KansasFest 2014 opens for registration

Posted Tue, Apr. 8th 2014 in News

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 registration form.

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 see the menu to the left.

Margot Comstock to deliver keynote speech at KansasFest 2014

Posted Fri, Feb. 21st 2014 in News

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KansasFest 2014, the Apple II convention, is scheduled for July 22 –27 in Kansas City, Missouri.  Margot Comstock, co-founder and editor of the much-loved Softalk magazine, will join us with a keynote presentation.

Comstock and Al Tommervik founded Softalk in 1980 to share the hardware, software, and people behind the Apple II.  At its peak, Softalk had 250,000 readers and uniquely offered broad and deep coverage of everything Apple II related, including programming, game playing, business use, and home use.  Later, Softalk Publishing produced magazines for the emerging Macintosh and IBM markets, ST.Mac and Softalk for the IBM Personal ComputerSoftline, a game magazine begun by Ken William’s OnLine Systems and later renamed to ST.Game, was Softalk Publishing’s second longest-lived magazine.  Softalk Books published several books by the magazine’s columnists and a Mac book by Doug Clapp.

The Apple II magazine ran for four years before industry changes and expenses led management to cease publication.  In that time, Softalk earned many loyal fans, and a group of volunteers is working to archive and share issues.  The Smithsonian Institution recognizes Comstock and Tommervik as pioneers of the microcomputer revolution and Softalk as a chronicle of that revolution.

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 2014. For photos, videos, and presentations from past KansasFests, please visit the event's official Web site at http://www.kansasfest.org/.

Posted Mon, Feb. 17th 2014 in News

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The People of KansasFest

Posted Mon, Aug. 19th 2013 in News

Who goes to KansasFest?  A series of short interviews published on Computerworld from Ken Gagne tries to answer this question.  Through these videos, you'll meet some diverse and interesting guys and gals who attended KansasFest 2013.

When you're done with those, enjoy three bonus interviews.

Thank you to Ken for planning, recording, and publishing all of these profiles.  And, thank you to Ivan Drucker, Carl Knoblock, and Dr. Steven Weyhrich for sharing their history with the Apple II.

What did you miss?

Posted Mon, Aug. 12th 2013 in News

What did you miss at KansasFest?  Even if you were there, you probably slept at least once and missed something exciting.

The folks in Australia had their own fun at OzKfest, and Twitter captured news from their gathering.

There's much more for us to archive and share.  More material, including videos, will appear in the coming months as we have time to collect and process the everything.

HackFest 2013

Posted Wed, Aug. 7th 2013 in News

We had seven HackFest participants this year.  The judges were Eric Shepherd, Eric Rucker, and James Littlejohn.

Competitors were, in order of placing:

  1. Margaret Anderson: Won a Raspberry Pi kit.  Her project was a nifty Eamon mapper.
  2. Geoff Weiss:  He donated his prize back to the committee for re-use. He fixed a Teach bug with improper alignment of where the I-beam cursor switch should happen over scroll bars, and he updated the Time control panel for the current Daylight Saving Time dates.
  3. Kevin Savetz:  Won Dr. Steve's book. Wrote a program that automatically plays Structris.
  4. Jeremy Rand: Won the Brain Board. Wrote an RPN calculator as a shell program and got a decent start on an NDA version.
  5. Kelvin Sherlock: Chose the Chip Tunes disk. Wrote an init that displays "KANSASFEST 2013" message on the boot screen, one letter at a time. Also updated ORCA/C to support binary literals, a big hit for programmers.
  6. Charles Magnin: Chose the New Apple II Users Guide. Designed a KansasFest themed 5.25" disk sleeve and created a hacked Bard's Tale character disk with super-powered characters with a KansasFest theme.
  7. Forrest Lowe: Chose the 5.25" disk adapter for USB. Created a custom tool for helping him boot trace a disk.

Thank you to the judges, especially Eric Shepherd who provided the above notes.  Thank you to everyone who took the time and courage to participate.  Over the coming weeks, we'll collect and post entries.

Thanks for helping KansasFest with your Amazon orders

Posted Mon, Aug. 5th 2013 in News

Thanks to those who have taken advantage of the HelpKFest.org link, Amazon has paid us $135 in the past 7 months, which is being used to help with expenses associated with planning, advertising, and hosting the event. We appreciate the support of the Apple II community for using this simple, no-cost link.

Structris Tournament Champion and Awesome Dude: Eric Rucker

Posted Fri, Aug. 2nd 2013 in News

The Structris championship match's pivotal moment:

At the end of level 9, Carrington's blip was trapped and in the deep decent of doom. Believing this was the end, he looked away from the screen to curse the stars. The level had, in fact, completed in the nick of time. But it was too late to recover. Crushed like a bug. Eric was victorious.

Special mentions:

  • Semi-finalist Scott Miller, who provided the game's mantra: "DON'T FEAR THE PIECE, NEVER FEAR THE PIECE".
  • Kevin "the Human" Savetz and Carrington Vanston who gave an entertaining semi-final round – progressing well beyond level 10.
  •  Jeremy Rand for scoring the highest in the seed round (97 rows cleared)

Thanks to all the competitors, Michael Sternberg (Supreme Structris Mastermind and author of the above first-hand account), and Martin Haye (Structris Visionary and Creator).