by Dave Grenda


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Up until a few months ago,there was some doubt that anyone would ever read the title of this article, because the fate of KansasFest was caught in the balance. Over the years, KansasFest has been held at Avila College, a small quaint college located on the south side of Kansas City Missouri. The sponsors of KansasFest have been numerous--the '94 KansasFest was sponsored by a company called ICON (previously called Resource Central). When they went out of business last year, it wasn't known if anyone would pick up the Apple II torch and conduct another KansasFest. But just as the Apple II computer has "kept going, and going, and going," so has KansasFest. Through the efforts of people like Auri Rahimzadeh, Cindy Adams, Gina Saikin, and Mark Kline, am ong others--KansasFest '95 was made a reality. Parkhurst Micro Systems (Paul Parkhurst) was the corporate sponsor of the fest. You might know Parkhurst Micro Systems (a company who has supported the Apple II line of computers over the years) from their e xcellent ANSI-Term modem program. So here's "one man's story" of KansasFest '95.

Just a User

Being "just a user," I wasn't sure if I should attend KansasFest. I think that feeling has kept many others from attending in the past--it had for me. But all those trepidations faded away as I communicated to some other KansasFest attendees on GEnie pri or to leaving for Kansas City. During those e-mail exchanges, I learned that KansasFest was going to be one big friendly user's group meeting. I found out that I wasn't the only KansasFest Rookie that was attending this year, and that the vast majority o f the attendees were just "average Apple II users." So like a kid on Christmas Eve, I anxiously awaited the start of a famous Apple II tradition.

I arrived at the Kansas City airport on the evening of July 26th, a day prior to the official start of KansasFest. After renting a car, I drove down to KC Masterpiece. A group of people I met on GEnie had gotten together to have dinner at this infamo us KansasFest hang out. Entering the restaurant was like going on a blind date - although I had seen their names on electronic messages, I hadn't met any of them before. But that feeling instantly changed to one of meeting "old friends" as I was warmly g reeted and started talking to everyone. That's the spirit of KansasFest, and I think of the Apple II computer community in general, it's one big inclusive family! It was neat listening to Joe Kohn, Greg Templeman, and many other Apple II lovers. Everyone had such unique and diverse backgrounds, but all shared a fascination with the almost unlimited capabilities of the Apple II computer. After a delicious BBQ rib meal, great conversation, and finally putting some faces to names, I headed to a nearby mote l for a good nights sleep.

Arriving at Avila College at 9 am the next day, I checked into the dorms. Spending KansasFest in the dorms is the best way to experience this event. Not only is it cheaper, but you get to interact with everyone after hours. The rooms were clean, but Spartan. It's been 18 years since I've lived in a college dorm room, but I think the surroundings added to the total experience. I immediately unpacked and started to visit all the other attendee's rooms to see what computer systems they had brought - an d it was a diverse lot. There were dozens of IIgs computers, with every imaginable peripheral attached. There were IIcs, MACs in all flavors, PowerBooks, Newtons, and even a II+. It was great to see the new Iomega Zip drive in action, how the new SecondS ight VGA card looked with different monitors, and the various hard drives and CD-ROM drives available for the Apple II.

After "hob knobbing" with everyone in the morning, we hit the cafeteria for some typical college dorm food. All meals were included in the price if you stayed in the dorms, a very good deal. The food quality was OK, you could eat all you could stand. There was a salad bar and self-serve ice cream in the dining area after you picked up your main course. Some of the food over the fest included BBQ chicken, soft tacos, bratwurst, spaghetti, hamburgers, and various vegetables at each meal. Meal time was another avenue to meet Apple II legends like Tom Weishaar, "Burger" Bill Heineman, Roger Wagner, etc, and make new friends.
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Apple Computer Discussion

The first activity after lunch was a talk by Apple Computer's Ashley Carter, discussing some new computers due out over the next couple of months. New Performas, coming out in August 95, will be going over to RISC processors and incorporate industry stan dards like PCI slots. They'll have replaceable processors for future upgrades. For example, you can drop in DOS Windows chips, when they become available, to run those types of applications. In September 95, expect a slew of new PowerBooks to start comin g out. You'll be able to transmit data to other PowerBooks through infrared signals.

Following that one hour presentation, each attendee had the choice of attending one of three presentations. Talking to the Apple rep about the new computers, learning basic soldering (entitled: "Which End is Hot"), or attending a "fireside" chat with Joe Kohn - I chose the latter.
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Fireside Chat with Joe Kohn

Joe Kohn has attended six previous KansasFests and this is the third year he's given presentations at them. He described starting off with the Apple II, he got an Apple II+ and 100 disks of public domain software. He was in awe of what was out there. In the mid-80's he started the Apple Users Resource Group, which lead to the Apple II Information Exchange. It was bought out by Compuserve in '89. Joe wrote a series of articles on shareware programs for the Apple II Buyers Guide and transitioned to th e Big Red Computer Club as their Librarian in '83. From there, he hooked up with InCider to write a shareware article. InCider asked Joe to put together a disk containing the shareware programs his article covered. After much persuasion, Joe finally bega n supplying those disks to people. He mentioned that InCider was making money each month right to the very end! But Joe guessed that the magazine wasn't making ENOUGH profit, so that's why they pulled the plug. After InCider's demise, Joe thought about w riting for II Alive. But luckily for us, those plans never came together and he struck out on his own with Shareware Solutions II (SSII). When he worked for other publications, he use to hate editors - they always changed what he wrote. But now he misses having an editor when producing SSII. Joe feels SSII is the "Consumer Reports" of the Apple II world. He emphasized that Apple II users should "support those who support you." In other words, don't delay buying those Apple II products you can use and pa ying those shareware fees, otherwise there won't be anything new in the future. Joe has sold about 120 copies of ContactGS - not enough for any real profit, but he was glad he made it available to the IIgs community. Finally, Joe made an announcement tha t Symbolix (a powerful mathematics program from Switzerland) is being released as shareware. SSII will be providing it for $15 for the first month - half the profit will go toward a yet to be named non-profit organization.
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Quick Click Morph Demonstration

The next period consisted of a demonstration of Mike Westerfield's Quick Click Morph (QCM) or Ryan Suenaga's discussion of Personal Digital Assistants & PowerBooks. I decided to see Mike's great new program.

Mike started off with a quick history behind morphing. The first Cray computer ever built didn't go to the defense department, but instead went to Hollywood movie studios to do morphing. The first morphing was done by Disney, all accomplished by hand . But since almost anything can be done on an Apple II computer, Mike brought this morphing capability to the IIgs. The user provides a starting and ending picture to QCM. A series of reference points are then easily selected on the first and last pictur e. QCM then starts computing the "tween" frames - new pictures that transform the first picture into the second. Morphing time increases as the number of "tween" frames increases and the number of reference points are increased. The time to create a full morph sequence can take from several minutes to overnight - an accelerated IIgs is not required but is HIGHLY recommended. Those "tween" pictures, when played as a PaintWorks animation, provides a smooth morph between the start and ending pictures. The visual impact of morphing cannot be overstated. Morphs can be added to HyperStudio stacks, used as a screen saver, or any place that can use PaintWorks animations. Single frames can also be viewed to see how each "tween" picture has changed. Although 16 shades of gray is best for the IIgs, QCM supports 320/640 color pallets, custom colors, and 128/256 custom color pallets. Mike has also developed a freeware program Quick Click Movie - it allows the viewing of QCM animations. So with this freeware progra m, you can easily share your creations with friends and the world. Quick Click Morph is a very powerful and unique program - you really have to see it to appreciate its impact and ease of use.
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Keynote Address by Roger Wagner

After supper, the KansasFest '95 keynote address was given. The keynote speaker was the (in)famous Roger Wagner of HyperStudio fame. As usual, he gave a very animated and entertaining speech. First describing a very artistic video produced by a IIgs user in France - combining HyperStudio with a video overlay card on a IIgs. The video was done a few years ago and won critical acclaim. Following the interesting video, Roger described his introduction to computing and the Apple II. He had a sum of mone y to buy either a motorcycle, a stereo, or a computer. He thought that if he purchased the motorcycle or stereo, he would just end up spending more money on them. The computer, he thought, would be a one time expense. He tried selling computers door-to-d oor, he failed miserably. He then wrote some small programs, initial sales were good, but Apple computer inevitably released a free program doing the same thing a while later. He kept ahead of Apple and eventually produced HyperStudio - a revolutionary p rogram that brought Hypermedia to computers. Roger now goes around the country showing how schools and individuals can produce outstanding presentations with HyperStudio. Although Roger is concentrating on developing and marketing products for the MAC an d other platforms, he's still supporting the venerable Apple II platform.
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New 'Wares by Eric Shepherd

The last series of presentations that day were: Joe Kohn discussing changes to the Internet, Erick Wagner presenting how to hook up "real world" devices to the Apple, and Eric Shepherd demonstrating two of his new IIgs programs (StationKeeper and Shi ftyList 2.0). I wanted to attend all three, but I ended up listening to Sheppy.

Sheppy's StationKeeper is something like a document alias. You double-click a document icon, Finder opens up the application that supports the document (AppleWorksGS, ShadowWrite, etc) and you start working on it. Nothing special so far, but when you save the document, it's saved as a new document - you don't mess with the original. This would be good for filling out forms, etc. ShiftyList 2.0 will be distributed on a Softdisk G-S issue. This version is a very powerful update. By holding down differ ent key combinations during booting, you can load different groups of INITs, NDAs, CDAs, and CDEVs. The composition of each group is determined by the user beforehand. You can also create boot scripts. Scripts could run pictures or sounds during booting. For example, you could display a picture and play a sound, load some INITs, display a new picture, load some NDAs/CDAs, display another picture and play a sound, and load the rest of your system - total user control. Sheppy expects ShiftyList to be out at the end of the year. He lost three months of work when his hard drive crashed. As Sheppy remarked, "apparently back-ups aren't for weenies." Sheppy also has compiled a spiral bound book containing documentation for all his software. The book can be pu rchased for about $12, contact him at E.Shepherd@genie.com. He is also selling a disk containing all his non-Softdisk G-S programs.
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Bite the Bag

That ended the first day's formal presentations. That evening consisted of seeing what computers people had brought, seeing new software and equipment, and discussing every topic you can imagine. Roger Wagner generously ordered a couple dozen pizzas and a few cases of soda for munching late that night. Right afterward, the infamous Bite-The-Bag contest began--a KansasFest tradition. The object is to balance on one appendage (foot, hand, etc) and grab the top of an empty grocery bag on the floor with your teeth. It's not too hard at the start. But as the competition continues, the upper most part of the bag is slowly removed. Soon, there's nothing left but the flat bottom of the bag laying on the floor. Oh yes, did I mention that if you aren't the f irst person, you get to enjoy the slobber on the bag left by the people in front of you? The competition this year was stiff. There were over a half-dozen people still able to pick up the bag when it was nothing more than a flat piece of paper. It finall y came down to who was the fastest. Russ Nielson was crowned the King of "Bite-The-Bag" with a time of 1.95 seconds!
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GEnie Front End--Jasmine

Because everyone participates in the sleep depravation experiment called KansasFest, the dawn of the next day came way too early. For those who were sane enough to get a couple hours sleep, or insane enough to get no sleep, breakfast was available at 7am. The first sessions began at 8:45pm - so most could still get a few winks. Roger Wagner provided a discussion of using the mulimedia capabilities of the IIgs, Doug Pendleton & Dave Ciotti taught the second segment on soldering, and a trio (Richard B ennett, Tim Buchheim & Nathaniel Sloan) demonstrated the new Apple IIgs front end for GEnie. I picked the GEnie software demo.

This stand-alone program is called Jasmine, it's a real-time IIgs interface for GEnie - not an off-line reader like CoPilot or GEM. You don't need a separate modem program like ProTerm or Spectrum - Jasmine handles everything. It requires System 6.0. 1 and an error-correction modem (the internal Datalink 2400 is not, but all high speed modems are) - a hard drive is not required. Jasmine allows 3rd-parties to write add-ons - like Balloon (a file compression/decompression program). It supports Zmodem a nd will support batch Ymodem file transfers. The interface is all point and click, using familiar IIgs windows, menus, and dialog boxes. It's Lynx compatible, so you can access the Internet via GEnie. Jasmine is free and should be out shortly.
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Quick Click Morph as the Coder Sees It

The next series of sessions consisted of Mike Westerfield discussing Quick Click Morph (QCM) from a programmer's view point, Mark Kline & Cindy Adams discussing AppleShare networking, and Erick Wagner presenting the second part of controlling "real w orld" devices with a computer. Since I missed Erick's first session, and I'm not into networking, I decided to hear Mike's presentation.

Mike gave a good insight into how QCM works. A good way to understand how the program transforms a picture is to imagine the first picture being made of rubber. You take a pencil point and stick it to one of the reference points. You then drag the pe ncil and stretch the picture to the corresponding reference point on the ending picture. This dragging and stretching is done simultaneously for each reference point.
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After lunch another series of sessions were given. Tony Diaz from Alltech Electronics showed how to build a tower case for the IIgs, Roger Wagner presented new things he's working on, and Glenn Hofman discussed a new Apple IIgs GEnie off-line reader called PowerGuide. Since I spend a lot of time on GEnie, I thought I'd get the most from Glenn's presentation.

PowerGuide is a stand-alone program that does not use another modem program like Spectrum or ProTerm. It uses the familiar IIgs interface, it's all point and click with keyboard equivalents. It uses Zmodem file transfers, employs cut & pastes message quoting, has an address book for e-mail messages, supports 30 GEnie RoundTables, and uses it's own installer for easy installation. Although still in beta testing, it's available now and it functions well.
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Equipment Fixes

The next sessions were Dave Ciotti showing how to perform some simple equipment maintenance operations (change a system saver fan, clean a keyboard, etc), Eric Shepherd demonstrating ProTerm MAC, and Greg Templeman discussing the GS Lib Programming L ibrary. The choice for me was easy, the equipment session. Dave did an outstanding job answering questions and showing how even a novice user can fix things on an Apple IIgs.
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Software Updates from Seven Hills

Following those sessions, Richard Bennet gave a short recap of what Seven Hills is doing. SuperConvert 4.0 is about to ship - it's just waiting for documentation to be printed. The program will squash a few bugs and add SecondSight and JPEG support. The new version of GraphicWriter III should be out within a month. It fully supports System 6.0.1 font menu and interface. The spell checker has been re-written, text wrapping around objects has been fixed, objects can now be positioned by typing in coor dinates, objects can be resized, and an extras menu has been added so 3rd parties can write add-ons to GraphicWriter III.
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The KansasFest Roast

A banquet and roast topped off the day's event. The roastee was none other than Steve Disbrow of GS+ Magazine. Bill Moore, Roger Wagner, Tom Weishaar, and Joe Wankerl did a great job putting Steve in his place. Of course Roger went high tech, with a mulitmedia presentation. Tom Weishaar read a hilarious letter from "Bob Dole" talking about Steve and GS+ magazine. Joe played a funny song about Steve. Then it was Steve's turn to roast the roasters. All in all, it was a great time.

Following the banquet, people went back to the dorms for more socializing. A debug room was setup so people could get help with equipment problems. Some attendees went to see movies, some played Trivial Pursuit, and a nerf rocket war erupted. Again, most people ended up without much sleep.
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Final Day--Parkhurst FAX program, Swap Meet/Vendor Fair

The next day was bitter sweet. People began moving out of the dorms, KansasFest '95 was rapidly coming to a close. But after breakfast, Paul Parkhurst gave an excellent demonstration of his new NDA FAX program. He created, sent, received, and printed faxes using his new program. Although still in final beta testing, it still worked like a charm. Some features demonstrated: generations of fax lists/groups (the cover page can be automatically personalized for each number on the list), multiple phone b ooks, scheduled send, selection of cover pages, use of a dial prefix, selection of modem initialization string, and a host of others. The fax cover page capabilities were outstanding. The user has a lot of control over the data on the cover sheet, includ ing adding memos/graphics/headers/footers/page numbers and automatically adding names/address/phone numbers. The program works with Express and will be compatible with Spectrum. You can print selectable pages from a fax and can even send a quick fax (it sends a cover page with a memo you type in). The program is expected to ship in a couple months with a price tag in the area of $80. There will be a discount when updating from a competitor's fax program. It was a very impressive demonstration.

Following the fax demo, people headed to a swap meet/vendor fair where attendees scooped up many bargains. Byteworks, GS+, Digisoft, and Shareware Solutions II products were all on sale. Many items were quickly sold out. The final official function w as one last lunch at the college cafeteria. Attendees reluctantly said a fond farewell. Some attendees, who were leaving Sunday, arranged to have one last dinner that night at a local restaurant. But before things concluded, there was an official announc ement - a KansasFest will be held in 1996!
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It's a Wrap

I can't emphasize enough how much fun it was to attend KansasFest. I strongly encourage all Apple II and MAC users to attend next year. You'll be warmly welcomed, fit right in, and a have a super time sharing your computer interests with others. See you at K'fest next year!
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by Dave Grenda, Apple IIgs user since 1987
Sent via Spectrum v2.0 & GEnie CoPilot v2.5.5 + Ken Lucke's Replacement Scripts

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