Yearly Archive 2018

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Jobs left, and Hertzfeld went back to his work. Later that afternoon

Jobs left, and Hertzfeld went back to his work. Later that afternoon he looked up to see Jobs peering over the wall of his cubicle. “I’ve got good news for you,” he said. “You’re working on the Mac team now. Come with me.”

Hertzfeld replied that he needed a couple more days to finish the Apple II product he was in the middle of. “What’s more important than working on the Macintosh?” Jobs demanded. Hertzfeld explained that he needed to get his Apple II DOS program in good enough shape to hand it over to someone.

“You’re just wasting your time with that!” Jobs replied. “Who cares about the Apple II? The Apple II will be dead in a few years. The Macintosh is the future of

Apple, and you’re going to start on it now!” With that, Jobs yanked out the power cord to Hertzfeld’s Apple II, causing the code he was working on to

vanish. “Come with me,” Jobs said. “I’m going to take you to your new desk.” Jobs drove Hertzfeld, computer and all, in his silver Mercedes to the Macintosh offices.

“Here’s your new desk,” he said, plopping him in a space next to Burrell Smith. “Welcome to the Mac team!” The desk had been

Raskin’s. In fact Raskin had left so hastily that some of the drawers were still filled with his flotsam and jetsam, including model airplanes.

Jobs’s primary test for recruiting people in the spring of 1981 to be part of his merry band of pirates was making sure they had a passion for the product. He would sometimes bring candidates into a room where a prototype of the Mac

was covered by a cloth, dramatically unveil it, and watch. “If their eyes lit up, if they went right for the mouse and started pointing and clicking,

Steve would smile

and hire them,” recalled

Andrea Cunningham.

“He wanted themto say ‘Wow!’”

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Kare also developed the icons, such as the trash can for

Kare also developed the icons, such as the trash can for discarding files, that helped define graphical interfaces. She and Jobs hit it off because they shared an instinct for simplicity along with a desire to make the Mac whimsical. “He

usually came in at the end of every day,” she said. “He’d always want to know what was new, and he’s always had good taste and a good sense for visual details.” Sometimes he came in on Sunday morning, so Kare made it a point to

be there working. Every now and then, she would run into a problem. He rejected one of her renderings of a rabbit, an icon for speeding up the mouse-click rate, saying that the furry creature looked “too gay.”

 

Jobs lavished similar attention on the title bars atop windows and documents. He had Atkinson and Kare do them over and over again as he agonized over their

look. He did not like the ones on the Lisa because they were too black and harsh. He wanted the ones on the Mac to be smoother, to have pinstripes.

The company’s first office, after it moved out of his family garage, was in a small building it shared with a Sony sales office. Sony was famous for its signature style and memorable product designs, so Jobs would drop by to

study the marketing material. “He would come in looking scruffy and fondle the product brochures and point out design features,” said Dan’l Lewin, who

worked there. “Every now and then, he would ask, ‘Can I take this brochure?’” By 1980, he had hired Lewin.

His fondness for the dark, industrial look of Sony receded around June 1981, when he began attending the annual International Design Conference in Aspen. The meeting that year focused on Italian style, and it featured the

architect-designer Mario Bellini, the filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci, the car maker Sergio Pininfarina, and the Fiat heiress and politician Susanna Agnelli. “I had come to revere the Italian designers, just like

the kid in Breaking

Away reveres the Italian bikers,”

recalled Jobs,

“so it was an amazing inspiration.”

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Jobs obsessed with equal intensity about the look of what would

Jobs obsessed with equal intensity about the look of what would appear on the screen. One day Bill Atkinson burst into Texaco Towers all excited. He had just come up with a brilliant algorithm that could draw circles and ovals

onscreen quickly. The math for making circles usually required calculating square roots, which the 68000 microprocessor didn’t support. But Atkinson did a workaround based on the fact that the sum of a sequence of odd

numbers produces a sequence of perfect squares (for example, 1 + 3 = 4, 1 + 3 + 5 = 9, etc.). Hertzfeld recalled that when Atkinson fired up his demo, everyone was impressed except Jobs. “Well, circles and ovals are good,” he said, “but how about drawing rectangles with rounded corners?”

simple. Really simple.” Apple’s design mantra would remain the one featured on its first brochure: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Jobs felt that design simplicity should be linked to making products easy to use. Those goals do not always go together. Sometimes a design can be so sleek and simple that a user finds it intimidating or unfriendly to navigate.

“The main thing in our design is that we have to make things intuitively obvious,” Jobs told the crowd of design mavens. For example, he extolled the desktop metaphor he was creating for the Macintosh. “People know how to

deal with a desktop intuitively. If you walk into an office, there are papers on the desk. The one on the top is the most important. People know how to

switch priority. Part of the reason we model our computers on metaphors like the desktop is that we can leverage this experience people already have.”

Speaking at the same time as Jobs that Wednesday afternoon, but in a smaller seminar room, was Maya Lin, twenty-three, who had been catapulted into fame the previous November when her Vietnam Veterans Memorial was

dedicated in Washington, D.C. They struck up a close friendship, and Jobs invited her to visit Apple. “I came to work with Steve for a week,” Lin

recalled. “I asked him, ‘Why do computers look like clunky TV sets? Why don’t you make something thin? Why not a flat laptop?’”

Jobs replied that this

was indeed his goal,

as soon as the

technology was ready.

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“When he finally got to a No Parking sign, I said, ‘Okay, you’re right,

“When he finally got to a No Parking sign, I said, ‘Okay, you’re right, I give up. We need to have a rounded-corner rectangle as a primitive!’” Hertzfeld recalled, “Bill returned to Texaco Towers the following afternoon, with a big

smile on his face. His demo was now drawing rectangles with beautifully rounded corners blisteringly fast.” The dialogue boxes and windows on the Lisa and the Mac, and almost every other subsequent computer, ended up being rendered with rounded corners.

everywhere you look!” He dragged Atkinson out for a walk, pointing out car windows and billboards and street signs. “Within three blocks, we found seventeen examples,” said Jobs. “I started pointing them out everywhere until he was completely convinced.”

strip of plastic at the top so that it avoided the Neanderthal forehead that made the Lisa subtly unattractive. The patent for the design of the Apple case was issued in the name of Steve Jobs as well as Manock and Oyama. “Even

though Steve didn’t draw any of the lines, his ideas and inspiration made the design what it is,” Oyama later said. “To be honest, we didn’t know what it meant for a computer to be ‘friendly’ until Steve told us.”

spirit. It emphasized rationality and functionality by employing clean lines and forms. Among the maxims preached by Mies and Gropius were “God is in the details” and “Less is more.” As with Eichler homes, the artistic sensibility was combined with the capability for mass production.

Jobs publicly discussed his embrace of the Bauhaus style in a talk he gave at the 1983 design conference, the theme of which was “The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be.” He predicted the passing of the Sony style in favor of Bauhaus

Every month or so, Manock and Oyama would present a new iteration based on Jobs’s previous criticisms. The latest plaster model would be dramatically

unveiled, and all the previous attempts would be lined up next to it. That not only helped them gauge the design’s evolution, but it prevented

simplicity. “The current wave of industrial design is Sony’s high-tech look, which is gunmetal gray, maybe paint it black, do weird stuff to it,” he said. “It’s easy to do that. But it’s not great.” He proposed an alternative, born of

the Bauhaus, that was more true to the function and nature of the products. “What we’re going to do is make the products high-tech, and we’re going to package them cleanly so that you know they’re high-tech. We will fit them in a small package, and then we can

make them beautiful

and white, just like

Braun does

with its electronics.”

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Oyama drafted a preliminary design and had a plaster model

Oyama drafted a preliminary design and had a plaster model made. The Mac team gathered around for the unveiling and expressed their thoughts. Hertzfeld called it “cute.” Others also seemed satisfied. Then Jobs let loose a blistering burst of criticism. “It’s way too boxy, it’s got to be more

curvaceous. The radius of the first chamfer needs to be bigger, and I don’t like the size of the bevel.” With his new fluency in industrial design lingo, Jobs was referring to the angular or curved edge connecting the sides of the computer. But then he gave a resounding compliment. “It’s a start,” he said.

by Canon to build the machine he wanted. “It was the Canon Cat, and it was a total flop,” Atkinson said. “Nobody wanted it. When Steve turned the Mac into a compact version of the Lisa, it made it into a computing platform instead of a consumer electronic device.”1

He is a dreadful manager. . . . I have always liked Steve, but I have found it impossible to work for him. . . . Jobs

regularly misses appointments. This is so well-known as to be almost a running joke. . . . He acts without thinking and

with bad judgment. . . . He does not give credit where due. . . . Very often, when told of a new idea, he will immediately attack it and say that it is worthless or

even stupid, and tell you that it was a waste of time to work on it. This alone is bad management, but if the idea is a good one he will soon be telling people about it as though it was his own.

That afternoon Scott called in Jobs and Raskin for a showdown in front of Markkula. Jobs started crying. He and Raskin agreed on only one thing: Neither

could work for the other one. On the Lisa project, Scott had sided with Couch. This time he decided it was best to let Jobs win. After all, the Mac was a minor

development project housed in a distant building that could keep Jobs occupied away from the main campus. Raskin was told to take a leave of absence. “They

wanted to humor me and give me something to do, which was fine,” Jobs recalled. “It was like going

garage for me.

back to the

team and

I was in control.”

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As Jobs’s design sensibilities evolved, he became particularly

As Jobs’s design sensibilities evolved, he became particularly attracted to the Japanese style and began hanging out with its stars, such as Issey Miyake and I. M. Pei. His Buddhist training was a big influence. “I have always found

Buddhism, Japanese Zen Buddhism in particular, to be aesthetically sublime,” he said. “The most sublime thing I’ve ever seen are the gardens around Kyoto. I’m deeply moved by what that culture has produced, and it’s directly from Zen Buddhism.”

 

things harder. He would keep the picture fuzzy until someone touched the antenna. Eventually he would make people

think they had to hold the antenna while standing on one foot or touching the top of the set. Years later, at a keynote

presentation where he was having his own trouble getting a video to work, Jobs broke from his script and recounted

the fun they had with the device. “Woz would have it in his pocket and we’d go into a dorm . . .

where a bunch of folks would be, like, watching Star Trek, and he’d screw up the TV,

and someone would go up to fix it, and just as they had the foot off the ground he would turn it back on,

and as they put their foot back on the ground he’d screw it up again.” Contorting himself into a pretzel onstage, Jobs

concluded to great laughter, “And within five minutes he would have someone like this.”

The Blue Box

The ultimate combination of pranks and electronics—and the escapade that helped to create Apple—was

launched one Sunday afternoon when Wozniak read an article in Esquire that his mother had left for him

on the kitchen table. It was September 1971, and he was about to drive off the next day to Berkeley,

his third college. The story, Ron Rosenbaum’s “Secrets of the Little Blue Box,” described how hackers and

phone phreakers had found ways to make long-distance calls for free by replicating the tones that routed

signals on the AT&T network. “Halfway through the article, I had to call my best friend, Steve Jobs, and

read parts of this long article to him,” Wozniak recalled. He knew

that Jobs, then beginning

his senior year, was

one of the few people who

would share his excitement.

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But many others realized that despite his temperamental failings

But many others realized that despite his temperamental failings, Jobs had the charisma and corporate clout that would lead them to “make a dent in the universe.” Jobs told the staff that Raskin was just a dreamer, whereas he was a

doer and would get the Mac done in a year. It was clear he wanted vindication for having been ousted from the Lisa group, and he was energized by competition. He publicly bet John Couch $5,000 that the Mac would ship

before the Lisa. “We can make a computer that’s cheaper and better than the Lisa, and get it out first,” he told the team.

 

but they got a wrong number. It didn’t matter; their device had

worked. “Hi! We’re calling you for free! We’re calling you for free!”

Wozniak shouted. The person on the other end was confused and annoyed. Jobs chimed in,

“We’re calling from California! From California! With a Blue Box.” This probably

baffled the man even more, since he was also in California.

At first the Blue Box was used for fun and pranks. The most daring of these was

when they called the Vatican and Wozniak pretended to be Henry Kissinger

wanting to speak to the pope. “Ve are at de summit meeting in Moscow,

and ve need to talk to de pope,” Woz intoned. He was told that it was 5:30 a.m. and

the pope was sleeping. When he called back, he got a bishop who was supposed

to serve as the translator. But they never actually got the pope on the line.

“They realized that Woz wasn’t Henry Kissinger,” Jobs recalled. “We were at a public phone booth.”

It was then that they reached an important milestone, one that would

establish a pattern in their partnerships: Jobs came up with the idea that

the Blue Box could be more than merely a hobby; they could build and sell them.

“I got together the rest of the components, like the casing and power supply and

keypads, and figured out how we could price it,” Jobs said, foreshadowing roles he

would play when they founded Apple. The finished product was about the size of two

decks of playing cards.

The parts cost about $40,

and Jobs decided they

should sell it for $150.

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Jobs’s triumph was soon complete. A few weeks after winning

Jobs’s triumph was soon complete. A few weeks after winning his power struggle with Raskin to run the Mac division, he helped push out Mike Scott as Apple’s president. Scotty had become more and more erratic, alternately bullying and nurturing. He finally lost most of his support among the

employees when he surprised them by imposing a round of layoffs that he handled with atypical ruthlessness. In addition, he had begun to suffer a variety of afflictions, ranging from eye infections to narcolepsy. When Scott

was on vacation in Hawaii, Markkula called together the top managers to ask if he should be replaced. Most of them, including Jobs and John Couch, said yes. So Markkula took over as an interim and rather passive president, and Jobs found that he now had full rein to do what he wanted with the Mac division.

a long-distance call to go through without extra charges. The article revealed that other tones that

served to route calls could be found in an issue of the Bell System Technical Journal, which AT&T

immediately began asking libraries to pull from their shelves.

As soon as Jobs got the call from Wozniak that Sunday afternoon, he knew they would have to get

 

their hands on the technical journal right away. “Woz picked me up a few minutes later, and we went

to the library at SLAC [the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center] to see if we could find it,” Jobs recounted.

It was Sunday and the library was closed, but they knew how to get in through a door that was rarely locked.

“I remember that we were furiously digging through the stacks, and it was Woz who finally found the journal

with all the frequencies. It was like, holy shit, and we opened it and there it was. We kept saying to ourselves,

‘It’s real. Holy shit, it’s real.’ It was all laid out—the tones, the frequencies.”

Wozniak went to Sunnyvale Electronics before it closed that evening and bought the parts to make

an analog tone generator. Jobs had built a frequency counter when he was part of the HP Explorers

Club, and they used it to calibrate the desired tones. With a dial, they could replicate and tape-record

the sounds specified in the article. By midnight they were ready to test it. Unfortunately the oscillators

they used were not quite stable enough to replicate the right chirps to fool the phone company.

“We could see the instability using Steve’s frequency counter,” recalled Wozniak, “and we just

couldn’t make it work. I had to leave for Berkeley

the next morning, so we

decided I would work

on building a digital

version once I got there.”

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Jobs decided to move back to his parents’ home

In February 1974, after eighteen months of hanging around Reed,

Jobs decided to move back to his parents’ home in Los Altos and look

for a job. It was not a difficult search. At peak times during the 1970s,

 

the classified section of the San Jose Mercury carried up to sixty pages

of technology help-wanted ads. One of those caught Jobs’s eye.

“Have fun, make money,” it said. That day Jobs walked into the lobby

 

of the video game manufacturer Atari and told the personnel director,

who was startled by his unkempt hair and attire, that he

wouldn’t leave until they gave him a job.

Atari’s founder was a burly entrepreneur named Nolan Bushnell,

who was a charismatic visionary with a nice touch of showmanship

in him—in other words, another role model waiting to be emulated.

After he became famous, he liked driving around in a Rolls, smoking dope,

and holding staff meetings in a hot tub. As Friedland had done and as Jobs

would learn to do, he was able to turn charm into a cunning force, to cajole

and intimidate and distort reality with the power of his personality.

His chief engineer was Al Alcorn, beefy and jovial and a bit more grounded,

the house grown-up trying to implement the vision and curb the enthusiasms

of Bushnell. Their big hit thus far was a video game called Pong, in which two

players tried to volley a blip on a screen with two movable lines that acted as

paddles. (If you’re under thirty, ask your parents.)

When Jobs arrived in the Atari lobby wearing sandals and demanding a job,

Alcorn was the one who was summoned. “I was told, ‘We’ve got a hippie

kid in the lobby.

He says he’s not going to leave until

we hire him. Should we call

the cops or let him in?’

I said bring him on in!”

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Jobs was “Oaf Tobark.” They took the device to college dorms and

Following the lead of other phone phreaks such as Captain Crunch,

they gave themselves handles. Wozniak became “Berkeley Blue,”

Jobs was “Oaf Tobark.” They took the device to college dorms and

gave demonstrations by attaching it to a phone and speaker. While the

 

potential customers watched, they would call the Ritz in London or a dial-a-joke service in Australia.

“We made a hundred or so Blue Boxes and sold almost all of them,” Jobs recalled.

 

The fun and profits came to an end at a Sunnyvale pizza parlor. Jobs and Wozniak

were about to drive to Berkeley with a Blue Box they had just finished making. Jobs

needed money and was eager to sell, so he pitched the device to some guys at the next table.

They were interested, so Jobs went to a phone booth and demonstrated it with a call to Chicago.

The prospects said they had to go to their car for money. “So we walk over to the car, Woz and me,

and I’ve got the Blue Box in my hand, and the guy gets in, reaches under the seat, and he pulls out a gun,”

Jobs recounted. He had never been that close to a gun, and he was terrified. “So he’s pointing the gun right at

my stomach, and he says, ‘Hand it over, brother.’ My mind raced. There was the car door here, and I thought

maybe I could slam it on his legs and we could run, but there was this high probability that he would shoot me.

So I slowly handed it to him, very carefully.” It was a weird sort of robbery. The guy who took the Blue

Box actually gave Jobs a phone number and said he would try to pay for it if it worked. When Jobs later called

the number, the guy said he couldn’t figure out how to use it. So Jobs, in his felicitous way, convinced the guy

to meet him and Wozniak at a public place. But they ended up deciding not to have another encounter with

the gunman, even on the off chance they could get their $150.

The partnership paved the way for what would be a bigger adventure together. “If it hadn’t been for the

Blue Boxes, there wouldn’t have been an Apple,” Jobs later reflected. “I’m 100% sure of that. Woz and

I learned how to work together, and we gained the confidence that we could solve technical problems and

partnership that would soon be born. Wozniak would be the gentle wizard coming up with a neat invention

that he would have been happy just to give away, and Jobs would figure out how to

make it user-friendly,

put it together

in a package, market it,

and make a few bucks.

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