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Charles Eicher

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How Apple beat IBM in Steve Jobs' first retail war

The Golden Age of Computer Sales surely must have been Christmas 1984. The Macintosh had just been released, Compaq and IBM offered powerful new CPUs, but the real action was a massive Christmas sales battle between the Apple//c and the IBM PCjr. I remember it well, I was working at ComputerLand in Los Angeles, and I was at the …
Charles Eicher, 25 Nov 2011
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Huge PDP-11 in a lorry: How I drove computers into schools

This Old Box Computers in classrooms are so common today, we may forget this was once inconceivably difficult. Computers were very expensive and so large they needed a huge truck to transport them. Nearly 35 years ago, I worked on an ambitious but ill-fated project to bring a minicomputer to rural Iowa schools, a classroom on wheels. This …
Charles Eicher, 23 Nov 2011
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Selling Apples to Japan: Complicated as a Nipponese typewriter

I'm an artist who's always been fascinated by computers - ever since junior high math club. My first computer was a plastic toy cogwork Turing machine called the DigiComp 1. I ran a mailing list on punchcards for the school newspaper. I used a PLATO IV - a PC before the era of microprocessors, whose storage ran on compressed …
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How I saved the Macintosh

Memoirs of a Salesman Today, Apple seems unstoppable - its new products dominate their markets or create entirely new ones. But there was a time, 20 years ago, when Apple seemed to have lost everything. In 1984 I was caught in the middle of all this: I was a sales rep for ComputerLand Los Angeles; the top Macintosh salesman at the largest computer …
Charles Eicher, 30 Nov 2010
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How I invented Desktop Publishing

Today's Desktop Publishing systems like the Macintosh with PostScript are taken for granted, but it wasn't so long ago that these technologies were impossible. Early "homebrew" computer hackers recognized the demand for computer publishing and paved the way for the professional systems we use today. Some of those inventions …
Charles Eicher, 23 Nov 2010
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Wikipedia's Gallery guy hung up to dry?

Exclusive Wikimedia Foundation says it's standing behind Wikipedia contributor Derrick Coetzee in his defence against legal threats from the National Portrait Gallery. But Coetzee has been stripped of administrator privileges, which leaves him unable to comply with the Gallery's request, El Reg has learned. This leaves Coetzee directly …
Charles Eicher, 17 Jul 2009
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Copyfraud: Poisoning the public domain

Special report The public domain is the greatest resource in human history: eventually all knowledge will become part of it. Its riches serve all mankind, but it faces a new threat. Vast libraries of public domain works are being plundered by claims of "copyright". It's called copyfraud - and we'll discover how large corporations like Google, …
Charles Eicher, 26 Jun 2009
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What the Freetard Photo book tells us

Powerful aristocrats throughout history have commissioned portraits by master artists to immortalize their achievements. Now amateur photographer and Creative Commons advocate Joi Ito is offering that immortality to bloggers, bureaucrats, coders, CEOs, and other obscure Free Software functionaries, in an expensive limited- …
Charles Eicher, 31 Dec 2008
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How to copyright Michelangelo

Some of the world's greatest artworks are turning into copyrighted properties.Five hundred years ago, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Today, those images are copyrighted. How can ancient cultural icons become commercial properties, centuries after they fall into the public domain? How this happened is a story …
Charles Eicher, 27 Dec 2007

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