KansasFest is a second-chance childhood for one programmer

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Martin Haye, left, and Ivan Drucker talking Apple II hacking at KansasFest.
Martin Haye, left, and Ivan Drucker talking Apple II hacking at KansasFest.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugCult of Mac’s David Pierini traveled to KansasFest to meet Apple fans intensely devoted to the Apple II computer line. The machine turns 40 next year.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – They say they travel to KansasFest to feel like kids again. Fest attendees stay up all night laughing, arguing and eating pizza. They program and play games on their Apple II machines and call each other nerd or geek.

Bullied and closeted as a boy, Martin Haye describes KansasFest as the childhood he wished he’d had.

“If I had this when I was 13, I would’ve been fine,” says Haye, 48, a programmer for the California Digital Library who lives in Santa Cruz. “I didn’t try to fit in but I was little, I carried a briefcase to school, I was a target. I have a good life now, but this week is the most intense, sustained, predictable happiness I’ve ever had.”

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KansasFest solder session proves there’s fun in melting metal

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Rachele Lane watches her husband, John, try his hand at soldering at KansasFest.
Rachele Lane watches her husband, John, try his hand at soldering at KansasFest.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugCult of Mac’s David Pierini is at KansasFest this week to write about the community of people who celebrate the foundational Apple II computer.

KANSAS CITY, Mo – If you’re going to carry a torch for the Apple II computer, you better know how to control its heat and melt a little solder.

The Apple II will turn 40 next year. Many of these seminal machines will light up like new thanks to a community of people who have to be their own Genius Bar. So KansasFest is not just about love, but the labor of keeping that love alive.

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Apple II fans find themselves in hog heaven at KansasFest

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Cult 2.0
Kathryn Szkotnick worked quickly to grab all the pieces for an Apple IIGS during KansasFest's "Garage Giveaway."
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugCult of Mac’s David Pierini traveled seven hours and (39 years) this week to Missouri to witness the annual celebration of the Apple II computer known as KansasFest, which runs through Saturday.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Yellowed keyboards, monitors and disk drives sat in orderly piles. It certainly wasn’t pretty to look at, not when you compare these ancient artifacts of personal computing to a shiny new MacBook Pro.

But 80 infatuated campers could only see their first crush and they were ready to pounce. In a matter of minutes the gear would be claimed, and this dash and grab Wednesday was the kickoff the 28th annual KansasFest. If you don’t know KansasFest, the short answer is found in a cheer shouted to officially open the event: Apple II forever!

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What is Apple’s most important invention? [Friday Night Fights]

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What's your pick?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Now that all the excitement we had for WWDC has died down, it’s probably time we took a break from iOS 10, macOS Sierra, and all the other things you haven’t been able to avoid over the past couple of weeks. So for this week’s Friday Night Fight, we’re looking at Apple’s history.

We’re focusing on which product has been Apple’s most important throughout the years. Was it the Macintosh that changed personal computing? The iPod that put thousands of songs in your pocket? The iPhone that revolutionized mobile devices?

Join us as we battle it out over Apple’s best ever releases — and which one was most significant!

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Today in Apple history: Apple Logo teaches kids to code

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Apple Logo was Apple's first go at getting kids into coding.
Photo: Apple2history

tuesday14 Under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple has been upping its focus on teaching kids to program — thanks to events such as its free “Hour of Code” classes at Apple Stores around the world.

But Apple’s been helping introduce young people to coding for far longer than that. In fact, years before Apple ushered in its Swift Playgrounds app as it did this week at WWDC, it helped popularize home programming thanks to Apple Logo, a basic coding language which found success on the Apple II.

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Today in Apple history: The first Apple II ships

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Are you old enough to remember the Apple II?
Photo: Computer History Museum

friday_10 Mobile devices may now represent the overwhelming bulk of Apple’s enormous revenue, but there’s no underestimating just how significant the Apple II was when it arrived — not just for Apple’s bottom line, but for personal computers as a whole.

First shipping on June 10, 1977, the Apple II came with 4KB of RAM (upgradeable to a whopping 48KB) and a not-insignificant price tag of $1,298: the equivalent of two MacBook Pros today.

Happy birthday, Apple II!

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Vintage-computer fest celebrates 40 years since our first bite of Apple

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The colorful era of the first iMacs on display in an Apple Pop-up exhibit at the Computer Museum of America in Roswell, Ga.
Colorful early iMacs are among the technological wonders on display in the Apple Pop Up exhibit at the Computer Museum of America.
Photo: Computer Museum of America

Phil Schiller says Apple is too busy “inventing the future” to “celebrate the past” by building a museum.

So if you are in search of history on the 40th anniversary of Apple’s founding, you might want to travel to Georgia. There, a guy named Lonnie Mimms has taken over an old CompUSA building and meticulously crafted a tangible timeline that would make Apple’s futurists — perhaps even Schiller — pause with nostalgia and pride.

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Woz reveals formative moment that turned him into a geek

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The Woz has the magic touch with computers.
The Woz has the magic touch with computers.
Photo: Reddit

Before Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computers, he was just a super-nerdy kid who loved to operate HAM radios. In a new video interview detailing the most formative moments in his totally geeky life, Woz explains how he went from tinkering with electronics to teaching himself binary by 5th grade, and then made a machine that played tic-tac-toe in 6th grade.

Woz eventually got so good with machines that he could design a mini-computer in two days. Those skills led to his creation of the Apple II computer, which put his and Steve Jobs’ fledgling company on the map.

Watch as Woz recounts his childhood obsession with computers, during the humble beginnings of Silicon Valley, below:

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Remembering Jef Raskin, the Mac’s other inventor

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Jef Raskin's original concept for the Mac was very different.
Photo: Apple

Everyone associates the Mac’s creation with Steve Jobs (with very good reason), but there is another person without whom we wouldn’t have Apple’s iconic home computers: user interface guru Jef Raskin, who passed away on February 26, 2005 — exactly 11 years ago today.

Raskin not only named the Macintosh — after his favorite type of apple, the McIntosh (even though that spelling was already being used by an audio company) — he also gave the lovable computer some of its lasting personality traits.

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Cute Apple miniatures will transport you to 1984

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This 3D printed miniature of an Apple II was designed to house a Raspberry Pi computer.
This 3D printed miniature of an Apple II was designed to house a Raspberry Pi computer.
Photo: Charles Mangin/RetroConnector

Apple rolls out new products next week at the annual fall reveal, but you can’t stop thinking about the Apple IIc from 1984.

Self-taught hardware hacker and 3D printer Charles Mangin feels you. So much so that Mangin, of Raleigh, NC., creates tiny versions of classic Apple computers that encase the Raspberry Pi computers. He has even made a classic Mac that serves as a working charging dock for the iPod Nano and an SD card reader that looks an old Apple disk drive.

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