Author Archive

23 Jul 2016 KansasFest 2016
 |  Category: KansasFest  | One Comment

It has been a long time since I made a post here (hello, August 2015!!), but life has been busy, and I have other things that draw my attention besides my old stalwart Apple II fun.

What brings me back to the blog again to mention the annual Apple II convention, KansasFest, which was held July 19-23, 2016, in Kansas City, Missouri at Rockhurst University. It was, I feel, another excellent gathering of the best and brightest in the Apple II world, and shows continued growth of the numbers of fans who find out what fun it is to get together with others who love this computer, to teach each other and learn from each other, and to press back the frontiers of what this old machine can do. While the following is not comprehensive, here are some things that stood out to me:

  • We were treated to updates to Lawless Legends, the new graphic role-playing game undergoing development, and a release of a smaller game, Ancient Legends, that runs using the same game engine as Lawless Legends (see the Legends web site for details on how to get that).
  • PERCOL-8, a networkable Apple II emulator that not only runs old Apple II software, but uses special graphics software to manipulate the old screens to you can get a 3D type of effect, or even have two different people help play the same game at the same time.
  • How the Internet Archive is making it even easier to run old Apple II software right in your web browser.
  • How Apple II software deprotector 4am (a great contributor to the Internet Archive collection) came up with a program to allow you to automatically remove copy protection from most old software (if you have any old uncopyable disks).
  • More and more about emulators than I’ve heard at KFest for years

and much more than I have time to discuss here. You can look for videos of many of the sessions on YouTube; here is the talk I gave about the history of online services here:

We had the privilege of a visit this year by David Pierini of Cult of Mac, who wrote five stories about the event:

And I was able to complete another parody video about the event, this year with lots of video from the event:

Not only this, but we will be having it again next year, July 18-23, 2017. Come next year, and celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apple II !

 

17 Aug 2015 Edible Apple II
 |  Category: Apple II, General  | Leave a Comment

A few years ago I saw posted info on Geek Culture/Joy of Tech on how to make a cake that looked like the Smithsonian Apple-1 computer:

apple-1 cake geekculture.com

Now, Mike Maginnis has posted in the Apple II Enthusiasts group on Facebook a link to pictures of an Apple II wedding cake.

Saveyourforkcakes.com Saveyourforkcakes.com

I like the look of it, but wish they included info on how it was made. What a dessert at KFest 2016 this would make!

12 Aug 2015 Laine Nooney and Apple History
 |  Category: Apple II, General  | One Comment

This entire web site is focused on preserving and telling the story of microcomputers, focused with insane depth on the Apple II. I’ve been telling it for 20 plus years, and have a book about it. So I know what I know quite well, and if any of you who have taken the time to either read the story on this web site or in the book also know what I know.

But I always enjoy learning more about the era of the Apple II and its competition and getting new information or new points of view. The Open Apple podcast, which focuses on news and interviews about the Apple II is often a source of stories that expand my knowledge, and episode #49 for July 2015 is a particularly fascinating listen. They have an extended conversation with Laine Nooney, a person who is way too young to have been involved with the Apple II when it was new and exciting. Her research for a dissertation brought her to look into Online Systems / Sierra Online, as well as with other software companies of the day, and the conversation they have drifts over into the impact of the computer on homes and families, and what she has learned about it.

When I think I know so much that there is not much more to learn, a gem like this interview comes along, and I realize levels of computer history that go beyond my extremely specific area of knowledge. It is well worth a listen.

Addendum: Here is a link to Nooney’s research on Sierra Online, as much as she has made publicly available at this time. Read it.

01 Aug 2015 KFest, as seen by an outsider
 |  Category: KansasFest  | 2 Comments

While at KansasFest this year, we had two new people show up, for the purpose of doing a news story about the event. I had not heard of their publication, Motherboard, prior to this, and I will admit I was a little skeptical about how this would turn out. I have seen interviews and stories before that were done with a particular purpose in mind, and sometimes the final result is not flattering.

I must applaud the writer of the piece, Jason Koebler, for a job well done. He did capture the essence of the event, and did it as someone who has not been there before, and in fact someone who does not really know anything about the Apple II.

You can read the article here. The style reminds me of the audio stories I hear on NPR’s weekly program, This American Life, which I mean as a compliment, as I feel that most of those stories as well done, and good listens.