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Adam Osborne Recording
Here is a recording of Adam Osborne from the West Coast Computer Faire in March 1980 commenting on the state of personal computing and giving Bob and me an award for VisiCalc.
Adam Osborne was one of the important and influential players in early personal computing history. He published books about computing, including ones on accounting that included program source code. That business was sold to McGraw Hill. He is best known for the Osborne 1 computer, which introduced "portable" computing with a bundled applications suite (spreadsheet - SuperCalc, database - dBase, and word processing - WordStar). He also did software publishing, publishing an "expert system" builder and a spreadsheet with multi-dimensional features for marketing calulations. Unfortunately this last product, VP-Planner, landed him in a lawsuit with Lotus. His association with the lawsuit (similar to that with Borland that Lotus lost on appeal) and the financial problems of his computer company often make us forget his importance early on as a commentator and spokesperson in the industry.

When he was a columnist in the late 1970's and early 1980's, he gave a yearly award called the "White Elephant Award" to the chip and people that changed the industry for the good. He gave the first person award to Gary Kildall for a standard OS, CP/M, the next to Mike Markkula for marketing the Apple ][, and the 1980 award to Bob and me for VisiCalc, a software application that made a PC worth buying.

I found an old recording of Adam Osborne giving that 1980 White Elephant Award at the West Coast Computer Faire, March 15, 1980. The tape was made by a member of the audience who held up a simple tape recorder, and then gave it to me. I ran some noise reduction on the recording to try to improve it, but you still have to listen carefully. The recording opens up with the end of his "Chip of the Year" award.

You can hear the recording played in RealAudio:


(If you have any problems listening to this, try getting the file directly by clicking here.)


It runs 6 minutes and 50 seconds.

Here's a picture of the award:


Here's a picture of the Osborne 1 at the National Computer Conference in Chicago in the late spring of 1981 along with a demo of the soon to emerge SuperCalc which was shown there and later bundled on the Osborne:



There is a biography of Adam Osborne in The Jones Telecommunications and Multimedia Encyclopedia Update.
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