Two great Apple-retro-styled items: the Disk II SD Card Reader and the Classic Macintosh iPod Nano Dock

Filed under: Design,Hardware,News

The world of retrocomputing (or computing history, if you wish) and modern tech products seldom meet.

I have been asked a few times to haw^^advertise new products for sale but have always refused since I never found new stuff which had something in common with the old technology I write about on Stories of Apple and its italian version. That was until a couple of days ago, when I found, on Etsy, two very nice Apple-retro-styled items made by RetroConnector.

The Disk II styled USB SD Card Reader is an external reader of SD memory cards, which has been styled after the iconic Apple II floppy disk drive from 1978. It’s available in beige, mimicking the color of the original disk drive, or in an unpainted in white and black which were the colors of a rare Bell & Howell edition of the Apple II.

Here it is, in a view embedded from the Etsy listing.

Disk II styled USB SD Card Reader

The other item is a Classic Macintosh iPod Nano Dock, a dock for 6th generation iPod nano. It resembles a Macintosh from the late Eighties, in a painted “platinum” beige to match the color chosen for the Mac Plus by frogdesign. Also: when inserted, the iPod nano acts as a screen for this tiny tiny computer for the rest of us.
Here it is.

Classic Macintosh iPod Nano Dock

Both items are quite costly ($50.00 USD for the card reader and 60 for the dock) and are obviously absolutely unofficial products, not licensed by Apple.
On the other hand they succeed in recreating the look and the memory of the original items, which are now over 30 years old, while also being useful accessories for modern Apple products, which is quite a feat.

Well done, RetroConnector!

p.s. There is no referral in the links and I do not get any percentage or kickback from the sale.

Thursday 17 April 2014, 6:59 pm
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The birth of Photoshop

Filed under: Software

At the end of 1988 Steve Schaffran, founder and Chief Operating Officer of Barneyscan, a California start-up that had just introduced one of the first high-quality 24-bit color film scanners struck a deal with two brothers, John and Thomas Knoll

adobephotoshop2-scatolaDuring the previous two years the Knolls had conceived and developed a program not only capable of displaying images on the screen of a Macintosh but which also included features to resize, sharpen, soften, lighten, darken, adjust curves and “make dozens of other amazing transformations”. Among these, as Schaffran notes, the most useful was the conversion of a color picture “from the red, green, blue color space of the computer display to the cyan, magenta, yellow, black color space necessary for exposing printing plates for printing color”. 

In march 1989 version 0.65 the program, renamed Barneyscan XP, was bundled with the Barneyscan (film) scanner, transforming the Macintosh into a powerful color scanning and retouching workstation for 1/100th of the price of comparable solutions then used in the printing industry. Barneyscan XP, which was actually more lauded than the scanning hardware, was the first commercial incarnation (and distribution) of a program which would be rereleased eleven months later to much greater impact. 

Encouraged by its art director Russell Brown, Adobe decided to buy a license to distribute an enhanced version of the software and in February 1990 released the first version of Photoshop, the name originally chosen by Thomas Knoll. 

Photoshop 1.0 lacked the advanced color editing features present in Barneyscan XP, but the capabilities slowly improved with each release, adding CMYK Color, 16 bit per channel, Paths, EPS rasterization, layers and most importantly, in 1993, Windows support.

In a few years Photoshop became a de facto – and yet unrivalled – industry standard, which has revolutionised photography, graphics, publishing, architecture, advertising, fashion, and has become synonimous for the – sometimes heavy – retouching and manipulation of pictures using a computer.

Saturday 15 March 2014, 3:34 pm
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At Apple, The Times They Are a-Changin’

Filed under: News,People

“We’re starting to do some things differently”.

That’s what Phil Schiller supposedly said in February 2012 to blogger John Gruber at a one-to-one media briefing for the upcoming release of [Mac] OS X Mountain Lion.

If you needed further demonstration that Apple is looking beyond Steve Jobs and Tim Cook is doing things differently, the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh is quite a big proof.

mac 128k 1984 font iconaApple created a mini web site to celebrate the “Computer for the rest of us” with a video, pages for each and avery year with profiles about key developers, artists and teachers, stunning pictures of Macs from back then and even created a font with stylized Mac icons for almost every model ever released.

As Cook said at a Special Event which took place at the Apple Campus:

“We don’t spend a lot of time looking back.”
“We spend all of our time looking forward and working on the next big thing. But we’re making an exception for today, because 30 years ago today, the Macintosh was born.”

I can only agree. And while they get back to work and continue to look forward, Stories of Apple is here for you when you want to take a look back and see where Apple came from, so you can better understand where’s it’s headed.

Monday 27 January 2014, 3:02 pm

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The Apple iPod by HP

On January 8, 2004, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina brandished a blue device and proudly announced a deal with Apple. The agreement would produce the “Apple iPod by HP”, a market oddity which was made available nine months later and, after weak sales, was discontinued in 2005.

Also called the “Apple iPod + HP”, this was the first (and only) iPod license ever allowed: Apple would manufacture a version of the iPod for HP and the iTunes software would be pre-installed on all HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario computers. Although it was short-lived, at the time the deal made sense for both of the companies.

In 2004 the iPod franchise was a growing success but the digital player hadn’t yet conquered the bulk of the market (this would happen the next year, thanks to the iPod mini). Apple was interested in anything that would further grow its penetration and mindshare, in particular after the launch of the iTunes Store for Windows, which had debuted just three months prior. Thanks to HP’s distribution network, the “iPod + HP” would be sold in retailers where Apple lacked a presence, such as Wal-Mart, RadioShack, and Office Depot. (more…)

Tuesday 14 January 2014, 8:50 am
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One More Thing

The G4 Cube, Airport technology, the iMac G4, the 12″ PowerBook, iTunes for Windows, the G5, the iPod mini, Safari for Windows, the first MacBook Pro, the iPod touch: these are very different products belonging to different product lines and different strategies. But they do have one thing in common. All of them have been introduced as… One More Thing.

For more than a decade Steve Jobs has topped off his already impressive presentations with a final jolt, using a technique made famous by actor Peter Falk in his Columbo role: employing a carefully staged offhand remark at the end of the show he revved up again the audience’s attention and ended the presentation with a bang.
Not all of Jobs presentations included a “One More Thing” or used these exact words, but many did and the technique proved very popular and iconic and the phrase was used – in 2005 – as the motto for one of Apple’s Special Events.

Jobs first used this technique in January 1998, at the MacWorld San Francisco. (more…)

Friday 04 October 2013, 3:00 pm
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