(You're reading all posts by Adam Rosen) Adam Rosen is an IT consultant specializing in Apple Macintosh systems new and old. He lives in Boston with two cats and too many possessions. In addition to membership in the Cult of Mac, Adam has written for Low End Mac and is curator of the Vintage Mac Museum. He also enjoys a good libation.
About Adam Rosen
The workplace can be stressful enough, without adding computer snafus to the mix. As an IT consultant, I hear about a lot of them, usually after disaster has struck.
Here’s how to deal with some of the more common workplace issues – email problems, contacts not syncing, WiFi headaches, deleted files – and keep rolling with your Mac.
What do you get when you combine several hundred serious geeks, two large rooms, five decades’ worth of vintage computers, and a weekend in New Jersey? The Vintage Computer Festival East, of course!
The ninth running of the VCF East was held April 4-7 at the InfoAge Science Center in Wall Township, New Jersey. Hosted by MARCH, the MidAtlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists group, the 2014 show saw the largest number of exhibitors and attendees for a VCF East yet, with exhibit halls expanded from one to two rooms and three days of lectures and seminars available for attendees. The show featured a wide range of computing history, from a seminal, room-size UNIVAC computer, through the DEC, Prime and HP minicomputer era, to the workstations and home computers of the 1970s and ’80s.
Are you a Mac collector? An Apple investor? Do you like to buy old computers still new in their original packaging? If so, do we have a storage locker for you!
Marion Stokes was a librarian, activist and local access television producer from Philadelphia. Recently she made news for her incredible archive of 35 years of TV news broadcasts, recorded continuously on home videotapes from 1977 until her death in 2012. But Stokes was also a longtime Apple investor and Macintosh fan. Over the same timeframe she acquired nearly two hundred new-in-box Macintosh computers and related Apple gear, and kept much of this equipment sealed for posterity.
It’s another incredible history, about technology and one unique Silicon Valley tech entity. And it can be yours, if the price is right. The whole kit and caboodle is available on eBay, listed for the Buy It Now price of $100,000!
Macs are solid machines, but just like their owners they have a tendency to get lethargic as they age. Launching and switching programs takes longer, simple tasks become arduous, and the dreaded beach ball of doom appears more often. The Operating System just starts to feel crufty, and can get worse over time. I see these issues in my IT consulting business regularly.
You may be asking, why does this happen? There are many reasons, but some are more common than others. Sometimes your hard disk (or SSD) gets too full and interferes with normal computer operations. Crashes or misbehaving programs can corrupt the disk directory or application cache files. Remnants from old software may still be running behind the scenes, or you don’t have enough RAM to deal with your OS and workflow.
OK, so is there some sort of tune up or spring cleaning you can do that sorts it out? Your tech always tells you to just reboot the computer, but there’s got to be more than that. The good news: yes, there are some things you can do. And, perhaps, adopt some more efficient computing practices for yourself along the way.
The first Macintosh clone in the world was not one of the Apple sanctioned systems released in 1995, such as those from companies like PowerComputing, Radius, Umax or Daystar Digital. Nor was it the Outbound laptop in 1989, a hybrid system produced using Mac ROMs taken from working Mac Plus systems.
No, the first Macintosh clone was the Unitron Mac 512, a unauthorized copy of the 512k “Fat Mac” produced by a Brazilian company in 1986. And it was a pretty darn impressive copy. The fallout from that effort nearly help start a trade war between Brazil and the United States; to prevent theft of Intellectual Property, Apple and other companies lobbied Congress to hike import taxes on Brazilian goods like oranges and shoes as a response.
And as we know, nobody messes with Tropicana …
It’s not a widely known story. Pieces of this long-forgotten chapter in Mac history can be found scattered on websites around the world. Here is the fascinating tale of the first Macintosh clone in the world.
The famous Macintosh “Picasso” trademark logo was developed for the introduction of the original 128k Mac back in 1984. A minimalist line drawing reminiscent of the style of Pablo Picasso, this whimsical graphic implied the whole of a computer in a few simple strokes. It was an icon of what was inside the box, and became as famous as the computer it represented.
The logo was designed by Tom Hughes and John Casado, art directors on the Macintosh development team. Originally the logo was to be a different concept by artist Jean-Michel Folon, but before launch it was replaced by the colorful line drawing. It’s been famous ever since, and the style has endured across decades.
Casado recently attended the 30th Anniversary of the Mac celebration, and emailed Cult of Mac to shed some light on the history of this famous graphic. It turns out Picasso was not the primary inspiration for this after all – rather, it was Henri Matisse!
Back in 1984, the birth of the Macintosh was not a quiet affair. Among his many talents, Steve Jobs was one of the great orators and inspiring speakers of our time. Part sage, part showman, Jobs combined the wizardry of a magician with the skills of a master salesman. The Macintosh was his baby, the intended salvation for Apple, and he wanted it launched with flair.
Many people have heard about, but not seen, one of the most influential demos of all — the actual unveiling of the Macintosh on January 24, 1984. In front of a group of Apple shareholders and VIPs, and giving a hint of Apple keynotes to come, a tuxedo-clad Jobs and his magical child stole the show. Now you can relive that glorious moment.
It’s the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Macintosh, and we wondered at Cult of Mac what can we do to celebrate? Then we thought, let’s dissect an original Macintosh and see what made it tick! There’s nothing like destruction in the persuit of knowledge.
In full retro spirit, we asked our friends at iFixit if they would help perform a special anniversary teardown of the 128k Mac. How does our silicon hero compare to modern Macs in terms of components, assembly and ease of repair? Of course being true geeks themselves, they jumped at the chance.
There was only one problem: where to find an original 128k Mac.
On Friday, January 24, 2014, the Mac turns 30 years old. As we look back on three decades of Macintosh, there are some stories that have largely avoided the light of day for some time. One of these tales involves the production of the Macintosh Business Plan back in the early 1980s.
The tale was told by Mac design team member Joanna Hoffman to Bruce Damer, curator of the Digibarn Computer Museum. In 1981 Apple was beginning development on their new product lines, Lisa and Macintosh, and Hoffman was helping develop the business plan. She presented multiple drafts for Steve Jobs to review, but Jobs repeatedly kept sending her the plan back saying he didn’t like it.
After a few rounds of this Hoffman realized that it was not the contents of the business plan that Jobs objected to but rather the appearance of the document itself. What he was reviewing looked just like every other business plan, nothing special. Jobs wanted the pages of the Mac business plan to look like the screen of the computer they were creating – WYSIWYG graphics, fonts, and pages with menus and submenus for section headings. The problem with this request was that Apple did not yet make any computers or printers which could produce the document Jobs desired.
On January 24, 1984, Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh. On January 25, 2014, in Cupertino, California, the public will be invited to celebrate the extended team whose efforts popularized the graphical user interface and WYSIWYG software, defining computing for the rest of us. In honor of the 30-year anniversary of the Mac, the Computer History Museum, Macworld/iWorld and All Planet Studios are planning a celebration of this seminal computer and the original Macintosh development team.
The Mac 30th Celebration will be start at 7 p.m. on January 25. The Flint Center venue is just a few miles from the Apple campus, and the event is being held in the same 2,300-seat auditorium where Steve Jobs introduced the Mac back in 1984!