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>>How do I run this thing? What the heck is a JAR file?
JACE is a packaged Java application, which can run on any computer with a Java 1.6 runtime installed. That means I can release versions of this emulator to all platforms at once: Windows, Linux, and Mac OS users (and BSD, and...) All you have to do is locate a copy of OpenJDK or Oracle's JRE (java runtime) installer and get that running and you're all set.
The homepage (https://sites.google.com/site/brendanrobert/projects/jace) offers a getting started guide that covers how to start this emulator, and also how to do anything useful with it once you get it up and running.
>>Wait, where are the release notes?
If you would like to know about the progress of this project, you can check the SVN for recent check-ins to get the smaller details, otherwise go to the homepage: https://sites.google.com/site/brendanrobert/projects/jace -- I always try to summarize the highlights of each major build release on that site, as I really don't want to maintain the same information in multiple places (a practice that always comes back to haunt me)
>>What version is this build?
Builds are labeled according to the build date, since version numbers only really make sense if there is some sort of roadmap to adhere to. Dates are always incremental at least within our span of reality, so I prefer using dates to talk about releases. My only goal was ever to make a usable emulator, and now I'm extending things out further as time goes on to add more features and fix bugs. So if version numbers are important, the build you download today is greater than version 1 and smaller than version infinity.
I have a lifetime of resons why I bothered to write an emulator and why I enjoy it immensely, but it boils down to a few big ones:
-The Apple //e was the computer I used for the majority of my childhood (minus my introduction at age 5, which was a ZX81)
-I loved writing programs and playing games as a kid but couldn't quite grasp how things worked. I kept learning but I could never fully "get it" until later on when the computer was already obsolete. So now I can issue my personal vendetta to push the envelope in ways I couldn't understand as a kid.
-There are other projects I am interested in. I try to leave the door open so I can use this as a platform of ideas rather that just a one-use application. As it stands, I've already found great alternative uses for the configuration system built for JACE in actual professional work. As my other interests in user interface design and artificial intelligence collide with what little freetime I have, it is possible that new and crazy things will surface slowly into this project.