January 1st 2004
This January 2004, marks the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh Computer... Of course, most of you viewing these pages are probably doing so on a Windows box, and as such, you're quite likely you're thinking, "So what?"
But back in the 70s at Xerox PARC Palo Alto, the first practical GUI - Graphical User Interface was created, and the ground breaking Machine they built was the Alto... It was a small computer for its day, about the size of a washing machine and for its time was the most wondrous computer yet built!! Unfortunately, the Xerox execs didn't know what to do with the amazing developments at their PARC facility - So turns out, their major contribution to the evolution of the modern PC was to allow a small group of Apple Techs to view the facility in December of 1979, (In trade for valuable Stock Options)... That night the Apple techs saw a new paradign in computing and they understood what the Xerox execs hadn't... The upshot being, the guys from Apple went home to start the revolution without Xerox...
Apple's first attempt at a commercial GUI was the "Lisa", but the Lisa was a commercial failure... It did however spawn a quirky offshoot development headed by Jef Raskin intended as a low end machine - the Macintosh... What eventually emerged, after Steve Jobs had kicked Raskin out and taken over the project, was something of a different sort... But for all its limitations, it was the first successful commercial GUI machine..!
And so the idea passed on - for all of us running a GUI interface whether Gnome or KDE Linux, or Windows or whatever, then we owe a debt of thanks to Xerox PARC for bringing the concept to reality and Apple for forging it into a functional practical application and introducing it to the world..! (Hey, would you prefer to only see li'l green text on a black screen..?)
For whatever its worth, the PCs in the background are (Starting at top left and working down) an Apple Lisa (Sort'a the Mac's Aunty) - an Amiga (a Great Computer that failed) - the Compac Portable, the first IBM Clone (a Yetch! DOS Machine)
Sort of Center: a Cannon CAT - Designed by Jef Raskin, perhaps is closer to his own vision of what the Mac might have been... And below that the Altair, the first Personal PC - (No monitor, no Printer, no Keyboard, just li'l blinky lights and switches to flip - Yike!!) Below that, Woz's original Apple 1, which as the commercial version the Apple II made home computing possible for practically everyone...
And on the right, Xerox PARC's magnificent Alto, the Great Grandmother of just about all the PCs we're using today..!! So, here's a tip of the hat to them all, and Happy birthday Mac!! JQ