Who goes to an Apple II convention in 2013?

KansasFest is an annual convention for fans of the 36-year-old Apple II computer. Who are these people, anyway? We turned on a video camera and let them speak for themselves.

Apple II forever

Thirty-six years after its launch, the Apple II is alive and well. It runs at 1MHz with 64KB of RAM and attracts dozens of retrocomputing enthusiasts to attend KansasFest, an annual Apple II convention in Kansas City, Mo.

Who are these diehards who travel from around the world to engage in late-night 8-bit hacking? I asked attendees at last month's 25th annual KansasFest, from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to an artist whose work is inspired by Apple II glitches, why the Apple II remains so compelling. These eight short videos provide some insight.

The Founder

Name: Steve Wozniak

From: Los Gatos, Calif.

What's his deal? Woz invented the Apple-1 computer that inspired Steve Jobs to create a company. Together, the two incorporated Apple Computer and launched their flagship product, the Apple II, in 1977.

(For more excerpts from Woz's KansasFest 2013 interview, see Steve Wozniak on Apple's founding.)

The Podcaster

Name: Carrington Vanston

From: Toronto

What's his deal? Host of the pioneering 1 MHz Apple II podcast, Vanston is now a regular co-host on the Retro Computing Roundtable.

The Emulator

Name: Eric Shepherd

From: Maryville, Tenn.

What's his deal? A former employee of Apple and Be who currently works for Mozilla, "Sheppy" is an Apple II programmer who does his best work in an emulator of his own making, Sweet16.

The Artist

Name: Melissa Barron

From: Fridley, Minn.

What's her deal? Barron creates Jacquard weavings based on Apple II glitches. Her work was recently exhibited at the Furtherfield Gallery (PDF) in London.

The Gamer

Name: Michael Sternberg

From: Arlington, Texas

What's his deal? Programmer by day, gamer by night, Sternberg was fascinated by Structris, a variation of Tetris for the Apple II created by KansasFest 2012 attendee Martin Haye. Sternberg hacked a tournament edition of Structris for KFest 2013.

The Speaker

Name: Randy Wigginton

From: San Francisco

What's his deal? Wigginton joined Apple as employee #6 while still in high school. He worked on the original Disk II disk drive, Apple DOS and Applesoft BASIC. KansasFest 2013's keynote speaker, Wigginton currently works for Square.

Charles Mangin

The Inventor

Name: Charles Mangin

From: Raleigh, N.C.

What's his deal? Mangin, a Mac consultant by day, has a habit of putting Mac Minis inside Apple II cases and peripherals such as the Disk II floppy drive. To assist in creating similar Frankenstein's monsters, such as putting a Raspberry Pi inside an Apple IIc, he's created the RetroConnector keyboard adapter for connecting an Apple II keyboard to a modern system.

Kevin Savetz

The Rebel

Name: Kevin Savetz

From: Portland, Ore.

What's his deal? Curator of the Atari magazine archive, Savetz attended this year's KansasFest, his first, to learn more about his second-favorite retrocomputer.

See the KansasFest website for more profiles from KanasFest.

writes about social media, retrocomputing and Apple, among other topics.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.