Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Beginnings of Apple Computer

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the as-yet-unripe dept.

Technology 181

John Burek points out an article written by Stan Veit, former editor-in-chief of Computer Shopper magazine, and one of the first retailers to deal with the fledgling Apple Computer in the late 1970s. Veit describes his introduction to the Apple I and his early interactions with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as they developed their early models. Quoting: "After Woz hooked his haywire rig up to the living-room TV, he turned it on, and there on the screen I saw a crude Breakout game in full color! Now I was really amazed. This was much better than the crude color graphics from the Cromemco Dazzler. ... 'How do you like that?' said Jobs, smiling. 'We're going to dump the Apple I and only work on the Apple II.' 'Steve,' I said, 'if you do that you will never sell another computer. You promised BASIC for the Apple I, and most dealers haven't sold the boards they bought from you. If you come out with an improved Model II they will be stuck. Put it on the back burner until you deliver on your promises.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

History of Apple from TFA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014253)

Quoting from The summary:

"After Woz hooked his haywire dick up to the Steve Jobs's ass, he turned him on, and there on his ass he saw a crude herpes breakout in full color! Now I was really amazed. This was much better than the crude color bumps on the Cromemco Dildo. ... 'How do you like that, bitch?' said Jobs, smiling. 'I like it so much I'm going to dump in my pants and only work on the Asshole too. 'Steve,' I said, 'if you do that you will never sell another anal dildo. You promised BASIC insertion for the Anal one, and most dealers haven't sold the butt they bought from you. If you come out with an improved Anal too they will be stuck inside you. Put it in my back door until you deliver on your promises, bitch.'"

Gads, we know that Apple's founders are flamboyantly gay but in today's economy this success story is a little too "TMI", if you know what I'm saying. Jesus Christ.

Re:History of Apple from TFA QWZX (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014381)

Just out of curiosity (not that I expect a real, in-depth answer from an honest self-examination, but...), why are trolls so routinely obsessed with gay sex? It's like a compulsion. Do you scribble gay pictures on your notebook during social studies?

Re:History of Apple from TFA QWZX (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014495)

That particular troll is not obsessed with gay sex.

The only reason why it came up is because the article is about Apple. If the article were about RMS then that troll would have posted something about not bathing. If the article were about Steve ballmer then the troll would have been about flying chairs.

The troll post is long because it quoted the summary which, with little imagination, well...you get it. Whomever submitted the summary(choosing to quote that particular dialog between Mr. Wozniac and Mr. Jobs) was really, really asking for it!

Re:History of Apple from TFA QWZX (-1, Offtopic)

Gruff1002 (717818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014503)

I think they flame these homosexual themes because they are either homophobic or in denial about their own sexual identity.

Re:History of Apple from TFA QWZX (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26015663)

Or just enjoy seeing people's "insights" about them.

Why is it that everybody who uses "gay" as an insult is homophobic or gay? There is no logical connection. I think you are projecting your insecurities on us.

Re:History of Apple from TFA QWZX (-1, Offtopic)

olesaltyballs (1401943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014811)

Don't forget scat. Many trolls prefer their homosexual regaling with a good dose of shiteating.

Re:History of Apple from TFA QWZX (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26015047)

Correct! See: JockTroll [slashdot.org]

Re:History of Apple from TFA (1, Insightful)

repvik (96666) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014821)

That this has been modded insightful boggles the mind...

Re:History of Apple from TFA (1)

robogobo (891804) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015279)

I thought it was pretty funny myself, and it's stuff like this that really makes me question the modding and their quirkiness. I mean, once it's modded insightful and then changed to flaimbait? How does that work exactly? Is it just because people responded by flaming him that the moderation is changed? I'm beginning to totally ignore the modding and give people a chance, at the risk of not being part of the popular kids' table in the high school cafeteria.

Re:History of Apple from TFA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26015649)

shut up, nig lover

Figures. (1, Interesting)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014269)

The sad thing is, without Jobs the Apple might never have gotten anywhere. Now Jobs runs it all.

I wonder if Woz is happy.

I miss the "Old" Computer Shopper.

Re:Figures. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014353)

I can't imagine that Woz isn't happy. He has money, time to play, time to spend time on whatever he wants without deadlines, and even a fan following.

Jobs clear gave and continues to give Apple a customer-focused vision - something that almost every other company fails at - to the level of a fault.

It is one thing to design an awesome computer - its another to take one that propels a multi-billion dollar industry forward.

Re:Figures. (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014409)

Mr. Jobs: If you're going to post on Slashdot, at least log in.

Re:Figures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014551)

How dare you give commands to me, Steve Jobs the Great, Glorious and All-Knowing! Kneel before me and repent your sin now, mortal!

Re:Figures. (5, Funny)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014873)

C'mon. You think if that really was Jobs, he'd post anonymously? And miss another chance to have his name appear somewhere?

Re:Figures. (1, Redundant)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015515)

Yes. Because if he posted a trollish post it would spread like wildfire.

Re:Figures. (5, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014493)

"It is one thing to design an awesome computer - its another to take one that propels a multi-billion dollar industry forward."

Apparently it always takes a raving ego maniac to do it, however. And I'm not just talking about Steve Jobs. The world is run by the nearly and the wholly sociopathic. One could argue that those types drive progress, but there is plenty of wreckage left in their wakes. And in the end it might be that some people who got screwed over by people like Jobs refused to see him--and others like him--for what he was simply because they got dollar signs in their eyes.

Re:Figures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014583)

So far I'd say your post is the most insightful on here. Progress takes a combination of knowledge and ego. Those two usually don't exist in the same person. But every now and then you get the right combination of people who make it possible.

Re:Figures. (4, Interesting)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014619)

the world is run by the nearly and the wholly sociopathic.

Not that I'm disagreeing completely with that statement but I don't think Jobs is anything like sociopathic. Egotistical and obsessive, perhaps, maybe narcissistic as well, but not sociopathic.

He is inarguably brilliant, in any case--not that I'd want to work closely with him.

Re:Figures. (0, Offtopic)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015061)

Apparently it always takes a raving ego maniac to do it, however.

It certainly takes some degree of ego and drive to do it. But whether it takes a sociopathic egomaniac is debatable. We certainly have history to show some examples of success. We also have examples of failures. The question is, in the cases of those successes, did it require those personalities or did they just seize the opportunity away from other qualified people?

Re:Figures. (1)

Gareon (1253358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015085)

I think Steve agrees.

Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. - Steve Jobs

http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Steve_Jobs [quotationspage.com]

Re:Figures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26015345)

Curious that the quote is attributed to Steve Jobs when it was a marketing department that came up with it. Or should we also attribute "Hi, I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" to him, too?

Re:Figures. (3, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015209)

Apparently it always takes a raving ego maniac to do it, however.

It takes someone willing to take the risk, somone who can herd all the right cats, someone willing to endure scorn that comes with success, someone who loves their dreams more than their social life. That such people tend to be egotists and jerks is not at all surprising. Look at the people running free software projects: Linus, Richard, Theo, etc. They tend to be egotists and jerks too, for exactly the same reasons.

Re:Figures. (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015223)

I don't see anything sociopathic about Steve Jobs. He's just deadset in his opinions enough to overrule any sort of committees or focus groups that might play a bigger part in the design of his competitors' products. This gives Apple a narrow but clear focus.

Re:Figures. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015765)

Engineers are not good marketers.

Re:Figures. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015215)

I can't imagine that Woz isn't happy. He has money, time to play, time to spend time on whatever he wants without deadlines, and even a fan following.

And even time to reply on Slashdot:

http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1053613&cid=26014953 [slashdot.org]
         

Re:Figures. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014609)

I wonder if Woz is happy.

He's sure looked happy the couple of times I've met him.

-jcr

Re:Figures. (0, Troll)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014751)

Wow, did you really just name-drop on /.?

That's really sad.

Re:Figures. (1)

travbrad (622986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015763)

He's just trying to get you to look at his leet userID

Re:Figures. (2, Interesting)

puto (533470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015363)

I agree with you. I met both in the early 80s and Woz was amazingly funny and cool. Jobs was a complete dick, and is probably why until this day my last apple products I have ever owned were my //+ and //E.

Re:Figures. (2, Insightful)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015769)

I fail to see the connection to your shopping habits and Steve Jobs's personality.

Is there some kind of grudge where if someone who acts like a dick ever gets associated with a product, you will never buy it?

Cause that rules out Windows and all Microsoft products, most Chinese made products, most Korean made products, most Japanese products, etc.

Re:Figures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26015827)

I agree with you.

I met both in the early 80s and Woz was amazingly funny and cool.

Jobs was a complete dick, and is probably why until this day my last apple products I have ever owned were my //+ and //E.

You're really missing out there. Don't do such things to yourself.

The call that changed a life ... (2, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014693)

In the 1980s, I made the following call, which changed my career -- and my life. call -151

Re:The call that changed a life ... (2, Informative)

puto (533470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015373)

The one that dropped you into assembly, or what we called in the day the monitor.

Re:The call that changed a life ... (1)

What'sInAName (115383) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015693)

That brings back some memories.... (sigh...)

We have some really cool tech going on nowadays, but I think I miss the times when this all seemed so fresh and exciting. I suppose that really speaks to where I am *now*, versus how clueless and new to the scene I was way back then.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014277)

So I called the number listed in the paperwork and asked for Steve.

"Which one?" the young man at the other end asked.

"The fast talker," I told him.

"Oh, Steve Jobs. Wait a minute."

Priceless

Re:Plus ça change, plus c'est la même (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014349)

Plus ca change, plus c'est pareille.
If you whant to lok cool using foreign language at least google it right before posting.

Re:Plus ça change, plus c'est la même (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014403)

Plus ca change, plus c'est pareille.
If you whant to lok cool using foreign language at least google it right before posting.

And furthermore, if you want to be a pedant in regards to his French, make sure your English is accurate.

Re:Plus ça change, plus c'est la même (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014407)

Well the correct spelling is

Plus ça change, plus c'est pareil.

You don't know what you're talking about either.

And by the way we say more "Plus ça change, moins ça change" unless you're in Quebec.

Re:Plus ça change, plus c'est la même (0, Redundant)

Dahan (130247) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014597)

So why didn't you? You gave a different saying, left off the cedilla in ça, and misspelled "pareil". $RANDOMLUSER got it right, except he had to leave off the last word because it wouldn't fit in the Subject line. The full saying is, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose [wiktionary.org] "

Re:Plus ça change, plus c'est la même (0, Offtopic)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014627)

Actually, I did Google it first, but I failed to notice that the last word of "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" got cut off in my copy/paste.

Re:Plus ça change, plus c'est la même (2, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015443)

An alternative is: "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même merde".

Re:Plus ça change, plus c'est la même (0)

chazbet (621421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015501)

C'est la même merde; mais la journée est differente.

Interesting about Wozniak (5, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014291)

FTFA:

When Apple went public, Jobs would not give stock to several employees who made the Apple possible. My son gave them stock out of his allotment, or they would have never benefited from the long hours and devotion they put in to start the company. If you had given Jobs the money, he would have found a way to keep you from getting the stock.

I guess Wozniak is a class act. And as far as Jobs is concerned, well; I guess he and Gates are similar people. Actually, I don't think I've heard of Gates screwing employees out of stock.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (5, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014359)

Paul Allen got pretty sick during the early years of Microsoft. According to Cringely, Allen overheard Gates and Balmer scheming to re-capture the portion of the company that he owned:

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2006/pulpit_20060330_000890.html [pbs.org]

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (5, Informative)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014547)

Paul Allen got pretty sick during the early years of Microsoft. According to Cringely, Allen overheard Gates and Balmer scheming to re-capture the portion of the company that he owned:

You left off a significant detail. Allen overheard Gates and Balmer scheming to re-capture the portion of the company that he owned if Allen were to die.

From the link in your post:

During one of those last long nights working to deliver DOS 2.0 in early 1983, I am told that Paul Allen heard Gates and Ballmer discussing his health and talking about how to get his Microsoft shares back if Allen were to die.

Small and mid-sized companies with large non-involved owners who inherit stock are poorly structured. Any founders with a little experience or a little forethought set up buy-sell agreements for exactly this eventuality. Sounds like they didn't have the forethought to set it up at the time of the founding. And so they were working on how to deal with the reality that one of their largest shareholders was facing the real possibility of death.

Bill Gates has done some awful things, but I don't think this is one of them.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (0, Flamebait)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014621)

As if they wouldn't have had time to do something about it after he actually died.

It demonstrates them to be in a pretty calculating mind-set at that point in their lives. I understand why they were doing it, but if they had any taste, Allen wouldn't have heard them.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014691)

Come on, you twisted the facts, and you are still at it even after someone cleanly exposes you...
I have no idea how good or bag Gates is, but all indication is that he can't be as bad as Jobs and your attempt certainly did not disprove that.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (0, Troll)

AppleOSuX (1080499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014771)

maxume: YOU FAIL

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (0, Flamebait)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014803)

Fail what? The evidence used to claim that I was being dishonest came from the damn link I posted. What a cover up. I see the point that being incredibly explicit about the fact that they were talking about if-he-died would have been a good idea on the internets, where everybody knows you are a dog, but I wasn't trying to do a frame up or manipulate anything, I was just being terse.

The part where I said "According to Cringely" was intended to get people to read the article for themselves before seizing on what I said about it, so whatever to you sir.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (0, Flamebait)

AppleOSuX (1080499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014927)

Right, because it's "incredibly explicit" to put what you're talking about into context. That's just too explicit.

But anyway, could you maybe cry some and be more defensive? I would really enjoy that.

Thanks.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015013)

From where I sit, the link was context.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014847)

I understand why they were doing it, but if they had any taste, Allen wouldn't have heard them.

This is a conversation Allen should have started. It's a conversation that should begin the moment you start considering a partnership.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (0, Flamebait)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014857)

I would see it completely differently if they had had the decency to go to him about it, rather than talking about it behind his back.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014415)

Actually, I don't think I've heard of Gates screwing employees out of stock.

Tell that to all of the MS permatemps before Vizcaino v. Microsoft.

The Microsoft Millionaires (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014509)

I guess he and Gates are similar people. Actually, I don't think I've heard of Gates screwing employees out of stock.

From 1986 to 1996, Microsoft's stock soared more than a hundredfold as the company's Windows operating system and Office applications dominated the PC industry.

That explosive climb made millionaires of employees who had accepted options as a substantial part of their compensation for 60-hour workweeks fueled by a diet of Twinkies, Coca-Cola and marshmallow Peeps. The sudden riches led many to refer to themselves as "lottery winners.

"While the exact number is not known, it is reasonable to assume that there were approximately 10,000 Microsoft millionaires created by the year 2000," said Richard S. Conway Jr., a Seattle economist whom Microsoft hired to study its impact on Washington State. "The wealth that has come to this area is staggering."

The Microsoft Millionaires Come Of Age [nytimes.com] [May 29, 2005]

_____

Not everyone draws the winning hand, of course - some simply come into the game too late.

The Few, the Tech-Savvy Few: Option Millionaires [npr.org] [Feb 11, 2007]

For comparison's sake, Microsoft currently employs about 90,000 world-wide.

In 1990, around 6,000.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014637)

My impression of Woz is that what he is at heart is an engineer. He wants to make stuff, and make stuff work, and make stuff do really nifty things, and create jokes and pranks. I think in his mind being rich is nice and all, but there are much more important things to worry about, like helping other people out and teaching kids about technology.

Hence his gift of stock to other employees: he has plenty for himself, so he decided to do the decent thing and help out some other folks he knew.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (2, Funny)

BobReturns (1424847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014915)

My impression of Woz is that what he is at heart is an engineer.

I get the same impression - Jobs is the 'suit' and Woz is the 'Beard'. Yes, I've been reading Stephenson again this week, so sue me.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014661)

They may not have received stock, but I'll bet their paychecks cashed while they worked there. Stock is not an entitlement.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014897)

Actually, I don't think I've heard of Gates screwing employees out of stock.

Not sure how much of a personal involvement Gates had with the Microsoft permatemp fiasco [nwsource.com] but at the very least you can say that HR tried their darndest to keep deserving people from getting stock.

Re:Interesting about Wozniak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26015473)

Steve Jobs can't be similar to Gates even if he wanted to. They come from very different backgrounds. BillG was already a rich guy and had a rich family to support him. Sjobs had nothing except a completely open mind and some great sales gift along with vision.

Bah (0, Offtopic)

SillyWilly (692755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014297)

Where's my iTablet Steve?

Oh, that is delicious (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014333)

So we've documented the first time of thousands Steve Jobs decided to fuck over early adopters. I feel like an archaeologist discovering hieroglyphics on a cave wall. Steve Jobs, you magnificent bastard, we love you, we've always loved you!!

25 years later, Apple still has the same problem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014343)

Everytime leading up to a new product release, lots of people put off buying the computer/ipod/etc they want because the next version is just around the corner and is going to be so awesome they'd hate themselves for not waiting.

An historic moment... (4, Insightful)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014563)

"'...You promised BASIC for the Apple I, and most dealers haven't sold the boards they bought from you. If you come out with an improved Model II they will be stuck. Put it on the back burner until you deliver on your promises.'"

And lo, the hardware/software upgrade cycle was born.

Re:An historic moment... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015195)

And lo, the hardware/software upgrade cycle was born.

Oh, the mainframe vendors used that game long before micros.
       

Re:An historic moment... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26015727)

so people never upgraded hardware or software before Apple came along? what, did Steve Jobs invent software versioning too?

and that quote only refers to hardware upgrade, not a hardware/software upgrade cycle. the whole point of it was that they promised BASIC for the Apple I. so they're not going to make people buy an Apple II before they've delivered BASIC [wikipedia.org] on the Apple I. how is that a hardware/software upgrade cycle? they're not using hardware to make people upgrade their software. they're not even using software to make people upgrade their hardware.

Another view of the birth of computing. (2, Informative)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014565)

The movie "Pirates of Silicon Valley" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0168122/ [imdb.com] does a great job of showing the dynamics involved at the birth of the 'Personal' computer.

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (2, Informative)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014737)

Hmm, good movie, definitely worth a watch by all geeks, although the actor playing Gates looked way too sleazy. Whatever you think about Gates, at least on the outside he looks just nerdy and certainly not dangerous or sleazy - which I guess is an advantage if opponents lower their guard ;)

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26015255)

Anthony Michael Hall (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001309/)

The 'Brain' The from Breakfast Club, An outcast/nerd in Weird Science, and "The Geek" from Sixteen Candles.

Didn't do so good while on Saturday Night Live. Amazing in Six Degrees of Separation.

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (4, Interesting)

derinax (93566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014851)

No, "Pirates of Silicon Valley" gave far more credit to Apple than they deserved in the early days, and is an example of some outrageous revisionist history. Remember that the battle was between Commodore and Radio Shack at the time. Apple was constantly playing catch-up, and by the end of the 70's remained far back in third place in terms of volume and sales in spite of their marketing claims.

Wozniak, Jobs, Peddle, and Tramiel all discussed a Commodore buyout of Apple in '78. The Steves were receptive, were it not for Tramiel's stubborn and short-sighted decision to walk away from the deal.

Apple has had some brilliant people in marketing and many of them are guilty of revising history to suit the company's expected image.

If you have any interest in the origins of personal computing, you should read about Chuck Peddle's first-hand account of the relationship between the Steves and Commodore in "On The Edge" by Brian Bagnall. It's an amazing account of those years.

Apple makes some great products, and there are some incredible engineers who have been with NeXT and Apple. But let's be truthful about the origins of the Personal Computer. Apple and Microsoft were sideshows at the time.

Oh, and apropos TFA: this guy misspells Mike Markullas name repeatedly. Not sure where that comes from; hopefully it's not in his book.

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014949)

If you have any interest in the origins of personal computing, you should read about Chuck Peddle's first-hand account of the relationship between the Steves and Commodore in "On The Edge" by Brian Bagnall. It's an amazing account of those years.

Peddle's kind of a self-aggrandizing twit, though. At one time, his Wikipedia entry had a bunch of stuff in it about how he taught Woz which end of a soldering iron to pick up.

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (1)

derinax (93566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015033)

Which may actually be true, given their personalities. Woz was a kid in a garage with a non-functional board well after Peddle had designed the 6501 and 6502 microprocessors. Peddle actually assisted Woz in engineering the Apple I motherboard (using the same testing equipment designed for the PET), and they have remained friends throughout.

Maybe it was a weird soldering iron; maybe it was Chuck's. :)

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015435)

Peddle's kind of a self-aggrandizing twit, though. At one time, his Wikipedia entry had a bunch of stuff in it about how he taught Woz which end of a soldering iron to pick up.

They both are. During an interview celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Commodore 64, Jack Tramiel talked about how his company produced computers "for the masses instead of the classes, unlike Apple". To this, Woz quickly replied, "But at least we survived". The audience gasped because it was supposed to be Commodore's time in the spotlight. (paraphrased)
         

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (3, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015529)

<shrug> This is why you don't send engineers to negotiate arms-control treaties.

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014999)

Just to get your last "fact" out of the way first, Mike Markkula [wikipedia.org] isn't spelled how you think it's spelled.

Secondly, while Apple's market share in the late 1970's was low compared to the PET and the TRS-80, it's influence was substantial. Which is why Apple rapidly gained market share and was ahead of them by 1981. The VIC-20 and C-64 borrowed a lot of ideas from it when they came out in the 80's, but when the IBM PC came out it rapidly took the market share lead and never relinquished it.

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (1)

derinax (93566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015127)

Just to get your last "fact" out of the way first, Mike Markkula [wikipedia.org] isn't spelled how you think it's spelled.

Touche; I was actually looking at his correct damn name when I wrote that. Age is a bitch.

Secondly, while Apple's market share in the late 1970's was low compared to the PET and the TRS-80, it's influence was substantial. Which is why Apple rapidly gained market share and was ahead of them by 1981. The VIC-20 and C-64 borrowed a lot of ideas from it when they came out in the 80's, but when the IBM PC came out it rapidly took the market share lead and never relinquished it.

I don't believe you are contradicting anything I've written, except perhaps you are suggesting that Apple had a very substantial influence back in the 70's. This seems to be Cringely's and Apple's opinion, which no one else seems to be able to corroborate, either in terms of eyewitness accounts to computer faires, or in raw sales figures.

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (4, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015335)

My understanding by reading "On the Edge" and looking at some microcomputer sales charts that used to be on the web is that Apple was in 3rd place behind PET and TRS-80 *until* the spreadsheet started to take off, around 1981.

This happened largely out of happenstance. The budget-tight VisiCalc programmers simply couldn't get access to PET's and TRS's at the time, but an Apple II was available for their use. Thus, they programmed VisiCalc on and for the Apple first. When VisiCalc started selling well, Apple was the only computer VisiCalc ran on. This is when Apple pulled ahead of PET (and prompted Commodore to produce the C-64).

VisiCalc was eventually ported to other computers, but Apple got a big boost for being first with it. VisiCalc (and later clones) had a huge influence on turning microcomputers from hobby machines into a serious market. Apple probably would not have the funds to produce the Mac if not for spreadsheet revenue, and flounder like most others when IBM PC clones commoditized the market. Apple is the only proprietary microcomputer vendor from the early years I know of to survive this commoditization. (There may still be some very nichy vendors around.)

Apple also rode a second software revolution: Desktop publishing. Commodore Amiga narrowly missed this opportunity.

Thus, luck played a large part in Apple's survival.
     

Re:Another view of the birth of comp. (addendum) (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015465)

I forgot to point out that some of this info also came from the book, "Founders at Work", where one of the chapters spotlights VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet software.
   

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26015367)

this guy misspells Mike Markullas name repeatedly

Not entirely unlike how you misspelled Mike Markkula's name once...

Microsoft was never a side show. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015801)

But let's be truthful about the origins of the Personal Computer. Apple and Microsoft were sideshows at the time.

Microsoft was never a side show.

The PC without high level programming languages is the side show.

Microsoft was selling BASIC to clients like GE and Citibank in 1976. Applesoft BASIC, and BASIC for the Commodore PET and TRS-80 ship in 1977. MBASIC defines the eight-bit micro.

April 4, 1979, Microsoft 8080 BASIC is the first microprocessor product to win the ICP Million Dollar Award. Traditionally dominated by software for mainframe computers, this recognition is indicative of the growth and acceptance of the PC industry. Microsoft Timeline From 1975-1990 [thocp.net]

Re:Another view of the birth of computing. (1)

Esther Schindler (16185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015621)

As usual, though, the book is better. The Pirates of Silicon Valley is based on Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. It's out of print but your library probably has a copy. It's a very fun book.

The movie focuses on Gates/Jobs (because, hey, movies have to do things like that) and... well, not exactly "stereotypes" them, but certainly streamlines the personae. It also underplays the Digital Research history, for one thing.

But one of the illuminating facts a reader will glean from Fire in the Valley is that there were so many strong personalities vying for attention. Sure, geeks were geeks (and proud of it, dammit!), but you had lots of innovators full of confidence and dreams and the belief that these small computers can change the world. That makes me nostalgic, and I wish for more such "personalities." Only Philippe and Ellison could hold a candle to those guys.

Maybe it's just because I'm an old fart now, and I remember most of those events. (I also wrote for Computer Shopper way back when, for some of the best editors in the business, and I think Stan Veit is a mensch. I used to describe writing for Shopper as similar to writing for Playboy. They paid great, and it was a lot of fun, but who looked at the articles?)

What's nice is to know that the spirit is still alive... or at least it's trying to be. I assume y'all know about the upcoming Rebooting Computing [rebootingcomputing.com] summit, which aims to put the magic back into our field.

I liked my old Apple II..... (2, Interesting)

j741 (788258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014641)

I liked my old Apple II. Then one day apple was all about MAC and those of us who already spent a lot of money and time on the Apple II were left behind with no upgrade path, as though we were nothing more than garbage. That is why I have been a PC user ever since.

Re:I liked my old Apple II..... (4, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014735)

What are you talking about?

The Mac released in 1984. Several Apple IIs, including the relatively sophisticated IIGS, came out after the Mac was released, and Apple continued making the IIGS until the early nineties. If you'd complained about buying an Apple I, Apple III, or Lisa, I could have agreed with you, but the Apple II continued to be made long after it was effectively obsolete. Of the old eight bitters, only the Commodore 64 lasted longer, and the Commodore 128 was never nearly the upgrade the IIGS was.

Re:I liked my old Apple II..... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26014815)

The nice thing about their path is that they're not afraid to cut off backwards compatibility. That's pretty much the biggest flaw with Windows. A lot of the security issues in Vista today are there because drivers used those holes to work. People still use hardware that uses those broken drivers, and the companies who released the products stopped supporting them years ago.

Microsoft knows they can't go "We no longer support anything from before Windows 2000" because EVERYONE will be pissed. From corporate accounts who can't use their ancient printers to Joe Sixpack who has a scanner from 1992.

the real money quote... (3, Interesting)

circusboy (580130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014657)

The Apple users were much more oriented toward software and graphic applications. They were more interested in what a computer did then how it did it.

Re:the real money quote... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014831)

and it still is that way to this day...

Re:the real money quote... (2, Interesting)

BobReturns (1424847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014973)

This is not necessarily a bad thing. To most people (The 99.whatever% who don't use linux) a computer is a tool, not a project. There's nothing wrong with either view to be perfectly fair, but it's unfair to come down on people just because they want to get things done (or don't - whatever).

Re:the real money quote... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015103)

meh, i prefer to look at them as a toolbox. the programs installed is the real tools.

if you want real computer tools, you go for single use appliances (very rare these days of value add via software feature creep).

Re:the real money quote... (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015811)

Depends on whether you are just a home hobbyist or someone who needs to actually get work done. There are places for both types in the world, luckily.

Re:the real money quote... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015831)

true, i just wish that big papa corp didnt try so hard to turn one of them into the other all the time...

Re:the real money quote... (1)

rfreedman (987798) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015635)

They were more interested in what a computer did then how it did it.

It's also amazing how many people write 'then' when they mean 'than'.

deliver on your promises? (5, Insightful)

SteveWoz (152247) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014953)

The Apple I and II BASIC were basically the same thing and the project was never put on hold. The Apple II had very little extra code, only for handling character I/O differently, some color graphics commands that I added, and the slot-directed character I/O commands (PR #6). If there was some trying to back out of implementing this BASIC on the Apple I, it was never communicated to me. I never spoke to Stan Veit myself about this.

In fact, I definitely had the completed Apple I BASIC running Star Trek on a dozen Apple I's in a store in Orange County, long before BASIC was adapted for the Apple II.

Bottom line is...it's news to me although it makes some sense (the push to support the Apple I).

list (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26015155)

no apples, but a 512k, LC, 2-IIcis, se, 280c, 1400pb, a quadra, and a 6400 perform wqith the best sound system ever in a desktop stock -thanks! Still have all but the 6400 (lightning strike, but it still booted slow!) I moved on after osx came out, but I still loved my earlier machines and the OS. First time I picked up a mouse and was able to *do stuff* in five minutes that I struggled with for weeks under DOS I was hooked. I am not a coder and the command line has always frustrated me, my expertise is elsewhere, but to be able to actually USE a computer to do useful things was just wonderful. So, where is the easter egg in the 512k? I might boot it up if the floppies still work, always wanted to see it, or do I have to open the case to look for signatures?

Re:deliver on your promises? (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015323)

Thanks for chiming in, I was having trouble understanding how BASIC for the II would be much more than a superset of that for the I.

Woz impressing? Hmmm (2, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26014965)

TFA: "When Wozniak came over, I was a little more impressed with him than Jobs."

That's a shock. Woz tends to be overly frank. But based on the article, Jobs acted in an impulsive kind of way, and stuck the author with big shipping bills without asking.

Replica 1 (4, Informative)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015121)

I read about this awhile go ago and thought it was relevant. For those that are still addicted to the Apple I, there is a functional replica with a few extra features. http://www.brielcomputers.com/replica1.html [brielcomputers.com] Just thought someone might get a kick out of it.

Marriage made in hell: inventor and entrepreneur (4, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015249)

Wozniak just wanted to innovate and see how he could push the technological envelope. Jobs just wanted to see how far he could push his financial envelope... at the expense of the Woz and anyone else he could manipulate.

The glaring contrast between Wozniak and Jobs was one of the earliest influences that led me to despise manipulators of all varieties. I admired Woz and hated Jobs.

I was so pissed off at Apple back then... (5, Interesting)

meburke (736645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26015499)

An associate of mine opened the first retail computer store in Anchorage selling the Apple II and the Commodore PET and hired me (supposedly on a share of the profits) to run it for him. I could have sold at least one Apple II each day, but the distributer in Seattle was hording the inventory and distributing it to local stores. I could only get one Apple II per week. I called Apple, talked to Steve Jobs, and he passed me off to someone else who flat-out told me they depended on the distributor so much that they couldn't do anything to make the distribution more fair, and I couldn't order directly from Apple because they had a territory agreement with the distributor. (I felt that orders should be filled on a first-ordered, first-filled basis, and we were paying cash up front for our inventory, so there was no credit problem. Dumb move; the distributer was probably using the money we sent with the order to finance their friends' stores.) It got worse when Apple came out with the hard drive. I was selling accessories, but they weren't moving very fast when nobody could get the computers to attach them to. I remember ordering a digitizer tablet from Houston Instruments, and how surprised I was that I couldn't just plug it into the computer and make it work. There was no interface, and I ended up buying the parts and soldering them together to make a serial port. (Lucky background in connecting modems, teletypes and CDC 160A and 160G systems earlier in my career.) Then I had to write the software: I tried to write it in the BASIC that was included on the Apple, but a couple of conversations with Bill Gates and he convinced me to write it assembly language. I spent many hours after work writing, first the communications code (which we would now call drivers), and then a small application to draw geometric shapes using the tablet. I had some help from Steve Wozniak and a lot of help from a guy named Chris Espinoza who was absolutely brilliant at explaining things over the phone. I was also lucky that I had a good background in assembly language programming from the Army and subsequent stints with CDC and Honeywell writing things like light pen interfaces. I managed to write the software and sell both tablets and two Apple II's to a couple of Burroughs guys for enough money to keep the store open a little longer.

As bad as my experience with Apple was, my relationship with Commodore pissed me off each time I had to deal with them. We had to buy 5 Commodore PET systems at a time. We had to put up $5000, which gave us a "credit line" of $5000 dollars, and which was enough to buy 5 systems (which sold retail for $1499). However, the manufacturing of the PET was sloppy, to say the least. I've had as many as 4 of the 5 in my order come in DOA. So I had to RMA the defective systems for repair. Then, in order to get more inventory, I had to put up another $5000 to "increase my credit line". In order to keep enough stock to sell, we ended up letting Commodore have $15,000 of deposit money. This shouldn't have been news to me: Before I worked for Honeywell in 1968, I sold business machines in Minneapolis. The guy I worked for sold Commodore calculators. Commodore actually came out with the first truly programmable calculator, which used a Nixie-tube display and magnetic cards to preserve the programs. (Marchant and Friden also had "programmable" calculators, but neither of them did recursion and both of them were twice the size of the Commodore.) My boss used to complain about the way Commodore treated him, for the same reasons. In 1990, in Houston, the vendor I worked for who sold the Amiga was still complaining about the same problems. (Rumor has it that Commodore was a Mafia-owned company and very risk-aversive while not being particularly customer-sensitive.)

Eventually, the owner/investor of the store decided that there was no point in keeping it open since there was not enough saleable stock to satisfy the customers or make a profit.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?