October 7, 2011

"If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts."

"And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later."

Link.

ADDED: Speaking of college drop-ins, do you remember the 60s sitcom "Hank"?



"Why Daddy's the toughest registrar this school's ever had!"

89 comments:

Moose said...

Look, sorry the guy's dead, but I have to call bullshit on this:
"And since Windows just copied the Mac".

Apple and MSFT both ripped off PARC and then each other repeatedly. I'd like to think he would have not stooped to marketing when presenting a serious address.

rhhardin said...

There was a lot of computer typeset output around in 1980.

Chip S. said...

Robert Merton would probably like to have a word with Jobs in the Great Beyond.

Brennan said...

I love his line about dropping out and dropping in. It's basically why I cannot finish college. I just don't have the patience to sit through useless psych and soc courses. I can just read the cribbed version from Paul Krugman.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Moose, if you watch the video of this commencement speech, you'll see that Jobs gave an over-the-top comedic delivery of his line, "And since Windows just copied the Mac," causing the audience to crack up. It can be hard to stay awake for any commencement speech (even one as good as Jobs's), so it's always nice if the speaker throws in a little levity. It's a small way to give the graduates their money's worth. Do we really want to pick apart the literal truth of a joke by someone who just tragically died?

Rose said...

Can't help but wonder if the poor dupes at #OccupyWallStreet can understand what Jobs was saying.

"It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on."

I know so many people who lived like that in their college days. They never dreamed of reneging on their college loans, if they had any. I knew people who lived in renovated chicken coops, who dumpster dived for food, and turned in pop bottles for food money.

They're successful businessmen now. They support, no only themselves, but their families, and their employees, for whom they provide full support, if you think about it - salaries, pensions, Social Security contributions (1/2), car and mortgage payments, and Health Insurance. (Does Obama understand any of this?)

Being young and broke is not something to cry poor about at some stupid pre-orchestrated staged event. It's part of the cycle of life.

Jobs is right.

xnar said...

For computer software guys, the proportional fonts, page layouts, and exotic concepts like kerning were a nightmare. Why so complex when we could print words using gears, cams, and hammers into simple grids of letters. He was nuts to make things so complicated just for pretty sake.

That spawned Adobe, laser printers, and the whole desktop publishing business.

And in case you haven't noticed, the software guys are still having trouble getting it all right.


...if I would have never seen that shocking meat video... I wouldn't have such an appreciation for the deliciousness of beef tenderloin.

Curious George said...

" John Althouse Cohen said...
Moose, if you watch the video of this commencement speech, you'll see that Jobs gave an over-the-top comedic delivery of his line, "And since Windows just copied the Mac," causing the audience to crack up. It can be hard to stay awake for any commencement speech (even one as good as Jobs's), so it's always nice if the speaker throws in a little levity. It's a small way to give the graduates their money's worth. Do we really want to pick apart the literal truth of a joke by someone who just tragically died?"

I watched it. Did you? He did not such thing. No wink. No smile. No pause. No change in inflection. He was stating this as fact. It's bullshit.

As far as the rest, we aren't at his funeral, and if you don't like the comments, bitch at your mom for posting it.

Ann Althouse said...

"I watched it. Did you? He did not such thing. No wink. No smile. No pause. No change in inflection. He was stating this as fact. It's bullshit."

I didn't watch it. I just read it. And I could hear the comedy.

A. Shmendrik said...

Never saw "Hank". Wouldn't have believed a description of it until I saw the video.

But then on iMDB - this about star Dick Kallman:

Dick Kallman, an actor in movies and television in the late 50s and 60s, left Hollywood and began doing stage work. He toured in companies of "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" and "Half a Sixpence". He was also an accomplished singer who in 1963 recorded an album of standards for EMI in London, when he was accompanied by orchestras conducted by John Barry and Ennio Morricone. In 1975, he joined a partnership to manufacture women's play clothes and party clothes and also began working as a dealer in antiques, silver, and art. On February 22, 1980, Kallman and business associate Steven Szladek of Brooklyn were found shot to death in Kallman's posh Manhattan apartment. 27-year-old Charles Lonnie Grosso of Queens was convicted of the killings, which took place during a robbery, and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. None of the paintings, jewelry, and antiques stolen from the apartment were ever recovered.

So that might explain his lack of recent credits.

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
I didn't watch it. I just read it. And I could hear the comedy."

Watch it. He wasn't joking. Or live in your fantasy. Up to you.

Robert Cook said...

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/10/steve-jobs-xerox-parc.html

Freeman Hunt said...

All of college should be drop in. Why so rigid?

LarsPorsena said...

..and in other Jobs' news..there are reports that he rejected conventional medical treatment for his cancer when first diagnosed, for an alternative Zen Buddhist dietary treatment. After this failed and the cancer metastisized to his liver, he was able to jump to the head of the line for a liver transplant.

A. Shmendrik said...

LarsPorsena said...
..and in other Jobs' news..there are reports that he rejected conventional medical treatment for his cancer when first diagnosed, for an alternative Zen Buddhist dietary treatment. After this failed and the cancer metastisized to his liver, he was able to jump to the head of the line for a liver transplant.


Money talks, bullshit walks.

Oligonicella said...

John Althouse Cohen --

"Do we really want to pick apart the literal truth of a joke by someone who just tragically died?"

Deaths of any manner do not elevate anyone to the status of "can't correct".

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"I didn't watch it. I just read it. And I could hear the comedy."

Facetiae does not translate to print.

Zappa

Carol_Herman said...

Horse feathers.

The IBM Exectutive Typewriter and proportional letters. The "M" took up a"5" ... in relation to an "I" ... which took up a "1" ...

And, the typewriter had proportional spacing ... to "immitate NEWSPAPERS ... who used them.

Heck, I remember an old FONT choice ... available on an "A" drive disk ... that gave you fonts matching the old masters. Like Van Gogh. Matisse. Now that was a fun parade!

garage mahal said...

Do we really want to pick apart the literal truth of a joke by someone who just tragically died?"

Oh Jesus. Lots of people tragically die. If he were truly a great man a full accounting of his life should be welcomed.

Here is the other side of Apple.

Carol_Herman said...

It's true Steve Jobs made Wozniak a very wealthy man.

But the first thing Jobs did? He got $5000 to write breakout. And, he gave Wozniak $375 to create the game.

How come he didn't do a "fair split?"

Carol_Herman said...

Sure. I had an old Apple II-E. 1981?

The smartest thing Apple did was to give FREE computers to PUBLIC SCHOOLS (in Californa.) Because that's where the kids went to learn and use the school's computers. (10 of 'em.)

BRAND ID was built it!

Plus the Microsoft PC was TOUGH to learn. You had to memorize the "code keys" F1 to F9. Apple's set up let you visually choose from their menus.

Apple ALSO created a BARRIER ... just like IBM! Apple supported ONE STORE in Pasadena. (DYNO). Across the street was a store run with Caltech students.

You could by the Microsoft and SAVE BUNDLES. Plus, everyone was writing softwear for them.

Or you could stick with Apple. And, program stuff for yourself in BASIC.

Then around 1990 ... or so ... Microsoft came out with WINDOWS.

Microsoft outsold Apple.

Because the price differential was that great.

Ann Althouse said...

"Watch it. He wasn't joking. Or live in your fantasy. Up to you."

Let's see... I could watch it or trust my own reading and the statement of my own son. Yeah, I'm going to live in the fantasy world in which I can detect comic tone in text and trust my son. Sorry!

I'll watch the video if I want to experience what is, obviously, one of the greatest speeches of all time.

edutcher said...

The whole "do what you love" thing sounds great, but you have to put food on the table and people with Jobs' talent are rare.

The rest of the world has to find something it does well enough to make money at it - and sometimes you even end up hating what you started out loving

Ann Althouse said...

Okay, I watched it. Obvious comic wording with some use of emphasis to heighten the effect, and the audience clearly gets it. Big laugh and applause.

Ann Althouse said...

"The whole "do what you love" thing sounds great, but you have to put food on the table and people with Jobs' talent are rare."

I agree. The advice works when you have great genius and great luck, but for a lot of people, it's the path to the hippie lifestyle.

Which I think is coming back, right?

Robert Cook said...

"...and in other Jobs' news..there are reports that he rejected conventional medical treatment for his cancer when first diagnosed, for an alternative Zen Buddhist dietary treatment. After this failed and the cancer metastisized to his liver, he was able to jump to the head of the line for a liver transplant."

This is not news...it's been known since it occurred. In fact, I was discussing with someone at work yesterday that this delay by Jobs may have been the decisive factor that sealed his fate. Had he had the operation immediately upon diagnosis, perhaps all the cancer would have been extirpated, and he would not have had a relapse and then decline into a too young death.

Erik said...

Others have already called bullshit on this, so I won't bother repeating what they said. Jobs wasn't joking. He meant it. He was taking a jab at Bill Gates, his chief rival. It is the first seed of what would grow into Job's other legacy, the one no one wants to talk about: obsessive Apple fanaticism. Jobs did his best to fan those flames. It was good business sense, but it was fueled by bullshit. And Jobs, for all his good parts, loved to believe his own bullshit. He truly believed that Windows was a copy of the Mac OS. Anyone who knew computers at the time knew it was bull.

Jobs is intending it to be humorous, but not because it's not true. He believes it. They believe it. They're laughing at Bill Gates, not at the clearly false suggestion that Windows is a copy of the Mac OS.

dispatches said...

Donald Knuth has a far greater claim to introducing sophisticated typesetting to computing.

Link

Alex said...

Jobs was famous for saying "Microsoft doesn't have taste". Maybe so, but it was Microsoft's lack of elitism that helped bring PCs to the millions and the world. In that sense Bill Gates is way more important.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

"The whole "do what you love" thing sounds great, but you have to put food on the table and people with Jobs' talent are rare."

I agree. The advice works when you have great genius and great luck, but for a lot of people, it's the path to the hippie lifestyle.

Which I think is coming back, right?


Tell it not in Christendom.

Besides, I think it's more like "The Grapes Of Wrath"* than "Hair".

* Which can be purchased through the amazon portal on Althouse :-D

Curious George said...

"Okay, I watched it. Obvious comic wording with some use of emphasis to heighten the effect, and the audience clearly gets it. Big laugh and applause."

Obvious comic wording? Some emphasis to heighten the effect? Like you son, you're seeing what you want to see...of course he said "over the top" comedic delivery.

It's bullshit. Jobs needed this "truth" to connect the dots on his "connect the dots" parable. If it was a joke then the whole story was a joke. and that clearly isn't true. More proof is that jobs is very good at adding humor to his public speeches...and always let's the crowd now that he's kidding with a pause and a smile. No pause. No smile.

The audience is not laughing at Jobs joke, they are laughing at Microsoft for being a "copy cat".

Curious George said...

Robert Cook said...
"...and in other Jobs' news..there are reports that he rejected conventional medical treatment for his cancer when first diagnosed, for an alternative Zen Buddhist dietary treatment. After this failed and the cancer metastisized to his liver, he was able to jump to the head of the line for a liver transplant."

This is not news...it's been known since it occurred. In fact, I was discussing with someone at work yesterday that this delay by Jobs may have been the decisive factor that sealed his fate. Had he had the operation immediately upon diagnosis, perhaps all the cancer would have been extirpated, and he would not have had a relapse and then decline into a too young death."

And I wonder what the guy that ended up not getting a liver, and died because of it, thought of Steve Jobs. I also wonder if John Althouse Cohen is wetting his panties over that. Probably not. That guy didn't feed his fanboy desires.

Robert Cook said...

"...the clearly false suggestion that Windows is a copy of the Mac OS."

How is it "clearly false?" Under the hood Windows was not similar to the Mac OS, but the Windows gui was certainly a copy of the Mac gui.


"...it was Microsoft's lack of elitism that helped bring PCs to the millions and the world."

How--to respond to your unspoken statement--is Apple "elitist?"

That aside, Gates' key to success was getting Microsoft software bundled as OEM software with computers made by hardware manufacturers who did not have their own software. Microsoft did not produce hardware, but simply provided its software to pc makers. Buyers who bought computers would end up as Microsoft users through no choice of their own, but because that's what was included.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"The whole "do what you love" thing sounds great, but you have to put food on the table and people with Jobs' talent are rare."

Quite so. You may have to work at a job you don't love.

However, this is why we have hobbies and pass times for those times we are NOT at work. Do the things you love and maybe, just maybe, they will turn into your real job.

If not, at least you have spent some time doing what pleases you.

Quaestor said...

Moose is dead-on. Jobs took credit where credit was due to the Xerox research staff at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center).

Then as now Xerox saw itself as "the document company" and the engineers and developers at PARC had as their mandate to produce systems that work bring computer assistance to a new field which would come to be called "desktop publishing" by Apple.

Peter said...

Sorrybut, the hagiography is already getting old.

Computers wouldn't have proportional fonts if Jobs hadn't wanted them in the Mac? And if no Jobs then no Mac and then no computers with a graphical user interface?

And so if it wasn't for Jobs we'd all still be using computers with green-screen displays while trying to remember what obscure commands would make the thing do what we want?

Umm, no. I don't think so. I think that's rigtht up there with Al Gore inventing the internet.

Smilin' Jack said...

""If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.""

Look, Steve was a great man and kudos to him on a life well-lived and I love my iPad and all that, BUT: God must punish him for starting this stupid font nonsense. One of the big turn-offs of the early macs was the font folder, which wasted space on your hard drive with hundreds of the fucking things and always seemed to be screwed up somehow and never had the font you needed to print important documents because the idiot who sent them to you used some wack font to show his "creativity" or "originality" or some damn thing.

The madness continues today and has infested even Micro$oft--the new Word defaults to something called Calibri, the ugliest thing I've ever seen on a page, and you have to jump through a bunch of stupid hoops to convert it back to Times New Roman, which everyone has and is perfectly fine and is therefore the only font anyone should be allowed to use, on pain of death.

People who care about fonts are like people who care about pens--you see a guy with a Cross pen, you know everything he writes is garbage.

Peter said...

"Then around 1990 ... or so ... Microsoft came out with WINDOWS. Microsoft outsold Apple. Because the price differential was that great."

Umm, really, it wasn't just the price difference.

It was because the original Mac came with a built-in, 9-inch monochrome screen. And that's all you could have. Whereas in the PC world you could buy whatever size screen suited your purpose and purse, mono or color.

It was because the original Mac didn't have enough memory, and therefore it was very, very slow (because it kept accessing its disk for stuff that wouldn't fit in memory). And to add memory to your Mac, you had to pay $$$ to the Apple store (unless you were willing to do some very delicate soldering. Whereas in the PC world, you didn't need that much memory- but if you wanted more, you could take the cover off your PC and plug it in.

It was because you couldn't print decent-looking output from your Mac unless you paid $thousands for the Apple laser printer (otherwise you'd be stuck with Apple's wretched 9-pin dot matrix).

The original Mac was an interesting toy, but not really very useful for actually getting work done. And by the time the Mac's flaws were fixed (and, yes, they were) the PC had captured 90 percent market share and it was too late.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And so if it wasn't for Jobs we'd all still be using computers with green-screen displays while trying to remember what obscure commands would make the thing do what we want?

I remember computing before there was such a thing as a GUI. My first purchased computer (as opposed to the ones that we put together our selves) was a Vic-20. It was a huge leap forward.

I also remember making and using data punch cards for statistical analysis of bones in an anthropology class...long long ago in a galaxy far far away. 1969 SF State.

Perhaps we can't credit Jobs exclusively with bringing us out of the DOS age, but I believe that without the marketing and packaging, it would have taken much much longer.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Times New Roman, which everyone has and is perfectly fine and is therefore the only font anyone should be allowed to use, on pain of death.

So I take it that you are not a Comic Sans type of guy?

/ducks

Mary said...

"Yeah, I'm going to live in the fantasy world in which I can detect comic tone in text and trust my son. Sorry!"

I don't know.
You'd probably be a more credible evaluator if you had never taken the opportunity to meet him.

Once you meet them in person and all...

Mary said...

"I'll watch the video if I want to experience what is, obviously, one of the greatest speeches of all time."

Your low standards are showing again.

Though it does help explain why you fell so hard for Obama.

Quaestor said...

John Althouse Cohen wrote:
"And since Windows just copied the Mac," causing the audience to crack up. It can be hard to stay awake for any commencement speech... it's always nice if the speaker throws in a little levity.

Whether Windows is just a copy of the MacOS is a matter of opinion as there are good but inconclusive points to be made on both sides of the question, however Jobs went on to make a claim that is at odds with historical fact. Steve Jobs was a seminal figure of the what some have called the Information Age, just as Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Francis Crick and others were seminal figures in their own fields of art and science. Unfortunately Jobs, like Presley, has become an iconic figure as well as a subject of wholly inappropriate hagiography. Consequently Elvis is a much more familiar figure to the man in the street than Crick, whose name might by recognized by 2% of people surveyed randomly, despite the fact that his work is vitally important to their health and well-being. You imply that it is unseemly for Moose to critique Jobs so soon after his demise. On the other hand what better time to let a little gas out of an over-inflated image that thousands of people have been busy pumping hot air into over that same period? Ecce homo.

I believe your mother chose to blog on this Jobs quotation because it was questionable as a matter of fact and provocative as a matter of implication. Perhaps you owe Moose an apology for rising to the provocation.
"Elvis didn't do no drugs!" as they say.

Kirk Parker said...

I appreciate JAC's pointing out that the "Windows borrowed everything from Mac" line was meant humorously, but Job's overall point here is completely off. Computer typesetting was well underway by the time he is writing of. Phototypesetting orginated in the 60s. The computer typesetting system TeX was first released in 1978, and Knuth for sure had no idea of which classes Jobs had dropped in on or what latent ideas they had inspired.

Given that proportional spacing was commonplace in publishing, including on the fully-mechanical Linotype machine dating from before 1900, the assertion that nobody else would have brought real-time font selection and proportional spacing to personal computers is just silly.

Kirk Parker said...

Brennan,

What are you talking about? I graduated, with a degree in humanities no less, and didn't have to take a single psych or soc class. You need better advisors, maybe.

prairie wind said...

The madness continues today and has infested even Micro$oft--the new Word defaults to something called Calibri, the ugliest thing I've ever seen on a page, and you have to jump through a bunch of stupid hoops to convert it back to Times New Roman, which everyone has and is perfectly fine and is therefore the only font anyone should be allowed to use, on pain of death.

Funny stuff. Times New Roman has fallen out of favor for online usage--those serifs "bleed" on imperfect monitors, making it more difficult to read. San serif is the standard for online readability. Besides, Times New Roman is squatty and ugly. Calling it "perfectly fine" is like calling the toad a noble creature.

Mac vs. PC...the battles continue. I've used them both and find the Mac annoying for its insistence that the user is so stupid that little pictures are the only way he or she will understand.

Joe said...

Jobs takes claims for a lot things he had nothing to do with and often opposed vehemently. In this case, a big credit needs to go to John Warnock and Charles Geschke who invented InterPress at Xerox Sparc and later PostScript.

Additional cudos go to Gary Starkweather, who invented the laster printer at Xerox in 1969.

(The trend here is obvious; Xerox may be the dumbest, most badly managed company in the history of high tech.)

Also, for the record when Xerox Parc was breaking up, Apple, Microsoft and IBM raided the engineers. Top researchers went to all three companies. They took their ideas and inventions with them (and Xerox did nothing.) One interesting twist is that Apple ended up with some fundamental differences in UI design due to this--namely the global menu bar and a non-persistent UI model (best illustrated by how menu items are selected.)

deborah said...

Surprising that someone that into tech would not see that traditional medicine was the best route.

Steven said...

Between his limitation of his claim to "personal computers" and understand it as meaning not that the systems would be incapable of doing proportionally-spaced multiple fonts for print document preparation (like Bravo on the Xerox Alto in 1973), but merely that the system UI itself wouldn't use them, Jobs's claim is not absolutely provably wrong, but merely highly implausible.

MB said...

Priority regarding inventions always is controversial since all ideas are based on previous work. The same discussion could be held about the Wright Brothers. Jobs’ strength was recognizing a good idea when he saw it and synthesis of apparently unrelated concepts, and the elegance of simplicity.

Prior to the LaserWriter, the vast majority of good quality printers were daisywheel. I had reams of line-printer print-outs with partially typed characters and wavy lines. High quality graphs were done with an X-Y plotter that alternated colored pens. To change fonts, one had to manually change the daisywheel or ball head on an IBM Selectric. Jobs was the one who pushed the industry forward by insisting on the jump to the LaserPrinter while consumers said they wanted daisywheel printers. We didn’t know about LaserPrinters.

He did the same thing for GUI. There was no demand for GUI prior to the Macintosh.

I recall an apocryphal tale that took place between Gates and Sculley (I don’t think it was Jobs).

To paraphrase it, Bill Gates approched Apple Inc. about licensing the MacOS and was turned down. He then stated that they did not reach an agreement that MicroSoft would proceeded on its own. At this point he was told that ‘there is no way MS will make as good a product.’

Bill replied, “You don’t understand, it doesn’t have to be as good, just good enough.”

X said...

and Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation was just a practical joke.

prairie wind said...

Surprising that someone that into tech would not see that traditional medicine was the best route.

I agree; this is interesting. But maybe not all that surprising because Jobs seemed to think that his technology wasn't meant for the masses; his was meant for a 'special' kind of customer (fanboyz). He didn't have "traditional technology" and he wouldn't use "traditional medicine." Until push came to shove...his push and shove to the front of the transplant line.

Moose said...

So, I watched it. Now either that was the most deadpan presentation I've ever seen, or he was not cracking a joke.

I suspect the latter.

Quaestor said...

Robert Cook Wrote:
How is it "clearly false?" Under the hood Windows was not similar to the Mac OS, but the Windows gui was certainly a copy of the Mac gui.

It's not clear at all. Ever hear of convergent evolution? The principle is two unrelated organism can evolve to look and behave as if they share a common heritage when in fact what they share are similar environments. A analogous principle applies in design. There are countless examples. The Tupolev Tu-204 closely resembles the Boeing 757, in fact only a practiced eye can tell them apart at a glance, but one isn't a copy of the other. They look alike because they do the same job.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm not into Apple products. I think they're overpriced and sold via excellent marketing.

But I still think people posting with righteous indignation against the self-interested statements of a businessman are amusing. "That guy said that his product is better and more original?! ARGH!!!!" I know, I know, the world is so hard.

Or maybe I'm terribly cynical.

Alex said...

Why am I not surprised that Robert Cook is an iTard?

Lucius said...

Oh my god, Calibri *is* ugly.

I need to get some new CDs from Barnes & Noble.

Lem said...

ot

Oh man.. I'm watching Kathryn Jean Lopez talking as a panelist on something called "Values Voter Summit" and its torture.

She cant formulate a coherent thought.

Lem said...

Do we really want to pick apart the literal truth of a joke by someone who just tragically died?

Only if it bothers somebody.. important ;)

Lem said...

And while we are at it..

I have news for you Steve lovers..

The standard earbuds that comes with with their products.. STINKS.

Quaestor said...

MB wrote:
I recall an apocryphal tale that took place between Gates and Sculley (I don’t think it was Jobs)

That's likely to be very apocryphal indeed. By the mid-80s there were GUIs all over the place -- on the Mac, on Intel platforms, on the Xerox Star, on the Commodore Amiga... heck, there was even a graphical shell (xwindows) for the PDP-11 available in 1981. All of them were inspired by pioneering work done by Xerox, by Digital Equipment, by Stanford Research Institute, by AT&T, and by academics all over the world -- much of it public domain, there are very few patents pertaining to the "look and feel" notion. What's patent-able is who you get the look and not the look itself. Apple was the first company to create a GUI-based OS for the general public, that was their accomplishment and distinction. But to go on and on about Windows being a copy of the MacOS is to ignore history. Jobs was upset with Gates over Windows. So what? Ever hear of Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation? That suit went nowhere because Apple was found not to have a proprietary claim to the GUI concept. Nobody does. It was and is public domain.

Revenant said...

DOS-based word processors (WordPerfect in particular) were already doing proportional fonts before the Mac was released.

Smilin' Jack said...

Times New Roman has fallen out of favor for online usage--those serifs "bleed" on imperfect monitors, making it more difficult to read. San serif is the standard for online readability.

It is not the fault of Times New Roman that you buy your monitors and/or glasses at the 99 cent store. Serifs improve readability; that is why they are used in the vast majority of books and magazines.

Quaestor said...

@ MB, I quoted you, but my remarks weren't directed at you or your comment. I was critiquing the the Windows vs. Mac apocrypha generally.

Quaestor said...

Correction: "What's patent-able is who you get the look and not the look itself." should read "What's patent-able is how you get the look and not the look itself.

Nora said...

Jobs never joked about Windows copying Mac, it was dead serious issue for him. It was one years long tantrum

Henry said...

Three points:

1) Technology aside, executives that really understand design are rare. I'm fairly certain that WIMP GUIs would have had robust type treatment at some point as the technology filtered from the designers actually designing them. But Jobs understanding and appreciation for design has made a huge difference in the way Apple products were designed.

2) The literature on the readability of serif fonts is actually somewhat equivocal. At least one robust study came to the conclusion that people read fastest in the typeface they are most exposed to. (If memory serves me right, the researchers compared people raised in different countries with different common newspaper and book fonts.)

3) I am a longtime Windows/PC user of the top PC brands (IBM ThinkPads before Lenovo, then HP Compaqs) who switched to a MacBook Pro this year. You pay a premium for Macs, but there's no question that my MacBook Pro is a significantly better device than any Windows machine I've used. The hardware is both more robust and more elegantly designed (two examples of the latter being the lid that closes without a latch and the magnetic power dongle that attaches without requiring insertion). The interface, expressed across OS and third-party applications, is consistent to a single core experience, making the system more intuitive.

Plus the new Apple arrived without being loaded up with OEM crap. That's worth many many days of my time.

prairie wind said...

Serifs improve readability; that is why they are used in the vast majority of books and magazines.

Yes. For books and magazines. That is true.

Not online. And not just for the Dollar Store monitors.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Zrimsek said...

And here I thought San Serif was the town where Wozniak's garage was.

J said...

5-6 bogus names from A-house sockpuppet-in-chief, Byro the Subluxanator


Jobs can't be forgiven for the Macs of the 90s. Trash. And while the OS X and i-gear is ...an improvement..still not fast enough for most games....kids don't play half-life on Crapples (tho the high-end Apples may be up to it--for 4 grand...you get...speed of like an HP for $600)

BJM said...

Moose is correct...John Warnock & Charles Geschke created scalable fonts while at PARC. They began Adobe in 1982 and licensed PostScript to manufacturers of computers, printers, imagesetters, and film recorders.

In '85 Apple bought 19% of Adobe and in '85 they went public. Adobe developed Display PS for Next and one of the most successful collaborations in the industry's history began.

BJM said...

@SmilinJack

Actually the most widely used font in the world is Helvetica and it's digital progeny Arial.

Helvetica was designed in 1957 by Max Miedinger, based on that of Akzidenz Grotesk (1896), and classified as a Grotesque or Transitional san serif face.

Arial was designed in 1982 by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders for Monotype, it’s classified as Neo Grotesque, was originally called Sonoran San Serif, and was designed for IBM’s bitmap font laser printers.

It was first supplied with Windows 3.1 (1992) and was one of the core fonts in all subsequent versions of Windows until Vista, when to all intents and purposes, it was replaced with Calibri.

And that way more than you wanted to know, right?

Here's one of my fav bits from the doc/film "Helvetica" available to streami from Netflix or download at iTunes.

gregwithtwogs said...

"Hank" was a great but critically panned show that was too quickly cancelled.

Quaestor said...

And here I thought San Serif was the town where Wozniak's garage was

San Serif, patron saint of graphic design.

Curious George said...

"Freeman Hunt said...
I'm not into Apple products. I think they're overpriced and sold via excellent marketing.

But I still think people posting with righteous indignation against the self-interested statements of a businessman are amusing. "That guy said that his product is better and more original?! ARGH!!!!" I know, I know, the world is so hard.

Or maybe I'm terribly cynical." I don't think your being too cynical, just framing the issue incorrectly. Jobs was not saying his product was "better or more original", he was saying that if not for him that a feature might never had existed. And to prove that point, he used a falsehood.

Now in the big picture, no big deal. He told a nice story to some graduating students.

But the issue here, first brought up by John Althouse Cohen, and supported by his mommy, was that Jobs was "joking".

Which is a joke.

Oligonicella said...

MB --

"Jobs was the one who pushed the industry forward by insisting on the jump to the LaserPrinter while consumers said they wanted daisywheel printers. We didn’t know about LaserPrinters."

Oh, bullshit. I programmed the Jackson County Probation System in 1982. We used high-throughput laser printers for output.

If you're restricting yourself to the PC industry, it's only because the electronics weren't cheap enough yet. Everyone was dreaming of it.

Alex said...

Remember most businesses got their first PCs as IBMs or clones with MS-DOS, not Macs!

Thank you BillG!

victoria said...

That was my college campus, USC in 1965. Cute


Vicki from Pasadena

R.I.P. Steve, you were my hero, you an Julia Child. True originals

Alex said...

Yes, Apple fanatics do insist that the Macs and iToys are superior to anything else out there.

Robert Cook said...

J said:

something about computer games and Apple computers sub-par gaming performance

Who cares about computer games?

Alex said...

Who cares about computer games?

Millions do. You know people who want to have some fun and not just being a boring dullard sucking the oxygen out of every room like Robert Cook.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Youngblood said...

A little late to the party here, and other people have already mentioned this, but the story Steve Jobs told is crap.

Employees at Xerox PARC started exploring multiple typefaces and proportionally-spaced fonts back in the early 1970s.

Two of those employees, John Warnock and Charles Geschke, grew impatient and annoyed with Xerox's handling of the project and started their own company, Adobe, specifically to turn those experiments into something marketable. Jobs licensed this technology from Adobe for use in Apple's products.

To be clear, Jobs was very familiar with what Xerox PARC was doing at the time, as he pretty much robbed the place blind (stole, not copied). I give Jobs a lot of credit for knowing what to steal, but the Macintosh was hardly original.

Youngblood said...

"And yeah, it is kind of pitiful to go so freaking dweeb anal about ancient geek wars trivia when someone has just died..."

I have a lot of respect for Steve Jobs and the empire he built.

However, I have just as much respect, and in many cases more, for the true pioneers of the digital revolution (Douglas Engelbart, and the various employees of the SRI Augmentation Research Center and Xerox PARC).

It's not about warring geeks, it's about giving credit where credit is due.

Canuck said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_of_the_Nerds

This is a fun documentary about the invention of the personal computer. Talks about Apple, and Microsoft, and PARC Zerox, ect.

I understand why graphic designers like Apples.

But I don't understand why people who use these tools for ordinary things love, love, love the i-phones or the i-pad thingies.

Then again, I hate cell phones. Now I'm going to go yell at the kids to get off my lawn.

MB said...

Quaestor - Apple Inc. and MS did have discussions regarding the Mac GUI. The details of what happened and the pithy retort are what is apocryphal.

Revenant - Proportional fonts, graphics, etc. were available. common seamless WYSWYG wasn’t! Steve Jobs was instrumental in bring that into common use.

I am not stating that Steve Jobs fundamentally created anything. But he did have the ability to see further than most of his contemporaries and to motivate, cajole, intimidate and inspire people to his vision.

On a personal note, 25 years ago I had the idea for a product. When I presented it to my “superiors” I was shot down as that was one of the stupidest ideas ever and I should stick to what I was doing. That product is now on the market. I had a very bright idea, but I was never able to convince anyone of my vision nor motivate them. I have experienced this phenomenon frequently where I feel like a prophet in the wilderness. I have the vision but I speak on deaf ears. Jobs had vision and the ability to get people to listen and be excited.

As a side note, the major advantage of the early Macs compared to the PC was consistent application interface. I used several dozen programs, but I may only use most of them twice a year. As a high school and college student I was very active in writing my own code, mostly on a PDP-10 and CDC-6600. Later on, I just needed to get the job done! I vividly recall trying to use Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet and having to relearn all the CLI. After about an hour, I quit. Then at home on my Mac, using a spread sheet whose name I forget, doing the operation in 5 minutes.

Early PCs, DOS CLI and early Windows, were great and far more cost effective if you used one or two programs all the time, such as Lotus 1-2-3 at work. If you were like me, the incremental cost of a Mac was well worth it.

jr565 said...

Curious George, if it wasnt meant as comedy then why did the audience laugh? Are they getting a joke that Jobs didn't intend?

Clearly the audience got the comedic intent since of course they chuckled when he made the commenet.

So, althouse and son have it dead on.

As to whether we wouldn't have an emphasis on fontsand what not if the mac didn't come out, no one could prove.However, it's quite clear that it was Jobs who made that an emphasis. Gates had no clues about fonts when he put out windows.
Jobs had it in his mind that windows should follow the same rules as desktop publishing, or publishing in general. He saw implications that Gates couldn't dream of when he put out his copy of the Mac OS.
Bill's genius is that he saw that he didn't have to build the PC to get the OS out. By licensing it to others, his company could reap the benefits regardless of hardware manufactures. And taht was his genius.

But give credit to Jobs. All the aesthetics we see in computers are there because Jobs planted the seed. Give him the credit he deservers, even if you are a windoze user.
Even today it continues. Who came out with the modern OS first? Apple. of course. Windows 7 is a response to OSX. Yes it adds some of its own features, but at it's core it's stil a copy.
And of course all the smart phones are now copying apples's lead.
So again, give credit.

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