Archivist seeks to preserve every Apple II program ever created

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Software swaps and hardware hacks at the 2016 KansasFest.
Software swaps and hardware hacks at the 2016 KansasFest.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Jason Scott is an archivist and the enthusiasm for what he curates is the kind ascribed to 15th-century manuscripts or Jamestown colony artifacts – not software on obsolete floppy disks written for a 40-year-old computer system.

Scott is out to collect any original or copied software disks for the Apple II as if a language is in danger of dying with the people who speak it or possess some record of its existence.

Today in Apple history: Card lets users run Apple II software on Macs

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Running Apple II programs on your Mac was pretty darn awesome.
Photo: Microwavemont/YouTube

March1 March 1, 1991: Apple introduces the Apple IIe Card, a $199 peripheral that lets users turn Macs into fully functioning Apple IIe computers.

The ability to emulate the popular Apple IIe computer on a Mac brings Apple’s two operating systems side by side for the first time. It’s not quite the equivalent of Apple letting you run iOS on a Mac today, but it’s not a world away, either.

Today in Apple history: Steve Wozniak leaves Apple

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Steve Wozniak wax sculpture fake eyes
Woz was upset at the lack of respect shown to the Apple II division.
Photo: Madame Tussauds

Nov6 February 9, 1985: Frustrated by Apple’s shifting priorities, co-founder Steve Wozniak leaves the company to pursue outside interests.

His departure from Apple — which comes the same year that Steve Jobs leaves to form NeXT — represents a big change for the company. It is brought about by Woz’s dissatisfaction at how the Apple II division is treated, and his desire to start up a new company.

Today in Apple history: Apple ships its first Mac

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Do you remember the first-gen Macintosh?
Photo: Apple

Jan25January 24, 1984: Apple ships its first Mac, the mighty Macintosh 128K.

Bringing a mouse and graphical user interface to the masses, and heralded by an acclaimed Super Bowl commercial that’s still talked about today, the first-gen Mac will quickly become one of the most important personal computers ever released.

Today in Apple history: Remember Franklin’s Apple II clone?

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Ace1200
The Franklin Ace 1200 was, in some ways, a literal copy of the Apple II.
Photo: Bugbookmuseum

Jan18January 18, 1983: Computer manufacturer Franklin Electronic Publishers announces its Franklin Ace 1200 computer, one of several Apple II clones the company made.

Franklin’s line of unauthorized Apple clones (unlike the later official clone Macs in the 1990s) becomes the center of an important legal battle, in which a U.S. court decides whether or not a company can protect its operating system by copyright.

Today in Apple history: Apple II gets its ‘killer app’

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VisiCalc, the world's first
The world's first computer spreadsheet.
Photo: VisiCalc

January 2, 1979: Entrepreneurs Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston incorporate their company Software Arts to publish a little program called VisiCalc.

The first spreadsheet for the Apple II, the $100 VisiCalc becomes personal computing’s first “killer app” and helps transform personal computers from “cool to have” toy into “must have” business accessory.

Today in Apple history: The final Apple II model arrives

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The sixth and final model in the Apple II series of computers.
Photo: TanRu Nomad

Sep15September 15, 1988: Apple releases the Apple IIc Plus, the sixth and final model in the Apple II series of computers. It’s a great machine, with impressive capabilities, but suffers from poor marketing and support.

With the Mac around, Cupertino simply doesn’t seem interested in the Apple computer anymore.

Today in Apple history: Happy birthday Steve Wozniak

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Steve Wozniak wax sculpture fake eyes
Woz turns 66 today.
Photo: Madame Tussauds

Aug11August 11, 1950: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is born. While Steve Jobs may be the most admired figure to come out of Apple, a good argument can be made that Woz is the most well-loved by fans.

In addition to his most famous creation, the Apple II, Wozniak is also responsible for imbuing Apple’s products with his own fun-loving personality.

KansasFest: Final notes from ‘Nerdvana’

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KansasFest
The future and its foundation have a tense history.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugCult of Mac’s David Pierini traveled to KansasFest to meet Apple fans intensely devoted to the Apple II computer line. The machine turns 40 next year.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s rare we hear the term personal computer anymore. Yet personal is the only word to begin to understand KansasFest and a small but feisty community of preservationists who love the Apple II line of computers.

The 28th fest concluded Saturday and within the event’s first hour, attendees were already making plans to attend next year, the 40th birthday of the Apple II.

KansasFest is a second-chance childhood for one programmer

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Martin Haye, left, and Ivan Drucker talking Apple II hacking at KansasFest.
Martin Haye, left, and Ivan Drucker talking Apple II hacking at KansasFest.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugCult of Mac’s David Pierini traveled to KansasFest to meet Apple fans intensely devoted to the Apple II computer line. The machine turns 40 next year.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – They say they travel to KansasFest to feel like kids again. Fest attendees stay up all night laughing, arguing and eating pizza. They program and play games on their Apple II machines and call each other nerd or geek.

Bullied and closeted as a boy, Martin Haye describes KansasFest as the childhood he wished he’d had.

“If I had this when I was 13, I would’ve been fine,” says Haye, 48, a programmer for the California Digital Library who lives in Santa Cruz. “I didn’t try to fit in but I was little, I carried a briefcase to school, I was a target. I have a good life now, but this week is the most intense, sustained, predictable happiness I’ve ever had.”