So Retro: Play with old Apples and other early desktops at the Media Archaeology Lab
5:02

So Retro: Play with old Apples and other early desktops at the Media Archaeology Lab

Computing
[MUSIC] Everything here works and it's meant to be open up, played with, tinkered with, and researched. I think there is something about the tactility of the The computers that really appeals to them. You know the keyboards have a really firm responsiveness and you can actually hear the worrying and the crunching of the of the disk drives. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] My name is Laurie Emerson, and I'm Director of the Media Archaeology Lab. Media archaeology lab is a place for Hands-On experimentation teaching and research with tech that goes back to the late 19th century through the early to late 20th century. The lab started in 2009 when I decided that I wanted to see what difference it would make to have the original computer that a Canadian poet by the name of BP Nickel he used an Apple 2E and wrote it in basic, this is actually a so called manuscript version of it that his widow gave me. [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] For better or for worse, at some point, I thought it would be great to start bringing in Commodore 64's into the lab, just to compare the other contemporary computer To the Apple TV and then the lab just kind of blew up from there. And I started making friends with people on eBay and convincing them to give me the things that they were selling online instead of me buying them from them. [MUSIC] It's really interesting watching students react to computers in the lab because they they will walk in and they will usually immediately Gasp and giggle. And then they seem to be overcome with a feeling of nostalgia, but it's nostalgia for an era that they didn't live through. So it's curious, and I can't quite figure it out. [SOUND] [MUSIC] For one thing, with the Apple Macintosh It really becomes clear that Steve Jobs is trying to force the public to really accept this new graphical user interface and force people to become comfortable with using the mouse because the keyboard is unusually small because it lacks arrow keys. I get a lot of excitement over the computer that was in Legally Blonde, the iBook, the clamshell. For me, what's most exciting by the iBook clamshell is the fact that we've got it set up with a phone line That we can get on the internet using the I book. And we can fire up Netscape from 1997 and just see what happens. So that's really thrilling for a lot of people and for me as well. [MUSIC] Right above these computers we have a really extensive collection of software. So students Researchers, people from the public can come in and play text adventure games from the 1970s and 1980s. Do you have a favorite amongst these Apple computers? I think, probably, the Apple IIe is my favorite. [MUSIC] Apple has taken the Apple 2, refined it's design and added some of the most popular features available on personal computers. The result is the Apple 2 E. This is just so sweet, I love the roaring of the drives when you start it up and the, And the cute beep. And I love the fact that I can pull it out and take the lid off, and even I, with a PhD in poetry, can figure out how to swap boards in and out, and that's really thrilling for me. [MUSIC] So we do have a lot of Apples in the lab, but I have them more out of a sense of criticality than a sense of Admiration, they are here to mostly get people to think about how things work and how things could of being and how things still could be in, with the design of computers. [MUSIC]

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