Blast from the Past: Apple II Users Guide and Owners Manual

Like many other companies, Apple offers archival versions of its product manuals for products that have long since been discontinued. As a regular user of OS 9 on my PowerMac 7200, this comes in more useful than you might imagine. So I was delighted to find that the archival support goes back even further than I'd previously thought, when a random search turned up this page offering the Apple II Users' Guide and Product Manual. I am not an Apple II owner, but I know that there are any number of units still out there and still working in hobbyists' basements.

Printed out in 2002 and converted to PDF, the 84-page manual starts off with the classic story about Steve Wozniak, "the creation of an engineer who hated so much to leave his computer behind at the end of the workday that he made himself a home computer." The manual brags about how memory capacity has grown over time from 4K on the Apple I to 256K on the Apple IIgs, and how you could stretch that 256K to 8 megabytes and beyond. (In the early '90's, 8 MB of RAM would easily set you back $800 or more.)

I particularly enjoyed the problem-solving checklist--testing for loose connections, that your monitor is plugged in and the disk drive connected to the computer--which gives you a real sense for the technology of the day.

This article was originally published on Tuaw.