I was mentioned in a Robb Report article about the collectible value of vintage computers. It’s always an honor to be mentioned in the same article as Dag Spicer of the Computer History Museum.
Archive for the ‘Apple 1’ Category
I just posted an update to the Apple 1 registry. One system was deleted and one added, so the total count holds at 63. The new one is John Anderson’s, which will be sold at auction, next month. I just was contacted by the owner of what is probably an unlisted system, so the count could grow to 64, very soon. Christopher’s system, which has been shown at K’Fest, VCF midwest and VCF east has been undergoing some restoration, so I added an updated image and additional information.
Note that the success of the Apple 1 registry is largely due to contributions of owners and former owners and other interested parties and I greatly appreciate all new information.
What’s really exiting to me is the new SCELBI registry. If you think Apple 1’s are rare, I could only find information on 13 SCELBIs. I recently received information on what could be a 14th, but it also possibly could be the missing Freeman Museum unit. The images on the SCELBI registry will be a little different than the Apple 1 registry, as the images will emphasize the quirks and differences between the units. Many original SCELBIs don’t exactly look like factory stock systems, so Iit should be a good resource for people building reproductions.
I expect that some of the information may be incorrect. Bear with me as I expect to refine this registry quite a bit in the future.
Just sharing some experience from the Dover Mini Maker Faire which was Saturday. I had Micro – Chess going on the Mimeo and Dave Ahl’s HI-LO in tiny SCELBAL (integer BASIC) on the SCELBI. It was busy almost the whole day, just a few fairly brief periods between visitors. It seemed a bit busier than Saturday at VCF.
HI-LO was the perfect text game for casual visitors of all ages – simple to teach and quick and easy to play – I was impressed by the number of small kids that immediately proceeded to use a binary search algorythm to find the number.
A lot of people tried a few moves on chess, but the user interface is so awful on the Apple 1 port of micro-chess – I had to train almost everyone – even though I had instructions posted.
I met an original Mark-8 owner(still has his system). That guy added a digital group video card to his Mark-8 and made some improvements to it, which were used by later generation Digital Group video cards. Another person who was into SWTPCs in the day. Another person that was once vice president of the Boston Computer Society. And finally, another guy who worked with Draper Labs on the Apollo guidance system computer.
There was a wide variety of exhibits from art and crafts to a young man who was building a neutron generator. If you have a mini-maker faire in your area, I’d say it would be worthwhile to show off your gear – you might meet some interesting people.
There are a couple of original Apple 1’s that were put in briefcases.
One is owned by the “Main Personal Comptuer Museum” and is depicted on my registry page.
The one of interest for purposes of this blog entry is shown in an image shown on a webpage put up by the Silicium Museum organization. I don’t believe that the briefcase unit is the actual Apple 1 owned by the silicium organization. In fact, since I don’t have good documented images of their unit, I am just a bit skeptical about whether Silicium actually has an Apple 1. My standards for posting original Apple 1 information has risen since I added the Silicium unit, and if I recieved a similar report today, I might not have added their unit to the registry, at least until I recieved a good image.
However, it is interesting that I just got another historic look at this same briefcase Apple 1. It was shown on the program Computer Chronicles, which has it’s shows archived at the site archive.org. It can be seen at the beginning of a show entitled“Apple II Forever”.
I may have to add this unit to the registry, as a missing historic unit. There is a reference in the show to it being a museum piece. Since the show might have been taped in California, maybe it’s still sitting in some museum vault in the Bay Area.
By the way, there is no better way to understand the history of personal computers than to read vintage publications and view vintage videos. The archive of “Computer Chronicles” show is priceless. Check out Bill Gates participating in the Computer Bowl II.
Here is a popouri of parallel keyboard projects that I have been involved with designing.
At top is:
At bottom, from left to right…
Not shown are a number of projects that I have started, but not completed (yet)
And then there are the projects that never got past investigation stage.
It’s really hard to imagine that I have spent so much time mucking with simple parallel ASCII keyboard technology.
I helped with the PCB layout for this cute little dongle. It has a clear screen switch, which isn’t normally available on an Apple II keyboard and does the rewiring necessary to connect a stock Apple II keyboard to an Apple 1, Mimeo or other clone. These are not needed for replica 1s, which has the keyboard pinout necessary to work with Apple II keyboards.
Here is one in action, hooked up between the keyboard and the Mimeo.
They are being sold by seller vintagemicros on eBay: ebay listing
One word of caution – be sure to connect pin 1 of cables to pin 1 on PCBs. If you reverse them, you will probably blow the 7404 on the keyboard’s encoder board.
One last thing, I connected pin 4 of the keyboard socket to the clear screen input on the Apple 1. Pin 4 is normally not connected on an Apple II keyboard, but if you make the keyboard encoder mod to use the repeat switch as clear screen input as described on Wendell Sander’s site, it will work without any further wiring changes.
This is the essence of a question someone asked on Applefritter.
Here are my thoughts on this topic.
It’s really not that complicated, people do this stuff cause it’s fun for them. This hobby is not for everyone. It’s about personality, if you don’t get it, you either haven’t been exposed to enough of the possibilities, or you have a different personality.
This question is really applicable to many different vintage systems with similar followings – the Apple 1 gets a lot of press because it’s the very first computer of a very successful company that, at the moment, happens to be near the top of it’s game.
There are three main activities in this hobby, with a little different motivation for each.
1) The collector – For some people, it is a lot of fun to own an item of significant historic value.
2) The operator – For some people, it is a lot of fun learning how to build or restore and operate a vintage computer.
3) The developer – Some people find it fun to expand the capabilities of vintage computers, providing capabilites to vintage machines that could not be dreamed of, back in the day.
There is a lot of crossover between the people participating in each of these activities.
For some of the rarer computers, you may decide it’s better to use a reproduction, rather than risk damage to an original machine or you may not be able to find or afford an original machine.
The reasoning behind installing date code original parts and making the reproduction as accurate as possible, is two fold.
In case you are trying to decide whether you might enjoy the hobby or not, consider this: how could you decide whether you might or might not like swimming, without going in the water?
Will be picking up the latest batch of Mimeos from the PCB fabricator this week (probably tomorrow). No changes from last batch.
At this point, I think I have some stock of all the PCBs that I have made since I started on this retro computer hobby.
Send an email to:email@example.com if you have any questions or interest.
Now for the question – should I call my Apple II rev 0 reproductions Mimeo IIs, even though they came first?