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A time to link and a time to die

Our favourite old Hyperlinking object based data management rapid developent system has been formally discontinued.

That's right, Hypercard is now officially a finished product line of Apple Computer according to this story by one of the original Hypercard team members.

Hypercard, like most things from Apple and especially those designed and built by Bill Atkinson, was ahead of it's time. Attesting to this is it's 16 year life cycle. Not many commercial computer programs last that long.

There was a good article on Hypercard from 2002 in Wired (here) telling us how great it is and how it's still useful. Unfortunately when you can make good money from Filemaker, you don't really want to be pushing Hypercard. Which is a pity since the OSX framework could lead to a really nice Hypercard, where embeddeble NSObjects replace xcmds...

It's a sad day. Somewhat akin to the day some 4 or so years ago when Apple discontinued support for it's first Mac. Yes, Apple sold spare parts for the original Macintosh for roughly 15 years after it was released. Stick that in your HP/Compaq pipe and try to smoke it...

12:37 PM, 30 Mar 2004 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

That's just plain wierd

whenever I try to download something from a CPAN mirror on my Mac laptop, my Compex NetPassage 15 router freezes and i have to powercycle it.

I can perform the same task on my linux box, and I can perform any other task on my Mac.

Interestingly I remember the same problem on my old Mac workstation (7300/120) that was running linux a few years ago. Otherwise the Compex has run flawlessly for 4 years!

In the works of an old collegue of mine Armin Slivinski <accent="german">It makes no sense</accent>

09:22 AM, 28 Mar 2004 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (1)

And now, a word from our sposors...

It seems somehow appropriate that after some change to the Amazon ad system that my front page now prominantly shows Http/1.1 Service Unavailable as an advertisment.

I think I'll leave it like that.

09:39 AM, 26 Mar 2004 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (1)

An interesting experiment that seems to work

My current employer uses a wiki for internal documentation. I detest the markup and the structure. The "everyone can edit nearly everything" concept seems far too simple and trusting to be of any use.

But it seems to work. With smart application of versioning, and that darned markup that non computer scientists or designers can understand, the Wiki is an experiment with huge success.

The Wikipedia is the best example - a public contributed encyclopedia. Now that it's here it seems so obvious. Such little effort, but by a lot of people with an enormous aggregated knowledge. The law of averages means that most topics will be very accurate, and the sheer number of people means that even obscure topics will get coverage.

And no more door to door encyclopedia sales. (Actually there haven't been any of them for years).

Another favourite (from my 15 minutes of surfing) is This Might Be A Wiki&#8212;the official Wiki of the band They Might Be Giants.

10:34 AM, 24 Mar 2004 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Why software still stinks []

Following on from my renewed interest in the history of computers and logic, it seems appropriate that it is the 20th anniversary of the publishing of Programmers at Work. Not that I had heard of the book or read it, it is definately on my list now.

At a recent forum, some of the 19 porgrammers interviewed in 1986 for the book met to discuss current problems with the software industry. Andy Hertzfeld (a software guru of the original Macintosh and subject of this recent blog entry), Jef Raskin (another great mind behnid the Macintosh), Dan Bricklin (of Visi-Calc fame) and some others shot the breeze in what would have been a fantastic panel to witness.

Too bad there is no transcript available, but this article gives some tasty excerpts, and Dan Bricklin's blog from March 11 has a few notes and also some excerpts from the book

My takeaway is that the community in general, especially the business community, does not understand what is required to make amazing technology and software that truly changes things. In fact most software companies probably don't.

How to change that, I'm not sure. Some of the panelists have good ideas and have the money (courtesy of the tech boom) to put them into action. The rest of us creative tech geniuses without the cashola? Well I guess we'll just continue to do our best.

My friends at Collaboraid are giving it a red hot go, as are many others in my favourite open source community Open ACS. It's a funny time&#8212;like the early times in computers. Lot's of promise and ideas, but no clear path or funding. As opposed to the Internet boom when there was lots of funding and a clear path&#8212;even for those with no promise or idea!

04:26 AM, 21 Mar 2004 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (2)

Andy Hertzfeld & other Geniuses

How on earth has it taken me so long to find this site? It is essentially a blog by Andy Hertzfeld, but it contains a VERITABLE wealth of Apple history stories:

TramTown&#8212;why on earth have I not found this on your site?? Talk about letting the side down!

Oh, and if you don't know Who Andy Hertzfeld or Burrell C. Smith are, or why Woz's disk controller was so cool&#8212;do yourself a treat and put in some quality reading time.

A comparison just came into my mind ... having just finished reading Richard Feynman's semi-autobiographical Surely you're joking Mr Feynman, it strikes me as interesting that a common trait to "genius" types is that they are far more at home talking in short interesting (often funny) anecdotes. Don't think I'm saying that they like wasting time&#8212;in fact it is because not a single thought is wasted that makes their anecdotes worth reading. Even reading about Dick Feynman trying to get a date can be insightful.

I have some of the annoying sides of being a "genius" type (with far too few of the useful ones), but I know a lot ov *very* smart people and they all tell stories, all the time.


12:15 PM, 04 Mar 2004 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (3)


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