If the general audience of this plaque is not familiar with the specific technical merits of a milestone, it often is best to state the significance of the milestone up front.
For instance: The Apple II spurred software and hardware suppliers to help create the worldwide personal computing industry.
Was Apple II the first low cost computer? (debatable) Be careful when you use the phrase "the first" as its absolute historic accuracy is hard to prove. Now if it is the first that is fine, but other alternatives might be more accurate: "an early" "one of the first", etc. So we can either more narrowly define what the phrase "the first" applies to in the sentence or alter it.
The use of acronyms has proven sticky on milestones before. So unless we know that the reader knows the definitions of NTSC/RAM/ROM/BASIC then we must debate whether its inclusion adds to the citation enough to merit its undefined use. I would take a good look through the "list" portion of the citation and see if it could be amended to be more readable.
I agree with Lise's comments, especially the use of acronyms. One of the goals of the milestone program is to reach the general public and demonstrate that engineers are real people and not (just) geeks. Try to relax the citation a bit.
Putting this up front, The Apple II spurred software and hardware suppliers to help create the worldwide personal computing industry, makes sense.
Let me know of other suggested changes. I want to make sure that Steve Wozniak is comfortable with any changes. We have been working with him on this citation since the beginning of this project.
Tom Coughlin Milestone Proposal Instigator
I support the milestone for Apple II, but I have a few suggested edits. I am concerned about the claim of "first" when others existed. I also tried to tighten the wording towards a more directed assertion:
CURRENT: The Apple II spurred software and hardware suppliers to help create the worldwide personal computing industry. It was the first low-cost computer to offer quick start-up, pre-addressed standard expansion slots, processor RAM-based bit-mapped NTSC color graphics and random access storage in a handsome compact package. It had an economy of design with a BASIC interpreter and assembler in ROM as well as gaming and graphics features.
SUGGESTED: The Apple II helped create the worldwide personal computing industry. It was one of the first low-cost computers to offer quick start-up, pre-addressed standard expansion slots, processor RAM-based bit-mapped NTSC color graphics and random access storage in a handsome compact package for home or business use. Its economy of design incorporated a BASIC interpreter and assembler as well as new gaming and graphics features. --Dave Bart
I had a chance to ask Steve Wozniak regarding the suggestions to change from first to "one of the first". Here is his response:
color? (not Commodore, not Radio Shack)
graphics? (minimal form if any on Commodore and Radio Shack)
full speed graphics?
expansion slots? (not Commodore, Radio Shack)
NTSC? (Not Commodore)
all the kits, like Altair? (not DRAM) (no color or graphics built in except SOL-20 after Apple I had a minimal form of graphics) … these kit designs were raw Intel data sheet but not one was a product that could start personal computing, only hobby stuff
I need some example.
Can you provide some other examples of computers with the same features as the Apple II with the listed features that were available when it was introduced? Thanks!