Reminiscing about the Early Mac's Interface

(Simon) #21

Thanks. Great tip.

How would you get notifications back for an app deleted that way from the list?

(Phil Seymour) #22

I believe you are right about some people liking the interruption of notifications just as some people like to talk to Siri and Alexa and hear them talk back. Interruptions, like all bells, buzzers, ringers and whistles are appropriate if you aren’t into writing, playing a melody, gently singing music, carefully drawing, or feeling the timing and flow of scenes as you edit a video. Sadly, the notices, alerts, interruptions, or whatever, do not ALL turn off in applications normally used for artistic creation. That is my experience with the new Apple coding trends. Phil

(blm) #23

Although I like being notified of what my computer is doing (and other
computers on my LAN because I have Growl forward notifications to my
main laptop), I can certainly see cases where someone is concentrating
on something and doesn’t want to be disturbed, which unfortunately there
doesn’t seem to be any easy way to accomplish with Notifications, other
than fiddling with the Do Not Disturb time as others have mentioned.

If specific applications are using their own notifications, that’s poor
design with that application, not really Apple’s fault (although the
design could partially be driven by some feature lacking in Notifications).


(Jerry Nilson) #24

I would say that a majority of Mac users do not understand what happens when they click on the green button in windows, as just an example. Or like yesterday I had a customer who had 270 spaces open totally unknown to her … very helpful … .

(Matt McCaffrey) #25

Your description of life in the 1980s and 1990s had me rolling on the floor, laughing. I am presuming this is a fine piece of ironic observation. I’m just going to say that, having grown up in the 1960s and 1970s, that this is exactly what my parents said about when they were growing up. My generation benefited from some of the most startling and innovative technology advancements in that era—stuff that arguably ushered out the age of heavy industry as technological pinnacle.

We had TouchTone® phones (and a palette of nine colors even when they were still rotary-dial); cable TV and HBO (though that needed its own separate decoder box); mobile telephones and the first “cellular telephones” in their little briefcases; cars that got decent fuel economy as long as you didn’t mind being crammed into a cheaply built econobox (but many people adopted them after the fuel shocks of 1973); and absolutely stellar and ubiquitous high-resolution color photography.

And, we had computers. We were awash in computers that were considered a great advancement because they could sit on a table in our own homes, drive a small monochrome screen with character-based displays measured in “columns,” and communicate through a command-line interface. Those were the computers that intimidated “just about anyone who wasn’t a programmer.”

The Apple II series captivated ordinary people in my opinion because, on the one hand, it resembled the colorful gaming displays of the late 1970s that had broken free from monochromatic “Pong”-like games and, on the other hand, could actually be controlled by the user with the English-like BASIC language. PEEKing and POKEing into memory locations on the machine could alter someone else’s software, or make yours better.

Lisa and Mac were the opposite of intimidating. They brought forward the captivating part of Apple II — being able to control the machine and do actual work with it — and made it accessible using hand gestures and clicks rather than typing in gibberish commands. The 9 inch screen carried a visually rich trove of information. It was relatively small because its addressable pixels were packed so densely compared with anything else out there. (And of course, as soon as I could, I got a portrait-oriented composition monitor for my Mac SE that gave me a breathtaking view of an entire layout page.)

I do think it’s wrong to consider Mac OS 9 or its predecessors “toys,” even by today’s standards. The modern MacOS is a solution to a different problem than the classic OS was addressing. OS 9 continued in use for scientists and technical applications for years beyond its proclaimed EOL. The difficulty with which it connects to the Internet is no handicap in those applications, and on fast hardware there is little maintenance overhead because the machine isn’t trying to keep up with outputting a pretty interface and dealing with notifications and “dialing home” whenever an app feels like it.

I will say, though, that I absolutely do not miss needing a long curly tangled handset cord to carry on a phone conversation. :wink:

(B. Jefferson Le Blanc) #26

I was only half kidding. I grew up in the 50s and 60s, a generation before you. I worked on computers in the early 70s and believe me they didn’t fit on your desktop, or any desktop. I had to punch my own cards to input a “program” that required complex Job Control Language to set up. Computer disk drives were roughly three feet across. And the tapes went round and round on drives over six feet high.

If you had cable TV and an HBO decoder you lived in a rare and privileged household—though perhaps you were unaware of it at the time. And however you slice it, the picture was crap compared to today’s hi-def images, which have been around for hardly more than a decade.

As for high-resolution color photography, sure, you could get it on a large format camera costing an arm and a leg. Not so much in 35mm. And certainly not from an Instamatic or Polaroid camera, the working-class cameras of the day.

Early Macs may not have confused too many people, probably because not too many people had desktop computers of any kind. They were far less common then than they are today. If you run Mac OS 7 (in emulation, of course), it is certainly no more than a toy compared to recent versions of macOS 10. It was useful in its heyday, 25 years ago. Personally, I started out with Mac OS 7.5, on a Power PC Performa, and the picture was in 256 colors on my 9" monitor. I started out with Photoshop 2.5 and thought I was in hog heaven. But compared to Photoshop CC, or even Photoshop CS6, it was pretty basic. And Claris Works was a delight. Even Microsoft Word 5 was pretty good, 20-odd years ago.

As for black and white, I run my iMac mostly in reversed screen mode, white on black, because all that while real estate on my 27" iMac is too much for my old eyes. :wink:

I didn’t include Mac OS 9 with it’s predecessors because it wasn’t mentioned in the article, that I recall (nor was OS 8), which was, after all, about the Mac OS in black and white. OS 9 could support up to millions of colors on a Bondi Blue iMac, with more capable software, to boot, and some ten years along from OS 7.

I maintain my point, therefore, that Mac OS 7 is a toy, a curiosity, nothing more, compared to the modern Mac OS. Though I’ve still got some floppy disks with an OS 7 installer, if you’re interested. :slight_smile:

(GraphicMac) #27

You have ALWAYS been able to turn off notifications in the OS. Growl simply allowed apps that didn’t use system-based notifications to still use them (in a similar fashion).


I grew up in the 50s and 60s too, and I’ve loved the posts about the pre-computer era in this thread. I entered the professional world in the mid 1970s and had a very different experience of how IBM, then Apple changed everything. Even before Macs began replacing IBM Selectric typewriters and early ACSII desktop PCs for document and graphic development and management, database, etc., two college students developed VisiCalc for Apple II. It instantly brought Apple into accounting, bookkeeping and financial services in companies from the smallest to the largest, except maybe IBM, who got blindsided.

Until competitive spreadsheet applications were released 2-3 years later, Apple had a lock on spreadsheets, although Apple had no part in its development. It’s been theorized that Visicalc might have been what convinced Steve Jobs to shift his focus to developing revolutionary new software that would sell equally revolutionary hardware. Like with Mac and LaserWriter, the huge business expense was a very justifiable write off and profit building opportunity for any sized company. And people, no matter how high or low on the company totem pole, began buying Apple for their homes because they liked them at work when prices began coming down.


(Simon) #29

I wonder what gets followed these days. Is there a replacement for these once superb guidelines or is it just a committee of junior VPs that schmooze about what they like and by extension believe sells?

I wonder how often things get decided based on “that’s not what people expect” which is of course code for “that’s not how it’s done on Windows”. Like the cmd-. discussion we’re having in the other thread. It’s as if cmd-. has to be replaced by esc these days because cmd-. has been around forever on the Mac (eons before iOS for sure), while it does not exist on Windows where esc is their default.

(Adam Engst) split this topic #30

A post was merged into an existing topic: TipBITS: Reveal Invisible Files on the Mac with a Keystroke