Archive: Computer Collector Newsletter / Technology Rewind, Jan. 2004 - March 2006

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K-Fest 2004 Report

by Eric Shepherd

Tuesday, July 21: Day 1

Tuesday is arrival day at Avila University; it's the day we all move into the dorm, set up our gear, and get reacquainted after a year apart - and, of course, meet first timers.

I arrived at around 5:30 PM, driving in from the airport with Jeri Ellsworth and Andy Molloy in tow. The first surprise was that Avila was really on the ball this year, with someone handing out the room keys at the office in Marion Center; in past years, the KansasFest committee had to deal with the keys themselves.

Once that was accomplished, and our stuff had been lugged to our rooms, it was time to wander the halls and say "Hello" to all our old friends, and to greet those we'd not met before.

Upon our return to the dorm, it was time to hang out and goof off. After a few hours of roaming the halls and checking out each other's gear, a number of us coalesced into the lounge on the first floor and chatted until around 3AM, at which point we started to disperse to get one decent night's sleep before the main event.

Wednesday, July 22: Day 2

Wednesday started for me with the KansasFest Kookout… After eating, Tony Diaz, our new Head Cheese, welcomed everyone to KansasFest, and Eric Shepherd provided a quick get-me-started on the HackFest programming contest.

Then it was time for the first session of the week, with Bruce Baker leading an interesting rap session on AppleWorks and the things people use it for. Bruce was followed by Eric Shepherd, who explained the code tricks used by Wolf 3D on the IIgs to optimize its screen refresh and to read multiple keys being pressed at the same time.

After that came Austin Phelps presenting a session on WiFi networking, including security advice. A very handy and informative session, indeed! Austin was followed by dinner -- our first meal served by Avila's kitchen this year. The strange might-be-meat patties were a surprise, but the pasta and beef goulash-like substance was fairly tasty.

After that, a few of us made a run out to CompUSA… We barely made it back in time for Steve Weyhrich's fascinating keynote address, comparing the history of radio and of automobiles to that of personal computing. (Okay, in reality, they had to wait for us to get back because they wanted Syndicomm to be able to tape the speech -- thanks, guys!)

Thursday, July 23: Day 3

Day three began with waffles. Or possibly they were the new heat tiles NASA is developing to return the space shuttle to flight. Either way, they were rock-hard yet strangely tasty once you managed to get it into your mouth.

The first session of the day was Greg Nelson's presentation on graphics and animation software for the Apple IIgs. That was followed by back-to-back sessions from Geoff Weiss; the first was about the LANceGS card and Ethernet software development, and the second was an introduction to the capabilities of the KEGS Apple IIgs emulator, including some new code that's not released yet that lets KEGS emulate a LANceGS card.

After Geoff wrapped up, we went to lunch, then returned for a session on ISPs by Howard Katz. Then came three rousing games of Apple II Jeopardy, hosted by Tony Diaz. After that, Tony demonstrated how to refurbish an Apple 3.5 or UniDisk 3.5 drive.

Friday, July 24: Day 4

Friday was a great day of KansasFesting; after skipping breakfast so I could get an extra hour of sleep, I headed over to the Eagle's Nest -- the room our sessions have been held in since last year -- to attend Ken Gagne's session looking at some of the best Apple II games that can be gotten free on the Internet.

After that, I presented my 90-minute session on Mac OS X programming using the Cocoa architecture, in which we designed and implemented a fairly complete word processor, including printing support, all during the session.

After that came lunch… After that, we returned to the Eagle's Nest for Steve Weyhrich's session about the history of digital music and how digital music works, which was very interesting, including sound examples from electronic music equipment dating back nearly sixty years.

Howard Katz was up next, presenting Unix shell commands and features of use to Apple II users whose ISPs provide shell access. His session included looks at doing email, web browsing, and Usenet access, as well as configuring the environment.

Steve Weyhrich then returned to the podium, talking about how to record digital music from an analog source, such as a cassette tape or vinyl record. After Steve, Sharon Knoblock talked about genealogy -- both in terms of research methods and ways to use computers to help track the massive amounts of information involved.

Next, we migrated back to Whitfield Center for the traditional pasta banquet, the awarding of prizes for best tie (to Jeri Ellsworth, who made a dress out of ties -- we'll have a photo available soon) and best door sign (to Jeri Ellsworth and Ken Gagne for a creative door involving a talking fish modified to talk like a Furby and a dismembered mannequin head).

Saturday, July 25: Day 5

Syndicomm's demo consisted of showing off its new Mac OS X word processor for kids, OK-Writer, as well as a work-in-progress version of Shrink II 2.0 for Mac OS X, which provides the ability to manipulate ShrinkIt files on the Mac. No release date was announced. Syndicomm also demonstrated a few interesting features of Mac OS X, including the popular GarageBand application.

After another break, Hans Franke presented information about the newly redone design of the AnyCard USB/VGA/Memory card for the Apple II series of computers. Blank cards were received this week, and the first prototypes should be built within the next month. Cards will then be provided to select developers that have volunteered to help with driver design. We'll have a feature article about the new AnyCard soon.

The vendor fair and swap meet followed, with Apple II developers and users selling their wares.

KansasFest was a blast, as usual, with fun and weird activities interspersed among genuinely useful and educational presentations.

Syndicomm will be making DVDs of sessions and other KansasFest events available later this summer. Nearly 30 hours of video were captured on tape; as soon as we can edit that down into something palatable, we'll let you know!

Sunday, July 26: Day 6

Sunday is move out day; the last day of KansasFest. Although we've all had a great time, we're tired and ready to go home. But there's still a certain sadness, too. We've bonded with the people we met at KansasFest, some of whom we've been hanging out with online for years, and others we just met for the first time.

While the Apple II is ostensibly the reason KansasFest exists, it's really more about the people, the community, and the good times we have when we're together, both in person and online.

So parting is a sweet sorrow, but we know that we can gather again in the virtual world and share our memories, and our expectations of the future.

And we'll smile and look forward to next year when we gather again in Kansas City.