computer history museum 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.

computer history museum 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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