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Striking at the core of the Apple

Pick up any magazine, and by its nature, it’ll have a cover story. It could be anything from a review of a groundbreaking new product to a profile of a famous individual to coverage of a recent event.

Juiced.GS publishes all these kinds of stories and more, but there’s one story that’s uncommon in our pages: the feature. The subjects of feature stories can be as diverse as any cover story, but what distinguishes them are original research, many interviews, and the tying together of several disparate threads into a long story that’s in-depth yet of broad interest.

That’s not something that Juiced.GS has done much of, which is why the cover story of our March issue is so exciting. It takes a topic familiar to all retrocomputing enthusiasts users — text adventures — and examines its evolution not only on the Apple II but on other classic and modern hardware, looking at the triumphs and challenges the genre has faced both thirty years ago and today. Everyone from Eamon Adventurer’s Guild founder Tom Zuchowski to current-day interactive fiction spokesperson Andrew Plotkin spoke to Juiced.GS on this subject, resulting in a comprehensive review of the IF scene.

Juiced.GS has a taxonomy by which stories are filed, such as MusinGS (interviews), Cover ][ Cover (book reviews), and My Home Page (editorial). I scrolled through the Juiced.GS index, trying to find an existing category for this cover story. The closest matches I could find were the unimaginative “Cover story” or, in one instance, the similarly uninspired “Feature”.

As we hope to publish more feature stories, the staff decided to create a new genre of Juiced.GS article: “Apple Core”. These stories are meaty, in-depth pieces that go to the heart of what it means to be an Apple II user with elements to which all Juiced.GS readers can relate. As Apple Cores may require more research than, say, a subjective review or a one-on-one interview, we’ll be limited to publishing one or two Apple Cores a year.

As always, we welcome your feedback on this direction as well as your suggestions for additional topics to pursue under this banner. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the first Apple Core.

… but this story won’t be the first thing you notice about the new issue.

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Structured Applesoft online supplements

Structured Applesoft screenshot

Shortly after Ivan Drucker joined the Juiced.GS staff last fall, he shared with me a concept he was working on: Structured Applesoft. It’s a new way of programming in a familiar language that makes the programs easier to develop, read, and edit, all without requiring new software, routines, or patches.

Structured Applesoft screenshot

Ivan started detailing the concepts of Structured Applesoft in the December 2009 issue and finished in March 2010. The limits of the print edition prevented him from fully outlining all the guidelines he’d devised, though, so we decided to save some of the more esoteric ideas for online, where interested parties could explore them without pushing out more general-interest topics from the print edition.

In the process of crafting this final installment, Ivan found an obscure error with some of the code that was printed in this week’s issue of Juiced.GS. Though a correction will appear in the June issue, we decided to include this update with the other content that was already intended for our Web site.

The correction and two supplements are now available online. You can view the material as a Web page or as a Juiced.GS-style PDF. Ivan has also provided a sample program that demonstrates these Structured Applesoft concepts. Links to these pages have been added to the issue links for Volume 15, Issue 1.

We hope you find these files to be useful elaborations on this approach to BASIC programming. Thanks to Ivan for pursuing this topic so thoroughly!

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Volume 15, Issue 1 now shipping

Volume 15, Issue 1 (March 2010)

Volume 15, Issue 1 coverIt’s nearly the end of the calendar year’s first quarter, which can mean only one thing: another issue of Juiced.GS has shipped to all domestic and international subscribers!

The 24-page March issue features several in-depth articles, including Mike Maginnis’ review of the iDisk card; the first of a four-part tutorial on transferring files to and from an Apple II; the conclusion to Ivan Drucker’s guidelines for programming in Structured Applesoft; and more. There were more engrossing articles than could fit into our usual 20-page format; I hope nobody minds the extra content.

One of this issue’s articles is a collaborative effort by members of the Apple II community who came together to commemorate Joe Kohn, who passed away earlier this year. If you’re a subscriber who can’t wait for your issue, this tribute is being offered as a free PDF download; if you aren’t a subscriber, then I invite you to share these memories of Joe.

There will be additional online content posted soon, as Ivan’s Structured Applesoft article touches upon some complex concepts that will be elaborated upon in bonus material he’s crafting for our Web site. Look for his sample code to be listed in the issue links as soon as it’s ready.

The Juiced.GS staff worked hard and had fun putting together this issue. I regret only that their hard work in helping ensure the issue is as accurate and polished as possible means they won’t have the pleasure of reading it for the first time when it arrives in the mailboxes later this week. The least I can do is buy them a drink at KansasFest — though in the case of associate editor Andy Molloy, I’ll pay that debt sooner than that. With our deadlines behind us, we can focus on having fun on the PAX show floor when we meet up in Boston tomorrow for a weekend of fun and games.

Enjoy the issue! Questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns? Please email us, or leave a comment on the blog!