In an effort to bring together owners, hackers and folk who appreciate the early efforts of Apple Computers Inc. I thought it would be a good idea to start this thread. It may bring back memories of your first experiences with computers in general as well as with Apples. Some of us were introduced to Apples in school, others in the workplace, and some just picked them up as hack projects. Let's hear form you all. Maybe we can get some new insights and ideas for projects, hacks, or new uses for an old favorite.
My first Apple II was in my workplace. We were tasked with computerizing our reporting system for fire/rescue/hazmat incidents and were given a bunch of Apple IIe machines in 1986 that were no longer needed by another directorate on base. Except for myself, nobody at that time was computer-literate in our department. The Fire Chief assigned the position of Data Processing Officer to me. I had to almost instantly become familiar with both the hardware and software (which I had never used before) in order to
develop a reporting system customized to our needs, an inventory system for the department's equipment and supplies, and a spreadsheet to track usage of different extinguishing agents, expendable supplies, fuel, etc.
After thoroughly cleaning, reassembling and testing the 6 complete computers and 3 sets of software. (AppleWorks 1.0, DOS 3.3, Copy II Utilities, Apple Utilities Disk) and squirrelling away as many spare peripherals as possible, I proceeded to use AppleWorks to compose the needed documents that we needed.
The really nice feature about Apple IIe computers was that we didn't fall victim to the many bugs and viruses that the IBM/PC folks did. Also our data was fairly secure in that it would only operate on our machines. This saved a bunch of time and money by not having to develop a lot of security programs and buying extra hardware.
The Apple IIe's were very durable and able to perform under adverse conditions, such as temperature changes, dust, and smoke. One of the computers was assigned to the Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator who had to make a daily status report on the condition of the engines in the department. His machine was located in the apparatus bays (garage) and thus exposed to dust, diesel soot and sudden changes in temperature. Never did these computers fail. And we got them second-hand!
Another computer was assigned for training. This one was used to draw (primitive) building pre-plans and floor layouts. (All this back before good graphics were readily available.) Yet even those not familiar with computers were able to master basic line-drawing using keyboard charachters such as - _ / \ ^ v, etc.
Training templates were made up and the disk files/images locked (a neat feature back in the day) yet one can work the locked file without permanently altering the file, thus not able to make mistakes. A lot of fun and learning took place after hours using these computers to draw other things without fear of hurting anything.
The Apple ImageWriters that we had were bulletproof and used easily available ribbon cartridges.
I enjoyed working with these computers so much that later in '86 I bought one for myself to mess with at home. This was after buying a brand new PC! I still have my trusty Apple IIe plus quite a few others. (IIe, //c, Platinum //e and several enhanced //e's) I still use my Apple IIe series of machines for projects around the home such as inventorying my antique toy collection, my automotive parts, and writing and tracking of parts orders for my antique train repair business that I started after retiring. The machines are rock solid and
run like the Energizer Bunny! I've also hacked and 'hot-rodded' a couple of my IIe's. The open architecture of these computers makes hacking a breeze! There is so much potential, even against today's technology, that the old Apples still have!