8 Bit Weapon at the Smithsonian

March 15th, 2012 9:04 AM
Filed under Happenings;
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Tomorrow marks the commencement of GameFest, a three-day festival celebrating the opening of a new Smithsonian exhibition: The Art of Video Games. A year ago at this time, the public was invited to vote on what games should be featured in this exhibit. Now, in 2012, we will enjoy these games receiving the recognition they deserve.

What most excites me about GameFest is the prominent role it grants one of the Apple II community's best friends: chiptune music group 8 Bit Weapon. This group, whose work has been featured in Juiced.GS and who has collaborated with the immensely talented Michael J Mahon, will be performing live this weekend. Many of their tunes will come from the new album Bits with Byte, for which the tune "The Art of Video Games Anthem" was composed.

The album includes the song "Apple Core II", performed entirely with Apple II computers.

If you're in the Washington, DC, area, come down to the Smithsonian to check out these awesome exhibits and performers. And if you're not, purchase an 8 Bit Weapon album — and support those who support the Apple II!

Steve Jobs '95

October 27th, 2011 12:24 PM
Filed under History, Steve Jobs;
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When Steve Jobs passed away, a flurry of media was published about his life and times, his wisdom and accomplishments, his successes and failures. It's easy for any one piece to have gotten lost in that maelstrom — but one in particular deserves to not be missed.

In 1995, Steve Jobs sat down with Daniel Morrow of the Computerworld Honors program for a 75-minute interview, conducted in conjunction with the Smithsonian. The transcript of that interview was published the day after Jobs' passing — but something far more fascinating has since been unearthed.

As of this morning, the original video of that interview is now available. It's a fascinating and candid look at the man who was, at that point in his career (40 years old), still at NeXT and two years away from his return to Apple. Across the 16 chapters into which the interview has been divided, he talks about his early encounters with authority, the parallel between computing and artistry, and his hopes for NeXT, Pixar, and even Apple.

Steve Jobs in 1995

Steve Jobs in 1995. Screen capture from a Computerworld video.

The aforementioned transcript makes it easy to identify the passages where the Apple II is discussed. I could find only a handful of such moments, the first being in chapter six, where Jobs identifies the quality of his computers (both the hits and the flops) in which he held the most pride:

The things I'm most proud about at Apple is where the technical and the humanistic came together … The Macintosh basically revolutionized publishing and printing. The typographic artistry coupled with the technical understanding and excellence to implement that electronically — those two things came together and empowered people to use the computer without having to understand arcane computer commands. It was the combination of those two things that I'm the most proud of. It happened on the Apple II and it happened on the Lisa … and then it happened again big time on the Macintosh.

The next occurrence is in chapter nine, when he draws a comparison with Apple's competitors:

With IBM taking over the world with the PC, with DOS out there; it was far worse than the Apple II. They tried to copy the Apple II and they had done a pretty bad job.

One of the things that built Apple II's was schools buying Apple II's; but even so there was about only 10% of the schools that even had one computer in them in 1979 I think it was.

AFAIK, this Computerworld gallery marks the first time this interview has been made publicly available. I encourage anyone interested in a candid, unscripted, and in-depth conversation with Steve Jobs to take a look.

[Full disclosure: I was responsible for the layout of this gallery and participated in the editing, production, and promotion of it.]