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Open Apple #46 (April 2015): Paul Lutus, ReactiveMicro, and KansasFest Keynote

This month on Open Apple, we sit down with Paul Lutus, author of seminal early Apple II software such as AppleWriter and GraFORTH. We talk about the impacts of software development on society, the value of the individual in the process, and the trials of coding software in the woods.

We talk extreme offsite backups, KansasFest keynotes, telnet BBSing, and the hurricane of awesome that is ReactiveMicro. We reminisce about the original Home Computer Wars (these kids today arguing about their smartphones are so darned cute), and also Boo Atari.

We trek from Bulgaria to Korea to Canada and back again, to bring you the latest in sound cards, solid state storage, and portable Apple IIc action. You won’t want to miss Quinn plugging Phil Plait for some reason. With our story on Atari 8-bits in Poland, this marks the most Atari content ever on Open Apple. It also qualifies us as the 698th currently operating Atari podcast. Boo Atari. See what you get when you poke the bear, people? ][ Infinitum.

More information on everything discussed in this episode after the jump.

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This month on Open Apple, we sit down with Mark Kriegsman, author of Star Blaster, and a modern Apple II hacker. He has ported the awesome FastLED driver library to the Apple II, so you can drive many hundreds of 32-bit RGB LEDs with your Apple II.

Meanwhile, we browbeat people into attending KansasFest, we rationalize our shame at developing on emulators, we talk dead tree easter eggs, we make terrible awesome BASIC & Twitter puns, we talk about post-mortem collecting, and Mike generates hate mail. Just in case you’re not completely over movies about Steve Jobs, we talk about one of those as well. Yawn.

More importantly, help us convince Mark to build a lo-res display from FastLEDs and bring it to KansasFest.

Once again, in case you missed it, the dates for KansasFest 2015 have been announced. July 14-19! Go to http://www.kansasfest.org to register. Then pull up a comfy chair and enjoy this super-sized episode of Open Apple. Apologies for some audio quality issues in this month. Quinn had some equipment difficulties and Mike has been under the weather. Thanks for your patience. Stay tuned until the end of the show for a special treat (not just Mike’s usual cheeky outtake)!

More information on everything discussed in this episode after the jump.


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This month on Open Apple, we sit down with Beagles Bros Randy Brandt, Mark Simonsen Tom Weishaar, and Alan Bird. We share stories of Beagle’s development, poke lots of fun at each other, and check in on where everyone is now.

We spread the love for Oz KFest with Andrew Roughan, and amazingly resist the urge to make any upside-down jokes about Australia. Mike and Quinn are trying to be bigger than northern-hemispherism, and they like to think they’ve grown as people as a result.

We talk brain-imaging, we talk helicopter piloting, and we spread more IIgs love than usual. We search for amazing things, and sometimes we find them. Join us for another great month of Apple II brouhaha.

BREAKING NEWS: Dates for KansasFest 2015 also announced! July 14-19. More at http://www.kansasfest.org

More information on everything discussed in this episode after the jump.

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This month on Open Apple, we sit down with Ben Heck, one of our most-requested interviews. We talk about his Apple I replica, his Apple IIgs laptop, and Adam Sandler for some reason. Meanwhile, Mike and Quinn talk about Apple Porsches, Pinball Construction Set, and Western Design Center. In the comedy department, we get back to our roots (making fun of Wizardry).

There’s potato chips, there’s troll pits, there’s 3D printing, and all kinds of other wandering off topic this month, so be sure to stay tuned for none of that.

We’re looking forward to a great new year with the Apple II, so join us as we kick off what is sure to be an awesome 2015!


More information on everything discussed in this episode after the jump.

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This month on Open Apple, we close out the year with our traditional Year-End Roundtable discussion. We’re joined by Eric ‘Sheppy’ Shepherd, Sarah W., and Carrington Vanston. We talk about alternate universes, our collective love of the IIgs, and Quinn takes cheap shots at Carrington. It’s the holidays, so Commodore users are given a respite. Well, a bit of a respite, anyway. Meanwhile, Sheppy solicits hatemail, Carrington calls shenanigans, and Sarah keeps everyone honest. Count the euphemisms! So many euphemisms!

As usual, we have lots of news to talk about as well. It’s been an amazing year for the Apple II, and we have new games, new hardware, and new video histories to share. I/O Silver is here, John Romero is there, and JSMESS is everywhere.

More information on everything discussed in the show after the jump.

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This month on Open Apple we present an early holiday gift, in the form of an epic three hour episode. We sit down for a great conversation with Apple II legend Randy Brandt, perhaps best known for his work at Beagle Bros. We go deep on Beagle Bros, exploring the making of their quirky, innovative software and the wacky characters that produced it. Never one to rest on his laurels, Randy is now helping to produce a modern reboot of Beagle Bros’ only major game release, I/O Silver. The game will be released very soon as of when you’re reading this, and it runs on all major mobile platforms. Look for it in an Apple App Store or Google Play Store near you.

If that’s not enough, we have a huge pile of news to talk about this month, joined together by the most epic series of segues ever to grace the history of podcasting. We talk Transwarps, we talk Woz, we talk Neuromancer, we talk Wizardry, we talk to our listeners, and we talk smack. That’s just how we roll here on Open Apple. We also spend a lot of time pretending to know anything about Apple II mice.

In addition, we have the unfortunate duty to recognize the passing of some Apple II luminaries- Bob Bishop and Mike Pfaiffer. The Apple II community is great because of a lifetime of hard work by many talented people. Join us as we remember the contributions of two of those people.

Don’t worry, there’s much Apple II stuff to be thankful for in this month of American Thanksgiving. So put down the turkey leg and get caught up on ye olde stripey Apple. The biggest episode of Open Apple ever!


More information on everything mentioned in the show can be found after the jump.

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Now for something completely different. We have a bit of a gap between shows here on Open Apple, due to the timing of some interviews we have lined up. Rather than keep you waiting, we thought we’d try something wacky.

In this “episode” of Open Apple, Quinn and Mike sit down together and watch The Goldbergs. This is a sitcom airing on ABC that is garnering some critical acclaim. In particular, we watched episode 4 in season 2, entitled “Shall We Play a Game?”. This episode features an Apple II+ prominently throughout the show, including terrific shots of games and applications you will definitely recognize. The producers did their homework, and showed the platform genuine love and respect. It’s a very prominent feature of this episode, so we thought it might be fun to talk about it.

The format of this episode is rather like a DVD commentary track. However, we can’t legally include any audio or video of the show in the podcast, so you’ll need to set that up yourself. Queue up the episode of the show on your DVR, Hulu, or whatever other method you care to use, and listen to the podcast while you watch. We’ll tell you when to start playback of the show. We watched a version of the show with no commercials, so be sure and pause the podcast during breaks if you need to. We start watching at the opening line, “Growing up, my mom was many things…”.  Fair warning- the podcast by itself will not make much sense if you aren’t watching along with us!

For best results, we recommend a commercial-free version of the episode. See the show notes after the jump for some options.

We have no idea if this experiment is going to work for anyone, but we like to push the cutting edge of 30yo platforms here on Open Apple. Let us know what you think of this half-show. We probably won’t do it again, unless another TV show happens to spend half its screen time on an Apple II, but you never know. Stay tuned for the “real” November episode of Open Apple coming soon!

More information on The Goldbergs after the jump.

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This month on Open Apple, we talk to Chris Torrence, the new Roger Wagner Volunteer Archivist on behalf of Softalk magazine. Chris is a lifelong Apple II fan, and has recently undertaken the valuable effort of producing a book containing all of Roger Wagner’s Assembly Lines columns. This will include all of the articles included in Roger’s original book (Assembly Lines: The Book) as well as columns never before available in book form. He’s not just republishing the articles, he’s annotating, footnoting, and expanding on them as needed. It’s a terrific service for the community. We’ll dig into that, as well as Chris’ start in computing, and how he got to where he is today. We manage to get through an entire show without taking a cheap shot at Commodore, so you won’t want to miss this. Wait- no we don’t.

We also mark the passing of Lode Runner creator Douglas E. Smith, we talk about printers for some reason, and we talk about more eBay auctions on this show that doesn’t talk about eBay auctions. You won’t want to miss this month’s Weird Gaming, where we run the gamut from incredible educational games that didn’t get their due, to horrifying shareware games that can’t be forgotten quickly enough. We talk AppleSoft source code in Tech, and lots more. So drop your machine two inches, and let’s go!

More information on everything mentioned in the show can be found after the jump.

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