Friday, 23 January 2009

Happy Birthday Mac!

Saturday marks the 25 anniversary of the little machine that started a revolution. The Apple Macintosh 128K. We should all pause today and wish the little computer that could a happy birthday. In 1984 Apple Computer Corporation launched the Mac during the infamous Orwellian inspired Superbowl commercial touting the new era has arrived.

They were right. 

The Mac 128, was the first personal computer to have a GUI (graphic user interface) and a mouse. It was the first computer to be truly user friendly. The first network computer, the first home machine that could connect the common user (there weren't any 'common users' at this point). The first computer to soak buyers to the tune of $2,495 US, in 1984! A huge sum of money back then (even now)

It boasted a rocketing 128Kb of RAM, running at an astounding 8 Mhz storage was courtesy of 400K 3.5" floppy disks, all this with a monochrome monitor. Wow have we come a long way. The machine I'm typing this on has a 2.4Ghz processor, 300GB hard drive and 1 GB of RAM, and that's a year old. To boot, I paid less than the 128 cost. 

My love affair with Apple goes back to 1992 when I started college. My friend bought a state of the art Macintosh LCII; 16 Mhz 68030 chip, and a 4oMb hard drive. I hung out in his basement with him playing Sim City for hours. I eventually inherited that machine from him thus bringing the affair home. In 1998 I upgraded to the Macintosh 6500 Tower running 250Mhz. In 2002, I bought an iLamp, then finally in 2007, my newest addition, my Intel based iMac. I still have the iLamp running, my kids have it now. The 6500 is in the basement. I can't bear to part with it, even though it's now a 40lb. door stop. It still works, just horrendously obsolete. 

Apple has led the way in the computer market since it started the PC revolution 25 years ago. It has never taken second place. Almost every advancement in computer technology over the years can be attibuted to Apple. The rest just follow suit. It amazes me that they aren't the front runner. But somehow, it's better that way. Here's to the underdog. 

I found a great link today reading news stories about Mac's birthday, go here to find out how it all started. This is amazing, the original development notes, sketches and other tidbits from the very start of the project. I found myself engrossed in the history of it all. 

Something else all Mac aficionados should see is Pirates of Silicon Valley
It's a great movie about the start of the relationship, good and bad, between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. 

Happy birthday Macintosh. You've come a long way. Just like people, you have grown up and evolved. You have become a wiser older version of your siblings. And you will keep growing for years to come. 

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Anyone know HTML?

I've decided I hate Blogger's templates. So being the industrious graphic designer that I am, I made a new one. Fairly simple, done and exported from iWeb. (I want to keep it simple for now).
But I don't really know what the HTML editor in Blogger is asking of me to get this to work. It tells me I need to skin tag, and I really don't know how to accomplish that. 

Has anyone made custom temps for Blogger? I could use your help.


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

A new era has arrived

Congratulations to my American friends. A new era is here. One without the Bush family anywhere near Washington. With luck Obama will deliver on his promises to you and the world. 
And with luck, John Stewart will find a new target.


Sunday, 18 January 2009

Bring back the old barn

So last night we went to see the Windsor Spitfires at their new palace - The WFCU Centre. A brand new $60 Million arena and entertainment centre. Our first visit to a game in this venue.

I was not impressed.

Yeah, the modern amenities are all there, new jumbotron, new digital effects, sound and lighting systems, better environmental controls (the old barn was notorious for fog forming on the ice surface), new concessions, new everything, including a liquor license. 


The new arena that seats 6,500 people was packed last night, and so were the concourses. You couldn't move. If anyone has seen George Orwell's 1984, you will remember the scene where Smith is trudging down a long hall in step with hundreds of other workers, sorrowfully shuffling along in a mournful procession to his meaningless job. I felt like I was suddenly thrown into that scene. Hundreds of fans shuffling along to the concession or washroom like a herd of cattle off to slaughter. 

The seats are ridiculously tight, in the old barn there were benches in the nosebleeds that you could spread out on, even put your coffee down next to you. (Nosebleed is a relative term, there was only 4,000 seats in there, all of them good unless you got stuck behind a support beam.

The new arena ushered in an era of new uniforms, new moral boosting graphics, music, and other gimmickery, such as the giant inflatable spitfire mouth that the team races out of onto the ice to the sounds of AC-DC's Thunderstruck. All cool, the crowd was pumped for their team. The barn could accommodate none of these theatrics. If anything, the team skating into the fog and every now and then you spotted a number and recognized the player to the sound of the rink announcer saying "hey! there's Ryan Ellis!"

The concessions are another story. We picked up some hot dogs, nachos, water, Iced tea and a large pretzel. I thought I was at the movies - $32.95. We could have eaten at Boston Pizza on the way in for less. Next time we east first.

The Spits took the night, 6 to 1 over the Barrie Colts. They're number one in the OHL right now, on fire for once. They haven't won the conference since 1988 and the past several years have been dismal. Maybe the excitement of the new place has opened their hearts and motivated them. It also doesn't hurt when you have a stacked team. One member has a gold medal from the World Junior Championship, one is the highest scorer in the OHL. Good talent and a new palace. Let's hope that excitement keeps up. I know that I have never seen a game so crowded as I did last night. I'm sure the other 6,000 people said the same thing as they headed out to their cars, ours was  a mere 15 minute walk away from the arena, in a snowstorm. (they must do something about the parking!)

The old barn is gone now, just a memory for Spitfires fans. It will still be used by the University of Windsor, as well as for minor league and fun leagues. But as far as a sports venue it's days are over. I will miss the old place and think of her every time I can't find a place to put my coffee down at the WFCU.