Sunday was Tinderbox meetup day. Mark Bernstein gave a master class in using action code stream parsing to identify specific highlights by color within the body of a note, and creating new notes with the highlighted text. In doing so, he also demonstrated how to create a series of test notes, breaking down each step in the process in order to identify where a problem might occur. It was pretty amazing. Here's a post in the forum that links to the video, the chat and the file itself if you're a Tinderbox user or interested in what it can do. I mainly use Tinderbox for output, but lots of people ingest text into Tinderbox for analysis.

In the "pre-show," some of us were chatting about "old software." I mentioned that Tinderbox was perhaps the longest serving application I've ever owned, maybe exceeded only by TypeIt4Me, but I'm not certain about that. Mark checked his records while we were talking and reported that I'd purchased my copy in June 2002, not long after it was released, at the still-introductory price. Consider that Mac OS X Jaguar, 10.2, was only released on August 23rd, 2002. So Tinderbox was a MacOS 9 application back then.

I would have been running it on an iMac G3 "DV" (or "slot-loading"), the second iteration of the "gumdrop" iMacs. I recall I bought that iMac on credit from Sears, of all places. This is before the Apple Stores, when Macs were available in large retail department stores. I'd been a part-time "product rep" at the Navy Exchange at the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base when I was stationed there with the Board of Inspection and Survey. I was a geographic bachelor and it gave me something to do on weekends and a little extra spending money.

I wasn't sure yesterday if I was employed in June 2002, but looking over some old documents, I think I'd just been hired. That might explain why I wasn't deterred by the purchase price of $95 back then. I'd officially retired from the navy on 1 September 2001, and the economy kind of went on pause following 9/11. I wasn't hired until 2002, and I think it was about mid-year. It wasn't long after that when I bought my "dream" Mac, a PowerMac G4 MDD. I wasn't so rich that I could afford the top of the line, but it was still pretty sweet. And noisy. I just sent that Mac to recycling a few months ago. I'd always thought I'd set it up somewhere, but it's huge and our house is small. Hence my interest in "calculators," though enough of them can become problematic as well.

We were also discussing software documentation, and I mentioned to one of the participants that they should check out 4am's write-up of his efforts to defeat the copy protection scheme in a 40 year old piece of Apple II software. Click on the text file link in this Internet Archive entry for Spare Change by Broderbund. It's both entertaining and fascinating.

As regards my effort to get the HP-75D talking to the HP-IL video interface, that went smoothly. Just have to tell the computer to use it. "Display is..." or something, can't remember just now. Kind of like the old "PR#3" on an Apple II, when you wanted to activate the firmware on an 80-column display card in slot 3. The interface has 996 bytes of RAM built-in, and as long as it's plugged in, whatever was in there, stays there. So I was still looking at the HP-71b text when I connected the 75D! So there's a 32-line buffer of 32-characters each, 16 lines displayed on the TV at the time and you can scroll up and down in the buffer. Haven't seen if there's a way to copy any of that text back into memory or not. I suspect not.

Today I'll probably mess around with saving and loading files on the 64K of "mass storage."

Ok, you're all up to date. Carry on with whatever it was you were doing.

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 05:26 Monday, 28 August 2023