Category Archives: Antiquarian Productions

The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga

As has been something of an open secret for quite a while now, I wrote a book. It’s called The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga, it’s published by the MIT Press, and now it’s shipping at last.

As the name would imply, my book is a history of the Amiga, a computing platform that pioneered much of the digital world of today. Indeed, my central thesis is that the Amiga represents the world’s first true multimedia personal computer. Much of the book is devoted to working out the implications of that claim.

One thing I wanted to do with the book, as with this blog, was to not neglect the technology in writing technological history. To understand what allowed the Amiga to, say, pioneer the field of desktop video (something that has become so ubiquitous in this era of YouTube that, like “desktop publishing,” the term has ceased to be a useful signifier), one has to understand a bit about its design, even about how the Amiga got its picture to the screen and how this differed from other contemporary computers. So, and while I don’t neglect culture and sociology, I do delve quite deeply into the inner workings of the machine. At the same time, I keep the jargon to a minimum and, when I do indulge, make it a point to explain it carefully beforehand. I thoroughly believe that any patient and interested reader is capable of understanding this stuff if the author just shows a little bit of care, and that’s the assumption that guided me throughout the writing. In other words: no computer science degrees are required. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think many of you who enjoy this blog will also enjoy the book — even if only one chapter deals directly with games. (Hey, at least it’s one of the longest ones…)

Again as I do on this blog, I wanted to encourage active reading, to encourage you to go out and explore some of this technology and art for yourselves. With that in mind, I’ve created a website for the book that hosts a fair amount of content. The book itself can of course be purchased from many fine bookstores, online or brick and mortar.

Oh, and sorry things have been a little quiet with the blog lately. I should have some more stuff for you within a day or three.



An Apple II Christmas Card

In the spirit of the season, I thought I would share with you this lovely Apple II Christmas card, originally written by Fred Pence and published in the December, 1980, issue of SoftSide magazine. (If you’re viewing this post via an RSS reader or on a blog aggregator like Planet-IF, you might need to click the link to the post itself to see the embedded video.)

Have a great Christmas, everyone!



The Digital Antiquarian Takes a Holiday

I’m posting this from the good old U.S. of A., where my wife and I are visiting friends and family and availing ourselves of cheap clothes and lots of cheap, greasy food. I’m afraid this holiday also includes a time out from blogging. I will, however, be back on the archaic software beat sometime in the next two to three weeks, once we’ve returned to our home in Norway and I’ve been able to dig myself out from the pile of (paying) work I expect to find awaiting me there. I’ve got some very interesting topics coming up, so please keep me in your hearts and your RSS feeds during this little hiatus. Catch you soon!