Screw Bjarne

In the world of programming languages, Danish computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup is a very well-known and respected name. Stroustrup has not only been the head of AT&T Bell Labs’ “Large-scale Programming Research” department for many years but he is also the father of the widely used object-oriented C++ programming language, that he officially released in 1983.

At the end of the Eighties Apple developers decided to start supporting the new language in the Mac Programmer’s Workshop (MPW), at the time the official IDE to create Macintosh software.

Screw BjarneThe effort wasn’t without hitches and C++’s logic caused bouts of frustration, vented in some funny ways. Among them was a “Talking Bjarne” application and most of all the production a of a geeky t-shirt featuring a picture of Stroustrup’s head pierced by a giant screw.

According to Landon Dyer, who made the t-shirt, the image was meant to be an irreverent statement around the fact that he thought that C++ was really “screwed up”, although the message which actually came through was a more direct, and liberating, “Screw Bjarne”.

When Stroustrup came to Apple to give a lecture, Dyer gave him one of the t-shirts and apparently the father of C++ wasn’t angry and seemed delighted to have made such a strong impression on Infinite Loop’s developers.

The image is taken from geekt.org/geekt/comment.cgi?newsid=1195

Tuesday 09 February 2016, 12:29 pm
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The Apple III, Steve Jobs and Jerry Manock

Filed under: Hardware,People

Apple’s first computer designed for the enterprise market, the first not engineered by Steve Wozniak. And Infinite Loop’s first major failure

The Apple III went down as a costly and embarrassing failure. It tarnished Apple’s image and contributed to lose a good chunk of the precious market lead the Cupertino company had conquered with the Apple II.

Announced in May 1980, but made available only several months later, the Apple III was sold at prices ranging from 4000 to 7000 USD, depending on the configuration. It was a professional machine partially compatible with the Apple II, an 8 bit computer also powered by the same 6502 CPU, but with a higher clock. It also had more RAM, a higher screen resolution, built-in disk drives and a keyboard featuring upper and lowercase keys and a numeric keypad.

The often quoted story about the Apple III goes that it was a failure because of Steve Jobs’ unreasonable demands, most of all his dislike for fans, whose addition he forbade. This design choice supposedly caused such overheating and malfunctions that Apple was forced to replace 14000 units, even after having users perform odd procedures to try and fix the computer.

It’s undeniable that the Apple III hardware had some kind of serious problem, but in 2007 the original case co-designer, Jerry Manock, refuted the case design flaw charges and set the record straight, partially absolving Steve Jobs. (more…)

Tuesday 02 February 2016, 1:00 pm
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Must-have apps: TenFourFox

Filed under: Software

If you have an old Macintosh with a PowerPC CPU and you want to browse the modern world wide web, you have only one reasonable choice: 10.4Fx, better known as TenFourFox.

TenFourFox: A fork of Mozilla Firefox ESR 38 for the Power Macintosh and Mac OS X Tiger PowerPC

It’s an acclaimed and heroic port of Firefox written by Power Mac users and maintained by Power Mac users, “still out there keeping your Power Mac relevant in an Intel world”.
As I write this text the current version of TenFourFox incorporates “the latest bug fixes and security improvements plus all the powerful technology underlying Mozilla Firefox 38 ESR“.

But let’s take a step back. (more…)

Wednesday 11 November 2015, 2:00 pm
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The Lisa/Macintosh XL, one of the “most unforgettable old Macs”

Filed under: Hardware

This summer I noticed a question on Quora, asking “What are the most unforgettable old Mac computers?”

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While most of the answers (predictably) waxed poetic about mainstays such as original or the G4 iMac, the TAM (Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh), the Portable or some odd but cool looking model such as the Macintosh TV, I chose to go against the grain and listed the following choices:

-) Macintosh XL: Lisa born again as a Macintosh and a indespensable development tool in the early years
 
-) Macintosh SE/30: fast and powerful, but still compact as the first one
 
-) Macintosh Quadra 900/950: the biggest, heaviest, baddest Mac ever
 
-) PowerBook Duos: coupled with the DuoDock they were a groundbreaking concept
 
-) white iBooks/PowerBooks with IBM G3 processors: insanely great battery life for the time
 

Shrine Of Apple: Lisa Pascal Workshop 3.0

While the speed and power of the SE/30 or Quadras are a well-known fact and many have lauded the virtues of old PowerBooks (I am among those) I think I should expand a bit and offer more context on the first item, i.e. the importance of Lisa/Mac XL during the early years of the Macintosh’s life.

When in January 23 1985 Apple renamed the Lisa 2/10 to Macintosh XL, thanks to the addition of MacWorks XL, a Lisa program that allowed 64K Macintosh ROM emulation, it stressed the Lisa/XL had way more memory and storage space than the early 128K/512K Macs. (more…)

Tuesday 27 October 2015, 4:22 pm
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One year of Stories of Apple on Tumblr

Filed under: News

Back in July last year I announced the birth of a brand new resource for “quotes, memorable images and assorted tidbits from Appleā€™s history”: Stories of Apple on Tumblr.

Stories of Apple on Tumblr - header

One year later, I’m proud to announce that it has gathered close to 7200 followers and amassed more than 600 posts in its archive, which you can peruse, like and retumblr.

Moreso: the posts are all thouroughly and painstakingly tagged by yours truly so you can not only see content about – let’s say – the Lisa, Sir Jonathan Ive or various Apple prototypes, but you can also search for years, such as stuff that was released or happened in 1983, 1997, 2001 or 2007.

Stories of Apple on Tumblr - July 2015

I have loads of quotes, images, graphics, videos, recordings, and plan to keep going for quite a while. I am also working by accretion and will sum up some of the most interesting threads in proper and longish posts here, on the Stories of Apple website.

In the meantime thank you for reading, reblogging, commenting, suggesting, submitting and pointing out mistakes. And if you’re not doing it (yet) follow Stories of Apple on Tumblr!

Wednesday 08 July 2015, 12:00 pm

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