All Apple II roads lead to Boston

April 4th, 2011 12:47 PM
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With the apparent demise of the user group, there are no geographically oriented pockets of Apple II users anymore. But I have the good fortune of living in Central Massachusetts, which has somehow become a destination for many Apple II users over the years.

Juiced.GS associate editor Andy Molloy has regularly made the trip from New York to enjoy the retrocomputing goodness my area has to offer, from Funspot to PAX. The same site where we recently attended PAX also once hosted Steve Weyhrich, who took time out of his professional development in the medical field to share a dinner with me. Even other continents send representatives to Boston, where Australian programmer Peter Watson and I went to the pub that inspired the television sitcom Cheers.

The Watsons in Boston

Carol, Andre, Lynne, Peter, Kahm, and Ken — Apple II users forever!

This weekend alone, I visited with multiple Apple II users. Thomas Compter, who once hosted me and Kelvin Sherlock for a Lord of the Rings marathon, was in town to attend the annual Havoc game convention. His and his wife Jeannie's availability coincided with a local vegan pop-up restaurant's monthly offering. I enjoyed spending an evening with these two KansasFest alumni, talking about everything but the Apple II, from WordPress to to dice towers to living in Germany.

Thomas and Jeannie moved a few years ago from Oklahoma to Vermont and then to Western Massachusetts, but the Panhandle State still has its share of Apple II users. Fewer than 24 hours later, I picked one up from the airport: KansasFest committee member, logo designer, and former HackFest winner Peter Neubauer. Peter's diverse Apple II résumé was recently expanded by his interview of Alan Floeter for Juiced.GS, which landed in subscriber mailboxes just last week. In contrast to the previous evening, the Apple II was practically all we talked about. We caught up on reactions to Juiced.GS and plans for KansasFest 2011 before getting on the horn with Mike Maginnis for another few hours.

I consider myself very lucky to live somewhere through which so many esteemed Apple II users pass, and I appreciate them making time to connect with a member of their community. It's like a series of mini-KFests to keep us going until the big one!

Learn assembly programming at A2Central.com

July 1st, 2010 2:03 PM
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With the latest issue of Juiced.GS now in the mail, it's only a matter of time before someone asks if a PDF version is available. The staff and I continue to explore ways to make our magazine's content available online — but for the latest news and reviews, it's hard to justify establishing a presence in a medium where we'd compete with the excellent A2Central.com.

Just as Juiced.GS is primarily a feature-driven publication with a smattering of news, A2Central.com, run by Sean Fahey, focuses on daily news updates with the occasional longer piece. In the latter category, its most recent offering is a series by site founder Eric Shepherd:

Over the coming weeks (or maybe months or even years), I'll be posting a series of articles introducing you to the glorious, glamorous world of assembly language programming for the 6502 series of microprocessors. While, sure, there are plenty of other languages out there, and in this day and age, assembly is something of a line of last resort among "modern" computer programmers, on the Apple II, assembly remains the optimal way to build software for the best possible performance.

Sheppy, who is the former publisher of Juiced.GS and still a regular columnist for that print publication, enjoys several advantages by writing the above series for A2Central.com. He can write at his own pace instead of a quarterly one, and at any length he likes instead of trying to fill a page. He can also make his content as accessible or esoteric as he wants, whereas Juiced.GS, which publishes several programming-related tutorials, is nonetheless more often aimed at the consumer.

The only downside to Sheppy's series is that it's published in a chronological blog format powered by WordPress. As such, as more news is reported, his posts will scroll off the homepage, with no tags or links from new installments to prior ones. One can choose to filter content by programming, but then you'll also be presented with news about new Apple II utilities.

I expressed this concern to site administrator Tony Diaz, and he quickly implemented my suggested solution: filtering by author. It's now easy to access an archive of all content written by Sheppy in reverse chronological order. Just scroll back to the series' start on June 18th, 2010, and you can find all his entries in this tutorial. Thanks, Tony!

The impact of A2Central.com's newest feature is measurable, as it's already inspired former HackFest winner Peter Neubauer to offer his own complementary article. Just as he wrote that winning entry in Macrosoft, Peter's tutorial shows how to write HELLO WORLD using the Mindcraft Assembler.

You can meet Peter, Tony, and Sean at this month's KansasFest, or read about the event at A2Central.com, courtesy the live reporting of Sean, Andy Molloy, and Mike Maginnis.