the first apple computer: great ideas start rough!

apple-1 first apple computer

Dig this picture of the original apple computer, now known as the apple-1, designed and hand-built in 1976 by Steve Wozniak in Steve Job‘s garage. It’s one of a number of “primitive” early computers that Christie’s will auction in ‘First Bytes: Iconic Technology From the Twentieth Century’. It represents the very first step in Apple’s quite amazing history of personal computinga reminder that first iterations are often ROUGH as they forshadow possibilities to come.

The great Gary Snyder observed that ‘personal computers feel like sentient beings’ and described just how in Why I Take Good Care of My Macintosh:

Because it broods under its hood like a perched falcon,

Because it jumps like a skittish horse and sometimes throws me,

Because it is poky when cold,

Because plastic is a sad, strong material that is charming to rodents,

Because it is flighty,

Because my mind flies into it through my fingers,

Because it leaps forward and backward, is an endless sniffer and searcher,

Because its keys click like hail on a boulder,

And it winks when it goes out,

And puts word-heaps in hoards for me, dozens of pockets of gold under boulders in streambeds, identical seedpods strong on a vine, or it stores bins of bolts;

And I lose them and find them,

Because whole worlds of writing can be boldly laid out and then highlighted and vanish in a flash at “delete,” so it teaches of impermanence and pain;

And because my computer and me are both brief in this world, both foolish, and we have earthly fates,

Because I have let it move in with me right inside the tent,

And it goes with me out every morning;

We fill up our baskets, get back home,

Feel rich, relax, I throw it a scrap and it hums.

 

via Design Boom; poem copyright Gary Snyder, with thanks to David Saltman for finding it in a 2010 NY Times article.

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