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Happy birthday, Ryan Suenaga

Ryan Suenaga's last birthday party

Six years after Max Jones founded Juiced.GS, a promotion at work limited his energy to commit to the Apple II magazine. Max wanted his publication to continue without him, and he didn’t have to look far for someone to bear the torch. Ryan Suenaga, who had written for all 24 issues Max had edited, became the new editor-in-chief, a position he held for the next four years.

Ryan would’ve turned 50 today. Had he not passed away in 2011, he likely would be pleased and even surprised at how his contributions to the community have resonated (had his humility allowed him to admit such a thing). Juiced.GS and the Apple II community have enjoyed remarkable growth and innovation the past few years.

But we also carry with us the knowledge of how much richer we would be if Ryan were still with us. At the annual convention in Kansas City, a Krispy Kreme night celebrates his memory by raising funds for the @rsuenaga scholarship fund.

Another KansasFest tradition is the Juiced.GS staff photo, in anticipation of gracing our September cover. Anyone who has written for the magazine in the past year is invited to join the regular writers and editors for this special occasion. In 2013, the event was especially poignant when the cast received a special gift. Valentino Valdez had created a Remembering Ryan t-shirt, adapting a photo of Ryan playing basketball to a silhouette of colors evocative of Ryan’s infamous shorts. All Juiced.GS writers were given a shirt, with 100% of the sales benefiting Ryan’s scholarship.

Ryan Suenaga staff photo
Photo by Loren Damewood.

Happy birthday, Ryan. Your friends in the Apple II community and beyond remember you today and always.

Ryan Suenaga's last birthday party
Photo courtesy Ricky Li

(Originally published Jan 21, 2014)

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A lost post from Kane’ohe

Fish NDA for the Apple IIGS

[Editor’s note: Ryan Suenaga submitted this post, titled “Apple IIGS development is alive, well, and living in Kane’ohe” to the Juiced.GS blog on April 20, 2010. As it had no apparent connection to the publication, I suggested he instead publish it on his Apple II software site, where it seemed more relevant. In his usual, obstinate fashion, Ryan rejected that idea without explanation, leaving the post unpublished. The post proved to be a teaser for his Apple IIGS send-only email NDA, codenamed Melissa and officially named Emily II, which was demoed at KansasFest 2010 but never released. I now publish this post so that we might have a bit more of Ryan to remember. –Ken Gagne]

Apple IIGS development is still alive and well if moving slower than it did some years ago. Fortunately, in contrast to the decreasing amount of time many coders have to spend on code, the speed at which technology advances is escalating, and despite the fact that the projects they work on are for a computer frozen in time at 1, 2.8, or 4 MHz, the Apple II series continues to benefit from technological advances.

One of the advances that make Apple II development faster is the increasing speed of computer processors. I can’t speak for my fellow programmers, but I continue to write code for the Apple II on an Apple II, except it’s an emulated Apple II, also known as Sweet16 on my MacBook. Fortunately, the big benefit here is that emulation makes for faster coding because, as always, the newer a computer is, the faster the emulated Apple II is — and computers are faster than ever before. Testing a program, making a change in a single line of code, compiling, retesting, rewriting, recompiling, retesting — a cycle that would take hours in the past — now have compiling times that are reduced to minutes, sometimes seconds.

Another way the Apple II has benefited from advances in technology include the continued maturation of the Internet and the explosion of mobile devices — meaning mobile phones with Internet access. Web-based application programmer interfaces (outlining ways to work with Web sites), combined with the Marinetti TCP/IP stack, helps those of us interested in keeping the Apple IIGS as current as possible to develop new applications. Demand for access on mobile devices helps to keep the use of screen real estate down and the amount of data transferred back and forth to a minimum — both helpful when working with a computer as technologically limited as the Apple IIGS.

All of these things are what lets someone like me work for a couple of weekends on a crazy New Desk Accessory like Fish:

Fish NDA for the Apple IIGS

Yes, all Fish does is let the user check on whether or not Abe Vigoda — “Fish” from Barney Miller — is still alive.

This might be silly (well, no “might” about it), but it helps me test code and concepts for further projects.

So indulge me in this little program. It might be useful to absolutely no one, but the bits of code that it helps me perfect will be part of a future program that might be a little more useful.

And what might that be?

Maybe we’ll find out in July.

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Former Juiced.GS editor Ryan Suenaga passes

Ryan Suenaga
Ryan Suenaga

When Max Jones, founding editor of Juiced.GS, was no longer able to continue publishing the magazine, he thought that’d be the end of his Apple II publication. The entire run would’ve spanned six years and two dozen issues.

His readers and writers wouldn’t hear of it. They rallied to carry the torch, headed by publisher Eric Shepherd and editor Ryan Suenaga, an arrangement that lasted another sixteen issues, shaped the future of Juiced.GS, and allowed it to continue to this day.

Sadly, Juiced.GS must now continue without one of its greatest advocates. Ryan Suenaga, an eclectic athlete, was hiking in his native Hawai’i yesterday when he suffered a fatal fall. He leaves behind a mother, aunt, sister, niece, and many, many friends.

Ryan did not attend KansasFest 2010. The last time I spoke with him was June 16, 2010, when he recorded a podcast with me and Max Jones. All three editors of Juiced.GS reminisced about the magazine’s founding and evolution and their hopes for its future. The podcast was published on July 4, 2010, and now exists as the last episode of the A2Unplugged show ever. A link to it was not previously published here due to the promise of “show notes to follow.” That is now one of many voids left in our community.

Even if you never knew Ryan, you knew his work — within the Apple II community alone, he was a writer, editor, podcaster, programmer, event director, community developer, social media enthusiast, and more. To others, he was a social worker, brother, uncle, caretaker, financial advisor, and athlete. You can get a glimpse of him in this page from Juiced.GS Volume 10, Issue 3 (September 2005).

Our community, our lives, and our world are richer for having had Ryan in it.