Comment from E-mail:
I was saddened to read in your "Letters" section that someone had actually
TRASHED an Apple I (!!!)
Time was, many years ago, back in the heady days of the Apple II, you
and I had developed quite a telephone relationship. In fact, I think we
talked on almost a weekly basis for a period of almost two years. I also
met you and Randy Wigginton (in fact, you were staying at the same hotel
as I) during the Third West Coast Computer Faire, and even went to a party
at the house of the local Apple Fan Club president, where John Draper
and Bob Bishop, as well as yourself were also there. WOW!
Anyway, back in '78-'79, you told me to HANG ON to my Apple I, because,
AT *THAT* TIME, you said that there were probably less than FIFTY of them
left, because most of them were bought back and exchanged for Apple IIs.
You also mentioned that Apple had an Apple I in a frame, with the words
"Our Founder" below it. Since Apple now says that THEY don't even have
an Apple I, and it is OBVIOUS that the production crew of "Pirates..."
had NEITHER access to an Apple I, NOR to an ORIGINAL-CASED Apple II (sans
"vent slots") for the movie, I wonder what happened to THAT specimen...
Well, to make a long story short (too late!), I took your advice, and
HELD ONTO that Apple I. But, as time goes on, I find that I am interested
in "authenticating" it... I can't STAND the thought of parting with it,
but the time MAY come someday, that I HAVE to.
I have: An Apple I board, with a number "0064" written on the "motherboard"
in "Sharpie". The system is fully expanded with 8K of RAM, and it has
the famous, WORLD'S BEST Cassette Interface installed. There is the remnants
of a SWTPC PR-40 "printer" interface intact, which consists of a ribbon
cable soldered to the open port on the PIA, terminated in a DB-25S connector.
There is also an RF modulator (Pixie-Mod?), with a Molex connector, as
required. The power transformer is Stancor, and is fused. It also has
the proper connector (female Molex) on it.
Everything worked the last time I turned it on, but since that was over
10 years ago, I fear for the big blue electrolytics, but I am also not
fond of the idea of pulling out all the chips and bringing the power supply
up on a "Variac". The chips are all original, right down to the ceramic
6502. There is also a 40 pin wirewrap socket in the "prototyping area",
but nothing is stuffed in it. The Cassette I/F comes out to two RCA females
on the (Keytronics?) fiberglas enclosure (which actually looks REMARKABLY
like an Apple II !). Other stuff: An Apple I Owner's Manual, in a TAN
cover, with a "modern" Apple Logo on it, which YOU personally sent me,
along with an ORIGINAL Cassette Interface "Slick Sheet" literature (which
HAS to be the RAREST of RARE!), with the "Newton's Apple" logo (!!!).
SOFTWARE: A copy or two of Apple Integer BASIC, on NON-APPLE tapes (sorry!),
plus a copy of the Mini-Assembler that I typed in from an article YOU
wrote in Byte (or was it KiloBaud?), which I have the ORIGINAL magazine
of (a Thanx, and good "talking" with you again after TOOOo long,
Well, you certainly have it all in regard to the Apple I, including memories.
I do recognize your name.
Apple may not have an Apple I. But this week A&E network came over to
my home to interview me for a biography on Steve Jobs. I went up to my
attic which is full of boxes of memorabilia and I was actually able to
find an Apple I board and one of the first Apple ]['s, with no ventilation
grooves in the plastic.
On a side note, this Friday (2000.02.11) The History Channel should be
playing a "History's Lost & Found" for the first Apple I of all, which
I talk about at it's location.
I just can't get over how much you've done, and how the media has really
missed the mark in praising Uncle Bill. Thanks so much. I just hope I
get this back in time to finish the paper. You've done a lot in your life,
more than most people will ever do. History will eventually be set straight.
You won't be forgotten. And I won't forget.
Bill Gates is praised as being a successful businessman. If he wore praised
as a programmer, then I'd be deserving of some of that sort of praise
too. I just hope that my examples inspire others to see engineers as good
people and to go in that direction and to use their talents to make great
things and help the world and not just to make money.
Comment from E-mail:
What's the most extreme you have seen a mac user go to prove his/her
loyalty to the OS and Apple? I personally think I am up there. Last fall
I had the classic six-color apple logo tattooed on my upper back. Tell
me, where do I fall in the extreme mac user scale?
The most extreme that I've seen is two people that had their ankles tattooed
with the color Apple logo. I was going to follow their lead but my wife
said "no." That couple is left with nice reminders of their past!
Comment from E-mail:
My name is Tony and I'm from La Mesa, CA. I'm just starting to complete
my MCSE and A+ certs. I just read an article on the history of Apple in
the ComputorEdge Magazine dated 01/28/00. My question is, why didn't you
stick with Apple and take full credit of all your achievements? It seems
to me that Steve Jobs got the better of you and doesn't seem right. I
don't mean to pry into your personal business, but after reading the article,
I just had to send an e-mail to you. Do you like your current profession?
It says in the article you are now teaching 5th grade students computing.
Anyway, take care of yourself.
I was a pure engineer and wanted only to design things, for fun and work.
I didn't want to run a company and I'm way too soft and caring a person
to do so effectively. I'm happy where I am and I'm doing what I want to
do. I'm glad that the company is on a good track. Some personalities are
appropriate for running companies and some are more appropriate for teaching.
Comment from E-mail:
Hi again. I just have to say first off that your very nice to be replying
to me so quickly. I mean, sometimes you cant even get this from large
companies. But anways. Something interensting happened to me this week.
I picked up an Apple IIc Plus and an Apple IIgs (ROM Ver3) and well the
IIgs is very very cool. Im figuring it out quickly, But what interests
me is the IIc+ I dont know what it is, but i like the design, and I just
think its a cool portable thing, But i cant seem to find out much information
about it. I was reading the history of apple, and it sounds like it was
kinda a failure due to the IIgs and the Macintosh, but is there a way
i can run Apple II stuff on it, Thats basically what it is right? Except
for the 400 or 800K diskdrive it has. The only problem i have is i have
NO software, not even a prodos disk or dos 3.3 disk, it just goes into
basic. Ive been looking up stuff for 3 days on the net now (including
your page) and they all seem to skip over the poor old IIc+ I almost feel
bad for the thing. Its so cool. Well i wont take up anymore of your time,
but I just wanted to know, can you think of anything to get me started
on this? I also wanted to know if you know where i can get a listing of
commands in basic (incase this whole disk drive thing doesnt work) I guess
what i need is an image file of an 400/800K (Dont know what it is, so
its gotta be one of those) disk, and a program that can write that disk
to an actuall 400/800K disk. Well hope to hear from you soon. See ya
The Apple ][c was very popular. I continually run into people that remember
it very well, and for many it was their favorite Apple ][ of all. It certainly
was for me. I even added an early LCD screen to mine for a very easy to
carry machine. The Apple ][c does require a power supply. It runs standard
Apple ][ software on floppy disks.
It would take me time that I don't have to dig up technical info about
these products so you'll have to do the search yourself.
Comment from E-mail:
In our AP c++ class we are trying to use virtual stacks to devlop a
infix to postfix calculator transalator. To study how exactly the infix
notation and postfix notation differ we used on of the very old HP calculators.
I was wondering that when you worked for HP did you help devlop some postfix
calculators? Do you prefer infix notation or postfix?
Infix to postfix was common to computer scientists in 1970. But this was
back when very few colleges even had computer science programs for undergraduates.
Postfix notation was not common to average people who use the infix written
system. Computer scientists tend to find postfix to be more 'pure' than
infix. It does have the qualities of left to right operation and no parentheses.
But it requires a stack, which would translate to extra memory steps for
a human if we wrote expressions in postfix. I'd guess that computer scientists
would feel that early expression writers stuck us with a worse system,
kind of like the QWERTY keyboard. The computer scientist view of postfix
is similar to the scientists' view of the metric system.
At Hewlett Packard we were so proud that our calculators, the first scientific
ones ever, were years ahead of competition. They used postfix partly because
the least logic or ROM chips were quite expensive back then. It would
have taken extra keys and an infix to postfix translator to use infix.
Also, a larger and more expensive desktop HP machine from the division
in Colorado Springs used postfix, for the same reasons. The HP-35 was
an attempt to miniaturize this machine.
Our marketing department had a card with a monstrous formula to demonstrate
how powerful our calculators were and what postfix calculation was capable
of. They challenged people to solve it on a slide rule the normal way.
Well, we could all solve it on our HP calculators but it took a few tries
to get the steps accurate enough, there were so many of them.
Finally Texas Instruments introduced an infix 'algebraic entry' scientific
calculator. The first one showed up in our lab one day. We were all pooh-poohing
it and laughing at the arithmetic entry as being too weak for engineers.
Someone pulled out our big formula challenge and we all laughed, sure
that nobody could ever do it with the TI calculator. A challenge went
up for someone to try. After a short silence I said that I'd try.
Well I started staring at the formula and looking at the keys and trying
to decide which steps to calculate first, as you would do with an HP calculator.
I finally realized that I'd never be able to solve the formula this way.
With my fellow engineers watching I was very self conscious but I wanted
to succeed. I managed to let go of my thinking and then came up with a
very amazing concept. I just copied the formula from left to right! This
was such an incredible concept that I pressed the keys as fast as I could
on the TI calculator, risking a wrong press but impressing my colleagues.
I had to guess whether this calculator used the square root button as
prefix or postfix but I guessed right and got the proper answer the first
My colleagues couldn't believe it. I told them that you just copy the
formula from left to right but not one of them could see through their
postfix fog. After all, these were the calculator experts of the world.
They are well accustomed to thinking ahead and analyzing an expression
to come up with the order of steps to take on an HP postfix calculator,
and they had to remember which sub-expressions were in what order on the
calculator's stack. None of them could do what I had done, forget that
they have to be smart.
I was strongly affected for life by this experience. There's a lot of
rightness in using the same system on a calculator that we all learn to
use on paper, a system that has been around for hundreds of years. My
pure side prefers postfix but it's not what I'd recommend to others for
a calculator. I also type on a Dvorak keyboard now, but I wouldn't recommend