25 Years of Mac

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on 25 Years of Mac:

Ask Steve Wozniak About Apple on Live Radio


CC-licensed photo: Al Luckow
CC-licensed photo: Al Luckow

Steve Wozniak will be taking a break from Segway Polo and dancing the tango to be interviewed on radio program “The American Entrepreneur” Tuesday, June 15.

Tune in from 3 PM – 6 PM (EST) online and call 412-333-1360 to ask Woz your most pressing Apple questions.

Host Ron Morris will be chatting to Apple’s other Steve about his personal history, the early days of Apple, what he is up to nowadays and what Steve thinks of the evolution of the computer industry since he and Steve Jobs launched their fledgling startup in April 1976.

Via TAE radio

Video of the Day: Apple Website: 1976-1994




Matt, whose website describes him as a “normal dude that likes to talk about Apple and technology in general,” made this “what-if” trip down memory lane — an alternate reality version of what the Apple website might have looked like from the pre-Internet days.

The farther back you go, the more fun it is, check out the “See Our Ads in Byte Magazine” button and a photo of Jobs & Woz that looks snapped in the founding garage.

For a longer trip down pseudo-memory lane,  check out his slideshow here.

Thanks to reader Thomas for the tip!

Ouch! Painful Video Death of Microwaved Mac 512K




This is a hard one to watch: a 1984 Mac 512K meets its end in an industrial microwave oven.

Watch as it goes up in flames —  then witness the after effects of the burning on the keyboard, screen.

It’s the work of Dovetastic, aka Kenny Irwin, who has been zapping everything from 1960s telephones to gas masks  in the microwave on YouTube since February 2006.

Ouch. After it comes out of the oven, hours later, it keeps sizzling!

Need a stiff drink to get that happy face in charred plastic out from under my eyelids before it haunts me forever.

Gallery: In Search of the Coolest Apple T-Shirt


The beloved Dogcow Moof! t-shirt from RedLightRunner is now a rarity.

It’s always a little dicey doing a “Best of” Apple t-shirts post because the really, truly best Apple t-shirts have always been the limited edition, short-run t-shirts that Apple prints up for employees and other associates, the ones Guy Kawasaki wrote about in his 1990 book, “The Macintosh Way.” In it he draws a flow chart depicting Apple’s process for making great products and the first step is: Order t-shirt.

In fact, there’s a whole book on the subject, by Gordon Thygeson – “Apple T-Shirts: A Yearbook of History at Apple Computer” – with 1000s of pictures of such shirts from over the years.

However, for those of us not lucky enough to get our bods into one of these rare and memorable pieces of Apple attire, there are a number of outlets in the US and the UK (and probably elsewhere as well) where you can pick up some cool threads and show the world where your allegiances lie.

Hit the jump for a gallery of 10 we think are worth checking out.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

25 Years of Mac: Engineer Steve Capps Talks



Engineer and programmer Steve Capps, who worked on Lisa, the Finder and Macintosh system utilities, talks about his work on the original Macintosh team with the guys at RetroMac Cast in a two-part podcast (episodes 115 and 116).

Capps got started by automating a library in college, then went to do the same at Xerox before landing at Apple in 1981. He was chosen to work for the Mac team because he had “the right chops at the right time.” Capps was working on a printer drive for the Lisa team, when Steve Jobs lost interest in Lisa and put the steam behind the Mac, calling Capps over.

“Great to talk about the old glory days,” Capps, who went on to work on Internet Explorer and MSN Explorer, said.

Via Newton Poetry

Turn Your Dead PowerMac G4 into a Wall Clock



Can you think of another company whose outdated and obsolete products get repurposed as art pieces even a fraction as often as do those from Apple?

How about a late 20th century PowerMac G4, which, as a 10 year-old desktop might possibly still be good enough to run your elementary school children’s games and learning software, but for all practical purposes is probably better suited as the inspiration for a wall clock to remind you, time after time, how gear Apple cool is.

At a mere $60, these may not last long and you should look into turning your own dusty G4 into a DIY project.


25 Years of Mac: TekServe Exhibit Closes Sunday in NYC



Image © 2009, Robert Boethe

The TekServe store in Manhattan has been celebrating 25 Years of Mac this week with what it calls “a petting zoo” of Macs at the largest independent Apple shop in the US. The store’s exhibit includes an original Macintosh 128k signed by Steve Wozniak himself, a Lisa, the original Mac Portable, a Newton, a NeXT cube, the G4 Cube, various Powerbooks, the eMate, the legendarily laughable 20th Anniversary Mac, and the first iPod.

If you happen to be in the New York area and want to get a first-hand look at the Mac’s evolution, be sure to stop by TekServe by Sunday, the exhibit’s final day.

The event is free and open to the public. Tekserve is located at 119 West 23rd Street, just west of 6th Avenue. Store hours are Monday through Friday 9 am till 8 pm, Saturday 10 am till 6 pm, and Sunday noon till 6 pm.

Via Macworld

25 Years of Mac: “Back to the Future II” Product Placement



Here’s an early Mac movie product placement. In the opening minutes of 1989’s “Back to the Future II,” Marty McFly lands in 2015, where hover cars loom, “Jaws 19” in 3D plays in movie theaters and folks sport layered outfits that only a daltonic could love.

In an antiques store, Michael J. Fox does a double-take over a “vintage” Mac sitting next to other 80s relics like a Dust Buster and a bottle of Perrier.

Found on the excellent Starring the Computer, where James Carter has compiled a few other early Mac movie sightings including “Manhattan Project” and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” both from 1986.

Anyone remember Mac movie appearances before 1986?

Cult of Mac on the BBC



The BBC’s coverage of the Mac’s 25th has in some cases left something to be desired, the nadir being a bizarre video showing a Microsoft employee battling with an original Mac and comparing it against her Windows laptop. Ex-Macworld UK head honcho Simon Jary rightly pulled said video apart on his PC Advisor blog, although he didn’t note how, amusingly, the Mac boots much faster than the PC, despite MSN tech editor Jane Douglas cunningly refraining from giving the Mac its system disk until the PC’s been whirring away for a good few seconds.

Presumably wanting to avoid the same level of oddness, BBC Radio Five Live’s Pods and Blogs scoured the internet, looking for a Mac expert to chat to. Failing that, they ended up with me (Oho! You self-deprecating Brit, you!–Ed.), and I spent a happy 20 minutes talking to the extremely personable Jamillah Knowles about all things Mac.

As is always the case, the interview itself was knifed somewhat (due to it being nearly as long as the entire podcast was supposed to be), but there’s still a reasonable chunk left. Importantly, the Mac doesn’t come off looking too bad, although I do wonder what Jamillah’s co-presenter is going on about regarding how rubbish Macs used to be for getting online. (I’ve never had such a problem.)

Anyway, the podcast is at https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/podcasts/pods/, and the Mac bit’s at the 14-minute mark.

FastMac Offers Cheap 25th Anniversary Shirts



FastMac is selling t-shirts with three new retro-inspired designs for $5.25 until midday tomorrow or until supplies are exhausted. This is a Special 1-day only sale, limit 1 per customer of any 25th anniversary design @ $5.25, additional shirts will be priced @ $9.99.

The designs include an homage to Apple’s classic 1984 commercial, and two other designs formed using a “word cloud” that lists every Mac ever made. This is probably one of those “don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it” kind of deals.

CAVEAT EMPTOR: The FastMac store pretty much sucks with respect to navigation and, as of this posting, the special pricing is either not loaded or they have already sold out of the specially priced gear.

UPDATE: I just spoke with FastMac tech support and they are working on getting the pricing into the store as we speak. Check in after 3pm PST.

Via Gizmodo

25 Years of Mac: The Steve Jobs Playboy Interview



Back in the dark mists of Time before the internet, Playboy magazine was among the more popular media vehicles serving up a stimulating cocktail of news, opinion, creative writing, gadget reviews and naked flesh. And over the years, the Playboy Interview gained quite a reputation for getting the most interesting newsmakers and personalities of the day to open up about their lives and philosophies in ways other mainstream publications could never quite match.

The Playboy interview with Steve Jobs was published in the February 1985 issue of the magazine, just a little more than a year after the debut of the Macintosh and a few short months before the Apple CEO would be ousted from the company he helped found. The long piece finds a 29 year-old Jobs at the top of his intellectual game and elicits commentary that, looking back on it now, makes Jobs appear both prescient and consistent in his views and in his dedication to Apple’s success.

Follow after the jump for a few choice comments from the interview and be sure to click through to the full piece from the Playboy archive.

Via Edible Apple

25 Years Of Mac: Rob Baca’s 128k Mac



Meet Rob Baca. He’s a serious vintage Mac collector, with a total of 75 machines in his possession. He’s also the man who co-directed the documentary Welcome to Macintosh, which counts among its interviewees our very own Leander Kahney.


One of Rob’s computers – bought from a friend on the condition that Rob would give it a loving home – is this original 128k Mac.

What can you tell us about it, Rob?

25 Years of Mac: The Reunion



The Apple Mactintosh Division, 1984

The Macintosh Division, 2009

Apple’s Macintosh Division had a 25th Anniversary reunion at the home of Alain Rossman (software evangelist) and Joanna Hoffman (the division’s conscience and first marketing person) to celebrate the unveiling of the Macintosh on January 24, 1984 – and Guy Kawasaki has a bunch of pics up from the event, complete with interesting tidbits and backstory info on the people and events that drove the evolution of Apple’s groundbreaking invention.

He’s also got a couple of interesting videos up, one of which we’ve posted here, showing Steve Jobs unveiling the Mac for the first time.

Time flies when you’re having fun, eh?

25 Years of Mac: Repurposing Your Dead Mac



When a computer gives up the ghost, there are a lot of things you can do to keep it around the house.

Here are a few ways we’ve found, if you’ve found a new way to give new life to your dead Mac, let us know.

Macquarium: when your mac is swimming with the fishes.

There are a ton of these — flickr counts nearly 700 — but this slick black version was made by Dave D’aranjo who rescued a Mac from a Singapore sidewalk and turned it into an aquarium. He spent a couple of months fashioning the fish bowl, following the how-to in low end Mac, then adding his own touches and getting a custom logo to give it a screen-saver look.

The Best Little ‘Apple Store’* in Texas


*(and it's not owned by Apple, inc)

Lacking the network of preexisting business customers, and B2B distribution channels of it’s principal rival IBM, Apple’s success was midwife’d by a hodge-podge  of independent resellers and enthusiasts.

It seems apropos, on this the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh, to celebrate one of the few that remain of this early band of crazy ones, misfits and rebels, without whom Apple Computer would be little more than a footnote.

25 Years of Mac: Whither Macworld Conference & Expo?



Image © 2009 Nik Fletcher

This post is really more about Macworld, the trade show and conference, than it is about the device that spawned it. But for 24 of Mac’s 25 years, the two have gone hand-in-hand.

While indications seem clear the Mac and Apple are both healthy and vital at 25, with years of relevance and innovation ahead despite whatever rough patches the economy may present in the near term, the fate of what has been for many years the Apple community’s most anticipated event is very much up in the air.

Of course the entire world is aware by now Apple decided to make 2009 its final appearance at the huge trade show held the first week or so of January at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The smart money immediately proclaimed Apple’s move to quit Macworld spelled doom for the event.

Rumors swirled during this year’s show that Apple itself might be moving next year to the larger, far more ambitious International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in Las Vegas right around the same time as Macworld.

Just this week, iLounge announced plans to fund a high-profile unified pavilion area for iPod and iPhone products at CES in 2010.

Blogger John Gruber penned Friday a misty paean to the City and the Expo, one of the smarter, more comprehensive assessments of the overall picture I’ve yet seen.

Gruber and I agree on a couple of points worth noting: as he wrote,

1) “There is nothing else like Macworld Expo, and if it fades away, there will be nothing to take its place.” With Apple gone, Macworld will be different and if it is to survive, it will have to be different in a way that keeps it vital and active for the diverse mix of large and small exhibitors that make up a healthy event; and

2) The great majority of exhibitors who make up Macworld, 90 percent of whose products are not available at the Apple Store, want the conference and expo to survive, but almost to a one they confirmed to me, as I walked the floor at this year’s conference (and to Gruber as well), – they will wait and see who else is going to stay on board.

This week a quiet campaign began, led by the community of Mac-o-philes who most definitely want to see Macworld survive and prosper. IDG, the event promoter, has agreed to give anyone who pre-registers now for next year’s event, January 4 – 8, 2010, a free Expo pass. Not buy one get one free, just register now and go for free.

IDG has also placed a big SUGGESTION BOX graphic on the front page of the website, a mailto: link the IDG PR representative I spoke with assures me the promoter will pay close attention to for feedback from attendees and exhibitors alike.

It may well be true that Apple no longer has a need for Macworld, that its growing chain of Retail Stores and increasing market awareness make it a bad business decision to spend millions of dollars to be the anchor tenant at the sprawling event.

For the hundreds of other businesses who’ve come to rely on Macworld as an opportunity to get their products in front of and tell their stories to thousands of people over four days in San Francisco, the stakes are very different.

25 Years of Mac: Classic Macs Still at Work



Story and photos by Natalie Guillén

SANTA FE, New Mexico — As Arch Sproul unpacked half a dozen Macintosh Classic IIs, all six of his employees hovered around in excitement.

It was fall of 1992, and most of the employees had never used a computer before.

Today, four of those original computers are still in use, working overtime seven days a week at the Virginia Trading Post arts and crafts store, nestled next to dozens of other shops downtown. They are used mainly as cash registers, scanning bar codes, and keeping tabs on inventory.

The machines are rare examples of aging Macs that are still in daily use. They are a testament to the utility and longevity of the Mac, which celebrates its 25th anniversary on Sunday.

25 Years of Mac: Reporter Recalls “The Day Steve Jobs Showed Me the First Mac”



Times they have changed: a quarter of a century ago, reporter Michael J. Miller was on the West Coast bureau of Popular Computing. (Now he blogs for PC mag.)

A few choice extracts about his trip down to Cupertino to see the first Mac:

“I met with Steve Jobs, who was then Apple Chairman and heading up the Mac project, along with key designers including Burrell Smith, the original hardware designer and software designers Andy Hertzfeld and Bill Atkinson.”

“Most of the time I was meeting with other members on the team, but I remember Jobs coming in —  he was very charismatic: intense, proud of the work and a bit prickly about any criticism. He and his folks were quick to put down the IBM PC and its clones for not pushing the envelope and settling for “mediocrity.”

“Jobs and the team were rightly proud of the new machine, which was very different from the IBM PC that then dominated the industry. Maybe it was the famous “Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field,” but even then I was entranced by the new machine and the possibilities it offered – particularly the graphical user interface.”

Miller’s trip down memory lane — complete with anecdotes about the Mac II, Apple’s first laser printer and the role of industrial design at Apple — is well worth a read.