Tales of Silicon Valley: How the 'Apple Redbook' was written
>> Silicon Valley is full of stories. Some pretty, some not. This is one of those stories.
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>> Bruce Damer [assumed spelling] and Alan Mundale [assumed spelling] of the Digibarn [assumed spelling] tell how Apple got its first manual.
>> Apple launched this at the West Coast Computer Fair in April, March, April of '77 and it was the hit of the show and had this beautiful case. Beautiful, sort of extruded [phonetic] foam core or whatever a plastic case. It was very expensive to make dies for this, but it looked like a real computer. It had all these slots; it could be expanded. It looked like a piece of consumer electronics.
>> And it produced sound and light and color.
>> It made noise, it was fun, it was like doink, doink, doink, all kinds of noise. Everyone else was much more serious.
>> And it didn't look like this for example.
>> I mean to open up this like this North Star horizon you needed to have a screwdriver, and this is definitely a hobbyist home brew kind of thing.
>> This just popped off.
>> This just popped right off, just sort of lop it down.
>> Of course you should access to your insides.
>> Yeah. So they made it easy. But the one problem was, one of the problems was there was no documentation. Right? The documentation for this was so minimal but yet it was so needed because here was this incredible ability to plug all kinds of cool things into your computer.
>> You had all these add-on boards and here's a funny thing, Microsoft was making hardware for the Apple II. It's the Microsoft board to Softcard II and Softcard III which would go right in here and it would allow you to have more memory and it would run Microsoft basic.
>> It would run more stuff.
>> More basic.
>> Yeah and I remember we used to have these filled with cards and invariably they didn't fear with each other and cause the whole thing to short out and something weird would happen. And so that's when you "Well what do we do now?" and that's when you needed something like Waz [phonetic] would know. He would know how to fix that problem.
>> So you couldn't always call up Waz and get help so in the summer of '77, basically I think it must have been Mike Scott or somebody at Apple basically ordered Waz to go through his filing cabinet and compose and pull out all of his notes and programs and little articles and said "Waz we need you to write articles about the Apple II."
>> It was complex because some would say that these are the crown jewels of the company. This is how our computer works. Do we want to give that away to everybody? You know--it's more competition. He said well the other side of it, "Well with this out there all kinds of people will know how to make things run with our computer and they'll do cool things with it."
>> The beginnings of the idea of open architect to an open source struggling against each other. What came out of all of that is this compilation notes that was given to us by a pack rat former employee of the service department, and this was known as the Waz Wonderbook. From this humble source came the famous Redbook in January of 78. So the Waz Wonderbook become the Redbook led to an explosion of open architecture and people making cards, software.
>> Representing a whole kind of way of thinking about building machines and technology.
>> Look for more tales of Silicon Valley at cnettv.com.