RetroChallenge 2021/10 Days 2-3 Report: Progress, of sorts, and a WOzFest!

WOzFest 21-22 Header

I’ll be honest – I didn’t get as much done during WOzFest RC 21/10 as I’d hoped – I did continue to set up WOzFest HQ for working on my projects, and I did get some Applesaucing done, but I hit a few roadblocks…

Firstly, I think one of my disk ][ drives with an Applesauce sync sensor is having issues, which I only fully appreciated after about 10 disks (with quite a few multiple attempts to capture some of them). At four plus minutes per attempt, well…

I put the “track 0 always coming up orange” as attributable to some sort of protection scheme Personal Software applied to the Visi* range of products, but I finally tried an unprotected disk and had similar issues.

Of course, that first unprotected disk I tried had actual track 0 issues when I tried a new drive, but fewer of them, and a second disk I tried worked first time.

And it wouldn’t be a RetroChallenge without further confounding issues – the first Visi* disk I went back to also had real issues on track 0! Gah!

Oh, and of course, in the mix was the drive’s head cable occasionally getting caught and making captures useless (the same data being captured as different tracks). Between all that, it took me a while to get in my groove!

Anyway, I was able to capture several disks, sometimes using multiple captures to create a single working image (a newer [and long desired] feature of the Applesauce software).

I still have a lot more disks to do, but am now feeling at least in a better position than mid-afternoon Saturday.

Today, I’ve just tided up a little and started to set up my second spare iMac so I can use my ScanSnap sheet feed scanner for the pirated software manuals. The scanner uses 32-bit software, so I’ve installed High Sierra and am just migrating the other spare iMac’s High Sierra apps and user so I don’t have to set everything up from scratch.

This will allow me to use either machine for Applesaucing or scanning, or a single machine for both in less busy times.

Google Meet worked OK once I installed and set up the “auto admit” extension – for some reason, even with the invite link, Google doesn’t allow attendees outside of the inviting domain to just enter the meeting. And the first “auto admit” extension I tried didn’t work. And you have to restart Chrome to make the settings stick.

For sharing my projects, I joined from the Applesauce-connected iMac to stream various windows as I captured disks, and from an iPhone above the disk ][ drive to watch the drive do its thing.

My first two attendees were international – RetroChallenge judge Eric and Josh “Get The Damn Batteries Out” Malone, both from the US, joined for a while at the start. We had a few Australians hooking in across the day and evening, and everyone just worked on their own projects or whatever and discussed whatever came to mind.

It was nice having the company throughout the day, and I can’t wait for WOzFest 22 when I’ll hopefully get a few updates on where everyone go to – and with the way our vaccine rollout is finally going, I’ll hopefully be allowed to have 10 attendees as well!

I also responded to a few posts on the Australian Computer Museum Society forums site in relation to our Team ACMS project – a AU$500 grant is up for grab for Australians who register an ACMS affiliation when entering RetroChallenge and post about their entry on the forum. There’s a large Aussie/ACMS contingent this RetroChallenge, which is great to see.

I can’t wait to get some more progress under my belt – the nice thing about the scanning especially is it’s pretty brainless for me to keep plugging away at (even during the week), while my other projects are more hands-on.

Catch up in a few days – will I be able to report useful progress?!