Tag Archives: Computer History Museum

HCLE Winter 2018 Progress Report

Welcome to the winter quarter of 2018 HCLE progress report. Our Founder and Vision Keeper, Liza Loop, has been working for her Northern California neighbors who suffered great losses in the October 2017 fires. This has delayed some of our HCLE work.

We share many of the news items collected below via our outlets (wiki, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and reddit) and repeat them here for your and our convenience.

Our staff of 1.6 FTEs, volunteers and outside collaborators reached the following milestones in the winter (January through March) of 2018.

 

Outreach

  • Work began with Computer History Museum

Catalog

  • Improved functionality and content

Operations

  • Design Document update

Wiki

  • Current host closing, begin search for new host

 

Please pass our news along, especially if you know someone else who will want to contribute money, know-how, artifacts, stories, or connections. Even by glancing at what we’ve done, you’re helping make HCLE happen as you pass along the story. Thank you.


  • Collection

    • A temporary staff member, Bridget Kittell, helped organize about 10% to 20% of the Collection items that have not been digitized or catalogued.
    • A variety of digitization processes are being considered to expedite the scanning of the Collection. Each has advantages and disadvantages (cost, time, error rate, resolution, metadata, access). Possibilities being considered are:
      • off-site services (Internet Archive – possibly pro bono, particularly for videos and software),
      • off-site institutions (Stanford, etc.),
      • off-site HCLE staff operations,
      • on-site HCLE staff operations (as normal),
      • and on-site HCLE staff operations with more sophisticated equipment
    • David Brock, curator at the Computer History Museum, met with Liza Loop to discuss collaborating. The initial work will focus on period Apple photos and documents related to the reference manual for the VisiCalc program that HCLE founder, Liza Loop, wrote while employed by VisiCalc publisher, Personal Software (later known as VisiCorp) “Exploring the Microcomputer Learning Environment”.
    • Richard Wenn from Far West Labs – WestEd. This US federally funded research organization has pioneered in supporting computing in schools since the late 1970s and published HCLE Catalog Item 2976, “Exploring the Microcomputer Learning Environment” by Liza Loop and Paul Christenson in November, 1980. Richard donated 5 boxes of material. Also of interest within this collection are publications from the EPIE Institute (Educational Products Information Exchange).
    • Liza Loop has spent several days at the Special Collections Department of Stanford Libraries scanning selected pieces from the Liza Loop Collection.

 

  • Catalog

    • Staff and volunteers worked on improving the Catalog Maintenance System’s compatibility with Chrome/Chromebooks, and bug fixes.
    • Data entry includes filing new artifacts as well as filling fields like “blog URL”, improving descriptions, and clarifying the use of existing and candidate fields.

 

  • People/Volunteers

    • In addition to the various volunteers and staff members mentioned throughout, we are considering recruiting a “business analyst” to complete the details of our Salesforce database.

 

Social Media Traffic Report

1/1/2014 12/31/2016 12/31/2017 3/31/2018
Facebook 59 171 187 189
Twitter 67 493 543 536
WordPress 18 50 55 55
Wikispaces 12 69 74 74

 

  • Wiki

    • The HCLE wiki continues to act as a communications center and as a digital loading dock.
    • Unfortunately, our wiki provider, wikispaces, is closing this summer which means we must find a new host for the wiki. The task is complicated by the need to also define a new wiki architecture because wikispaces’ design was unique and proprietary. Leading candidates are Wikimedia (ala Wikipedia), Google Docs/Sites, and PBWorks. This is expected to be a large effort because our wiki has grown considerably in the last few years. Contractors are investigating the candidates with a focus on porting to Wikimedia.

 

  • Exhibits

    • Despite the imminent closure of the wiki, background information for exhibits continues to be collected on the wiki.
    • The search continues for a copy of History Channel’s History’s Lost and Found, episode 47, containing an interview with Steve Wozniak and Liza Loop. Any help is appreciated.

 

  • Operations

    • The Design Document for the Virtual Museum was revised, particularly with finer distinctions of the appearance and operation of the landing page, the Lobby. More graphical depictions were added.
    • We are considering rewording the mission of the museum. The intent and goals remain the same, but more concise and active wording is being tested.
    • Now that the bulk of the preliminary Salesforce work is completed, the volunteers have moved on to other projects. We thank them for their efforts. Seat licenses were freed up as a result.
    • Work on the Salesforce database continues with merging duplicate accounts, and establishing hierarchical connections between accounts and contacts.
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Apple in April at the Living Computer Museum

What was it like to be at the Apple in April event at the Living Computer Museum on Wednesday, April 12th? I’m sure the experience was different for each of us but I can tell you how it was for me.

First came getting there at all. I didn’t know about the meeting until a few days before (Monday, April 10) when HCLE consultant, Tom Trimbath, sent me a copy of a message he had received from Living Computer Museum + Labs marketing coordinator, Lauren Bayer. Tom keeps up on social media while I am sort of a recluse so I really appreciated his heads up.

Lauren’s note was inviting Tom to visit Living Computer’s new exhibit. It read:

“Continuing the momentum, we’re excited to share that LCM+L will be hosting a new, permanent exhibit dedicated to the to the first two decades of Apple! This will include three original Apple I computers, Apple’s first-ever product, including the only operable Apple I in existence available for use by the public and a unique demonstration model that was housed in Steve Jobs’ office until he first left Apple in 1985.
The Apple Exhibit will open to the public on Friday, April 14. We appreciate your support in helping us spread the word within our community. In addition to a few images available for sharing on social channels or in a newsletter, we also crafted sample posts to leverage for your social media channels.
  • Our partner @LivingComputers will open a new exhibit dedicated to the first two decades of Apple Computers on April 14! #ComeInGeekOut
  • Get hands on with the only operable Apple 1 @LivingComputers Apple Exhibit, which opens to the public on April 14! #ComeInGeekOut
  • From a garage start-up to a global leader in computer technology, the @LivingComputers Museum + Labs is opening a new exhibit dedicated to the first two decades of Apple on April 14. Visitors can interact with the only operable Apple 1 available to the public, along with other computers that helped spark Apple’s growth.”

Hmmm…LO*OP Center owns the first-ever Apple 1 off the assembly line and I had visited Living Computers two years ago. Somebody there knew about our machine but staff had changed. I wondered if they were interested in our Apple I so I telephoned Lauren.  She was exceedingly cordial and promised to ask around the organization. I later heard that my call had caused quite a stir.  Within hours an email arrived from Executive Director, Lath Carlson, with an invitation to Wednesday’s invitation-only party. I was thrilled. I didn’t pay any attention to who was going to be there but I wanted in. Luckily I didn’t have any pressing appointments to keep me from hopping on a plane to Seattle and my dog sitter was available!

By Tuesday afternoon I was ready to go and I began worrying about what to wear – evening attire? Cocktails? Business casual? Jeans? Then I realized this was Homebrew. I’ve known some of these people since I was in my 20’s and I’m now over 70. It doesn’t matter what I wear.  I decided to relax and have fun.

Meeting Old Favorites. There were only a few minutes between checking into the hotel and catching our ride to the Museum. Standing in the lobby were magazine editors David Ahl of Recreational Computing and Tom Hogan of Infoworld, neither of whom I had met in the early days of reading what they wrote, but it’s not hard to identify aging geeks swapping stories. Four more new faces were in the limousine that picked us up. Museum staff welcomed us on the first floor. I glanced over the badges still waiting on the front desk. Oh, nice crowd! Haven’t seen him/her in quite a while.

It was hard to tear myself away from the exhibits that have been installed since my previous visit and head upstairs to the party proper. Mike Willegal of the Apple I Registry sought me out, introduced himself and asked for a photo of the jumpers on our Apple I. There was Jim Warren from the West Coast Computer Faire, People’s Computer Company and many of my other old haunts. I hadn’t seen Gordon French from Homebrew since the reunion at the Computer History Museum in 2013. I’ve been working with Lee Felsenstein (designer of the Osbourne 1) recently so we were already up to date on our goings on but  it has been perhaps 10 years since I’ve had a chance to chat with Len Shustak, co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Computer History Museum in Mt. View, California.

I’m actually not a very technical person and I remember struggling to hook up Apples, Pets and Radio Shacks to the Nestar network that Len and Harry Saal put together in the early 1980s. In those days, school kids who wanted to swap computer games really had to learn a lot about operating systems and hardware at a level way beyond scripting with a drag-and-drop interface. Many of the conversations I listened in on at this party were recaps of the hardware and software repartee around personal computers that has now been going on for more than 50 years.

Hobnobbing with the Living Computer Museum Staff. While visiting with the computer aficianados of now and then was pleasant I found I had more to talk about with the young and enthusiastic educators and curators who comprise the staff of this unique museum. I slipped out of the party to chat with Nina Arens, education coordinator, about how to engage kids in coding activities and with Cynde Moya, collections manager and several others. I went back the next day for more and hope this is just one episode in a long, fruitful collaboration.

Reflecting on the Experience. I won’t bore you with more name dropping but there were lots of other old acquaintances to say hello to. I was honored to be in the company of these pioneers of the computer industry but I was also aware that my own trajectory has always been a tangent to theirs. My passion is how people learn and how we can facilitate that learning more effectively, not bits, bytes, electrons and gates. I’m fascinated by how people think, especially people who think differently from the way I do. I love watching them solve problems but I don’t have much to say to them. It was fun to observe the renewal of long-term friendships and to hear the exchange of stories, of appreciation and of genuine concern. At the same time I realized that I did not form firm connections with those who were so instrumental to my career. I felt welcomed but still an outsider. Maybe it’s that reclusive aspect of my personality or maybe I’m just so oppositional that I’m always heading upstream when everyone else is floating down with the current. That’s what I was thinking about when I looked up and saw that the group picture was being taken from the side of the crowd where I was standing. I had thought I was in the back and instead I ended up in the front, near Paul Allen, co-founder of MicroSoft and the man behind this wonderful museum — whom I had not even met.

Thank you, Paul, for hosting such an interesting party. Next time I’ll make a point of saying hello.

Apple Group with Labels V3
photo courtesy of Living Computers Museum + Labs