WOzFest PR#6 Announcement

I’m exceedingly pleased to announce that the next WOzFest, WOzFest PR#6, will be held on Saturday, April 29 2017, starting around midday Sydney time (UTC+10:00).

The theme of the day will be “Preservation”, with a special emphasis on grass-roots preservation efforts.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say all retro-computer enthusiasts are preservationists of one kind or another – software, hardware, documentation, books: you name it, we preserve it!

With that in mind, I’ve lined up three Skype video chats with well-known grass-roots retro-computer preservationists from around the world – it will be great to hear their history, get their thoughts on preservation and just how far we can take these efforts, as well as generally celebrating keeping items available in one form or another for decades to come.

And in honour of the theme, I’m going to borrow the book scanner from Robos & Dinos (a local maker space I’m a member of) to non-destructively scan and (hopefully) post-process a previously unpreserved Apple ][-related book or manual throughout the day. The aim is to upload the resulting PDF on the Internet Archive for all to enjoy.

Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts on other preservation-related projects for the day – I can’t promise we’ll get to them, but they can be food for thought for preservationists around the world.

Attendees, bring you preservation projects to work on, items from your collection for others to admire, your retro-computing stories, and anything else you feel is appropriate.

As always, it will be held at my place at Wollstonecraft, on Sydney’s Lower North Shore – contact me for the address! Start time is 12:00(ish), with an expected finish time of around 21:30-22:30.

No lunch provided, but nibbles, soft drinks and Apple cider will be available (I ask for a small contribution towards snacks), and we’ll all chip in for delivery pizza for dinner whenever we notice we’re hungry.

I hope to see you there!


11 thoughts on “WOzFest PR#6 Announcement”

  1. One area of preservation that I am particularly interested in, which I think falls outside the area that most others are concerned with, is the source code for commercially-released titles. In particular, games – mainly because that’s my primary interest in retro computing.

    It surprises me, though perhaps it shouldn’t, that the source code for so few titles have been even just preserved, let alone released into the public domain. Plenty of sad stories, especially from the early 80’s bedroom coder and small start-up era, that authors have long lost (tossed!) their floppies and/or printouts of source code.

    The next best thing, I suppose, is reverse-engineering, and to that end I have indeed commenced work on a few dozen titles, and even completed some of them! One spin-off from that process is that it facilitates porting to other platforms which, as I see it, is another form of preservation – if the port is completely faithful to the original. And of course retro enthusiasts from other platforms get to enjoy titles they perhaps wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. One example particularly relevant to the Apple II community is Lode Runner, which I’ve not only reverse-engineered and fully commented, but also ported to both 6809 ASM and generic C code!

    [As an aside, not only am I geographically close by, but we have met; in fact I’ve been to your house in the past where you generously donated – from memory – a few Apple II expansion cards, quite possibly a Super Serial and a Disk-II!?!]

    Would love to attend a WOzFest at some point but with two young kids “day passes” are pretty hard to come by – certainly ones good for 10hrs or more! :O Perhaps I could time it around pizza though! 😉

    1. Hi Mark, thanks for your comments, and great to hear from you again – it’s been 10+ years since we last spoke! Time flies, eh?
      There have been some efforts to preserve code (and development notes, diaries, sketches, etc.) in the last few years, and, I think, it’s an area gaining more attention than in the past.
      For example, Apple ][ community member Tony Diaz helped Prince of Persia author Jordan Mechner to preserve the digital development material for that title, and the source code has been uploaded to GitHub.
      That garnered a lot of press, and I think made source code preservation a bit more front and centre to the wider geek community.
      Laine Nooney has done fantastic work in this arena as well, and is perhaps best know for her work preserving historical documents, etc. from Sierra On-Line. Laine was interviewed on Episode 49 of the Open Apple podcast.
      When organising with me the re-release of The Caverns of Mordia, the author, Hans Coster indicated he has much of his original materials, which I’m hoping get preserved.
      And, of course, there are efforts like yours – every bit counts! (#boomtish) It sounds like you’re doing phenomenal work reverse engineering and porting retro titles.
      I’m sure there are other projects and successes I’ve missed out here, links and comments to others welcome!
      Partial attendance at WOzFest is better than no attendance, so feel free to drop in at any time on the day (or at a future one). When last we met, we weren’t living where we are, so the Man Cave has been a phenomenal addition to my retrocomputing collection, and it allows me to host WOzFests.
      By the way, I don’t think you’re on the Apple IIoz – some great discussion goes on there, and it’s where I post pre-announcements of WOzFests, etc. There’s also going to be an Oz Kfest this year on Bribie Island! Sounds like you might have your hands too full for that, though.
      Thanks again for dropping by and giving me info on your preservation efforts!

  2. That’s great to hear that there seems to be some renewed interest in preserving source code (and associated resources)! Hope the ball keeps rolling, and that those owning past and future IP recognise the value of preserving it and (eventually) see that it is released to the public when no longer of significant commercial value.

    Prince Of Persia is pretty high on my to-do list for another port to the Coco3, especially given that the source is readily available! IIRC someone did a C64 port not too long ago as well. Karateka is right up there on my list too. And at some point I’m going to have to attempt a port *back* to the Apple II…

    The Open Apple podcast is one podcast I’m yet to listen to, primarily due to time. Currently I’m working my way through Floppy Days, ANTIC, Trash Talk, The CocoCrew, Player/Missile, Vectrex Radio and I have sampled a few episodes of RCR, Retrobits and 1MHz in the past.

    Would be great to be able to attend Oz Kfest, especially since I have friends living on Bribie Island! But it’s unlikely to happen. Hopefully I will be able to drop into the next WOzFest though!

    Oh and just joined the mailing list too! Thanks!

    1. I know what you mean about time for podcasts – in your playlist, I only (currently) listen to Floppy Days.
      Due to time constraints, I gave up on setting up a TRS-80 system as we were discussing 10 years ago, and have also been paring back my Apple ][ collection to primarily europluses and related gear.
      The extras I’ve taken on are hosting WOzFests and entering Retrochallenges – I find both, although requiring time, actually keep me involved in my retrocomputing hobbies, and WOzFests certainly keep the Man Cave from getting totally out of hand!

  3. I’ll bring along a Chinese Language Applesoft Book, and some loose-leaf manuals if there is a doc feeder on the scanner.

    I’ll see what other potential gems I have languishing in the book shelves at the back of the bunker.

    1. That’d be great, Michael – the more candidate publications for the “special scanning project” the better – other items can be scanned by owners or interested parties.

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