Apple II Stories May 26, 2014

“Where’s the mouse?” Today’s kids try to figure out an Apple II [Video]

If you ever wanted an illustration of how far computer technology has come in a single generation, this video portrays it well. A bunch of kids who’ve grown up with Macs, iPads and iPhones, and for whom apps and the web are as natural as breathing, try their hand at an Apple II – starting with the challenge of how to switch it on.

Scarily, I’m old enough to have used an Apple II and now feel slightly nostalgic, but I don’t think I’ll be trading in my MacBook Pro anytime soon.

Apple II Stories April 21, 2014

Samsung acknowledges one Apple invention: there’s an Apple II in its Innovation Museum

Samsung and Apple may spend rather a lot of time arguing about who invented what in patent trials, but Samsung does at least acknowledge one Apple invention. The Samsung Innovation Museum, opened to mark the 45th anniversary of Samsung Electronics, includes an Apple II, described as “the first home computer.”

Apple II Stories January 24, 2014

Apple product database app Mactracker updated adding dozens of vintage systems

Mactracker, the definitive app for tracking Apple product information, received a substantial update today, on the Mac’s 30th birthday. Both the OS X and iOS versions have, for the first time, added Apple’s non-Macintosh computers to the database, including the entire Apple II line, and many early Apple monitors and accessories.

Apple II Stories December 12, 2013

Apple spruces up online support portal with new, simpler design

Apple has recently updated its online support portal on Apple.com with a more modern look and feel. The new design puts easier access to support for each of Apple’s products, with large images and clean lines. The older design (screenshotted below) was much more boxy and cluttered.

In the old layout, customers would have to click through to ‘All Products’ to get help about more obscure products. With the new design, the infinitely scrolling carousel puts everything on the portal homepage. It is also much clearer where to find the Apple communities and access phone support as other aspects of support have been removed completely from the page.

Apple II Stories November 20, 2013

The $5k and Apple II donation from Steve Jobs that kickstarted sight restoration for 3.5M people

A $5000 donation by Steve Jobs in the late 1970s was key to the successful creation of a charity which, 35 years later, has helped restore eye-sight to 3.5 million people in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Tibet, India and other countries, reports the NY Times.

Jobs also donated to the Seva Foundation an Apple II computer in 1980, with a copy of the spreadsheet Visicalc and a 5MB drive which he said the charity would never be able to fill.

“You’ll never be able to use all the [capacity],” Dr. Brilliant recalled Mr. Jobs telling him. “It’s five megabytes!’”

The Apple II was returned to Steve’s widow Laurene Powell Jobs after spending 33 years in Katmandu, Nepal, by SEVA co-founder Dr Larry Brilliant, a long-time friend of the couple. Dr Brilliant said that the charity would never have existed without that initial $5k donation. Ms Powell Jobs said her husband has been proud to support the charity.

“Steve was always very clear about his role in the genesis of Seva and it was his privilege to help support the heroic on-the-ground work of the doctors and health professionals involved in this courageous effort,” Ms. Powell Jobs said in a statement. “It’s amazing Seva found the Apple II donated by Steve and our family is thrilled to have it returned.”

While Jobs was often criticised for a lack of visible philanthropy (though no-one knows how much he gave away privately), Dr Brilliant says he believed this was because Apple took 100 percent of his time and energy.

“I only know how to do one thing well,” Mr. Brilliant said Mr. Jobs told him. “I think I can help the world by doing this one thing.”

The full piece is worth a read.

Apple II Stories November 12, 2013

With permission from Apple, The Computer History Museum and the Digibarn Computer Museum announced today it is publishing the original DOS source code for Apple’s 1978 Apple II. The Apple II was the first fully assembled computer with a monitor that Apple sold following the Apple I and originally retailed for $1298 for the base model with just 4K of memory.

A blog post from The History Computer Museum explains that Apple contracted Paul Laughton of Shepardson Microsystems to write the Disk Operating System for the Apple II in just seven weeks. In April of 78, Steve Jobs and Shepardson signed a contract (pictured below) that would see Apple pay $13,000 for a file manager, a BASIC interface, and utilities. The source code being released today is scans of original documents that Laughton kept over the last 30+ years: expand full story

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