Long story short
Throughout the years, I've stuck with Apple, and am glad I have. My father and I now own a small "web solutions" firm near Akron, OH. Were run 100% Mac hardware (about 26 now), and are always proud of that fact. I love being a die-hard Apple guy, and am especially glad to see that you are doing well.
Good for you. I had to hope and struggle and fight to keep my own operation all Macintosh as the internet came in (finally succeeding in getting rid of a Sun) and I even saw a lot of my Macintosh friends give in a lot more. They were right in their own ways, but a lot of us have too much loyalties.
My years on my Apple II's provide me with incredible memories and a sense of community and belonging. If personal computers didn't exist, I don't know what I would be doing. With all the excitement in technology now, I just hope I have the strength to do things that are worthwhile, and that make me happy - and hopefully make others happy too.
The new millennium started early for many, like yourself...
When I hit your website today, I noticed in the "letter of the day" someone had already sent practically the exact email that I would have sent. You are probably being deluged with email after Pirates and after appearing on Slashdot today, but for the record:
1. my first computer experience: Black Bell & Howell Apple ][ in grade school (started learning Basic - I had full access, as the teachers were mostly fascinated to watch someone else play around with it).
2. Learned BASIC on a Bally/Astrocade game console with Bally Basic cartridge
3. Finally got an Apple / / e in Jr. High
4. Got my first 300 baud Hayes modem at 14. Got my own phoneline shortly thereafter (thanks to my parents, who really just wanted their phone back).
5. Started my first BBS at 14
6. Got a "Woz" Apple IIgs
7. Still ran BBS but it was down most of the time as I did a ton of graphics/audio/assembly programming on the GS for sheer fun
8. Got a degree in CS from University of Illinois
9. Started a game company with another guy, released 15 titles in 6 years
10. Left that to follow other dreams - working on smaller, possibly less competitive software projects now. Doing games for Palm Pilot. They're fun to write :) and hopefully fun to play. I have a few fans, anyway :)
So many of us just fell in love with computers for no explainable reason.
It seems that lots of cool young computer people went through the BBS phase in those days.
Congratulations. So many don't bother to finish college. At least you can tell others that you did.
One game that I hope to see again in a PDA is one that I had on my Magic Link. An array of characters was presented and you had a fixed amount of time to swoop out connected letters that formed words, with longer words counting more. The key to a good score was to look for batches of common word endings and suffixes and to work on that.
Thanks for your contribution to my life. The world is truly a better place. Virtual Regards, -D. H.
P.S. Here's a look at my Apple tattoo (in case you care).
I have a couple of friends, one in Apple and one formerly of Apple, that have the multicolored Apple tattoos on their ankles. I wanted to have it done but my wife wouldn't go for it. I suppose I could find a place that she wouldn't see it!
When I was about 6, My dad brought home an Apple ][c. (Actually, he bought a "PCjr", but I made him take it back.) It gave me a chance to make sense in life when nobody else knew what to do with me.
I have heard that you are teaching computers to kids in schools.
I do not know to what extent you are going with this, but are you thinking about or doing anything with microcontrollers for robotics. I know that in my museum projects, the kids go nuts over the robotics.
Sadly, I've missed out on robotics, although I appreciate it and have some friends that are totally into it. I had a couple of early ones, including TOPO. I do have an AIBO at present. There's never enough time for everything for one person.
My favorite computer is the Apple IIgs. To me it was a nice blend of the future (Macintosh), and the past (Apple II). How involved were you in the development of the IIgs?
Apple dropped the Apple ][ from it's own concerns between 1980 and 1983, years in which it was the largest selling computer in the world. Every ad from Apple in those years is of an Apple ///. Every employee had an Apple ///. Very few Apple ][ projects were approved. When John Sculley joined Apple he reduced the Apple /// attention. I came back to Apple at the same time and worked on a new machine, the Apple ][x. It saved a lot of jobs, my being associated with a new computer project. Finally, this advanced Apple ][ was cancelled. But shortly thereafter the same engineers came up with the Apple ][gs with a much improved graphics and sound system. I was primarily inspiration. Perhaps I helped these engineers be willing to risk new and better development than otherwise.
The Apple ][gs was a very good step for the Apple ][.
What did you think about Gil Amelio/ Diesel Spindler?
I think that Amelio had the management approach to stabilize Apple if not the vision of Steve Jobs. Amelio was more like a lot of Mac owners but that can be a defect too. We see things from the point of viewing of keeping the Macintosh 'past' alive and working and have trouble scuttling it.
I didn't really know Spindler.
What was Steves position at Apple when he brought Sculley in as President?
He was looking for someone to relieve Mike Markkula in that position.
What kind of a job do you think Steve is doing at Apple?
I think that he is doing a good job of belt tightening first, getting the company healthy, and then moving forward from there. Apple is doing more than any other company to advance what computers are.