Category Archives: Communications and Connectivity

The Apple I Is Coming to Woolly!

The best things always come out of no where.

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a gentleman who informed me that 1) he was extremely excited to come to our Steve Wozniak event on August 4th, and 2) that he owns an original Apple I.

Not only does he own one of these beauties, but he’d like to display his as a special addition to the Apple Orchard on Saturday August 4th. Amazing!

This remarkable and revolutionary machine is significant not only as the first ready-made personal computer, but as a herald to the dawn of a new age in which computing was made accessible to the masses.  Through the Apple I, Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak transformed the personal computer from something of interest to specialists and hobbyists into a tool the common man could understand and use.

The first Apple I was introduced on April 1, 1976, by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Ron Wayne:  the original founders of Apple Computers.  Wozniak designed and built the printed circuit board, in his bedroom in Los Altos, California, which would soon become the Apple I.  Jobs was so impressed by the machine that the two joined forces and founded Apple Computers, with Jobs taking on the promotion and advertising of the Apple I.  When Wozniak and Jobs demonstrated the new technology at a meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club in May 1976 in Palo Alto, few seemed to take the device seriously – except for Paul Terrell.  The owner of Byte Shop, the only chain of computer stores at the time, Terrell was so impressed by the Apple I that he promised to buy 50 full assembled versions of the machine for $500 each.  However, Terrell insisted that the circuit boards come fully assembled rather than as a part of a kit (as Wozniak had originally designed).  So Jobs and Woz pooled their resources to fund production costs, Jobs selling his VW bus for $1,500 and Wozniak his precious Hewlett-Packard 65 calculator for $250.  After filling Terrell’s order in just 30 days, the pair continued to produce the Apple I, making another 50 to sell to friends and another 100 to sell through vendors for $666.66 each…

…which is hilarious, considering it just recently went for $374,500 at a Sotheby’s auction in June. Of the 200 Apple I’s originally produced, it is believed that fewer than 50 survive, only six of which are known to be operational.

But is there really a price-tag one can put on an object which started a revolution?

It is especially cool that we’ll have this object to share with our audiences during the Woz Event at Woolly since the Apple I was, essentially, his baby. When you come to Woolly on August 4th, be sure to take a good look at what truly launched America’s desire to put a personal computer in every room.

~ Compiled by Melanie Harker, Connectivity Associate & Adelaide Waldrop, Connectivity Summer Volunteer

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From Mike Daisey – Why I Am Still Performing THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY

The Washington City Paper cover story by Chris Klimek uses a classic journalism storytelling technique: it asks a question at the end of its first movement that serves as the thesis around which the story turns. The question is:

“Why is Daisey still performing a play that brought him so much disgrace?”

It’s a great question. It’s an essential question, and despite all the interviews and writing around this run no one has actually directly asked me this question, so I thought I would do my best to answer it today.

It’s been a hard thing to look clearly at myself and see how I failed to live up to my expectations. I abused the trust of the public, let down my colleagues, and I failed to live up to my obligations to my craft. In the wake of the This American Life retraction, I posted a full apology for my behavior which you can read here.

After the public story went quieter, it was time to really begin to examine what I should do. Rather than go silent, I decided to remove all of the material that was contested in the TAL retraction and rebuild the show.

To some, this may seem absurd—after all, the show has been discredited, so why bother? I won’t lie and say that there wasn’t a strong temptation to simply cancel everything. It would have been much easier to drop everything and move on.

But this story was always much larger than I am, and the central tenet of the show’s work—to connect the audience empathically with the brutal circumstances under which the things they use every day are made—is absolutely true and always has been. No one contests that—not TAL, who interviewed Charles Duhigg, not Apple’s own auditors, not the NGOs who have reported on these issues for years and years.

Simply put, my failure to live up to what this story needed from me doesn’t absolve me of the responsibility to tell it right.

It’s similar to what so many have been demanding from Apple—I want them to make it a priority to consider how they are building their devices, and to take real measures to consider human rights and living wages in the process of their manufacturing. Just as I expect Apple and other manufacturers to reform their ways, I needed to look to my own house and do the same.

If I expect them to build an ethical iPhone, then I had better build an ethical monologue.

Classically, people go to ground in literary or journalism scandals that involve falsehoods and the betrayal of the public’s trust. But I am not a journalist, nor is this a book. It’s a piece of theater, which only exists when it is performed. As a consequence, the very thing that makes it ephemeral affords a unique opportunity to do the right thing, and make this story work ethically in the room.

One of the interesting things about theater is that it is not a broadcast medium—it is a communal undertaking. People choose to participate in theater, and my obligation is to those who are participating in the room. People who do not want to hear this work have a simple alternative—they can stay home.

This new version of THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS has been performed in five cities since the closing of the show at the Public. Based on deeply unscientific exit polling, audience surveying, and random questioning after shows, we believe that only about half our audiences are even aware of the TAL retraction. Many nights the number feels like it may actually be lower.

This creates a fascinating environment: What does an artist owe his audiences, especially when they are coming in with radically different expectations? How do we shape a show that works for most people in the room?

Peter Marks, the head critic for the Washington Post, said this in his review:

“Daisey does not use this revisit to Woolly to analyze his behavior in this affair, the unfortunate distraction that has turned Jobs’s “Agony” into Daisey’s. It’s a major disappointment…what’s missing is Daisey’s mind trained on the task of deconstructing his actions. Is that as important as the question of how thousands of Chinese workers are treated, making the products we love? Of course not. But it wasn’t Daisey’s listeners, or the media, that prompted this need. It’s unfortunate that some of us want the matter to intrude, however artfully this storyteller might weave it.”

While I can understand the desire for me to explain my actions, I think doing so in the course of AGONY/ECSTASY would be unethical because it would make the show more about me than about the very real issues and real people the show addresses.

Instead, in this new version, I try to make it very clear that I am a storyteller. I remind audiences, point blank, that they do not need to believe anything they hear on this stage, and urge them to find tools to investigate for themselves beyond the theater.

I think the new version also touches more deeply on the connections between rural China and the Special Economic Zones, and the circumstances that make work at Foxconn and other manufacturers an attractive option for many. It endeavors to humanize and complexify those relationships without letting the crimes that have been committed, and how we share that responsibility, off the hook.

The six minutes that were cut gave me the time to do this. Artists are thieves; this piece would have been nothing without the work of so many who know far more about China than I ever will and took the time to talk to me about it, or whose works I learned from. Time on stage is precious, and I have tried to make something that I hope does service to that time.

I do believe the work is stronger today than it was before; each audience member will make their own judgments, and that is wonderful. The show is not apologetic, because that would be terrible theater, and inappropriate in the show’s narrative arc. However, in the final moments of the show, at its climax, I do say this:

Steve Jobs, this genius of design and form, blinded himself to the most essential law of design: that the way in which a thing is made is a part of the design itself.

He forgot that.

And so did I.

It won’t be enough for many. That’s the way it is—it’s never enough, it can’t be. But I leave it there as part of the compact I have with those who choose to participate in it with me. And I say it because it is true.

Every night people walk in through the door who have never heard this story before, and I am honored to have the work of sharing it with them. When I talk to them after the show, and I can tell they are seeing their devices in a new way, I know that it would have been a crime to run away from my responsibilities and let this work die because of where I let it down.

The answer to why I am still performing this show that brought me so much disgrace is that now, when I tell it in the room, it brings me grace.

~ Mike Daisey, Creator and Performer of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

You can read this post on his website, here.

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This Month in Apple

Anything to do with Apple Inc. is breaking news these days. A lot has happened in the world of Apple since The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs premiered at Woolly in March/April 2011 and a lot of us don’t have time to keep on top of the 24 hour news.  This is in no way a comprehensive list, but here are some highlights of the changing Apple landscape.

 NEXT MONTH

 In August, Siri will celebrate her one year consumer birthday. Siri, Apple’s crack at artificial intelligence, created an industry wide focus on voice technology, and a party trick for boring people with iPhones (next time you’re with someone who has her- tell Siri you need to hide a body). She’s also created a humorous internet meme, and on more than one occasion has given you directions to the mall when you’ve asked her to call your mom.

LAST WEEK

Apple tried to remove itself from the EPEAT system – a registry of environmentally friendly products. Apple requested that all 39 of its certified MacBooks and desktops be removed from the registry. San Francisco city officials moved to block the purchase of Apple products for all municipal agencies. Shortly after, Apple back-peddled, calling the decision to leave the registry “a mistake”.

If this experience teaches us anything, it’s that having a strong set of moral values are essential to ensuring you don’t loose money. Lesson learned.

LAST MONTH

The latest Apple Keynote on June 11th drew “ooos” and “ahhs” from Apple fans. Releases included a new operating system iOS 6 with better Facebook integration, a makeover for Siri, something that looked suspiciously like Google Maps, as well as the unveiling of the new MacBook Air & Pro.

ALSO, LAST MONTH

A judge finally made a ruling about the dispute between Samsung and Apple. Apple has been in a longstanding legal battle with Samsung saying that it violated many of Apple’s design patents.  To over-simplify the judge’s ruling: “Apple products were too cool to have been ripped off by Samsung. Ewww.”

In the afterlife, Steve Jobs was seen making the following face:

With its market share growing and the iPhone 5 on the horizon, who could need more proof that we’re still culturally obsessed with Apple and their products? This makes The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs more topical and powerful than it’s ever been. See you at the show!

~ Jordan Beck, Connectivity Assistant

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It’s Apple Pickin’ Season

As I’m sure you faithful Woolly Blog followers are aware, the remount of Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is already underway. Tonight marks the opening of its three week run in our space. We are all excited to see how bringing this piece full circle will affect us, Woolly audiences, and Mike himself.

All that said; I’m happy to report that we have brought back the Apple Orchard for the run of the show… with one exciting addition! Check out what we have dusted off and are displaying in our lobby right now.

Apple IIe:

Released in January 1983 and originally sold for $1395, the Apple ][e was to be one of the most successful Apple computers ever (it was manufactured and sold for nearly 11 years with few changes). One of its defining characteristics was its ability to input and display lowercase letters for the first time. In 1984 the name was changed from Apple ][e to Apple //e, coinciding with the release of the Apple //c.

Apple ImageWriter II:

Released in September 1985 for $595, the Apple ImageWriter II was the first printer built exclusively for the Macintosh series. Because of the relatively small price and high printing speed, the ImageWriter series was extremely popular amongst consumer computer users. In 1990 the ImageWriter series was replaced by the ink-jet StyleWriter series.

Newton Message Pad:

Released in August 1993 for $800, the Newton Message Pad was Apple’s first completely new product in many years. It represented Apple’s entry into (and perhaps creation of) an entirely new market: Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). The PDA market was barely present when the Newton was released, but other companies were working on similar devices.

The Newton Message Pad featured a variety of personal-organization applications, such as an address book, a calendar, and notes, along with communications capabilities such as faxing and email. It featured a trainable handwriting recognition engine, but unfortunately this engine was notoriously difficult to use. While later Newton models would show improved handwriting recognition, the Newton’s reputation for poor recognition would haunt it for years to come.

Apple Quicktake 200:

Released in February 1997 for $600, the Apple QuickTake was one of the first consumer digital cameras. The QuickTake 100 and 200 models were only compatible with Macintosh computers, while the 150 model was also compatible with Microsoft Windows. However, none of these models sold well because other companies such as Kodak, Canon and Nikon entered the market with brands that consumers associated with photography.

iMac (Rev. C):

Released in August 1998 for $1300, the iMac was Apple’s computer for the new millennium. Aimed at the low-end consumer market and designed with the internet in mind, the iMac was positioned by Apple as the most original new computer since the original Mac in 1984, and came in a stylish new case design, with translucent “Bondi Blue” plastics. It also included a newly-designed USB keyboard and mouse. By January 1999, the Rev. C iMac came in five bright new colors: Blueberry, Strawberry, Lime, Tangerine and Grape.

iBook G4:

Released in October 2003 for $1099, the iBook was much smaller than its predecessor, the PowerBook G4 and included a faster G3 processor, more RAM, VGA out, stereo speakers, and a higher resolution screen. It also was the first Mac to include a “combo” DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive in the high-end model.

iPod mini 4GB (Second Generation):

Released in February 2005 for $199, the iPod mini was built around a one inch 4 GB hard drive, and raised the bar for portability in a hard disk music player. It was small enough to wear comfortably on an arm band, but large enough to hold nearly 1,000 songs. Apple believed that its small size and consumer appeal would make up for its high price. As Apple hoped, iPod mini’s sold extremely well—the demand vastly outstripped the supply long into the summer months.

The iPod mini was available in five metallic colors: silver, gold, pink, blue and green. In order to fit everything in such a small package, Apple had to change the layout of the buttons from the existing iPod design. The result, which Apple called a “ClickWheel” allowed users to use the wheel as a touch-sensitive scroll wheel, or push on the four corners to click the buttons.

MacBook:

Released in May 2006 (original) for $1099, the MacBook replaced the existing 12- and 14-inch iBooks and 12-inch PowerBook model, completing the transition of Apple’s portable computers to Intel Processors. At the time it was considered one of Apple’s best computers, and around 2008 became Apple’s best selling Macintosh in history. The original MacBooks were available in black or white, and was the second (after the MacBook Pro) Mac to adopt Apple’s “MagSafe” power connector. The MacBook was Apple’s first notebook to use features now standard in its notebooks, such as the glossy display, the sunken keyboard design, and the non-mechanical magnetic latch.

iPhone 3GS:

Released in June 2009 for $199, the iPhone 3GS included both specification and feature enhancements over it’s predecessor, the wildly successful iPhone 3G. The iPhone 3GS included a higher-resolution video-capable camera, an integrated Magnetometer, and Voice Control. It shipped with iPhone OS 3.0 (which was also made available for previous iPhone and iPod Touch models), which included software enhancements, such as cut & paste, pervasive landscape keyboard, search, internet tethering, and a voice memos application. In June 2010, both models were replaced by the iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for another post coming soon about our special artifact, coming to our space on August 4th. Hint? This famed Apple product was in the news recently.

~ Melanie Harker, Connectivity Associate

{& a special shout-out to Brooke Miller, our former Press & Digital Content Manager who helped compile this original blog post!}

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#WoollyBurns Pop Culture Diaries Finale Edition

Guys, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play closes this Sunday (boo!) If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet get them here!

For our last blog post, here is the fourth installment of our #WoollyBurns Pop Culture Diaries vlog series, thanks for following along! If you missed ’em, here’s Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3.

Without further ado:

Meet Nik: She’s just a happy person in general who likes lighthearted pop culture that makes her dance. Also, we think she might have a little crush on Johnny Depp. Not bad antidotes for the grim apocalypse, eh?

 

Bubble Bubble:

So this guy didn’t share his name, but we’re gonna nickname him Bubble Bubble. Let’s hope his friends last through the apocalypse with him ’cause they would create a whole new awesome level of Glee.

 

Nietzsche:

This philosopher got deep with us…real deep. He’s totally ready for the apocalypse.

 

Meet Johnny: If the world were to end tomorrow, Johnny might not survive ’cause he’s a big chicken. Seriously, we’re not kidding. He might turn into a chicken.

 

~Noel Edwards, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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A Very Electric Connectivity Round-Up

Unfortunately, electricity could not be avoided in the creation of this blog post.

People check out the post-electric scene with our installation, A Post-Electric World: Viewpoints from Visual Artists

Check out how our Nostalgia Reference Board has done over the past few weeks!

People start to break off and find their own references besides the example!

It is too easy to loop any cultural reference back to The Simpsons.

Patrons think hard about how many connections/references have been made to Pygmalion.

A patron adds her thoughts to the board!

Patrons riff off of the example… not what we expected, but still totally cool.

Total. Reference. Explosion.

 

~ Melanie Harker, Connectivity Associate

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#WoollyBurns Pop Culture Diaries: Round 3

Happy Friday Mammoths! If you’ve been following us on our blog and social media, you’ll know that we’ve created a “vlog” series called “Pop Culture Diaries.” We asked Woolly staff and patrons what piece of pop culture they remember most and what they couldn’t live without if the world were to end—here’s the responses from Episode 1 and Episode 2.

For Round 3:

Meet Bob, he is the master of his domain and his favorite sitcom and yada yada yada…

 

Meet Christina, Christina’s not dumb. She knows what she would need to survive after the apocalypse. Yeah. YEAH-AH. Who wouldn’t want a little Jim Carrey to brighten the rest of your days?

 

Meet Jason, he could be the number 2 guy for Dunder Mifflin’s number 2 guy. If the world ends tomorrow, we’ll have a paper shrine to Dwight Schrute.

 

Meet John, his rhymes would make the apocalypse a little bit brighter. We could probably use some of his wisdom too.

 

~Noel Edwards, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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