I just received the latest issue ofJuiced.GS and found this stamped on the envelope.
This is 2012. Almost nobody even knows what “magnetic media” is anymore. This stamp could be a foreboding sign:
You’re walking down a dark alley. Rats, scratching for a bite, scurry behind the overflowing dumpsters. Somewhere in the shadows there’s a raspy breathing sound. A windowless padlocked door has an old handwritten sign: ”Magnetic Media” Beneath that, barely visible under rust brown splotches: “Do Not X-Ray | Do Not Bend”. A cold mist has settled on the ground.
KansasFest was a non-stop blast of fun, knowledge, and friends.
I presented a session on solar powering an Apple II. To make room for luxuries like cups and water in my 70 square foot van, I had to put my Apple IIs in storage. Due to a bit of luck, I managed to find an Apple IIc on Craigslist in Salt Lake City. Under a nasty layer of dirt, I found a good condition ROM FF machine with a 9″ monochrome green monitor, ImageWriter printer, assorted disks, and assorted manuals. I solar powered this machine and am currently enjoying retro-computing overlooking the The Grand Teton. The presentation slides are here, and Ken’s video recording will be on the KansasFest website.
My work on robots and the Apple II has been quiet lately, but I’ve been busy. My latest project is a conversion van, which I will live in full-time. The goal is to be self-sufficient, including power and Internet connectivity, anywhere in the U.S. for at least a week. Sure, my house will be small, but my backyard will be huge. To achieve this, I’ve been working on several projects.
Solar Power – The van carries a battery bank, solar array, and optional charging from the alternator. I’ve spent time analyzing my power requirements, understanding how the components connect and work together. I’m installing a battery monitor to measure charge and discharge rates. It’ll be interesting to see how the system performs compared to my predictions.
Two-way Radio – Since I’ll be traveling in places well off the beaten path, I’m installing a ham radio for emergency communication and staying connected. I just got my first amateur radio license, KD0QXJ.
Integrated computer – I’m integrating a small computer into the van to provide backup service for a laptop, wireless access point, firewall and router for a satellite Internet connection, and file server. Also, the computer provides monitoring and data logging for internal temperature sensors, GPS receiver, battery monitor, and solar charge controller. The goal is to monitor all the major systems of the van from a tablet computer to reduce the number of control panels mounted on the walls, consolidate monitoring in one convenient location, and capture historical data.
These projects are coming together very soon, and I’ll share details as I get them.
I gave two presentations at KansasFest 2011, the first an introduction to the Logo programming language and the second a survey of small turtle robots contemporary with the Apple II. Ken Gagne recorded the presentations and has kindly made the videos available.
My HackFest entry is a simple demonstration program written with Terrapin Logo and using the DoubleTalk card. Slide your DoubleTalk into slot 4 and boot your copy of Terrapin Logo (older DOS 3.3 version required). Make sure your caps-lock is on if your computer has one, insert my disk (download it here), and then type:
Here’s what you’ll see. Regrettably, I wasn’t able to capture the speech, so you ought to plug in your real IIe for the original experience.
This is a software book with about half of the book dedicated to describing the 68000 instruction set architecture and the other half describing a text editor project. If you already have the manuals for the 68000, the architecture content is redundant. The text editor, YASE, however, is more interesting. It’s a sizable project with good documentation on both design decisions and 68000-specific implementation. YASE should be a great example for learning 68000 programming and organizing mid-sized code bases. Also, YASE is modular, and you could reuse some components, such as the printf routines.
This a good book, but I don’t find it as timeless as the Wilcox text. If you’re learning 68000 assembly language programming, this is an excellent resource. Otherwise, it’s an interesting piece of history that I wouldn’t mind on my shelf.