The 45-year old riddle about the handwritten serial number on Apple-1 is solved

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achimhb's picture
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The 45-year old riddle about the handwritten serial number on Apple-1 is solved
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Only on some first batch Apple-1 there is a handwritten serial number. For 45 years it was unknown who wrote it. Until now. After years of collecting writing samples and countless interviews, two forensic examinations finally revealed a little sensation.  It is Steve Jobs' handwriting. PSA conducted the investigation. Their experts are also used by auction houses.

 

The story is published here: https://www.apple1registry.com/en/serial.html.

 

I revealed the story yesterday at a zoom meeting for the World Computer Day. I was one of the speaker. It was a big surprise for everyone. It was a fantastic session with people like Corey Cohen, Bill Mensch, Bill Herd and many others. 

 

Among others, the organizers of the Word Computer Day publish the matter in the next few days.

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Hi Achimhb!

Thank you for giving so much of your energy and time to researching the history of Apple-1. Thanks to you, another mystery has been solved. It is very important that there are fewer and fewer blank spots in the history of the Apple-1.

 

May I ask what round stamp with the number 1 can be seen on your board to the left of the serial number? And why the original boards always have 1.2k instead of the 1.5k resistor?

 

Thanks in advance!

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Macintosh_nik wrote:Thank you
Macintosh_nik wrote:

Thank you for giving so much of your energy and time to researching the history of Apple-1. Thanks to you, another mystery has been solved. It is very important that there are fewer and fewer blank spots in the history of the Apple-1.

 

May I ask what round stamp with the number 1 can be seen on your board to the left of the serial number? And why the original boards always hav

Thank you. The round stamps are most likely from the factory. Here it is not possible to do a forensic analysis. But it looks like the stamps used in factories. 

Changed parts like the resistor are usually done to make it more reliable.  

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Awesome!

I've already congratulated you elsewhere on your discovery but I want to do that here as well.

It's another small (not so small, actually!) piece in the history of this machine that adds to the others we already know.

Thank you for your work, your efforts and your perseverance, but most of all for sharing it here with us.

:-)

 

 

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Thank you! It's really nice

Thank you! It's really nice to see that many people are interested in the story/history and not just the value. 

 

I also hope that Apple II enthusiasts got excited that Daniel Kottke wrote the serial numbers on the first Apple II. This information came out through my many conversations with Daniel about the serial number issue. Maybe now many want to have Daniel sign the Apple II?

 

And one more thing: I still can't believe it, but there is something else incredible (at least it is to me!). It is a result of information from Paul Terrell. 

Maybe I can publish it next week. It's about the prototype. Fortunately it is about the prototype that is most likely lost. And for this reason there will be no discussion about value etc. And it has nothing to do with a signature or handwriting. 

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Excited!

Achim,

 

I really can't wait to see this story!!

 

Best,

Logan

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I am working on it. I wrote

I am working on it. I wrote and write countless emails about it. 

On one of the new discoveries, I have an answer/opinion directly from Woz! And wow, it is really something interesting.

But I would like to get everything clarified and have to wait for more answers from Woz.

I can tell you, Ihave a list of 100+ questions for Woz. But he is VERY busy and of course he also has life away from the computer / history.

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May I ask what round stamp

May I ask what round stamp with the number 1 can be seen on your board to the left of the serial number? And why the original boards always have 1.2k instead of the 1.5k resistor?

 

   When I asked Woz, he told me that was Jobs.  Woz also said, he must have gotten a deal on 1.2k resistors and never told him.

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Hi Corey986!

Thank you! 

Glad to have one less mystery to solve. This replacement moves the operating point of the video transistor a bit. I read that this was done to get a clearer/sharper/stable image. To be honest I tried it on my replica and didn't see any difference...

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About the 1.2K vs. 1.5k of the video mixer ...

... I don't think that this was a good move. It decreases the sync amplitude vs. the live video (B & W) signal. Typical TVs do two things:

 

a) they treat the signal after the sync as the black level (forget about the "official" black level pedestal, this is NTSC commitee work everybody in the TV industry always ignored for sake of simplicity of circuits and more profit --- did you know a camel is a thoroughbred race horse designed by a commitee ? Well, the NTSC commitee were no fools and IMHO they did a great and competent work but they could have discarded the pedestal, IMHO, using Occam's razor). 

 

b) the height of the sync is used for automatic gain control. Ooooooops. Modify the black to white differential vs. the sync at your own peril.

 

Having tens of millions of analog TV ICs in the field  which the team under my leadership designed, I think I can state that typical analog TVs and their digitized versions are quite robust against non-standard video signals. The more primitive the circuits are, the more robust they are against deviations from the standard signal.  A tube (thermionic valve) based TV set  from the 1960s most likely will take the nonstandard Apple-1 video signal without throwing up.  But the  most modern, Chinese designed video-2-HDMI converters can't handle this signal and they WILL throw up. These rookie designers are not deaf and dumb, mind that,  but they just  know the standard signal and not what is out there in the real world. Which is  more cruel than you think. The company I worked for as an TV IC designer had a "chamber of horrors" with the worst offenders (mostly early video game consoles) and we were not allowed to release any TV IC to production which could not digest these "vomit" signals without throwing up. This is the real world, folks: eat the vomit (like dogs do) without throwing up.  Newbie designers don't know that. So their ICs don't work in the real world, but they work well with a fully standard conforming video signal, which, alas, does not exist outside of a video studio.

 

Comments invited !

 

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