Simple Beep

Simple Beep
A podcast looking back at the history of Apple and the Mac community.
e59 – Apple Museums
May 20 • 55 min
Inspired by the grand reveal of the new MacPaw museum and some new early Apple exhibits in Seattle, we take a tour of the world’s greatest Apple collections on display.
e58 – Classic Mac Games
Apr 29 • 71 min
The Internet Archive recently made a library of classic Mac software available via in-browser emulation. So we played a bunch of Mac games from the late ’80s and early ’90s — some that we remembered fondly, some that we’d never played, and some that…
e57 – Colorful Apple Products
Apr 1 • 67 min
Inspired by the release of the PRODUCT (RED) iPhone, we trace case colors throughout Apple’s history: candy-color Macs, lots and lots of iPods, and some expensive rarities.
e56 – Behind the Show
Mar 15 • 72 min
We go behind the scenes of Simple Beep: how we create the show, a comprehensive emulation how-to, and our favorite classic Mac resources.
e55 – Crazy Apple Concepts
Feb 18 • 84 min
This episode covers a bunch of Apple products that barely or never happened, including a magic tablet, IPTV vaporware, and some wild green machines from Macworld.
e54 – The Newton Community
Feb 4 • 60 min
Jake Bordens and Thomas Brand join us to share stories of the Newton community, past and present(!)
e53 – The Newton
Jan 14 • 77 min
This episode, we look at the Newton platform — Apple’s first attempt at (almost) handheld computing. Recorded on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone announcement, we notice a lot of parallels between the development of Newton devices and the iOS devices we…
e52 – Stocking stuffers
Dec 24, 2016 • 40 min
It’s our Christmas special episode! We’ve made our own gift lists of classic Apple products that could fit in a stocking — not all of which have turned to coal over time.
e51 – Designed by Apple in California
Dec 3, 2016 • 51 min
Ed is joined by Stephen Hackett to talk about the how and what (rather than the why) of Apple chronicling its own history in the new photo book Designed by Apple in California, as well as Stephen’s new ebook Aqua and Bondi.
e50 – Legacy I/O
Nov 19, 2016 • 83 min
We cover the wild, wonderful, and sometimes half-baked history of getting data in and out of Macs. It turns out we’ve been citizens of Dongle Town for a long time already.
e49 – Town Hall
Nov 5, 2016 • 59 min
After what is surely-for-real-this-time the last event at Apple’s Town Hall event space on the Infinite Loop campus, we cover the history of events big and small that have happened in Apple’s most intimate presentation setting.
e48 – The Apple Community at Release Notes
Oct 22, 2016 • 28 min
In this episode, we share five conversations we had at Release Notes about the history of the Mac, iOS, and finding fellow Apple nerds.
Special: Mac draft
Sep 29, 2016 • 48 min
At Release Notes, we joined Stephen Hackett and Christina Warren to pick our personal favorite Macs…and we managed to keep it mostly on the rails.
e47 – Avara
Sep 24, 2016 • 68 min
Avara, the minimalist 3D mech shooter from Ambrosia Software, just turned 20 years old. We celebrate the occasion and are joined by Scarlet Swordfish, who ran a 20th anniversary event that was livestreamed on Twitch.
e46 – One More Thing
Sep 10, 2016 • 78 min
Apple announced a lot of things this past week, but they didn’t announce One More Thing. This episode is a comprehensive rundown of Steve Jobs’ biggest presentation trope — the good, the bad, and the ugly of specially featured Apple announcements.
e45 – Mice
Aug 27, 2016 • 89 min
From solid steel balls to unusable hockey pucks to sleek pieces of sushi, we cover all of Apple’s mouse designs. And we couldn’t stop there, so we threw in some trackpads and third-party pointers for good measure.
e44 – Portability
Aug 14, 2016 • 67 min
Apple has been striving to make their products thinner, lighter, and easier to carry around for well over 30 years. We discuss some landmark products in Apple’s quest for portability.
e43 – Help
Jul 30, 2016 • 59 min
This episode we discuss the history of how Apple has helped you learn to use the Mac. Along the way we encounter Jay, Cleo, undersea creatures, and the horror of HTML frames.
e42 – Douglas Adams and the Mac
Jul 16, 2016 • 68 min
Douglas Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but he was also a huge fan of the Macintosh. We discuss his many Macs, interactive fiction, and his extremely astute vision of the future of technology, both fictional and…
e41 – Deprecated at WWDC 2016
Jun 25, 2016 • 56 min
There were no big “end of an era” announcements at WWDC, but a few 30-year-old technologies are now officially on their way out. We say goodbye to catalog B-trees, naming everything after NeXTSTEP, and more.
e40 – WWDC
Jun 11, 2016 • 82 min
On the eve of WWDC 2016, we look back at the history of the event: its role in the community, major past announcements, and Steve Jobs’ most candid hour.
e39 – The iMac G3
May 21, 2016 • 88 min
Stephen Hackett of 512 Pixels and Relay FM joins us again to discuss his complete iMac G3 collection and the history of the computer that saved Apple.
e38 – Voice Interfaces
May 7, 2016 • 66 min
The Macintosh has had a voice since it was first introduced. This episode, we cover over 30 years of talking to Apple devices and having them talk back.
e37 – The Control Strip
Apr 23, 2016 • 69 min
This episode is all about the Control Strip and its many uses on the classic Mac, from early PowerBook power management to silly games. We also discuss its successors and how they got from the bottom left corner of System 7 to the top right of OS X today.
e36 – 40 in 40
Apr 1, 2016 • 39 min
In a special episode, we cover Apple’s “40 years in 40 seconds” video in 40 minutes.
e35 – HyperCard
Mar 26, 2016 • 93 min
We discuss one of the defining pieces of early Macintosh software, HyperCard. We cover the application’s origins and ambitious vision, the HyperTalk scripting language, our own creations, and the absence of HyperCard-like tools today.
e34 – My Dream App
Mar 12, 2016 • 56 min
What was the state of independent Mac software before iOS? We find out by returning to the 2006 competition My Dream App, featuring productivity plants, syncing in space, and meteorological eye candy.
e33 – Our Setups: Then and Now
Feb 27, 2016 • 82 min
We compare our current setups with how we worked and played on the classic Mac. Along the way we praise modern backups, pay for our previously pirated software, and Brian accidentally downloads malware.
e32 – System Hacking with ResEdit
Feb 13, 2016 • 74 min
After looking through all the files in the System Folder last episode, we couldn’t help ourselves and had to open up some of them in ResEdit. We realized that a lot of classic “hacks” are now standard features…and we found a few Easter eggs along the way.
e31 – The System Folder
Jan 30, 2016 • 87 min
This episode is all about the software that made the classic Mac tick. We take a full tour of the System Folder’s contents and how they were meant to be manipulated by users…although maybe not with ResEdit.
e30 – Ten Years of Intel Macs
Jan 16, 2016 • 68 min
We celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Intel-based Macs, which were released in January of 2006. Always on the quest for more performance per watt, we contemplate Apple’s big hardware and software transitions of the past, present, and even the…
e29 – Software Packaging
Dec 26, 2015 • 69 min
It’s a Boxing Day special all about when software came in boxes (or cans, sometimes). We cover everything from staid operating system packaging to odd un-stackable shapes to wild, fictional shareware box art.
e28 – Software for Kids
Dec 12, 2015 • 78 min
We review some of the best software for kids on the Apple II and the Classic Mac, most of which we grew up with. Along the way we die of dysentery (not really), pursue a sticky-fingered filcher, and put “something on that I don’t like!”
e27 – Apple advertising
Nov 28, 2015 • 86 min
In this episode we cover 20+ years of Mac and iPod advertising, from Big Brother’s grey dystopia to Jony Ive’s white room and beyond.
e26 – Preserving Mac history with Stephen Hackett
Nov 14, 2015 • 77 min
To celebrate our first anniversary, we’re joined by Stephen Hackett of and 512 Pixels. We talk about the different ways we came to the Mac, some of the weirder things in our Apple collections, and the importance of archiving technology for the…
e25 – The Works
Oct 24, 2015 • 96 min
This episode is all about “the best-loved application for the Mac”, ClarisWorks. We remember a simpler age of word processing, not understanding how the “New document” command or pixels worked, and some difficult transitions in our productivity workflows.
e24 – Easter Eggs
Oct 10, 2015 • 48 min
In this episode we go on a hunt for some of the hidden “features” of classic Macs. It’s a menagerie of iguanas, gerbils, pigs, dogcows, tiny swords, and more!
e23 – iMac and iPod accessories
Sep 26, 2015 • 58 min
This episode we explore the emergence of whole industries to create accessories for the original iMac and early iPods, including everything from floppy drives to FM radio transmitters to really ugly blue plastic and other dumb ideas.
e22 – Widgets
Sep 12, 2015 • 68 min
In this episode we talk about all kinds of widgets, gadgets, and little software thingamabobs. We discuss what qualifies as an app, how to hack together a Konfabulator widget, and hardware accelerated ripples.
e21 – Pixel doubling with Brian Brasher
Aug 29, 2015 • 50 min
We’re joined by visual artist and and icon/emoji creator Brian Brasher, perhaps better known as Etherbrian. We talk about making vectors and pixels of all sorts, getting $2 in the mail from strangers, the genius of bell peppers, and various objects worn…
e20 – Adium
Aug 15, 2015 • 63 min
This episode we explore the history of Adium, the venerable open-source messaging app for OS X. We trace the evolution of the duck, get Ed’s obscure feature requests implemented, and eventually move all our chat needs to iOS.
e19 – All the words with Erin McKean
Aug 1, 2015 • 66 min
This episode we talk with Erin McKean, founder of online dictionary Wordnik, about her history of processing and analyzing words with NeXT boxes, OS/2, and the Mac. We discuss self-identifying as a programmer, HyperCard qualifying as math, and hardcoded…
e18 – Icon Mania!
Jul 18, 2015 • 91 min
This episode we cover 30 years of icon design, from black and white pixel art all the way to today’s gorgeous, full-screen, retina eye candy. Along the way we encounter some FatBits, creatures that go “Moof!”, and deep levels of icon-ception.
e17 – Ten Fun Utilities
Jun 20, 2015 • 59 min
Brian and Ed share their top ten picks of fun “utilities” for the classic Mac. Ranging from useful to totally impractical, we cover flying toasters, beloved muppets, butchers of song, and more.
e16 – Myst
Jun 5, 2015 • 90 min
This episode we link back to Myst Island, scene of one of the all-time classic games to be developed and premiere on the Mac. We discuss our impressions of Myst’s gameplay and greater mythology, have an Accidental Incomparable episode about The Myst…
e15 – Iconic with Jonathan Zufi
May 23, 2015 • 72 min
This episode we talk with Jonathan Zufi, creator of Shrine of Apple and Iconic: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation. He tells us about his Apple II clone from down under, coming back to the Mac after a long hiatus, and — of course — how he tracked…
e14 – The History of iTunes, part 2
May 9, 2015 • 122 min
Our history of iTunes continues, picking up with major updates introduced in version 4 and making it all the way to the present day. We discuss awkward definitions of podcasting, ill-fated products and features, and serious controversy in icon design.
e13 – The History of iTunes, part 1
Apr 25, 2015 • 97 min
We chronicle the launch and early history of iTunes, from the acquisition of SoundJam up through version 3.0. Along the way we unearth bizarre Apple web services, people go crazy over burn folders, and Steve Jobs slips up.
e12 – Music on the Classic Mac
Apr 11, 2015 • 98 min
Before streaming, we listened to music on our Macs from CDs and low-quality MP3s found in shady corners of the Internet. This episode, Ed and Brian tell the Audion story, declare themselves children of the filesystem generation, and struggle to pronounce…
e11 – Triumph of the Nerds, part 3
Mar 29, 2015 • 60 min
We conclude our coverage of Triumph of the Nerds, finally reaching the famous “sugar water” quote. Come learn how Microsoft did everything right, Apple permanently lost its soul, and Oracle wound up dominating the internet…or not.
e10 – Triumph of the Nerds, part 2
Mar 21, 2015 • 41 min
This is the episode when we don’t talk about Apple much. (Sorry!)
e9 – Triumph of the Nerds, part 1
Mar 14, 2015 • 58 min
We embark on watching the classic PBS documentary mini-series Triumph of the Nerds. We learn a little we didn’t know about the early history of Apple, get excited with Woz, and facepalm with Jobs over the many offensive things that got said and done in…
e8 – Escape Velocity
Feb 28, 2015 • 80 min
We go on a galactic adventure with one of our favorite Mac shareware games, Escape Velocity by Ambrosia Software. We encounter delightful pop culture references, everyone’s favorite parrot space pirate, and — of course — the most destructive forklift in…
e7 – Early Internet
Feb 14, 2015 • 88 min
We remember how we first got on the internet on the Mac in the early 90s (hint: it came on a floppy disk in the mail). Then we recall the rise and fall of eWorld, getting Sherlocked, and other classic Mac OS internet essentials.
e6 – Keyboards
Jan 31, 2015 • 85 min
Our first foray into Macintosh hardware, we examine a part of the Mac we often take for granted: the keyboard. We wind back the clock all the way to the Apple II to uncover all sorts of oddities including the BELL key, “open Apple”, buckling switches, and…
e5 – At Ease
Jan 17, 2015 • 52 min
We revisit At Ease, the multiple user management system in System 7. Our discussion of its interface leads us on a historical journey through Apple’s 22-year quest to perfect a grid of buttons.
e4 – Merryxmas
Dec 24, 2014 • 25 min
In a stocking-stuffer-sized holiday special we remember Merryxmas and other HyperCard viruses. Happy holidays!
e3 – Kaleidoscope scheming
Dec 13, 2014 • 52 min
Ed tells the story of his efforts to make System 7 look like Yosemite by creating his own Kaleidoscope scheme. In the process, he remembers just how painful it was to work in a fragile, crashy, data-loss-prone OS.
e2 – Kaleidoscope
Nov 29, 2014 • 68 min
We revisit the golden age of Mac interface customization: the development of the Kaleidoscope control panel, the extensive Kaleidoscope scheme archive, and the limited possibilities for theming in OS X.
e1 – Startup Chime
Nov 15, 2014 • 50 min
Our first episode takes a tour of the Macintosh startup chime, from drilling holes in a prototype Mac case in 1982 to the current chime we’ve known and loved since 1999.