The Editor Still Bytes Back

Twenty-five years and counting, and yes, with a great deal more gray hair, the editor still has a few more bytes left. Many eons ago we thought we had written the last for Call –A.P.P.L.E. but one never knows. What goes around, comes around eh?

Early on, we were fascinated with computers, starting in 1977 with a TI-59 programmable calculator. Writing for the 59 came closer to pure machine code programming than one might imagine, what with the need to decrement registers for comparisons, etc. But we soon used up all the TI’s available memory slots, so with a cry of “Tally-ho,” we went hunting for greener pastures.

A coming together of circumstances – Our Christmas bonus money, a gentleman named Max Cook who had just opened a computer store and the advent of a brand new type of personal computer, the Apple ][ — provided the answer. We soon found ourselves heading a teeny, as yet unnamed, computer user group.

From there on it was all downhill, a visionary leading his disciples. We coined, without objection, the contrived acronym A.P.P.L.E., representing Apple Pugetsound Program LibraryExchange. Although the title “From the Very Core of Apple” was to come later, its significance became immediately apparent when, like Nixon’s “plumbers,” we began snooping about the Apple’s software highways and byways, plumbing the depths of this marvelous new device as deftly as a surgeon stitching flesh.

When the //gs debuted we were long gone from A.P.P.L.E. We were contracted then to SOFTDISK PUBLISHING in Shreveport, LA., publishers of the excellent Apple magazine on disk,Softdisk. They also published similar disk magazines for the PC and the Commodore C64.

Previously we dibbled and dabbled a bit with the Apple /// as editor of On Three and in divining its secrets discovered that the ///’s SOS (SOPHISTICATED OPERATING SYSTEM) had become the forerunner of ProDOS for the //gs, lacking only the ///’s system of device drivers. “gs” (note the lower case) stood for “graphics and sound,” the hallmark of Apple’s newest, greatest and final contribution to personal computing.

Of course, we explored and exploited the gs as we did its predecessors. We believed then and still believe that it was the finest ever machine of its time. Remember, that was 1985 or so and the PC was still a babe in swaddling clothes compared to the gs. It had yet to outclass the Apple, the ill-fated and disastrously overpriced Lisa and the Mac. Alas, Apple corporate typically and misguidedly decided that the Mac, with its totally closed architecture, was the only row to hoe. Much later still, we would see Apple’s market share drop like a boulder off a cliff until the Mac finally made its half-hearted comeback in the new century.

And so, full circle. What goes around, comes around eh? Oh. We already said that, didn’t we?
Next: not only was A.P.P.L.E. noted for its software but its publications garnered an excellent reputation as well. We’ll write about that anon.

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