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Retro reviews vs. cutting edge

Juiced.GS often reviews hardware, software, and publications that are relevant to the Apple II community. With products like the GS RAM card, Nibble DVD, and Dungeons & Desktops book, there’s no shortage of new and exciting material for us to scrutinize.

But in focusing exclusively on the new, we may be overlooking the history that surrounds the Apple II. A staff writer came to me with an idea for a review of a piece of hardware that hasn’t been manufactured in about 30 years.  I was initially hesitant to pursue the topic, as the hardware has little modern application and may be hard for readers to find.  But he suggested we should go for the nostalgic, not practical, angle: “I love to read about cool products that I may have missed the first time around and wouldn’t mind having to troll eBay to seek out.”

He may have a point.  What do you think?  Should reviews prefer modern material?  Or would you like to see Juiced.GS cover classic/vintage tech as well?

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Call for interview candidates

When I became editor of Juiced.GS, one goal I set for the magazine was to have one interview in every issue, space permitting. As Jason Scott said in his KansasFest keynote, and as many of us have experienced over the years: it’s people, not computers, that drive the stories, history, and friendships behind this community. I want Juiced.GS to tell those stories, and reader feedback suggests that these features prove to be among the publication’s most popular content.

We already have a great interview lined up for the December 2009 issue, but I invite suggestions of folks you’d like to see profiled in the 2010 volume. Specific nominations are welcome, but I’d also like some general feedback about what kinds of individuals you enjoy reading about. Looking at the past four years of back issues, I think I can break down our past interviewees into three categories. We’ve written about folks such as:

  • Mike Harvey (Nibble) and Bob Bishop (Apple), who were active in the early days of the Apple II and created the hardware, software, and publications that drew us to the machine in the first place;
  • Michael J. Mahon (NadaNet) and Henry Courbis (, who are active in the community today, innovating and developing the tools and utilities we need to keep the Apple II alive in the 21st century; and
  • Jason Scott (BBS: The Documentary) and Seth Sternberger (8 Bit Weapon), who are not necessarily members of our community but who are doing things that are of interest to Apple II users.

Which of these categories do you prefer? What makes for an interesting interview? What does a candidate need to make him or her worth reading about? Please share your suggestions in the comments below; you might just lead us to our next cover story!

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Volume 14, Issue 3 now shipping

Volume 14, Issue 3 (September 2009)

The September 2009 issue of Juiced.GS was mailed this morning to all domestic and international subscribers. This 20-page issue features coverage of not one but two Apple II conventions: KansasFest and Mt. Keira Fest, held the same week in July but a half a world apart. KansasFest also led to two other of this issue’s articles. Peter Neubauer looks at how and why he wrote his HackFest entry, with judge Eric Shepherd offering his insight into what made Peter’s program win the competition; while Ivan Drucker reviews his favorite model of Apple II, which isn’t an Apple II at all.

In the time since our last issue, Juiced.GS announced it would be publishing another four issues in 2010. The September issue usually follows that announcement with a half-page subscription renewal form on the back cover. But who wants to rip that out and mail it in, thus defiling the issue? No need face such a conundrum this year, as the renewal form is now a separate flyer inserted into the issue. This separation also means none of Juiced.GS‘s 20 pages are used up by the subscription form. It’s a winning combo!

As always, every Web site and product mentioned in this issue is linked to from this site’s issue links.

If you have any questions or comments about this issue or Juiced.GS, please email me, or leave a comment below.

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Stamp of approval

A typical issue of Microzine.
A typical issue of Microzine. Image courtesy

I grew up with an Apple II in the classroom, where I regularly enjoyed Scholastic’s Microzine, a sort of edutainment version of Softdisk. One Microzine game (perhaps Math Mall on issue #22) put players in the role of the proprietor of a a galactic pet store, where they needed to fulfill customers’ orders. Shoppers weren’t picky about how many or even what kind of pets they wanted — as long as they collectively had the exactly right number of eyes, feet, tails, and other appendages. It might take three space monkeys, two Martian blowfish, and a cosmic coonhound to accommodate their expectations.

Though I haven’t seen an issue of Microzine in decades, I don’t have to miss this particular game, as I play it every year with the United States Postal Service. With each postage rate increase, I have to determine what stamps to buy to mail an issue of Juiced.GS. For example, it costs $2.92 to send an issue to Australia, but there’s no single stamp with that value. What lesser stamps can I combine to come closest to that number? It can’t be less than $2.92, but the greater the total is, the more cents are lost. It’s an inexact but demanding science.

There are enterprise alternatives to this chore: both and a Pitney Bowes mail meter would let me purchase and apply postage from my own home office. But both require a monthly fee, making them more suitable to companies that mail products regularly. That describes Juiced.GS‘s former publisher, Syndicomm, which markets a variety of Apple II hardware, software, and publications. But for Gamebits, whose sole product is Juiced.GS, paying monthly for something I’d use quarterly is not economical.

And besides, it’s not a great burden to manually address and stamp envelopes four times a year. But it does explain why your issues will be arriving this month featuring lauded authors and wedding cakes. It’s not a hidden message so much as it’s a manifestation of skills I learned on an Apple II.

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A fifteenth volume of Juiced.GS

KANSAS CITY, MO — July 24, 2009 — Juiced.GS, the last remaining print publication dedicated to the Apple II computer, announced today that it would continue publication for a fifteenth volume.

“When Max Jones founded this magazine in 1996, the Apple II line had already been discontinued for three years,” notes current editor-in-chief Ken Gagne.  “Nobody imagined it would still be printed into a third decade — but come 2010, we’ll have four more quarterly issues.”

Juiced.GS was founded to provide focused coverage of the Apple IIGS, the only 16-bit model of the Apple II personal computer that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs originally created in 1977.  As other magazines have ceased publication or moved to online-only formats, Juiced.GS has expanded to encompass all models of the Apple II.

Each issue of Juiced.GS brings a variety of news, reviews, how-tos, and interviews that look at the past, present, and future of the Apple II and its community.  Recent features have included interviews with Bob Bishop, who, with Steve Wozniak, comprised Apple Computer Inc.’s original R&D department; and 8 Bit Weapon, a modern-day “chiptune” band that performs live music using retrocomputers such as the Apple II.  Other features have detailed how to build your own Apple-1, reviews of the CompactFlash for Apple (CFFA) and MicroDrive/Turbo interface cards, a tutorial for programming with TCP/IP, and a gamer’s guide to interactive fiction.

“I am just delighted with [Juiced.GS] — each issue just has a ton of content,” said Carrington Vanston in an episode of 1 MHz, an Apple II podcast. “It’s exciting just to get an Apple II publication in [this day and age].”

Juiced.GS 2010 calendar coverTo commemorate Juiced.GS‘s fifteenth volume, publisher Gamebits has created a 2010 wall calendar that features pictures of Apple II hardware, software, and people seen in past issues of Juiced.GS, but now in full color.  The calendar also marks significant dates in the Apple II’s life, such as the founding of Apple Computer Inc., the release of AppleWorks 1.0, the first broadcast of an Apple II-specific podcast, and the dates for KansasFest 2010.

Subscriptions to Juiced.GS, which is available in hardcopy only, cost $19 for U.S. customers and $26 for international.  The Juiced.GS calendar costs $16, which includes shipping anywhere in the world.  These products as well as free sample issues can be found on Juiced.GS‘s newly redesigned Web site,