An old friend

I’m going to tip my hand here a bit at let you find out just how long I’ve been a HUGE GEEK.

First of all, I am a pack rat. Actually, the term I prefer is “Old Yankee”. In this case, I use the word “yankee” in its true and pure form. I am a native of one of the original New England colonies and have a deep and abiding affinity for saving something because it might come in handy later. In my younger and more foolish days, I used to think that I wanted a big ole’ farm house and barn. I realize now what a disaster that would be because like a goldfish grows to fill his bowl, I would undoubtedly fill my house and barn with perfectly good “stuff” that I would no doubt need later on. Maybe.

So, I have no barn and alas, my house is small and so, I must pass by perfectly good “stuff” and leave it for someone else to find. I do however, have a selection of items from my past that I will not let go of, even though I know it’s silly to hang on to them. I plugged in one today to take it for a test drive. It’s my Apple ][+

If you know anything about the old Apple computers, If you are thinking, “Hey! I used one of those in school!” … you’re probably wrong. You are most likely thinking of an Apple ][e. The “e” stands for “enhanced”, and this computer is most defiantly NOT enhanced. It’s the Apple equivalent of the lung fish. It’s not quite a land dweller but not anything to shout about in the water either. It is however, an important link.

The Apple ][+ was the machine that Wozniak and Jobs made for the mass market. To take the step out of the garage where it all started, they had to make a few upgrades. One of these steps was that it had to be in an actual cast case. The original Apples and Apple ][‘s came in a case made of wood. That’s right. Wood. (BTW, I am by far geeky enough to want one of these desperately) The Apple ][+ however came with the beige molded case what would become an icon of the 80’s. What the Apple ][+ does NOT have is lowercase. That’s right! No lowercase available. “Why?” might you ask? One simple reason. You don’t need any fancy pants lowercase to do this…

10 NEW
20 PRINT “I CAN STILL PROGRAM IN BASIC”
30 GOTO 20

RUN

Ahhh. All those days spent at summer computer camp still pay off.

So, down in my basement, I dusted off my much loved and practically forgotten best silicon friend. The Zenith green screen popped to life and with a bit of trepidation, I reached around the back and flipped the switch and heard…APPLEIIPLUS.mp3

“BEEP! Chugga chugga chugga”

Hooray! Then, since there was no disk to put in my trusty “Drive II”, I hit “CONTROL-C” to make a line break. “Beep!” and the flashing cursor awaited. I started to type the above program. It looked like this…

10 EW
20 PRIT “CA SILL PRRAM I ASIC”
30 RU

“Aw crap”. So it looks like a bunch of the keys are buggered. The real bummer is that the nostalgia of this being my first real computer coupled with my default reaction to fix things that are broken and then toss in the fact that I’m a computer nerd of epic proportions means that I will now have to take the keyboard apart and start looking for replacement parts to fix it with. I have no idea why I must do this, but I must. Perhaps it’s the fact that in my youth I spent every rainy day possible in front of it. Perhaps It’s because it’s what I learned to program on. Perhaps it’s because I’m just a huge geek. What ever the case is, I will get this bit of personal history running again and some day, I’ll show Short Stack and Lulu Belle where their shiny, mega powerful Mac laptop started and they’ll no doubt look at me and say something like, “And why exactly are you showing me this?”. Oh well…

Now where are my blank 5.25 inch disks and my copy of Copy II+…?

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