Apple forgets its history

June 1st, 2015 10:06 AM
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Filed under History;
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For more than a decade, Apple's website has offered free downloads of legacy software, including a variety of Apple II and Classic Mac OS operating systems and utilities. The URL was always the same:

http://www.info.apple.com/support/oldersoftwarelist.html

This page was referenced throughout the years in Juiced.GS, as recently as September 2014. It wasn't a resource that was often called upon, but it was often relied upon as a place where Apple acknowledged its history and provided some meager support for its legacy customers.

All good things must come to a 404: as Ivan Drucker reported this weekend, this directory has simply disappeared from Apple's website. Steve Weyhrich contacted support to ask where it went and was told simply that it's gone. And, thanks to the site's prohibitive robots.txt file, to Google's cache and the Wayback Machine, it's as if the page never existed.

Both Ivan and Dagen Brock pointed out a harsh reality: Apple doesn't care about anyone who hasn't bought anything from them in the last 36 months (the span of AppleCare). Whether this obsolescence is planned or not, Apple's business is in selling you new hardware and software. Support for older equipment is only a means to that end — or, in the case of Apple II software, a dead end.

It's sad to realize that Dan Budiac's Apple IIc registration card and David Greelish's petition for an Apple museum were both for naught.

Dan Budiac's Apple IIc registration card

Fortunately, the omnipresent Jason Scott has succeeded where Apple has failed: his byline is on a 2012 upload to the Internet Archive of Apple's complete older software list. And since we're dealing with decades-old software, this mirror being three years old is of no consequence — nothing's changed in that time.

Although it may not make any business sense to do so, it's a shame Apple doesn't better respect its history, especially when there's little cost to doing so. Thank goodness for the community of Apple II enthusiasts who still remember where we came from.

Resurrecting Athletic Diabetic

September 9th, 2013 5:49 PM
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Filed under Musings;
2 comments.

When Ryan Suenaga passed away in April 2011, I was made acutely aware of the need to have a digital proxy — that is, someone who can make decisions about the continued existence of my digital footprint, much as my healthcare proxy can decide whether or not to pull the plug on my organic life. More recently, Google also saw the wisdom of such a backup, having introduced the Inactive Account Manager — but my data extend well beyond Google, and I wanted such security years before Google thought to go there. That's why I established a secure contingency plan of someone who will acquire all my passwords and data in case of an emergency, but not before.

However, that doesn't help Ryan, who had no reason to expect he'd not be managing his own data for years to come. Tony Diaz stepped in and managed to acquire backups of several of Ryan's sites. I too picked up some of the pieces Ryan left behind, one of which was ryansuenaga.com, the registration of which Ryan had let lapse within his lifetime; paying that particular bill hadn't seemed a priority to him. With the help of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, I restored it.

Today, I'm relieved to bring another of Ryan's sites back to life. This past summer solstice, one of his former domains became available. I wasn't at my computer the moment it was released — fittingly enough, I was out for a bike ride that evening — but the domain was secured for me by proxy bidding service NameJet. I waited the requisite two months before transferring the registration to my preferred hosting company, DreamHost, then asked Tony if he had a backup of the original WordPress site. He did. After cleaning hacked files, updating plugins, disabling comments, and changing administrative contacts, Athletic Diabetic is once again available:

Athletic Diabetic

This blog is meant to share information from my personal experiences dealing with diabetes and exercise. I’m a medical social worker who not just works with diabetics, I am a Type II diabetic. I’ve lost over 80 pounds and counting since 2002 and have completed century (100 mile) bike rides and a marathon. I’ll be relating my experiences and research in both the diabetic and athletic arenas through this blog.

I hope you enjoy yourself here!

All 439 posts Ryan wrote between Apr 4, 2009, and April 19, 2011, have been restored to their original URLs.

In the grand scheme of life, what I've done doesn't amount to much — but the quality of the thing doesn't always matter. As Ryan would say: a site that exists is better than one that doesn't.

The legacy of Prince of Persia

February 13th, 2012 1:45 PM
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Filed under Game trail, People, Software showcase;
3 comments.

I've written several times about Prince of Persia, Jordan Mechner's seminal platformer that debuted on the Apple II and has since been translated, reimagined, and adapted across video game platforms, comic books, and Hollywood. At its core, the game and its plot are simple yet enduring, having survived across decades and dozens of reinterpretations. Why?

wallpaper_prince_of_persia_warrior_within_08_1600This is not the Prince of Persia you grew up with. What's given him so long a life?

Ryan Lambie at the Den of Geek has an answer. In a thoughtful if occasionally rosy reflection on the original game, he points to Prince of Persia's tension and challenge as its timeless qualities.

It didn't matter that the levels themselves were a comparatively sparse amalgam of grey walls, blue tiles and white spikes — when the Prince hung by his fingertips above a precipice, or leapt through a closing gate with barely a second to spare, the experience was akin to stepping into the shoes of Indiana Jones or Luke Skywalker.

[But] was the game's challenge that made it so addictive. No other game could match its sense of danger, nor the horrendous sense of loss when the Prince was inevitably sliced in two, run through with a sword, impaled by spikes, crushed by falling masonry, or had his bones shattered by a precipitous drop. Even now, it's difficult to think of a game whose animation, control system (which, looking back, was extremely fiddly) and level design merge so seamlessly.

As true as it is that Prince of Persia possessed these traits, I'm not sure they can explain what makes the franchise unique. Many early computer and arcade games possessed their own kind of anxiety and difficulty: who can forget being chased by stormtroopers through the halls of Castle Wolfenstein? That game inspired a 1992 first-person shooter and a series of modern sequels, but I've not witnessed it infusing popular (or at least geek) culture of the degree Prince of Persia has.

Is it just luck of the draw that made Prince of Persia succeed in ways that its contemporaries, such as Choplifter and Lode Runner, have not? Or has Jordan Mechner's genius made his opus into something unquantifiable and irreproducible?

Reactions to Steve Jobs

October 6th, 2011 4:13 PM
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Filed under Happenings, Mainstream coverage, Steve Jobs;
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I update this blog every Thursday. There's no rule against me updating it more than once.

Steve Jobs has passed away. My co-workers and I got together this morning to reflect on what this means for us and our world.

Great work by Keith Shaw in producing and editing this video. I know of at least one more video and one podcast that will feature Apple II users. I'll post them here on Monday.