The shirts of KansasFest

July 3rd, 2017 1:48 PM
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Earlier this year, I wrote a tribute to an Apple II user who had passed away — something I've now done too many damn times. But in remembering Steve Gozdziewski, I also recalled sharing this moment with him at KansasFest 2002:

KansasFest attendees wearing shirts representing the event's different years

Many of those pictured had been coming to KansasFest for years (2002 was the event's fourteenth year, and my fifth), and we spontaneously decided to represent our long lineage by donning the various years' shirts that we'd happened to bring with us. (We staged a similar shot another year, though I can't seem to find it in the available archives.)

That got me thinking: why not plan another shirt photo? With this month's KansasFest being the 29th, it's unlikely we'll have representatives from every year — but it'd be fun to try!

So if you've ever attended a previous KansasFest and are one of the hundred who are coming to KansasFest 2017, please use the below form to indicate which years' KansasFest shirts you own. A week from today, July 10, I'll email everyone their packing instructions to ensure we show up in Kansas City with as complete a set as possible!

Let's create another photo by which to remember the many years and friends we've shared across the decades.

Say goodbye to Tekserve

May 23rd, 2016 8:56 AM
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When my father brought home our first Apple II, it came from Computer Systems & Software, an authorized Apple dealer. Back then, this was one of the only ways to get an Apple product: there was no online ordering, few mail-order opportunities, and definitely no Apple Stores, which didn't debut until 2001.

When Apple opened its first retail stores, doing so cut out the middleman — small businessmen such as the proprietor of Computer Systems & Software. That competition, combined with the advent of Internet sales, made it difficult for mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar shops to stay in business. It was unpleasant but unexpected when CS&S closed up shop some time ago.

The next victim appears to be one of CS&S's contemporaries. Tekserve has served New York City since 1987, providing sales and service to consumers and businesses alike. And while Tekserve will continue to exist, its quaint retail outlet — featuring not only classic computers, but "ancient radios, an antique Coke machine… massive old RCA microphones… and a stereoscope with hundreds of photographs" may soon be closing shop.

As reported by Jeremiah Moss, Tekserve will be reducing or eliminating its consumer retail presence this fall. They will continue to sell and service products for small- and medium-sized business clients, so the company as a whole is not going away. But a lot of employees, services, and artifacts are likely to disappear as a result of this transition.

I visited Tekserve in 2012 and received a behind-the-scenes tour, resulting in the below photo gallery. It's a damn fine place with a heritage of and respect for Apple products — including the Apple II — that you don't often find. If you can visit the store before their September transition, please do.

(Hat tip to Jason Scott)

Photos of KansasFests past

May 18th, 2015 9:15 AM
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I've been bringing a digital camera to KansasFest every year since 2002. Every year, I come home with dozens or hundreds of photos that require sorting, cropping, tagging, and uploading. And every year, as I take more photos, I fall further behind in doing so.

This problem is getting bigger.

This problem is getting bigger.

The biggest hangup is metadata — specifically, captions. I like to write captions for each photo that suggests what could be but isn't happening. Sometimes it's taking note of something happening in the background, or expressing what someone in the photo might be thinking. And the more photos I take, the longer this process.

I used to post the photos in August, shortly after I returned home from KansasFest; then, when I adopted an academic schedule, I'd wait until Christmas break; now my goal is simply to get them posted before the next KansasFest.

I'm relieved to say that KansasFest 2014's photos are finally online. I selected two hundred of my 266 photos to post, then chose eight to share on Facebook, Google+ and Flickr.

Why eight? If you look at my Facebook profile, you'll see I have hundreds of albums, but each one is limited to exactly eight photos. There are three reasons for this self-imposed restriction:

  1. Any photo uploaded to a social network grants a license to that network to use the photo as they see fit. Copyright is the lifeblood of a professional content creator, so I want to grant that license on only a representative sample of my work. The rest are hosted on my own server, where I can claim sole copyright — while knowing that anyone can still copy and distribute a photo as they see fit, at least I am not granting them permission to do so.
  2. As a content consumer, I know how little interest I have in browsing hundreds of other people's photos. I respect people's time by presenting them only a reasonable number of photos; those who wish to explore further may exercise the option of clicking the link to view the full gallery.
  3. As a writer, I've learned how necessary it can be to say something in as few words as possible. Choosing eight photos out of hundreds to best represent an event is the photographic equivalent of that economy of expression.

I doubt anyone was waiting for these photos to be released or even noticed their absence, but given my past involvement in the planning of KansasFest and the production of Juiced.GS, my photos have a tendency to show up in ads, flyers, videos, and more. I like to think that someone, somewhere, sometime, will take a moment to read some of the two hundred captions and enjoy my perspective on this unique event.

Waiting for Espinosa

August 13th, 2012 1:39 PM
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Chris Espinosa has long been an unsung hero of Apple Computer Inc.; as Apple employee #8, he holds the record for the company's longest-running employment. He occasionally pops up on radars to give an interview or unveil some historical blueprints, he blogs about Apple history, and I'm told he occasionally speaks at WWDC's Stump the Experts panel.

Yet I've never had the opportunity to meet or speak with Espinosa. As editor of Juiced.GS, I have more than a passing interest in retro Apple topics. Whether it's Chris Espinosa, Steve Wozniak, Andy Hertzfeld, or Bob Bishop, I love to meet the industry's founders and learn more about life at Apple.

So imagine my surprise when, while attending the Denver County Fair this past weekend, who should I bump into but none other than Cris Espinosa!

Espinosa was very gracious as I explained my role in managing an annual Apple convention, how excited I was to meet such a celebrity, and could I please get a photo? Espinosa graciously paused grooming a chicken to come out from behind the table and pose, telling me that with my gushing enthusiasm, "You just made my day."

Cris Espinosa

I can't tell which of us was more surprised!

I don't know why the County Fair's name tag is missing the 'h' in Espinosa's first name, but I'm sure it's not a big deal.


The above attempt at humor has caused far more confusion than I anticipated. To clarify:
Chris Espinosa (male) is a Cupertino-based programmer for Apple Inc.
Cris Espinosa (female) is a Denver-based chicken farmer.

Behind the scenes at Tekserve

July 2nd, 2012 9:39 AM
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While attending WordCamp NYC with representatives of IvanExpert last month, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Jazmin Hupp, director of marketing for Tekserve, New York City's oldest Apple specialist. She graciously provided us with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Tekserve space, from the classroom to the break room to the museum. I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of objects reflecting Tekserve's and Apple's heritage, including a typewriter, the Cirqus Voltaire pinball machine, and many models of Apple II and Macintosh models.

You don't need to have connections to see these artifacts for yourself: several will be placed on display on the main floor July 17 – September 6 as part of the store's 25th anniversary. In the meantime, this photo gallery should provide an intriguing vicarious experience of my tour.

Gone apple picking

October 3rd, 2011 11:22 AM
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Filed under Hacks & mods, Mainstream coverage;
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Remember Lim Xin Mei? She was the inaugural star of the Cult of Mac's "Me and My Mac" series, which profiles Apple users and their rigs.

That series apparently has a variety of scopes, as rather than continuing to offer an in-depth profile of an individual user, the second installment spotlights many Apple fans in a photo gallery that's heavy on the visuals and light on the text. The change in format isn't what surprised me most, though — it was finding myself pictured.

Apple presents apple

As I previously detailed, Mike Maginnis staged the above photo shoot and took several shots, including the above with my camera. Little did I know that he'd also snapped one of his own with his cell phone and submitted it to Cult of Mac.

As it's an awesome opportunity to plug the Apple II, my surprise did not eventually shift into annoyance at the lack of forewarning. To be honest, I'm more disappointed in Cult of Mac's lack of links back to the stars' Web sites!

Given the quantity of photos in each Cult of Mac post, odds are good you'll recognize someone in each. Sure enough, the third installment features James, co-host of the RetroMacCast podcast. As far as I can tell, this third blog post is also the first to not sport an Apple II, unfortunately.

What I want to know is: where the heck is Blake Patterson? The gallery won't be complete without his setup!