Reflections: The Return of Call-A.P.P.L.E.

In 1981, I worked with a group of people who had begun a journey of amazing proportions. This particular group had managed to provide much of the information about the Apple computer available at the time. This information came in many forms. Software. Documentation. Even Hardware. It was only available through Apple PugetSound Program Library Exchange or A.P.P.L.E. for short.

The brainchild of Val J. Golding, the group started in December 1977 as an idea due to the fact that Apple Computer released the Apple II and several people in the area including Val had purchased this new more refined computer from Apple Computer Inc. Through introductions to Bob Huelsdonk and other Apple computer users in the local are and at the behest of Max Cook, manager of Computerland, Val scheduled a users group meeting.

The first meeting took place in February 1978 and began what would become a 12-year odyssey producing one of the finest and most informative magazines in the Apple world. While the ride was fun and always interesting, it wasn’t always without problems. The first problem came in 1984 when Val Golding left the company to work on another Apple magazine. This change brought about a bit of a shock for the magazine for which Val’s golden pen had always been a welcome sight.

The next problem that arose was the state of Washington coming down on the group over its status as a non-profit organization. This proved to be a major change that brought about the group’s first change in name. This type of problem continued and in 1988, the group changed names again.

In 1989, the group had run its course due to many problems in production and management, the magazine changed to a quarterly. Although this change was in retrospect a good idea, it also brought about the halting in production with only one issue following in 1990. The end came swiftly for what was supposed to end this glorious journey.

But that is only part of the story…

And now, the rest of the story…

Although many interesting times have come and gone in the life of this programming editor, I have always found that the best things were those that came the hardest. One of the hardest things I started was a project to preserve the materials from the early years of the Magazine. It was during this time that I contacted the founder of A.P.P.L.E., Val Golding. He, as always, had a lighthearted approach to the way the world was and had words of encouragement. Thus I pursued the preservation project with even more fervor. In contacting people who I worked with and who were of major importance, one of these people had an idea that everyone snickered at when it was first heard.

The idea was to restart the magazine. The person who recommended it was former A.P.P.L.E. writer Rick Sutcliffe, author of The Northern Spy. In listening to what Rick had to say, the words somehow struck a chord with me and I thought, “This is an idea whose time had come!”. From that point on I pursued the mission with the utmost care contacting everyone from Val in Seattle on down to Don Williams in Mexico. As I talked with each of the former board members, the first reaction was one of a chuckle and then serious talk.

Fortunately the voices were for the most part encouraging and as I continued pursuing the support of the core group, the look of the reborn magazine was beginning to take shape. Thus as Val has said in the past, “We have come full circle”.  When I finally discovered that things had been kept alive by Norman Dodge, the BBS System operator for A.P.P.L.E. / Tech Alliance, I discovered even a bigger treasure trove of materials than we had figured existed.   I flew to Seattle and received all of the materials from Norman.  He had managed to keep the club alive from 1994 to 2001 and Dick Hubert from 1990 to 1994. Dick ran what was left of the original group, producing the Co-Op Spirit Newsletters which you find here on the website. Norman then took over things along with Bill Bredehoft and a host of other Apple and Mac enthusiasts, continuing until 2001. Their efforts were the ones that we have to thank for all of the materials and customer lists still being intact within the group.

And thus from the ashes from the original group and the original magazines has come the phoenix. The re-birth. The here and the now. And without further delay, we here at Apple PugetSound Program Library Exchange (A.P.P.L.E.) present Volume 14, Number 1

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About the Author

Bill Martens

A.P.P.L.E. Chairman of the Board and Club president -- Bill worked for the founder, Val J. Golding and A.P.P.L.E. from 1981 to 1982. In 1999, he began archiving the materials which were distributed and sold by A.P.P.L.E.. That project led to the group that remained of A.P.P.L.E. Bill was involved in the financial industry in Tokyo and has over 20 major office infrastructure projects to his name. In March 2001, he retired to write books and to spend more time pursuing personal interests. As the president of the users group, Bill is in charge of distribution of Call-A.P.P.L.E. magazine as well as the organization of this web site. Bill currently resides in Tokyo, Japan and Shelton, Wa splitting time between the places.