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KevinO
September 25th, 2014, 06:44 AM
I was just posting over in the podcast section that we really need a Commodore podcast. There's so much cool stuff going on, that I think there would be lots to talk about. But there's really nothing, and even on the multi-platform podcasts, our beloved C= computers rarely get more than a brief mention, while Apple gets talked about 75% of the time.

Which brings me to the next question. Why are there so many Apple podcasts, and so much Apple content? I figured if I asked in the Apple forum, the answer would be because Apple is the best and you suck, so I thought I'd ask in the C= forum and see what your thoughts were.

azog
September 25th, 2014, 10:32 AM
Commodore went down in flames, but Apple still exists. Personally, I think if Jack had stayed at Commodore, he would have driven it farther beyond the company we actually got, and history might be otherwise. Apple is not the same company as it was back then, and Jobs did not have a contiguous role in the company, but when they say "history is written by the victors", this is just an example of it.

For instance, I've read various accounts of the West Coast Computer Faire, where both Apple and Commodore unveiled their new products. Most currently, Apple fans insist that the crowds went crazy over the Apple products, but contemporary articles suggest otherwise.

This all might sound bitter, and perhaps it is, but it is what we have today...

krebizfan
September 25th, 2014, 10:36 AM
The Secret Weapons of Commodore webpages make up for any lack of podcasts.

barythrin
September 25th, 2014, 11:17 AM
I sorta thought there was but maybe that was just my imagination. I don't get to follow many of the podcasts as much as I'd like to. I'm not sure how repetitive the issues are but seeing that there is a monthly e-zine for Commodore (http://www.commodorefree.com/index.html) and yes lots of active hacking going on still I'd be surprised if one of them didn't have some sort of podcast presence. I mean, even the USB Kryoflux came out of the Commodore community IIRC.

Dave Farquhar
September 25th, 2014, 03:07 PM
Rob O'Hara's You Don't Know Flack podcast is a retro podcast, not Commodore-dedicated, but he mentions Commodore pretty frequently and makes reference to the 1541's loading time in every episode.

You can find it at http://podcast.robohara.com/?feed=rss2

I agree that part of the problem is that Apple survived and Commodore didn't.

jac_goudsmit
September 25th, 2014, 03:46 PM
I'd say another part of the problem is the "Cringely-fication" of history.

Brian Bagnall says it best in the introduction to "Commodore, a company on the edge":

"The history of early computers has tended to focus on Microsoft, IBM, and Apple, snubbing contributions made by Commodore. "There is a lot of revisionism going on and I don't think it's fair," says Commodore 64 designer Robert Yannes. "People wanted to ignore Commodore."

"An early-popularized story of the microcomputer revolution was Accidental Empires, by Robter X. Cringely (born Mark Stephens). The former Apple employee perpetuated a select view of the microcomputer revolution -- a view that not everyone accepts as accurate. In Infinite Loop, Michael Malone writes, "The pseudonymous Cringely is notorious for his sloppy way with the facts."

"In his book, Cringely said, "Commodore wasn't changing the world; it was just trying to escape from the falling profit margin of the calculator market while running a stock scam along the way." In reality, Commodore employees worked tirelessly to deliver state-of-the-art technology to its customers at prices far lower than Apple's.

"PBS adapted Cringely's book as a popular TV series, Triumph of the Nerds (1999). The adaptation ignored Commodore completely."


===Jac

KC9UDX
September 25th, 2014, 03:58 PM
There was a whole lot going on that history seems to have forgotten. Even those of us remembering Commodore tend to forget the others. In the early days of microcomputers, there wasn't just Apple, Commodore, and IBM. Not at all. In fact, the way I recall, it took almost 5 years for IBM to even really gain share in the home computer market. Apple and Commodore owners only concerned themselves with Apple and Commodore until the PC clones came along. By then it was all Apple and IBM (even though it wasn't really IBM). CP/M users didn't take Apple or Commodore or anyone else with a 6502 machine seriously. I can't imagine what Tandy, Atari, Mattel, etc etc etc users thought.

At one point, the two most powerful, and really most affordable, microcomputers on the market were totally ignored by everyone: The Commodore Amiga and the Atari ST.

KevinO
September 25th, 2014, 05:46 PM
I get the historical stuff, and the perception of Commodore not having been taken seriously, but there's a thriving Commodore community *now*, and we don't have a podcast. There's dozens of people yammering on about Apple, and it's as annoying as the people I run into in my IT profession that think "Get a Mac" is still the answer to every technical problem. I find many Apple products old and new are very cool (I recently bought a IIe and a IIgs), but then Apple *people* come along and suck all the joy out of it with their bigotry and make me want to use something else!

I'll check out You Don't Know Flack podcast. Thanks for that tip Dave.

cr1901
September 25th, 2014, 06:41 PM
Commodore went down in flames, but Apple still exists. Personally, I think if Jack had stayed at Commodore, he would have driven it farther beyond the company we actually got, and history might be otherwise. Apple is not the same company as it was back then, and Jobs did not have a contiguous role in the company, but when they say "history is written by the victors", this is just an example of it.

For instance, I've read various accounts of the West Coast Computer Faire, where both Apple and Commodore unveiled their new products. Most currently, Apple fans insist that the crowds went crazy over the Apple products, but contemporary articles suggest otherwise.

This all might sound bitter, and perhaps it is, but it is what we have today...
Would you mind linking me to said articles if you have access to them? I'd be curious/interested to see these.

Unknown_K
September 25th, 2014, 07:47 PM
In the early days it was Tandy that owned the market thanks to RadioShack stores. People don't even remember Tandy computers anymore. Atari and Commodore sold way more home computers then Apple and IBM did back in the 1980's. Hell just looks the retail pricing and you will see why clones for the Apple II and IBM PC popped up.

The Kyroflux came out from the Commodore crowd because Commodore software was mostly games and copy protected at that. Same with Atari.

Apple was NEVER a good performer for the prices they charged.

billdeg
September 25th, 2014, 08:16 PM
I think it works like this... I bet you can't find many vintage computer-themed podcasts that are primarily technical in nature. I.e about how to repair and restore, discussions about how to program in old languages, benchmarking, and so on.

This is because the typical podcaster is more of the writer and communicator type, not a heavy hardware or programmer tech. Makes sense, a person in the business of making an entertaining audio presentation has a different set of skills and talents. It is rare to find someone good at both podcasting and heavy tech. There is no exception for vintage computer-themed podcasts.

Apple has dominated the communications industry in general for a while now. Your vintage computing-themed podcaster, very likely also some sort of writer/public speaker, would probably have been using Apple products for years throughout his/her career. It would thus make sense that this person would know a lot about vintage Apple products, having used them for his/her entire career.

I don't know of any vintage computing-themed podcast whose principle host is younger than say 35 or 40. These are tech veterans. Are there any exceptions...a 20 something vintage computer tech-themed podcast that is any good with a regular following? If so it would be the exception for sure.

So that is why there is a disproportionate number of Apple centric vintage computer-themed podcasts. Nothing to do with marketshare or any of that. Just veteran communication professionals talking about that which they have the most experience.

B

azog
September 26th, 2014, 01:26 AM
Would you mind linking me to said articles if you have access to them? I'd be curious/interested to see these.

One is a physical copy of Byte that was published after the first West Coast Computer Faire. I don't have that one in electronic form. It's packed away right now, but I'm sure you can find scanned copies of it. I think it would have been April or May, but it was the first edition published directly after the fair.

edit: I think this is the 1977 Byte volume. The URL is weird, but it should take you to the report: https://archive.org/stream/byte-magazine-1977-07/1977_07_BYTE_02-07_Model_Railroads#page/n31/mode/2up

I am not sure where this one was originally published: http://www.atariarchives.org/bcc3/showpage.php?page=98

Hmm, this one was from the second Faire, 1978: http://blog.modernmechanix.com/the-second-west-coast-computer-faire/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ModernMechanix+%28Modern+Mech anix%29

And some materials that appear to be produced by the producers: http://www.digibarn.com/collections/brochures/wcc-faire/. This one has references to other publications which might be more useful.

KC9UDX
September 26th, 2014, 01:31 AM
I get the historical stuff, and the perception of Commodore not having been taken seriously, but there's a thriving Commodore community *now*, and we don't have a podcast.Perhaps it's only modern Apple people who take podcasts seriously. And I'm serious. I'm pretty sure I've never in my live seen a podcast. The closest I came was listening to Art Bell on podcast with my Amiga in the late 90s.


There's dozens of people yammering on about Apple, and it's as annoying as the people I run into in my IT profession that think "Get a Mac" is still the answer to every technical problem. I find many Apple products old and new are very cool (I recently bought a IIe and a IIgs), but then Apple *people* come along and suck all the joy out of it with their bigotry and make me want to use something else!Most of this is for two reasons, from what I see. First and most important, Apple is extremely trendy. Wait until Apple doesn't have a product just behind the cutting edge. They have been very smart about that. They are not on the cutting edge anymore (think Newton "failure"), they are right behind it taking in all the glory.

Second, there are a lot of "IT" people out there (from what I've seen) who would have had their first real computer experience with a Platinum IIe or a ||GS. They probably didn't do much with it, and didn't use it for long, but that was their first real computer experience. After all, this is probably the only reason I own a TI 99/4A, an Apple ][+, and an Apple //e. It sure isn't because they can do things my '64 and '128 can't.

Trixter
September 26th, 2014, 07:21 AM
I agree that part of the problem is that Apple survived and Commodore didn't.

I disagree. The IBM PC survived and yet there is no podcast that covers early PCs, and the ones that cover PCs at all tend to be gaming-related only. (Which has prompted me to think about producing an early PC/compatible podcast on my own.)

KevinO
September 26th, 2014, 11:20 AM
Apple has dominated the communications industry in general for a while now. Your vintage computing-themed podcaster, very likely also some sort of writer/public speaker, would probably have been using Apple products for years throughout his/her career. It would thus make sense that this person would know a lot about vintage Apple products, having used them for his/her entire career.

So that is why there is a disproportionate number of Apple centric vintage computer-themed podcasts. Nothing to do with marketshare or any of that. Just veteran communication professionals talking about that which they have the most experience.

B

I hadn't thought of it in terms of podcasts, I think Bill has it exactly right. It's because journalist types are largely Mac users, and that has to account for the disparity in podcast topics.

tezza
September 26th, 2014, 08:37 PM
My own random thoughts on this…

Re: Apple’s dominance in the podcasting scene. Bill’s hypothesis makes sense although in addition Apple did cultivate a culture of passion for their machines and maybe it’s equally a reflection of that.

Regarding podcasts in general, I enjoy listening to them. One’s I try to keep up with are Antic, Floppy Days and Retro-Computing Round-Table. It depends what rocks your boat though, as to value. My main interest is microcomputer history and I’m less interested in the (perhaps much larger) retro-gaming scene…mostly because I was an adult by the time I got my first micro and I was never an arcade junkie (Which reminds me… I must check out David Greelish’s/Vintage Volts new podcast on microcomputing history. ). I also like hearing about the latest retro-projects and the occasional interviews with movers and shakers of the day. Finally some podcasters and guests are also raconteurs, which make for an entertaining listen.

I agree that there is a huge vacuum in coverage in that few people talk about the classic BUSINESS machines. Perfectly understandable. There is far less nostalgia attached to them. People are fonder of things they used for play rather than just for work and there is no existing “scene” as such. Still, these machines were significant as far as computer history is concerned.

Anyway, podcasts, like any other creative works take a lot of time and effort so kudos to those prepared to contribute to our passion in this way.

Tez

jac_goudsmit
September 26th, 2014, 10:32 PM
Would you mind linking me to said articles if you have access to them? I'd be curious/interested to see these.

I don't know about any articles that claim that the crowd flocked around Apple at WCF77; I heard that the Steve Jobs movie a few years ago made that claim. I didn't see the movie.

There is, however, an interesting report by David Ahl appeared in Creative Computing magazine, available at http://www.atariarchives.org/bcc3/showpage.php?page=98.

Interestingly, Mike Markkula (marketing director at Apple) apparently confirms what we all suspect: The visitors to the Apple booth weren't there specifically for Apple, they had no clue what the future was going to bring and how important we now regard the event.

Ahl: Are you pleased with the attendance here?
Markkula: Yes.
Ahl: Wildly or just mildly?
Markkula: In terms of numbers -- wildly, but in terms of the reasons for their attendance, I'm not sure exactly why so many people are here. An awful lot of them are just plain curious as to what's going on.

===Jac

deathshadow
September 29th, 2014, 12:35 AM
In most ways Apple, and more specifically their relevance in the late '70's and early '80's has been ridiculously overplayed, exaggerated, and filled to the brim with lies thanks to revisionist history and rabid fanboyism. There's a reason anything Jobbo the clown touched was said to have a "reality distortion field" around it...

You always hear how "important" Apple was, when to be frank it's a bunch of bull. Atari sold more 400/800's their FIRST year in the market than Apple sold from '77 to '81. Even the Apple II's 'peak' year never equaled the first year sales of the Coco. You get the C64 in the mix, and the ENTIRE run of Apple II's barely equals what Commodore did in it's second YEAR ALONE.

For all the cheap-ass shortcuts the Woz took (some of which WERE brilliant) they're always explained as "keeping the cost down" -- then why was EVERY competitor after ~1980 half the price? Why were the competitors prior to that point effectively the same price without cheaping out on design (disk controllers for example), while using a "more expensive" processor like the Z80, 6809, TMSwhateverTheBlazesNumber, etc, etc? Or laughably using an entire second 6502 inside the drive?

MOST of those sales by Apple don't even count as home user sales either since they duped endless schools into wasting money on them... and YES, I do mean wasting money, but that could be because my first high school bought two dozen of them in '85 (so long after the II's relevance it was basically throwing money away) to lock them in a room where the student's couldn't use them as they cost too much to risk letting the students damage them. Admittedly, this is the same school system that switched from F's to E's as F had the negative connotation of "failure" -- which is why in the key for the report card it read "E - Failure"... and where I had a English teacher call the cops on me because of my answer to an extra credit question.

Of course, I've been knee deep in computing since the mid '70's... so why is it I never even SAW an Apple II in the flesh until '85? Why is it I never even got to use one until '88? (and that was actually a GS)

Why is it that outside of public schools I NEVER knew ANYONE who actaully owned one?

TRS-80, Atari, Commodore -- Hell, you were more likely to find someone owning a Coleco Adam than you were to even find anyplace SELLING Apple II's.

Admittedly, I'm east-coast and in the middle of "Wayne Green" country -- Remember 80 Micro? Remember how it outsold Byte (made in the same place, Peterborough NH) 2:1 and was WGE's cash cow? Remember how Byte had to stop being about just Apple and started being about everything EXCEPT Apple?

It often seems like Apple was a West Coast US "only" thing. NOBODY in my area who knew the least bit about computers took Apple seriously... and that includes the Mac and later devices. It was something you heard about, but never actually SAW. Hell the first time I saw a Mac was on a college campus in... I guess it would be '93ish; trying to convince a lady friend's dipshit professor [i](Is there any other type?) that there actually was such a thing as Windows, and that there was Pagemaker for it so she could use the machine I had built her the year before instead of wasting five grand on a Fisher Price "my first computer".

I believe my exact words were "If you want to dupe kids in their ignorance into putting themselves further into debt with vendor lock-in, you should be telling them to use QuarkExpress -- though I believe that unlike Aldus they don't give your school a kick-back on every sale through the college union."

Yeah, I've always been a real popular guy. Of course that the textbook for the class at $300 a pop was written by the professor; no conflict of interest there either.

... and people wonder why I consider higher education and the vast majority of people involved in it to be nothing more than a leech on the teat of society! If only people studied the Roman Empire...

The mention of podcasts makes me laugh because I thought those died off a decade ago; though much like video tutorials and many other media delivery of things more often than not I end up screaming at the display "Oh for *** sake, anybody just got a transcript?" -- in the same way I go into a book store these days looking for USEFUL books and go through the shelves going "user crap, user crap, user crap, user crap in junior reader print, pamphlet masquerading as a book..." and leaving empty-handed.

Target audience; Apple, computers for people who know nothing about computers -- No, that's not a compliment. Kind of like how the demoscene is 99% Commodore, or that hardware hobbyists were mostly TRS-80 -- though most the latter group have moved to AVR or PIC based Microcontrollers.

But then I've always wondered what's in the Apple Kool-aid given how the fanboys rave about it's "features" -- I've never considered proprietary form factors and form over function design to be a good thing. People say "quality" and I go "WHAT QUALITY?!?" Lands sake crApple hardware of the past decade and a half makes Packard Hell's WORST products look good.

... and I should know, I worked for three years as a Apple Service tech in the G3 era. Of course at that time becoming an Apple tech was simply a matter of mastering their RMA system since you couldn't (and still can't) fix jack **** in the field with their "do everything possible to make the only repair be a complete replacement" design. Kooality with a Kapital K. That they STILL wouldn't know proper cooling if it stripped naked, painted itself noctua manure brown and hopped up on a table to sing "oh look at what a big cooling fan I am" certainly doesn't help. (See the new pro grade cigarette ash can) -- and that's without looking at their history of exaggerated claims on hardware specs, uselessly vague descriptions of hardware sold, and intentionally crippling hardware to even further push their vendor-lock in.

If ANY other company was as completely and utterly sleazeball in their practices they'd have gone under, but because it's Apple even the biggest hoodoo-voodoo bullshit is magically not only acceptable, but now called "quality".

But as the old saying went, "For the first week you own a Mac you'll be amazed by what it can do. For the rest of your life you'll be amazed by what it can't."

But that's probably why Apple has always been for the same type of people who drive Volvo's and get their furniture from Ikea.

Corey986
September 29th, 2014, 02:50 AM
I was avoiding this thread to not do the whole "duck season-rabbit season" thing. Everyone has an opinion. However the last posting was so over the top by someone who apparently wanted to rant about how much he hates apple.

The reality was this... Before Apple, computers were either for big business, or for the hobbyiest. The closest "home" computer idea people had was computers would maintain your recipes. Apple pioneered the idea that you could use a cheap TV set and your own cassette player and not flip switches to turn on the machine. They also pioneered the idea it shouldn't look like a metal box. Yes, Processor Technology had some of those ideas, but not all and they were more expensive than apple and also targeted small business. Even Radio Shack/Tandy didn't take the home computer industry seriously, they initially were after the ham radio market type people, hobbyists that shopped in radio shack.

You really can't argue that, heck look at where the "." is on a commodore pet and you understand it was not intended for business or to replace the home typewriter.

And yes Apple's idea about home computing did not take off for years. The disk drive is what made the company. Their disk drive at the time was half the price of everyone else's and enabled businesses and schools to have instant access to programs (including VisiCalc) when time was an issue. Imagine waiting for a cassette load/failed load in a classroom.

The thing that made this attitude change was Steve Jobs and his hippie idea that anyone should be able to use a computer and by the time the C64 came out, he had moved on to the idea of an appliance computer, the Mac.

By the time the C64 and Vic20 came out, commodore hit on a novel twist to the Apple idea of anyone should be able to use a computer, they said anyone should be able to afford a computer. This is what made the numbers for commodore incredible, people didn't have to save for a year to get one.

Now when the C64 came out, it had better graphics and sound than the Apple II, but the Apple II was more expandable and more importantly had 80 columns, it's targets audience had changed. They demanded less game features and more business like features.

Then the Mac and Lisa arrived and the idea of an easy to use appliance computer was there. But it took time to get people to accept that idea. Meanwhile the Amiga arrived and said you could have your cake and eat it too, as it was part Mac and Part C64 in concept. Unfortunately that concept was in the target of a small company called Microsoft who was trying everything they could do to make the IBM PC and compatibles have that same target persona. In the end we know who won that.

Apple today is really not that different than back in the late 70's. Trying to make technology more accessible. Not necessarily having all new ideas, but putting them all together into a single package with the same target persona for the product, everyone, not the tech or the hobbyist. Which means you treat their products like appliances not computers.

There I'm done. Flames begin.

Cheers,
Corey

deathshadow
September 29th, 2014, 07:16 AM
However the last posting was so over the top by someone who apparently wanted to rant about how much he hates apple.
I wouldn't say I hate Apple, at least not classic Apple. Love playing with my IIe Platinum... I do kind-of hate what they became; a media darling that's managed complete revisionist history of their products... that people turn a blind eye too because "Ooh, this the big shiny Apple".


The reality was this... Before Apple, computers were either for big business, or for the hobbyist.
... and Apple did WHAT exactly to address that? Sure as shine-ola wasn't their price or availability.


The closest "home" computer idea people had was computers would maintain your recipes. Apple pioneered the idea that you could use a cheap TV set and your own cassette player and not flip switches to turn on the machine.
Which of course is why a 4k model with Integer basic, the CHEAPEST one they offerred was TWICE the cost of a 4K Level 1 TRS-80... which INCLUDED it's own display. They REALLY could have offerred more considering they were asking twice the cost.


They also pioneered the idea it shouldn't look like a metal box.
Not sure what you even mean by that, since the Model 1 wasn't the "cheap metal enclosure" either -- it was the same "let's use cheap plastic" as the Apple. (though at least Woz REFUSED to compromise on using a metal baseplate)

Though your argument kinda falls apart given what they released in '84... an all in one box with a built in display.


Yes, Processor Technology had some of those ideas, but not all and they were more expensive than apple
ON WHAT PLANET?!? IN WHAT UNIVERSE?!?


The disk drive is what made the company. Their disk drive at the time was half the price of everyone else's
BULL! or at least, bull if you look at the overall cost. Oooh yay they got the price for a drive and controller down to $595 when doing the same on a TRS-80 was $495 just for the drive and you needed the expansion interface... but when a 48k original II with a floppy controller and two drives was $3200 when a similarly equipped model 1 (and we're talking '78 here so that's your two players in the market) was only $2500, whenever people talk about Apple's designs being cheaper my bullshit alarm goes off full blast. The only thing I can figure is the people making these claims are akin to those who claim to remember the 1960's.

Old joke -- If you remember the 1960's, you weren't there!


The thing that made this attitude change was Steve Jobs and his hippie idea that anyone should be able to use a computer and by the time the C64 came out, he had moved on to the idea of an appliance computer, the Mac.
Which also comparitively speaking sold so few until they duped educators into thinking they were of value, it's a miracle they showed a profit; but I guess if you price gouge every sale you can get profit regardless of how few you actually sell.

Something Jobbo the clown proved very well at NeXT.


Now when the C64 came out, it had better graphics and sound than the Apple II, but the Apple II was more expandable and more importantly had 80 columns, it's targets audience had changed. They demanded less game features and more business like features.
By which time something else came out that made the Apple II ridiculously overpriced and laughed at by business... the PC.

Which of course is why the 5150 in it's first year matched the II's sales from 1977 to 1982.

Apple's outdated architecture and no significant improvements for close to a decade made the II a joke by 1981 -- and if they hadn't actively campaigned to prey on the ignorance of the average educator it wouldn't have been surprising if they'd gone the way of Osbourne. I'll given them big props for embedding themselves as the go-to in education. It may have been sleazy nube predation and prepared entire generations to be completely full of manure when they got into the business world where nobody gave a *** about Apple, but it propped up their company with sales. Of course, it's easy to "slash prices" and "make deals" for education when you start out at a 200% margin...


Then the Mac and Lisa arrived and the idea of an easy to use appliance computer was there. But it took time to get people to accept that idea.
Well. Time and sub-thousand dollar PC clones that could do the same job... Since that ridiculous $2000 to $2500 price put it out of reach for most of it's intended audience.


Meanwhile the Amiga arrived and said you could have your cake and eat it too, as it was part Mac and Part C64 in concept.
Assuming you could find someplace to BUY ONE. That's the problem Apple had too in the '80's is where the **** could you go to buy one? The II, the Mac, and the Amiga were nowhere to be found anyplace I knew of at retail; and at the time you weren't going to plunk down a grand or more on a mail order computer when you could go to the 'shack and get a T1K.

At least the C64 you could buy at Child World or Toys R. Us. (I actually remember the drive to the ONLY Toys R' Us near us some 60 miles away to get my VIC-20 back in '80)


Apple today is really not that different than back in the late 70's. Trying to make technology more accessible.
... and there's another word that Apple folks throw around that much like "quality" I have to go "WHAT ACCESSIBILITY?!?" -- though as someone who has studied a lot of usability and accessible design for both hardware (handheld scanners for warehouses) and websites, I've been seeing the "new generation of idiocy" industry wide on that front.

Though really ALL the companies have been guilty of "accessibility, what's that" since ~2003-ish when all the research studies of the '90's were thrown in the trash and they started hiring Photoshop jockeys who know **** about **** to spank it on the screen then have the giant set of brass to call themselves "designers".

Just look at the preponderance of things like "false simplicity" and "ambiguous interfaces" that are creeping into damned near everything -- like the train wreck known as Windows 8. (that's so bad they're talking free Win9 "upgrade" for all 8 owners)

Basically, don't let my ranting about Apple make you think I've singled them out for special treatment; I could do just as big a rant about TRS-80, Atari, IBM, Sinclair... They all sucked, just in different ways. You should hear me go on about Linux as a Desktop OS some time!

The only major problems I have with Apple is their ridiculously absurd price gouging, complete revisionist history on their importance and influence mated to the nonsensical fiction people claim about the products.

Like the whole drives were cheaper thing... had better be cheaper when the base computer was twice the cost OR MORE...

geoffm3
September 29th, 2014, 08:07 AM
This kind of reminds me of my rant: Why do we always think of Silicon Valley when we think of computers? I mean, just a quick list of influential early machines:

Altair - Albuquerque, NM
IMSAI - San Leandro, CA
Compaq - TX
IBM PC - Boca Raton, FL
Microsoft - Bellingham, WA
Commodore - West Chester, PA
Dell - Austin, TX
Coleco - Connecticut
Atari - Sunnyvale, CA
Apple - Cupertino, CA
Sun Microsystems - Stanford University, CA
DEC - Maynard, MA
Tandy - Ft. Worth, TX
Texas Instruments - TX
Osborne - CA
Kaypro - San Diego, CA
Wang - Cambridge, MA
Univac - CT/NY
Intergraph - Huntsville, AL (had to put that one on there. ;))


Granted, there's quite a few California based outfits there, but the crucible of many early computing systems was outside of The Valley as well.

Anyways, back to Commodore. Certainly the Commodore 64 was an influential machine, and I believe still holds record of being the single highest volume seller of any one model computer, and I think even accounting for that sold more units than the entire Apple II line (someone would have to check me on that though). Unlike Jobs, I think Tramiel and others in charge of Commodore really didn't understand that you needed a cohesive platform to build upon. This is evidenced by their almost complete lack of focus and software interoperability between any of the machines in the 8-bit line (64 and 128 notwithstanding). They tried to build a different machine for every potential market it seemed, instead of building on the successes that they had.

I don't think a lot of people really appreciate the contributions to computing technology that many of the engineers that started at Commodore have given to the industry, particularly in the area of sound and graphics capabilities.

Corey986
September 29th, 2014, 11:26 AM
Deathshadow,

I assume you did not live as either an adult or teenage though the time period when Apple got their start, so you really don't understand what computers were like before they started marketing towards the small business and home user, not the hobbyist. That is what they did that changed everything. It took years to catch on....

Also Apple always targeted the upper middle class for their systems. Think of it as the low end of prosumer market. To take it out of computers and into something else, you could say they targeted the Bang and Olufsen crowd, not the bose or sony crowd. They did not target, no pun intended, the McIntosh crowd which is the high end prosumer either.

The funny part of your entire set of arguments reminds me of the Porsche vs Corvette arguments of the day. Each product has it's target audience and just because target wise you are not a companies focus customer does not make them wrong or revisionist. In the end, of all the old home/small computer companies, only Apple remains viable, independent and dare I say inovating. IBM is no longer in the market, Commodore is no longer in existence, Radio Shack has less that 45 days of cash left and Atari is also gone in all but name only.

So really who was right or wrong on how to deal with their defective products, who their targeted audience was/is and how to price their products.

Cheers,
Corey

Unknown_K
September 29th, 2014, 12:30 PM
This kind of reminds me of my rant: Why do we always think of Silicon Valley when we think of computers?I don't think a lot of people really appreciate the contributions to computing technology that many of the engineers that started at Commodore have given to the industry, particularly in the area of sound and graphics capabilities.

CA is the last man standing for computers. I think it had something to do with the volume of parts coming from Asia directly to California and not needing shipping across the country, and work place laws where non compete agreements do not exist allowing for people to leave their company and compete with them down the street.

deathshadow
September 29th, 2014, 02:15 PM
I assume you did not live as either an adult or teenage though the time period when Apple got their start, so you really don't understand what computers were like before they started marketing towards the small business and home user, not the hobbyist.
Considering my first was an Elf, I had access to an AM-100, and got some time on a PDP-8, I think I have a pretty good grasp of things at the time.

... and since I had a Model 1 in '78, and a Coco and a VIC-20 in '80... and built a H-100... I'm sorry, Apple's "contributions" didn't blow my skirt up or seem in any way, shape or form "innovative" much less:


That is what they did that changed everything.
I just didn't see that at the time, nor do I see it in hindsight... and that's why it feels like revisionist history to me. If anything they were an "also ran" that somehow continued to lumber on; most likely due to a lack of the mismanagement that doomed so many other companies.

Saying that what they did "changed everything" or was "influential" or even "an important part of computer history"?!? Having pretty much lived and breathed 8 bit computing as a teen it truly seems a tissue of lies... though again I wonder if that's just a regional thing; East coast vs. West coast.


you could say they targeted the Bang and Olufsen crowd, not the bose or sony crowd.
Being a Klipsch kind of guy I actually understood that reference.

Though Apple has always excelled at MARKETING themselves to seem innovative -- even when they're basically just ripping everybody else off. Just like how they do a great job of marketing proprietary design and vendor lock-in using lowest contractor parts as "quality" and duping effete upper-middle class elitists that everything is worth 50% more than competitors just because it has their logo on it.

Really in terms of computer history that's Apple's biggest claim to fame -- MARKETING. In terms of hardware innovations? A joke. In terms of convincing people of just about anything they claim regardless of if it's based in fact? Gives organized religion a run for it's money.

But again, much of that opinion could be that I never saw one in a brick and mortar until the '90's, never saw one in anyone's home, and where I did see them and by the time I actually to to try out using one it was six years past it's freshness date and a joke compared to the 12mhz EGA equipped AT clone I had at home.

Until the mid to late 80's -- by which time the Apple II was ridiculously outdated and still overpriced -- the only place I thought the Apple II existed was in magazines.

Tor
September 29th, 2014, 11:10 PM
Well I was in Europe back in the seventies when it all started, and one thing I'm sure of is that my memory is correct about one thing: The Apple II was very desirable. But out of reach price-wise for me. I never connected with the Commodores when they came, they didn't match what I felt that I wanted. I didn't want a gaming console. From 1982 I finally had access to Apple II computers at work, and soon after a range of clones as well, and I did a lot of Apple II programming. It did live up to the expectations. Yes not cheap, but cheaper doesn't help if cheaper doesn't provide the same stuff. And it didn't. In short, I see no issues with history's view on where Apple fit in. It matches quite exactly with how I experienced it. Even from north Europe.

KC9UDX
September 30th, 2014, 06:10 AM
Well I was in Europe back in the seventies when it all started, and one thing I'm sure of is that my memory is correct about one thing: The Apple II was very desirable. But out of reach price-wise for me. I never connected with the Commodores when they came, they didn't match what I felt that I wanted. I didn't want a gaming console.

This is what hurt Commodore, and especially the Amiga, the most. By 2000, this popular sentiment had turned around completely, and everyone wanted PC clones because they were the best at games.


Yes not cheap, but cheaper doesn't help if cheaper doesn't provide the same stuff.But it did. There was a big perception that it didn't, but it sure did. The C64 did everything the Apple //e did, and much, much more, including excelling at games.

geoffm3
September 30th, 2014, 07:39 AM
This is what hurt Commodore, and especially the Amiga, the most. By 2000, this popular sentiment had turned around completely, and everyone wanted PC clones because they were the best at games.

But it did. There was a big perception that it didn't, but it sure did. The C64 did everything the Apple //e did, and much, much more, including excelling at games.

Well, with the exception of expansion ports, and 80 column video, yes.

KC9UDX
September 30th, 2014, 08:31 AM
Well, with the exception of expansion ports, and 80 column video, yes.

There are several expansion ports, just not all the same. The peripherals you can connect is the same for the //e or the C64.

There were plenty of aftermarket 80 column boards for the C64, just like the Apple ][. No one bought them though, so they didn't survive long. The '128 has built in 80 column video, and I don't know who actually used that.

mwillegal
September 30th, 2014, 09:17 AM
You are essentially comparing a 1977 (Apple II) release with a 1982 (C-64) release. Through the IIe came out in 1983, it is essentially a fully compatible, cost reduced, 1977 Apple II with some features integrated that would have been plug in cards on the original 1977 Apple II. The main enhancement that the 1977 Apple II didn't have, was the double hi-res graphics and 80 column text support.

The reason the Apple II line was successful for so long is that after the Apple III failure, Apple kept new Apple IIs backward compatible in hardware and software for as long as they maintained the product line. This made software vendors and existing customers coming back, despite the extra cost of hardware.

regards,
Mike Willegal


This is what hurt Commodore, and especially the Amiga, the most. By 2000, this popular sentiment had turned around completely, and everyone wanted PC clones because they were the best at games.

But it did. There was a big perception that it didn't, but it sure did. The C64 did everything the Apple //e did, and much, much more, including excelling at games.

KC9UDX
September 30th, 2014, 12:11 PM
You are essentially comparing a 1977 (Apple II) release with a 1982 (C-64) release. Through the IIe came out in 1983, it is essentially a fully compatible, cost reduced, 1977 Apple II with some features integrated that would have been plug in cards on the original 1977 Apple II. The main enhancement that the 1977 Apple II didn't have, was the double hi-res graphics and 80 column text support.

Actually I'm comparing the //e and C64, because that seems to me to be the ones that were on the market when the average person was looking to purchase a computer. Of course, my view of that is very biased. The only thing the newer 1983 //e had over the 1982 C64 was built-in 80-column text. And, that's not even totally true, because you had to pay extra to get the "80 Column Card" which we all know was really a RAM expansion. So, the C64 required an 80 column expansion, and so did the //e. By the time the 80 Column Card was standard, the vastly superiour C128 was out. The older C64 could natively do everything it's Apple contemporary could do, and more, just like the C128. Now, the ||GS clearly had a leg up on the Commodore 8-bit stuff, but, it didn't even come close to the Amiga.

What year did the 80 column pets come out? I assume they predated the //e, but I'm not sure. In any case, a PET would do everything a ][ or ][+ would do, except hi-res and colour graphics. So, why didn't the anti-game-machine people prefer the PET? I sure know that by the time the VIC-20 came out, machines with colour graphics were all regarded as toys. Most people bought monochrome monitors for their Apples, solely for this reason. Anyone who ran a colour TV with their Apple was laughed at for not being "businessy" enough.

deathshadow
September 30th, 2014, 12:35 PM
Anyone who ran a colour TV with their Apple was laughed at for not being "businessy" enough.

Assuming you could even find anyone who had one in the first place... ESPECIALLY for business. I saw TRS-80 Model 1, 2, 3 and 4's, PC's, plenty of Big Iron (even in small businesses which was a bit of a head scratcher), All sorts of CP/M machines... But Apple? FOR BUSINESS? You're joking right?

I hear tales every now and then of one or two used in environments that leave me wondering "Good god why?" (motor control comes to mind) but apart from that, Apple as a business machine?!? In what universe?

Again, is there THAT big a regional difference or something 'cause... wow. To even have someone say that blows my noggin. At BEST it was a toy for schools that didn't have the staff to actually understand them or teach anything with them. BUSINESS?!? REALLY?!?!?

Error, error... fails to understand...

geoffm3
September 30th, 2014, 12:45 PM
I am bit puzzled as to what constituted a "business" class machine in these early days of the personal computer, because as near as I can tell, all the 8-bit micros had about the same set of constraints on them, and they all had business oriented software of one type or another. Sure the IBM PC (could) have more memory, but it was equally possible to add similar amounts of memory to the 8-bit Apple and Commodore machines too, and the 8088 is rivaled by the 6502 in terms of practical computing power.

KC9UDX
September 30th, 2014, 01:42 PM
I have no idea if they were actually used in the magical business environment everyone thought they were supposed to be for. I did use Apple ][s in an industrial environment, feeding data from a minicomputer to CNC machines. But, I don't know what the reason was that they had to be Apples.

I'm not saying it was businesses that wanted to use Apples. It was sure the mentality for home computer users though, for a long time, that you didn't buy one unless it had "business" capability, which meant 80 columns, word processors, spreadsheets and bar graphs. And, if it was good for games, it obviously wasn't good for those things. This was what made people want Apples instead of Commodores.

Unknown_K
September 30th, 2014, 01:49 PM
I was under the impression Apple II's were sold to accountants because nothing else ran VisiCalc at the time.

KC9UDX
September 30th, 2014, 02:23 PM
I was under the impression Apple II's were sold to accountants because nothing else ran VisiCalc at the time.

I was too, but, I wonder how many accountants actually rushed out to buy an Apple ][ during the short period between realising VisiCalc's usefulness, and, VisiCalc being ported to other systems.

deathshadow
September 30th, 2014, 02:45 PM
I was under the impression Apple II's were sold to accountants because nothing else ran VisiCalc at the time.
Which was true for all of about three months.

Though I continued to hear that LIE for about five years ('79 to '84). I guess it's kind of like how "the Opera browser is only free with Adverts" which hasn't been true for over a decade, but you STILL hear people say it.

Trixter
September 30th, 2014, 05:35 PM
Visicalc was sold in 1979. Lotus 1-2-3 didn't come out until 1983. So I'm not sure what "LIE" you're referring to. Visicalc sold generations of Apple systems to accountants; this is not in dispute.

KC9UDX
September 30th, 2014, 05:56 PM
Visicalc was sold in 1979. Lotus 1-2-3 didn't come out until 1983. So I'm not sure what "LIE" you're referring to. Visicalc sold generations of Apple systems to accountants; this is not in dispute.

VisiCalc was available for the PET at least as early as 1981. I don't know how much earlier though. There were other VisiCalc clones available prior to Lotus 1-2-3. Practicalc for the C64, which works like VisiCalc with improvements, is copyrighted 1982, at least the version I have is, and that's not the first version.

krebizfan
September 30th, 2014, 06:19 PM
VisiCalc for the PET had tiny sheets and required the installation of a ROM chip making it less than ideal. In many respects, the Apple II wound up being the best small computer for a number years to run VisiCalc, cheaper than an IBM PC but easier to increase RAM, 80 columns, and disk drives than some of the other 8-bit systems.

tezza
September 30th, 2014, 08:27 PM
Visicalc for the TRS-80 Model 1 (then III) came out pretty soon after the Apple release I think. I know I had a copy for my System 80 in 1982 and I'm pretty sure I saw ads for it in 80 Micro around 1980-1981. For businesses purposes it was usable with 64 columns. Certainly a TRS-80 model III with it's all-in-one form factor would have made quite a respectable small business machine in 1981-82. Even more so the Model 4 slightly later.

In New Zealand in the early 1980s, Apple computers were around but I didn't know any one who owned one. They were horrendously expensive which also added to their snob-value. Some farmers had them. I knew of one being used for controlling a commercial glasshouse. In the mid 80s Apple seemed to do a push into schools here where Apple IIes sold at a hugely discounted price.

My feeling is that Apple II/IIe line with it's slots was a very versatile machine. This enabled it to straddle both the emerging home and business markets from that period from 1979 to say 1985. To me, it seems the closest template for the IBM-PC than other machines of the time. However, it was overpriced for what it was. This had a dual benefit (for Apple) in that it made it a coveted item (if it's expensive it had to be good, right?) and very profitable for Apple. There is a method in aiming for the high end of the market using a machine that didn't cost much to make. Much of this profit was spent on marketing (including good quality manuals, events etc.) which reinforced the "special" nature of Apple products in the minds of many.

I do agree that today, the perception of Apple's role in early microcomputing is inflated amongst the masses, assisted for sure by Apple itself. They were innovative (Lisa, Mac) in the early-mid 1980s though. Innovation costs money and the reason they could spend money is largely due to the huge profit made on every Apple IIe made!

Tez

Trixter
September 30th, 2014, 08:54 PM
I wonder if geographical location has something to do with these perceptions. In the USA, before the IBM was released, Apple II+ computers were everywhere: Libraries, schools, in homes. My experience was completely the opposite of "Apple computers were around but I didn't know any one who owned one".

Tor
September 30th, 2014, 09:14 PM
Even far into the eighties we used Apple II's and clones at work for various technical purposes. The slots made this possible. We added hardware for data collection as well as for controlling things like satellite antennas. They were very versatile machines.

deathshadow
September 30th, 2014, 09:56 PM
Visicalc was sold in 1979.
... and in 1980 for the TRS-80 (including the 2, its' one of the few things that made the 2 'useful' given what jackasses RS was about third party software on the platform) and Atari 400/800... the release for the Model 1/3 coincided with the first catalog to even list the Model 3 (christmas 79, though at that point the 3 was pre-order only) -- which was only three months after it was released for the Apple II.

Honestly given how few II's there were in the channel at that time they'd have been complete morons not to fast-track a Z80 target, particularly the model 1 which outnumbered Apple II's 20 to 1 by 1980 and 30 to 1 by the start of '81 if you throw the Model III in the mix.

Which is why less than half a year after the Apple II release anyone saying to needed an Apple for Visicalc either didn't know what they were talking about or were lying through their teeth.

Krille
October 1st, 2014, 03:39 AM
...and where I had a English teacher call the cops on me because of my answer to an extra credit question.
I'd love to read that story. :)


But that's probably why Apple has always been for the same type of people who drive Volvo's and get their furniture from Ikea.
Swedes? LOL :D

deathshadow
October 1st, 2014, 04:44 AM
I'd love to read that story. :)
Extra credit question at the end of the test:
"Briefly give an overview of the plot"

My answer:
"You should be shot."

The book:
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Apparently the teacher had never read the "Notice" at the beginning of the real version of the book... as opposed to the butchered short-short pamphlet version the school system handed out.

Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR,
Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance.

I already knew most "educators" at that point were drooling halfwits, but it was nice to have confirmation on that. I had to drag three teachers before the board of education in the Commiewealth of Taxachusetts just to graduate high school as they were that full of shit; and ended up in the end transferring to another school I never even attended to get that pointless piece of paper. No joke, I had four times the class credits needed to graduate but the Plymouth school system refused to let me graduate due to my senior year math, English and history teachers all being total pratts!

Almost three decades later and I can still froth at the mouth over that final year... Let it go...

KC9UDX
October 1st, 2014, 06:02 AM
Even far into the eighties we used Apple II's and clones at work for various technical purposes. The slots made this possible. We added hardware for data collection as well as for controlling things like satellite antennas. They were very versatile machines.

That's not uncommon. But, in retrospect, if it were me designing hardware interfaces, I'd rather have a PET or any of the C= 8 bits than an Apple for that. The slots were just that, "slots" that didn't have access to the whole machine.

geneb
October 1st, 2014, 07:12 AM
It's my understanding that the expansion backplane in the II gave you full access to the I/O & address space of the machine.

g.

KC9UDX
October 1st, 2014, 07:23 AM
It's my understanding that the expansion backplane in the II gave you full access to the I/O & address space of the machine.

My memory says it doesn't, but that could be wrong. It's been a long time since I did anything with that.

Eudimorphodon
October 1st, 2014, 07:48 AM
I'm pretty sure an Apple II slot (http://osites.tripod.com/peripheral.html) *CAN* have essentially carte-blanche access to the whole of the machine. (For instance, you can do DMA in any slot. (http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/apple/technotes/aiie/tn.aiie.02.html)) The thing that made Apple II slots "special" is they also had the pre-decoded slot selects (IE, the "I/O Select, I/O Strobe, and "DEVICE SELECT" lines) that gave you the option to dispense with most of the address decoding on simple cards. So in essence Apple II slots can be treated either like a full backplane-style bus or as "I/O slots".

njroadfan
October 1st, 2014, 01:48 PM
Funny, I always saw it the other way around. The Commodore community always seemed more active and had more home brew hardware and software projects. I always looks in envy that the C64 had things like the Super CPU accelerator, Ethernet, and software like Contiki. That and the giant chip tune scene.

The Apple II line was everywhere in the education sector when I was growing up and our first family computer landed up being an Apple IIc as a result. My K-8 school had them in just about every classroom and they filled the computer lab until 1995 when PCs finally displaced them. They saw use at my high school for robotics classes until 1997 and they remained in use for controlling interactive Laserdisc players (run by Time-Out macros on Apple Works!) in science classrooms. Not to mention all my friends had Apple II machines as well (into the mid-90s).

KC9UDX
October 1st, 2014, 02:09 PM
The computer in schools around here were pretty well split, I think. Some had PETs, some had Apples, some had C64s.

Eudimorphodon
October 1st, 2014, 02:52 PM
I'm vaguely amused by the fact that my Commodore PETs originally were originally purchased for schools in Berkeley, CA. Just sort of feels to me like if anywhere was going to be an all-Apple shop it'd be Berkeley...

The first computer lab I remember using growing up was full of Commodore PETs and VIC-20s, although the same school had some one-off computers of various brands scattered around individual classrooms. (Apple IIs, a few TRS-80s, maybe a TI-99/4 or two.) I do think there was something of a regional aspect to the market share the various companies had during the pre-IBM days, although about the only generalization I can offer is perhaps that Apple's products were more common in well-to-do urban areas while small-town/blue-collar America was more likely to settle for Tandy or Commodore. I know when I was a young only the "rich kids" had Apple IIs at home, regardless of what the school happened to have, and after the C64 came out it was by *far* the most common alternative. (At least up until 1985 or so, when PC clones started getting cheap. Prior to the C64 if you had a computer at home it there was a *really* good chance it was a TRS-80, and your dad bought it because he was either an engineer or a Ham radio nut. I don't think I *ever* saw a PET in private hands, although they must have existed.)

Tor
October 2nd, 2014, 11:03 PM
That's not uncommon. But, in retrospect, if it were me designing hardware interfaces, I'd rather have a PET or any of the C= 8 bits than an Apple for that. The slots were just that, "slots" that didn't have access to the whole machine. No, the slots on the Apple II are more than that. In any case, I shudder at the thought of trying to get a PET to do what we did with the Apple II computers. Not that I have ever even seen a PET in real life, but I would rather use an AIM 65 instead (and sometimes we did, when an Apple wasn't needed). We also used the BASIS-108 Apple II clone, those German boxes with 128KB RAM plus a Z80 which could alternatively run CP/M Plus. Very robust machines, to put it mildly.

KC9UDX
October 3rd, 2014, 01:03 AM
No, the slots on the Apple II are more than that.You're correct, but, something which I can't remember is lacking at the slot connectors. It might not have been important.


In any case, I shudder at the thought of trying to get a PET to do what we did with the Apple II computers.Why is that? I can't picture anything that can be done with an Apple ][ that can't be done with a PET. But maybe I'm missing something. In fact, for some simple things, the PET is easier, with the 'user port'. For anything with HPIB, the choice is obvious.

Tor
October 3rd, 2014, 01:45 AM
Why is that? I can't picture anything that can be done with an Apple ][ that can't be done with a PET. But maybe I'm missing something. In fact, for some simple things, the PET is easier, with the 'user port'. For anything with HPIB, the choice is obvious. Development environment, compilers? I never did anything in Basic on any of the systems I used back then (except for one application I wrote for a guy with a Dragon-32. Terribly limitating). Most of what I wrote for the Apple II was a mix of Pascal and 6502 assembly. Floppy disks? I used to have up to 4 of them on the development machine. And, again, lots of slots for a number of I/O cards, plus cards made by a local company for data monitoring.
Availability also of course, I'm not sure any PET was ever imported to Norway, not the early '2001' models and not the later CBM 'business' models. At least I never saw any or remember any announced in the magazines.

In any case, I meant to point out (in my first post in this thread) that I for one remember the importance and attraction of the Apple II very nearly like how it is described these days, I don't see any revisionist history there. In this I disagree with e.g. deathshadow, but obviously we must have had very different experiences.

KC9UDX
October 3rd, 2014, 02:45 AM
Development environment, compilers? I never did anything in Basic on any of the systems I used back then (except for one application I wrote for a guy with a Dragon-32. Terribly limitating). Most of what I wrote for the Apple II was a mix of Pascal and 6502 assembly.I always wrote my own compilers and worked a lot in assembly. One of these days I'll write a Pascal compiler too. :D I much prefer Pascal.


Floppy disks? I used to have up to 4 of them on the development machine.I remember Disk ]['s being very expensive, and I wonder what the cost would be of a PET-2001N and two 4040's versus an Apple ][+ and four Disk ]['s. I'm guessing it would be similar, but I really don't know.

Obviously, at least in most of the world (Canadia excepted... maybe?) Apple ]['s were used much more extensively than the PET. I rarely ever saw any PET in any kind of use, and only in an educational environment that I can remember. I did see a few VIC-20's and C64's get industrial use due to the ease of use of the 'user port' which is of course the same as the PET.

In 1984, I would have used an Apple ][ because I didn't know anything about the Commodore products, and I felt the same way about the slots that most people did. Today, for me at least in retrospect, I think the Commodore computers would have been a better choice. The only cards I ever found myself using in an Apple were disk, 80 column, and serial port. I didn't really need 80 columns, and had I built an I/O card for the Apple, it would have been just as easy to do so for a Commodore.


Whatever we think about what happened and what could have, I still believe the C64 had a far bigger influence on home computing that any Apple ][. If only because they were so affordable that just about anyone (here) could have (and a lot did) buy one. In fact, I think if the VIC-20 and C64 didn't sell so well, the PC clones would have put an end to Apple round 1985 or so.

geoffm3
October 3rd, 2014, 06:02 AM
I remember Disk ]['s being very expensive, and I wonder what the cost would be of a PET-2001N and two 4040's versus an Apple ][+ and four Disk ]['s. I'm guessing it would be similar, but I really don't know.


I don't know because I was too young at the time, but I recall reading in several books that one issue with the PET/CBM machines early on was availability of ANY drives at all when it was first introduced for some unreasonable amount of time. That might have hindered its adoption over the Model I and Apple II. Certainly the cost of a TRS-80 was on par or perhaps cheaper than an Apple II when outfitted with drives.

KC9UDX
October 3rd, 2014, 06:24 AM
True, and it seemed no one bought any drives when they were available. i dont remember ever seeing any PET with a disk drive until I got mine three years ago. ic'd seen PETs with modems, datasettes, and printers, but never disk drives.

Eudimorphodon
October 3rd, 2014, 10:30 AM
In any case, I meant to point out (in my first post in this thread) that I for one remember the importance and attraction of the Apple II very nearly like how it is described these days, I don't see any revisionist history there.

I lost track of what period we're talking about here, but going back to the "Holy Trinity" days (Apple II, Commodore PET, TRS-80) and measuring by market share there's basically no comparison: The TRS-80 *massively* outsold the other two; it's not even close. (http://arstechnica.com/features/2005/12/total-share/3/) Apple II's didn't outsell TRS-80s until 1983 (http://jeremyreimer.com/m-item.lsp?i=137). (Also note that by that time the Atari 400/800 family was actually outselling both of them; Atari really dropped the ball letting the Commodore 64 steal that lead away from them.) Apple II sales didn't really take off until 1984, when it became the *second* most popular 8-bit on the market after the Commodore 64, and it remained second most popular until both of them were discontinued.

The Apple II *may* have grabbed a disproportionate amount of "mind share" back in the day because it was possibly the most "interesting" of the original Trinity (it was color, after all, and the company had its great "out of the garage" story behind it) but even if people wanted the Apple II back in the beginning it's not what they bought.


True, and it seemed no one bought any drives when they were available. i dont remember ever seeing any PET with a disk drive until I got mine three years ago. ic'd seen PETs with modems, datasettes, and printers, but never disk drives.

I found an ad in a 1979 Byte magazine for PETs and peripherals, and it claimed that you could have a dual-drive 2040 for "IMMEDIATE" delivery for $1295, which was the same price as 32K 2001N. (Interestingly the add also claims there will be a "2040A" single drive available "SOON"; did such a thing ever actually materialize? Never heard of one.) If we look at total system prices, well, If you bought a dual-disk TRS-80 out the 1979 Tandy computer catalog it'd cost you $849 for the computer, $448 for a 16k expansion interface, and $499 each for the disk drives, for a grand total of $2,295 for the TRS-80 vs. $2,590 for the PET. Of course, you could knock about $500 off the TRS-80 price if you only bought the computer and a 0k I/E from Radio Shack and mail ordered third party drives and RAM, not really an option for the PET. As for Apple, well... Here's a June 1979 price list. (https://archive.org/details/Apple_Price_List_June_1979) A two drive Apple II with at least 32k would have run you... $1,345 + $595 + $495 = $2,485

(If we *really* wanted to make the Apple compare straight across we should tack on $180 for the parallel printer port that came with the Tandy's expansion interface, thus taking the Apple up to $2,665. That barely makes it the most expensive again. Granted you might need to pay for a widget to connect a standard parallel printer to a PET as well...)

So... some sort of interesting conclusions you can get out of this:

1: If you call a two-disk configuration a "system" they're all really close in price, more so than I remember. The TRS-80 is still the cheapest; by how much depends on whether you're willing to buy parts out of someone else's catalog.

2: A PET cost more than either of its competitors, by a pretty substantial margin, to add *the first drive* to if you already had the computer itself. The Apple II was actually the cheapest. Maybe that explains the rarity of PET disk systems?

3: Although not specifically called out in this comparisons, of these systems the Tandy wins the prize for being the system that lets out get to an ultimate configuration by spending the least money *at any one time*; In 1979 you could have a 4k Level I Model I for $499, and incrementally expand that up to a two-disk system without ever spending more than $500 a shot even if you restricted yourself to the Radio Shack catalog. This is where I think Commodore really shot themselves in the foot; you could in *theory* get a 4k PET for $595, which considering it came with the tape recorder makes it pretty comparable, but Commodore did evil things like drilling holes in the motherboard so if you wanted to expand to a larger configuration you'd have to buy a whole new system. Without resorting to soldering (or possibly some third party memory boards that'd tack onto that big internal connector) if you wanted a 32K PET you had to buy a 32K PET, and in 1979 $1,300 was a lot of money. A 16k PET 2001N was $995, which was "only" $150 more than the comparable TRS-80 but that's still $150. (And it might still have a hole drilled through the motherboard to keep you from going to 32k later.) Apple's starting price of $1,195 for 16K looks almost more reasonable since at least all it takes to go to the full 48k is a handful of memory chips you *could* buy from someone else. (When you hit 32k the difference is only $50, and of course there's no such thing as a 48k PET.)

Anyway. Apple may have scorched itself into the collective consciousness but if you're talking about the era where most people first got their hands on a computer it's *not* the one most people had. Again, by the time it became the *second* most popular 8-bit IBM Clones were already selling about three times as many units. (That's the thing that makes the C64 so remarkable; there were two years where there were more C64s sold than IBM PCs and clones combined; the first one of those they sold more than PC Clones and *Apple IIs* AND TRS-80s combined.) If you want to talk about a company that had it all and completely blew it you have to look at Tandy; if they'd managed to introduce a compelling successor to the Model I that kept customers hooked with the "buy what you need when you need it" strategy instead of disappointing almost everyone with the Model III... I dunno, Tandy Corporate still probably would have managed to swallow their own head. But in any case, the Apple II seems to be more notable as being one of the last 8-bit systems standing than as the dominant system in the early years. Since they're also the last one of those *companies* standing, well... history's written by the winners, right?

Unknown_K
October 3rd, 2014, 10:58 AM
Everybody I knew in highschool (1982-86) had a C64 or Atari 800 except for one guy with an Apple IIc. The school lab had a bunch of TRS-80 Model 3's and a couple IBM PC's.

Eudimorphodon
October 3rd, 2014, 11:32 AM
The IIc guy was the rich kid, wasn't he?

One of the things you do have to admire about Apple is they had an absolute genius for being able to charge premium prices for objectively the most stripped-down hardware. Going back to the disk drive subject, well, here's what's inside the disk drives for the three "Trinity" manufacturers:

Commodore PET 2040: A pair of modified Shugart (or compatible) mechanisms, two custom circuit boards, a motherboard with *TWO* 6502-related CPUs, RAM, an IEEE-488 interface... it's basically a complete computer "networked" to the host PET.

Tandy Mini-Disk drive: Completely bog-standard Shugart or compatible disk unit, packaged in a case with a power supply. The controller, provided with the purchase of the Expansion Interface, was an off-the-shelf WD 1771 reference design.

Apple Disk ][: An utterly stripped Shugart-compatible mechanism wrapped in metal. The incredibly simple host card inside the Apple drove the drive mechanism directly using minimal hardware and a blob of software running the host processor.

Commodore tended to solve problems by throwing massive amounts of silicon at them (which I guess they thought they could get away with because they owned MOS), Tandy just used whatever the "industry standard" parts were and bought them in bulk to save money, and Apple would bend over backwards writing arcane software in order to use the absolute minimum of silicon to get the job done. It's probably no wonder that it's Apple that survived instead of Commodore; in 1984 Apple got away with selling the IIc for $1295 while a C64 plus a disk drive (at around, what, $400 or so for a system unit and a 1541?) almost certainly should have been the more expensive of the two just going by how much silicon was inside. When you can get people to pay you three times the money for less actual product you must be doing *something* right...

Caluser2000
October 3rd, 2014, 12:00 PM
Never had much exposure to earlier stuff but when I looking around for a computer in the late 80s for kids I settled on a second hand C64. Did this mainly because they seemed to, at the time, to be readily available complete with a couple of disk drives along with a printer at a reasonably price. You could still buy C64 titles and peripherals at one of our local computer shops into the early 90s. Some of the schools in this area had Apple ][s or Acorn machines in their "labs" with PC clones used in administrative duties.

Unknown_K
October 3rd, 2014, 02:34 PM
The IIc guy was the rich kid, wasn't he?

He wasn't rich, parents divorced and living with his mother. But his father was well to do driving a Porche 911 back then owning his own company, and I assume purchased the computer for his son on Christmas.

Eudimorphodon
October 3rd, 2014, 02:56 PM
Ah, yes, the highly coveted "I still love you son, I swear, and it's totally not your fault I left you and your mother and I'm going to spend more time with you soon, honest!" big-ticket Christmas present. Kids love those.

Tor
October 6th, 2014, 12:17 AM
The Apple II *may* have grabbed a disproportionate amount of "mind share" back in the day because it was possibly the most "interesting" of the original Trinity (it was color, after all, and the company had its great "out of the garage" story behind it) but even if people wanted the Apple II back in the beginning it's not what they bought.
No question there - but how much the various computers sold isn't really what it's about when it comes to Apple's place in history. Not really. I mean, the ZX80 and ZX81 sold to huge numbers, but I was never interested. I didn't want one of those at home, and I couldn't do anything useful with one at work. Sales numbers aren't that interesting in that sense (except that if the Apple II hadn't sold, then history _would_ have been different). When it comes to the TRS-80 though there's a different issue - it appears that many are not at all aware about the fact that so many were sold (although not in my part of the world, except for a few Color Computers). The Apple II is important because it did a lot of things right. It was not cheap, but that's not all there is to it.

Eudimorphodon
October 6th, 2014, 08:35 AM
Let's imagine an alternate history where instead of Steve Jobs being fired from Apple in 1985 the board had stuck with him, and through a series of increasingly erratic decisions and spectacular product flops Apple had gone out of business in 1990. (This was a real possibility; no one remembers it now, but the Macintosh introduction was actually turning into a disaster by 1985; if it wasn't for the revenue from the Apple II business the company would have been in serious trouble and they'd already weathered several previous public failures, like the Apple III debacle and the Lisa's tepid reception. Had Jobs stayed at the helm there's a real possibility that the "next Mac" would have been a mostly incompatible-with-the-original UNIX based machine and might have come so late that the decline in Apple II sales would have put them in the red before it hit the shelves.) Show of hands, who *really* thinks that the Apple II would be getting so much credit in the history books today?

The early days of personal computing were positively riddled with colorful characters and improbable origin stories. It's, uhm, nice that we have one company left today (besides Microsoft) that can directly trace its corporate ancestry to that period but seriously, it's pretty disappointing that all those other amazing stories are getting lost in favor of this lazy and inaccurate pop history that gives all this undo attention to a company that was for all practical purposes a bit player until 1982.

ashbash
October 6th, 2014, 09:06 AM
Never got this either, although I speculate it's because of it's legacy as one of the first companies starting the microcomputer trend of the late 70s/early 80s.

I do like Apple computers, but I much prefer Commodore - especially the C64 and Amiga.

deathshadow
October 6th, 2014, 01:46 PM
"that gives all this undo attention to a company that was for all practical purposes a bit player until 2001"

There, fixed.

Eudimorphodon
October 6th, 2014, 05:08 PM
I stand corrected. ;)

billdeg
October 7th, 2014, 10:02 AM
Never got this either, although I speculate it's because of it's legacy as one of the first companies starting the microcomputer trend of the late 70s/early 80s.

I do like Apple computers, but I much prefer Commodore - especially the C64 and Amiga.

Allow me to kindly advise / correct....That's the stereotype and the underlying point made by the original poster, people today think that Apple had a lot more of an influence on the development of the personal computer than they really did. In this thread even, there are Apple people chiming in with the standard "why not more pod casts, Apple invented the computer after all, didn't it?"