Categories
Present

Of Mice and Windows

The tale of Apple popularizing the mouse in the 80’s — taking it from the relative obscurity of the labs at Xerox PARC — is a technology and industry legend. But the fact that mouse had earlier beginnings, invented by Douglas Engelbart (and featured in his Sketchpad demo) in the 60’s is less discussed. Malcolm […]

Categories
Past

Desktop UI/OS Design History

The earliest OS I ever used was the Apple II (my first computer as a kid), but quickly moved on to the Xerox Alto (on which Smalltalk ran and on which I did my undergraduate thesis), the Amiga OS (which was a lot uglier than people want to acknowledge), and X Windows (in grad school). […]

Categories
Past

The Greatest Program Ever Written

Today, the source code to MacPaint was officially donated to the Computer History Museum and made available to the public. MacPaint was declared as “the best program ever written” at an event celebrating the Macintosh’s 20th anniversary, by Stanford University computer science professor Don Knuth. Written by Bill Atkinson, MacPaint was beautifully simple, like much […]

Categories
Present

The End of Flash?

Ever since last week’s iPad launch, the image of an iPad’s web browser with the missing-plugin Lego-brick has been generating a lot of discussion. Is Apple at war with Adobe? Is Adobe’s Flash critical to the web experience? Is Apple’s restriction going to doom the iPad? It’s not only bloggers talking, even the New York […]

Categories
Present

Realism Doesn’t Work

Lukas Mathis, for UX Magazine, recently wrote an interesting article: Realism in UI Design. It takes some of the ideas from Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” (a book I remember making a big impact in the UI world when it first came out) — and looks at those concepts apply to UI design. The examples he […]

Categories
Future

Star Trek: PADDs

On the eve of the rumored announcement of an Apple Tablet, I started thinking about similar devices in Star Trek. In Trek lingo they are referred to as PADDs. For a show made in the 60s and 80s it’s interesting to see how their conception changed over time. In the original show the earliest padds […]