A reason to reference the Apple II

March 23rd, 2015 9:20 PM
Filed under Mainstream coverage;
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Jalopnik recently published an article entitled "Autonomous Cars Will Rob Us Of Our Freedom To Be Unproductive", which discusses one of the unconsidered tragedies of self-driving cars. It's not the worst-case scenario, wherein computers take over from humans, as Woz predicts. No, Jalopnik is more concerned about being able to take your eyes off the road and do work — the same reason I lament the advent of in-flight Wi-Fi.

It's an interesting point, and one that has nothing to do with the Apple II. So why the plug on this blog? Because of this image the author chose to represent this productive future:

Self-driving cars

I… what?

It seems an incongruent choice of visual — until you consider the source. The author of this blog is Jalopnik associate editor Jason Torchinsky, who previously appeared on Apple II Bits back in June 2011, when he organized a concert of Apple II musicians. That a writer would work a reference to his favorite computer into an unrelated article is not without precedent: I snuck the Apple II onto the homepage of Computerworld.com last summer when they published my review of WordPress 4.0.

So kudos to Jason for being true to his roots! I look forward to your next Apple II adventure.

(Hat tip to Paul Hagstrom)

Apple II license plate poll results

December 12th, 2011 1:18 PM
Filed under Musings;
1 comment.

Thank you to everyone who voted in the poll to help me choose a Massachusetts license plate that best invokes the Apple II! The path toward the most popular choice has now concluded.

In the first round, I proposed eight candidates, and from reader comments added 36 more. I put those 44 up for vote, allowing each person to choose their favorite five. Eighty votes were cast, narrowing the pool from 44 to nine that had received five votes or more each:

  • AAPL2
  • IIGS

ATEBIT was actually too late a submission to make it into this final round, but I included it for what I saw as its broad appeal. I grew up playing games more on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) than on the Apple II, and I still consider myself something of a retrogamer, with frequent visits to the American Classic Arcade Museum. ATEBIT can apply as much to that interest as it does to the Apple II, making it more of a proud label and less of an inside joke.

I put those nine options up and asked you to choose just one. I didn't vote, but I would've been quite comfortable ruling out options like AAPL2 (where's the extra 'A' come from, other than Apple's stock ticker?), APLIIE (I'm more of a GS man myself), and ONEMHZ (better for Carrington's show than my own.

I didn't vote in this round, leaving it to you, the readers, to decide. Thirty-eight votes later, here are the results…

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Retro license plate poll, round 3

December 1st, 2011 11:00 AM
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The third stage of choosing an Massachusetts license plate what befits an Apple II user begins. In the first round, I asked for your ideas. Many were provided; not all were were eligible or available. In the second round, I presented all 44 remaining candidates. Each person was allowed up to five votes, with 80 total votes cast (and yes, I voted!).

This third, and potentially final, round narrows down the choices to those eight candidates that received five or more votes, as well as one "Other" that was a late submission. This time, you are allowed only one (1) vote! You have until the first moment (EST) of Monday, December 12, 2011, to choose:

License to vote

November 21st, 2011 9:18 AM
Filed under Musings;

I asked for your help, and you provided! This Apple II Bits blogger, Juiced.GS editor, Open Apple podcast co-host, and KansasFest organizer is interested in wearing his heart on his sleeve — or, more accurately, his car, a gray 2007 Toyota Prius. Massachusetts allows vanity plates under stringent guidelines that, when combined with those plates that are already in circulation, significantly limit the remaining options. Or so I thought: with your help, my original list of eight Apple II-themes plates has grown to 44!

You've submitted your suggestions to me; now I submit them to you. Choose your five favorite license plates from the below choices. The poll closes at 12:00 AM on December 1st, 2011, after which I'll present the results here. If there are ties, a semifinalist round of voting may be necessary. Note that I am not beholden to public opinion and may elect a different custom plate or none at all. But your guidance in coming to one of many possible decisions is much appreciated. Vote early and often using the below poll!

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Apple II licensing ideas needed

September 29th, 2011 4:39 PM
Filed under Musings;

It's rare, if not unprecedented, for me to write a blog post that doesn't offer information but instead requests it. Yet here I am, asking for advice from Apple II Bits readers.

This past summer, I pointed at Steve Wozniak's license plate and hoped it was actually his, since it read "APPLEII". Even if that was a theatrical conceit, there are other Apple II fans who wear their hearts on their sleeves — or, more accurately, their cars.

I'd like to join that elite and order myself a custom plate that clearly represents the Apple II and its community. Massachusetts offers vanity plates, but under strict conditions: "All vanity plates must begin with two letters. The plate can be no more than six characters, or a maximum of five characters for motorcycle plates. Vanity plates cannot have letters and numbers intermixed." That rules out several possibilities:

• A2
• 6502
• MOS6502

The obvious alternative is APPLE2 — but the online registry indicates that "'APPLE2' is not available." Neither are "WOZ", "APPLE", or "JUICED". So what else would work? Nothing I've found to be both legitimate and available is either obvious or appealing:

• APL2
• ROM01

Maybe you will be creative in ways I am not and think if something original. So please, leave a comment: What Massachusetts license plate would you like to see an Apple II Bits blogger, Juiced.GS editor, Open Apple podcast co-host, and KansasFest organizer sport?

Steve Wozniak, car salesman

June 2nd, 2011 9:14 AM
Filed under History, Steve Wozniak;
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Here's an oldie but goodie that shows Steve Wozniak's character and sense of humor. In 1979, when computers were the newest thing and its inventors were surprised by their own overnight fame, The Woz lent his image to a product endorsement: the Datsun 280ZX sports coupe, also known as the Fairlady Z. Why Nissan thought that 1979 America was ready to be hawked to by a computer geek, I don't know, but the resulting commercial follows:

On its own, the commercial is a fun snapshot of Silicon Valley's history. But Woz rarely lets a single joke lie, so nearly three decades later, he updated the promo
for modern times:

Note the wink to the audience in Woz's license plate: "APPLE II". Would he really be so proud of his most famous invention as to put it on his car, thirty years later? Even if so, I suspect the plate was a dummy manufactured for the purpose of the commercial (or for one of Woz's many pranks). Reviewing the personalized license plate ordering system of the state of California suggests that some designs of vanity plates can indeed be seven characters long, though using all of them leaves no room for spaces or half-spaces. However, requesting "APPLEII" reports that, "Sorry, The plate you have requested is not available."

Apple II vanity plate

License to geek.

If that plate is out there, I hope Woz has it!

(Hat tips to John Herrman and Sean Fahey)