HackFest 2015

Posted Thu, Aug. 13th 2015 in News

HackFest is an Apple II programming competition held over the course of KansasFest every year and open to all attendees.  Please see here for rules and past entries.  This year gave us a bumper crop of excellent software.  Our judges, Quinn Dunki, Michael J Mahon, and James Littlejohn, had a tough time selecting the winners.  Extra thanks goes to Quinn for creating videos and descriptions of each entry.  Quinn was like a Transwarp for HackFest and made the entire event "awesomer".

Carrington Vanston decided to make a tic-tac-toe game, but quickly realized the pen-and-paper classic is boring and nobody likes it. He pushed the concept to the next level by adding a meta-game above it. The game has sound effects, animations, music, and AI players. It’s remarkably polished, complete, and fun to play! This entry won HackFest for 2015!

Martin Haye set out to build something for the Apple III, but was quickly stymied by how slow SOS loads. Further frustrated by the poor system monitor, he built his own. Here he demonstrates Monster, a new monitor for the Apple III that lives in one sector and boots in one second. It assembles and disassembles, much like the Apple II monitor. This entry took second place!

Jeremy Rand built a complete Sudoku game in hi-res graphics, including a multi-layered hint system. It also has a note-taking system to help mark up squares while working out the solution. This entry took third place!

KFest 2015 included a game competition around Bob Bishop’s Lit’l Red Bug. Unsatisfied with his score, Kevin Savetz hacked the game to play itself.

Kevin Savetz realized that all the amazing Apple II disk images on archive.org are trapping valuable data and preventing it from being searchable. He built a system to download the disk images, catalog them, list the contents of all text files, produce listings of all BASIC programs, and push all that back up to Archive as metadata. It’s a very powerful tool for preserving the Apple II legacy. This entry was a very close fourth place.

John Leake decided to try his hand at low-res graphics by creating OMG Zombies. Strategize your moves to trick the zombies into tripping over each other!

Inspired by the old “3-sided records”, and trying to create something that 4am couldn’t crack, Forrest Lowe got deep into floppy disks. He created a way to put two different Sector 0s on a single side, effectively creating independent volumes on the same surface. Which one you get when booting the disk will be random, depending on where the head starts tracking. You never know which sector 0 it will find!

Charles Mangin decided to take the idea of a “disk image” more literally. He built a system that analyzes a floppy disk and produces a visual representation of where the bits are actually physically located on the surface.

Sarah W realized that the classic Apple II game Olympic Decathlon has a reference to Bruce Jenner in the introductory text. As we all know, this name is no longer correct. Sarah has fixed that little problem quite handily.


In the news

Posted Tue, Aug. 4th 2015 in News

Did you miss KansasFest 2015, or do you simply need help remembering everything that happened?  Here are a few community reports and articles that you might enjoy:

If I've missed something, please let me know, and I'll amend the above list.

Apple II Forever Awards

Posted Tue, Jul. 28th 2015 in News

Since 2010, the KansasFest Committee has recognized members of the Apple II community who have made significant contributions to the Apple II, either in promoting or developing for the platform during its active years, or in helping to advance or preserve the Apple II since its production had been discontinued.

Our keynote speaker was the first 2015 recipient:

  • Rebecca Heineman, for her long-standing support of the Apple II and numerous game publications

We also recognized a group of people who created the A2Pi, an interface between the Raspberry Pi computer and the Apple II.  The A2Pi project is an outstanding example of collaboration.  The project merges old and new technology to bring innovative and useful capabilities to the Apple II.

All of these people have accomplishments beyond the A2Pi, too.  To name just a few accomplishments of many, David created the PLASMA language and VM02 Java environment.  Ivan created Slammer!, A2SERVER, and NuInput.  James developed several power supply adapters, slot expander hardware, and a prototyping board.  Anthony and Henry are the leaders behind UltimateMicro, including a Transwarp GS clone, scalable oscillator, and various RAM cards.

Goodbye 2015. Hello 2016.

Posted Sun, Jul. 19th 2015 in News

The 27th KansasFest is finished, and the last few people are making their way to the airport.  We had 76 people join us and prove that the Apple II is forever.  Even after so many years, there are still brilliant, clever, original, and fun things to do with our favorite computer.  Over the next few weeks, we'll archive and share material from KansasFest.

Join us next year July 19-24, 2016 at Rockhurst University.

What's happening in Kansas City?

Posted Mon, Jul. 13th 2015 in News

Whether you're in Kansas City or watching from afar, you can stay in touch and share:

Let me know if I've missed your favorite forum, and I'll update the above list.


Arriving at KansasFest

Posted Sun, Jul. 12th 2015 in News

KansasFest 2015 is here.  Bags are packed and people are moving.  Here are some details that will help you as you arrive at Rockhurst University.

We will be in Corcoran Hall on the campus of Rockhurst University.  Please see the campus map.  Notice the one way streets that may affect your travel.  When you arrive, please park in front (north) of the building along the street.  The doors will be locked.  Knock and somebody will let you in.  Dagen has created a helpful video showing our building and parking.

Registration is open on Tuesday between 12PM – 4PM and on Wednesday between 1PM – 1:30PM.  If you arrive outside those times, please visit the Rockhurst staff at the front desk for your room assignment, key, and access card.  KansasFest staff will finish your check-in later.

After unloading, please relocate your car to the gated lot just east of the building.  Your access card will open the gate.

On Tuesday, we will gather at 4:00PM in the building lobby for a dinner outing to Jack Stack BBQ (Freight House location) and Lidia's Italian restaurant.

On Wednesday, activities kickoff at 11 AM and the keynote begins at 1:30 PM.  Every day, breakfast is 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM in the Massman Hall cafeteria.

We will not provide printed schedules.  The schedule is available in several formats.  We'll update all of these schedule formats except the PDF with last minute changes.  We'll announce changes before sessions begin and maintain a whiteboard in the lobby with written notices.  It's also helpful to monitor the mailing list.

If you have any questions or problems, please ask.  Members of the planning committee will wear black lanyards.  We have many regular attendees who can help, too, so don't hesitate to introduce yourself.

Please ask before filming, photographing, or streaming.  People with red lanyards have declined permission, and it’s always courteous to ask regardless of lanyard color.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Thank you to our prize donors

Posted Wed, Jul. 8th 2015 in News

Please thank the many vendors and individuals who donated prizes that we'll give away at KansasFest.

KansasFest continues after 27 years because of passionate volunteers and community like you.  Thank you.

Early-bird registration ending May 31

Posted Fri, May. 15th 2015 in News

Early-bird registration for KansasFest, the 27th annual convention dedicated to the Apple II computer, ends on May 31.  After that, prices rise $55. Register now, and you'll have extra cash to upgrade your Apple II. 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.

The rest of the week will be packed with hardware and software sessions. 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.  We already have 900 minutes of scheduled sessions with only 400 minutes still open. Please sign up now to present a session.  Check out our YouTube channel for examples of past presentations.

KansasFest invites any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends to attend the longest running annual Apple II conference. Sign up for our discussion list to meet other attendees and get the latest details as the event approaches.  With only two months to go before KansasFest starts, it's time to finish your registration, book travel, and format your floppies.