Jason Harper's Home Page
The permanent address of this page is http://pobox.com/~JasonHarper, and the proper addresses of all subpages should begin with this. However, these are just redirections, that point at wherever I have my pages hosted. If you intend to bookmark or publish a link to any of my pages that needs to remain valid for any length of time: please, please make sure that the link starts with pobox. That's the only form that I can make any guarantees about.
First things first: here's the obligatory picture of my cat, Tabitha.
Book to the Future
I've opened up a used book store in Ponca City, OK, specializing in science fiction & fantasy paperbacks. Click here for more info.
This is a multichannel timing device for educational use that I designed and built for my brother-in-law, and may become a commercial product. Details here.
Nixie & Dekatron Clocks
Click here for details.
I've recently been playing with Python, an elegant little object-oriented programming language, as a possible direction to take now that I'm out of the Newton market. Here are some potentially useful things I've come up with:
- reverb.py, a module that provides a wrapper around the standard re module that allows regular expressions to be written in a clearer manner. The name is short for "regular expressions - verbose".
- A Python Quick Reference, in Adobe Acrobat format, designed to be printed on both sides of an 8.5" x 11" page and folded into thirds. Note that this is for Python 1.5.1, and is extremely outdated.
ViewFrame is an object browsing and debugging tool for Apple's Newton® line of handheld computers. It was published for several years by Creative Digital. Now that Steve Jobs has killed the Newton, ViewFrame is no longer commercially viable, and I simply have no real interest in updating it further. For those of you who are still active in Newton programming, I am making ViewFrame available for free on an as-is basis.
- NOTE: The links to Mac-format files below may cause your browser to ask you what to do with the file, since the server I'm using doesn't know the proper MIME types for Mac files. Just tell your browser to save the files to disk (or option-click the link to force it to do so), then drag the downloaded files to Stuffit Expander to unpack them.
- ViewFrame 1.2 was the most recent commercial version. It works on every Newton device, however it leaves some things to be desired on Newton 2.1 devices (such as keyboard equivalents and support for grayscale icons). Download it as VF12.sit.hqx (1001k, Mac format) or VF12.zip (726k, PC format).
- The documentation included in the ViewFrame 1.2 archives above is in Acrobat .PDF format. Get Acrobat Reader if you don't have it already.
- ViewFrame 1.3 was an upgrade that was in beta testing at the time of Newton's discontinuation. It was to feature better Newton 2.1 support, a single-step debugger for 2.x devices, and various other enhancements. The changes are in various stages of completeness: in particular, the single-stepper is lacking some major features, and will eventually hang your Newton unless used via a keyboard rather than the pen. If you are willing to accept the risk of undesirable operation, you can download it as VF13Beta.sit.hqx (341k, Mac format) or VF13Beta.zip (253k, PC format). Note that these archives only contain modules that were actually changed, and only contain documentation for the changed and new functions in those modules. You MUST have the complete ViewFrame 1.2 package, either purchased or downloaded from the link above, for the 1.3 beta to be of any use to you.
If you think you might know me from somewhere, here's a brief autobiography that might help to confirm or deny that:
You can write to me at JasonHarper@pobox.com. My former CompuServe addresses, JasonRandHarper or 76703,4222, are no longer valid (but I'll leave them here so that anyone who only knows me by one of those addresses can still find me via a web search).
- Born 1965, in Big Spring, TX (USA).
- Graduated from Roby High School (Roby, TX), in 1983.
- Attended University of Texas at Austin, and Hardin-Simmons University (Abilene, TX).
- Got my start in computing with a MicroAce: a kit version of a predecessor of the Timex-Sinclair 1000. 1K RAM! 4K ROM! No video while the computer was doing anything else! Expansion modules held in place with velcro! Ah, those were the days...
- My first commercially-available program was a utility included with the Apple II version of Data Transforms' Printrix package. It converted graffiles from the DOS 3.3 format used by their earlier Fontrix program into ProDOS so that Printrix could use them.
- Wrote ][GIF, the very first (and I believe only) GIF viewer for 8-bit Apple IIs.
- Wrote a graphics format conversion utility for the Apple IIgs: originally called SHRConvert and stupidly released as public domain; later versions were freeware, then shareware; it eventually went commercial under the name SuperConvert. It was turned over to another programmer, but the publisher (Seven Hills) has long since disappeared. This was the first program to do GIF decoding (and later, encoding) on the 16-bit Apple IIgs. It is mentioned in a song parody: "A Visit from Saint Woz", by Marty Knight.
- Wrote the core routines for a driver for the Apple ImageWriter LQ (a nice, but horribly overpriced, dot matrix printer), under contract for Apple. It's part of the last few versions of GS/OS, the Apple IIgs operating system.
- Ported Airball, an arcade/adventure game for the Atari ST (also available for Amiga, PC, etc.) to the IIgs. The publisher (Michtron/Microdeal) gave up after one unsuccessful attempt at finding a distributor that would handle Apple II software, and sold a grand total of 144 copies. I've tried to track down who currently owns the rights to Airball, so that I could release the IIgs port I did as freeware. I've heard from Ed Scio (the original programmer), who has no objection to this, but unfortunately he isn't sure exactly when the rights have reverted or will revert to him.
- Started programming the Newton shortly after it came out (late 1993?), and have stuck with it from the original MessagePad to the MessagePad 2100. But no longer, now that Apple has killed off the product line without offering any sort of migration path for existing users.
- Ported SubVersion, a submarine combat game (one reviewer described it as "Battleship on steroids"), to both the IIgs and Newton. They were published by Point of View Computing, Inc.
- I won the "Best use of Forge" prize in Bungie's map-making contest for their great Mac-only game, Marathon Infinity. My entry, called Missed Island, was a parody of Myst, but was focused more on doing seemingly impossible things with the Marathon game engine than on the storyline. If you have the Marathon Trilogy Box Set, Missed Island is on the map collection CD; otherwise, you can find it here (3.5MB).
- In addition to the programs mentioned above, I've written a variety of utilities, graphic demos, ported games, and the occasional commercial project that never made it to completion for one reason or another.
- I was a sysop on CompuServe for about 15 years; initially in the Apple II areas, later branching out to the Newton and Mac areas as my interests changed. However, AOL has finally gotten around to destroying everything that made CompuServe useful and enjoyable to me, so I have resigned as of August, 2004.
- Current status: living in Colorado with my wife, Beth. Still trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my life.
Last updated on August 15, 2004. Visits since November 18, 2000:
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