Almost There

It has taken almost two years of travel to get to this point. I left my starting point in my packed up wagon of info about the Apple II, and slowly made my way west towards the new land of print media. Along the way, I spoke to some of the natives, who gave me additional information to add to my manuscript. I had to stop frequently and rest, sometimes hunting for food (clarification of facts) when my supplies ran low. Although sometimes there was little game available, sometimes I’d find a bison’s-worth of information. And, unlike others on the trail, I often found a way to drag back all 932 pounds of the carcass to supplement my writings.

After I reached the half-way point, I thought it would be all downhill from there. Oh, silly me. I was just entering the mountains, and some of the most treacherous ground was yet to be crossed. The weather had turned a bit more chilly than I had anticipated. Challenges like exhaustion, snake-bite, and yes, even dysentery had to be overcome. But yet, I persevered. The hunting now involved some dry spots where I could only catch squirrels, and sometimes crossed paths with bears. Thankfully, my ammunition did not run out.

Despite the difficulty of the trail, I still was able to speak to some of the others who were on or near the trail. They often were able to provide me with other stories that clarified what I already knew. Some of them were old, and sometimes their memory of events was fading. Still, most of them added to my supply of provisions to help me complete the journey. And although I frequently disagreed with my guide as to the correct path to take, we finally came out of the mountains and onto safer ground.

Oregon Trail 50 miles 2

And now, the Willamette Valley in Oregon is so close I can almost smell it. The final destination is within my grasp, and expect to arrive within the new 3-4 weeks.

Possibly sooner if I don’t get dysentery again.

Definitely Not Vaporware!

The book is in the final editing stage now, so it’s getting really close. Those who have pre-ordered it are probably getting messages from Amazon that say, “Are you sure you still want this? It’s still not available.” Please be sure to tell Amazon “yes” by clicking that “continue” button. It’s a Simple choice for the Sophisticated Apple II fan who wants to have the Time of his or her Life. (You see what I did there …)

You’ll be glad you did. The final result will be worth the extra wait.

Polishing Apples

I haven’t said much about the upcoming book for a while, primarily because I’ve been busily at work making corrections, revisions, and in some cases additions to the material. The editor going over the material is not an Apple II person, which is actually a Really Good Thing. He has questions about things that were obvious to me (and to my generation of Apple II users), things which are less obvious to a potential present-day audience.

It is likely that the revisions and polishing are going to push back the potential release date from April 1st to a later date (and no, that date was not selected as an anniversary of the founding of Apple). But the final product will actually be better than what I had originally envisioned, so hang in there!

Sophistication & Simplicity

Just over twenty years ago, the final part of the Apple II History was uploaded to the A2 Roundtable on GEnie. From a series of newsletter articles explaining the various models of Apple II computers released by Apple, it had evolved into a much longer work, that also delved into the Disk II drive, DOS, ProDOS, software, peripherals and other hardware, and many other topics. These articles were written to be available to reprint in newsletters for Apple II user groups around the country (and eventually around the world), and in general was well received.

In all the years since the release of the original version of the History it has become a much more polished document, and one that better tells the story of how the Apple came about, evolved, and affected the company which produced it. I have also learned more of the story of what happened after 1995, when a combination of a hard drive crash on my IIGS and lack of functioning backup discouraged my further participation in the Apple II community for several years.

As I’ve made revisions and corrections to the chapters over the years, I have had many who have wanted a print version of the History. For a while I resisted these suggestions; my thought was that since it had been online for so long and continued to be available on web pages, why would anyone want to buy a book? Regardless, the requests continued to appear at times.

So, for the past year, I have been working on revisions and updates to the history, and a re-ordering of the information to be able to offer it as a book. The result is the best version of the History than I’ve ever had, and with the rising interest in retrocomputing in general, the time is opportune to produce a print book.

I am pleased to announce that I have a publisher. Variant Press of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has agreed to print the Apple II History as a book. Entitled Sophistication & Simplicity: The Life & Times of the Apple II Computer, the book is scheduled to be available in April 2013, running over 500 pages. It will have the text of the Apple II History as found on this web site, including some revisions not posted here, many of the pictures that appear here in the various chapters (as well as a few not found on the web site), and include a never-before-released chapter dealing specifically with KansasFest and the Apple II story in the years after Apple abandoned the platform.

Variant Press has previously published the story of Commodore, in Brian Bagnall’s book, Commodore: A Company On The Edge, and plans to continue that story with Commodore: The Amiga Years (to be released in the summer of 2013). Variant has also published books on Lego Mindstorms programming.

The cover has not yet been finalized, but when there is more information I will post it. It will be available through Amazon and other book retailers. We are also looking into creating a digital book version as well.