Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you own any composite video monitors? Which model/brand is your favorite?
There is a certain rustic beauty in hand-drawn video game notes that I will never cease to enjoy. Case in point: this map/reference key created by family friend Chris when he was a kid in the 1980s. I'm not quite sure what game it was for (other than "Golf"),
but it was likely a game for the Apple IIc, as I found it among related Apple IIc ephemera when I acquired his collection some years ago.
For more hand-drawn video game goodness, check out this VC&G post about my friend's Deadly Towers maps from 2006.
[ Update: 06/03/2013 - I was just talking to my brother, and he thinks that either he drew this alone or I wrote the letters and he drew the numbers. It was either a reference to a Golf game he programmed in C in 1991, or an old Atari 800 golf game that I haven't found yet. I still think it's possible that Chris wrote the letters. ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you ever hand-draw maps for modern video games?
My family owned this exact printer. In fact, I think it's still sitting in my parents' attic as we speak. If I'm not mistaken, we used it with our Apple IIe system — the one my dad built from a bare circuit board and a set of cloned ROM chips (much like the one in this 2006 VC&G post).
It's probably the first printer I ever saw in action, likely before I could even walk. I can recall crawling under our computer desk (the printer was on the floor beneath it for some reason) and watching it print out whimsical banners and calendars from a program like Broderbund's The Print Shop.
But what I remember most about it, of course, was the sound it made: like a screeching robot mouse spraying lead into tractor feed paper with a tiny machine gun. Like any dot matrix printer, once you hear one in action, the sound will never leave you.
Those were the days.
Of course, I was still using a dot matrix printer until the early 1990s, so I am pretty much scarred for life. Mice everywhere.
Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first printer you ever owned?
Back in the mid-late 1990s, an Internet-based BBS platform called Hotline sprung up and quickly spread throughout the Macintosh community. It was basically a client/server BBS software suite that allowed for multi-user chat, file transfers, and message boards.
By the early 2000s, though, Hotline had mostly died out. Today, only a handful of servers remain. But guess what? You can still connect to them — on Windows or a Mac. A new article I wrote for Macworld, "Hotline Revisted," tells you how.
Have fun. Remember to be kind to the Hotline veterans when you visit.
Hey mime! Yeah, you! Stop stealing my $599 Mimic Spartan Apple II+ compatibility box for the Commodore 64. I need it to open up a whole new world of hardware and software.
Just for a second, imagine if I could add these features to my Commodore 64: Apple II+ hardware and software capabilities, 64K RAM expansion, four software selectable Commodore 64 cartridge slots, non-dedicated 8-bit parallel port, and standard audio cassette deck capabilities for my C-64. Yep, all of that!
The suggested retail value of comparable products offering only these capabilities is over $2,200.00*. But the Spartan gives me much, much more, mime! Oh yes. By building on my investment in my Commodore 64 — an excellent introductory computer — I create a whole new system with both C-64 an Apple II+ capabilities.
There is a whole other world out there! And if you'd just give it back, a huge selection of Apple II+ hardware and software would be mine to explore. Call toll free for the Spartan dealer nearest you.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Open Discussion: Whoever posts a question first gets to decide what we'll talk about this week.
See Also: MacCharlie's FrankenMac (2013)
I last updated you on my Macworld work back in January. Since then, I've been busy writing more historically-minded pieces for the site as well as its sister site, TechHive. Below you'll find a list of the ones I haven't mentioned yet on this blog in convenient digest form.
- 01-30-2013- The Little-Known Apple Lisa: Five Quirks and Oddities
- 02-08-2013 - The History of Electronic Board Games
- 02-11-2013 - The Mac Color Classic, 20 Years Later
- 02-16-2013 - Abandoned Apples
- 02-18-2013 - Evolution of the Smartwatch
- 03-01-2013 - The Evolution of Apple Pointing Devices
- 03-15-2013 - Teach Your Old iPod New Tricks
- 03-22-2013 - Apple's Five Most Important Displays
Phew. I've been busy! Of those eight pieces, the Apple Lisa one can't be missed. Plenty of interesting little-known history there. The Mac Color Classic and Abandoned Apples pieces are some of my favorites as well.
I'm not sure, but I get the feeling from the lack of comments on my Apple-related posts that not many Apple or Mac fans visit VC&G. Not quite sure why that is, but if you're out there, let me know.
It's Black History Month once again in the US, so I thought it would be timely to share this Apple PowerBook advertisement from 1992.
The ad appeared in the February issue of Smithsonian Magazine; I don't think it is a coincidence that it prominently featured people of African decent. It also prominently featured the PowerBook 100, which had just been introduced a few months prior in October 1991.
The obvious racial focus of this ad brings to my mind a couple of interesting, if racially-charged questions: What percentage of black Americans, historically, have used Apple products versus other computer brands? Do African Americans, like other demographic groups, have their computer or tech brands of choice?
Today, Apple is such a mainstream company that the answer to the first question is most certainly larger than it likely was in the pre-iPod era. It would be interesting from a cultural standpoint to peek back into private demographic customer studies that Apple no doubt commissioned at various points in its history.
As for an answer to the second question, I have no idea. But I would love to hear from African American computer users to find out.
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite PowerBook model?
Since my last update on the articles I've written for Macworld in November, I've written at least a handful more vintage-related stories for the publication that I haven't mentioned on this blog. To remedy that, I thought I'd share them below in convenient digest form.
- 12-21-2012 - The Forgotten eMate 300 — 15 Years Later
- 12-28-2012 - How to Make a Mac Plus Clock
- 01-11-2013 - Apple Knockoffs Through the Years
- 01-18-2013 - 30 Years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe
The Mac Plus Clock piece is particularly fun, and I think VC&G fans will really enjoy it.
Thirty years ago last Saturday (January 19th, 1983), Apple announced two new computers: the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe.
Ultimately, the Apple Lisa met an early end, leaving behind technology that shaped the entire industry. The Apple IIe remained a reliable breadwinner during uncertain times in the early life of the Macintosh and remained the flagship member of Apple's popular 8-bit computer line until it ended in 1993.
Here's the cover of the March 1983 issue of Popular Computing which featured Apple's two new machines. It has always been one of my favorite vintage computer magazine covers.
By the way, I recently wrote an article about this anniversary for Macworld in case you're interested.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used an Apple Lisa? What did you think about it?
You're looking at a photograph of an Apple I computer that currently resides in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. It was on display at one point, but I believe it is not being displayed at the moment (feel free to correct me on that).
I downloaded this 256-color GIF image from CompuServe back in 1994 (judging by the file date). I think it came from the Archive Photos forum, but I am not 100% sure about that. Either way, it's a nice photo, and if you see it floating around the Internet, it's likely because I first posted it on VC&G in 2006.
As you may know the Apple I (which was officially titled "Apple Computer 1″ on the circuit board and "Apple-1″ in its manual) did not ship with a case. The wooden enclosure you see here was created by early Apple employee Randy Wigginton's father. It's interesting how it presages the design of the Apple II enclosure to some extent.
|Retro GIF of the Week Fact Box|
|Source File Name:||APPLEI.GIF|
|Source File Date:||August 20, 1994|
|Source File Format:||GIF - 89a (non-interlaced)|
|Dimensions:||640 x 480 pixels|
(bits per pixel):
|8-bit (256 color)|
|Derived From:||Scanned photograph|
|If you know more about the origin of this image, please leave a comment.|