If you are a techno geek and/or a Mac Geek, Foklore.org is one of the coolest sites on the net. I've already wasted a couple of hours reading the stories and I had to make myself close the browser so I could get some work done.
Created by a member of the original Mac team, Andy Hertzfeld, the site contains stories and photos written by the men and women responsible for creating the most unique personal computer in the world.
The Mac Design Team as Featured in Rolling Stone
Not only is the site full of technical facts, but it is loaded with personal stories. It's the personal side that makes the site so fascinating. Reading the recollections, you realize that there was a time when the computer industry was run by creative people who were in it for the discovery of new technology, not the money.
One of my favorite tales is the time Steve Jobs took a Mac to Bo Derek, hoping to make her a convert and possibly spark a future romance. Returning from his unsuccessful trip Steve was quickly set straight by a female friend:
"Look," she told him. "She's married. And besides, I don't know any woman who would want her name to be Bo Jobs."
When the Macintosh was finally released, the design team was photographed for Rolling Stone. Yes, the Rock and Roll magazine. Can you see Bill Gates or Michael Dell in Rolling Stone? I can't either
I'm glad I was there to witness the birth of the Personal Computer. Back then you either wrote the software you wanted, or bought a diskette in a ziploc bag with a set of xeroxed instructions. When you got stuck and called the help line, there was a good chance you would get the actual game designer, sitting in her kitchen.
Mystery House for the Apple ][. I bought my copy in a big ziploc bag.
Take a trip over to folklore.org. Andy promises it will soon feature the history and stories behind other technology projects (not just the Mac). I know I can't wait.
Lots of interesting things happening at Macworld this week. Most of them were expected, like the updates to iLife and the new Mactel computers.
But when you are on the bleeding edge of technology, along with all the interesting announcements, there are some odd ones also.
In case you don't have enough gadgets and Gizmos for your iPod. How about iPod Jeans? Despite the assurances from the article, I don't see how you can wash these things? And is this something we really need?
'til Steve Jobs gets a pair of iPod jeans in black
I love servers and networks. I just don't love the 24 hour days that go with maintaining an enterprise network. I gave up that job a decade ago and I don't miss it. Still, that doesn't keep me from following what's going on in the industry.
There is a website that tracks and ranks the worlds 500 most powerful super computers.
In November 2004 the number 7 ranked supercomputer in the world was at Virginia Tech. That computer is made by Apple.
By July of 2005 it had dropped a few slots to number 14, still not too shabby.
System X consists of 1100 Apple Xserves running OS X, clustered into one giant computing monster.
Virginia Tech has a web site devoted to System X, you can visit the site here
Ellen's switch add features a young girl telling a story of how her dad's PC ate a paper she had written for school.
That in itself is unremarkable.
What is remarkable is Ellen's appearance during the ad. Her eyes are bloodshot and as the ad progresses she begins to slur her words. Many people assumed during the filming Ellen was stoned and it does look as if she had taken a few tokes before stepping before the camera.
Of course the Apple cult loved the commercial.
What other computer company would feature someone stoned in one of their ads?
Ellen became an overnight sensation, despite the fact the she refused to take part in her new found fame. Her story appeared in major newspapers, on NPR and she even got a mention in Hip Clicks. If the rumors are true she even turned down appearances on Letterman and Leno.
Three years later you can still find dozens of parodies and even tribute websites to Apple's resident stoner. If you are a true Ellen fan you can even buy Ellen Feiss tshirts, posters and paintings.
My favorite comic strip, Foxtrot, even picked up on the Ellen phenomenon.
Eventually Ellen gave an interview to the Brown University Herald. In the interview she admitted it was in fact drugs that caused her to slur her words. Apparently the day of the shoot her allergies were acting up.
And the drug that caused Ellen to act stoned?
For those that are worried that Ellen is gone and forgotten, she made an appearance at Steve Job's keynote at this years Mac Expo in New York.
My first computer was an Apple ][ plus. Amazingly I used that computer for better than eight years before I replaced it. That computer is singularly reponsible for my current career, even though my current career has always been everything but Apple. That's changing, but it's a slooooow process.
Anyway I've been in a nostalgic mood lately so I've done some Apple surfing.
Everything the company has done is documented.
All the commercials, the print ads, the missteps, the successes.
All within reach of your favorite search engine.
It may have nowhere near the market share of those other guys, but no one can deny the fandom it has borne.
Don't believe me?
Spend an hour searching the history of Dell Computers. I'll wait.
An old Dell is a doorstop. People make web pages about old Apples. They buy them. They fix them up. They still use them!
A year ago I thought it would be fun to have an orange iBook. You remember the odd brightly colored portables Apple put out a few years back. I just wanted it to work.
Old technology = trash?
Maybe if it's a Dell or Gateway, or an HP.
That orange iBook? He wanted $350.
Needless to say I didn't buy it.
How many other computers would you consider buying because they are a collectible or they just look cool?
I have an old Gateway I'll sell you. I'll even paint it with cow spots. It's just not the same.
How many computer company founders are as cool as Woz?