Think Retro debuts at Macworld

December 8th, 2014 11:58 AM
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Macworld has seen some hard times lately: on September 10, just a day after the Macworld staff labored to cover Apple's unveiling of the iWatch, most of its writers and editors were laid off and its print edition shuttered. Macworld was the last consumer magazine published by IDG, parent company of Computerworld, my own employer 2007–2013 and present publisher of my freelance pieces. Although I'd never written for Macworld nor knew its staff personally — Computerworld is an enterprise publication and doesn't mingle much with the consumer side of IDG — it still hit close to home to see Macworld mark its 30th anniversary in so punishing a manner.

For all that, though, there is still much good left at Macworld, including last month's debut of a new weekly column: "Think Retro", written by Christopher Phin, former editor at MacUser and MacFormat. Unlike the occasional feature or mainstream news story, "Think Retro" is a regular, ongoing "celebration of classic Apple hardware and software". While none of the four columns published to date are specifically about the Apple II, they does offer practical, relevant information to the modern retrocomputing enthusiast, such as how to use an ADB keyboard with a USB computer or how to open your old ClarisWorks files in Mac OS X.

Apple adjustable keyboard

The Griffin iMate is no RetroConnector, but chances are you have one of these.
Photo copyrighted by Macworld.

While I lament the magazine and website Macworld once was, I'm glad through columns such as "Think Retro" that the brand still offers value to Apple diehards, including us Apple II fans.

Literal abandonware

February 25th, 2013 1:03 PM
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Filed under Hacks & mods;
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Old hardware doesn't die, it just … well, yes, it does die. But before our vintage machines break down, we often abandon them. Though the retrocomputing community has demonstrated that, given the proper maintenance, thirty-year-old Apple II computers can run just fine, machines are more often disposed of when circumstances dictate — which can mean not only a move to a new computer, but sometimes a move to a new office or home, leaving behind any physical reminder of now failed ventures.

Freelancer and friend to the retrocomputing community Benj Edwards has compiled a photo gallery of abandoned Apples discovered by urban explorers who, through questionably legal means, found themselves in neglected environs. Taking photos and nothing else, these trespassers show us Macs and iPods, but also Apple II hardware and software, that have barely endured the passage of time.

Apple IIe and Imagewriter II

Outcries of the wanton waste represented by these photos would not fall on deaf ears; I don't disagree that computers should be cared for or disposed of properly. But I'm more curious as to the stories behind these artifacts, especially the tales their innards can tell. What led to these machines being left behind? What data might their storage devices still hold? Nothing paramount, I'm sure — just common business or educational programs or records. But just as how the salvation of GeoCities holds information of value to someone, past or future, I wonder what meaning these machines may've once had to their operators.

APPLE II - ARNE'S ROYAL HAWIIAN MOTEL - BAKER

Edwards did not take any of the photos himself: of the 12 photos, 10 are originally from Flickr; of those, 5 are available under one Creative Commons license or another.

What did you do with your old computers, Apple II or otherwise? Have you ever left a machine behind?

(Hat tip to Mark Munz)