The 1982 interview with Ed by Black Enterprise Magazine
Click on the logos below to review other prominent reviews and interviews:
The original interview by Co-author Benj Edwards
One of seven black computer tech pioneers as listed in PC magazine
Check out the review of the APF Game Space Destroyers by Arcade USA
Podcast with Ravi Abbott
Founder and host of The Retro Hour
Interview with Ryan Burger
of Floppy Days
Ed's interview with the amazing Danielle Newman
In the late 1970s, a company by the name of APF Electronics released a simple cartridge based system similar to over a dozen other consoles on the market including Atari and Coleco. The console called the APF M1000 was a simple stand-alone unit that marketed for $130 USD and featured a built in game called Rocket Patrol. However the M1000 / MP1000 console became the core of what was to become The Imagination Machine.
APF blurred the lines of "Me too" consoles by introducing the APF MPA-10 expansion module. The APF M1000 / MP1000 video game console could be "docked" to the MPA-10 to create a hybrid computer. The combined unit became the APF Imagination Machine and provided the BASIC program language, keyboard, 9K of RAM and could be expanded to 17K RAM, color graphics and a built in cassette recorder.
The cassette mixed an audio track with the data track so as you were loading, a pre-recorded voice would tell you about the program. A 5-1/4" disk drive was also an optional accessory. One of the engineering minds behind the design of the MP 1000 and The Imagination Machine was an African American who grew up during the tumulus times of the seventies while living in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Ed Smith got the technology bug early on in life, repairing appliance for the folks in the neighborhood. Ed attended Westinghouse Technical High School and studied marketing and computer science and Pace University.
After studying microprocessor technology at Fairchild while developing traffic control signals at Marbelite, the computer bug hit Ed at the age of 21. He would read Popular Electronics, Popular Mechanics and Omni magazines to stay caught up in a whirlwind of technological change. Ed’s first home was Radio Row on Canal Street, NY and his second home was Radio Shack.
By 1976, Ed was hired by APF Electronics in New York to work on the next generation video game after the success of TV Fun - a variation of Pong. Ed’s role at APF included collaboration on hardware design, building the prototypes as well as Joystick and I/O port design for the MP1000 video game. The MP1000 competed directly with Atari, Magnavox and Coleco during the first generation of cartridge-based games.
By 1978, Ed and the APF design team leveraged the processing power of the MP1000 and the I/O design by Ed to add a computer console unit to the MP1000, creating the Imagination Machine personal computer.
Since his time at APF, Ed has been involved in almost every area of emerging technology with stints at Apple, Novell, Infosys Technologies and Kronos, developing global technology partner relationships that generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Ed worked with firms at the senior executive level in areas of Mainframe and Mini Computer Integration, Networking, Enterprise Application Development and Integration, Open Source Solutions, ERP, CRM, Workforce Management, Cloud Computing and Big Data.
Ed has worked with some of the top firms in the industry to deliver solutions that are seamlessly integrated. Some of the firms Ed has partnered with to deliver pervasive solutions to global clients include IBM, HP, Digital Equipment, Oracle, Microsoft, Infosys, Wipro, Unisys, SAP, Workday, Informatica, Tibco, Intel, Adobe, Amazon, Google and others. Ed has been engaged with over 200 software firms during his career.
Ed has been recognized for his early pioneering work in the video game and personal computer industry by numerous publications including Fast Company and Vintage Computing. He is listed as one of seven Black tech pioneers by PC Magazine. His book “Imagine That!” is now available on Amazon eBooks -
Ed is an active speaker at corporations and universities across the country, telling his story of being a dreamer and overcoming almost impossible odds to escape the ghetto stereotypes and eventually be hired as an African American engineer in the early 1970s. #imaginethat!