Steve Silberman has a nice piece on Susan Kare, the woman who designed the original icons for the Macintosh, including a never-before-seen look at her initial sketches for some of them.
Inspired by the collaborative intelligence of her fellow software designers, Kare stayed on at Apple to craft the navigational elements for Mac’s GUI. Because an application for designing icons on screen hadn’t been coded yet, she went to the University Art supply store in Palo Alto and picked up a $2.50 sketchbook so she could begin playing around with forms and ideas. In the pages of this sketchbook, which hardly anyone but Kare has seen before now*, she created the casual prototypes of a new, radically user-friendly face of computing - each square of graph paper representing a pixel on the screen.
Larry Magid reviewed the original Macintosh in the LA Times in 1984. Here’s his original review.
Like the Lisa, it uses a hand-held “mouse” — a small pointing device which enables the user to select programs, and move data from one part of the screen to another. Also like the Lisa, Macintosh uses a black and white display screen whose resolution is so high that it can quickly draw detailed pictures while at the same time display crisp and readable text.
At 70, writer Charles Bukowski started using a computer — a Macintosh IIsi that his wife gave him for Christmas — and was so taken with it that he never went back to the typewriter.
There is something about seeing your words on a screen before you that makes you send the word with a better bite, sighted in closer to the target. I know a computer can’t make a writer but I think it makes a writer better. Simplicity in writing and simplicity in getting it down, hot and real. When this computer is in the shop and I go back to the electric, it’s like trying to break rock with a hammer. Of course, the essence of writing is there but you have to wait on it, it doesn’t leap from the gut as quickly, you begin to trail your thoughts — your thoughts are ahead of your fingers which are trying to catch up. It causes a block of sorts indeed.
Apple announced newer faster Mac Pros today. They start at $2799 but you can configure them up to several thousand dollars (including software and accessories).
The really expensive bits are the 32 GB of RAM ($9100), the NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 video card ($2850), the four 15,000 RPM hard drives ($800 each), the two 30” Cinema Displays ($1700 each), a Fibre Channel Card ($1000), and an unlimited-client copy of Mac OS X Server ($999).
That’s a lot of money but you’ve got to remember that in addition to satisfying your computing needs well into the next decade, this baby will heat your entire house and provide a metal cooktop surface hot enough to prepare meals on. Mmm, 15,000 RPM omelettes! (thx, jake)
Update: Wow, configuring the new Xserve is even more expensive; adding all the possible options runs the price to over $83,000, which includes a $12,000 RAID array and $50,000 Mac OS X Server software support. $50K for support? Does Jobs come fix it himself?
Google recently announced that a bunch of companies (aka the Open Handset Alliance) were getting together to make cell phones that run on an open platform called Android. That was a couple of days ago so maybe someone else has already made the imperfect comparison between this and Mac vs. PC circa 1984, but if not:
Or perhaps Steven Frank has it right:
A 34-company committee couldn’t create a successful ham sandwich, much less a mobile application suite.
The 2007 MacTech 25 “honors the most influential people in the Macintosh community”. Includes a single woman.
Good new series of ads for Apple; “Get a Mac”. I’m pretty sure the chap playing the PC is John Hodgman (author, Daily Show correspondent, This American Life commentator, former literary agent, monthly readings holder, hobo expert). Can anyone confirm? (via df)
Update: According to MacRumors, the Mac is played by Justin Long.
Update #2: Yep, seems to be Hodgman.
Some interesting photomosaics. This one of Steve Jobs is made of OS X icons and this woman is a collage of Macs and other Apple products.
Profile of designer/illustrator/photographer Michael Elins and how he uses Macs to get his work done. “It’s hard for someone like me to talk about technology, because the Mac has gotten to the point where it’s a nonissue. Its so good and so fluid, so fast and so freaking reliable that it becomes something I really take for granted.”
The iTunes 5 Announcement From the Perspective of an Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal User Interface Theme. If you’re a Mac nerd, you’ll love this because it’s pretty damn funny and if you’re not, you probably won’t get it.