Monthly Archives: May 2011

Happy 31st Birthday, Apple III!

On this day in 1980, Apple introduced its newly designed-by-committee Apple III personal computer at the National Computer Conference in Anaheim, CA.  Later that day, the conference attendees were loaded into double-decker buses and taken over to Disneyland, which Apple had rented for half the day at a cost of $42,000, to continue the celebration.

The good times didn’t last long though, as the numerous design flaws in the Cupertino company’s first business computer were quickly exposed.  The III’s sordid history has been well documented, and there’s little reason to rehash it all here.  I just wanted to take a moment to remind folks that for everything that was initially wrong with the III, the later model and the redesigned III+ were excellent machines that easily outperformed the competition from IBM.

Perhaps I’ll send a short email to Steve Jobs reminding him of this milestone.  I bet he’d like that.

* Update: There are of course many great photos of Apple-themed birthday cakes floating around the ‘nets but shockingly, not a single Apple III cake.  Hmmm.  I wonder if Cakes by Karen could whip up something…

Keeping up with the Gagnes

If you’re an Apple II user in the 21st century, you know who Ken Gagne is.  Publisher, blogger, podcaster, KansasFester extraordinaire, there isn’t much that happens in the Apple II hobbyist community that Ken isn’t involved with on some level.  In his most recent blog post over at Apple II Bits, he outlines a flurry of activities he undertook, all related to the Apple II.  Amazingly, these were all over just one weekend.  Reading down that list, I see it’s more than I’ve done for the Apple II all year.

Why am I bringing this up?  One, to remind my two loyal readers that there’s no lack of ventures any one of us can choose to be involved in.  There may not be much going on in software or hardware development these days, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do.  The Apple II community these days is a civil place filled with smart, knowledgeable people willing answer any questions, and I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t welcome another helping hand with whatever project they’re working on.  All you have to do is ask.

The second reason I’m writing this is to remind myself that I need to post here more often.  I have a basement full of Apple II projects just waiting to be started.   (My wife would likely point out that some of those projects are beginning to creep upstairs and into the living room.)  Briefly, my to-do list looks something like this:

– Repair or cannibalize the Franklin ACE 2100 damaged in the shelf collapse.

– Break out my new, still unopened soldering iron and start to re-learn soldering.

– Clean and re-align a handful of Apple Disk III drives.

– Troubleshoot and repair two dead Apple IIIs.

– Learn Apple II assembly language and Pascal, and refresh myself on Apple Logo.

– Finish at least two partially-complete articles for upcoming Juiced.GS issues.

– Figure out how to get myself to KansasFest this year.

– Finish several on-going scanning projects for

– Finish the Apple IIe Card set up in my Macintosh Color Classic.

So here’s my little kick in the butt from me to you (but more to me): get involved, do something.  The late Ryan Suenaga used to say, if you’re a programmer and you come to KansasFest without something to show, you suck.  I’m going to modify that slightly and say, if you’re an Apple II user and you’re not actively involved in your chosen hobby, you suck.

What does your Apple II to-do list look like? And how many items have you already crossed off your list?