Posts tagged Apple IIc
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Man, do I ever miss Bloom County. This book, though, isn’t Bloom County. It’s more of a reminder of what was a “golden age” of comic strips. And by golden age, I mean golden age in MY lifetime. There are comics that predate me (Peanuts, etc.) that are just as legendary.
But I digress.
As a kid who never understood the joys of the sports page, I would gravitate to the comics section of the Sunday newspaper each and every week. So my childhood and teens were spent on a solid diet of Berkeley Breathed and Bill Watterson. When Bloom County ended, I had the last strip cut out of my local newspaper, mounted on poster board, and pinned it up on the wall next to my Apple IIc.
I miss Bloom County.
Opus is a Sunday only comic that ran in the new millennium while print media was slowly spiraling into oblivion. As bad as political correctness was in the nineties, the past decade has taken the American mindset to such an extreme need for sanitized entertainment that it would have been impossible for Breathed to recreate the magic of Bloom County again… but dammit, he tried.
This book just missed the mark for me, though. Aside from the obvious limitations that newspapers put on the strip (there were at least three or four strips that noted that an alternate strip was sent along with it “just in case” the newspaper opted not to run it due to it’s controversial content,) there were a couple of things that the book as whole did that made it less enjoyable.
1. A Lack of Notes: In the previous Bloom County and Outland volumes, Berkley Breathed and his editor would occasionally offer pop culture insight or side stories at the bottom of random strips. That is sorely missing from this volume.
2. Cohesion in Storytelling: Breathed did this in the beginning (introduced Steve Dallas appearing along with other characters,) but later in the narrative he just gave up. Binkley just shows up… the same age. No explanation. Oliver has a cameo and, again, no explanation. I know it’s just a comic strip – but this bothered me for some reason.
I enjoyed reading the book for the feeling of closure. In the end, though, “Opus” just serves as a reminder of how great Bloom County was by showing that there couldn’t be a Bloom County again.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Steve Jobs, it seems, was an asshole.
(Something I have been accused of on more than one occasion.)
The fact is, many “great men” in history are recognized more for their caricatures than their true personalities. Society tends to forget the everyone, even celebrities, are flawed human beings regardless of how the world at large perceives them.
I’ve been on a kick in the past year for reading books about (and by) people who have created and run successful businesses. This is partly out of personal interest, but also because my own “hobby” seems to be pretending, against all semblance of logic, to be a “business.”
(See: Green Mustard Entertainment – http://www.greenmustard.com.)
Let’s talk about Steve and Fruit Computers, though.
I was already a fan of the made for TV movie The Pirates of Silicon Valley long before picking up this book, so my familiarity with some of the folklore (“Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.” – etc.) was already pretty established.
What I didn’t know was the details and (if you’ll allow the cliche) we all know that’s where the devil is. Walter Isaacson did a great job of walking the balance of telling the story of a man who had already reached celebrity of an almost cult status without completely drinking the Kool-Aid. He showed Steve for all his mistakes and glorious accomplishments in a even flowing and well organized tale.
In the end, Steve’s vision of creating the “ultimate user experience” reminded me of conversations I have about how my team and I design our fan conventions. (We tend to use the word “experience” a lot, too.) Thus, my curiosity was piqued regarding Apple computers after reading this book. My last Apple “experience” was in the late 1980s and involved the only Apple computer I ever owned: The Apple IIc.
The IIc was was my introduction into the world of computers. We didn’t have fancy schmancy stuff like “graphical user interfaces” and “mice.” You would spend hours typing in code on a monochrome screen with a flashing cursor and THAT is how you made shit happen. Many an “A” in school was earned because my book reports looked better since they were typed instead of hand written. My Apple IIc and a dot matrix printer made me THE nerd at my school. (Pocket protector not included.)
Since those glory days of being a would-be middle school hacker, I have evolved into a Windows user. I started with 3.11 and pretty much never looked back. I’ve installed Windows on floppies, CDs, DVDs, and who the hell knows how I’m going to get Windows 8 on my desktop later this year. Needless to say, I skipped the whole Macintosh period of personal computing over the previous two decades.
A couple of months ago, Apple announced their new model year computers which meant (like cars) the old versions would soon drop in price. With all my recent travelling via airplane, I began to toy with the idea of partaking in the “Apple experience” via a MacBook Air 11-inch.
Finally, one Sunday about four weeks ago, I used up some Best Buy reward coupons and took home my first Apple in over 20 years: https://twitter.com/TomCroom/status/214418106427256833
It’s been a month since then and I’ve learned the joys of personal computing made simple. It’s not perfect, but it ONE THING that I haven’t really had in computing since the days of coding BASIC on a double sided 5 1⁄4 inch floppy…
Well played, Mr. Jobs. Well played.
So I wrote this short story and the other day and posted it on the Mashable website.
Later that day, this got posted on their site.
So… what delightful Fruit technology should I invest in? I’m thinking an new iPod. Shannon already has (and doesn’t want to upgrade) her iPad. Maybe throw in some money and get a Macbook Pro? (If so I would, literally, own four computers… rivaling the nerdyness of Joey Snackpants.)
My Apple story predates the glossy hand held devices and soothing female voices doing digital commands. In the Eighties, personal computers weren’t for “nerds” or “geeks;” they were a spectacle that seemed more like science fiction since the technology wasn’t commonplace yet. My parents were clever enough see the writing on the wall, though, and for Christmas of 1984 they invested in an Apple IIc. I began learning BASIC and other important computer skills (i.e. playing “Zork.”) By the time I started middle school in the fall of the next year, I was a bona fide “Whiz Kid” (for those of you that remember THAT televisions series.) My Apple Story is a simple one, but it had a lasting impact on my life: In sixth grade, my Georgia middle school started a computer class and I was scheduled into it right after home room. The class’s teacher, it turned out, had no idea what to do beyond turning the school’s Apple IIe computers on and off. After just a couple of days of fumbling she discovered that I knew *exactly* what I was doing and offered to “allow me” to help her with the class. I agreed… in exchange for her letting myself and the other students to play computer games I had copies of every Friday. The deal was struck and once a week we enjoyed an hour of Karateka and Choplifter and whatever else I could get my hands on. Good times. It was also the first time a certain shy kid learned that knowledge of technology would help get him through life and it was (at the risk of sounding cheesy) the first time I had ever felt true personal confidence. Sappy and dated – but that’s my most memorable Apple story.
This was written as a response to a contest on Mashable. I figured it was worth reposting on my blog for the hell of it.
You know someone has an impact on you when they die and you feel it, but you never knew them in person. Earlier today, I finished a book called Ready Player One. It’s a science fiction book that immerses the reader into the nostalgia of the 1980s as a major storytelling element. So many obscure things from my childhood are major parts of it.
Classic computing. Zork. The Apple IIc.
The Apple IIc was my first computer. It was THE first computer in my household. I learned BASIC on it. I learned to program. I learned structured thought on that machine. I learned how to avoid a Groo and I learned how to keep a family alive on the Oregon Trail.
Steve Jobs, through his work, introduced prepubescent me to the computer age. I blog – hell, I built this blog – based on the skills that were initially installed in my mental hard drive from Apple’s resident genius.
Inspired by watching this video yesterday, I found an Apple II emulator that plays Oregon Trail. I just tried playing it again… and the worst has happened.
You can play, too, here: http://www.virtualapple.org/J_oregontraildisk.html
I’ve spent so much time on a computer over the past month, it’s almost scary. Here’s where everything stands:
1. Going to see Matrix Reloaded tonight at 10:00 PM.
2. WasabiAnime.com is just about complete. Check it out if you haven’t yet, and please give comments. A good couple months of our life was spent on this (Kevin the webmaster and myself,) so we’d like it to be as close to perfect as possible. We even has some cool buttons thanks to the local artist talent in the community (thanks Cowkitty!)
3. Still not past the three hour mark of Xenosaga.
4. One week until Buffy goes buh-bye. Then Shannon will be forced to live her Vampire Slaying life through our three DVD box sets.
5. The Wasabi Anime viewing rooms at JACON are going to ROCK! (Details on the site soon.)
6. Work is getting better… but still not back to 100%.
7. I’m in my first online college course. Intro to Screenwriting. Very cool so far.