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Anyone want to build an Apple? Here's your chance!… - CERisE's Testing for L — LiveJournal

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February 1st, 2006

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05:43 pm
Anyone want to build an Apple? Here's your chance!

Anyone rich and collecting boxes? Here's your chance!
Current Mood: wishing I was rich...

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 2nd, 2006 09:54 pm (UTC)
You know why I'll never give up? Because I'm a hopeless romantic.

Those systems were exceptional for their time. In each one of those systems, there's some "a-ha!" moment where some engineers realized how they were going to beat the limitations of the time. To ignore that and judge everything by the modern day is to ultimately consign all human efforts to the abyss. It is to take all art and declare it not just useless, but a waste of time. In this case, it especially isn't.

I don't have any fantasy of having a museum. That's for people better funded than I. All I want is a collection which will remind me of the giants whose shoulders I stand upon.

Incidentally -- one of my greatest triumphs -- the design of Ultimate's first filesystem came as I sat in bed and wondered what Gary Kildall would have done (he beats the hell out of Brian Boitano anyway).

To paraphrase an inscription on a collection of Jules Verne stories, don't lose the spirit which moved those systems. They propelled us to the present day.

Besides, the old stuff frequently runs better ; )
[User Picture]
Date:February 3rd, 2006 04:58 am (UTC)
True. Reading on http://www.folklore.org/ (the creation of the Macintosh, written by the people who created it) has been fascinating -- I do it once every couple of months. The most interesting articles are when they have to solve a new problem. Although they don't tell how they do it (not that I'd understand), it's still fascinating.

For instance, creating the rounded rectangle primitive, or backporting the mouse to the Apple II and ensuring that the cursor doesn't flicker.

It's also cool to learn about how young idealistic hackers being controlled by bean counters (my favorite story involves said legume-trackers deciding that the more lines of code added per day, the higher the coder's efficiency -- until one vastly improved a section of code and wrote "-2000" on his log).

Or that a demo coded for the original Mac 128K had a couple hundred sprites bouncing smoothly around the screen at the same time. That blows my mind -- it's depressing to think about how much power we squander on software bloat because many coders no longer seem to feel the need to maximize efficiency, given the colossal levels of resources we now have...

At the same time, there's the looming tragedy in the background -- the Lisa. The history of the Macintosh is a series of obstacles (whether human or technological) overcome through resourcefulness. The Lisa is mentioned only as a comparison: "The Lisa team, at that time, was working on $ILL_FATED_EXPERIMENT." Some hard emotional moments come when the over-funded and micromanaged, struggling Lisa team realizes just how much more advanced the Mac team is, even with no bean counters, virtually no management, and little funding.

And that's just one machine -- the Mac 128K -- that I've never really had any interest in. NeXT must have similar stories -- working with Adobe, the magneto-optical drive fiasco, Jobs repainting the factory dozens of times to get the right shade of gray... and Silicon Graphics? That's a tragedy, right there. They got delisted from the NYSE last year because their stock is worth shit now. Bill Joy's days at Sun, discovering the SPARC processor. Or the tragedy of Amiga, the interesting RISC-PCs, et cetera.

I don't really mean, by using the term "museum," anything different from what you have. I don't want my NeXTStation behind glass, I mean. Basically, just a collection of the brightest stars. I have no desire for an Osbourne or Kaypro or even an original Apple I (not that I could afford it). I don't really want anything in chronological order or showing the development of the UNIX family tree or even one machine that dodeca-tuple boots all the versions of DOS and Windows and OS/2. I don't feel the need to have an SGI Indigo2 R4400 next to an SGI Indigo2 R4600, et cetera. I just want a few outstanding machines that I think best exemplified the abilities of the architects and programmers that seem to be such a rare breed nowadays.

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