Thursday, April 4, 2013

Vintage Computer Pioneer "Adam Osborne"

                                                                     - News items at bottom of post-                                                                     
Adam Osborne had many professional credits and the most visible are the "Osborne" computer and his book series. (his Biography & more ) I never new him in person but he wrote many books during the time I was working with the "Blacksburg Group". You can see by the links about his biography that he lived a very different and interesting life than most of us.

The Osborne computer had new & creative features. The computer made a really big entry into the personal computer
market for a short time. The Osborne 1 was one of the first computers to come bundled with a number of useful software packages ready to operate. The Osborne was one of the earliest  potable computers and had an optional battery pack. The price was remarkable because the software if purchased independent of the computer was more than the $1795 cost of the computer.  Lee Felsenstein designed the computer and incorporated revolutionary concepts in his work. The computer took the market by storm in 1981 and reached sales of $80 million per year. Management decisions resulted in several problems that could not be resolved and the company quickly went out of business.   One of the bad decisions was to announce the new Osborne Executive & Vixen computers early and not being able to sell the older Osborne 1 inventory. This is became known as the "Osborne Effect". The Osborne story is fascinating and you can read much more in the links provided in the blog.

 (From Wikipedia) Osborne was also a pioneer in the computer book field, founding a company in 1972 that specialized in easy-to-read computer manuals. By 1977, Osborne & Associates had 40 titles in its catalog. In 1979, it was bought by McGraw-Hill and continued as an imprint of McGraw-Hill, "Osborne/McGraw-Hill".

Bob Denton in his book "The PC Pioneers" reports that Adam Osborne produced all the supporting documentation for the Intel MCS-4 (1971). The MCS-4 is the 4004 Intel microprocessor and the 3 support integrated circuits that can be made into a  working microcomputer. This was early in Adam's writing career and it is not clear if he worked directly for Intel or as a consultant.

Bob Denton's book "The PC pioneers" is 542 pages of great reading for cyber history folks.

                                Video of the Osborne computer I produced in October 2010

 Adam Osborne passed away in March 2003 (3/39-3/03). His passing reminds all of us that the pioneers in the early days of microcomputers will soon all be gone. We will have only the history recorded in books and on the Internet.  It also reminds me of my age as an active computer collector/historian & makes me looks like an  old timer - 75 in November.

The untold story behind Apple's $13,000 operating system This story about the Apple 11 operating system is just out on the cyberpath of CNET April 3,2013. Posted by Daniel Terdiman  - be sure to look at the comments - all interesting for cyber history folks.

Vintage Computer Festival Southeast - April 20 and 21, 2013- Apple Pop-Up Museum
This story posted  on cyberpath of Arstechnica March 29,2013 by Jacqui Cheng.

 Here I am with my wife Gaynell on one of our Radio Mission visits to Dominica in the Caribbean.  We are directors of the "Foundation for Amateur International Radio Service" (FAIRS) and have been at this for 21 years with mission visits to many countries. We had a great Easter weekend and hope you enjoyed your Easter.
"by David Larsen" - Computer Collector/Historian

1 comment:

  1. WOW tonight we have about 3 inches of snow - I am ready for Spring. I hope you are enjoying my postings about the old computers in my collection and others. I like the reminiscing about the old days and am getting email and calls from some of the folks I worked with 30 or more years ago. Give me a call it is nice to hear from old friends. Dave - KK4WW Computer Collector/Historian


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