Kids can't wait

March 30th, 2015 8:44 AM
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Education? I'm a fan. I taught at the high school level for several years and have been a college instructor for twice that. Teaching kids not what to think, but how to think, is the best investment I know to make in our future.

Turns out Steve Jobs was of a similar mindset. In a 1995 interview with Daniel Morrow of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Jobs related his drive to ensure other kids had the same opportunities he did:

When I was ten or eleven I saw my first computer… I fell in love with it. And I thought, looking at these statistics in 1979, I thought if there was just one computer in every school, some of the kids would find it. It will change their life.

Jobs investigated what it would cost to donate a single Apple II computer to every K-12 school in the United States. The cost was prohibitive for such a fledging company, but made economical and affordable with various tax incentives and deductions. Jobs lobbied for even more flexibility, getting as far as landing the Computer Equipment Contribution Act of 1982 on the floor of the Senate, after sailing it through Congress. Alas, it never made it past that point. In the end, Jobs' outreach was limited to California, where each of over 9,000 schools benefitted from Apple's generosity.

Audrey Watters over at Hack Education has more details and links, including to InfoWorld's and Creative Computing's reports of that era. It's a fascinating look at the marketing and financial strategy by which Apple came to dominate the classroom.

Apple office blueprints

November 17th, 2011 1:31 PM
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Apple II Bits reader Kurt Geisel recently pointed me to a nifty historical artifact. Chris Espinosa, Apple's most veteran employee (#8!), has unearthed and published a document he drew by hand on January 30, 1978.

Blueprint of Apple's offices at 10260 Bandley Drive

Who sat where in 1978?


This blueprint shows the floorplan for Apple's offices at 10260 Bandley Drive, Cupertino, California 95014. In his blog post, which offers a PDF scan of the drawing, Chris identifies the employees whose offices are marked on the graph, as well as the meaning behind areas marked "Advent" and "Tennis courts?"

Apple quickly outgrew Bandley 1, just as the company is now outgrowing its current digs at 1 Infinite Loop. A new hundred-acre campus is currently being designed to expand Apple's Cupertino presence. It's comforting to know that Chris will continue to be a source of continuity throughout Apple's many homes and epochs.

Orchestral Apples

June 23rd, 2011 11:17 AM
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In case you haven't already seen it on A2Central.com, Engadget, TUAW, or Make, I'll do my bit to spread the word: Jason Torchinsky is assembling Los Angeles-based Apple II users into an orchestra, with their beloved retrocomputers as the sole instrument. Their debut concert will be in just two days, at 8 PM on June 25. How much more impressive this performance might be than the works of established chiptune musicians such as 8 Bit Weapon is to be determined, but audience members can judge for themselves by watching a live stream of the proceedings, or the tape-delayed recording of same.

What hasn't been reported elsewhere is that this effort will be reproduced next month in Minnesota, at the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis. If you miss this opportunity to participate in a live concert of Apple II hardware, you'll get another chance soon.

Finally, the image that the Machine Project is using to promote this event? That's from an advertisement for the ALF Music Card. The featured guitarist is Bill Fickas, who found this blog a few months back and emailed me the details behind that photo. Now that's a full-fledged interview waiting to happen!