29/07/2013: OzKFest – Quick Report

Well, I'm back in Melbourne after spending a glorious weekend in Brisbane in the company of other fans of the Apple II. It was loads of fun, not to mention a novel way to talk about one of your passions to others in flesh, instead of just online. The tyranny of distance was conquered!

It was especially great to finally meet Willie Yeo after 20 years of off and on again online correspondence and he brought LOADS of his collection to scan (a big thanks to OzKFest organiser Steve Kazoullis for providing his scanner!). Whatever couldn't be scanned during the bustle of the weekend, Willie was happy for me to take certain items back to Melbourne to scan (the Lost Treasures of Infocom, including documentation from every classic text adventure they created, is going to require a LOT of time to scan. As is the giant sized manual for Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing!). Primarily though, I was able to scan a few more disk labels thanks to Willie's collection, so the list of yet to be scanned disk labels has gotten a little bit smaller.

Something of particular note was something that Willie gave me (because he still had another 14 shrink-wrapped copies of it!) was the newer version of Reader Rabbit (v2.3). Our family bought Reader Rabbit soon after we got our IIGS in 1987, and it's the original IIGS version (v2.0). So to my delight upon trying v2.3 out, it seems to launchable from the Finder and System 6 now. It also includes a hard drive installer application, however, I tried this on my ROM01 IIGS with CFFA3000 and the program said it couldn't find a hard drive. It did the same on Sweet 16 (and the program isn't compatible beyond the main menu unfortunately within this emulator). Not sure what could be causing this (maybe it can't handle the newer lowercase character support introduced in System 5?), but I'll investigate further, as I love nothing more than hard drive (or large volume) installable programs. In the meantime though, I've updated the archive for Reader Rabbit and included the new version in the 2image archive you can download.

Something else I borrowed from Willie has some good stuff in it too – some de-protects and hacks for IIGS games and apps I didn't have previously. I thought it would be a couple disks worth of stuff I already have, but most of these cracks and patches are different from ones previously archived. I've copied them to the Sports and Unreleased Games 32 meg volume, in the 'Game Utils' folder. Included with that was a cute icon for Gnarly Golf, which I've added to this volume. I haven't played with it myself yet, but the most promising item in there is a hard drive installer for the game Questron 2, which even allows you to save games to hard drive, making a save game disk no longer required.

 

5 Displays on a IIGS!

 

Another addition to the site I've added after OzKFest is the hardware diagnostics for the Apple II Video Overlay Card. Both Alex Lukacz and Andrew Roughan brought their VOCs to the event and we tried getting some genlocked video action happening, but to no avail. We believe both of the VOCs on hand are NTSC models, while the video we were trying to pass through was PAL. Regardless, the diagnostics and the New Desk Accessory (NDA) for the IIGS helped troubleshoot the matter. We did however do perhaps what no-one else has done before – attach 8 displays to a single IIGS (although the photo above only reveals 5 working), thanks to the built in RGB and composite outputs, a Second Sight card, a VOC, and a Carte Blanche prototype with HDMI output card. Scans for the Carte Blanche will be appearing soon on this site.

A more comprehensive report will be written for all the weekend's happenings soon by event organiser Steve Kazoullis, but as a brief overview we covered presentations as diverse as virtual machines, the cc65 cross compiler, near field communications, a 16 meg RAM card for the IIe (the ScramWorks!), better scanning techniques (who might have presented that?) as well as making your own SAM speech synthesis card, programming music in Integer BASIC, converting a standard Apple 1 meg IIGS RAM to hold 4 meg, controlling a robot with your II, physical floppy drive emulation and a demo of The Complex III turn based online role playing game for the IIGS, plus more. I got to see how Kim Howe's FTP NDA is progressing and it's coming along beautifully. And it was fun coming face to face with many at KansasFest! Nice to be able to wave to Brian Wiser! :-)