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.

Home Stretch

I am closer to getting this book thing a done deal. However, I could use help from the Apple II History audience regarding a couple of pictures.

When I first collected pictures to spice up the text-only Apple II History years ago, I was focused on low-bandwidth (it took too long to load large pictures at 33.6K or 56K modem speeds), and so had small pictures that were not necessarily high quality. For the book, however, I need pictures that are higher quality.

Take a look at the page for the Apple IIe here:


just down to where the photo of the lower left keyboard is. If anyone has a better picture of the lower left keyboard for a non-enhanced Apple IIe, I would love to be able to use it. (The original source is offline, so I can’t contact that person for a better picture.)

I also would love to see a better picture of the Mac LC running the Apple IIe emulator card, like the picture seen here:


A picture like this one, with a screen shot of an Apple II program, would be ideal, if anyone has the setup that would allow a photo.

Views of the Apple IIc, like those in chapter 8, and the Apple IIe to IIGS conversion as seen in chapter 9, would also be wonderful.

From that point on, most of the pictures I have are good quality for a print version.

Any takers?

Book Progress

I’ve not said anything about the upcoming Apple II History book for some time.

Still working on it; have every chapter of material here put into proper book form, and have also added a chapter that is not on this web site, and working on an also-new final chapter that will be an appropriate way of tying it all together. KansasFest and participation in it kind of distracted me for a few weeks, but I’m slowly but steadily making progress.

Moving Forward

Thought I’d post an update on progress on the book. I’ve completed revision and updates on chapters 16 & 17 on Languages, chapter 18 on Software, and chapter 19 on AppleWorks. Now digging into Chapters 20 and 21, about Magazines.

(Beep!) *** iBooks ERROR

One glitch I’ve just discovered tonight about creating a book in Apple’s fancy iBooks Author program is that it doesn’t support footnotes. Seems kind of strange for a tool that is supposed to be for textbooks (footnotes, endnotes, bibliography, and index are important features of paper textbooks that I’ve owned or used in my life). So, until that problem is addressed by Apple, I’m going to just focus on a print book. I mean, my conversion from HTML to Microsoft Word is done through the chapter about Peripherals, and I’ve already got 298 footnotes. Until there is some way of displaying footnotes and easily converting them from Word, the iBooks version cannot happen.