational tasks better done in hardware. Isn’t it interesting the extent to which his vision has been achieved by the busy boys and girls beavering away in the basement labs of academia and corporatia over these last twenty-five years?
How does the rest of it come together in the real world as an iPIEA? Not as a mere iWatch–that would be selling the vision far short of the probabilities, let alone the possibilities that Cupertino can dream of. No, the next announced product cooked up by iTim will be the ultimate wearable, consisting of twelve components, though with some twinning, only ten or eleven discretely different ones.
- a pocket or pouch unit containing the basic computer. Various trade names have been bruited about, including iPhone Pro, and/or iPadTouch+, but the Spy’s dark horse favourite is iCon (iconnect). After all, the Spy, being not bound in this case by a non-disclosure agreement, can freely admit to the rumour that Apple has not as yet signed a licensing agreement with Arjay Enterprises for the rights to use the designation iPIEA–for free. Neither will he admit even to negotiations.
- One or two wrist bracelets containing a wireless connection to the above for interface purposes. Think iWatch-enhanced, as these would be flexible metal with a polished surface acting as a touch screen. Each bracelet comes in five or 7.5 centimetre widths and has an effective screen height of up to fifteen centimetres, depending on the circumference of the user’s wrist. Rotating the bracelet on the wrist provides a brand new gesture, as does moving one’s entire arm about in one of several manners. (e.g. hand in the air to ask a question of Siri, hand out sideways to generate a communications handshaking protocol, hand behind the back to request that a web site respect privacy, and so on);
- the aforementioned eyeglasses (eye implants are a later iteration), but done in Ruby “glass”, not sapphire. Interviewed earlier this week by the Spy, iTim commented “I’ve always looked at the world through rose-coloured glasses, so why change now?” A thinly deposited diamond surface as in the Spy’s first novel, The Peace is a bit of a technological stretch as yet;
- the likewise aforementioned throat mike and ear buds, connected wirelessly to the main machine via a very personal LAN;
- Apple will release the package with limited, pre-packaged, and non-upgradable storage in 16, 32, and 64G models only, in a variety of screen sizes from zero to 22cm, with a price point comparable to current iPhones and iPads, and in 4G and Wi-Fi-only models. The base unit will be available separately for a discount, and all current iPhone, iPad, and iPodTouch devices will be dropped from the lineup. As AppleTV will be incorporated, that separate box may be dropped sooner rather than later. Personal proximity to one’s home theatre will be sufficient to communicate input and output over with it.
The Spy has learned that in addition to the base and enhanced configurations detailed above, two significant upgrades will be available–in case the reader’s appetite for this kind of thing is insufficiently whetstoned thus far.
First, purchasers will not be limited to the paltry memory Apple provides, as I.R.C. plans to release a wearable device with up to thousands of memory threads attached that can communicate wirelessly to the main box and serve as auxiliary memory–scaleable to multiple terabytes. These threads may be woven into shirt, socks, or slacks and fitted with a USB port so the whole thing can alternately be plugged into a computer. This ultimate portable storage will be used for the owner’s personal data store/cache, and to protect it from would-be thieves, it will be password protected to the DNA in the user’s sweat. However, apparently some very high-forehead early alpha-testers requested another alternative, so I.R. has promised to release the wearable solid state storage also as a dyed-to-order hairpiece–guaranteed to be a real head-turner.
Second, by purchasing four slave units to the wrist bracelet–a second bracelet without a screen (software switch for lefties to reverse orientation) two likewise for the ankles, and a belt buckle of the same material, the wearer will be able, in combination with the ear buds, to listen to music in seven channel surround sound.
Bass sound? Mens’ and women’s underwear from Joe Boxer and Stanfield in various sizes, with not one, but two wireless bottom-mounted sub-woofers. Skinnier people may need padded bits. Getting the subwoofers wet voids the warrantee. And what is I.R.C? The Irreproducible Results Corporation. Have a good April first.

–The Northern Spy

Opinions expressed here are entirely the author’s own, and no endorsement is implied by any community or organization to which he may be attached. Rick Sutcliffe, (a.k.a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Canada’s Trinity Western University. He has been involved as a member or consultant with the boards of several community and organizations, and participated in developing industry standards at the national and international level. He is a co-author of the Modula-2 programming language R10 dialect. He is a long time technology author and has written two textbooks and nine novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he’s a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972.

Want to discuss this and other Northern Spy columns? Surf on over to ArjayBB.com. Participate and you could win free web hosting from the WebNameHost.net subsidiary of Arjay Web Services. Rick Sutcliffe’s fiction can be purchased in various eBook formats from Fictionwise, and in dead tree form from Amazon’s Booksurge.

URLs for Rick Sutcliffe’s Arjay Enterprises:
The Northern Spy Home Page: http://www.TheNorthernSpy.com
opundo : http://opundo.com
Sheaves Christian Resources : http://sheaves.org
WebNameHost : http://www.WebNameHost.net
WebNameSource : http://www.WebNameSource.net
nameman : http://nameman.net
General URLs for Rick Sutcliffe’s Books:
Author Site: http://www.arjay.ca
Publisher’s Site: http://www.writers-exchange.com/Richard-Sutcliffe.html
The Fourth Civilization–Ethics, Society, and Technology (4th 2003 ed.): http://www.arjay.bc.ca/EthTech/Text/index.html

iOS 7.1 released with visual tweaks and CarPlay

iOS 7.1

Apple iOS 7.1

Apple has released the first update to iOS 7 since last September to the general public after a long beta test period. This update includes fixes for the TouchID fingerprint system, a fix for the home screen crashing issue, as well as the new feature for automobiles: CarPlay. Apple calls CarPlay “a better way to use iPhone while driving.” The system is only available on select new cars for 2014.

iPhone 4 users will enjoy improved responsiveness and performance with this iOS update.

Access the Software update area of your iDevice to update to this new version.

Visit the Apple iOS 7 site for more

A.P.P.L.E. Negotiates Discount for Option8 Joystick Shield

RetroConnector Joystick Shield copy

A.P.P.L.E. has negotiated a discount for A.P.P.L.E. Members who purchase Option8′s Joystick Shield or the Joystick Shield Kit.  These connectors allow users to utilize their original Apple II series joysticks with their current Mac or PC.  Many emulators will also recognize the Joystick Shield.

The discount code is available to A.P.P.L.E. members only through their login ID’s and is good for 10% off on the Joystick Shield and Joystick Shield Kit.  This discount does not apply to any other Option 8 products.  To purchase the Joystick Shield or the Joystick Shield Kit, go to
https://www.tindie.com/stores/option8/

This connector has been confirmed to work with the Virtual Apple II website during a variety of tests. — http://www.virtualapple.org

Apple’s Peter Oppenheimer to Retire

Apple has announced that Peter Oppenheimer, the Senior VP and CFO, will call it a career in September.   His retirement opens up a slow for the VP of Finance to move up.  Luca Maestri will replace Peter beginning in June.

For more on this story, see the announcement at apple.com — http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2014/03/04Apples-Peter-Oppenheimer-to-Retire-at-the-End-of-September.html

The Northern Spy — March (to) Madness

northernspy3

Being insanely proprietary
can be both a strength and/or a weakness. On the negative side of the leger, HP, Xerox, and IBM, by not being more particular about their in-house inventions and IP, all lost opportunities to dominate the personal computing market. Oh, yes, IBM did for a while, but because the software was controlled by Microsoft, and wasn’t exclusive, clones eventually turned their boxes into commodities, and they exited the market rather than compete on a consumer level–much to the Spy’s surprise and chagrin, for he believes it was and remains a mistake. It wasn’t a bad as Canadian Pacific exiting the telecommunications business in favour of Rogers, but of the same nature–abandoning participation in technological future megabucks for a handful of present-day dollars.
Yes, and one can scarcely count the number of technology companies that fell by the wayside due to complacency, failure of vision, lack of innovation, badly timed or marketed products, poor management, or internal disputes. The list is longer than this space, and grows by the year, with Blackberry and Sony in immediate danger, and Microsoft already on the deathwatch list. (PC sales are in steep decline, and Apple sales in equally steep increase–there are boing to be big casualties, and soon.)
Apple may be the ultimate practitioner of secrecy and producer of proprietary technology, and this has served the company well in most instances. The hardware is not easy to clone with any fidelity, the operating system is entirely in house, manufacturing is tightly controlled, vertical integration is the order of the day, and security rivals that laid on for a U.S. Presidential luncheon with the Pope at an Arab-owned restaurant in Jerusalem.m Look for more of the same–ventures into controlling entertainment content, delivery, and even the infrastructure for same, including big announcements this year.
Apple’s few deviations have been costly. The experiment with allowing Macintosh clones had the smell of desperation, but was terminated before it got out of hand. Licensing some IP to Microsoft allowed the latter to create Windows–an MS-DOS extension and cheap imitation knockoff of Apple’s OS–all too similar down to the programming interfaces, but fortunately for Apple, poorly enough executed to allow them to move on to much better, and now produced by a company that seems to have run out of ideas and lost its way. A Steve Jobs in charge of Microsoft would have eaten Apple alive when it was at the bottom of its cycle. His successors will do the same in reverse.
Keeping secrets has helped the marketing effort too. Months of speculation and rumours precede every product announcement, creating a pent up demand that results in a feeding frenzy on the day of introduction, and gooses publicity and subsequent sales to insane heights until the next round starts.
However (and you knew one of those was coming), the very proprietariness and NIH attitude that serves the bottom line in some ways can detract from critical mindspace in others. A case in point is Cupertino’s gradually tightening noose on developers. Yes of course Apple wants to protect users and keep the ecosystem consistent, so requiring all development to be in Objective-C, done in XCode, signed, and approved before going into the Apple store partially makes one kind of sense.
But it does discourage, even choke off, any other kind of development. Apple is gradually making it more difficult to do experimental work, program in other languages, or even do certain kinds of research that require the installation of tools once included by Apple, but now omitted. Up to recent versions of XCode, for instance, an install came complete with various command line tools, not all of which were essential to developing inside the narrow confines of the store system. These have been left out of XCode 5. At first, they could still be installed in the Terminal by typing:
xcode-select –install
but even this no longer works, as Apple has removed the command line tools from its server, and the command fails. At this point, ports or homebrew can still install most of what is needed. For instance, the following sequence installs homebrew, checks the installation, finds versions of gcc, and installs the (currently) most recent gcc.
ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/Homebrew/homebrew/go/install)”
brew doctor
brew update
brew search gcc
brew tap homebrew/versions
brew install gcc49
Yes, Apple still has a C++ in the form of clang, but unless packages that depend on it are re-coded in many places their projects will not compile against clang without numerous errors. In the Spy’s case, he wanted a combination of the Alpha programming editor, the p1 Modula-2 compiler, XCode (and gcc) to work with the RASS library from ETH. All this was to test programs for a new dialect of Modula-2–possible because there is substantial syntax overlap. Each of these four products is under active development, but only certain version combinations play correctly together, and Apple’s constant changes to the XCode language environments and the APIs mean that developers require one environment to program within the Apple ecosystem, and others to do anything else.
Now the Spy fully understands that Apple wants things done a certain way for products it approves on its own OS, but for tools that, though Apple no longer needs them, developers may, and they do no harm installed, not installing them by default may make limited sense, but making it hard to obtain them at all just annoys developers. Programming environments are large and slow-moving. People who depend on them ought to be given more consideration and less grief. Developers are your friends, iTim, not your manipulatives.

Wasn’t the Internet supposed to lower barriers,
spread love and kindness,reduce prejudice, blur national boundaries, generally homogenize the human race, and put an end to war?
The Spy never thought so. After all, the nineteenth century goddess of progress in earlier technology was tasked with the same expectations, and eventuated only catastrophic failure. So, writing back in the 1980s, he opined that once the Metalibrary was instantiated and we were all brought virtually closer to one another’s penchants, opinions, religions, cultures, ethnicity, and warts, it was at least as likely that dislikes, tensions, and hatreds would be exacerbated. Indeed, he predicted that when the Iron Curtain came down, the ethnic groups in some of the eastern European artificial countries such as Yugoslavia, freed of the restraining Russian fist, would revert to their centuries-old hobby of cutting each others’ throats. That enforced conglomerate broke part in bloody civil war, the old Soviet Union fragmented in Russia’s economic and military exhaustion, Czeckoslovakia split more peacefully, and now it appears to be Ukraine’s turn, for the guns are out once again.
However the divisions that people grow to hate the closer they see them need not be historic, religious, ethnic or linguistic as they are in Europe. They may be political, social, economic, or cultural. Chat room, bulletin board, Twitter, and Facebook debates do not produce consensus–they heighten tensions and sharpen differences more rapidly than ever. Why? Because we no longer live in a civil society, don’t have a common code of ethics, behaviour, speech, or honour, and most people don’t discuss issues. Even our parliamentary houses host debates that are at best mere show–not intended to conciliate or forge consensus ideas, but to rub the noses of the minority in their loss to the majority.
Elsewhere, things are worse, for so-called debate is often mere mud-slinging vituperation, and ad hominem attacks bent on destroying the credibility of opponents without conceding the finest point. Does someone have the temerity to disagree with you, Oh great and grand high-poobah of Sala-ma-sond who can never be wrong about the smallest detail? Why not steal a database of your opponents’ associates, scour web sites for the email addresses of politicians, retail stores, churches, community associations and Internet businesses, then use it and any net forum you can think of to hurl mud, slander, false stories, disrespect, and vile names?
And before you say “Why not? It’s a free country,” stop and think. For how long? Are we in the west creating social, economic, religious, and political divides founded on the same kind of suspicion, ghettoization, vilification, and ultimately hatred that point us to the same fate as Yugoslavia and her imitators?
Sorry to decline participation, but the Spy would rather be out voted on the result of a debate or an election that he engaged politely, civilly, positively, and honourably, than “win” it with what have become the standard uncivil attack methods. Win what? Worse, such “winning” is pyrrhic–really a loss, and if we don’t want Western Europe, the United States, and Canada to follow in the Eastern Europe march of madness, we’ll step back from the rhetoric. It’s too late there (the west has no appetite to intervene, especially given experience in the Middle East and Africa), and we may even be seeing the re-assertion of bully Soviet Union to keep order by force.
Can us turn from our own course before our political, social, moral, and religious hatreds mean it is too late? Maybe. Communication technology, like all its siblings, is neither a goddess nor an end, but a means. The question is to what end? Free speech will only remain free if it is responsible, and no heights of technology can overcome its users’ incivility and penchant for hatred. Let’s turn this thing around. The alternative is playing out before us.

–The Northern Spy

Opinions expressed here are entirely the author’s own, and no endorsement is implied by any community or organization to which he may be attached. Rick Sutcliffe, (a.k.a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Canada’s Trinity Western University. He has been involved as a member or consultant with the boards of several community and organizations, and participated in developing industry standards at the national and international level. He is a co-author of the Modula-2 programming language R10 dialect. He is a long time technology author and has written two textbooks and nine novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he’s a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972.

Want to discuss this and other Northern Spy columns? Surf on over to ArjayBB.com. Participate and you could win free web hosting from the WebNameHost.net subsidiary of Arjay Web Services. Rick Sutcliffe’s fiction can be purchased in various eBook formats from Fictionwise, and in dead tree form from Amazon’s Booksurge.

URLs for Rick Sutcliffe’s Arjay Enterprises:
The Northern Spy Home Page: http://www.TheNorthernSpy.com
opundo : http://opundo.com
Sheaves Christian Resources : http://sheaves.org
WebNameHost : http://www.WebNameHost.net
WebNameSource : http://www.WebNameSource.net
nameman : http://nameman.net
General URLs for Rick Sutcliffe’s Books:
Author Site: http://www.arjay.ca
Publisher’s Site: http://www.writers-exchange.com/Richard-Sutcliffe.html
URLs for items mentioned in this column
p1 Modula-2: http://modula2.awiedemann.de/
ETH RAMSES/RASS project: http://www.sysecol.ethz.ch/RAMSES/RASS.html
AlphaX programming editor: http://alphatcl.sourceforge.net/wiki/pmwiki.php/Software/AlphaX
Modula-2 R10–see the link at: http://www.modula-2.com/

Karelia Buys Purchases Potion Factory

Potion Factory, Publishers of software Mac based hits such as The Hit List and Tangerine has been acquired by the company which make Sandvox, the web production software for the Mac.

Karilia-Potion-Feactory

Silvern Castle Updated to 9.5.1

Silvern Castle was reported to have an update bug in it which was preventing users who had version 9.4 from upgrading to 9.5.   The bug did not affect other users, however, the author has chosen to release and update of the program.  According to his email, ”
This release fixes the issue that prevented running the game after
updating from v9.4 that was introduced in the original v9.5 release.”

The  V9.5.1 release is available at the following websites:
http://webpages.milwpc.com/finkjc/silverncastle/
http://finkjsc.a2hq.com/silverncastle/

Former Editor of Softtalk Magazine to Keynote Kfest

KFest2014

From the Kansasfest Comittee announcement:

“KansasFest 2014, the Apple II convention, is scheduled for July 22 -27 in Kansas City, Missouri.  Margot Comstock, co-founder and editor of the much-loved Softalk magazine, will join us with a keynote presentation.

Comstock and Al Tommervik founded Softalk in 1980 to share the hardware, software, and people behind the Apple II.  At its peak, Softalk had 250,000 readers and uniquely offered broad and deep coverage of everything Apple II related, including programming, game playing, business use, and home use.  Later, Softalk Publishing produced magazines for the emerging Macintosh and IBM markets, ST.Mac and Softalk for the IBM Personal Computer.  Softline, a game magazine begun by Ken William’s OnLine Systems and later renamed to ST.Game, was Softalk Publishing’s second longest-lived magazine.  Softalk Books published several books by the magazine’s columnists and a Mac book by Doug Clapp.

The Apple II magazine ran for four years before industry changes and expenses led management to cease publication.  In that time, Softalk earned many loyal fans, and a group of volunteers is working to archive and share issues.  The Smithsonian Institution recognizes Comstock and Tommervik as pioneers of the microcomputer revolution and Softalk as a chronicle of that revolution.

KansasFest is an annual convention offering Apple II users and retrocomputing enthusiasts the opportunity to engage in beginner and technical sessions, programming contests, exhibition halls, and camaraderie. KansasFest was originally hosted by Resource Central and has been brought to you by the KFest committee since 1995. Any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends are invited to attend this year’s event. Registration details will be announced on the KansasFest Web site in early 2014. For photos, videos, and presentations from past KansasFests, please visit the event’s official Web site at http://www.kansasfest.org/.

CONTACT:

KansasFest 2014
http://www.kansasfest.org/
http://twitter.com/kansasfest/