Why devote 2 hours a week of observations on realtime industry entropy as Apple mimics Atari and Commodore? I couldn't do a website when those companies were going under - so Apple's the darling of the day. Plus it's an easy write to boot after doing time with NeXT and Apple at Alembic Systems and Quark Inc., and many shops that used Macs during the Pre-press publishing heyday of the late 80's and early 90's.
This site was begun as a writing exercise shortly after I stopped using Mac's myself after nearly 10 years, to switch to Windows 95 and NT. Suddenly more things got done, things crashed less, and the service with IBM on my own ThinkPad is great. Something that comes in handy when a glass of Merlot spills into the keyboard during a bar-writing session (took less than 4 days to fix and was all paid for by IBM). Seeing Apple's current nosedive in service, I shudder to think what-if I had been using a PowerBook instead. However I began to notice something. If my own migration path was easy - why was there so much chatter claiming otherwise? Time to have some fun!
It's beyond easy to point out that a lot of what is fashionably told by the MacJihad as "fact", is either far from it - or worse - smacks of historical revisionism. Case in point: One popular myth that piles up in my e-mailbox and throughout the web is "that if it wasn't for Apple and the Mac - the whole GUI metaphor wouldn't have taken root - and everyone would have been using MSDOS". Suffice it to say this is beyond bunk and here's why.
Fact: GEOS was the GUI released for the C64 and C128 in 1985. It took the group longer than a year to make it of course. GEOS is still used in some PDA's today.
Fact 2: Steve Jobs, head of the Lisa team (the name Lisa was derived from his illegitamate daughter who was born around then) initiated the Lisa computer first after the famous Xerox Parc visit in 1979. Not the Macintosh. Steve was thrown off the project by the Apple board, and Steve then aquired the Mac project from Jeff Raskin. Aquired is a polite term which should be replaced by - outright stole. Jeff left Apple shortly, totally pissed. Everything Steve saw at Xerox went to the Lisa first - the Mac second (as did many employees of the Lisa group like Bill Atkinson). The Lisa was later re-released as the Macintosh XL to sell-off the remaining inventory after it's unfortunate debut at $10,000.00. (f2)
Fact 3: The Xerox Alto is often cited as a, "never released computer which has nothing to do with the first mass market GUI". That's true - but the Xerox Star based on that tech WAS released in 1981 and even had a user group meeting in 1998 showing off old, but working machines. Microsoft purchased one of these machines in 1981 for R&D at 15 thousand dollars.(f1)(f2)(f3)
Fact 4: VisiOn was from VisiCorp makers of VisiCalc - and was running on an IBM PC. It was that version that scared the crap out of Bill Gates and began his charge to windows. It was showcased at COMDEX in Nov. 1982. In April of 1983, two Microsoft developers had a prototype of Windows called the Interface Manager based on the R&D from the Xerox Star - and more importantly VisiOn which it resembled. (f3)
Fact 5: The Amiga was in development from Amiga corp (they sold joysticks to stay afloat) and was eventually obtained a contract from Atari for operating capital. There was a huge stink (and lawsuit) from Trammel when the group later went with Commodore during the Atari/Warner split. Amiga Corp was around as early as 1982 as early blueprints show, as were the many Atari Inc., vets developing the system who previously made the Atari 8 bit line of computers as well as the Atari 2600/VCS.(f4)
Fact 6: Atari's OS GEM was done by Digital Research the makers of CPM. It was in development as far back as 1983, and was taken up by Atari Corp in late 1984, 1985 to run damage control on the Amiga fiasco by Trammel ex-head of Commodore - neo head of Atari Corp (circa 1984).(f4)
The upshot is everyone in the business was going GUI nuts. To claim Mac was the first blows a lot of history into the revisionist file in a most pompous and idiotic display of behavior. If Apple had tanked after the Apple III fiasco - VisiCorp, Microsoft, Commodore, or even Digital Research and Atari Corp., could have taken this populist myth - IF - it wasn't for the fact that Xerox had already beaten everyone with areleased to the public GUI platform that everyone and their aunt purchased and dissected. Lord knows what would have happened if Xerox followed up the Star's release with something more affordable akin to the Lisa/Mac bloodline.(f1)(f3)
None of this is suprising, because it's just one symptom of a bigger disease. Those that invest too much emotionalism into Apple tend to either forget what the hell was going on around that time (for sophist historical revisionism and myth building) - and worse - have no clue as to what the computer world has moved onto, or where it's going. Instead they prefer to chat in isolated groups pushed on by 80's marketing tactics known as evangelism. Ironcially, it's created a religious fervor that's even more annoying than the time when Amiga users were infiltrating and bugging every online user who would say bad-word-one about Commodore or the Amiga. Now this out of control rah-rahism has spread to the internet where every rabid-foaming-at-the-mouth MacJihad member can spam e-mail to every journalist who at least attempts some kind of balanced reporting about Apple - and it's woes. (FYI - obviously I'm not balanced - just biased).
The punch-line is the MacJihad's own words, "Wintel users just don't get it". Suffice it to say that with 97% of the planet using Wintel - and 99% of the business community using Wintel - you don't have to gloat far for the irony in the sentiment. In any case, At the ADC you'll find a few hundred words a week about another isolated computer company - using outdated hardware and outdated marketing messages - getting pummled by the market, and a play by play on what it all means for the future of Apple and it's userbase. Just call me a pro to the con-job.
Enjoy or ignore,-mgabrys
"My computer is a tool - not a "buddy"" - Katherine M. 1996.
(a) After 6 years in advertising - I know what trademark laws and artwork usage and copyright laws mean. Everything here is legal - so fuck off.
(b) My employers don't care about this site nor does this site about them - so fuck off again.
(c) I don't use Mac's for this site's creation of course - it was done on an old Micron P133, and largely on my ThinkPad 365ED. I still try to avoid Macs as much as I can - but have seen the new OS's through the odd backwater office that has them lying around - so fuck off re: "you don't know squat about OS 8.1XX.XX.XX revZ - we really fixed the bugs this time around - sorry it won't run on your 680X0 or Mac Clone".
(d) I don't condone hacking or spamming of message groups or individuals - nor does the ADC tolerate such abuse. Anyone who wishes to engage the ADC in such conduct, will find the ADC takes pride in reporting abuses to the appropriate authorities.
(f1) Xerox - Fumbling the Future.
(f2) Apple by Jim Carlton (1997) - Also covered in Steve Jobs-the Journey is the Reward, and The Little Kingdom.
(f3) Barbarians Led by Bill Gates J.Edstrom & M. Eller (1998) - Also covered in Hard Drive and OverDrive.(f4) Too many periodicals. Start with InfoC64, Analog Computing, and any business trades of the day (1984)