Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Interview With Mac Co-Creator Andy Hertzfeld

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the debt-of-gratitude dept.

Books 165

jeblucas writes "MacDevCenter interviews Andy Hertzfeld: formerly of Radius, Eazel, General Magic, and most famously, Apple. He discusses his recent book, Revolution in the Valley as well as sharing some anecdotes about his time at Apple developing the Macintosh personal computer. Check out this notebook page from the first cut of the memory layout. The book was reviewed here earlier."

cancel ×

165 comments

I have a joke: (0, Offtopic)

master_meio (834537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263006)

What's the difference between an American IT worker and an Indian IT worker?

The Indian IT worker has a job.

Re:I have a joke: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263157)

Twat!

Re:I have a joke: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263223)

IT jobs are a commodity now. It won't last for India either. If noone has noticed, China and India are in a really bad place right now. Both have massive populations their natural resources are strained to even feed, both are facing desertification, both are gearing up economically but there isn't the resources in the rest of the world to power their industries, and both are
looking around the world to satisfy their needs more than most people realize.

Take India for instance. Twenty years ago, some wells that were providing water from a depth of 2-3 meters are now drawing water over 200 meters in depth. This is due to India's poor infrastructure to control and manage water wells. As a result, there are an untold number of unregulated wells drying the land out and the
monsoons can't replenish the water (some guess the number is around a million or so). What happens when a country the size and populace of India runs out of food and water?

How about China? Nearly the same thing is happening to them. Plus China's aggressive water policies are dramatically changing their dynamics in ways that are unpredictible ,with consequences that are unforseeable. Plus, they are deep in a industrial revolution that NEEDS fuel. In ten years, I'm pretty sure they will be looking at the Middle East with drool-dripping fangs and lust in their eyes. With their gender ratios way out of whack, they can field a 100 million man army EASILY and I don't see many countries in the world who could resist that without nuclear intervention.

And there is a hidden danger related to those two few realize. That's Canada.

Canada has been allowing liberal immigration and has been courting the world business-wise to lessen their dependance on the US's economy. This translates into...

East Indians have realized a long time ago of the impending danger, and has skillfully placed many East Indians in the immigration offices of Canada. The result has been a huge influx of East Indians have moved here and the plans have been laid to bring millions more over. As the desertification presses India even more, the trickle will become a flood and Canada will have to close it's doors to the refugees. I have a feeling that won't go over well considering the pressure to leave India and the amount of sympathisers who will already be living in Canada. If this is realized too late, there will be enough East Indians living in Canada to 'control' the politics enough to force the flood of immigrants to continue. Think about what happens when the realization of the flood of East Indians into Canada and a very long and generally unprotected boarder between Canada and the US hits. How would 200-400 million East Indians living in Canada affect the US? I don't want to think how the US will respond.

Or with China? Canada has been doing a lot of business with China recently. Canada has resources and China wants them. What happens when China, energy starved, begins to invade the Middle East for fuel? Most likely Canada will close it's boarders and I can easily see China's dependance on Canadian resources become a huge crisis. As it is right now, they are dependant on Canadian nickel exports. And industry depends on nickel. Without it, there are many alloys that are necessary that can't be made without nickel. China is enjoying an industrial revolution just like the US did, and as a result they are enjoying a certain level of wealth that's very addictive and hard to give up when everything runs out. And when they become hard pressed, it will be easy to justify military action to 'protect' their way of life (sound familure?).

Unfortunately, most of our problems are related to our problem of over population. We are about four billion people too many for this planet. Ecological collapse isn't a question of if, it's a question of when. And when it does, humanity (or nature) will have to find a way for balance to return and hopefully we choose a less messy way like birth control instead of the more likely war-plague-starvation method.

As the ancient Chineese curse goes:

MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES

FYI: When I say Chineese or East Indian, I mean less the race and more the citizens of respective countries. An American or Canadian or Chineese or East Indian descent is still American or Canadian to me. And I personally don't care if more East Indians and Chineese move here. They both have fasinating cultures and the more diversity, so long as we play by the golden rules, the better.

Re:I have a joke: (-1, Flamebait)

Walrus99 (543380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263379)

Don't even bother posting a comment like this. Americans are so dazed by sex, drugs, TV and the net they don't even know what is going on. Look at the last election. A president who authorized torture and lies and manipulates to get his way was easily reelected because the brainwashed masses think he has "values." One day Americans will turn on their TV's and the president will be wearing a gray suit with a cap with a red star on it and no one will even notice. They will just go off to their dollar a day jobs in sweatshops for the Chinese and won't care as long as the get home in time to watch Oprah or their favorite football team. To quote the title of a prophetic Clash album from the 70's: Give 'em enough rope ...

Re:I have a joke: (1)

michaelkpate (260010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263908)

It wasn't that they were convinced he had values, it was that they could see that his opponent obviously had none.

Re:I have a joke: (-1, Offtopic)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263798)

Your 100% correct, the biggest problem facing mankind today is overpopulation. There are not enough resources on the planet to sustain the population. With the advances we've made in medicine, the fact that war despite what the media reports, is steadily declining worldwide. And the fact that all of the modern wars kill less people than previous wars. There were more people killed in WWII and it's immediate aftermath (Stalin) then all the wars fought since combined. There is nothing except mother nature, or a really big war to bring things back into balance. Since countries that are democracies as a rule do not make war with each other and tend to use economic pressures to maintain the status quo, an agressive China is almost inevitable.

First Line in the notes (5, Funny)

dcarey (321183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263007)

LOL the first line in his personal notes is "Memory layout is a bitch." Nice.

Also good: (1)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263082)

Assuming a 4k RAM OS How much does XP take?

Re:Also good: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263211)

How much does XP take - All of it DF. What do you think that other OS share it's memory a toaster oven.

Re:Also good: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263345)

"What do you think that other OS share it's memory a toaster oven."

That's not even a complete fvcking sentence! Proofread, Jackass!

Re:Also good: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263506)

why don't you SEAT DOWN and SHUT YOUR FUCK UP

Re:First Line in the notes (3, Funny)

Deinhard (644412) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263218)

His notes look the same as mine...sort of a stream of consciousness-based conversation with himself.

What's really bad is when you start taking notes from arguments you have inside your head.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263009)

fp
-A

erst (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263011)

post

wow (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263016)

fp

Glad (5, Insightful)

phydror (846069) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263022)

to see someone other than Woz and Jobs get attention for their time at Apple!

Re:Glad (4, Insightful)

capmilk (604826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263261)

Would be especially nice to read more about Burell Smith. That guy was a Mac mastermind. Seems to have vanished, though.

Re:Glad (2, Interesting)

Octagon Most (522688) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263915)

"Would be especially nice to read more about Burell Smith."

I heard Andy interviewed about the book recently and he had a lot to say about Burell Smith as an unsung hero of the Mac's development. I think (memory is fading) that he said that Smith is reclusive and that they hadn't talked in years. He dropped of a pre-release copy of the book on Smith's door and also took one over to Steve Jobs. He told Jobs that there were some things in the book that were unflattering to him but that he wanted to be truthful. Jobs told him that the truth was OK and that he could accept it. (Being on top of the world must help one to be at peace with one's legacy.)

Andy also mentioned that he resisted for years talking about the people involved in the development of the Mac, despite the incredible interest in its history, because he respected their privacy. Despite his admitted discomfort in speaking ill of others he did not have anything nice to say about Jef Raskin.

I hope I am remembering this correctly. It was an interview on an NPR show so there may be an audio link. I'll post it if I recall which show it was.

Re:Glad (2, Insightful)

capmilk (604826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264004)

Could the interview be this one [wired.com] ? I read that, too. :)

Re:Glad (1)

standards (461431) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263878)

Glad to see someone other than Woz and Jobs get attention for their time at Apple!

Andy always got a lot of attention in Mac circles. Classic Mac owners knew Andy very well.

It's just that Jobs gets a lot of press (being the on-again, off-again CEO of a large failing company since 1985 (sarcasm)).

And Woz is well known in geek circles for being the only famous nuts-and-bolts engineer in the history of the world. And he looks like an engineer too.

Andy - In my book, he's famous for taking Job's vision and delivering it way way back in the early 1980s.

128 - 44 = 84 (2, Funny)

General Alcazar (726259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263024)

It is comforting to know that I'm not the only one who puts pen to paper when subtracting 44 from 128!

Re:128 - 44 = 84 (1, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263081)


I used xcalc to verify his figures...

Re:128 - 44 = 84 (1, Funny)

Walrus99 (543380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263270)

The answer is: 42

Re:128 - 44 = 84 (1)

SpongeBobLinuxPants (840979) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264173)

(128-44)/2 = 42

Re:128 - 44 = 84 (2, Funny)

Octagon Most (522688) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264051)

"It is comforting to know that I'm not the only one who puts pen to paper when subtracting 44 from 128!"

I checked it on my old Pentium/90 box and got 83.999999999997426.

The heap diagram (-1, Troll)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263038)

The heap diagram looks like a paragon of inefficiency.

By using a grow heap you can with very little overhead, run faster. With a 8mghz processor you can use all the speedup you can get.

This could then be implemented in about 1MB ram, and you would get so much more speed!

But instead they insist on squeezing into a small amount of memory. Marketing at work then as it is now!. If they were to have gone up to only 1MB ram then they could have had far more flexibility. But marketing and cost cutting make for a broken design to begin with :(

Best Online Nude Anime Gallery's [sharkfire.net]

Re:The heap diagram (4, Insightful)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263079)

Do you have any idea how much 1Mb of RAM cost in 1984?

Re:The heap diagram (1, Funny)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263099)

> Do you have any idea how much 1Mb of RAM
> cost in 1984?

Well even if it was up to $50 dollars a meg or even $100 dollars then it would have been worth it for speed all applications, can then use!

Online Nude Anime' Gallery's [sharkfire.net]

Re:The heap diagram (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263113)

Try $300 for 1 meg.

Re:The heap diagram (2, Insightful)

jdcook (96434) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263163)

And in constant, inflation adjusted dollars . . .

Re:The heap diagram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263136)

So in other words, you don't have any idea. It was insanely expensive. I paid over $100/meg for RAM to upgrade my much later SE (though that was after Reagan's RAM tarrif). You're an idiot.

Re:The heap diagram (2, Interesting)

Chucker23N (661210) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263148)

What if it was $500 or more?

Re:The heap diagram (1, Funny)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263159)

Please stop.

Re:The heap diagram (1)

darkith (183433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263185)

IIRC, 4 MB cost about $200 in 1994, or about $50/MB. This is *ten* years earlier...

Re:The heap diagram (1)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263627)

1 meg of ram in the early 80's cost over $1500, in most cases at least $2000. The other estimates in this thread are ebing way too optimistic.
Regards,
Steve

Re:The heap diagram (1)

koi88 (640490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263201)


Well even if it was up to $50 dollars a meg or even $100 dollars then it would have been worth it for speed all applications, can then use!

This was the price in the late 80s, if I remember correctly. At that time, I was proud owner of a 386SX with 1 MB RAM.

OK, I looked it up (5, Informative)

koi88 (640490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263257)


In 1984, 1 MB of RAM cost about 350$.
And that was when you could buy a house for 500$. Ah, well, not quite. But the price is correct (more or less).

Re:OK, I looked it up (1)

Geordie Korper (451257) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263773)

I have copies of advertisements I made for my computer store circa 1987 (3 years after 1984). 1MB of ram was $350 then at the retail level. I suggest checking out the graph at the following site for an insight into memory prices over time http://www.jcmit.com/mem2002.htm [jcmit.com] .

Re:The heap diagram (2, Interesting)

NoData (9132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263588)

Seriously? Seriously? You're gonna go out on a limb here and say they could've done more with a meg of memory than 128K?

Since you're so clueless about the 80s, let me introduce you to to another tidbit from that era: "LIKE, DUH!"

And $100 for a meg?! IN 1983?! Even the other estimates in this thread are pure fantasy. Try over $2000 for a meg of memory. Yeah theat's right. Read it:
http://www.jcmit.com/memoryprice.htm

The only home machine around that time with a meg of memory was the Apple Lisa, which was $10,000, and as those of us who remember, a dismal, dismal flop.

Sorry for the unnecessary flaming, you're probably just joking around, but seriously. A meg. For the first Mac. Insanity.

Re:The heap diagram (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263653)

Well... the Atari 1040ST was the first computer with 1MB of memory that cost under $1000 when it was released, and this was a bit after the Mac. Because Macs were so expensive back then (MacSE was over $3000), there was a device that would accept Mac ROMs and plugged into the Atari STs that would 'turn it into a Mac'. This was more popular in Europe where Macs were even more expensive. MagicSac, I think it was called. Anyway, 1M of memory back then cost more than your complete Athlon64 rig with 1GB of memory and a high end graphics card today.

Re:The heap diagram (2, Funny)

dar (15755) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263518)

Do you have any idea how much 1Mb of RAM cost in 1984?

Plus, don't forget, he's designing this in 1981.

In any case, not to be overly precise, the answer is IIfx (Too f****** expensive).

Re:The heap diagram (1)

OwnedByTwoCats (124103) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263885)

Adding 64K (1/16th of a megabyte) to an Apple //e was $199 at introduction in 1983, IIRC (the //e memory slot expansion board that provided 80 columns and bank-switched memory. Later on, double-high-res graphics). 64KBit chips were the highest tech. I can go home and dig out some magazines for exact prices. And that was in 1983 dollars, which are worth twice what a dollar is today.

I was proud when I tallied up all the memory in that computer and came up with 480 K. Nearly half a megabyte. More than even the folks with IBM PCs had bothered to install.

Re:The heap diagram (1)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263111)


if they were to have gone up to only 1MB ram then they could have had far more flexibility.

The original Mac had 128K of RAM; I bought one. The Mac Plus (with its megabyte of RAM) was available somewhat later, well after the design specs were done. Your idea sounds like it would consume all of that 1 MB.

1 MB??? (2, Insightful)

koi88 (640490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263120)


This could then be implemented in about 1MB ram

1 MB of RAM? Even with 128K RAM the first Macintosh was reeeeally expensive. Maybe today you think that 1 MB RAM "couldn't have been so expensive in 1984". Believe me: it was expensive (but I'm too lazy to look it up)
Hey, at least the Mac was capable of adressing more than 640K (though that "should be anough for everybody")

Re:The heap diagram (2, Interesting)

NoData (9132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263129)

I think you seriously underestimate the cost of memory in 1983/84. SERIOUSLY.

Re:The heap diagram (1)

dduck (10970) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263219)

Well, either he's trolling or he's just young.
...obviously both crimes :D

It's all relative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263165)

Don't forget that back then hard disks were nonexistent and floppies(3.5 inch) only held 400KB. What is the ratio of RAM to disk space on your system today?

Re:It's all relative (1)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263269)


Don't forget that back then hard disks were nonexistent

Actually I had a 10 MB hard disk from Sunol Systems on my Apple ][+ in ~1983-84. $2300CA if memory serves ("I'll never need more!") larger disk packs and other removable units were on mainframes for years before that.

Re:The heap diagram (4, Interesting)

WzDD (23061) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263167)

Woah. I was just going to assume you were trolling but your other comments don't look trollish.

1MB? Are you serious? Do you realise the first design had 128K of memory and given memory prices in those days the cost of that 128K was a significant portion of the cost of the entire machine?

You're suggesting that they should have included ten times the amount of memory, in order to get a speed increase which you haven't actually demonstrated in any way. A well-designed, but memory-constrained, system will run faster if given more memory, but there is no evidence that 16K of system heap space was memory constraining. Also, I suspect that running out of system heap didn't make the original Mac run slow. I suspect it just made it crash.

Re:The heap diagram (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263596)

Eight times more memory.

Not to be picky, but as the thinkgeek shirt says, there are 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't. ;-)

Re:The heap diagram (1)

WzDD (23061) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263731)

Heh. Whoops!

Re:The heap diagram (0)

laird (2705) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264105)

Then shouldn't that be 100x more memory?

Re:The heap diagram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263187)

So, how much was a meg of ram in 1984?

Re:The heap diagram (4, Interesting)

chiph (523845) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263192)

Memory wasn't sold in increments of megabytes in 1984 -- it was sold by the kilobyte. 16kbit DIPs (no simms, dimms, etc, these were individual socketed chips) were $1.50 each, and you needed 8 of them to form a byte-wide memory line.

My 16kbyte upgrade for my 48k Apple ][+ was $80, and I had to do the soldering myself. Yeah, yeah, and I had to walk to school in the snow barefoot -- I'm just trying to tell you that we have it incredibly lucky today, being able to carry 1gb around on your keychain.

Chip H.

Re:The heap diagram (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263196)


Let me guess. You're a first year university student hoping to get his CS. Were you even out of diapers when the Mac came out?

Re:The heap diagram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263922)

>Let me guess. You're a first year university student hoping to get his CS. Were you even out of diapers when the Mac came out?

A first year university student would be about 18 years old. The Mac came out in 1984. Most probably his parents were thinking about whether they could afford him at the time.

I took a look at an old magazine... (2, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263252)

Well, finding ram prices wasnt easy, because back then there were so few computers with incompatible ram interfaces, but i found something in the december 83 issue of the CT magazine:

64KB of RAM for a commodore VC20 for 265DM, that should have been around 100$ back then.
So 1MB would have been 1000$+.

Re:I took a look at an old magazine... (1)

buysse (5473) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264055)

If you used the same chips as that VC20 upgrade, it would not fit in the case of an original Mac at 1MB. You would need a much larger box. Now, if you used higher density chips... ooh. The price just jumped a little.

Re:The heap diagram (4, Funny)

jeffehobbs (419930) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263259)


This could then be implemented in about 1MB ram, and you would get so much more speed!

Yeah, and floppy disks? Seriously, they should have put a Serial ATA hard drive in there. Way faster and way more capacity.

~jeff

Re:The heap diagram (2, Informative)

spywarearcata.com (841806) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263449)

Remember the memory prices then. I paid something like $500 for 256kb (yes, that is $2000 for one MB).

Also, I spoke with Andy (a great a guy personally as he is professionally -- he is the engineering team member you wish you could have) and he admitted that he might have done things differently if it weren't for the insane rush job in producing a real product. After the Lisa marketing and Apple /// "molex" and "National Semi clock chip" debacles, Steve (Jobs) was a more driven than those he drove.

(After all I heard from others in Bandley III, Steve told Wendell where to put the clock chip on the motherboard...oops.) But look at the big picture. Regardless of how anyone might have done anything differently, the Apple II and Macintosh put the billions in the bank so Apple could do things like, say, the iPod.

A lot of perfectly engineered things are still in the closet because they missed a competitive opportunity window.

Re:The heap diagram (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263594)

I kno dude I read once about this UNIVAC computer which toke up the whole floor of a buildng and it was liek dude taht's inefficient if they just used ATHLON with claw hammer and mayby some WATER COOLING thay could make it a lote smaller and more powrful!!!! ad thay could giev it liek 3 GB of DDR and a GEFORCE card and it wold be hella fast... what are thay thinkng???????

Re:The heap diagram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263679)

It's a pity they didn't have you to advise them. By the way, perhaps you could email Apple and give them some similar advise but applicable for the current product lineup.

For instance, why not get rid of those whiny and hot HDs they put in their computers. I mean, if they would put in only 150 gig of flash instead they could get rid of the HD altogether!

wow (0)

millahtime (710421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263053)

wow, there are little to no posts... /.ers are really rtfa

Reminds me of Superman 3 (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263055)

You can just imagine other segments of the computer being written on cigarette packets and bits of scrap paper. Oh well, it worked :)

22K + 4K + 20K (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263064)

apparently equals 36. Take a look [macdevcenter.com] in the left margin. Apple's finest.

Re:22K + 4K + 20K (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263356)

Maybe that is one of those attempts to get partial credit by showing some work.

Re:22K + 4K + 20K (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263375)



Take another look. The 2 is written over a 1.

Wise Words (2, Funny)

M3rk1n_Muffl3y (833866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263130)

"64k should be enough memory for everyone"

Huge Applications (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263142)

I love the part where it says 50k data for huge applications.

Re:Huge Applications (2, Interesting)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264169)

The thing you have to remember about the original mac, the video board actually used the memory bus to raster the screen. Sure, PC's had DMA, but on the Mac, the lower chunk of ram WAS the video ram. They had a device known as the "Bob Baily Unit" that divided time between the microprocessor and the video display engine.

The size of the display, and it's black and white nature, was burned into the the design of the memory bus itself. Sure that would be horrible today, but this was 1984. A GUI was an insanely great new thing.

Interesting article too brief (4, Interesting)

ACK!! (10229) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263182)

I mean this guy had a ton of stories and the article don't get me wrong was ended well.

It just seemed to brief.

The Woz story is just funny stuff.

It kind of reminded me of my only non-corporate IT work experience where I was a tech support guy for a small niche software company.

Very nice and some people here seem to thing that Andy does not get enough credit.

I typically agree but it is good to note that a number of tech friends interested in the history of computers know his name so perhaps the knowledge won't get totally lost.

Tripping down Memory Lane (5, Insightful)

cbelt3 (741637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263220)

Nice interview, and sounds like a nice book to pick up at the Border's outlet near me next year. Unfortunately, Cult-o-Mac stuff like this book don't sell well around here. I particularly love the arguments about memory from the children on here.

C'mon- back in the day you didn't just automatically load every freaking library that your compiler offered you in the expectation that your users loved your bloatware. Hell, I remember paying $50 for a 1K RAM chip back in the 70's when boys built computers with wire-wrap guns and lots of gate chips. And when you could see a processor's cycles on a cheapo Korean War surplus o-scope.

And we had to code 5,000 lines each day, uphill both ways...

Re:Tripping down Memory Lane (1)

crawling_chaos (23007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263394)

And we had to code 5,000 lines each day, uphill both ways...

In BASIC. Kids these days...

Re:Tripping down Memory Lane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263699)

In BASIC. Kids these days...

You're kidding me, right? You think BASIC interpreters came as standard equipment on computers hand built on gate chips???

I'm from the BASIC era, but just for the learning experience I once built a computer from scratch, although I got to use a Z-80 family CPU etc. and a few TTL chips instead of building the freakin' processor out of gate chips. (That's a thought that still catches my interest though... further insight into how a CPU works.) My first model used an 8-bit address and 8-bit data I/O interface with FLIP SWITCHES and red LEDs! There was no keyboard, and certainly no monitor. I got to read the program as a series of LEDs either on or off, which was the raw 8-bit address/data in a particular area of memory.

This first model I built was used to create an EPROM burner via a parallel interface. (No, not a parallel "port", just an interface using a parallel I/O chip.) Once that was done, I could put programs on the EPROM rather than hand coding bit-by-bit (debugging was more than a bitch!!) each time I power cycled. From there I managed to attach a serial keypad (hex keypad) and a 7-segment LED (hex, again...) for "easier" I/O. I had all intentions of getting a Texas Instruments video chip (I no longer remember the chip name...) so that I could program a real monitor interface... but never got around to that. It's probably still sitting around somewhere in a cardboard box at my mom's house. I should look for it one of these days.

So what I'm trying to say is that contrary to your belief, we coded 4,000 bytes of BINARY everyday, uphill both ways, and hand assembled nemonic machine code. And we LIKED IT!! ;-) (Actually, I do like it, since it has that real hacker sensation.)

Re:Tripping down Memory Lane (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264149)

BASIC? Luxury! We did a CALL -151 and hand-entered assembly in hex! We did have shape tables, though, so it wasn't all bad :)

Building vs Integrating (2, Interesting)

The Mutant (167716) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263850)

It always amuses me when folks these days talk about building a computer.

My first machine was a Ferguson Big Board [ornitron.com] , a Z80 [lowendpc.com] based kit.

I was doing my Undergraduate degree (Math & Computer Science) and didn't have much money. A bunch of us bought these kits - and the cheapest options, just the etched board - then begged, borrowed and stole parts (well, I didn't really steal any but you get the idea).

We'd get together every Friday night for a soldering session - great excuse to drink beer! It took us almost three months to get them assembled, and another month or two of screwing about before they'd boot into CP/M.

I wanted a machine before that but waited for Z80's since they required substantially fewer support chips than 8080s. Some of my buddies built 8080 based systems, and it took them far, far longer.

Now that's building a computer!

I've integrated quite a few since, but don't really enjoy the experience as much as that first time.

Re:Building vs Integrating (1)

cbelt3 (741637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264080)

Agreed- My first computer was a 6809 that I designed and built myself on a chunk of perfboard with some surplus (read thrown away at the lab I visited) sockets and a lot of chips and stuff that I begged, borrowed, or bought at Gateway Electronics in St. Louis (God, I miss those junk electronics surplus stores- they just don't exist that much any more). Wire wrapped for the better part of a month until I realized that I'd read my own netlist backwards- it was designed looking at the top of the chips, and I was looking at the bottom. D'oh !
Programmed it in assembler with a set of octal switches, and watched der blinkenlights.
Believe it or not, my insanity was helped by the Boy Scouts at the time...

Re:Building vs Integrating (0)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264177)

You probably would have built them faster if you drank the beer after doing the soldering.

Enlightenment for the children... (5, Interesting)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263224)

I think all the children who posted "Gee, but 4 digits for the year isn't that much more memory than 2" in the Y2K story really ought to look at this guy's notebook page to get an understanding of the environment in those days. 4K (or 18K) for the OS. I love the notation: "40K code, 50K data for huge applications" /frank

Folklore.org (3, Informative)

corrie (111769) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263277)

Mr Hertzfeld wrote a lot of the articles on http://www.folklore.org [folklore.org] , where some very interesting Apple history is recorded.

Re:Folklore.org (1)

capmilk (604826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263851)

FYI: The book mentioned in the article is a writeup of that site.

About that notebook... (1, Funny)

the_twisted_pair (741815) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263280)

X _ X
\

0F0064

Re:About that notebook... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263747)

0F0064

That has nothing to do with the memory . It's a sad mac error code you get when trying to load a newer disk (HFS format) using a Mac with the old (64k) ROMs which didn't recognize HFS. (Actually, it may be an error for not recognizing the format, period, but I'm not too sure about that.)

Goddamit I feel like a complete dork for knowing the answer to that....

Re:About that notebook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263778)

Argh, why I thought you were talking about memory escapes me.... I was probably reading another post and continued from there. Sooooo....

0F0064... I take it you couldn't read the notebook. ;-)

Re:About that notebook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263757)

ah. . . now that brings back memories. . . good old sad mac 0F0064. If memory serves, you got yourself a bad system file. The "0F" part indicates a software error. Please note that startup device was spinning before the failure occurred. You might want to try restarting the computer with the and keys down. If that does not work, you can always replace the system file. (The system file may also be missing from the startup drive)

. . . I miss fixing old world macs

Re:About that notebook... (1)

cocotoni (594328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264100)

That is a realy sad Mac notebook.

A Hertzfeld Story (0, Offtopic)

mickyflynn (842205) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263289)

One time when I was a Sophomore in High School, my friend was experimenting with dialboard.com, when it then still had free parts. Anyway, we got a wild hair to use Yahoo! People Search to look for this guy. We found his number and called him, but he didn't answer. WE left a 5 minute voice mail saying how cool he was and shit like that. We tried to call again a few days later, but he'd changed his number i guess because it didn't work. WE tried to search, but he didn;t show up this time. And that is my Andy Hertzfeld Story.

Re:A Hertzfeld Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263662)

You should be happy he didn't have caller ID, he might have decided to visit you with a baseball bat instead of just changing his number.

Re:A Hertzfeld Story (1)

capmilk (604826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263932)

Hertzfeld is a Mac guy. You know, us Mac guys, we are pretty peaceful. Baseball bats are a PC thing. :)

Re:A Hertzfeld Story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263957)

you'd drop little bombs on him instead

no wonder the mac was (and still is) so broken (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11263324)

Yeah. I'm not surprised. All those unhappy mac faces - if only a brain was behind its design.

I might actually buy a mac now (0)

cy_a253 (713262) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263554)

Don't forget that at the Macworld San Francisco keynote on January 11th, Steve Jobs will introduce a monitor-less G4 mac for 499$.

This will open a brand new market share for Apple, since a simple KVM switch [dlink.com] can make that mac very tempting, for me at least.

The power of Mac OS X, suddenly very affordable. (also, expect that box to have the same clean pure white design lines of other current models)

Re:I might actually buy a mac now (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263929)

I think your post needs some more qualifiers. Things like "according to some rumors", and "might, maybe, possibly", would bring it a bit closer to reality.

Don't get me wrong, it's certainly possible, but it's far from certain.

Re:I might actually buy a mac now (1)

chargen (90268) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264099)

Good luck finding the PS/2 ports on a Mac!

-chargen

Re:I might actually buy a mac now (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264247)

(Evil Twin Skippy pats his new Xserve's.)

Those were the days (2, Funny)

Zestius (526143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11263661)

From the note: "40 k code, 50 k data for huge applications." (my emphasis)

And then: "40 k equals 10 pages of text." Yes, at least that's still true today, unless you happen to use Word, where 20 k equals 0 pages of text. Wow.

Re:Those were the days (2, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264272)

Keep in mind though, work processors in those days would only load the page you were currently editing into memory. Oh Bank Street Writer, so many fond memories (sniff.)

No News Post About Xserve update? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11264019)

What the hell is /. about if you can't post a story about the 3 products released and updated yesterday.

What the hell is this section here for?

I wrote an article, posted the stats and details of the update but it wasn't posted. are you morons?

Are those my embedded systems notes? (2, Interesting)

elecngnr (843285) | more than 9 years ago | (#11264180)

When I first saw that notebook page, I worried that someone had posted a page from one of my notebooks from an undergraduate EE class. Seriously though, it is pages like those that generally lead to great progress.

Obviously I am a Mac fan. However, even if I weren't, I would still read Andy Hertzfeld's book and enjoy interviews such as these. I have visited the folklore site and it is pretty cool. Maybe I am too much of a nerd, but I think reading about the history of technology is simply a great read. One of my early faves was Soul of a New Machine. Obviously this interview was too short to really get into details, but there were a few little tidbits in there that were interesting. I am really looking forward to anything he puts out on Woz.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...