Archive for 2014

Remembering Bob Bishop

Posted Fri, Nov. 14th 2014 in News
Bob Bishop

Bob Bishop at KansasFest 2011 with one of his original cassette tape products.

Bob Bishop, co-founder of Apple’s R&D lab and the keynote speaker at KansasFest 2011, passed away recently.  You may learn more about his legacy through the Apple ][ History website or a recording of the keynote.

In Bishop’s obituary, his colleague and friend Mr. Wozniak shared that “[Bob’s passing] indeed is VERY sad for me. It really makes you realize that all the good people you have known will pass someday. Bob was an important person in my life during the early Apple days, the later Apple days, and afterwards. I try to live by the concepts in his book Shades of Reality.

Bob was part of the early history of the Apple computer and has developed numerous commercial software titles, worked side-by-side with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, written a book on assembly language programming, and published articles in most Apple II magazines. Bob has lived what most of us only dream about, and he has the stories to prove it.

In 1976, Dr. Bishop knocked on Steve Jobs’ door and ended up owning an Apple I. Soon, he bought one of the first Apple II computers. A few months later, the first graphical Apple II games, like Rocket Pilot and Star Wars, came from Bob’s keyboard before Apple had even finished the documentation. Later, Bob brought speech to the personal computer with Apple-Talker and Apple-Listener. In 1978, Bob and Steve Wozniak founded Apple’s research and development division. His program Apple-Vision was included on DOS 3.3 master disks, demonstrating the audio and video capabilities of the Apple II. Even after retiring in 1981, he continued using, programming, and writing about the entire Apple II line.

The stories do not end with the Apple II. Bob has hosted a radio show using the “Mr. Logic” personality, written essays, founded a comic book club, designed a computer programming language, and written online riddles.

Thank you, Bob Bishop, for everything you’ve accomplished and shared.

Apple II Forever Awards

Posted Sat, Oct. 25th 2014 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.

At KansasFest 2014 last July, we announced this year’s winners:

  • Margot Comstock was the co-founder and editor of the much-loved Softalk magazine.  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.  She gave the keynote speech at KansasFest 2014.
  • Al Tommervik was the co-founder and publisher of Softalk magazine with Margot Comstock.
  • Michael J. Mahon is a respected expert on Apple II sound and distributed computing, and he routinely advances the capabilities of the Apple II.  He created AppleCrate II, a parallel processing system built from 17 Apple IIe’s, and he developed NadaNet, a networking technology underlying the AppleCrate. Mahon has also worked on sound synthesis projects, including the drum sequencer “DMS Drummer” in collaboration with 8 Bit Weapon and ComputeHer.  He contributes his expertise to the community through extensive documentation and Usenet.
  • Andrew Roughan is a leader in the Australian Apple II community.  He has helped organize OzKFest, an Australian Apple II gathering, and is an accomplished programmer specializing in telecommunications software.  He is a contributor to Juiced.GS and to Marinetti, the TCP/IP stack for the IIgs.

Oz KFest 2015

Posted Tue, Sep. 16th 2014 in News

Are the post-KansasFest blues troubling you?  Did you miss KansasFest?  Don’t worry; go to Australia for the southern hemisphere’s greatest Apple II gathering.  Andrew Roughan, one of the event’s organizers, writes:

The next Australian retro computing gathering, Oz KFest, will be happening in Melbourne, Australia, April 17-19, 2015. Come join us downunder for a few of days of retro inspiration, Aussie ingenuity and camaraderie!

The goal of the event is to provide a user group style environment to exchange ideas and discuss new developments in retro computing hardware, software, preservation, emulation and other related topics.

There will be a few attendees of past KansasFests and Oz KFests and we hope to imbibe the spirit of these events into Oz KFest once again.

The presentations during the weekend will come from the participants and therefore an invitation is extended for session proposals to be made via email to

If you have an idea for a session that you’d like to present, please let us know so we can allocate a time slot for you. If you would like to learn something, let us know what that is and we will try to find a presenter for that topic.

Registration for the event is not yet open. However, now is the time to block out the dates in your calendar, arrange how to get there and where you’ll stay. If you need help, let us know how we can help.

For event details, see and for breaking updates follow OzKFest on Twitter.

Reminder that the ‘Downunder Chat’ happens every Friday night from 9pm Australian EST in

Oz KFest (in Australia) is separate from KansasFest (in Kansas City) and has different organizers.  You’re seeing this announcement on the KansasFest website because both of our groups share an interest in the Apple II.

HackFest 2014

Posted Wed, Aug. 6th 2014 in News

HackFest is the Apple II programming competition held over the course of KansasFest every year and open to all attendees.  Please see our archives to download any of these programs or to review the rules.  It’s wonderful to see new software developed for the Apple II.

  • Jeremy Rand took first place with a clone of the 2048 game for the Apple II. (Download DSK)
  • Ivan Hogan took second place with his trigonometric function plotter. (Download DSK)
  • John Lane took third place with Thorin’s Charge Card, a Wizardy 4 copy protection bypass hack. (Download TXT)
  • Charles Mangin participated with a biofeedback game and custom-built hardware. (Download ZIP)

Structris World Champion: Ken Gagne

Posted Mon, Aug. 4th 2014 in News

Ken Gagne won the 2014 Structris Tournament.

An indomitable Ken Gagne won the 2014 KansasFest Structris tournament by defeating Martin Haye, Structris’ evil programmer himself, in the final round. Some of the highlights: A brave Mr. Wiser played against Eric in the first round but was unable to faze the defending champion. Structris-newbie John showed his savant-like prowess by advancing to the semi-finals after tying Carrington with the very meaningful score of 42-42. Carrington magnanimously set the precedent for tie-breakers by deciding the match’s winner be the one who achieved the score in lesser time. Mr. LaPlante progressed after getting crushed by the Tetrominoes several seconds before his competitor, Kevin “the Human” Savetz, yet Mark’s score was still enough to best Kevin’s by one point. Jeremy, as always, did an outstanding job getting past Andy but had the misfortune of facing the game’s creator, Martin, in the semi-final.

The most exciting round of the tournament was the semi-final between the top-seeded Ken and the defending champion, Eric. An epic battle which featured Eric casually explaining some under-the-hood details of the game to a curious Ivan the Younger – all while playing the nerve-wracking 11+ levels. Both Ken and Eric progressed well beyond last year’s highest scores, reaching level 17. In the end, Ken’s score of 249 will stand as the mark for all others.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Please thank Michael Sternberg for organizing the championship and for the above report.  Also, thank Martin Haye for creating Structris.

Winding down and waiting for 2015

Posted Sun, Jul. 27th 2014 in News

KansasFest is winding down, and everybody is heading home.  I’ll post photos, presentations, and contest results over the next week.  Until then, please enjoy the event coverage from A2Central:

Also, don’t miss Twitter.

There will be a KansasFest 2015, and we’ll announce the dates as soon as possible.

Get your schedule here!

Posted Sun, Jul. 20th 2014 in News
Scan this in Guidebook

Scan this in Guidebook

KansasFest is here, and our packed schedule is online:

There is no need to print the schedule since we’ll provide you a hard copy.  The electronic versions will always have the latest updates.

Registration closes on Thursday, July 10

Posted Tue, Jul. 8th 2014 in News

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 are a few group photographs from past years to remind you what you’ll miss:

[imagebrowser id=8]

We have many exciting sessions planned.  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” (Andrew Hogan & 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)