Tag Archives: Macintosh

Apple of my eye. Part 2

What Micro Magazine April 1989

What Micro Magazine April 1989

In my last post I wrote about how the Macintosh SE/30 was to become my first personal computer. A good friend who was a computer enthusiast and an article in What Micro magazine (see above) had helped me ‘see the light’ and now my mind was made up.

Back in 1989 the price for this model was a staggering £3,420.00 for the basic SE/30 4/20. I knew even back then that I would need more RAM for graphic work and so the 4/40 version was going to be the dream machine for me. (by the way that’s 40 megabytes and not gigabytes).

Macintosh SE/30

Macintosh SE series

Although the Macintosh shipped with an elegant operating system (version 6.0.3) and with the wonderful Hypercard software, see my earlier post.  I needed far more if I was to begin to use this kit professionally  for graphic design work.

My Hypercard software disk

My Hypercard software disk

Aldus PageMaker was the software for the digital page layout at the time and early versions of Illustrator and Freehand existed but the costs were mounting and besides, a new player had emerged – QuarkXpress.

I took a long look at Quark and decided this was the package for me and along with SuperPaint and WriteNow this became my first computer-based electronic studio. A few extra Postscipt Type 1 fonts and a laser printer for proofing and that was it.

I could undoubtably buy a top spec Mac and throw in all the industry standard design software and peripherals for the same price that I parted with back in ’89 but nothing will replace the thrill of working with this kit back in those days. After producing graphic work with conventional equipment for years this really was akin to magic.

In case anyone thinks that all this expense and time spent teaching myself new techniques and mastering software was just for fun, it wasn’t anything of the sort. It was survival.

At the time there was talk of the end of graphic designers and that compositors would end up doing all our work. In the end the reverse was true. Choosing the right kit in the late eighties and early nineties was a matter of survival and I personally know of companies who went to wall after choosing the wrong equipment.

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Apple of my eye. Part 1

Juiced up Apple

Juiced up Apple

I came across the April 1989 edition of What Micro while moving things around from our studio to a second office we have recently acquired. At first I couldn’t work out why I had kept this dusty old magazine (although I’m pretty bad about hoarding stuff, just ask my wife). Then I caught a glimpse of the small image on the top left hand corner. A picture of a Macintosh SE/30. Even today I can still feel the nerd-like excitement that the image gave me. An ‘anorak’ moment.

With the news that Steve Jobs had just resigned as CEO at Apple this little piece of synchronicity got me thinking.

What Micro article on the Macintosh SE/30

Flicking the magazine open I realized this was the original review that I had read on the SE/30 which had convinced me I needed to go out and get one. Back in those days I worked – like most others in our business – with a drawing boards, markers, pencils and all the traditional instruments of the graphic designer, including the ubiquitous Cow Gum. I had heard speculation of course but remained convinced that these new-fangled machines were strictly for computer geeks and not for me.

Then while visiting a friend who was interested in computers, he even built his own! Now that was impressive, particularly back in those days. (If you’re reading this you’ll know who you are). He also happened to own a Mac Plus. It was an epiphany. The all-in-one design, the graphical interface, the mouse. I was convinced – this was the future and I had to be a part of it.

More next time…


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What ever happened to… SuperPaint

SuperPaint box

The beautifully packaged SuperPaint

A recent post by davidthedesigner on working with current design software made me think back to one of the earliest graphics pakages I ever used: SuperPaint. Beautifully packaged in a boxed slipcase with a hard-backed ringbinder style manual that contained 3 floppy disks, this was my very first experience of using a computer to develop graphic images.
Using an Macintosh SE/30 4:40 (state of the art at the time). I was able to draw and ‘paint’ using a mouse and keyboard and print out my work via a laser printer. No colour on screen or via the laser’s output, but I still remember the thrill of doing all this myself from a small desk in my own home.
I suppose it’s all taken for granted these days with all the RAM and power at the designer’s disposal. Large colour screens, fast processing, high resolution colour output. I wouldn’t want to turn the clock back for a second but I did feel like a pioneer and it was very exciting in a geeky kind of way.
This is from Wikipedia:
SuperPaint was a graphics program capable of both bitmap painting and vector drawing simultaneously. It was published by Silicon Beach Software and originally released in 1986 for the Apple Macintosh. SuperPaint was one of the first programs of its kind, combining the features of MacPaint and MacDraw together. Later versions were published by Aldus until about 1992. In September 1994, Aldus was absorbed by Adobe in a $525 million 1.15:1.00 common stock exchange.
SuperPaint made some tasks easier than present day pixel paint or object oriented applications. Superpaint could create vector graphics drawings and transfer them back and forth between the vector graphics and pixel paint layers, hiding and recalling either layer.
All this on three floppy disks!!!
Silicon Beach Software was an early developer of software products for the Macintosh personal computer. It was founded in San Diego, California by Charlie Jackson and his wife Hallie. Jackson later co-foundedFutureWave Software with Jonathan Gay, the company that produced the first version of what is now Adobe Flash.

SuperPaint logo

SuperPaint start up screen

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

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