Monthly Archives: July 2010

Whatever happened to… Hypercard

Hypercard stacks

Hypercard stacks

A long time ago in a galaxy far away – (sorry that’s another story). A long time ago before the internet became ubiquitous I managed to gather enough funds (yet another story) to purchase my first computer – a Macintosh SE/30 4:40. A wonderfully well built machine with a 9 inch monochrome screen. I still own it and it still works (last time I checked), but before I get caught up in too much nostalgic reflection what I wanted to talk about was Hypercard.
You see Hypercard shipped with the Mac and was my first experience of a graphical user interface (GUI). The machines where I worked at the time were green screened pre-windows DOS computers – Hypercard was a revelation.
This is from Wikipedia: HyperCard is based on the concept of a “stack” of virtual “cards.” Cards hold data, just as they would in a rolodex. The layout engine was similar in concept to a “form” as used in most Rapid Application Development (RAD) environments (such as Borland Delphi or Visual Basic). A special “Home” stack (precursor to the home page on a website) was available as an application launcher, a repository for shared scripts, and a facility for setting preferences.
This was the first time I really felt that I could make use of a computer for more than simple word processing. The potential was there for so much more. SuperPaint and Aldus PageMaker followed and true Desk Top Publishing had arrived.
A little background from Wikipedia: HyperCard is an application program created by Bill Atkinson for Apple Computer, Inc. that was among the first successful hypermedia systems before the World Wide Web. It combines database capabilities with a graphical, flexible, user-modifiable interface. HyperCard also features HyperTalk, written by Dan Winkler, a programming language for manipulating data and the user interface. Some HyperCard users employed it as a programming system for Rapid Application Development of applications and databases.
SE/30 computer

SE/30 also affectionally known as 'the toaster'

A few interesting points to finish:

The pointing-finger cursor used for navigating stacks later found its way into the first web browsers, as the hyperlink cursor.
Renault, the French auto manufacturer, used it to control their inventory system.
HyperNext is a freeware software development system that uses many ideas from HyperCard and can create both standalone applications and stacks that run on the freeware Hypernext Player. HyperNext is available for Mac OS X & Mac OS 9, and Windows XP & Vista.
According to Ward Cunningham, the inventor of Wikis, the wiki concept can be traced back to a HyperCard stack he wrote in the late 1980s, making HyperCard one of the grandparents of the Wiki idea.

Leave a comment

Filed under Technology

Hello Dave

hello dave

hello dave

It was Stanley Kubrick’s birthday yesterday. I just wanted to note this as his film: 2oo1 A Space Odyssey is, in my humble opinion, one of the best films ever made and Kubrick one of the all-time best directors.

Stanley Kubrick (July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999). Although he was nominated for an Academy Award as a screenwriter and director on several occasions, his only personal win was for the special effects in 2oo1 A Space Odyssey. (From Wikipedia).

Leave a comment

Filed under Media & Film

Anti Design Festival. 18-26.9.2010

anti design festival

anti design festival

The ADF is Neville Brody’s response to an invitation to contribute to the London Design Festival, and gathers contributions of art and design that challenge contemporary stereotypes. This is work that is seen as un-commercial, dangerous, and anti-establishment.

Visit both links to view things from both sides – maybe debate – send me your comments… what do you think?

ADF Manifesto

We are living in an age where millions of colours became 256. Difference is the enemy. Generic culture hypnotises us all into generic patterns, where control is visibly invisible. Danger is replaced by fear. New means upgrade. Risk is obsolete. Art made money stupid, and money made us fools. We welcome no_use, no_function and no_fear. Anarchy, crash and burn, the new awaits.

From Learning to Earning, and now to Yearning, we have forgotten why we are here. We have lost touch with what made us tick, the fire of creative possibility that once consumed us from within.

Revolutionary thought is but a distant memory. I grew up as part of a generation that thought it could help improve society; that our sole function was to be conscious and to spread that consciousness through creative awareness, exploration, observation and questioning.

This generation was replaced by the Thatcher/Reagan paradigm of Culture=Money. Thinkers became earners, Creatives became entertainers, and a whole dumbed-down generation now feels entitled to success and profit without having to work or think too much.

We are now left with a spiritual hollowness. The belief systems of consumption and commodity have been exposed as empty. Revolution is a distant echo lost in the white noise, and religion has been largely subsumed by globalisation. Virtual experiences have replaced human touch. Analogue culture is now the exotic.

We have managed to create for our children, perhaps for the first time in history, a future which is less hopeful than the one we live in today.

Deep Freeze

The house of credit cards has now collapsed. For 25 years we have been in a state of Deep Freeze. We have somehow denied ourselves permission to remember what it was like before the Big Bang of banking deregulation. Schools became businesses and hospitals became profit centres. Art for art’s sake was sacrificed for entertainment and bums on seats. Ideas became clichŽs and anything different was viewed with suspicion and disdain.

We have traded Freedom for Peace. What we need is Liberation.

Free Me From Freedom

As the Lehman Brothers collapsed, so a new era is signalled and the baton is passed on again. Mankind has the opportunity now to reclaim the cultural high-ground and risk something new, a creative breach in the barrier of exclusion that can allow some real growth and evolution, like a bright light shining through the cracks of a crumbling wall.

The line of Dangerous Ideas had been interrupted and the path can be found again.

Dangerous Ideas

When was the last time you encountered any culture that you can say was really dangerous, that actually challenged anything?

Leave a comment

Filed under Design

Facebook reaches half a billion users

Facebook page

Facebook: half a billion registered users

The social network provider Facebook says it now has more than half a billion registered users, after adding 100m in the last six months. As a designer I find the interface tidy but visually limiting. I suppose the emphasis is on content rather than appearance. Who knows how this may change in the future.  Personally I would like more control over the appearance of my pages, but as a social networking tool Facebook is a phenomenon.

Facebook icon

Facebook said the number was “an important milestone” and added that it was “humbled and inspired” by the stories of its users, which it is asking people to share on the site.

The UK currently has around 26m Facebook users.

Leave a comment

Filed under Technology

Do typefaces really matter?

Woodblock Type

Wood Block Type

A very interesting article currently on the BBC ‘magazine’ section of their website discussing typefaces. If you want to take a look go to:

Leave a comment

Filed under Typography

Pantone lampshades

Pantone lampshades

Pantone lampshades

Great Pantone Lampshades from Meninos. I don’t know if anyone in the UK sells them, but I think Utility should take a look. I wonder would davidthedesigner be interested, he has a long history with Pantone if his brilliant blog is anything to go by.

Leave a comment

Filed under Design

Lego – the ultimate designer toy

Lego bricks

Lego bricks. Picture Alan Chia via Wikimedia Commons

Probably my best-loved toy when I was a child. The beauty of Lego, the sheer genius of the product was that it allowed you to make whatever you wanted. OK it had it’s limitations but unlike ‘Mechano’ you needed no tools or diagrams. It was simplicity itself to click bricks together and create something. You didn’t follow a plan you just went along with your own imagination. So a big thank you to Mr Christiansen and his dad.

Godtfred Kirk Christiansen (July 8, 1920 – July 13, 1995) was the son of Ole Kirk Christiansen, the founder of the Lego Group. In 1949 Godtfred Kirk Christiansen bought the patent to the Lego brick and the family started producing plastic bricks as a supplement to the wooden toys. In 1950 he became Junior Vice President of the company and in 1956, he was appointed Managing Director. When his father died in 1958, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen became the manager of the company and bought out his three brothers in 1960 to become sole proprietor of Lego Group. His son, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, took over as president and CEO of the Lego Group in 1979. (From Wikipedia).


Filed under Design

Mr Scruff t-bag box

Mr Scruff t-bag box

The brilliant Mr Scruff t-bag box

A wonderful piece of packaging. Cheers you up in the morning before you have a cuppa to start the day.

This is from the MrScruff website:

Greetings! I am Mr. Scruff, DJ, Producer, Cartoonist & Tea Drinker.
As a DJ, I play across the board, including Soul, Funk, Hip Hop, Jazz, Reggae, Latin, African, Ska, Disco, House, Funk, Breaks, Soundtracks & loads more. As a producer I make music that draws on these influences, with a large dose of cheek & good humour. My cartoon drawings illustrate this website, my gig flyers & record/cd covers. I also have a tea company (more info at

Leave a comment

Filed under Design, Illustration