Virtual Book Talk: The Apple II Age


Last month, we hosted Laine Nooney and Finn Brunton for an in-person discussion at the Internet Archive. We had considerable interest from people who couldn’t make it to the discussion, so we’re pleased to host the conversation again, this time virtually, so that anyone can join in!


Join us for an engrossing origin story of the personal computer—showing how the Apple II’s software helped a machine transcend from hobbyists’ plaything to essential home appliance. Author LAINE NOONEY will read a selection from their new book, then discuss the importance of the Apple II with historian FINN BRUNTON.

If you want to understand how Apple Inc. became an industry behemoth, look no further than the 1977 Apple II. It was a versatile piece of hardware, but its most compelling story isn’t found in the feat of its engineering, the personalities of Apple’s founders, or the way it set the stage for the company’s multibillion-dollar future. Instead, historian Laine Nooney shows, what made the Apple II iconic was its software. The story of personal computing in the United States is not about the evolution of hackers—it’s about the rise of everyday users.

Recounting a constellation of software creation stories, Nooney offers a new understanding of how the hobbyists’ microcomputers of the 1970s became the personal computer we know today. From iconic software products like VisiCalc and The Print Shop to historic games like Mystery House and Snooper Troops to long-forgotten disk-cracking utilities, The Apple II Age offers an unprecedented look at the people, the industry, and the money that built the microcomputing milieu—and why so much of it converged around the pioneering Apple II.

About our speakers:

Laine Nooney is assistant professor of media and information industries at New York University. Their research has been featured by outlets such as The Atlantic, Motherboard, and NPR. They live in New York City, where their hobbies include motorcycles, tugboats, and Texas hold ’em.

Finn Brunton ( is a professor at UC Davis with appointments in Science and Technology Studies and Cinema and Digital Media. He is the author of Spam: A Shadow History of the InternetDigital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Technologists, and Utopians Who Created Cryptocurrency, and the co-author of Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest.

Book Talk: The Apple II Age
July 13th @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual discussion!

2 thoughts on “Virtual Book Talk: The Apple II Age

  1. Adelaide Dupont

    This is so cool

    especially in view of the future development of VisionPro.

    The Apple ][s are some of the first personal computers I saw in everyday educational and entertaining use.

    They turned me on to computers.

  2. mama ji

    Tens of thousands of requests per second for our public domain OCR files were launched from 64 virtual hosts on amazon’s AWS services. (Even by web standards,10’s of thousands of requests per second is a lot.)

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