For some reason, or even if reason doesn’t come into it, I have an overdeveloped curiosity when it comes to the origins of life-changing inventions. Without a single hesitation, I would have to say that ‘the Mac’, introduced by Apple in 1984, has had the biggest impact on my life. It is the tool through which almost all my creativity flows. It’s my playground, my H.M.S. Beagle and my work station all rolled into one. The nicest analogy I could come up with (especially relevant in design terms when it comes to the iPad), is that it’s the glass of a glass bottomed boat. As long as you know where to go or what you’re looking for, the universe is there for the exploring even if certain subjects are over-represented (and you know who you are).
“What we’re doing here will send a giant ripple through the universe.”
I bought Steven Levy’s wonderful ‘Insanely Great – The Life and Times of the Macintosh, the Computer that Changed Everything’ when it was first published in paperback in 1995. Note that date. It was just before Jobs sailed back to Apple and ushered in (with significant help from Brit designer Johnny Ives) the iMac and our iPoddy, iPaddy iWorld has never been the same. Levy’s book is about the people who poured their souls into that first Macintosh and it’s a fabulous story. At the close of the book, he talks about what the future might hold and in one lovely nod to serendipity, he talks about a gadget using the phrase ‘eye phone’ which raised a big smile. Shame about the typo in the very last line of the book. My updated version arrives Monday. Anxious to see if this was corrected.
I was given the task in 1985 to oversee the evolution of a screenplay written on an MS-DOS computer. I had to learn command codes and essentially bend and break my will to the will of the machine. While I was doing these arcane and anti-intuitive feats of bowing to the tech, both producer and director/producer of the film I was working on, received large boxes in the post (identical items of course, the newest ‘big thing’). As soon as the producer had set his up on a desk I was smitten. I’d fought with the DOS dragon and was scorched too often to care but here was a machine you could love. I still have the first page I printed after creating a graphic on MacPaint. Douglas Adams, the owner of the first Mac in the UK, acknowledged that it was underpowered and that constant disk swapping was very frustrating but what he also just ‘got’ was its potential.
And here we are in 2014 and I have an embarrassing number of Apple products and they are all still the principal tools through which most of my (let’s not be coy) entire creative life is lived. I’m no great fan of Apple (lots of reasons, too dull to go into here) but you always remember your first…