News

Roger Wagner to deliver keynote

Posted Fri, Feb. 9th 2018 in News
Roger Wagner

Roger Wagner

KansasFest 2018, the premier annual Apple II convention, is scheduled for July 17 – 22 in Kansas City, Missouri. This year marks the 30th time that this event has been held. In July 1989, Resource Central held the first A2-Central Developer Conference, focused on the individuals and companies who were still producing hardware and software for the Apple II and IIGS computers. Within a couple of years, the event transformed into a conference for Apple II developers and users alike.

This year, KansasFest welcomes back one of its alumni, Roger Wagner. Though 2018 will mark Wagner’s third time as a keynote speaker for the event, most current attendees haven’t had the opportunity to hear him speak because his last appearance was 23 years ago.  He has deep roots in the Apple II community, back to the beginnings of the platform. In 1978, Wagner started his own software publishing company, Southwestern Data Systems (SDS), as a vehicle for some of his first software products for the Apple II, Programmer’s Utility Pack and Apple-Doc, sold on cassette. He also wrote a word processor for the Apple II, The Correspondent. SDS sold software written by other authors, including Glen Bredon’s popular Merlin assembler, The Routine Machine by Peter Meyer (Applesoft extensions), and ASCII Express and Z-Term by Bill Blue, as well as games such as BEZARE by John Beznard and NORAD.  

During the years he also wrote articles for the major publications of the day, including Call-A.P.P.L.E., Nibble, inCider, A+ Magazine, and GS+. Wagner is best remembered for his long-running Assembly Lines column in Softalk, teaching that first generation of Apple II users how to write software in 6502 assembly language.

He later renamed his software company to Roger Wagner Publishing, and continued to provide quality software for both the 8-bit Apple II and the 16-bit Apple IIGS. His most famous contribution to the IIGS was the HyperCard-inspired program, HyperStudio, which linked pictures, audio media, and text with clickable links, a foretaste of the hyperlinked web that was to later arrive in the 1990s. With his original background in teaching, Wagner continued the HyperStudio legacy by later developing it for Windows and Macintosh computers, and focusing on its application in the school environment, to teach students to create presentations and to learn about computers. He further developed HyperDuino, an Arduino-based hardware extension for the HyperStudio to allow students to control real-world devices with their projects.

KansasFest is an annual convention offering Apple II users and retrocomputing enthusiasts the opportunity to engage in beginner and technical sessions, programming contests, an exhibition hall, 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. In upcoming weeks, the KansasFest web site will announce registration details. For photos, videos, and presentations from past KansasFests, please browse the “Sessions” and “Multimedia” sections of the site.

Apple II Forever 2017

Posted Fri, Sep. 15th 2017 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.

This year, we recognized three individuals:

Plamen Vasilov of A2Heaven delivers innovative and useful hardware for the Apple II, including battery-backed memory cards, VGA video adapters, a floppy drive emulator, and sound cards.  Most recently, he introduced a 16.6 MHz accelerator for the Apple IIe.  He uses modern components to deliver products that are smaller, are lower-power, are lower cost, and have more features than previously available, and he is both advancing and preserving our favorite computers.

Glenn Jones with A2 Retro Systems connects our Apple IIs to modern computer networks and the Internet with the Uthernet expansion card.  He released the latest generation of this card, the Uthernet II, in 2015.  Besides facilitating file transfer and preservation, his work enables new telecommunication applications for the Apple II, such as Web browsers, e-mail clients, Web servers, and chat clients.  The potential of Glenn’s work is not yet fully realized, and he is helping to advance what’s possible with our machines.

Quinn Dunki embodies the hacker spirit that founded the Apple II.  She designed and built her own 6502-based computer, Veronica.  She has disassembled and improved the Apple IIc Plus ROM and has prototyped an Apple IIc with integrated monitor and mass storage.  She has contributed original software libraries for Apple II sprite, mouse, and GUI programming, and she created a tool that greatly simplifies 8-bit assembly programming.  Most significantly, Quinn inspires others through freely sharing her knowledge and expertise.

HackFest 2017

Posted Fri, Aug. 25th 2017 in News

You might think that software created in a few sleepless distracted days wouldn’t be amazing and noteworthy.  And, you would be wrong.  This year’s HackFest entries show incredible skill and creativity.

The entries include:

  • Martin Haye: Invoking Apple III Satan Mode, an assumed-to-be-impossible way to access Apple III hardware from Apple II programs.
  • Ivan Hogan: An assembly language game making use of the text screen. Jump on the lines without touching the heads!
  • Jeremy Rand: ColourGo, an implementation of the casual game Chameleon Run, using Apple Hi-Res.
  • Russ Ross: An implementation of the classic casual game 2048, using the text screen.
  • Rob McMullen: Fujirun, an assembly language game based on Amidar. Save the Apple from the Atari interlopers!
  • Alain Zanchetta: Hacking Sargon II to take input not from the keyboard, but from another copy of Sargon II connected by serial port.
  • Alex French: Rendering particles on the Apple IIgs in Super Hi-Res, while playing nice with GS/OS.
  • Charles Mangin: You Are a Grue – A text adventure written in Inform 7.
  • Kevin Savetz: A version of the Simon game, with custom-made button controllers hacked on-site to interface with the joystick port.

The winners were:

  1. Rob McMullen: Winner for sheer scope, the level of polish, and the embracing of modern community tools.
  2. Charles Mangin: Winner for stretching outside his comfort zone, creating something clever, and refusing to give up when his first idea failed.
  3. Alain Zanchetta: Winner for the creativity of his idea, and embodying a true hacker grit in the project.

Many entries, often with source code, are available here.

Come back in 2018: July 17-22

Posted Fri, Aug. 18th 2017 in News

Mark your calendar for KansasFest 2018 from July 17 through July 22 at Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO. Super-early arrival (dorm room but no presentations or activities) will start July 16.

Registration will open Spring 2018. Until then, enjoy recordings from 2017.

Rockhurst: The Apple II Parody

Posted Mon, Jul. 31st 2017 in News

What’s the Garage Giveaway at KansasFest all about?  Steven Weyhrich tells us with this awesome parody:

How II Attend KansasFest

Posted Fri, Jul. 28th 2017 in News

Charles Mangin of RetroConnector created a helpful video on how to attend KansasFest.

Recording of keynote with Brutal Deluxe

Posted Wed, Jul. 26th 2017 in News

Thanks to the efforts of Jason Scott, the 2017 keynote presentation from Antoine Vignau and Olivier Zardini is now available online.

Happy 40th Birthday

Posted Fri, Jul. 21st 2017 in News

We’re celebrating the 40th birthday of the Apple II.  Are you?

KansasFest 2017