April 10th, 2015

KansasFest 2015 opens for registration

KANSAS CITY, MO — April 10, 2015 — KansasFest, the 27th annual convention dedicated to the Apple II computer, is now open for registration. Users, programmers, hobbyists, and retrocomputing enthusiasts are invited to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, from Tuesday, July 14, through Sunday, July 19, for six days and five nights of sessions, demos, announcements, contests, and camaraderie.

The week kicks off with keynote speaker Rebecca “Burger Becky” Heineman, a prolific computer game programmer, designer, and industry veteran. Heineman will be available immediately afterward for a Q&A and autograph session.

Attendees are encouraged to share their knowledge by presenting their own hardware and software sessions, especially of the Apple II but including Macintosh, Windows, Linux, iOS, and others. All KansasFest sessions are presented by the attendees, who are known for unscheduled events and debuts, too. Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes look at new software, preorder opportunities for new hardware, a live-action text adventure, a podcast recording session, Structris tournaments, or an athletic round of Bite the Bag, there are experiences to be had and memories made at KansasFest that aren’t possible except in the company of surprising, brilliant, diehard Apple II fans.

Register by May 31 to guarantee a price of $385 for a double room or $455 for a single, which includes admission to all sessions as well as most meals. Official KansasFest shirts are extra and optional and must be ordered by June 22; registration for staying on-site closes July 1. To register, please visit the official registration form.

KansasFest invites any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends to attend the longest running annual Apple II conference. For photos, videos, schedules, and presentations from past year’s events or to sign up for the email list and for inquiries, please visit our website at http://kansasfest.org.

CONTACT:
Register: http://www.kansasfest.org/registration/
Email: http://www.kansasfest.org/contact/
Twitter: @KansasFest
Facebook: TBD
Google Plus: TBD

March 16th, 2015

Rebecca “Burger Becky” Heineman to deliver keynote at KansasFest 2015

image credit: Heineman’s personal website at http://burgerbecky.com/becky.htmKansasFest 2015, the 27th annual Apple II convention, is scheduled for July 14 –19 in Kansas City, Missouri. Rebecca “Burger Becky” Heineman, a prolific computer game programmer, designer, and industry veteran, will join us with a keynote presentation.

Heineman learned programming at age 16 and gained fame in 1980 as the first National Space Invaders Champion with a score of 165,200. Her career soon blossomed with credits in over 250 games including classics such as Tass Times in Tonetown, Dragon Wars, Crystal Quest, The Bard’s Tale III: The Thief of Fate, Battle Chess, and Wolfenstein 3D. She developed numerous titles for the Apple IIgs, other contemporary platforms such as the Macintosh and Super Nintendo, and modern platforms such as the Xbox 360 and Playstation 4. She has founded or co-founded multiple game companies, including the venerable Interplay Entertainment, and worked for many more. Heineman continues to work in the game industry, and her company Olde Sküül recently announced a new RPG, Dragons of the Rip. She has not announced an Apple IIgs port.

KansasFest is an annual convention offering Apple II users and retrocomputing enthusiasts the opportunity to engage in beginner and technical sessions, programming contests, exhibition halls, and camaraderie. KansasFest was originally hosted by Resource Central and has been brought to you by the KFest committee since 1995. Any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends are invited to attend this year’s event. Registration details will be announced on the KansasFest Web site in April 2015. For photos, videos, and presentations from past KansasFests, please visit the event’s official Web site at http://www.kansasfest.org/.

January 30th, 2015

Get ready for OzKFest, April 17-19 in Keysborough, Melbourne AU

OzKFest is going ahead April 17-19 in Keysborough, Melbourne.

There are 12 people already confirmed to attend. The website has just been updated with session teasers and those of us on the Apple II Oz mailing list are eagerly making plans with the expectation that this will again be a great event.

We encourage you to attend and join in the fun.

More information and a registration form is available on the website: http://ozkfest.net
If you can’t make it, but would like to follow the event happenings, we will be on twitter @OzKFest #OzKFest2015

Contact me directly (roughana@yahoo.com.au) if you would like assistance with securing shared accommodation.

Regards,
Andrew

August 30th, 2014

Open Apple #38 (Aug 2014): Lawless Legends dev team, KansasFest

Open Apple #38 is published (still August – just made it. Whew!). If you’re a subscriber, it should be appearing in your favorite RSS reader or iTunes shortly if it hasn’t already.

This month on Open Apple, we go deep on Lawless Legends with most of the team building it. We’ve managed to corner Seth Sternberger (of 8-bit Weapon fame), Martin Haye, and Brendan Robert (Dave Schmenk, we’re coming for you…) to grill them on this amazing effort. We also wish a fond farewell to co-host Ken Gagne, and welcome our new co-host Quinn Dunki. Listeners can look forward to more angry sarcasm and less professionalism here on Open Apple. Of course, we also ramble some more about KansasFest 2014. Because KansasFest.

http://www.open-apple.net/2014/08/30/show-038-lawless-legends-team-kansasfest/

August 1st, 2014

Lawless Legends preview available for download


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Now you can give Lawless Legends v0.50 a spin in your own Apple IIC, IIE, etc~! Go to the link in the comments and download the demo disk image!

NOTE: Controls are A W D S and J I L K – This is a very rough demo so inside buildings and special locations are missing static portraits in the view screen. To enter a building walk into any image of a door. There is no 2d wilderness map, combat or character info yet. ENJOY!

August 1st, 2014

Quinn Dunki (BLONDIHACKS) blogs about her KansasFest 2014 experience

Read about Quinn’s KansasFest 2014 experience.ogol

July 31st, 2014

Dagen Brock introduces Crusty Coders site for Apple IIGS programmers

This is a place to learn about programming the Apple IIgs.

This came about as a result of a conversation with fellow Apple developers who, like myself, found a lack of centralized resources for Apple IIgs specific documentation. This is just an early design and a place to start putting the information together. The goal is to add the ability for user contributed content via a wiki, forums and other collaboration tools. For now, it’s really just beginning, but I hope you enjoy it and if you’d like to help out, let me know via the contact page (once I make one).

You can find it at Crusty-Coders.com (currently resolving to apple2.gs).

July 26th, 2014

KansasFest Day 3

MORE LINKS WILL ADDED LATER

Andre Lozano greeted early risers with the first session of the day. Andre was part of the group that restored disks from the collection of Chris Marker, a French film director, writer and early pioneer in multimedia computing and authoring. Chris was interested in how computers and humans interacted emotionally (something retro-computists can easily identify with). He developed a program called ‘Dialector’ that explored these emotional responses which were similar in concept to the famous ELIZA program and it’s variants.

If you haven’t seen Jason Scott in person, it should be something on your short ‘to-do’ list; he’s like a Kung-Fu kick to the psyche (but in a good way). Jason is a natural and entertaining speaker with a passion for his work with the Internet Archive. He’s been busy JSMESS emulation project (try it, you’ll be floored), in addition to scanning of magazines, books and disks from all sources retrocomputing. Jason shared some good news, apparently museums, other archival organizations (and even copyright holders like Atari) are waking up to the need to preserve and protect our digital history and are supporting projects like the Internet Archive. Perceptions are changing; it’s no longer a matter of digital piracy, but of digital preservation.

Ken Gagne announced that Juiced.GS continues to thrive as the last, and longest running Apple II print magazine ever. Publishing will continue into 2015 at the same rates as before! Also announced, some money-saving bundles for digital copies of back issues. See site for details.

Ch-ch-ch-changes to the schedule created an opportunity for an impromptu but very productive programmers roundtable event.

Charles Mangin and friend then gave us a tutorial on the various types of 3D printing that are available. During the session, he produced a few key caps as practical examples of what can be achieved for the retrocomputing hobbyist.

Next up, Quinn Dunki discussed her personal journey of discovery with ‘Veronica’, a homebrew 6502 based computer she built from scratch. Quinn put in about 5 years of work designing circuits and PCB’s as a learning exercise reminiscent of Steve Wozniak’s Apple 1 endeavor. You can read about on Quinn’s blog.

Michael Sternberg next demonstrated how Sir-Tech’s ‘STAR SAGA: ONE, Beyond the Boundary’ can be played over the internet using the VASSAL Engine. According to it’s site, ‘Vassal is a game engine for building and playing online adaptations of board games and card games. Play live on the Internet or by email. Vassal runs on all (modern) platforms, and is free, open-source software.’ Wow, I didn’t know this existed and it’s very cool. I can’t wait to try it out.

Pizza happened next, which was a much appreciated, welcome break from the yucky, uninspired, tasteless (and occasionally mysterious) food we’ve been getting from the cafeteria. Wow Rockhurst, we LOVE you, but the food has been disappointing this year. I think I lost weight just by looking at what was on my plate. Thanks?

The evening’s activities wrapped up with the annual group photo, best wacky tie (hey, I won!) contest and a few late evening sessions.

We have more than a few Podcasters present this year. I saw them massed around a microphone recording a joint podcast. I’m looking forward to that podcast — it should be interesting.

David Schmenk demo’d Apple II Pi (because he still gets asked ‘what is it?’).

Anthony Martino announced the upcoming A2Pi 6.5 card (with numerous improvements). We hope to have pics and a press release for that soon.

Lastly, Tony Diaz led a class on repairing floppy disk drives. Attendees were free to bring their malfunctioning drives for diagnostics and repair, because if Tony can’t fix it, probably no one else can.

Wow it’s late. I’m tired but staying up late tonight. I’ve managed to return 3 Transwarp GS boards from my personal collection back to the community so far. I’m using the proceeds to fund additional Garage Giveaways, recoup shipping expenses, etc. I’m probably going to list a few more on eBay before long.

Tomorrow, I’ll probably sleep in. Saturday is the last official day of KansasFest and I can’t tell if we’re winding up or winding down. One thing is for certain, this has been a great year.

July 26th, 2014

Michael Sternberg’s A2MP3-Xfer

We totally missed this during RetroChallenge Winter Warmup 2014. Luckily, we caught up with Michael Sternberg during KansasFest for a demo. Checkout his disk/image transfer program for the Apple II using Vince Briel’s A2MP3 adapter.


Michael wrote A2MP3-Xfer has a proof of concept, so it’s rather limited (DOS 3.3, DSK images only). The source code is available on BitBucket for download and Michael encourages anyone interested to check it out and expand upon his work if they’re interested.

Manuals for programming and technical specifications are still available.

July 24th, 2014

KansasFest Day 2

I’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. During KansasFest, that isn’t true — it’s lunch. So many people stay up late and then sleep in that lunch is kind of the new breakfast. Sadly, the food isn’t worth jumping out of bed for.

Right off the bat, we had a thinking session as Mark Pilgrim introduced his research posing the question, ‘can an Apple II program detect if it’s running in an emulator vs. real hardware?’

Up next, Stephen Buggie showed off his solutions for making the Apple IIc a greatly more portable (but still technically ‘luggable’) computer.

For me, the most interesting session of the morning was ‘Controlling I/O Via Game Port Interface’ presented by father and son Andrew and Ivan Hogan. They put on quite the show, with an Apple II controlling a K’NEX roller coaster and a compressed air/water plastic bottle launcher. A couple of the 2L bottles were quickly launched onto the roof of the dorm, over 40′ in the air. The nearby campus security guard didn’t look very amused but this was science!

Ivan Drucker presented the latest 2014 edition of A2CLOUD and A2SERVER, demonstrating to attendees how easy and useful a Raspberry Pi can be when used in conjunction with an Apple II. If you’re not using a Pi now, YOU SHOULD BE.

Tony Diaz tore into an Apple /// to go over the good, the bad and the ugly of the machine’s design. He pointed out mostly the good things about the /// that often go overlooked. Tony physically took the machine apart, showed the crowd the internals and led a Q&A on it’s capabilities and maintenance. Then, he put it back together again. Good times.

Our next session featured Geoff Weiss demonstrating how you can use the Git revision control system for Apple II development. The assumption is made that the programming is taking place in an emulated virtual machine. For example, Geoff was emulating an older Mac with Basilisk running OS 7.5.5 and using the Apple MPW development environment.

After dinner, Ken Gagne lead several participants in an interactive text adventure game called Jungle Adventure. At the same time, Carrington Vanston was teaching a beginner’s course how to setup and use the cc65 cross-compiler on Mac OS X (with some help from Apple’s free Xcode IDE).

About a dozen or so attendees signed up for Vince Briel’s Build a Computer Workshop. Under Vince’s supervision, participants assembled and soldered their own Briel kit. If you ever get a chance to attend one of Briel’s workshops, you should try it. They are a lot of fun.

Later, we remembered Ryan Suenaga and raised money for the scholarship named in his honor. We enjoyed a round of Krispy Kreme donuts and raised a glass of milk to our friend that we miss so much.

Also tonight Daniel Kruszyna presented a performance of ‘Satin Weave’ featuring 3 Apple //c computers. I hope we’ll be able to post a recording of that at some point. Even later is the Structris Tournament, but I’ll probably be too zonked out to watch or participate in that.

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