Don Lancaster, a prolific author of dozens of technical books, many of them for the Apple II, passed away on June 7. He was 83, according to an obituary published in the Gila Herald of Safford, Arizona.

Among Lancaster’s publications were the Applewriter Cookbook, a compendium of tips and tricks for the 1979 word processor and its scripting language, WPL; and the two-party Assembly Cookbook, a pair of 1984 books that introduced users to the concepts and practices of programming in assembly language.

Lancaster remained a fan of the Apple II well after its heyday. In 2006, he made a case for the simplicity and independence of the Apple II in a paper titled “Fundamental Factors Underlying Recent Technological Innovation“:

Back in the days of an Apple IIe, any reasonably swift individual could understand exactly what all 128,000 bytes of memory were up to at all times. But these days, nobody but nobody has the faintest clue what even a tiny fraction of memory in, say, a Pentium with XP is up to. And that is before the malware and trojans take over… [N]o single individual is likely to completely understand any new product development. Teams and groupwork are now apparently a must.

In 2011, Lancaster began releasing free PDFs of many of his books; those files are still available for download on his website and have now been added to the Internet Archive.

Hat tips to Forrest Mims, Kevin Greene, and Kay Savetz.

Editor & publisher of Juiced.GS, the Apple II community's longest-running print publication dedicated to the Apple II; co-host of the Star Trek podcast Transporter Lock; digital nomad at Roadbits.