August 5th, 2015

My First KansasFest – Ian Marks

During KansasFest, we asked 11 year old Ian Marks to write about his KansasFest experience. This was Ian’s first time attending the conference with his mother, Giselle Marks. The adults weren’t the only ones having a good time with their Apple II computers.

This was my first year at K-Fest. I think that it has been the most interesting thing I have ever done. What I liked the most about K-Fest was how kind and generous everyone was to me. Everyone was so helpful, and I think that made the difference. It was the most fun that I have ever had.


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Ian Marks

The first thing I went to was the keynote speech by Burger Becky. It was a very interesting story of how she got away from her parents to become a famous programmer. Having abusive parents is difficult, but she still managed to make it. My favorite part of the story was when she won the Atari game tournament by a long shot. I hope I get to see her again at K-Fest next year.

The next thing I did was make a string bracelet with Loren Damewood. This is where everybody started being so generous, because he let me do it for free. Later, Loren helped me download Sweet16. Someone else let me use one of the ROM files he had, and Loren gave me a disk image. It was cool being able to use an Apple //’s software on a modern computer. I was also able to try out real Apple // computers, and Jeremy Moskowitz gave me my first very own Apple //e!

Late that evening, I played Bite the Bag. Everyone thought I was going to win, but I didn’t make it far! I will have to practice to get more experience. All the same, they were kind enough to award me a prize for playing for the first time, and I chose a Juiced GS subscription from Ken Gagne.


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Assembling a radio kit

The next day, I did soldering. I was making a radio. I didn’t finish my project on the first day, but when I did finish it, I didn’t have any batteries. Greg Nelson kindly donated a 9 Volt battery from his camera flash for me to use. It worked! I also participated in the game tournament. I played Little Red Bug and FlApple Bird. I didn’t do very well in Little Red Bug, but I placed third in FlApple Bird.

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Playing Dagen Brock’s FlApple Bird in the game tournament

The next day, I went to the session where they had eight Apple //s playing music in harmony. I can imagine that it was very difficult to put that together! After that, there was the group photo. One of the photographers had us point at him with expressions of horror on our faces! He said he would edit something into the photo later! Then, I went downstairs to eat pizza. Mark LaPlante had some cool posters that he had brought specially for us kids from NASA, where he works – he donated them to me and Christian Schmenk. I went to see the winners of the door sign contest. In the door sign contest, people customize their doors. One of the winners was Carrington Vanston. His door sign was my favorite, because it was a game! You chose a card, which led to another card, and so on, until you reached an end card.

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Ian and Mark LaPlante showing NASA mission posters
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Playing Carrington Vanston’s adventure game

After that, I hung out in the lobby of the dorm where we were staying for a while. I enjoyed talking to Sean Fahey, who was also very helpful. Ms. Sarah gave me an extra Apple // computer ornament kit she had. I would have had to pay for it, but she kindly gave it to me for free. I haven’t finished it, and I probably won’t finish it for a while, but I will get it done eventually! After starting on the ornament, I went to the vendor fair they had in the basement. Dagen Brock, the maker of FlApple bird was selling copies of the game. I was interested in buying a copy, so I went up to the table and asked how much it would cost. He had decided that since I placed third in the tournament, I could have a copy for free!

On the last day, we went to see the movie Ant-Man. K-Fest was so fun! Before we left, I tried to say thank you to everyone who had helped me. I hope to go again, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next year!

August 1st, 2015

KansasFest featured on VICE Radio Motherboard


Motherboard
Click Here for article


July 30th, 2015

Rebecca Heineman releases source for IIGS version of Space Ace -UPDATED

UPDATED POST: 07/30/15

I’ve converted all of the art for Space Ace into animated gifs and created Mac and PC based tools to convert the GIFs into Iigs format data.

The tools are built against Burgerlib and the 65816 code is built with a modified version of a65816. Both Burgerlib and a65816 will be updated on github

ORIGINAL POST: 07/08/15
Just in time for KansasFest, Rebecca Heineman has released the source code to ReadySoft’s Space Ace via Github. Rebecca’s announcement is pasted below:

In 1990, ReadySoft released Space Ace for the Apple IIgs. I purchased a copy and was appalled that the port was only for ProDOS and required you to play the game on floppy disks. Being the reverse engineering nutcase I was, I promptly disassembled the game and converted it back into source code. I then re-wrote the game to use the Apple IIgs hard disk and updated all the file manager code to GS/OS. After creating a really horrible icon for the game, I then uploaded my new application file to friends who wanted to play Space Ace on their hard drives and then promptly forgot about this port.

Here it is, 2015, and after searching my archive CDs, I found this source and decided to share it with you, the programming public, so you can get a glimpse of what 65816 code looked like for the Apple IIgs. This code ACTUALLY COMPILES AND RUNS using the Brutal Deluxe a65816 assembler and my python based build scripts. I’ve successfully built this on my Mac and ran the executable using Sweet16 and in Windows with Kegs. I’ve included the build tools and its source and exes for Mac (Intel/PPC) and Windows.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I did do this port just because I wanted it running natively on my Apple IIgs hard drive. Yes, I’m insane.

Enjoy!

http://www.whatisthe2gs.apple2.org.za/space-ace

And one more thing…

The intellectual property of Space Ace is the exclusive property of Don Bluth and Digital Leisure. No transfer of the intellectual property of Space Ace or any transfer of the ownership of the sounds, art or other game assets are given nor implied. If anyone wishes to release a version of Space Ace for the Apple IIgs commercially, (I have absolutely no idea why? You’d sell like, what? 3 copies?) contact Digital Leisure for a license.

The source code… Go for it.

Rebecca Ann Heineman
Olde Skuul
Seattle, WA



July 23rd, 2015

Geoff Weiss updates MegaMemoryTester to v2.1

Geoff Weiss has updated the premier IIGS RAM verification utility MegaMemoryTester to version 2.1 — you can get it from the program’s support site here: http://mmt.gwlink.net/



July 23rd, 2015

Jeremy Rand updates A2Sudoku

Jeremy Rand has updated his 2015 Hackfest winning entry A2Sudoku to version 1.2 — you can get a .DSK image directly from here: https://github.com/jeremysrand/a2sudoku/releases/download/1.2/a2sudoku.dsk

The main change is that when you enter a value, any scratch values in cells in the same column, row or sub-square are automatically updated. So, if you enter a “5” into a cell, 5 will be removed as a possible scratch value automatically from all cells in the same column, row and sub-square. Makes it a bit easier to keep your scratch values up to date when the program does a bit of it for you.

July 21st, 2015

KansasFest 2015 Saturday Report

Saturday’s report is brought to you by third year attendee Mike Whalen.

So, as I write this at 11:18pm on Saturday, July 18 2015. KansasFest is well and truly over. There no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s over, Johnny. It’s over!

NUTHIN IS OVUH! YOU CAN RELIVE THUH DAY!!

Well, okay, I suppose I could recount the day’s activities. That would delay things… a bit?

We all started in the morning.. and, uh, I ain’t gonna lie, I don’t remember it much. I think there was an egg or two. Maybe a bacon. I don’t know. What is breakfast.

But somehow I did wake up at some point because I do recall Kevin Savetz giving us a good explanation as to how we can preserve Apple history via interviews. Kevin’s been producing interviews for his Atari (boo) podcast, ANTIC for the last coupe of years. I think he has like one hundred interviews. Anyway, Kevin made a compelling argument over why it would be useful to produce more and more interviews for the various Apple II podcasts and that you can find interesting stories in some unusual places — technical support, third party companies, etc.

Next up, Peter gave us a detailed history of LOGO, the programming language originally designed to teach children programming fundamentals. In the early 80s, LOGO caught fire at schools and many a school-child learned how to move turtles around a screen. Unfortunately, the language fell into disuse fairly quickly. Peter recounted the reasons why and then launched a fascinating discussion into new horizons in the programming languages for children. This child programmer appreciated it!

John Linville came back! Yes, he wasn’t run out by A2 fans wielding pitchforks for the heresy that is a CoCo session. In fact, we wanted more! John detailed his game Farhfall which he recently released for the CoCo. It’s basically like a reverse Crazy Climber. A fire is descending down on you. You need to fall from platform to platform to keep clear from fiery doom.

Brian Wiser was up next with his annual update about all things A.P.P.L.E. He announced several exciting projects including a cleaned up and redesigned edition of the classic What’s Where in the Apple. Brian demoed several pages that showed the original version, a recently released cleaned-up version, and their own work. It looks quite amazing.

After lunch, Ian Johnson gave us his update on getting working and useful Japanese language support on the Apple IIGS. Ian has been demonstrating the leaps and bounds made for a couple of years now and they’re very close to having Japanese lanaguage support that can work as well as it could. This will give the Japanese Apple IIGS fans something to look forward to!

The second to last session was a smattering of new product announcements. Charles Mangin from RetroConnector showed off his new //e audio adapter. You plug it in between the speaker and speaker connector and then you have an earphone jack just like the IIc owners have.

And with that all the sessions were over. It was time for the swap meet and exhibition. Everyone brought down their equipment to show off what they had been working on the whole year while others sold their wares. I hovered over the //e and a Newton Messagepad but didn’t quite go for it. Oh, and I also wanted No-Slot Clock for my IIc Plus. Alas, things went very fast.

While the festivities took place, the Hackfest judges reviewed entries and made their decision. When they were done, the attendees got their own look at the entrants. Amazing stuff. Carrington Vanston demoed his Tic Tac Pro which was a grid of nine smaller tic-tac-toe games determining the outcome of one big tic-tac-toe game. Charles Mangin demoed a small utility that reads disk images and creates a graphic representing the data on-disk. You must see to understand. Forrest Lowe demonstrated adding a litle randomness to every boot. One one boot, maybe one program will load. The next? Maybe a different one. Jeremy Rand demonstrated his take on Sodoku with its own A.I. John Leake of the RetroMacCast demoed his OMG Zombies game in which every step you take brings the zombies closer. Kevin Savetz took Bob Bishop’s Li’l’ Red Bug and made it play itself. HE did something similar in 2013 with Structuris. Kevin prefers to let a computer do all the work, including winning games evidently. Kevin actually had two entries. The second one showed an script in which a disk already uploaded on the Internet Archive was opened, the file contents documented, and metadata created and re-uploaded to IA. It’s a very useful hack that will simply make it easier to find software on the IA. Martin, not one to be outdone, wrote an amazing enhancement for the Apple /// Monitor. He added disassembly and assembly. How does he do it? How? How I ask you? Lastly, Sarah showed a keen idea in which she edited the opening sequence of Olympic Decathalon to pay tribute to Caitlin Jenner.

The winner of the chicken dinner? CARRINGTON VANSTON with Tic-Tac-Pro.

Various groups went to several restaurants and/or the movies. I went to Eden Alley Cafe with several folks. Afterward, we all went to an extremely noisy and crowded Up Down barcade to play games. Back at Corcoran people began packing in earnest. Another KFest down. Another year until the next one. The good news? There will be a next one.

Apple II Forever, y’all.

July 20th, 2015

Retro Computing Roundtable episode 105 – KansasFest 2015 coverage

This episode features a special huge circle of podcasters around a single microphone at KansasFest 2015, where we reflect on KansasFest, relative merits of the Apple II, the CoCo, Atari 8-bits, and Commodores, and on the phenomenon that is KansasFest. We also make a couple of attempts at Carrington’s choose-your-own-adventure door decoration, and talk about the history and brainstorm about the prospects of future KansasFests. While listening to this episode is nothing like being at KansasFest, it’s a little bit less like not being at KansasFest.

Panelists: Carrington Vanston (hosting), Quinn Dunki, Ken Gagne, Paul Hagstrom, John Leake, John Linville, Rob McMullen, Michael Mulhern, Wade Ripkowski, Kevin Savetz, Steven Weyhrich, and Mike Whalen.

July 19th, 2015

Jason Scott’s KansasFest 2015 Photo Album


Check it out here.

July 18th, 2015

KansasFest Karateka 2015



July 18th, 2015

KansasFest 2015 Friday Report

Friday’s report is brought to you by third year attendee Mike Whalen.

Friday (Day 3)

Friday is nearly always bittersweet for me, at least in the few years that I’ve attended the show. Why? Well, thoughts of returning to the Real World(tm) begin to intrude. Oh no! It’s almost over. What will I do? I stare at the ceiling from my bed.

Well. Hmmm.. Okay. Okay. Focus. Focus. Jump up out of bed and… okay, I’m really tired. There are many, many caffeine-hazed hours ahead. And today is ACTION PACKED.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Mark Frischknecht Black Blood of The Earth Foundation, the caffeine flowed and I could walk to breakfast. But this breakfast had to be quick! Because CoCos await.

WHAAA–? Cocos? Surely I mean Hot Cocoa right? Like, the drink? Er… uhm, no. Special Guest John Linville of The CoCo Crew podcast ran a succinct and informative session on the history of Tandy’s Color Computer series. Now, why would we dare have such a session? Simple. We love all things retro and John pointed out several instances where the CoCo and Apple II have shared heritage, whether it was technology or ideas or people. Of course, everyone’s interest was piqued and John found himself peppered with all manner of technical questions. John’s technical chops allowed him to answer all questions. The session was a welcome twist to the day! And it’s just beginning!

The second session was piled right atop the previous and whereas the previous session was a teensy bit outside the ][, the new one was HARDCORE APPLE. Quinn Dunki, who has really come on strong in the community in the last couple of years, unveiled her brand new artistic sandbox called WeeGUI. WeeGUI is straightforward. Quinn offers you a way to easily create MouseText screens. As a relative programming dummy, even I was able to create screens. And not only that, WeeGUI creates screens you can use a mouse to interact with. Yes, this means a mouse driver is included.

First-timer Javier Rivera gave a highly anticipated session. Javier has been Retrobriting browned and discolored Apple II shells from sun-drenched Miami for quite awhile. Today he dropped his Bomb of Knowledge on all the attendees. Javier showed examples of recent work — including work done in the two days Javier was on-site! Javier explained the mixture he had settled on and, when he was done showing off the examples, brought a number of the attendees outside to Retrobrite their treasures. It was a rare opportunity to get hands on with a RetroBrite master.

After a hearty lunch (urp), Michael Mahon and Charles Mangin blew everyone’s mind (mindblow.gif) when they demonstrated a sequence-controlled music synthesis for the Apple II. No, seriously. No, this was _not_ a beep and/or boop. Not only did Michael and Charles demonstrate the code and how it was developed, they totally had seven Apple IIs playing songs with each one taking up an instrument. Strings sounded like strings coming from one Apple II. Drums sounded like drums and they came from a different Apple II. And we even heard a new composition from Seth Sternberger of 8 Bit Weapon. I dare say I heard jaws hit the floor a few times. But, honestly? Those could have been deep bass drums.

Jan Saggiori recounted a fascinating story about the various actions (ethical and not) in the pay-tv industry around Europe, the UK, and elsewhere. Lawsuits, secret emails, industry titans in skivvies. This was quite a session.

Ken Gagne began his first of three sessions of the day. In this first one, he recounted his history on YouTube with his Let’s Play and Unboxing videos. Ken went into a bit of the trials and tribulations and demonstrated the technology that enables him to record an Apple II game for YouTube. Ken even did an impromptu Let’s Play of Dagen Brock’s Flapple Bird!

After that, it was time for the annual Juiced.GS Pizza Party. Thousands of Pizzas showed up. Hungry from all the thinking, we devoured while Ken Gagne (in his second of three sessions) gave the latest update on Juiced.GS showing the phenomenal growth that has happened over the last few years. That makes for some good news. Juiced.GS will continue! And subscriptions will be available for 2016! Afterwards, several awards and thanks were handed out. David Schmenk, Ivan Drucker, James Littlejohn, Henry Courbis, and Anthony Martino all won Apple ][ Forever awards for their work in the community. Charles Mangin won the best wacky tie. Finally, three people (!) won best door prize. Carrington Vanston won for his door-spanning Choose Your Own Adventure series in which several envelopes with index cards inside, ushered you along the game. Sarah won for her low-res screen pixel art tools which encouraged passers-by to create their own low-res screen right on her door. And last, but not least, Chris Torrence, who edited and released a new edition of Assembly Lines, put together a veritable Karateka game _on_his_door_. How, you ask? With paper cutouts. And they filmed a video showing the entire game in puppet show mode. So, yes, he won too.

After the party and the annual KFest group photo, David Schmenk gave an update on his PLASMA programming language which is now blessed with a new moniker: PLASMA 1 ][ ///. David brought everyone through the most recent changes and demonstrated a number of examples that he encouraged the attendees to download from his Github. Again… programming dummy and I understood it. You will too.

Charles Mangin came back for his annual RetroConnector update. Charles showed off all his latest designs and detailed what was going to be available at Saturday’s show. Of course, all of these items are worth my dollars.

Ken was back AGAIN for the third and last session of the night, but this one was a show-stopper. Last year, Ken ran a live interactive “text” adventure. This year, he ran a new text adventure, Space Station! Over a dozen people worked together to get out of predicament the player found herself, stuck on a space station, dizzy, with a warship knocking on the doors with deadly torpedoes. Multiple tries were tried and forays forged but the good ending was never found sadly.

Brian Wiser wrapped up the night by highlighting the Firefly fan movies and even new games. Brian’s session has become a yearly tradition and there’s always newcomers for Brian to help usher into the Firefly universe. Brian is a great presenter and can make Firefly exciting for everyone.

And with that it was off to bed. Boo! The second to last day is over! :-( Why? Why??? Ok. Ok. There’s one more day. Breathe. Breathe.

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