Spotted In The Wild

It’s exciting to see something that has involved so much work, long term and short term, come to pass. But it’s even more exhilarating to see others share in it.

I’ve had a number of Twitter and Facebook posts from people who were saying they planned to order the book – even before it was a proper pre-order. And now some of those books have been received, and the enthusiasm has led some to take photos. Paul Hagstrom (@yesterbits) took a cool photo:

yesterbits (Paul Hagstrom)

The original photo was of an Apple II standard (pre II Plus) model, but the book cover did not show anything specific enough that would have made that difference obvious.

Another Twitter-er, @neko_no_ko, posted a photo of the book on his Apple III Plus:


But the topper was an an unboxing video posted by the prolific Ken Gagne, editor of Juiced.GS and webmaster for a number of websites. On his Gamebits channel on YouTube, he has had videos of the unboxing of a Wii U, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, videos that have had a healthy number of views. I would not have thought of my book as a topic worthy of unboxing, but here it is:

Thanks to all for your support and interest!

My God, It’s Full of Words!

It’s December 2nd, and although Amazon still has the book listed as for “pre-order”, I want to confirm that it really does exist. My supply came in a box from UPS today. They insisted on posing for a picture:


Breaking News

Breaking-NewsjpgAfter further conversations with my publisher, we have decided it will be acceptable to leave the current Apple II History content on the site as it is. The caveat is that there is some material in the book that has been updated or expanded from what has been on the web site, and the content here will not be similarly updated for the time being.

So, for those who were concerned about the loss of the primary content on this web site as it has been for the past 15 years, this is a big win!


In the process of announcing my book, I made mention about this web site that I guess was unclear. I have had some concerned emails sent my way asking about it, and so I decided that I had better explain what I meant.

When this Apple II History web site first went online, all it consisted of were the various chapters of the original History as it was posted on GEnie back in 1991 and 1992. Then I added some links to other web sites (remember those? no one seems to do that any more!), and then I added in my Song Parodies, and then some pictures I found, and then some more articles. And then when I moved it to WordPress, I started including blog posts about topics that interested me.

So what I ended up with was The History as the core of the site, and then all of this other stuff that I’ve created or collected after I wrote The History. With time, I think The History part makes up about 50 or 60 percent of the entire content hosted here.  Oh, and I added some material to The History as I learned more that filled in gaps, or corrected mistakes, or whatnot.

clarificationThen I decided to make The History into a print book. I looked for and found a publisher who was willing to take the risk to make this into a real book (thank you Variant Press), and we entered into negotiations about the book. And one of the stipulations of our agreement was that when The Book came out, The History content would be taken off the web site.

What that means is I am not taking down the Apple II History web site. What I am doing (at least for the present) is I will be taking the various chapters of The History off the web site. Everything else (the pictures in the Museum, and the Song Parodies, and the other add-on material) will remain in place as it has been. I’m also working on a redesign of the web site that will look a bit more modern than this current WordPress theme.

And who knows? If the book does well enough I may be able to convince the publisher to let me restore at least the current History as it stands. But rest assured, the rest of the Apple II History site will still be here for as long as I am around.

The Presses Are Rolling!

Sophistication & SimplicityNot a dream! Not an alternate reality! Not a hoax!

Yes, the book is finally and truly available on Amazon for pre-order (see link below), and should be available for delivery after December 1, 2013.

The book was submitted to the printer during the past week, and the book cover design was finalized yesterday.

I am pleased with the final results, and expect that readers will like it also. As I was listening to the latest episode of the Open Apple podcast, in which Bill Martens and Brian Wiser discuss the newly released Wozpak Special Edition (another book I would strongly recommend), one of the comments made struck me.

Martens and Wiser were asked if the Wozpak was going to be available as a PDF, and they said that they felt the material was much more valuable as a print book that can be held in your hand. And I agree that the Wozpak is really better as a paper book. As a PDF, it can just go into a folder on my computer hard drive, and be forgotten. But in print form, it is simultaneously more real and more retro. It is something like the difference between running an emulated classic computer and running the real hardware. Personally, I more highly esteem physical hardware than some files on my computer, regardless of how much simpler it may be to operate.

In the same way, the release of Sophistication & Simplicity adds value to the Apple II History beyond what has classically been presented here in its online form. It is easier to read as a book that can held in the hand, rather sitting in front of your computer (or tablet) and go through all of the chapters and appendices.

Sophistication back cover
Back cover

At this time I will also announce that the Apple II History content on this web site will be removed for the foreseeable future at some time in the next month. Now, if you REALLY want to read the traditionally free version of this history, you can still download the old files from the Asimov FTP site, and you can probably find an archived version of this web site in its current form at (just enter “” in the search window for the Wayback machine.

However, I will say that although the core of the material in the History has not changed much, there is additional information in nearly every section, as well as a more interesting presentation of that material. In other words, the $29.95 price of the book (before Amazon’s discount) is not a deal-breaker if you need the info in the history for research purposes.

Click here to pre-order!

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain!

wizard of ozI myself have placed an order for the Sophistication and Simplicity book, so I would get announcements from Amazon about it. Tonight I got the email that says the order has been cancelled, and Amazon apologizes for the inconvenience.

Don’t listen to them!! It is within a week or two of being sent to the printer and will then finally be available! And I can’t wait to see it myself.

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.

Still bookin’ along

book-clip-art-7For those who are wondering when this wondrous and highly informative chronology of the Apple II and its culture will actually be available for purchase, rest assured that progress continues on the editing and polishing process. It is later than I’d hoped, but I believe the extra time being taken will result in a final manuscript that will be better for the extra care being taken.

For those others who lived through the 1970s, remember these famous commercial phrases:

“We will sell no wine before its time.” (Orson Welles, for the Paul Masson Mountain Winery)

“Is it soup yet?” (Lipton soup)

And the best known phrase of all:

“Are we there yet?” (nearly every child waiting for the end of a car trip)

It will be ready when it is fully fermented, the water has boiled, and we’ll get there when we get there, so sit back and enjoy the scenery.

As for now, I am preparing to head to KansasFest, where I expect another amazing week of Apple II retrocomputing, things old and new revealed, surprises and fun with other similar-minded enthusiasts. Hope to see you there!

A Cover Up

We have a penultimate (possibly ultimate) cover for the book. I think this is looking pretty nice!

Sophistication & Simplicity cover