Try Kirschen’s games and software on the Internet Archive

1. Gesher’s Apple II games

All these games load and play well, with one exception: the Internet Archive doesn’t support disk-swapping during emulation, so you can only play the first disk of “The Georgia Variations.”

2. Kirschen’s independent Apple II games and demos

3. Kirschen’s Atari ST programs

As of February 2024, there is a problem with the “Mom and Me” disk image.

4. Kirchen’s Commodore Amiga music software

As of February 2024, these items are not configured correctly, so the emulation doesn’t work.

5. Kirchen’s IBM PC music software

The Music Creator loads, and you can manipulate the interface. But there seems to be no audio output in the browser.

Unearthed: Kirschen’s “Magic Harp” for Commodore Amiga

Yaakov Kirschen and Sali Ariel pose with a Commodore Amiga running an early version of their Magic Harp software, probably in late 1986 or early 1987. The staff of LKP Ltd. (in back): Hedva (surname unknown), Dror Heller; Yuval Ronen; Orly Aknin; Marcelo Bilezker; and Orly’s sister, Sigi.
(Photo courtesy of Sali Ariel)

When I published the original four-part “Bringing dry bones back to life” series where I shared 10 pieces of previously-lost computer programs developed by Yaakov Kirschen, I couldn’t include “Magic Harp,” his original Amiga-based “artificial creativity” music composing software.

At the time, Kirschen’s wife, Sali Ariel, believed that it was likely gone forever, because she had thrown out all their 3.5″ disks in the 2010s.

But while preparing to move to a new home in Israel in early 2023, Ariel found an overlooked bundle of 17 Amiga disks, wrapped in paper and labeled “BeatleOdeon JFY backup set,” which had somehow survived the earlier purge.

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Our latest special collection: The ACE-St. Louis “NewsLine”

It’s time to stop waiting.

Years ago, I scanned and OCRed my own collection of eight issues of “NewsLine”, the newsletter of the Atari Computer Enthusiasts of St. Louis, or ACE-St. Louis, club.

Of course there were many more issues of the “NewsLine” beyond these eight. I held off publishing them for a long time, hoping to obtain more issues, or perhaps even the complete collection. I’m still working toward that, but I realize there’s no point delaying publishing what I already have.

So here you go! You can find the issues in the Special Collections section of Break Into Chat. These issues will also be added to the Internet Archive.

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Unearthed: My old OASIS BBS Atari floppy disk

For the last few years, I’ve been researching and imaging other people’s old disks — but recently someone turned the tables and salvaged one of mine!

Let me tell you the story.

Front of an old 5.25″ floppy disk labeled “OASIS-BACKUP”.

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Slides yield glimpses of Kirschen’s lost “Magic Harp” software

A box of slides sent from Sali Ariel in Israel.

Yaakov Kirschen and his wife, Sali Ariel, are in the process of downsizing and moving to a new home in Israel. Sali has been hard at work, sifting through decades of collected belongings in preparation. She found a bunch of things related to Kirschen’s 1980s software development firm, LKP Ltd., and sent them to me recently.

There are a lot of cool things, including printed user manuals for several versions of “The Music Creator” — a previously lost software package we saved for the IBM PC. I have scanned the manuals and posted them on the Internet Archive.

But even more interesting was a box of high-quality slides from a 1986 or 1987 publicity photo shoot at LKP. Sali had sent me a rough scan of one photo from this set years ago, but these slides were the alternate takes.

I’m still scanning the slides — which are in great shape! — but wanted to share some cool details I found today in the first high-res scans. New glimpses of Kirschen’s lost music software for the Amiga, called “Magic Harp”!

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Talking about Kirschen’s software at Arch Reactor

This Sunday I spoke about my retrocomputing hobby and digital preservation work at Arch Reactor, a hackerspace/makerspace in St. Louis.

I was honored to be invited, and I had a blast sharing some of the things I’ve learned as I researched (and rescued) the lost 1980s software of Ya’akov Kirschen.

I recorded the talk, and some of the Q&A afterwards, for those of you who are “geographically challenged” and couldn’t join us.

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