Archive for the 'Macintosh' Category

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Welcome to eWorld

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Apple eWorld Online Service Advertisement - 1995The time Apple went AOL.

In the lost era between Jobs (1985-1996), Apple produced many strange and ill-fated products. Here we see an ad for eWorld, Apple’s subscription dial-up online service that launched in June 1994.

eWorld offered proprietary features like message forums, email, weather, news, and other information in a fashion similar to CompuServe, Prodigy, or AOL. It also provided an early consumer portal to the Internet.

Due to its high price ($8.95 per month plus $7.90 per hour from 6 AM to 6 PM on weekdays), poor marketing, and the fact that the World Wide Web was breathing down its neck, eWorld never really took off. Apple shut down the service in March 1996.

By the way, Happy New Year!

[ From Discover, May 1995, p.27 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever use a subscription online service? Which one(s)?

iPod Turns 10, Benj Writes

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

2001 iPod 1G

Ten years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the first iPod to the world. Many people didn’t know what to think. It would take a little time for idea of the iPod to sink in, so to speak, but once it did, it did so in a very big way.

I first encountered the iPod shortly after its 2001 launch at a local Circuit City. Its simple white scroll wheel stared at me from across the room like a giant eye that had just opened for the first time. Yep, it got my attention. A ring-shaped kiosk in the middle of the room held iPods projected upwards, each player perched on a security rod, restricted, but available for public tinkering.

I walked up to it and touched it, ran my fingers across the front and spun the wheel. It was almost insultingly intuitive to a gadget freak like myself. It worked, and it was obvious that everyone would know how to use it almost immediately after picking it up.

Before playing with the iPod, I was skeptical of the device — like just about everyone else. But after touching it, I knew that the future of music consumption wore an Apple logo. By God, I wanted one. Bad.

Three Articles about iPod

So here we are, ten years later. The iPod unquestionably shook up the world. How should we mark the anniversary? Well, to start, I have written three pieces about the iPod for this exact occasion. I’ll go through them below.

  1. The Birth of the iPod – In this piece over at Macworld, I take a look at the origins of the first iPod — how it was created, by whom, and why. I owe great thanks to Tony Fadell for sharing his time to talk about the iPod’s creation, and to Steven Levy and Leander Kaheney, whose previous works on the iPod also provided invaluable sources for my article.

    Despite those sources, this is not some iPod creation rehash. In fact, it puts together a number of disparate information sources for the first time. And thanks to my interview with Fadell, you’ll definitely learn some new tidbits about the birth of the iPod.

  2. iPod Oddities – In which I continue my long-running Technologizer-hosted Oddities series by examining weird accessories, art, and history related to the iPod. Fun stuff, as always. Don’t miss the iPod ballistics calculator.
  3. The iPod as an Iconic Cultural Force – Also at Macworld, this piece openly muses about how the iPod changed our culture, the music industry, and the world around us.

I wish I could say that I wrote more (ha), but you’ll have to be satisfied with that — oh, and all the other iPod tributes you’ll find on the web in the next few days.

Happy birthday, iPod.

Discussion Topic of the Anniversary: What did you think about the iPod when you first heard about it? Did your opinion change after you actually used it?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Black Tie Optional

Monday, October 10th, 2011

iBook Black Tie Ad - 2000The iBook: a minimalist scan in honor of Steve Jobs.

[ From Self, June 2000, back cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What did you think of the original iMac when you first saw it?

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Steve Jobs co-founder of AppleIn Memoriam: Steve Jobs (1955-2011), co-founder and ex-CEO of Apple, Inc.

Ladies and gentlemen, a legend has fallen.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Bleeding Apple

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Apple Logo Sticker - circa 1983When printing this sticker, Apple refused to stay within the lines.

Apple included corporate logo stickers like this with just about every computer sold by the company from the Apple II era (late 1970s) up to at least the iMac G4 (2002) — the last time I noticed one. This particular sticker came packaged with a 1983 Apple IIe.

The stickers changed over time, of course. At first, the font switched from Motter Tektura (seen here) to Apple Garamond in the mid-1980s. The last Apple sticker I own, from 2002, simply consists of a solid white Apple logo, no text.

[ From Apple Computer Sticker, circa 1983 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Steve Jobs resigned as Apple’s CEO last Wednesday. What do you think will happen to Apple without him?

Interview: John Linnell of They Might Be Giants on Technology, Video Games, Injuries

Monday, June 13th, 2011

John Linnell of They Might Be Giants Interview on Technologizer

Up now on is my recent interview with John Linnell of the tech-savvy rock band They Might Be Giants. Linnell and I discussed his personal computer and video game history, how he’s integrated computers into his music career, a fierce Tetris addiction, and gruesome encounters with X-Acto knives. I hope you enjoy it.

By they way — Happy Birthday to Mr. Linnell, who turned 52 yesterday.

Apple Stores Turn 10

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

A Tale of Two Apple Stores on

Ten years ago today, the first two Apple retail stores opened to the public. As you might expect me to do, I wrote an article about it. You can see the result, “A Tale of Two Apple Stores (The First Two),” over at Macworld right now. It’s part of a larger series of articles about the Apple retail stores’ 10th anniversary. Hope you enjoy it.

When you’re done reading, tell us about your first visit to an Apple Store. What were your feelings and impressions? Did you buy anything?

Mac Plus Turns 25

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Mac Plus 25th Anniversary Article on

25 years ago this month, Apple introduced the Macintosh Plus — a computer many consider to be the first truly usable Macintosh model. In honor of the anniversary, I asked myself to write a short article about it for Macworld. To my surprise, I complied with the request and the result is now up at I hope I enjoy it.*

* Inside joke.

The Evolution of Computer Displays

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Evolution of Computer Displays - A Brief History of Computer Displays on PC

PC World recently published “A Brief History of Computer Displays,” one of my most recent slideshow works and the latest in my “Evolution” series. The piece traces computer display devices from blinking lights, to paper tape, to terminals, and beyond.

Special thanks to Steve Wozniak and Lee Felsenstein for help with a certain segment of computer display history — the era when computers shifted from serial terminals IO to directly outputting a video signal. Our conversations were exciting stuff that I’ll explore further in future articles.

I hope you enjoy it. When you’re done reading, come back over and tell us what your first computer display/monitor was like.

Previous entries in Benj’s “Evolution of…” series:
The Evolution of Video Game Media
The Evolution of Removable Storage
The Evolution of The Cell Phone

Remembering the Macintosh TV

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Remembering the Macintosh TV on

Recently, Macworld asked me to write something about the rare and mysterious Macintosh TV (1993) to tie in with the launch of the 2nd generation Apple TV. So I did, and you can read the result over at today. Here’s the teaser text from the site:

Apple’s recent overhaul of the Apple TV has pundits scrambling to analyze and dissect the company’s renewed push into the living room. Judging from all the excitement, you might think “Apple + TV” was something unique to the 21st century. Not true. Benj Edwards revisits Apple’s first foray into TV-computer integration, circa 1993.

Hope you enjoy it.

Does anyone out there own (or formerly own) a Macintosh TV? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences with it in the comments below.