KansasFest 2016, the 28th annual Apple II convention, is now open for registration. Users, programmers, hobbyists, and retrocomputing enthusiasts are invited to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, from Tuesday, July 19, through Sunday, July 24, for six days and five nights of sessions, demos, announcements, contests, and camaraderie.
Mike Harvey, a business executive, salesperson, technologist, project manager, entrepreneur, programmer, and best known in the Apple community as the founder and publisher of Nibble magazine, will join us with a keynote presentation. Harvey 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 related to the Apple II. 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 hands-on workshop, a podcast recording session, Structris tournaments, or an athletic round of Bite the Bag, there are experiences to be had and memories to be made at KansasFest that aren't possible except in the company of surprising, brilliant, diehard Apple II fans.
Register by May 31 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. After that, prices rise $55. Official KansasFest shirts are extra and optional and must be ordered by June 22; registration for staying on-site closes July 1. To register, please visit the official registration form.
KansasFest invites any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends to attend the longest running annual Apple II conference. KansasFest is working towards non-profit status, which will help keep the conference alive for many more years. For photos, videos, schedules, and presentations from past year's events or to sign up for the email list and for inquiries, please browse our website.
KansasFest 2016, the 28th annual Apple II convention, is scheduled for July 19 – 24 in Kansas City, Missouri. Mike Harvey, a business executive, salesperson, technologist, project manager, entrepreneur, programmer, and best known in the Apple community as the founder and publisher of Nibble magazine, will join us with a keynote presentation.
Harvey started his career as a salesperson for IBM and continued with various roles at other major technology companies, including marketing at Burroughs, planning and project management at Xerox, and executive positions with several others. In October 1979, he was between jobs and thought he would start an Apple II magazine, Nibble. The first four issues contained his own programs until he was able to attract free-lance authors. Over the next 12 ½ years, he published over 16,000 pages and inspired countless technology-related careers. At its pinnacle, Nibble earned about $5 million annually, had over 100,000 readers, and had the second highest circulation among Apple II magazines, all handled via an Apple II-based order and fulfillment system that he developed. The technical challenges were considerable – for example, figuring out how to sort and print 30,000 subscriber labels in ZIP code sequence on a network of Apple IIs. The success of Nibble contributed to Harvey’s publication of PC Hands On for IBM PC compatible systems and to four years of Nibble Mac. After Nibble shut down in 1992, Harvey returned to executive leadership in the mainframe industry. He retired in 2000 and now enjoys web development, photography, computer art, and travel. His breadth of industry experience and unique business perspective is certain to inspire and entertain KansasFest 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 February 2016. For photos, videos, and presentations from past KansasFests, please browse the "Sessions" and "Multimedia" sections of our site.
Sean's Garage Giveaway (GG) is one of the most popular events at KansasFest. Sean, James, and other dedicated community members have been freely giving away vintage Apple computers, peripherals, books, magazines, and software (and much more) for several years now.
Many of the items Sean redistributes come from other retro Apple enthusiasts collections, typically because they're downsizing, lost interest or sadly, have passed on. Some of it is shipped in; some of it volunteers travel and fetch. The important thing to the former owners and to us is that we keep vintage Apple stuff out of the landfill and in the hands of appreciative enthusiasts like you.
Sean doesn't sell any of it because he believes what is freely given should be freely shared with the rest of our community. He accepts donations during KansasFest to cover storage, travel and gas expenses, but he's always in the red.
At the suggestion of several KansasFest attendees and friends, Sean has started a GoFundMe fundraiser so that you may support the Garage Giveaway as you see fit. Your gift directly helps offset the expense of bringing the vintage Apple II and Macintosh goodies to KansasFest.
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.
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:
- A Weekend at KansasFest, the Sleepaway Camp for Apple II Fanatics by Jason Koebler at MOTHERBOARD
- Videos from Jason Scott and the Internet Archive, including the keynote from Rebecca Heineman (video or audio only)
- A2Central.com reports for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
- Youtube with archived live streams and HackFest videos
- Usenet comp.sys.apple2 reports from Kirk Mitchell
- InverseAtascii podcast reflections
- Podcasters at KansasFest, including Kevin Savetz from ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Podcast; John Linville from The CoCo Crew, Paul Hagstrom from Drop /// Inches; Mike Whalen from Electric Dreams BBS Podcast; Wade Ripkowski from Inverse ATASCII; Quinn Dunki from Open Apple; Rob McMullen from Player/Missile Podcast; Ken Gagne, Paul Hagstrom, Michael Mulhurn, Carrington Vanston, Steven Weyhrich from Retro Computing Roundtable; and John Leake from RetroMacCast
- ANTIC Interview 64 with Rebecca Heineman
If I've missed something, please let me know, and I'll amend the above list.
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.
- David Schmenck, for the original concept, design, and implementation of the A2Pi
- Ivan Drucker, for software support and A2CLOUD
- James Littlejohn, for circuit board design and layout
- Anthony Martino, for turning the A2Pi from a hobby project into a product
- Henry Courbis, for turning the A2Pi from a hobby project into a product
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.
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.