The Macintosh 30th Anniversary Celebration Event [Liveblog]


Some of the original Mac dev team, who are gathering to celebrate the Mac's 30th birthday.
Some of the original Mac dev team, who are gathering to celebrate the Mac's 30th birthday.

CUPERTINO, Calif. — The Cult of Mac team is heading down to Cupertino to cover the special 30th anniversary celebration of the Mac, which promises to feature many of the original members of the Mac dev team.

Hit the jump for our liveblog of the evening’s events. We’ll start posting at about 5.30PM PST, about 30 minutes before the event is scheduled to start.

The Mac 30th Anniversary Celebration is being held at Cupertino’s Flint Center; the same 2,400-seat venue where Steve Jobs first introduced the Mac on January 24, 1984.

It was organized by Steve Jobs’ old friend Daniel Kottke, and filmmaker Gabreal Franklin, an early Mac software developer who is making a video documentary about the era.

There will be music, unreleased photos and video, and a big group photo. The event will feature three panel discussions:

  • Conception — Daniel Kottke, Larry Tesler, Rod Holt, Jerry Manock, Marc LeBrun, and Bill Fernandez will talk about the origins of the Mac.
  • The Birth of the Mac — Bill Atkinson, Randy Wigginton, Andy Hertzfeld, Bruce Horn, George Crow and Caroline Rose will tell their first-hand stories about creating the Macintosh.
  • Coming of Age of Mac — 3rd party software developers including Charlie Jackson, Jim Rea, Heidi Roizen, Ty Roberts, David Bunnell, Marc Canter, Maryline Delbourg Delphis, Adam Hertz and Steve Jasik will talk about the software that gave the Mac critical mass.

During the evening, Apple’s original angel investor and 2nd CEO, Mike Markkula, will gather 100 members of the dev team on stage for a group photo.

If you’re in the area, tickets start at $109.75 each and are available via Ticketmaster. Yeah, it’s pricey, but after expenses, all proceeds will be donated to charity, organizers say.

January 25, 2014 10:49 pm PDT Leander Kahney

The most important person wasn’t here, of course. But his spirit was.

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January 25, 2014 10:47 pm PDT Leander Kahney

This young man brought his vintage Mac all the way from Michigan to be signed. He runs his own computer repair business — in his garage, of course.

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January 25, 2014 10:42 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Developer Marc Canter remembered how the Mac quickly created an ecosystem of software developers who were mostly “hustlers,” wheeling and dealing to make a living. But they used each others software, built on each other’s work — and created an industry.

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January 25, 2014 10:33 pm PDT Leander Kahney

The most famous cover of Macworld magazine came to life thanks to an “amazing lie,” said the original publisher Dave Bunnell.

Bunnell, who tells the whole story in our latest Newsstand mag, told how the first issue was produced in secret to published the same day of the Mac’s launch.

The cover was a huge ordeal, Bunnell said, because it was so difficult to get Steve Jobs to pose for it. He hated everything about it, and even gave the photographer the finger. Two weeks later, he called Bunnell to say he’d changed his mind and didn;t want to be on the cover after all.

Bunnell said his reaction was the highlight of his career. He told Jobs “this amazing lie — it’s too late. The cover is on its way to the printer. We can’t change it.”

And a s a result, the world got this great shot of Steve Jobs with three of his babies. Good call Dave!

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January 25, 2014 10:19 pm PDT Leander Kahney

This is a still from a 1985 TV ad for the Mac that never ran, for obvious reasons. This woman is so frustrated with her computer, she pulls out a shotgun. It’s not a Mac, natch.

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January 25, 2014 10:08 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Adman Steve Hayden (of Apple’s longtime agency Chiat Day) demonstrates the reaction of Apple’s board members to seeing Apple’s famous “1984” ad for the first time.

They were freaked out, of course, but Steve Wozniak saved the day. He pulled out his checkbook and offered to pay half the cost of the ad to run during the SuperBowl. It went on to be called the greatest ad of all time.

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January 25, 2014 9:55 pm PDT Leander Kahney

The Mac dev team gather on stage for a group photo. Largest gathering since the eighties.

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January 25, 2014 9:07 pm PDT Leander Kahney

“It’s cotton pickin unbelievable” to be here tonight, said Apple’s original Angel investor, Mike Markulla. “Thank you for the Mac he said to the first few rows. “I use mine every day.”

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January 25, 2014 9:01 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Bill Atkinson: Steve Jobs called the Mac team artists, and pooh poohed user testing and surveys. But the Mac’s revolutionary user interface was created using extensive user testing. The team exhaustively tested each and every feature with novice users, and fixed everything that was confusing or puzzling. “It got debugged by thousands of little fixes one at a time, said Atkinson. “It wasn’t art; it was engineering.”

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January 25, 2014 8:52 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Moderator Steven Levy: Microsoft liked to boast back in day that it had more Mac developers than Apple did.

Panelist: “If they had more developers than we did then that doesn’t speak very highly to the quality of their developers!”


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January 25, 2014 8:42 pm PDT Leander Kahney

During one deadline crunch, Andy Hertzfeld needed a caffeine fix to stay awake. He scoured the office but the only thing he could find was a big bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans. “I must have eaten about 300 of them!” he said.

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January 25, 2014 8:37 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Jef Raskin’s original vision for the Mac was even more locked down than Steve Jobs’ vision, recalled programming legend Bill Atkinson. Raskin wanted an appliance that would run only the included software. But Jobs wanted a “Volks computer” that third party developers could write software for “and that’s why he took it over, ” Atkinson recalled.

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January 25, 2014 8:32 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Programmer Bruce Horn had the best story about joining Apple and getting his work computer. To his surprise, he wasn’t given one on his fist day. After three days of not working, Steve Jobs was about to fire him. Instead, Andy secretly passed him a note telling him to help himself to a computer from another building. Andy’s note directed him to John Couch’s office, who was on vacation. Horn had to steal his computer from another staffer! Lucky for us — he turned out to be one of the Mac’s key programmers.

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January 25, 2014 8:24 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Andy Hertzfeld told how Steve Jobs recruited him to work on the Mac from the Apple II team. He grabbed his computer and unplugged it — erasing all of Andy’s code — and said “You’re coming with me!”

“What could I do?” Said Andy to a big laugh.

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January 25, 2014 8:19 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Next up is a panel with several members of the Mac dev team talking to Wired writer Steven Levy.

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January 25, 2014 8:13 pm PDT Leander Kahney

The Boston Computer Society shared a rare video of an early Mac demo at a public event. The video shows Jobs onstage with Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeldt and others giving a fun, whimsical demo — and for its time, utterly impressive it’s a nice slice of history. Let’s hope it gets posted to YouTube.

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January 25, 2014 8:07 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Rod Holt said there was only thing he’d change about the original Mac. Instead of the plain black and white screen, he had done a lot of work trying to use a strange but beautiful monitor that displayed in various shades of brown. It was a lot more subtle and relaxing than the B&W monitor, Holt said, “But Steve wouldn’t buy it.”

“Sometimes he was exasperating,” he added to a big laugh from the crowd.

Earlier Holt said he loved working with Jobs, despite his fearsome reputation. “I worked with him for many years and I loved it. I loved every minute of it.”

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January 25, 2014 7:59 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Markoff to the panel: Why was the Mac closed? Mannock: Steve Jobs had “a very good answer.” Because Apple got so many support calls with the Apple II for stuff that wasn’t Apple’s responsibility — the monitor (which the customer supplied), add-on cards, third-party memory — Steve Jobs decided to put everything the customer needed in box and seal it. Then he was happy to take the support calls , because it was all Apple’s responsibility.

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January 25, 2014 7:46 pm PDT Leander Kahney

“The thing that drove the Mac was that we all wanted it,” said Rod Holt. “It’s a method of invention that is very unusual, and the world needs a lot more of that in my opinion… We weren’t doing it for money.”

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January 25, 2014 7:38 pm PDT Leander Kahney

The panelists are ribbing each other about the Mac versus Lisa, which were the two big rival projects inside Apple at the time. Some of the team were working on the Lisa before being recruited by Jobs to his pet project. Of course, Jobs characterized anyone at Apple who wasn’t working on the Mac as a bozo. Larry Tessler, pictured above, asked if anyone remembered the Lisa, and half the crowd burst out into applause.

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January 25, 2014 7:28 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Steve Jobs’ original intro of the Mac was the funniest product introduction of his career, said John Markoff, veteran writer with the New York Times and tonight’s first moderator. He was sitting near the front and felt it was more like a rock concert than a product event, and just as much fun.

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January 25, 2014 7:20 pm PDT Leander Kahney

We’re starting with a video of Steve Jobs introducing the Mac back in 1984. The crowd, some of them who were here back then, are applauding along with the crowd in the video.

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January 25, 2014 7:16 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Talking of OGs, the first five or six rows shown here are for the original Mac Development team. Looks like a pretty good turn out.

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January 25, 2014 7:08 pm PDT Leander Kahney

Check out the old school Apple badge from 1981. Lots of OGs here.

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January 25, 2014 7:02 pm PDT Leander Kahney

The Mac Allstars are on stage! Kickin it off….

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January 25, 2014 7:00 pm PDT Leander Kahney

We’re going in. This is the 2,400-seat Flint Auditorium. It’s been fixed up since Steve Jobs was here introducing Macs. Last time I was here was 1997 — for the iMac introduction.

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