Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

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Monday, February 21, 2005

Fascinating early Apple stories

I've never been that terribly interested in the many books that have come out over the years about Apple; I never bought a one.

But having grown up in the Silicon Valley, witnessing it all happening around me, and having been an early user of Apples and Macs when I was in grade school and high school, it's hard not to be somewhat interested. Of course, the Mac platform is an integral part of my life now, and has been for almost 20 years.

Today I use it for nearly every aspect of my life, from listening to music, managing my accounts, purchasing books and many other things, viewing and sorting and editing my photos, writing and editing, watching movies, listening to the radio, and communicating with my friends and family. Not to mention that my livelihood depends on Macs.

Considering the extent to which I use Macs in my life today, and for how long I've been using them (I remember using the little 128k with the 7-inch black and white monitor, and no internal hard drive, everything fitting on one tiny floppy), perhaps it's strange that I've never been that interested in the history that brought it all about.

This changed somewhat when I ran across folklore.org the other day and spent about two hours reading stories about the early days of the Mac, written by the guys who were there.

I was particularly interested to read about Steve Jobs' yelling at Bill Gates about stealing the Mac's mouse and interface ideas for Windows, about when Andy Hertzfeld learned who was responsible for a particularly embarassing game on the PC, and Jobs' (in)famous Reality Distortion Field.

Floklore.org lays it all bare. It's honest and forthright, at one moment showing an obvious pride in some of Apple's great accomplishments, at the next moment recalling the poorly-handled Stalin-esque mass firing of most of the Apple II team.

4 Comments

Blogger monocle_man said...

Didja catch the Cicero's reference?

http://folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Texaco_Towers.txt&sortOrder=Sort%20by%20Date&detail=medium

2/24/2005 01:33:00 PM

 
Blogger espd said...

I read the beginning of that story and didn't finish it, so thanks for telling me.

1981 or '82, I think that might be around the time I started going to Cicero's. Although it wasn't until a little later that my dad and I started going there regularly every Friday night.

Maybe I was playing Zaxxon next to the Mac guys playing Defender.

2/25/2005 03:20:00 PM

 
Blogger monocle_man said...

1981 or '82...I think that might be around the time I started wearing big boy pants. Well at least '81, maybe.

Your recent exchanges with ynnej got me thinking, am I your oldest schoolie friend? (I 'm pretty sure I'm a couple months older than Ramona.)

Wrong thread, but xyzzy was the key password in Adventure. Although I think in some versions it was replaced by a real word, maybe clover.

2/28/2005 11:16:00 PM

 
Blogger espd said...

Adventure was so long ago I don't really remember anything about it, although I did come across a printout of a game I had saved, while I was going through my old boxes in my dad's attic cleaning stuff out so he could sell his house.

The printout was a scroll of long thermal computer paper, sort of like like fax paper used to be. At my dad's IBM office, he used to have to go down to the "computer room" to get the printouts, because you played the game on your office terminal, connected to the mainframe several hundred feet and many rooms or even floors away, and nobody had their own printer back then.

So weird.

I think you are my oldest SG alum friend. I occasionally get a ping from one or two others around your time or maybe a year before, but that's maybe once every two years, so it doesn't count.

3/01/2005 10:13:00 AM

 

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