Tuesday is our usual move-in day for people who like to arrive early. It gives us a chance to unpack, unwind and socialize before sessions start. Some attendees travel pretty far to get here, and so it’s nice to just relax and catch up with old friends and meet the new people. We kept to our usual tradition of eating out as a group, followed by trips to the grocery to stock up on KFest essentials — ice, beverages, snacks and last minute supplies.

I made the rounds and got a sneak peek at few new products and software applications that are being released this week. I can’t spoil any surprises, but I think the hardware crowd will be pleased this year. I’ll be sure to post news and pictures as soon as I’m allowed to.

I turned in around 11:30pm (early for me) but the party was just getting started for some people, which included a late night Denny’s dash.

Wednesday is the official first day of KansasFest. HackFest also kicks off, and I anticipate we’ll see some interesting projects. I know of three people participating so far, and our judges for this year are Apple II notables Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd, Ken Gagne and Steve Weyhrich.

Our first KFest event is the Kookout, expertly handled by Kirk Mitchell. The weather cooperated, and we had a nice picnic outside with hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. We even had vegetarian-friendly offerings. After that, we collected our handout materials and KFest t-shirts, and retired until it was time for the keynote.

Our keynote this year was presented by Lane Roathe, cofounder of Ideas From the Deep and a former managing editor at Softdisk. I won’t rehash all of Lane’s accomplishments and professional background here; the press release covers all that. Suffice to say, we had a good time hearing how Lane got started programming with the Apple II, and his experiences as a contract programmer and developer over the years which included a few Romero and Carmack anecdotes.

Next up was Michael Mahon and his fabulous AppleCrate II, a 17 mainboard monster of Apple II parallel computing. The AppleCrate could have accomodated even more mainboards, but I think Michael ran out. This has got to be one of the greatest hacks on the Apple II ever conceived and executed. Wow!

Michael’s demonstration started with overview of his previous AppleCrate project, and NadaNet followed by an introduction in parallel computing on the new and improved AppleCrate II over NadaNet. Then we got to see theory put into practice as the AppleCrate crunched a Mandelbrot in about 32 minutes, that would take a single Apple //e eight and a half hours to complete. We also heard a 16 channel demo of the AppleCrate playing “When I’m 64”.

Our next session was with Rob Walch, from the Today In iPhone podcast. Rob gave us a presentation covering the new iPhone 2.0 software, some useful tips and then fielded our technical questions.

That was it for today’s sessions. Later we had a pizza reception sponsored by Syndicomm and Juiced.GS.

Well, it’s almost 1:00am and lots of people are still up so I think I’ll make another pass around the area and see what everyone is up to. Wish you were here with us!