Ray Remembers When


Did I ever tell you about my million dollar invention? It was called an Appleiance, and was the first of three or four gadgets I and another guy thought up. The original idea was mine, and I truly believe that had I gotten it to the market I could very well have made a million. I'll tell you about it and see what you think, since it is too late now to worry about.

Picture a jumper cable which essentially brings the game connector pins out the back of the computer all nicely shielded and clamped to the signal ground in the computer. This stub-jumper is terminated on the outside end with the largest type of Standard Modular connector available, which is an 8 pin or 11 pin version, if I remember correctly.

Now, whatever you wish to connect to the game connector is connected to a SMJ. The "thing" connected via this cable is also equipped with the same kind of SMJ arrangement, so that one only needs one cable to connect anything to the game port.

This "invention" was innovative by itself to get anyone I told about it excited, but is only a convenient way to hook the real invention to an Apple. Picture a highly polished plastic Apple with a bite out of the side and a stem sticking out of the top with a leaf or two. If possible, the apple is the same colors as "the" apple. The pushbuttons are nestled in the hollow of the bite out of the side. The stem is the joystick handle. It sits in the palm of your hand, with your "trigger fingers" providing both grip and manipulation of the push buttons and the cable which is plugged into the bottom, trailing out the hollow at the inside of the wrist where it meets the palm of your hand, while your other hand works the Stem-Joystick.

This was just the first of a line of "Appeliances" to be marketed using this cable scheme. I talked to Bob Marsh of Processor Tech fame for an hour the last time I saw him, but neither of us could find anyone we could trust that could put up the $30,000 to $50,000 in injection mold development and another equal amount for initial marketing efforts. You see, the trouble with the damn thing was that it is not patentable. It might have been copyrightable, but I just knew that if I went to somebody that could put up the money, they would simply tell me to take a hike and develop it for themselves.

Thinking back on it now, I know that the person to approach would have been Steve Wozniak. He would have backed me and taken no more back than was fair.