Tom Hickey

June 29, 2015

Anniversaries: June 29, 1975 – Apple I – the beginning of a era


Today is the 40th anniversary of the day Steve Wozniak sat down with his friend Steve Jobs and showed him a little project he was working on: A 1MHz computer with 4K of memory assembled out of $20 worth of parts. Wozniak had some thought of selling the designs at $40 a pop which is how most hobbyist computers were sold but Jobs saw an opportunity to make even more money by selling an assembled product.

The Apple Computer 1 (later known simply as the Apple I) debuted in 1976, distributed by the Byte Shop, one of the country’s first personal computer retailers. The Apple I was still very much a hobbyist product. IT HAD NO CASE! Essentially, what you were buying was this:


Only 200 units were created and very few still exist, in part because Apple encouraged people to trade them in for the Apple II when it went on sale in 1977, and promptly destroyed all of the boards.

The original manual is available online.

Andy Swindler

September 11, 2014

How Will Apple’s iPhone 6 Affect Mobile Web Browsing?

We’re almost as thrilled with the iPhone 6 as the people who waited in line for 24 hours… almost. It’s packed with powerful new features deserving of a new model number and that simple, sleek design. Other than the Apple Pay (NFC) feature, which could revolutionize how we use money, the most notable are the two new iPhone 6 screen sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches. While this reflects Apple’s continuing defensive posture by reacting to larger Android screen sizes in a market they created in 2007, it’s still a welcome advance.

John Armstrong

October 10, 2013

Activating An iPhone 5s With AT&T


Humor me before I write about activating your AT&T iPhone 5s. First things first:

There’s nothing more exciting than opening an Apple product. There’s something about the way the box slides open with just enough friction to make that soft but distinctive sound. It’s whispering, “You’re going to like this. this. this. this...” until it comes apart and you see the phone shining like a (black, white or gold) pearl in an oyster. It comes charged and ready to go. You’re ready because a few days earlier you received an email that looked like this:

Andy Swindler

June 11, 2013

Apple iOS 7 for Publishers: First Reflections

Here are my initial thoughts on the Apple iOS 7 software.

1) New design feels more contemporary, but Apple didn’t set this tone. Competition from Google has fueled a fire under Apple for years. And now it’s also coming from Microsoft, Amazon and Blackberry. Although ironically, from a design standpoint, this “new” flatness is awfully reminiscent of Windows 8 and Google aesthetic.

In general, Apple is now playing defense more than ever. The iPad Mini is a good example of this. Jobs must be rolling… (trust me, I’ve carried an Apple Cult card since the mid-80’s, but they are losing their edge)

They are also embracing the idea that apps don’t need to feel like real-world objects. Now that just about everyone has a smartphone and has bridged into using digital touch interfaces, it’s time we truly embraced the advantages inherent in a screen that doesn’t look like a piece of paper.


Sara Gorsky

April 9, 2013

Using Live Surveys for Real-Time Data

I recently attended a learning luncheon in which real-time surveys were implemented and displayed on a giant screen. Here’s how it worked…

  • Each table had a sheet of paper with the “About the Presenters” blubs on it, and a QR code, which, once scanned by a mobile devive, opened up the online live survey.
  • The presenter would open up a question, such as “Which web browser do you use most frequently? 1: Internet Explorer, 2: Firefox 3: Safari 4: Chrome”.
  • Each person who had it pulled up on their mobile device would tap their response, then the survey program would instantly display the results.

KABLAM! Instant data!

The presenters were able integrate the new data seamlessly into their previously prepared presentations, even when it contradicted with what they predicted the answers would be. In fact, this occurrence caused everyone in the room to ask the question “why?”, which sparked further interest and debate. It was really something!

I found the effect absolutely fascinating. Where most presenters list off cold data and percentages, here was data from the very room, from the people sitting next to me. I found that it peaked my interest and belief in the data in a way it rarely does in other presentations.

Mobile devices have made all this possible, and since smart phones have become so proliferate today, next time you are putting together a presentation, ask yourself if live surveys might be a way to not only solidify your data, but also make you the coolest kid in the neighborhood.

Andy Swindler

February 18, 2013

Digital Design = Form or Function?

At its best design delivers both form and function. If you have to choose form OR function, I’d take function any day. Design without function is art, which is lovely in a museum or plaza or Burning Man (below), but for businesses wanting to use technology for a purpose, it had better be design and not art.


It’s no surprise to people familiar with Astek that we enter the design discussion from the function side of the equation. That doesn’t mean we don’t have deep-rooted brand considerations and design aesthetics. Indeed, these factors inform everything we do for our clients and ourselves. But we start every discussion by asking questions about the function. Who is going to use it? How will they use it? Why? What is the brand promise this experience must deliver?