Interview with Chris Espinosa

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Chris Espinosa is Apple Inc.’s longest-running employee; his career as Apple employee #8 hit the 35-year mark on March 17th. He’s conducted a number of interviews over the years, such as this one in 2011, but he was being noted as an Apple underdog as far back as 2000, when he spoke with Alex Pang. The interview runs just over 8,000 words, including one section dedicated solely to the Apple II manual:

I was working for Jef Raskin, who with Brian Howard wrote the original Integer BASIC manual, when I went off to Berkeley in 1978. When I left, Jef gave me a task. He wanted to keep me on staff, but knew that I wasn’t going to be able to work the hours that I had been previously. So he gave me a long-term task: he gave me what Mike Scott had assembled as the mini-manual for the Apple II, which was basically the product of a series of nightly forays into people’s desk drawers for anything typed — or handwritten, in a few cases — that smacked of technical material, that he periodically sent with Sherry Livingston down to the Quick Print place to print, collate and assemble, and put into binder covers with clear plastic and wraparound spine and three-hole punch.

That was what was dropped in with every Apple II. That was the mini-manual. That was Apple’s documentation. None of it was written consciously for an audience, and Jef said, "We need a technical manual for the Apple II." Actually, there was the mini-manual, and there was the "red book," which was essentially the same material in a red binding. Jef gave me a copy of the red book and said, "I want you to write a real manual out of this."

You can download a copy of the Red Book (not to be confused with the even rarer Blue Book) from the Apple II History site.

(Hat tip to Steve Weyhrich)