Archive for January, 2012

Woz meets Spock

January 9th, 2012 9:58 AM
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Filed under Mainstream coverage, Steve Wozniak;
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No big story here, just a geek encounter that's too cool to go unnoticed: Apple II inventor Steve Wozniak gets grilled by Leonard Nimoy, aka Spock.

This crossover, orchestrated by VentureBeat's Matt Marshall, occurred Thursday, January 5, in San Francisco at DEMO Enterprise, an event hosted by my employer, IDG Enterprise and sponsored by Woz's Fusion-io. It's not clear to me what the science officer of the Federation starship Enterprise was doing there, but given how much closer to Star Trek's 23rd century Apple technology has brought us, it seems a fitting intersection.

(Hat tip to Computerworld)

Organ Trail: Director's cut

January 5th, 2012 11:57 AM
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Filed under Game trail, Software showcase;
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I spent this past Halloween playing and blogging about Organ Trail, The Men Who Wear Many Hats' zombie-themed rendition of the classic Apple II edutainment title, MECC's Oregon Trail. Now that modern update is going the Kickstarter route to get funded for Mac, PC, iOS, and Android ports. Check out the trailer (contains one swear word near the end):

The campaign even comes with its own fake backstory, which includes an unfortunate and gratuitous slam:

Originally developed many years ago as a teaching tool for students, schools across America used the game to prepare children for the impending zombie apocalypse, and dysentery. But what the public doesn't know is that the released version does not follow the program director's original design. Before they tried to have him killed, he stole all the code and it has taken him 40 years to program the game in his own vision. Unfortunately no one uses the Apple-II anymore, so he's putting it on those newfangled phones.

In addition to the ports, the game will also include new features, such as a day/night cycle, the ability to converse with NPC survivors, as well as a new soundtrack.

The project ends after thirty days on Thursday, January 19, at 1:20 PM EST, but by the time I discovered it on Facebook, it already had 91 backers and $4,417 of the requested $3,000.

I've nonetheless pledged $20, though what they'll do with these excess funds, I'm unsure; their promise of "If we reach $5k, we will add an Android and iPad version of the game to the preorder options" seems a sure bet. So I offer this challenge — and incentive: I will multiply my donation 12.5-fold if The Men Who Wear Many Hats offer a reward of an Apple II version of their game. Their fundraising video states that they're making Organ Trail to look like an Apple II game. Why not go the extra step and port it?

8-bit iTunes

January 2nd, 2012 10:42 AM
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Filed under Hacks & mods, Software showcase;
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While putting together last week's post of floppy disk music videos, I came across an odd and obscure video that demonstrates iTunes running on an Apple IIe. It is of course no more real than "Maxster", my Napster client for the Apple IIGS. But it's a professionally shot composition that nonetheless doesn't take itself too seriously, making it a fun and short watch:

In the video's comments, the creator explains some of the steps he took:

Using a special app, the Apple IIe samples the audio and stores it on a floppy disk. Then, it can be played back from the floppy over the Apple's internal speaker. It is a very primitive digital voice recorder using 1980s technology.

The goofy music at the beginning is from a 1957 film called In the Suburbs — this and many more films are available for download at archive.org under Prelinger archive. They are public domain so you can use and edit for YouTube. The clip at the end was actually coming from the IIe on a disc from the 80s — I think it's What's on Your Mind by the Information Society — Leonard Nimoy's voice was sampled saying "Pure Energy" in this song.

The video was uploaded a year ago this month and, at this time, has only 760 views. I should drop the uploader a line and ask him what his goal with the video was and his involvement with the Apple II. Faking a trick like this is one thing, but he obviously has some familiarity with and fondness for the actual hardware, wouldn't you say?