back to article MAC TO THE FUTURE: 30 years of hindsight and smart-arsery

Christian schoolchildren who pay attention during Religious Education classes will at some point independently wonder why there are more Commandments than Deadly Sins. Keep your Commandments – why are there only seven naughty things to do in one’s life? Even by the age of 12, most youngsters could invent plenty more juicy sins …

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Anonymous Coward

Father Dabbs, praise be the lord for your insights! You should definitely teach religious education (is that a kinkier version of French education?) to the toiling masses of market and strategy consultants for they do wallow in the abject sin of hindsight* and should be shown the path to redemption.

* Hindsight is not the art of constantly taking selfies of your rear end but is about as productive.

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Devil

So ghastly...

"When we saw the first photos of the original iMac, IT journalists agreed it was the most ghastly computer we’d ever seen. Testing it, we found it to be slow and poorly configured and came with a mouse so badly designed that it made you want to go out and kill someone. A mouse that could drive you to murder? Yes, that’s how absolutely fucking dreadful it was."

Oh God, how much can I possibly agree with this!!!

And can you imagine the horror when I discovered that my youngest daughter's prospective secondary school had dumped everything else in favour of this rubbish? Needless to say, she chose another, far better, school to go to - one with a less fashion-driven IT teacher at the helm.

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Re: So ghastly...

Well when Special Reserve got ram raided they left the iMacs, so it has some bonus's.

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Re: So ghastly...

"my youngest daughter's prospective secondary school had dumped everything else in favour of this rubbish"

Everything? Textbooks, test tubes, and tennis rackets? I have no idea what the computer technology was at the offspring's secondary school--I assume Windows-based, but never looked,

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Re: So ghastly...

Conversely, I found it to be speedy*, neither well nor poorly configured, and with a mouse so badly designed it made me want to go out and kill someone. The machine was all but unusable until third parties finally started making USB mice.

* in the same way that Pentium IIs felt at the time; not as the advertised massive leap forwards.

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Holmes

Mac PC and Others Future Forward?

I seem to remember, when sober, that the Mac although expensive worked well as a desktop machine and proliferated many a magazine and advert. Around this time the IBM / (Alan Sugar's) Amstrad et al were tortoises and relatively expensive ones at that. The highly illuminating docu-film' triumph of the nerds' captured the early cut and thrust of operating systems, coding and the rush to get something workable into the market. It documented lost and found opportunities and some of the key players. Today the Apple dynasty still demands many shekels for its products - so no change there?

So where to now? - as far as hardware goes its seems Tablets Androids and Clones will be 'on the march' and may format ALL in their way. BTW wonder what the 800,000,000 XP users will be doing mid April 2014 when support is cut? I still use XP - Time to download the final drivers, etc?

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Pint

I love the smell of Flame Bait on a friday

I take it you never bought any stock

Pint icon to go with your (Angostura) bitters

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Paris Hilton

Re: I love the smell of Flame Bait on a friday

I wonder why it always comes down to "stock"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I love the smell of Flame Bait on a friday

Probably has something to do with the bad taste left in a certain Redmond company's mouth by selling $150m AAPL Preference stock in 2001, which would now be worth over $11Bn.

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Re: I love the smell of Flame Bait on a friday

quote: "Probably has something to do with the bad taste left in a certain Redmond company's mouth by selling $150m AAPL Preference stock in 2001, which would now be worth over $11Bn."

In the comments of an article extolling the sin of pretending (or assuming) information only available in hindsight should have been obvious at the time, no less. Is that deliberate irony, I wonder? ;)

I feel somewhat vindicated that Alastair also appears to have noticed how Apple continually end up late at the parties (MP3 players, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches) with their "saving grace" being that they've let others make the initial mistakes while rushing to market, and have a more mature market to sound out regarding the killer features that consumers actually want (like more storage aka hard disks, although they weren't even first for that).

Maybe I should just lighten up and let the revisionists rewrite history to let Apple invent all handheld consumer electronics, but it always feels off when I have owned or used some of the preceeding kit (like some properly dire Win95 tablets, that I'd actually rather forget). Apple do it well, but they rarely do it first...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I love the smell of Flame Bait on a friday

I think the stock thing has to do with all of the fanboys who rant on about how proud of Apple and how much money it has in the bank. It couldn't be that they love the company because it fleeces them out of their money at an alarming rate, could it? They must own stock, right?

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Re: I love the smell of Flame Bait on a friday

Mind you, while apple were late to MP3 players, tablet computers, smartphones etc., somehow that annoying smug git in the turtleneck turned out to be quite good a haranguing his whole company into building things that sold really well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I love the smell of Flame Bait on a friday

somehow that annoying smug git in the turtleneck turned out to be quite good a haranguing his whole company into building things that sold really well.

That smug git drove one of the key reasons Apple products like iPhone and even the newer Mac OSX versions were welcomed: usability. Sadly, they took their eyes off iTunes, and it shows.

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However

No one needed hindsight to see Microsoft ballsing everything up in the last 6 six years, hell since Vista.

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Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Yip Bill Gates stepped in Gave Apple a big pile of money with very generous terms and saved apple. What did the employees of Apple do, boo him. I've read lots of "Mac / Apple Histories" over the past week and this little fact seems to have been missed, which is a pity, but Apple would have likely folded and we would all have crappy phones.

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Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

No. Bill Gates was a part of their success.

The revenues from the fruity iMacs pulled them out of the financial abyss.

Bill Gates saved Apple by publicly supporting them at a low ebb [1] and, more importantly, by pledging the continuation of MS Office for the Mac for the next 5 years. I'm not sure how much Apple really needed $150m at the time.

[1] The adjective for Apple at this time was 'beleaguered'.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

It's more like BSD Unix saved them, right?

And then 10'000 USD cannot be found to pay the electricity bills.

Does anyone even remember Steve's gamble on NeXT that resulted in utter failure, but also utterly cool black boxes sitting on graduate students's desks? Anyone want to write up a "30 years of NeXT" next? It's gonna be soon.

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Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Not speaking as an Apple fan- because believe me, I certainly am not- but Gates' "saving" of Apple wasn't for purely altruistic reasons. Rather, it was for a more self-serving and pragmatic one- it suited Microsoft to have Apple around as a not-too-strong "competitor" they could point to when accusations of them being a monopoly came up.

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Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Except OSX isn't based on BSD: it's based on Mach with some BSD-alike bits.

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FAIL

Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple @knarf

By nobody you all include the Reg articles that explicitly mentioned this point?

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Holmes

Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Except OSX isn't based on BSD: it's based on Mach with some BSD-alike bits.

I think you mean mostly BSD bits with a smattering of Mach microkernel underneath

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Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple @knarf

By nobody you all include the Reg articles that explicitly mentioned this point?

Sure sounds like higher-brow readership in here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Except OSX isn't based on BSD: it's based on Mach with some BSD-alike bits.

The Mach kernel started life as a fork of the BSD kernel, and those "BSD-alike bits" have various copyrights on them that show they are BSD. NeXTStep was Mach and 4.3BSD, later updated with code from 4.4BSD. OS-X was NeXTStep after a major refresh using code from NetBSD, and more recently FreeBSD.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

... and the fact that SJ provided absolutely incontrovertible evidence that MS had copied Apple's codec and that MS was looking an unwinnable, very embarrassing court case squarely in the face ... nah, nothing to do with at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Microsoft was at the time, and probably still is, the largest software company developing products for the Mac. MS also had revenue reasons.

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Holmes

Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

I can't remember ever having written about Samsung, and the only Samsung product I have is a flat panel display. Bad troll, unsuccessful stabs in the dark and lazy writing. 0/10.

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Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Destroy all monsters,

Please forgive him, he slavishly and blindly copied and pasted that pathetic diatribe from certain legal proceedings that refuse to die

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Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

I heard an interesting theory as to why Microsoft "saved" Apple.

Wasn't Microsoft under heavy investigation from the government for antitrust reasons at this time?

if Apple had folded, then the only available PC (that's personal computer) to consumers would have been one with a Microsoft OS on it..

Hmmmmmmm.

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Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Jobs wasn't booed by Apple employees, he was both booed and cheered — the video is easy to find — by a crowd of convention goers. Imagine the reaction Michael Foot would have received from a satellite link-up with Mrs. T at the Labour Party conference, then divide by about a hundred million. Chris Christie got a lot worse than Jobs did for embracing Obama. Though if I have to cite the Republican Party to make something else look reasonable, maybe I've already lost the argument?

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Anonymous Coward

"I think you mean mostly BSD bits with a smattering of Mach microkernel underneath"

Originally, the NeXT developed XNU was a MACH base, with some forked FreeBSD components (networking stack, POSIX API to name some components). I mean, that's the point of the BSD license, isn't it. XNU has evolved considerably beyond that now, but Apple do contribute to the FreeBSD project. But it doesn't really matter. You're obviously trying to be blithely dismissive by over simplifying things.

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Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Actually sir,

I have never owned a samsung phone and likely never will, I have however had x3 iphones, a fair few mac books, ipad, ipod. I'm not a Mac Fan boy but do tend to buy their kit (sometimes).

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Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

They use BSD in form of BSDlite and older FreeBSD userland. It was OpenBSD who needed 20.000 for its electricity bill.

One of the NeXt boxes was at CERN and one Tim Berners-Lee developed something totally irrelevant on it.

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Re: "I think you mean mostly BSD bits with a smattering of Mach microkernel underneath"

Apple sell capabilities, not tech. The kernel is one of the more boring and backward bits of OSX. What, still no iscsi drivers? I doubt there's much special about Mach, but being a microkernel it might have helped them port between architectures.

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Confused:

>Worse, Apple opted for hard disk technology while every other manufacturer believed solid-state storage was the ideal portable storage.

>It duly signed up the only supplier of miniature hard disks that would fit the iPod form-factor and locked them into an exclusivity contract, in return guaranteeing that it would purchase its entire stock regardless.

That meant no one else could make hard disk MP3 players, even if they had wanted to. Don'tcha just love the free market?

So on the one hand, you're suggesting that nobody else wanted to make HDD-based players, but also saying that nobody else could make HDD-based players?

It was very hard to get hold of those little Toshiba HDDs... The only way I could hold of one to fix my iRiver H320 was to dissect an iPod with a broken screen. I chose the iRiver over the iPod because of wider Codec support, drag-n-drop support, USB-host support, line in and microphone recording, and supposed audio quality... oh, and it was slightly cheaper. I later found out that Rockbox let my play Doom on it (a pointless exercise really, but cool) and Gameboy classics.

It was frustrating a year or two later to be unable to buy a non-iPod HDD player.

Nor did the iPod introduce the 'scroll wheel' to portable audio- I had one on my Sharp minidisc player/recorder, though it wasn't used for track select - instead it was for jogging through tracks, and for entering text.

The pre-iPod HDD players were often a bit shit, though. The Creative that looked like a portable CD player was a silly form factor, and the later Creative Nomad was unreliable (the audio-out jack was soldered directly to the PCB, and so was unforgiving of longer audio jacks)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Confused:

Very true.

Also the description of Apple being "late to the MP3 party" and making an "insane gamble on storage capacity"

is a bit bollocks.

Another way of describing it, which would be better, was that Apple delayed entering the MP3 market until the technology (tiny HDD drives) existed that would actually make MP3 players worth having, and better than the alternatives.

I also remember the early solid-state MP3 players. Didn't they come in 64 and 128MB versions?

I.e. barely enough memory to hold a single album as a very highly compressed, terrible sounding MP3.

I remember seeing those on sale at the time and thinking I would stick to my mini-disk player, which at least sounded better and had the ability to swap disks if I wanted to listen to more than one album.

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ha

I like the article. Even without any particular dislike of macs (I accept some people prefer them and don't begrudge them that) rewriting the company's history as some epic journey from the start is just distorting some non-events into turning points that made humanity gasp

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This post has been deleted by its author

Errr. "Ridley Scott’s dystopian mini-epic featuring the future second Mrs Stallone"??

That wasn't Brigitte Nielsen, it was an English discus thrower called Anya Major.

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Locked into enforced throw-away

The problem with Apple products is:

I've got a decent monitor, but now I have to throw it away and use the crappy one in my new computer.

I've got a decent computer, but now I have to throw it away and use the crappy one with my new monitor.

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Re: Locked into enforced throw-away

Mac Mini?

Mac Pro?

Even during the compact run, various PC-like boxes were made, 2s LC 'pizza' boxes, up to the beige G3 which were basically an iMac sans the form factor, colour and USB.

The G3/4 towers were iMac coloured but a proper tower, then the 'cube'...

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Devil

Re: Locked into enforced throw-away

> Mac Mini?

Overpriced and underpowered crap that will cook itself.

> Mac Pro?

Ridiculously overpriced.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Locked into enforced throw-away

> Mac Mini?

>Overpriced and underpowered crap that will cook itself.

Really?

> Mac Pro?

>Ridiculously overpriced.

That's been resoundingly disproved. Ridiculously overkill, maybe.

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FAIL

Re: Locked into enforced throw-away

>> Mac Mini?

>Overpriced and underpowered crap that will cook itself.

When?

I currently have a 2006 era Mac Mini that's been running 24x7 as a media server (iTunes backend to AppleTVs and Airport Expresses) since 2008, including video transcoding most days.

I also have a 2007 era Mac Mini that is the wife's main desktop computer. And a 2011ish Mac Mini Server that's running our home network's services plus external email and websites for the family. Not a huge load on it, granted, but like the other two, at no point has it tried to cook itself.

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Angel

Re: Locked into enforced throw-away

"I've got a decent monitor, but now I have to throw it away and use the crappy one in my new computer."

No, you don't. Most people have pretty crappy monitors, and now Apple refuses to sell an iMac with less than 1080p IPS with anti-reflective coating.

But if you do have a good monitor, you can connect it to any Mac. The iMac can even drive 2 external monitors using only mini-DisplayPort adapters.

"I've got a decent computer, but now I have to throw it away and use the crappy one with my new monitor."

No, you don't. You think you did because it's big and you spent money on it years ago, but even the slowest iMac is faster than most computers I see in people's homes. But nobody is forcing you to buy an iMac. I don't see the point of getting an iMac instead of a nice IPS display if you truly don't want to use the iMac.

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Anonymous Coward

I wouldn't know about all that stuff. The Mac was way too expensive on the Continent. Windows was it's crappy self. So I had a Risc OS machine.

But nowadays a Mac is quite affordable. And Windows much less crappy than it used to be. Both systems still needs way too much hand holding, diaper changing and lace tying. But still, there is a tiny bit of improvement going on, now computers are finally being made for normal people, instead of systems people looking for easy money.

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often you don’t remember things in quite the same way as they are being recounted by some smart-arse who’s just snorted a line of hindsight

One of the bizarre experiences of advancing age is to see your own youth recycled as period drama, and to sit there spotting the anachronisms.

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Methinks thou doth protest too much. Or why are you such a whiny little bitch?

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why are you such a whiny little bitch?

<sigh> It's supposed to give you a gentle titter on a Friday afternoon. I write one of these every week. No big deal really.

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