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 BEZAREby 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 HyperStudioto 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.