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Apple History At folklore.org 223

Posted by timothy
from the fun-reading dept.
oaklybonn writes "Andy Hertzfeld seems to be the primary author on this fascinating site, which details many of his experiences in the Macintosh (Bicycle??) development efforts. It includes such choice commentary as: "we were amazed that such a thoroughly bad game could be co-authored by Microsoft's co-founder, and that he would actually want to take credit for it in the comments.", on a page describing a game bundled with the original IBM PC." Reader themexican adds "As a plus, Hertzfeld notes in the faq that the python code running the well-designed and easy to navigate site will be made public in the near future."
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Apple History At folklore.org

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  • Mac Anniversary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ahacop@wmuc.umd.edu (63340) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @03:46AM (#8097662)
    So, what happened with the rumors of a special announcement on Monday in commemorate the Mac's anniversary?
  • Folklore (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mad.frog (525085) <steven AT crinklink DOT com> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @03:50AM (#8097680)
    "As a plus, Hertzfeld notes in the faq that the python code running the well-designed and easy to navigate site will be made public in the near future."

    Cool. This looks like a neat software setup for a website. I'll be interested in trying it out after it gets released.
  • Love Andy Hertzfeld (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:03AM (#8097717) Journal
    Met him at the West Coast Computer show in Vancouver demoing Thunderscan around '86 or so, and he had the exact same green shirt on that I was wearing.

    The man is a Geek God. Turning a printer into a scanner? Sheer genius.

  • Re:Folklore (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:04AM (#8097726)
    Assuming its the site software that's causing the slowdown, he could stand to improve the code to better withstand a slashdot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:06AM (#8097731)
    Actually it seems to be holding up quite well, it's just a bit slow.

    PHP would have puked its guts all over the place by now.
  • Re:Bicycle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kfg (145172) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:13AM (#8097761)
    You also have to understand the energy crisis culture at the time the fact that more scientific research went into bicycles in the previous ten years than probably all of thier history previous.

    It was right about at that time that the number of bicycles in America once again outnumbered cars.

    In 1980 in think there like 10,000 people in America who had ever heard of the Tour de France. In 1984 it was nearly as commonly known as the World Series.

    Bicycle was actually a buzzword.

    There is a species of albatros that lives entirely at sea for months at a time, generally soaring at little more than wave hight. It is so adapted to this enviroment and so efficeint in flight that it can sleep while so soaring.

    Even though water is a dense medium animals that are adapted to it do not have to expend energy supporting their own weight. I've got the chart from MIT around here somewhere, but can't lay hands on it immediately, as I recall the dolphin and tuna and salmon topped the list for animal motion by its own power (a soaring bird may use little energy, but that's because it's not doing much of anything. Air and gravity are.) A Portugese Man-o-War simply floats with the tide, as a man in an innertube might. Torpor is very energy efficient.

    So what animal is the most efficeint will change with your definition of "motion."

    It is interesting to note, however, that not only is a man on a bicycle more energy efficient than a swimming dolphin, but he is more energy efficient than the same man riding a horse.

    This is why the invention of the bicycle was such a stunning technological step that transformed society even before the advent of the motor car. The first smooth paved roads were made for the bicycle. The cars uspurped them.

    KFG
  • by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:14AM (#8097763) Homepage Journal
    I was watching CNN the other day and they were doing a small segment about the Mac anniversary and showed the 1984 commercial. It was the first time I noticed this, but the running girl seems to be wearing an iPod on her hip.
  • by Becho62282 (172807) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:22AM (#8097792)
    I think one of the reasons Apple's UI's have always been favored by their users is their simplicity, and at the same time their high level of sofistication.

    Making a UI easy enough for a first time user to just turn the machine on and instantly have things act like they would like them to, or expect them to has always been a feature that Windows never accomplished. I remember sitting and using a Mac for the first time when I was 6 (in 1990) and I didn't need any help from our teacher to use it (no comp at home till later). It just worked and acted like I thought it should. My first Windows experiece was Win3.1 in '94 and that peice of junk just stank. My comp at home by that point was using Mac OS 7.1 and functioned amazingly while this Win3.1 thing was barely useable.

    As I grew up and PC's did too eventually Windows came to being a fairly useful OS, while it still seems to fail miserably with it's UI, it has gotten some things right. Apple has responded with the greatest UI I have ever experienced on any platform, Windows, *nix, Mac. OS 10.3 is just amazing, it's slick, user friendly, colorful (but not cheezy), and best of all IT WORKS!

    The thing that Apple has done with it's UI is amazing, it has changed with the landscape of the computing world, and always been the forefront of what every other UI seems to want to become. Sadly for the average user (aka Windose drones) they won't get to see an interface this user friendly ever. Apple just keeps pushing forward the computing experience for people, and I am glad people are starting to finally take notice
  • Re:MS co-founder? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by javiercero (518708) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:23AM (#8097795)
    LOL! Nice try at Troll dom. Actually it was Allen who wrote most of the code, and it was not DOS but BASIC. One is an operating system, the other one is a language. Actually Bill Gates did not graduate from Hardvar, and it got there due to family conections not sheer brilliantness (scion). Oh, and he claims he dropped out, officially he got in trouble with the administration because the machine him and Allen used to develope the basic code, a PDP, did not belong to them.. but rather the school. They actually moved the computer that was not their property to their dorm room, they used university property to develop a commercial language. Actually BASIC was not even their own invention, so they basically made a port of the language.

    DOS was not an MS product, they bought the code from a Seattle based company. As far as I know MS were in the compiler business before 1981, and I doubt Gates wrote a single line of DOS code, he definitively was not in any shape way or form the main architect/coder of DOS. And if you even had any remote idea about what you are saying, you'd know that the DOS that gates and CO. bought was a quick and dirty copy of CP/M-86.

    Gates may be a good marketer and commercial thug, he is by no means a decent coder. And BTW next time try harder, pulling a never existing article from Byte out of your arse is just too boring.
  • by mr100percent (57156) * on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:25AM (#8097802) Homepage Journal
    The 1984 ad [apple.com]has been sorta re-released by Apple, with the iPod added in. Looks like a pretty good post-addition, doesn't look very obvious of an edit.

  • Nostalgic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CHaN_316 (696929) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:43AM (#8097847)
    Just looked at that site, and saw the 1998 iMac [apple-history.com]. I shuddered when I saw those awful hockey puck mice that Apple chose to include with iMacs. Worst episode ever....

    At my university, they replaced them pretty quick with *REAL* mice. (Yes, I risk of sounding like a troll... but you know what I mean if you've ever used one of those mice)

    But the Macintosh Classic brought back some fond memories of elementary school. I remember sitting in computer class, and the teacher would say, now double click on clarisworks, and then she'd lecture for about 5 minutes then let us use the program.... because clarisworks took that long to load.
  • by prockcore (543967) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:44AM (#8097853)
    The reduction of mouse buttons to one makes such things as "Press the right-click... nono the button on the right... no, don't double click it, only click it once... no, press Control-Z to undo that... no, just stop touching the computer until I can come over, mom" a thing of the past.

    First of all, Apple invented the double click, which totally breaks the motif that Apple intended to create with the introduction of the mouse.

    Secondly, by getting rid of the right mouse button, Apple introduced things such as "control click.. no, control, not option.. no, not alt.. control.. yeah" You will never convince me that control clicking, or click-and-hold (which doesn't even work outside of the finder) is an adequate replacement for a second mouse button.

    Of course you can plug in a multibutton mouse into the mac and it works, this doesn't help people with laptops.

    The lack of a right mouse button and a scrollwheel on mac laptops makes things very frustrating.. and we have to resort to installing things like SideTrack to do things with the touchpad that PC touchpads do by default.

    In fact, Apple should just integrate SideTrack into the OS, or add a damn scrollwheel.

    Don't forget other UI disasters Apple is responsible for like Home and End keys that never seem to do what you expect.

    For example, in Safari, I expect that when I'm editing a text field, if I hit home, the cursor should move to the beginning of the field, not scroll to the top of the page. If I'm selecting emails in mail.app, hitting up and down selects the next and previous emails, but hitting home doesn't take me to the top of the email list, it scrolls the currently selected email.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:06AM (#8097913)
    I love the quote "Needless to say, we were not very impressed with it. From the perspective of the Macintosh that we were already in the midst of bringing to life, it seemed like ancient history the day it came out."

    Ironic that that machine immediately made the Mac ancient history...
  • by Radon Knight (684275) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:20AM (#8097955)
    Does anyone know of a site where you can download the movie and save it to disk? The ad was, I believe, directed by Ridley Scott (of Alien and Blade Runner), so I'd like to keep a copy for myself.
  • by MochaMan (30021) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:38AM (#8097988) Homepage
    They are responsible for what I am sure must have been the longest line-up in history [mac.com]!
  • by rs79 (71822) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:41AM (#8097993) Homepage
    Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote a ROM BASIC they sold to Altair/MITS, an S-100 CP/M computer with real neat switches and lights. Ironically it was written on a PDP-11 running what would ultimatly become SCO UNIX. The Altair was a neat machine, but no it didn't run Linux and no you wouldn't like to see a Beowolf cluster of them.

    Microsft DOS came from Seattle Computer Products QDOS; MS licensed QDOS-86, told IBM they had an exclusive (a lie) and the rest was history.

    QDOS was a bad clone of CP/M, which was written by Gary Kildall of Digital Research, which was sold to Novell which was sold to Caldera, now SCO. Gary originally worked at Shugart and, lucky devil that he was, ended up with a very expensive 8" floppy drive. He decided to write a disk loader for it, hence "Disk Operating System" or "DOS". The rest of us loaded software from casette tapes using the BIOS; disk drives were very evry expensive.

    Back in the day, Digital Reaserch sold Operating Systems and Microsoft sold languages. When DR decided to sell a langauge around '83 the rumor was MS retaliated by selling an OS. The motivation may be a myth, but it was a popular one back then.

    Gates pubilshed some undocumented Z-80 instructions in, I think, Dr. Dobbs. It was the last usefull thing he ever did.

  • Mac information (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aarku (151823) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:54AM (#8098024) Journal
    http://everymac.com/ [everymac.com] has some good Macintosh information, specs, and history.
  • by prockcore (543967) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:57AM (#8098033)
    But with multitasking, all the windows from different programs are on the desktop, yet there is no visual mapping from the menubar to its associated windows in the foreground program.

    This is true. The single menu bar does save space, and it is consistent (two bonuses in my book), but it does feel like it isn't part of the app. I think that most users forget the menu is even up there.

    To many people, the toolbar has become the menubar.. originally the toolbar was a place to put the most common things from the menubar, but now it has become a place to jam everything. The menubar has become almost completely redundant.

    It also violates HIG which says that UI elements shouldn't ever be context sensitive. i.e. a button shouldn't disappear and reappear based on what you are doing (it should grey out instead).
  • by kinnell (607819) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @06:14AM (#8098076)
    In the end, the PC's open architecture that led it to be the computer platform of choice

    I think you'll find that it was IBM's name that made it the platform of choice - IBM had a reputation for business computing, therefore the IBM PC was a serious computer. It took a long time for the PC architecture to become open, and this happened long after the PC was the platform of choice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @06:55AM (#8098200)
    IMHO, there's more to that design decision that you think. The fact that the Mac's menu bar is placed at the top of the screen makes it a lot easier to point at with the mouse, because you simply cannot move the mouse pointer too far. This makes it far superior in terms of usability that Windows-style menus at the top of each window.

    But by exactly the same argument it is a horrible mistake to have min/max buttons and scroll bars on each window. The scroll bars should be at the very right of the screen, and min/max buttons at the top of the screen.

    Design is always about compromise. Jef did some great work, but again: don't forget that his original studies were done with the premise of a single-tasking system.

    The 1 or 2 button mouse preference comes down to the same thing. No, he did NOT prove that a 1 button mouse "is better". What they did show is that under the presumption that it is more important for a novice (who is unlikely to ever control-click or command-click) to use the system than a power user, then it is better to have a one-button mouse. This lead to the compromise that many power users have to put up with a single button on their trackpads, or lug around an extra mouse with their laptop.

    Jef has also published a lot of nonsense IMHO, like "red being a bad color for the close button since it attracts attention".
  • by kfg (145172) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @07:25AM (#8098302)
    The computer was open architecture. A collection of parts, with the capability of freely swapping those parts out for others from any vendor. Those parts themselves, such as the Intel chips, were freely available on the open market. Making an IMB PC clone is no more "plagerizing" than making a car would be.

    The BIOS was propriatary and it was the clean room reverse engineering of such that allowed the true clone.

    KFG
  • by Schwarzchild (225794) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @07:33AM (#8098329)
    Anybody have any idea what happened to this wizard of the Macintosh?
  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @08:54AM (#8098548) Journal
    For whatever reason, Apple apparently did away with most of the Human Interface Guidelines somewhere between Mac OS 8 and Mac OS X. As a result, things are now much more complicated than they need to be. So, if there is a problem with something in Mac OS 9/Mac OS X, blame Apple... not the Human Interface Guidelines they should have been following.

    I agree. I cannot figure out what motivated it. Changes could have easily been made without throwing the whole thing out.

    Anyone know what happened politically at Apple that resulted in such a change in UI design (from design-for-ultra-usability to design-for-eye-candy)?
  • by This is outrageous! (745631) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:25AM (#8099202)
    Serendipity... Just yesterday I came across folklore.org via John Gruber [daringfireball.net] by way of Rainer Brockerhoff [brockerhoff.net] who added this observation of Chris Hanson [livejournal.com]: in 20 years, from the Macintosh 128 to the dual G5, the specs increased thus:
    CPU frequency: 512-fold

    RAM: 4096-fold
    Removable storage: 1792-fold
    VRAM: 3066-fold
    Network speed: 4551-fold
    Mouse buttons: 1-fold
    Price: 1.015-fold
    i.e., they kept the price point.

    As it happens, while advising a friend on how much memory to buy in 2004, I had just looked at how Apple's nominal RAM stacks up against Moore's Law. Pretty much confirmed, if you ask me:

    1976: $ 666, 8 kB (
    Apple I [wikipedia.org])
    1980: $1200, 32 kB (Apple II+ [apple2history.org])
    1984: $2500, 128 kB (Macintosh [everymac.com])
    1987: $2000, 512 kB (Macintosh 512k [everymac.com])
    1990: $1500, 2 MB (Macintosh Classic [everymac.com])
    1993: $1440, 8 MB (Macintosh Quadra [everymac.com])
    1998: $1300, 32 MB (iMac G3 [everymac.com])
    2001: $1500, 128 MB (iBook G3 [everymac.com])
    2004: ?
  • by kfg (145172) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:25AM (#8099204)
    And before I was researching bicycle dynamics (didn't really learn much about bicycles, but I learned a lot about data acquisition since I had to scratch build all my testing gear) I was a kid in Vermont shoveling shit in exchange for riding time.

    Another reason the bicycle ended the reign of the horse. And all that shit happens because an idle horse burns fuel and requires maintainence, a lot of it.

    Bicycles don't run up $3000 dollar vet bills and then die anyway either.

    KFG
  • by MoneyT (548795) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @02:01PM (#8101798) Journal
    Anyone know what happened politically at Apple that resulted in such a change in UI design (from design-for-ultra-usability to design-for-eye-candy)?


    A need to sell. Apple had been promising OS X for many many years (not always in that name) and had failed to deliver. There were lots of high expectations, and when writing a new OS like this, it's obvious your first version released is not going to be up to par. As such, they needed something pretty. Something that looked astheticaly pleaseing to offset the lack of comfort from a sub-par version. And so they generated OS X without a lot of the HIG and a lot of flare. And it worked. You'll notice that the flare has over the past revisions been toned down, and the usability has come back. In all, it was a trade off untill they could get some really well optimized code.

Never make anything simple and efficient when a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.

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