Apple II Raspberry Pi on TV

February 23rd, 2015 12:13 PM
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After appearing on the Retro Computing Roundtable #94, I ordered myself a Raspberry Pi 2. It'll be my first single-board computer since the Replica 1 in 2009 — and frankly, I'm not sure what to do with it.

What I do know is that I want its presence and utility to be as influenced by my Apple II heritage as possible — and that means buying one of Charles Mangin's 3D-printed cases. Demoed at KansasFest 2014 and detailed in Juiced.GS, these nifty, tiny replicas are a marvelous marriage of new and old tech.

Mangin can now add "As seen on TV!" to his marketing copy, courtesy Ivan Drucker. As founder of Apple consulting firm IvanExpert, Drucker is the resident go-to guy when New York City's cable news stations need a sound bite from a knowledgeable, articulate, and fashionable expert. That sometimes means a peek into Drucker's work environment, as happened last summer when we spotted an Apple II sitting on his office desk.

Drucker was in the news again last week for the CBS news story "Stolen iPhone Turns Up In China":

Don't blink or you'll miss it: there's Charles' Pi case!

Ivan Drucker on CBS (Feb 2015)

Meticulously freeze-framed to be as flattering as possible.

It makes me want one all the more. Ivan Drucker and CBS, you're earning your commission!

Raspberry Pi on CBS

(Hat tip to — who else? — Ivan Drucker)

Bringing Warp Six into the 21st century

May 27th, 2013 11:59 PM
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Twenty years ago this past Presidents' Day, I launched a dial-up bulletin board system. The Playground was powered by an Apple IIGS running the Warp Six BBS software by Jim Ferr. As was often the case among the many brands of computers back then, pledging allegiance to a particular piece of hardware or software placed you into its community, connecting you with like-minded individuals. I became a frequent caller of another Warp Six BBS, the Apple Hide-A-Away (AHAW), run in Iowa by Scott Johnson. We traded many tips and tricks on how to make the most of the software. Whereas I stopped tinkering with Warp Six 16 years ago, Scott has been working on-and-off for years to update the software to v3.0, with an updater package currently in beta.

In tandem, Lon Seidman, star of last week's Apple II Bits post, is making Warp Six more accessible than ever. Using a Raspberry Pi — the same computer that was featured on the cover of Juiced.GS — Lon has made it possible to connect to his Warp Six BBS via telnet. Check out his video demonstration, which was featured on episode #1400 of The Giz Wiz:

I'm hopeful that, once Scott and Lon get Warp Six v3.0 stable, they'll be able to connect it with the BBS door game I wrote for an earlier version. Space Ship of Death (SSOD) stands as the most complex piece of programming I ever produced, at a whopping 624 lines of Applesoft BASIC and zero documentation. To see it running again would boost my already massive ego to intolerable heights.

Interested in trying Warp Six yourself? Point your Telnet client to matrixreturns.dyndns.org, port 6401. Just like the original Warp Six software, Lon's BBS accepts only one caller at a time, so for the first time in decades, be prepared to get a busy signal!

Raspberry Pi: The next Apple-1?

March 12th, 2012 10:34 AM
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A computer named after a fruit? Hey, it worked for Apple. So why not Raspberry?

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized computer that, like the original Apple-1, comes without a monitor or keyboard. But unlike any product of the Homebrew Computer Club, this device can compete with computers of today.

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is powered by ARM1176JZFS CPU (part of the ARMv6 architecture) and Videocore 4 GPU. It will do everything from run Python to power a Blu-Ray DVD player through its OS of choice, Linux. Raspberry Pi comes in two flavors, both with 256MB of RAM. $25 gets you the Model A, with one USB port; for an extra $10, you get a second USB port plus an Ethernet jack.

"Inspired by computers like the BBC Micro and the Commodore 64 in the 1980s, the group of engineers set out to build a new programmable machine for a new generation," reports CNN. And just like its predecessors, Raspberry Pi looks to revolutionize computing. According to the foundation's Web site:

Developing countries are interested in the Raspberry Pi as productivity devices in areas that simply can’t afford the power and hardware needed to run a traditional desktop PC; hospitals and museums have contacted us to find out about using the Raspberry Pi to drive display devices. Parents of severely disabled kids have talked to us about monitoring and accessibility applications; and there seem to be a million and one people out there with hot soldering irons who want to make a robot.

Could the Raspberry Pi be the next Apple-1 or even Apple II — a machine that's so affordable, so expandable, and so flexible that it can be whatever anyone with some know-how wants it to be? Or is it more notable for selling out on its Leap Year launch date of Feb 29, 2012, with nothing notable to come of it? It wouldn't be the first product whose potential went unrealized — witness the Apple II's own Carte Blanche card. Or will Raspberry Pi do great things yet be remembered for what it didn't do? One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program accomplished great deeds but was faced with significant criticism. Can Raspberry Pi live up to its hype?

Pi is not the computer for me, but I am eager to see if it becomes the next Arduino, making possible infinite amazing projects.