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.

July 23rd, 2014

KansasFest Day 1

For those willing to get up early and make the trek, breakfast happened. Others (imo) wisely chose to save their energy and sleep in. Today is the official first day of KansasFest 2014 and it’s going to be crammed full of activity.

Our first event was the Garage Giveaway, sometimes referred to as ‘freebay’. Attendees got to grab as much Apple II gear, magazines, software and books as they could carry FOR FREE. Apple IIGS monitors were a big hit this year, as were several Apple II and vintage Macintosh computers. At least 92% of what was brought has been claimed by eager KFesters. A great big thank you to everyone who donated to help defray gas, storage and shipping expenses, but our deepest gratitude is extended to KFest Alums Michael Mahon and Ray Merlin for their personal donations to the Apple II community.

After the Apple II feeding frenzy, a feeding frenzy of another kind was held. The annual Kookout hosted by GrillMeister Kirk Mitchell is the official ‘meat and greet’ social event of the conference. Burgers and hot dogs (even the veggie variety) were heaped before hungry attendees. Yum.

Margot Comstock, editor and publisher of Softalk Magazine presented the keynote. Margot is awesome, and it was a privilege to hear her stories about the history of the magazine, the early microcomputer industry and her personal anecdotes about relevant people she’s known (like Woz). Personally, Softalk will always be my favorite Apple II magazine (with Nibble being a close second). Margot and Al Tommervik (who both founded Softalk in 1980) were presented with the ‘Apple II Forever’ award by the KansasFest Organizing Committee in recognition of their contributions to the Apple II community.

Peter Neubauer next demonstrated Appletalk networking with GSport. Spoiler: Peter wrote the code that makes GSport the first modern Apple IIGS emulator with built-in support for Appletalk. Peter showed how seamless the Appletalk support is, by sharing files with emulated and real Apple IIGS machines.

After dinner, Rob Walch of ‘Today In iOS’ podcast gave his annual update on tips, updates and predictions for iOS. I skipped it, because I was doing Apple II stuff elsewhere.

The evenings activities were pretty laid back. Sarah W. presented an Apple II themed ‘make your own Christmas ornament’ session. Concurrently, the classic ‘Bite the Bag’ contest was held. First time attendee Ian Primus won, followed by Andy Molloy in second place.

The last session featured James Littlejohn leading a workshop on accelerating your Apple IIc Plus. It’s actually pretty easy to double your average IIc Plus from 4MHz to 8MHz or even 10MHz under the right conditions. James and a few helpers managed to upgrade about a dozen machines in the span of about an hour. It’s *that* easy.

Afterwards there were a few late night outings to local restaurants, and lots of gabbing in the common areas before eventually, sometime around 4:00am, even the die-hards began calling it quits.

July 23rd, 2014

KansasFest Day 0

Tuesday is move-in day, and it’s HOT here at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO. I arrived with James Littlejohn just before 11:00am and we were greeted by several other KansasFest attendees. We have a big turnout this year (lots of new people), about 70 Apple II enthusiasts have braved the elements, highways and crowded airports (with friendly frisking by Homeland Security) to come here for THE ULTIMATE APPLE II PARTY in the world.

Nothing official is planned today. This is when we unpack and settle in, fill the coolers, make our trips to get supplies and catch up with our friends. It’s when we unload a huge truck full of Apple II gear, software, magazines in the hot and humid weather, just to give it all away the next day. It’s when we hit a local favorite BBQ establishment en mass and overwhelm the reception staff. It’s where we stay up until 1, 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning swapping technical information and Apple II stories, showing off projects and trading parts.

THIS IS KANSASFEST.

July 21st, 2014

KansasFest News: All 1200+ Nibble Magazine programs available FREE

For nearly 4 years, Stavros Karatsoridis has been a very busy man, collecting, typing and debugging Nibble Magazine’s complete 12 1/2 year run of (1,200+) featured programs. What a remarkable achievement. Even better news, Mike Harvey (Nibble Magazine’s editor and publisher) has made all of the software from Nibble Magazine available for free! Mike’s announcement is attached below.


Exciting news from Stavros Karatsoridis!!!
ALL 1,200+ NIBBLE PROGRAMS FROM 12 1/2 YEARS ARE DOWNLOADABLE!
AND THEY’RE FREE!!!

After a 3 1/2 year effort, Stavros Karatsoridis has laboriously typed, formatted and packaged the entire collection of Nibble 1,200+ programs spanning our 12 1/2 years of publication. His 42-disk collection includes the 265 major programs that were volunteered several years ago by Sam Stoddard (see below) and goes well beyond. Stavros has also provided a scrollable Index of the Programs by Title, so you can easily search our the location of your favorites programs (on the Nibble Disks page).

So this is your chance to recapture some of the magic and charm of the good old 40-character screen with its Low-Res and Hi-Res graphics and take a program tour to that wonderful decade of the 1980’s!

WELL DONE STAVROS, AND THANK YOU ON BEHALF OF THE APPLE II COMMUNITY!

July 8th, 2014

KansasFest registration closes July 10

Registration for KansasFest 2014 closes on Thursday, July 10. This is your last chance to get the sessions, camaraderie, and keynote from Margot Comstock.  Also, don’t forget to register for the optional “Build Your Own Computer” workshop with Vince Briel and “Stitch Your Own Apple IIe Ornament” workshop with Sarah Walkowiak by July 10.

Here’s the latest list of sessions.  The final schedule will be available shortly before KansasFest starts.

  • Off-the-Grid Total Portability for the Apple IIc (Steven Buggie)
  • Sew your own Apple II ornament (Sarah Walkowiak)
  • Apple II Pi (David Schmenk)
  • Controlling I/O via game port interface, or “How I learned to stop worrying and love the Apple II rocket launcher” (Ivan Hogan)
  • Emulator detection in 6502 assembly language (Mark Pilgrim)
  • Accelerating the IIc+ (James Littlejohn)
  • How to Play STAR SAGA: ONE using VASSAL (Michael Sternberg)
  • AppleTalk Networking with GSport (Peter Neubauer)
  • A2CLOUD and A2SERVER 2014 (Ivan Drucker)
  • Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of Sara (Tony Diaz)
  • Jungle Adventure: an interactive text adventure (Ken Gagne)
  • 3D Print Your Next Apple II (Charles Mangin)
  • Making Apple II software on Mac OS X with cc65 (Carrington Vanston)
  • A.P.P.L.E. — A Highlight of Current Projects and Products (Bill Martens & Brian Wiser)
  • The Third Wave: A brief history of the Apple /// Development (Mike Maginnis)
  • An Overview of the Apple3rtr Emulator (Mike Maginnis)
  • Getting Started with an Apple ///: Oh My Gosh, What Did I Just Buy? (Mike Maginnis)
  • Computer Art Technology (Andrés Lozano)
  • Build a computer workshop (Vince Briel)
  • Japanese on the Apple IIGS (Ian Johnson)
  • Lawless Legends top-to-bottom (Martin Haye)
  • The Internet Archive: It’s Been a Busy Year (Jason Scott)
  • Satin Weave (Daniel Kruszyna)
  • Veronica – a 6502 pilgrimage (Quinn Dunki)
June 26th, 2014

Vince Briel to host BIY workshop at KansasFest 2014

KansasFest attendees are in for a special treat this year. Vince Briel is attending and will once again host a ‘build it yourself’ workshop. You can sign up to assemble any of his famous kits, including the brand new Ohio Scientific Superboard III (another famous 6502-based micro).

Complete details are on the Briel Computers web site.

June 5th, 2014

Option8 offers discount to KansasFest attendees

KansasFest Special:

Order any item for local pickup at KansasFest 2014, and receive 5% off your total order. Offer valid through July 4, 2014.

http://retroconnector.com/products/

May 30th, 2014

KansasFest early registration closes June 1

Discounted early-bird registration for KansasFest ends on June 1 (this Sunday). It’s pretty simple: Register before then at http://www.kansasfest.org/registration/. You’ll get the usual awesome sessions, camaraderie, keynote from Margot Comstock, and good times, and you’ll have more money in your pocket than your buddies who wait a day.

The registration price with a room will go up $55 on June 1 and close on July 10.

KansasFest has a long list of exciting sessions planned already:

  • Off-the-grid Total Portability for the Apple IIc (Steven Buggie)
  • Sew your own Apple II ornament (Sarah Walkowiak)
  • Writeaway: An Apple II Word Processor (Bill Wallace)
  • Apple II Pi (David Schmenk)
  • Controlling I/O via game port interface, or “How I learned to stop worrying and love the Apple II rocket launcher” (Ivan Hogan)
  • Emulator detection in 6502 assembly language (Mark Pilgrim)
  • Pascal as my second Language (Jay Graham)
  • Accelerating the IIc+ (James Littlejohn)
  • Accessing the A2MP3 USB thumbdrive storage from Applesoft BASIC (Michael Sternberg)
  • Star Saga One using VASSAL (Michael Sternberg)
  • AppleTalk Networking with GSport (Peter Neubauer)
  • A2CLOUD and A2SERVER 2014 (Ivan Drucker)
  • Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of Sara (Tony Diaz)
  • Jungle Adventure: an interactive text adventure (Ken Gagne)
  • 3D Print Your Next Apple II (Charles Mangin)
  • Making Apple II software on Mac OS X with cc65 (Carrington Vanston)
  • A.P.P.L.E. — A Highlight of Current Projects and Products (Bill Martens & Brian Wiser)
  • The Third Wave: A brief history of the Apple /// (Mike Maginnis)
  • Virtual Apple (Mike Maginnis)
  • A look at Apple’s appearances at computer shows/conventions/etc (Mike Maginnis)
  • Computer Art Technology (Andrés Lozano)
  • Build a computer workshop (Vince Briel)
  • Japanese on the Apple IIGS (Ian Johnson)
April 8th, 2014

KansasFest 2014 opens for registration

KansasFest, the 26th 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 22, through Sunday, July 27, for six days and five nights of sessions, demos, announcements, contests, and camaraderie.

The week kicks off with keynote speaker Margot Comstock, co-founder and editor of the much-loved Softalk magazine.  Comstock 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 before June 1 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 July 1; registration for staying on-site closes July 8. To register, please visit the official Web site at http://www.kansasfest.org/.

KansasFest sponsor 16 Sector invites any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends to attend the world’s only annual Apple II conference. For photos, videos, schedules, and presentations from past year’s events, to sign up for the email list and for inquiries, please visit the event’s Web site.

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