September 30th, 2011

John Romero to keynote KansasFest 2012

SEPTEMBER 30, 2011 — KansasFest 2012, the Apple II convention scheduled for July 17–22 in Kansas City, Missouri, comes just two months after the twentieth anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D, the first-person shooter that, when released for MS-DOS in 1992, defined a genre that is still popular today. Not only did the game, which was later ported to the Apple IIGS, use as its inspiration the Apple II game Castle Wolfenstein; Wolfenstein 3D’s creators got their start working at Apple II disk magazine Softdisk.

To commemorate that anniversary and heritage, KansasFest 2012’s keynote speech will be delivered by none other than Wolfenstein 3D co-creator John Romero.

John Romero. Photo by buzzpuzzle

Romero, whose Apple II credits include Dangerous Dave and Dark Castle, has been a pillar of the electronic entertainment industry for nearly as long as the Apple II has existed. Popular Apple II magazine inCider published Romero’s first program in 1984, with many more of his titles to appear in both inCider and Nibble. Romero later joined Origin Systems, publisher of the Ultima and Wing Commander games, as a programmer, after which he co-founded Inside Out Software. At both companies, he ported software to and from the Apple II and Commodore 64. With KansasFest 2008 keynote speaker Lane Roathe, Romero also co-founded software company Ideas From the Deep, where he developed the Apple II game Zappa Roidz as well as the InfoDOS operating system for Infocom’s Apple II games.

In 1989, Romero joined Softdisk, a stint that introduced him to three important people: John Carmack, Tom Hall, and Adrian Carmack. The four co-workers left Softdisk in 1991 to co-found id Software, which a year later revolutionized electronic gaming and demonstrated the potential of the shareware distribution model when they released Wolfenstein 3D, which sold 100,000 units in its first 18 months. Later id Software blockbusters, including DOOM and Quake, further cemented the company as an industry powerhouse. Romero has since been involved with many additional high-profile games, including Deus Ex, Daikatana, and Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows. He most recently co-founded social games company Loot Drop, developer of the popular Facebook game Ravenwood Fair, which currently has nearly five million users.

Despite such overwhelming success and a storied résumé, Romero has long celebrated his roots as an Apple II programmer. In 1998, he reunited forty Apple II programmers in celebration of the Apple II turning 20 the year before. So prestigious were Romero’s invitations that in attendance was Apple II inventor Steve Wozniak, KansasFest 2003’s keynote speaker. It was this event that later inspired Jason Scott, keynote speaker at KansasFest 2009, to begin production on a documentary of the 6502 processor, which powers the Apple II. Romero appeared in Scott’s text-adventure documentary, Get Lamp, and will support Scott’s upcoming 6502 film as well.

From Commander Keen to DOOM and Quake, Romero’s games — 97 to date — regularly become household names and spawn countless imitators. Romero’s reflection on the role of the Apple II in both his and the industry’s successes will captivate KansasFest 2012 attendees.

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 early 2012. For photos, videos, and presentations from past KansasFests, please visit the event’s official Web site at

KansasFest 2012

September 29th, 2011

Juiced.GS Volume 16, Issue 3 now available

Juiced.GS V16I3Volume 16, Issue 3 (September 2011) of Juiced.GS, the longest-running Apple II publication in print, is now arriving in subscribers’ mailboxes. Featured in this issue is a reflection on KansasFest 2011 by Ivan Drucker; reviews of Mike Willegal’s Brain Board and Vince Briel’s A2MP3 card; a tutorial for getting started with the Apple IIGS; and much, much more!

This is Juiced.GS‘s third quarterly issue of 2011. Annual subscriptions are available for both the 2011 and 2012 volumes.

September 22nd, 2011

Things //c on eBay

I scan eBay a couple of times each day and occasionally amid the cliched ‘rare’ items, I’ll find something interesting. For example, this Apple IIc-equipped electric car. According to the seller, the //c was used to monitor the car’s performance.

Yet another ‘rare’ new in the box Apple //c system with a $2500 price tag has shown up. EDIT: Apparently, it sold! That’s the THIRD (or fourth or fifth depending on how you classify new) sealed //c system to appear in as many years on eBay. There was a time when you could pick up a new system like this one for around $400-$600 USD, but recently speculators, collectors and uninformed buyers have driven up seller’s price expectations — a trend that seems to be spreading to other areas of the Apple retro-computing hobby.

Check out this ‘open’ box and allegedly new Apple //c system which started out nearly in the $2K range but has since seen a few price drops. How low will the seller go until someone decides to buy? EDIT: The Apple //c sold shortly after we posted our article. Maybe one of our readers jumped on it.

September 21st, 2011

bootZero returns from hiatus

Bulgarian Apple II developer is back from hiatus and again making their unique and interesting adapters available on eBay. See their auction listings for additional information or check out our previous coverage.

September 14th, 2011

A2MP3 auction to benefit @rsuenaga fund

Two years after it was first unveiled at KansasFest 2009, Vince Briel’s A2MP3 card finally became commercially available at this year’s event, bringing MP3-playing capabilities to the Apple II. Attendees of KansasFest 2011 not only had the opportunity to assemble their A2MP3 kit under the watchful eye of its creator; they also got a custom board branded with the KansasFest logo, available nowhere else.

A2MP3 card

Until now! If you missed your chance to get the limited-edition A2MP3 card, you can now bid on one on eBay. This card, which has been built and modified by Tony Diaz to eliminate the need for a zip tie, was donated by Vince Briel and is the only way for anyone who didn’t attend KansasFest 2011 to get their hands on this unique card.

Best of all, 100% of the proceeds from this auction benefit the @rsuenaga Scholarship Fund. Ryan Suenaga was a longtime member and stalwart supporter of the Apple II community who tragically passed away earlier this year. Ryan had every intention of attending KansasFest 2011. In his absence, his friends have created a scholarship to benefit young adults, to whom Ryan, as a social worker, dedicated much of his life. This auction will be added to funds collected at KansasFest 2011 into a single donation that will make a significant difference in a young person’s life.

September 8th, 2011

A2Central IRC effected by SoCal Power Outage

At about 15:45, 8-Sept, 2011 – A power outage spread across Southern California, mostly San Diego and South Orange County, and it appears to be out of the ordinary, in that even the utility is predicting 24 hours or more of outage.
EDIT: Update – As of 2135 Local time, the power has been restored. I’m impressed, for such a large area, and a long forecast, they got it going so soon.

I’ve opened on EFNet in the meantime, available at

A2Central: Uh, everything’s under control. Situation normal.
The Internet: What happened?
A2Central: Uh, we had a slight electrical grid malfunction, but uh… everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

September 6th, 2011

Apple co-founder Ron Wayne’s autobiography published

Ron Wayne was the third, minority share partner with the two Steves when they founded Apple in 1976. He worked at Atari with Jobs, and while at Apple, designed the first company logo and worked on the Apple I manual. His 191-page book, Adventures of an Apple Founder, is available through Apple’s iTunes store for $10 USD. We’re not sure how much of the book discusses Apple’s founding; an early iTunes review says not too much.

September 4th, 2011

T40, a new Apple II text editor

Antoine Vignau’s 40×24 text editor is the perfect thing for creating ASCII art screens — useful for demos, programs and crack intros. Krue is accepting art submissions for his new fortycolumn gallery, and T40 makes for an easy path to participate. Head on over the Brutal Deluxe site to download. Recent updates to v1.31 have added a help screen, new key combos and bug fixes.

Apple II - T40 text editor screenshot

September 4th, 2011

A look back at Quark’s Apple II products

Mike Maginnis reaches back into desktop publishing company Quark’s history for a look at Catalyst and Word Juggler.

Quark Catalyst disk image