KansasFest 2019: 
Special Moments

At KansasFest, Woz is always with us in spirit as is the friendliness and generosity of those attending. This was the first year I arrived on Monday and enjoyed having an extra day to ease into the week. I spent several hours touring the beautiful Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and chatting with others. Steve Weyhrich brought some tasty, homemade Apple cookies to welcome everyone.

The rest of the week encompassed a variety of fun and expected experiences. Jordan Mechner of Karateka fame made a surprise appearance via video. Javier Rivera did something that did not involve retrobriting – giving a very useful presentation on fixing joysticks. Mark Pilgrim and Peter Ferrie released the awesome Total Replay Apple II game jukebox, and a few legions of fellow geeks were organizing and archiving disks with Applesauce. Ah, Applesauce…

Floppy disk enthusiasts Tom Greene, Javier Rivera, William Velharticky, Mark Frischknecht, and Joe Strosnider organize disks for Applesauce archiving
Dan Chisarick and Mark Pilgrim preserve countless disks with Applesauce, saving unpreserved software from extinction

Of course, Mark Pelczarski’s keynote address was entertaining and informative, and we learned a lot about Penguin Software. It was nice to finally meet Mark after spending a few months collaborating on his Graphically Speaking: Enhanced Edition that I designed (see “The Secret Life of Penguins” for fun stories about working with Mark.) Mark was also kind enough to give me time for an interview. That interview and those I’ve done every year at KansasFest (such as Mike Harvey and Roger Wagner), will be released in podcast form as soon as I can find some free time.

I also had the pleasure of meeting first-time attendees Rex Steele and Don Edmonds along with James and Jean Shackel, who fit right in with all the friendly, happy, silly folk. I even turned James into a Firefly fan, which is a small passion of mine. That’s the neat thing about KansasFest – you can be a first-time attendee and you’ll still feel like you’ve always been going, reuniting with friends you never knew you had.

Ian Primus (aka Sark) helps everyone fix things! He also seems to really like VHS tapes.

Speaking of friends, Ian Primus (aka Sark) definitely has some unique skills and fixed several things for me over many many hours. Justin Scott (aka DJ) kindly helped me fix power supplies and also spent the majority of his week repairing everyone’s electronics. And he gave me a lot of advice on soldering. Justin had the most amazing PDP8 and PDP11 miniature replicas on display that I could have watched all day. The energy and atmosphere in their repair room is one of the highlights, as is their never-ending generosity.

Justin Scott (aka DJ) helps everyone fix things and has fun doing it!
Javier Rivera (aka Mr. Retrobrite) also has a generous and helpful nature. Here it looks like he didn’t have quite enough for lunch…

On a personal note, I had a fantastic week speaking about our new Call-A.P.P.L.E. releases on my usual panel, speaking about education on the “Off the Beaten Oregon Trail” panel, and being one of the cast in a table reading for an old Whiz Kids episode. And it was a real pleasure being invited to speak on the podcasters roundtable with my pending podcast. That’s one of the keys to fun – participate as much as you can!

The week was one of the best I’ve experienced and then I had the shock of a lifetime – I was presented with an “Apple II Forever” award! This is something I’ve tried to be worthy of for many years, and it has been one of my personal goals to see fulfilled.

It’s funny, I was in such a state of disbelief hearing my name, that I couldn’t make myself stand up or walk over very quickly to accept the award. Often I’ve wondered if my efforts were appreciated, having spent the last eight years designing/editing over 30 books and other media at Call-A.P.P.L.E., and helping with archives like Beagle Bros, Applied Engineering, Mike Harvey’s Nibble CDs, and Mike Maginnis’ Computist project. The award is a great honor to receive, and I thank the KansasFest committee and the Apple II community for their recognition and support. Bill also feels pretty spiffy 🙂

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About the Author

Brian Wiser

Brian is an A.P.P.L.E. Board member and Managing Editor of Call-A.P.P.L.E. magazine. He is a long-time Apple consultant, historian and archivist. Brian designed, edited, and co-produced several books including: "Cyber Jack: The Adventures of Robert Clardy and Synergistic Software", "Synergistic Software: The Early Games", "Nibble Viewpoints: Business Insights From The Computing Revolution", "What's Where in the Apple: Enhanced Edition", and "The WOZPAK: Special Edition" – an important Apple II historical book with Steve Wozniak's restored original, technical handwritten notes as well as a forward from Steve Wozniak and other Apple legends. Brian also co-produced the retro iOS game "Structris." Brian was an extra in Joss Whedon’s movie “Serenity,” leading him to being a producer/director for the documentary film “Done The Impossible: The Fans’ Tale of Firefly & Serenity.” He brought some of the Firefly cast aboard his Browncoat Cruise and recruited several of the Firefly cast to appear in a film for charity. Brian speaks about his adventures at conventions around the country.