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Lost Steve Jobs time capsule still missing, 29 years later

Blogger who wrote about the "lost" Steve Jobs speech said a time capsule with Jobs' Lisa mouse was buried in Aspen, Colo., in 1983. It has never been found.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
3 min read
The Aspen Time Tube, containing Steve Jobs' mouse, which was buried in 1983, and never found. John Celuch

Somewhere under Aspen, Colo., a time capsule containing Steve Jobs' mouse has been sitting and waiting to be unearthed. Since 1983. And no one knows where it is.

That's what blogger Marcel Brown wrote this morning, explaining that the time capsule, known as the Aspen Time Tube and buried in conjunction with the 1983 International Design Conference there, is lost and those looking for it are facing considerable odds against success.

According to a 2010 article in the Glenwood Springs (Colo.) Post Independent, the Aspen Time Tube was buried in June, 1983, and contained a number of items, ranging from a 1983 copy of "Vogue" magazine to a Rubik's Cube to an eight-track Moody Blues recording to "a six-pack of beer for the 'hot and sweaty' diggers who would uncover the capsule."

Steve Jobs, unveiling the iPad in 2010. James Martin/CNET

But unbeknownst to the Post Independent, it seems there was one more item in the capsule: the Lisa mouse that Steve Jobs used as he gave the "lost speech" in which the Apple co-founder appears to have predicted the iPad, wireless networking, and even the Apple App Store, and which Brown revealed in a blog post Tuesday.

It was Brown's client John Celuch who first told him about the previously unknown speech, and now Celuch also appears to have the only direct knowledge about Jobs' mouse being part of the time capsule.

Brown wrote today that the time capsule was related to the theme of the International Design Conference, which was "The Future Isn't What it Used to Be." "After Steve Jobs' speech, in which he used an Apple Lisa computer to control what Celuch recalls was a six projector setup, [Celuch] approached Jobs and asked for something that he could include in the time capsule," Brown's blog post read. "Jobs thought about it for a few seconds and then unplugged the mouse from the Lisa. Celuch recalls that he was amused by the manner in which he was handed the mouse, as Jobs held the mouse by its cord, almost as one would hold a real mouse by the tail. So into the time capsule the Lisa mouse went, where it was buried at the end of the conference."

The plan, according to the Post Independent, was to dig up the Aspen Time Tube in 2000.

"But that moment has yet to arrive," the paper wrote in 2010. "Tick tock, tick tock.... Time keeps passing for the capsule, and for a fairly simple reason: No one knows precisely where it's buried.

"I know the general area where it is," Aspen architect Harry Teague told the Post Independent in 2010. "But if we want to find it, we need to know exactly where it is."

The problem stems from the fact that the land under which the capsule was buried has changed hands, and the new owner isn't too keen on having a bunch of people digging everywhere in search of the lost time capsule. Perhaps knowledge that a Steve Jobs artifact is inside the capsule might change the owner's mind, but until today, that information had never been made public. "I think the reason that most people don't know about the mouse is that my client John didn't really publicize the fact he got the mouse from Jobs," Brown told CNET. "It was just another item in a relatively informal project where obviously records were not that carefully kept."

Now Brown and Celuch are beginning to seek out people involved with the 1983 conference who might have better knowledge of precisely where the Aspen Time Tube was buried. But despite what is sure to be a great deal of interest in finding the lost artifacts, Brown is half-hoping that it isn't recovered until next year. "Wouldn't it be great if we could dig up the time capsule next year," he wrote, "on the 30th anniversary of its burial?"

Watch this: How Steve Jobs lives on in Apple