A couple of weeks ago the Museum received a request from Peter Miller for access to a collection object. Now this type of access is not always granted as it is resource intensive – an object needs to be moved to a suitable location for viewing and a curator or conservator may need to be on hand to move the object – remember this material is kept by the Museum for the people of NSW in perpetuity and so we want it to last.
However if a genuine benefit to the Museum in the form of new research and information about the object is an outcome then we see this type of request as beneficial. Now this chap wanted to inspect a Canon Canola 1614P, a desk top programmable calculator and not only that he wanted to turn it on. Why? Because Peter was writing (for computer) an emulator and turning it on would help Peter “establish how certain operations worked, when they are not completely described in the operator’s manual.”
I thought this was a great endevour as an emulator of the Canon Canola would let everyone see how it worked without having the real thing and in some form preserve its character for others to enjoy. We checked with conservation of course and bought it up to speed with electronics providing the variac which would introduce current slowly. You can see the result of our efforts below and enjoy Peters vivid description of its operation and peculiarities.
Image courtesy of Acaben, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license
The Museum is saddened to hear the news of Steve Jobs passing.
He will forever be immortalized in the Museum with the acquisition of an Apple I computer we acquired last year.
The Apple I was designed, manufactured and sold by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in the mid 1970s and launched the Apple Computer Company. The Apple I is rare with around 50 surviving examples in public and private collections worldwide surviving from a production run of approximately 200.
In an environment dominated by computer kits with cumbersome input and output devices the two Steves’ Apple I represented a significant step towards a marketable personal computer. Steve Wozniak’s design for the Apple I employs an elegant economy of component architecture to perform the tasks of processing, generating video output and refreshing memory simultaneously and was easily connected to a keyboard. These differences made the Apple I’s usability vastly simpler and its cost dramatically lower. This combination of features made the Apple I a product of interest to a wider community of users. Many would view the Apple I as the first personal computer.
The story of the two Steves and the Apple Computer Company is a reiteration of the American Dream (that anyone can make it big). The combination of Wozniak, the engineering wiz and Jobs, the entrepreneur, visionary, showman and risk taker saw and realised a future for the personal computer in an industry dominated by large computer corporations and office machine manufacturers.
RIP Steve, you will forever be remembered and admired for your brilliant achievements.