Sophistication & Simplicity shipping

December 2nd, 2013 10:15 AM
by
Filed under History;
4 comments.

Blatant plug alert!

I'm writing today to promote Sophistication & Simplicity: The Life & Times of the Apple II Computer, by Dr. Steven Weyhrich, long-time Apple II user. In just the past three years, Steve has become a member of the KansasFest committee, written for Juiced.GS, and been guest #4 on the Open Apple podcast. But much longer ago than that, he began chronicling the story of the Apple II, which today is available on his website, Apple II History. That site has served as the source for his book, a hardcover that began shipping yesterday.

Sophistication & SimplicityTurning a website into a book can be an easy feat: aggregate some blog posts into a PDF and ship it off to the Kindle store. Or download some Wikipedia entries and reformat them for sale under Creative Commons. But Steve has taken no such shortcuts with his opus. He has extensively researched and re-written significant portions of his history as well as created new chapters. I've been aware of this process not only as he pinged me for my professional perspective on various editing matters, but also through interviewing Steve for Juiced.GS:

I have a new chapter that is all about KansasFest; that is exclusive to the print book. There are some other places where I've added material that I did not also mirror to the Web site, but I did not keep close track of it. After a while, I stopped changing the Web site and the book material at the same time, because it became tedious to do both. All of my most recent changes have been book-specific.

The final stretch was the longest: some online stores still reference the book's original launch date of April 1, 2013!

Steve also revealed that this book has been a long time in coming:

I actually made an effort to make this a book some years ago and had some interest from Quality Computers in publishing it back in the 1990s. However, Quality had lots of things it was trying to do at the time and decided that publishing a book was not something it wanted to add to the list.

Now the book is finally a real thing — but not thanks to the democratization of self-publishing. Unlike many recent and excellent books about the Apple II, Sophistication & Simplicity is not self-published, instead having been picked up by Variant Press. You can buy the book today at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble (ISBN 9780986832277).

Congratulations, Steve! Thank you for taking the time to preserve the history of our favorite computer in so permanent a medium. I look forward to getting ahold of my copy and getting you to sign it at KansasFest 2014. In the meantime, the hard part is behind you, so step away from the computer and take a breather — you've earned it.

Historically rebrewed

July 14th, 2011 12:59 PM
by
Filed under Happenings;
Comments Off on Historically rebrewed

Many computing publications have risen and fell with the computers they covered, their shining moments squelched and historical literature lost. But every now and then, one gets a second chance at live. This week, it's Historically Brewed, published 1993–1997 by David Greelish, host of the Retro Computing Roundtable podcast.

David's goal is ambitious: he wants to take the nine roughly annual issues that were published in HB's lifetime and reproduce them not in their original format, but as a paperback book. The final product, including David's computer-related autobiography, will be 195 pages, with "a detailed listing of contents [coming] soon.&quot.

It's an uncommon approach to revisiting a defunct hardcopy publication. The more popular alternative has been to scan or otherwise recreate the original issues digitally, as Mike Maginnis has done with Computist, Mike Harvey with his Nibble CD-ROMs, and, more recently, Dale Goodfellow and Simon Williams with 300 Baud. But I can empathize with David's love for print, seeing as how it's the same motivation that has kept Juiced.GS from going all-digital.

To accomplish his goal, David is using Kickstarter, a crowdsourcing alternative to fundraising that has been successfully used by other retrocomputing enthusiasts, such as Jason Scott and 8 Bit Weapon. David's fundraising page features a video that showcases some of the issues, where you can see some familiar bylines, such as Steve Weyhrich.

The self-published book will have an ISBN, meaning it will be obtainable (if not necessarily stocked) by major retailers such as Barnes & Noble. However, some distribution issues remain to be resolved, so the best way to guarantee your copy is by buying it directly from the publisher, done by pledging $25 or more. For $100, you'll even get a page dedicated to you in the book!

After just a few days, David has already reached more than half of his modest goal of $1,200. Pledges will continue to be accepted until August 15, meaning you can preorder the book even after the minimum fundraising goal is met.