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Jean-Louis Gassée on whether Apple ever invented anything

September 5th, 2012 No comments

http://www.mondaynote.com/2012/09/02/apple-never-invented-anything/

For thirty years, the industry had tried to create a tablet, and it had tried too hard. The devices kept clotting, one after the other. Alan Kay’s Dynabook, Go, Eo, GridPad, various Microsoft-powered Tablet PCs, even Apple’s Newton in the early nineties….they didn’t congeal, nothing took.

The more effortless the results seem to be, the increased likelihood that those responsible put uniquely competent effort into the achievement.

Categories: computer, design, software

Facebook and the Hacker Ethic

February 2nd, 2012 No comments

 

Facebook logo

If the Letter from Mark Zuckerberg in Facebook’s SEC IPO registration is a true representation of how Facebook functions, and they are able to maintain the Hacker Ethic he espouses after going public, FB will be a worthwhile long-term financial investment.

In the late 1980s I read about the original definition of hacking in Steven Levy’s fascinating telling of the computer industry foundation story, Hackers – Heroes of the Computer Revolution. The 25th anniversary edition includes  a 2010 interview with Zuckerberg.

Categories: computer, software

bubble graph stats

December 7th, 2010 No comments

Love them bubble graphs:

My first custom app project was an executive information management console for pharmaceutical wholesaler SUN-S in Sendai, Japan, circa 1987, plotting their market position over time vs competitors using revenue for size of bubble, market share for x axis and growth rate for y axis.

Categories: software

MacPaint and QuickDraw source code released

July 21st, 2010 No comments

Yay! Bill Atkinson’s source code for the original MacPaint (and QuickDraw) has finally been released to the public in the form of a donation to the Computer Museum in Mountain View.

http://www.computerhistory.org/highlights/macpaint/

In writing MacPaint, Bill was as concerned with whether human readers would understand the code as he was with what the computer would do with it. He later said about software in general, “It’s an art form, like any other art form… I would spend time rewriting whole sections of code to make them more cleanly organized, more clear. I’m a firm believer that the best way to prevent bugs is to make it so that you can read through the code and understand exactly what it’s doing… And maybe that was a little bit counter to what I ran into when I first came to Apple… If you want to get it smooth, you’ve got to rewrite it from scratch at least five times.”

Now mere mortals like myself can study the magic.

Categories: computer, software

Steve Schaffran on pre-Adobe Photoshop

February 21st, 2010 1 comment

Friend and colleague Steve Schaffran reminisces about Barneyscan XP and the pre-Adobe days of Photoshop (scroll down for the original English text):

One of the transformations, however, made my hair stand on end: it could flip a color picture from the red, green, blue color space of the computer display to the cyan, magenta, yellow, black color space necessary for exposing printing plates for printing color. That meant that a $15,000 bundle of our scanner plus Photoshop 0.35 plus a Mac II was in principle a competitor for the $1,000,000 to $3,000,000  color scanning and retouching solutions then used in the printing industry.  If we could only strike a deal, we were sure to sell some scanners.

Categories: computer, Friends, software

Google Japanese IME

January 16th, 2010 No comments

Google Japanese Input product icon

I’ve started playing with the Google Japanese input method first released last month. Even in beta it is stable and fast enough to use as my primary IME, and the dictionaries built from Google’s search index seem to work well. When I tried inputting my name, the first suggestion it offered after typing 「じょえ」 was French chef ジョエル・ロブション (Joël Robuchon), something that would never have happened out of the box with Kotoeri.

 

Categories: computer, Japan, software

ATOK 2009 for Mac does English input

July 3rd, 2009 No comments

At long last, a text input method that brings a Japanese-style Input Method Editor to English:

英語もかしこく便利に入力できる|日本語入力システム ATOK 2009 for Mac.

Phonetic, clairvoyant text entry is what makes Japanese mobile phone typing so fast and popular, but there has never really been anything of equivalent sophistication for western languages.

I’m looking forward to seeing ATOK become a multi-lingual text input system–I remember back in 1990 suggesting to Apple’s Developer Technical Support group that they implement this in Kotoeri so that non-Japanese engineers could test for inline input and double-byte compatibility using their native language.

this looks so very benri!

Categories: Japan, software