Brian Picchi announces his latest Apple ][ Game

retrofever

Brian Picchi, the author of Lamb Chops, has announced the release of his latest Apple ][ Game.  Retro Fever is the first release of 2014 for the Apple ][ series computer and is Brian's second foray into the realm of Apple ][ action games.  According to the release on Facebook, " For this game I teamed up with programmer and friend Brandon Bogle of retroswitch.com (some of you may know him as the creator of the Flyer Internet Modem for the 8-bit Commodore line). In the game you play as an Apple II enthusiast trying to add to their collection. Objectives include collecting the computers from a recycling center, fixing them in a repair shop, and protecting them from the yellowing effects of the sun! Standing in your way is an evil businessman who only wants the computers to resell on ebay for inflated prices. You'll also need to avoid reckless drivers, overgrown lab rats, and your angry wife who wants you to sell your "junk". This game has it all! "

As was the case with Brian's previous effort, the floppy version in a baggie will be available as well.  He goes on to say "The disk image is 100% free so please try it out (and report any bugs!), but I'm also making a physical version available for purchase that includes the 5.25" disk, a quality manual, and a genuine zip lock baggy"

To download the game or to purchase the physical format of Retro Fever, check out the Tanru Nomad Games website at:  http://tanrunomad.com/official-games/

System requirements for Retro Fever is any Apple II series computer with 64k memory. Both Keyboard and Joystick control are fully  supported.

You can play the game online at the Tanru Nomad Games website or on the Virtual Apple ][ website at:

http://www.virtualapple.org/retrofever.html

ST.MAC Saved from oblivion by Paul Hagstrom

stmac

Paul Hagstrom has posted a number of the ST.MAC magazines on his blog.  Known as Softtalk Mac officially or Saint Mac unofficially, the magazine was the natural progression for the SoftTalk enterprise which ran from 1980 to 1984.  The first issue of ST.MAC was released in February 1984 but was to run only until August of that year due in part to the shut down of the Softtalk enterprise.

Now enjoy a bit of that era as we face the 30 years of Macintosh anniversary with some of ST.Mac:

http://yesterbits.com/2014/01/23/saint-softalk-dot-mac/

1984 will not be like 1984 — The Macintosh 30 Years on

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 4.30.53 PM

Apple, Inc. celebrated the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Macintosh this week.  January 24th, 1984, Steve jobs showed the world his new machine complete with graphical user interface. The machine initially envisioned by The like of Jef Raskin and Steve Jobs had come to a fruition and Apple introduced it in a manner which has never been forgotten.

Few can forget the image of Steve Jobs up on stage two days after the commercial aired during the Superbowl, showing off a machine which was not only revolutionary in thinking but a whole new direction for how people would work.

While many folks jumped up and bought the machine immediately, it would take nearly another two years before the machine would really take off.   The initial machine came with a single 400KB floppy drive and was introduced at a cost of nearly $3000 USD.  A nine inch screen was what was put in the machine and while ample  area for the few programs available at the time, it was not really a very good display for much other than showing off the Mac Write fonts.

Now thirty years on, the Macintosh is one of the worlds most recognizable items with its distinct apple logo and a large 27 inch display on the highest end models.  The 32GB max of the machines now make the paltry 128K of that initial machine seem like a mistake.  But then it has been thirty years and while Moore’s law has not quite kept up with memory amounts, the amount of memory required by today’s machines is stupendous and continues to grow on a nearly yearly basis.  The graphical qualities of the machines have also advanced to the point where real video is easily rendered on the machines.  Yet the best the 128K mac could do was a digital line art drawing.

Yet, that day was revolutionary and was definitely not like 1984.

DownUnder Chat Reappears!

An announcement by chat leader Andrew Roughan says that the DownUnder Chat which occured on local time Friday Evenings in Australia is once again a weekly event.  According to the posting in CSA2, ”

After a hiatus… it is time for a come back.

Calling all Apple II enthusiasts who are awake between 9pm and 11pm Australian Eastern Summer Time on Friday nights to visit the #a2c.chat channel on the A2Central IRC server.
That’s probably likely to be Aussies, Kiwis, people in Asia who aren’t working late, people in Europe who don’t have a day job, and insomniacs from the USA… but everyone is welcome.

I would like to discuss another gathering of like-minded individuals. Prior discussions on this seemed to indicate that the Sydney area was a central point. Validation of this from those who would attend is important before taking the next step to confirm a venue.

Other discussion topics will include where participants are located, local introductions, interests, projects, etc.

There is an informal Australian Apple II enthusiast email list that I maintain, so if you can’t make the chat but would like to be included in this then let me know.

The chat will be hosted on irc.a2central.com, channel #a2c.chat – use your favorite IRC client.

Connection on the bare metal is possible with an Apple IIgs using the Samurai IRC CDA
http://www.ninjaforce.com/html/products.html

If you’d like a web interface to avoid the trouble of installing an IRC client, try this:
https://chat.mibbit.com
or
http://www.reactivemicro.com/chatroom.php

Every Friday 9pm-11pm AEST
Server: irc.A2Central.com
Channel: #a2c.chat

If necessary, check how the time in your location corresponds with Sydney on this site:
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html
We are ahead of most of the world.

I won’t be able to make every week, so the facilitation will be done by regular chat attendee Jonnyboy – Jon Co.

Hope to see you there!

Applewin Emulator Updated to Version 1.24.0

Applewin

The Applewin Apple2 Emulator has been updated to version 1.24.0.  Applewin is currently being maintained by Tom Charlesworth.  According to the posting on CSA2, this update is intended to address a number of issues with the emulator as shown below:

1.24.0 – 11 Jan 2014
——————–
Changes:
. Support cursor keys (in addition to numpad) when using keyboard for joystick emulation
. Support auto-fire for all 3 joystick buttons (via Config->Input)
. [Feature #5668] Added confirmation message box for reboot (F2)
. [Feature #5715] Added -no-printscreen-dlg to suppress the warning if AppleWin fails to capture the PrintScreen key
. Changed save-state file persisted to Registry from filename to pathame
. [Feature #5105] Added About dialog showing GPL (at startup, but only when AppleWin version changes)

Fixes:
. [Bug #19154] ProDOS Order 2IMG crashing
. [Support #103098] Sometimes swapping disk could cause INIT to fail with ERROR #8
. Fixed save-state bug for when 4K BANK1 is dirty (previously it would save the stale data instead)
. [Bug #18723,#19070] Mouse movement for CopyII+9.1 and ProTERM3.1

Debugger:
. Added “disk info” command
. [Bug #18940] Extend BSAVE and BLOAD Command To Memory Banks 0 and 1

The latest update of the Applewin emulator can be downloaded from Berlios at:
http://prdownload.berlios.de/applewin/AppleWin1.24.0.0.zip

Also, according to Tom,  the Win8 full-screen issue has *not* been addressed yet.   As always, problems with the emulator can be reported to the Applewin team by filing a bug report on Berlios or by posting a note on CSA2.  To submit a bug report on Berlios, go to:
https://developer.berlios.de/bugs/?group_id=6117

Silvern Castle RPG v9.5 released

Silvern Castle

Silvern Castle v9.5

The Silvern Castle RPG by Jeff Fink has been updated to version 9.5.  Silvern Castle is the longest running RPG specifically for the Apple II series computers which still recieves regular updates.

Bugs Fixed in v9.5:

  • Thanks to Choi Youngjoo for reporting error #53-4035 (and subsequent #53-143 at title page) due to potential overflow of message time delay variable at Red Dragon Inn.

Stuff Changed in v9.5:

  •  Added rarity byte to each monster.
  • Low-level encounters more likely to be patrols or swarms.
  • MicroDot error codes are now reported in the range 256-511.
  • Casting sleep or dispel now displays the total number of identical monsters affected instead of per group.
  • Characters must have stowage containers to carry more than 100 coins without incurring an encumbrance penalty. You may carry as many containers as you have open slots, but to simplify game management, for those containers to be used to carry coins they must be equipped. Encumbrance is optional – see the preferences.
  • Confirmation shown when Equip All selected.

New Stuff Added in v9.5:

  • Stowage containers: Backpacks (2000 coin capacity) and sacks (500 coins).
  • Camp now has a S)towage option to easily manage encumbrance.
  • New status: DYING! When your hit points reach zero or below you are considered unconscious (DYING). You become DEAD when your hit points fall below a negative number equal to your maximum hit points. A DYING character is unable to act and takes damage like a POISONED character until DEAD.

About Silvern Castle
Silvern Castle is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) for the Apple II in the spirit of the classic Wizardry. Unlike Wizardry, which was written in Pascal  and proclaimed as a game “that simply could not have been written in Basic”; Silvern Castle is almost entirely written in AppleSoft Basic.

Purchased by Softdisk Publishing in 1988, Silvern Castle was never published. After Softdisk discontinued Apple II publishing, I requested and received permission from Softdisk to have the rights to the program revert back to me. Released for the first time as shareware in 1999, I subsequently reclassified it to freeware status later in 2000.

To Download Silvern Castle
Silvern castle is available in several formats complete with the manuals.  You can download everything you need at the Silvern Castle website at:
http://webpages.milwpc.com/finkjc/silverncastle/

The program can also be downloaded from:
http://finkjsc.a2hq.com/silverncastle/

Additional Notes:

Recently I’ve gotten well over 1000 hits at the Silvern Castle website
in just a few days – all due to this one blog post:

http://mark.pilgrim.usesthis.com/

Also, see this blog for a recent user experience with Silvern Castle:

http://freedomalleystudios.com/appleslice/?m=200908

 

iOS 7.1 beta 3 seeded to developers with many fixes

iOS 7 logo

iOS 7.1

MacNN reports that Apple has released a third beta of iOS 7.1 to developers, accounts say. The code was seeded to select testing partners on December 23rd, but at the time, not the general developer community. The beta is said to make a number of adjustments and bugfixes, bringing v7.1 much closer to its finished state. Some fixes deal with listening to audiobooks, creating a new iCloud account during device setup, and errors seen when enabling iCloud Keychain.

Read More

Daniel Kruszyna Releases SixtyFive Assembler

Message from Daniel Kruszyna:

Hello All,  I’ve released a new version of sixtyfive, my forth-style assembler.
http://krue.net/sixtyfive/

Here are the changes:

  • Miscellaneous new 8 bit definitions: prntx and text window direct page locations.
  • Miscellaneous new IIgs bit definitions: ADB modifier and status registers.
  • New standalone script which converts the sector order of floppy images  from the command line.  The existing sector conversion support was  limited to operating on assembler segments.
  • New higher level interface for creating ProDOS images. Includes volume  and subdirectory creation and allocation of directory entries. New example OVERLAY40 which overlays one 40 column text screen over another.
  • New example REVERSEDUET which reverses an Electric Duet file. This program was used to create the back side of Drift.
  • New example REVERSEHGR which reflects a HIRES image about the origin.
  • New example SHOWKEYS which displays keypresses.
  • Refactored the cmp macro to support arbitrary operand widths and to work  with both 8 and 16 bit accumulator modes.
  • Improved NakedOS support to write files from the host filesystem as well as assembler segments.
  • Fixed an issue when using else, in 6502 mode. else, now generates an absolute jump instead of a branch always in this situation. bra, is only available on the 65c02 and 65c816 processors.
  • And probably other minor changes as well.

Thanks and enjoy.

Brutal Deluxe Software introduces OMF Analyzer

Brutal-Deluxe-logo

OMF Analyzer is a command-line tool for Windows to analyze OMF Files we can find on 16 bits Apple IIgs operating systems like Prodos 16 or GS/OS.

Because OMF files are the core of any executable code on the Apple IIgs system (S16, Exe, CDA, NDA, FST, PIF, Library, Tool…), OMF Analyzer will be helpful for anyone wanting to write an Assembler, a Compiler, a Linker or a Disasembler…

Find more @ http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/products/crossdevtools/omfanalyzer/

OMF Analyzer is part of the Brutal Deluxe’s Cross Development Tools Project, a full set of utilities available on Windows (and other) platforms to enable the creation of new Apple IIgs software : 65c816 Assembler, 65c816 Disassembler, 65c816 Simulator, Graphic File Converter, Resource Catcher…

The Northern Spy — Prognostications 2014

northernspy3

A year of consolidation looms
in parts of the high-tech landscape. For instance, television manufacturers will continue to exit this unprofitable sector and find other ways to (try to) make money.
Sony in particular remains problematic. The Spy recently purchased a Sony 1040 receiver as both reviews and specs seemed promising. After all, very few receivers at any price have all of AirPlay, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and BlueTooth, and many no longer offer phono inputs. Sony’s model has them all at a reasonable price point. However, finding stock has been a problem, and this seems more than just an end-of-model-year issue. Yes, after years of being behind the feature curve, Sony surpassed the others in receiver featuritis last year, but was the company too late with too little? And, can they turn their TV business around? Is it worth trying? Time will tell, but there’s not much good news coming out of Sony these days, and it has to be considered an acquisition or failure target.
Mind, he hasn’t got the unit yet, so no review for a while. It takes time for a truck to trek across the frozen north, y’know. Interestingly, a “trek” is a mud-covered truck boasting a gun rack, a large dog of uncertain pedigree, and a driver with an attitude. One is wise not to argue at intersections or shake one’s fist when being passed at a double line.
The RIM/Blackberry soap opera continues to stagger out, but an end seems near. Having seen the company apparently close the door on potential acquisitions, the Spy forecasts that it will in 2014 either transition to a software and services provider, or cease operations altogether.

And speaking of consolidation,
wouldn’t it be nice to be able to edit a Scrivener window with NisusWriter Pro, combining the stellar conceptual organization of the one with the search and replace facilities of the other? Talk about a killer App. Take it further–revision the idea of a window on data being anything but a “view” on data, and the editor of that view be mutable, not its owner.
Try this. You are writing a textbook on programming in Modula-2 release 10 using Scrivener for organizing the views. You mouse to a section of text in body style, and the menu bar changes to that of NisusWriter. You mouse to a section in code style and it changes to BBEdit, allowing you to compile directly from there. You mouse to a chart and the menu bar becomes that of Excel. Each tool does its own thing on the portion of data assigned to it by the style/tool menu, just as each socket goes on the wrench for a different job, each screwdriver bit drives a different screw. We need a paradigm shift here, folks. Things could be so much easier.

Not at all a high-tech
operation (and that’s the main part of the trouble), western postal services have thus far failed to re-invent themselves to match the challenges on the information age. Royal Mail has been sold into the private sector, the U.S Postal Service loses phenomenal amounts of money, and Canada Post has recently announced the cessation of home delivery and more substantial rate increases. The Spy cannot  see any of them surviving many more years unless they can re-invent themselves as something else. How about selling or contracting out mail delivery by Canada Post and USPS to Amazon? The postage stamp is going the way of the hand plough.

Company killers
include, therefore, failure to keep up (RIM/Blackberry), failing to diversify when your products are commoditized (Sony), failure to re-invent the business to match new conditions (Post Office). But perhaps all can be merged under complacency–we’re a mature company and have been making lots of money doing things this way in the past, so let’s just continue in the same groove and we’ll make even more. NOT. Ask Olivetti, Underwood, Burroughs, and CN-CP Telecommunications whether this strategy works.
Today’s salient question for the technological futurist is: has Apple become a mature and complacent company? If not, where are the new and innovative products? If so, how long will it last before a couple of kids in a garage eat their lunch in the rapidly changing marketplace?
The stock market is answering the first question in the emphatic positive. Shares are stable, and about two thirds of their peak value. This fits the profile of a mature company in a stable market with limited growth potential, not that of an up-and-still-coming innovator in a rapidly expanding market. Any self-styled prophet who purports to know the answer to the second is suffering from terminal hubris.
So, the long awaited MacPro finally came out, though Apple fudged its 2013 introduction promise by making the announcement but setting shipping dates starting in February. You’ll read more about it here eventually–but the Spy will not be an early participant this time–too risky. But what of 2014? Is there anything in the wind besides incremental upgrades to Pad/Pod/Phone hardware, to IOS, and to MacOS?
Not obviously. If Cupertino isn’t having second thoughts about getting into the corpse-littered TV business, it ought to. Else, go whole hog and build the full suite of premium audio-visual products, or buy and merge Sony and Panasonic into the money making operation neither will be without consolidation and a management makeover.
Meanwhile, the iWatch concept is being tried by others, but the Spy remains skeptical that such a device offers the potential to be more than a geekish curiosity interface to more capable devices. There is such a thing in this market as being too small to be practical. Mind, if anyone can invent this particular light bulb as its own thing, convince us we need it, and make money from the concept, it is Apple. Show me.
On the third hand, the company shows no indication of getting back into other peripherals such as printers (though they could do a far better job than HP and its imitators of late) and neither is there any solid indication of a new market-defining product rising from behind the smoke of Cupertino obfuscation, notwithstanding the spaceship building and the multitude of prototypes behind sealed doors and lips that will never see the light of day.
What’s left? Services. Apple already sells an integrated cloud. The Spy has noted here before that an Apple data network would be a good fit. So would consulting services. The latter is not without its risks, as it would effectively be a startup, but what of an acquisition? Think the governmental anti-trust folk would object to a merger with IBM? Nah, bad idea, despite the delicious irony it evokes. The cultures are too different. But as the pinstripes have shown, there is good money to be made outside of hardware and software.
One thing for sure–Apple must not give in to the predatory shareholders who buy a position, force the company to make short-sighted moves (such as splitting into several units) whose only purpose is to kite share values, then sell out, leaving an empty shell behind for long-term doldrums. The CPR is only now recovering from such stupidity after being torn apart in just such a fashion decades ago. Let’s at least see one corporate board that knows fiduciary duty goes far beyond the immediate greed of a few shareholders who cannot see past the end of their own wallets.

Very low down tech indeed
populates this section, for the Spy hears unconfirmed reports that the newer toilets that are supposed to save water and money don’t put enough dihydrogen oxide into the mains to keep them from sludging up, so the sewer system must be periodically flushed by the utility itself. True or urban legend, the yarn does illustrate that not everything that’s new is without its little setbacks. Same goes for compact fluorescents, which may save electricity to the homeowner, but whose manufacture and chemical contents are far from green.
Speaking of which, the recent ice storm in the far east (Ontario, Quebec and realms to their south) that has knocked power out for over a week to some, illustrates that the people seeking to ban wood stoves and gas fireplaces for not being sufficiently green ought to give it a second think. Freezing to death isn’t worth the environmental brownie points. The Spy will keep both to supplement his high-tech ultra-efficient furnace and heat pump.

People sometimes wonder
(well, some or two have made a point of asking) why Modula-2 R10 has only zero-based cardinal indexed arrays as built-ins. Answer: because we Wirthians believe that the core language should consist only of the minimal building blocks needed to write programs, with no duplication or unnecessary weight thrown on the compiler (this is anti-Ada.) Everything else is offloaded to libraries. Thus, though you can define ordinal and cardinal non-zero based arrays, you do so by refining a library template, not by using a facility that was only built in because of tradition and a lack of vision. It’s the same reasoning as Wirth used when he removed Pascal’s built-in I/O to libraries for Modula-2 and Oberon.
Look for a compiler real soon now.

And finally two real predictions.
As in 2013, there will be at least one more North American mass killing involving guns, and at least major political scandal in both Canada and the United States, only just perhaps not involving any of Stephen Harper, Rob Ford, or that Obama fellow down in the Excited States–what’s his title there? Until the public becomes jaded and loses interest, exclaiming over others’ failings will be a normal side-effect of living in the Information Age–you can find out anything about anyone anytime. If people are fools enough to think they can keep secrets, or would be embarrassed when (not if) they are revealed, they shouldn’t aspire to be public figures–except entertainers, who thrive on scandal-driven publicity. Indeed, in the latter case, the Spy sometimes thinks the celebs’ own flacks make the stories up and leak them to the tabs.

–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
Modula-2 R10–see the link at: http://www.modula-2.com/