Mac Folklore Radio

Hosted by Derek

Ye olde Macintosh stuffe read to thee. Junk food for old time (pre-1999) Apple Macintosh zealots.

77 Episodes

Technology
                        

Review: Outbound Laptop System (1990)

     6/16/2022

From the days before the hot-selling PowerBook 100 series, David Pogue reviews a sleeker, less expensive alternative to Apple’s 1989 Macintosh Portable.

Original text from Macworld, September 1990.

Enjoy some gorgeous photos of the original Outbound Laptop System from applerooter.net.


Review: NuTek Duet Macintosh Clone (1994)

     5/20/2022

NuTek’s years of labour finally bear fruit–kind of. The trail of NuTek coverage stops cold after early 1994. We don’t know exactly what happened but this review provides some strong hints.

Original text from Macworld, February 1994.

The review states you can toggle between the Duet’s Mac and PC modes from the front panel. Nothing is labelled “Mac/PC” in the advertisements. Did they change the silkscreen for production models? Wouldn’t it be funny if they just wired up the turbo button or the keyboard lock switch and left the labels as is to cut costs?

Benjamin Chou is still around, helping startups.


Send In The Clones (1991)

     4/23/2022

NuTek’s plan for Macintosh World Domination: a clean room implementation of the ROMs and System 6, cheap hardware, and enough investor money to survive the inevitable legal assault from Apple.

Macworld speculated a Macintosh clone with a 68030 CPU, colour monitor and hard disk could cost just $600USD at a time when lowly Macintosh LC systems sold for $2700USD. The faster 32-bit data path IIsi sold for $3700 in complete configurations, and the more expandable IIci, $6,000USD and up.

Original text from Macworld, April 1991.

Advertisements for the NuTek One and Duet.

Why use custom chips instead of off-the-shelf parts?

IBM PC clone production went into high gear thanks to PC-compatible BIOS vendors like Phoenix and chipset manufacturers like Chips and Technologies. Did you know C&T founder Gordon Campbell went on to co-found 3dfx, the Voodoo company?

Savour the varying quality of different IBM PC compatible chipsets.

John Warnock gave Apple a good needling in this article, likely because of the ongoing Font Wars. See Chuck Geschke and John Warnock retelling the story.

ARDI Executor was open sourced in 2008.

Lee Lorenzen speaking about Apple’s lawsuit against Digital Research, and Bill Gates admitting he intended this to serve as a distraction while work progressed on Windows. Lee’s “sick cow” story.

Steve Jobs WWDC 1997 Q&A: “I was hoping that you would venture an opinion this morning on how you see the future evolution of the Macintosh compatible market.”


What Comes Together Falls Apart (1985)

     4/16/2022

InfoWorld (13-May-1985) profiles Andy Hertzfeld one year after his departure from Apple. Original text by Kevin Strehlo.


folklore.org: PCB Aesthetics/Diagnostic Port (1981)

     4/1/2022

Steve Jobs says of the Mac’s logic board “The lines are too close together!” while Burrell Smith surreptitiously adds some means of expansion.

Original text from folklore.org: PC Board Aesthetics, Diagnostic Port.

Jef Raskin: Design Considerations for an Anthropophilic Computer

Jerry Manock/Jef Raskin/Bill Atkinson “convection enhancement device” quote from “The Macintosh at 20” panel hosted at Macworld Boston 2004.

Fiennes on management’s tentative request for iPhone motherboard layout refinement.

Pixar on attention to detail: “We sand the undersides of the drawers.”

Adrian Black showing the 512k expansion decoder circuit to the left of the 68000.

MacGUI’s detailed history of Mac 128K memory upgrades: the Dr. Dobbs article, the early 128k adopter outrage, the high list prices for the Apple 512k upgrade kit.

MacGUI’s collection of original Macintosh memory upgrade boards.

Steve from Mac84TV tries out a 3DFX Voodoo2 card for the Rev A iMac’s Mezzanine slot.


Steve Hayman - NeXT's Black Monday (1993)/The Merger (1996)

     2/5/2022

Steve Hayman and diskzero recall the death and unlikely rebirth of NeXT.

Original text from blog.hayman.net (Remembering NeXT’s Black Monday, Apple & Next 25 Years Ago Today). Additional text from diskzero on the orange website. Thanks to thj for the submission!

Audio clips from these interviews packed with insight into Apple’s resurgence in the 2000s:

What happened to Dell’s WebObjects-based online store? (left/right channels out of phase; use headphones)

Watch perhaps the coldest crowd ever put in front of Steve Jobs as they take in a demonstration of a flight booking web application built in WebObjects running on Windows NT in 1996–at a Microsoft conference, no less. [originally hosted at Microsoft until 2019, now purged]


A Suit In Time (1992)

     1/13/2022

Sheldon Breiner (1936-2019) gives Apple a taste of its own medicine.

Sheldon’s bio at breiner.com. Stanford Alumni Magazine on Sheldon’s quest to find a giant 3,000 year-old Olmec head.

Yes, that’s the late Gerry Davis mentioned in Triumph of the Nerds. Gerry Davis on his relationship with Gary Kildall in his own words.

Not very much ado about Symantec’s Bedrock: [1, 2, 3, 4]

Original website for Altura Software’s Mac2Win framework. Lee Lorenzen CHM interview covering Xerox PARC, Digital Research, GEM, Ventura Publisher, Fractal Design Painter and the birth of Mac2Win.

Developer Jonathan Hoyle on a Mac2Win easter egg. Jonathan Hoyle grilling Steve Jobs about Apple’s developer predicament in 1997. (Hoyle identifies himself in other WWDC 1997 sessions.)

Original text from Macworld, November 1992.


Don Melton - Memories of Steve (2013)

     12/13/2021

Don Melton, former WebKit and Safari team lead at Apple, recalls some close encounters with Steve Jobs.

Original text from Don’s website.

Don did a wonderful interview about his computer journey before, during, and after heading the Safari project on episode 11 of the Debug podcast.

Steve Jobs Quote Compilation Index

WWDC 2004: “Our competitors buy the panels we reject”

All Things D 2007, Bill Gates: “He’s really pursued that with incredible taste and elegance… I’d do a lot to have Steve’s taste”

Game Changers, Guy Kawasaki: “It’s a perfect match because he’s a showman who can really introduce a product, and he has great products to introduce”

WWDC 1997 Keynote: “The line of code that a developer can write the fastest, the line of code the developer can maintain the cheapest, and the line of code that never breaks for the user is the line of code the developer never had to write.”

MWSF 2001 (Titanium PowerBook G4 intro): “We have the most powerful notebooks in the world … but they have the sex. We want both!”

MWSF 1999: “Our relationship with Microsoft, it’s kind of like a marriage … it’s terrific about 99% of the time… about 1% of the time we argue over stuff, usually having to do with multimedia. Y’know, in life, that’s not a bad ratio.”

MWSF 2001: “We very much appreciate the applause but you shouldn’t be applauding because this is how it ought to work!”

MWSF 1999: “We don’t think design is just how it looks; we think design is how it works. … We think we’ve got the most incredible access story in the business. And you know what’s it’s called? It’s called a door.”

WWDC 2004: “The back of these displays looks better than the front of most of our competitors’. … First time I saw one of these I couldn’t talk for the first minute.”

WWDC 1999: “We’re giving away fifty of these new PowerBooks… and the winner of the first PowerBook is… oh! Steve Jobs! No…”

iBook Dual USB Intro, 2001: “Michael Dell said some disparaging things about us lately, publicly. We’re not going to engage in that sort of thing, but let me show you their product. … It looks like this and you can see it’s about that thick, and it’s got some nice fans in the back so you can keep an eye on them…”

CAUSE 1998 on “digital convergence”: “I converged myself last week, actually. Can you tell? I don’t know what it means. Here’s what it means: it means your television’s gonna make toast. Y’know? That’s what it means. […] People go their TVs to turn their brain off […] I used to think like many you might have thought that there was this giant conspiracy of the networks to put mediocrity on television and dumb us down! … But I then found out the truth which is far more depressing, which is the networks give people precisely what they want!”

Apple 2003 Q4 investors call: “We’re gonna integrate toasters and computers. We think people want toast when they’re working on their computers. We can have computer control, just get it exactly how you–we can put up pictures of toast, and you pick the one that looks like what you want, and it’ll come right out the side!”

CHM iPhone Event w/Fiennes, Ganatra, Hertz, Forstall: Scott Forstall’s Steve Jobs cafeteria payment story

Xserve Launch Event/WWDC 2002: (on Apple’s extremely poor record of committing to enterprise products) “I wasn’t here when Apple did a lot of those … I look at that as a dream when, you know, Apple was in a coma.”

CHM iPhone Event w/Fiennes, Ganatra, Hertz, Forstall: “My interview at NeXT was funny because .. I’d been there 10 minutes… Steve barges into the room, grabs the guy …”

New Pathways Into the Library of Congress: “Bicycle for our minds” bit

CHM iPhone Event w/Fiennes, Ganatra, Hertz, Forstall: “You’re a billionaire, you don’t understand!”

MWSF 1999: “Maybe it’s telling you to revert back to a Macintosh”

CAUSE 1998: “The goal used to be to make the best computers in the world… goal 2 we got from Hewlett-Packard, which is we have to make a profit! .. along the way somewhere, those two got reversed. … It’s very subtle at first but it turns out it’s everything.”

CAUSE 1998: (on user interface design) “we’ve just stuck warts on the side of what we had 10 years ago instead of rethinking everything”

Seybold 1999 Keynote: John Warnock: “The wonderful thing about having Apple back is that this industry is no longer boring. Thank you, Steve.”


Wise Guy - Give and You Might Receive (1994)

     11/24/2021

Guy suggests Christmas gifts for figures in the Macintosh world circa 1993.

Apple Board of Directors interview clip from the Macworld Boston 1997 keynote, the most depressing Apple keynote on record excluding every smarmy self-congratulatory Tim Cook keynote ever.

Hard Drive by David Pogue is out of print but available from used booksellers.

Original text from Macworld, January 1994.


Interview with Chris Espinosa (2000)

     10/30/2021

Chris Espinosa on…

  • discovering computers in high school
  • the Homebrew Computer Club
  • unusual user group personalities
  • “after school Apple II demo time” at Apple headquarters
  • the mad dash to rewrite the Apple II manual
  • the product documentation conundrum
  • the open secret about the LaserWriter driver in early 1985
  • how Caroline Rose and others drove simplicity in Macintosh software development

Original text from the “Making the Macintosh” exhibit at Stanford University Library. Original tape available if you’re in the neighbourhood and feel like preserving it and uploading it to archive.org. :-)

More Chris Espinosa: on Twitter and Tumblr with some early Apple history tidbits [1, 2, 3].

My favourite: Chris gently walking you through an upgrade to System 7 while highlighting its advantages over Windows 3.0.


folklore.org: Calculator Construction Set (1982)

     10/29/2021

Chris Espinosa tries to build a Steve Jobs-approved calculator.

Original text from folklore.org.

My favourite classic MacOS calculator was ProCalc. While trying to find ProCalc, I found PowerCalc by John Mauro who went on to co-invent Gorilla Glass, used in every iPhone and iPad.


folklore.org: Do It (1982)

     10/22/2021

Testing software on real world users often yields surprising results.

Origin of the Apple Human Interface Guidelines video with Chris Espinosa reading Bruce Tognazzini’s “Apple Presents Apple” user testing post-mortem.

Original text from folklore.org.


folklore.org: Inside Macintosh (1982)

     10/8/2021

Early Macintosh developer documentation had a bit of a rocky start.

Caroline Rose also did some technical documentation work for NeXT. Caroline’s website is hosted by Andy Hertzfeld/differnet.com.

Outro clip from Joanna Hoffman’s delightful interview with the Computer History Museum which you should at least read through, if only for the story of her sneaking into and out of Russia without official clearance. [video 1/2/3, transcript 1/2/3]

Original text from folklore.org.


Adrian Mello - Name That Macintosh (1993)

     9/23/2021

Apple’s marketing poets meet Mercedes-Benz, Latin, and Sylvester Stallone.

Original text from Macworld Magazine, August 1993.


Interview with Eric Harslem (1992)

     9/3/2021

Which Mac is the current bestseller?

Is Apple giving up on industrial design?

Why did you screw Quadra 900 customers by introducing the 950 just five months after the 900?

Editor-in-Chief of Macworld Jerry Borrell sits down for some questions and answers with Eric Harslem, Apple’s Vice President of Desktop Computers in 1992.

Simpler times: an Apple VP discussing future product plans and openly admitting mistakes, in this case with the Mac Portable. You don’t see Tim Cook apologizing for the butterfly keyboard or the abysmal state of OS X from 2009 onwards, do you? Come back, Eric!

Original text from Macworld Magazine, September 1992.

Eric in 2012 speaking about his donation to the Mathworks Endowment at Texas State University.

Some months after this interview was published, Eric, along with Apple’s head of PowerBook development, jumped ship to Dell in 1993 to help turn around its notebook division.

The Apple New Product Process (ANPP) lives on even though Jonathan Ive did his best to prioritize thinness and visual aesthetics over structural integrity, keyboard durability, and battery life.


Wise Guy - The Akihabara Syndrome (1993)

     8/27/2021

Guy boils down your Macintosh purchase decision to three choices from Apple’s bloated 1993 product lineup.

Apple has arguably suffered from The Ginza Syndrome(tm) since the days of the Apple II. :-)

Original text from Macworld Magazine, June 1993.


Wise Guy - The F-15 vs the Quadra 800 (1993)

     8/20/2021

This is not Macintosh-related whatsoever but it’s Guy Kawasaki, it was in Macworld, and he had some fun flying in an F-15 fighter jet.

Original text from Macworld Magazine, July 1993.

Get your own copy of The Macintosh Way at used booksellers.

Watch a Let’s Play of F/A-18 Hornet in an emulator or play it on your iOS device. I had a copy back in the day. I knew nothing about flight simulators and could not figure out how to do anything, not even exit the game. Flailing at the keyboard, I went from zero to takeoff because I accidentally hit Delete which fired up the afterburners. That was pretty cool.


Wise Guy - Words of Wisdom (1993)

     8/13/2021

It’s late 1993, Apple is sinking, PowerPC Macs haven’t arrived yet, the Macintosh system software is showing its age, and John Sculley is out. Incoming CEO Michael Spindler to the rescue! Guy Kawasaki’s advice for Apple’s then-new leader.

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, Sculley and Spindler talking about Apple’s plan for the 1990s should help.

Original text from Macworld Magazine, October 1993.

Spindler introduction clip from the Power Macintosh Reseller Training video.


Wise Guy - The Macintosh Home Office (1994)

     8/7/2021

Listener request from Charkes (not a typo): more Guy Kawasaki! Here’s Guy on the pros and cons of working from home.

Who the heck is Guy Kawasaki?

Remember that in 1994, there was no way any MIS/IT manager would be caught dead letting Macintoshes in the door and onto their corporate network, there was not one but 20 major online electronic mail services worldwide, and Apple quoted PowerBook battery life at 2-3 hours.

Original text from Macworld Magazine, June 1994.


Claris Redux (1992)

     7/17/2021

Steven Levy on why Macintosh developers aren’t scared of Claris, the software company backed by Apple Computer.

Original text from Macworld Magazine, June 1992.

ClarisWorks and other seemingly Macintosh-only products did indeed ship on Windows.

Claris’ first product on Windows: Hollywood. Press coverage.

A big thank you to Blake Patterson of The Byte Cellar for preserving the Claris promotional video heard in this episode. Watch the full VHS video on YouTube.


folklore.org: What Hath Woz Wrought (1979)

     7/8/2021

Andy Hertzfeld’s first task as an employee of Apple Computer.

Original text from folklore.org.


Bob Hearn - A Brief History of ClarisWorks (2003)

     6/21/2021

The story of how “the best-loved application for the Mac” took on Microsoft Works as told by programmer [Bob Hearn in 2003][bob].

Read Macworld’s roundup of integrated packages to see how ClarisWorks 1.0 stacked up against its competition.

Watch Symantec GreatWorks in action courtesy of hirudov2d on YouTube: Version 1.0.1, 2.0.1

Watch Bob Hearn talking about AlphaGo starting at 4m50s.


folklore.org: Quick, Hide In This Closet! (1983)

     5/30/2021

Steve Jobs temporarily forbid the Macintosh team from working with Sony.

Original text from folklore.org.

Bill Gates Twiggy drive clip from All Things D5, 2007, 3m54s. Alternate source.


Code and Dagger (1990)

     5/7/2021

The FBI’s attempted investigation of the nuPrometheus League.

I wish there was a dramatic conclusion to this 1990 editorial, but we’ve heard nothing from the nuPrometheus League since their first and only dispatch.

Original text from Macworld Magazine, September 1990.


The Dirt on Apple Security (1989)

     4/15/2021

The early days of Apple’s culture of secrecy. If you had people digging through the garbage bins outside your corporate headquarters, you would be paranoid too!

Original text from Macworld Magazine, November 1989.

Introductory news clip from The Computer Chronicles with bonus crazy background saxophone for some reason.

Hugo Fiennes quote from the Computer History Museum’s iPhone development team panel discussion.

Steve Jobs’ “Super Secret Apple Rumours” podcast from the MWSF 2006 GarageBand demo.

Alleged insider comments on the damage Apple’s internal secrecy has done to Mac OS X at Michael Tsai’s blog, one of the few Macintosh news sources worth reading these days.


The First Macintosh Clone (1989)

     4/1/2021

Steven Levy on a little-known Macintosh clone project from 1989. Original text from Macworld Magazine, April 1989.

Our sponsor for April 1st: The Mac Zone!


Duo Trouble (1993)

     3/7/2021

Is it too late for Apple’s lightweight laptops? Steven Levy’s summary of the awkward PowerBook Duo situation.

Original text from Macworld Magazine, December 1993.

PowerBook Duo commercials courtesy of the RetroMacCast on YouTube (1, 2). Watch the Duo and Dock in action (insert, eject).

PowerBook Duo commercial in Swedish

Titanium PowerBook G4 introduction at Macworld San Francisco 2001

12-inch PowerBook G4 introduction at Macworld San Francisco 2003

MacBook Air introduction at Macworld San Francisco 2008


David Pogue - PowerBook Duo and Duo Dock Review (1993)

     2/15/2021

David Pogue reviews the PowerBook Duo 210/230 and the companion Duo Dock. NuBus and SCSI weren’t hot pluggable, meaning you had to shut down the machine every time you docked or undocked!

Original text from Macworld Magazine, March 1993.

PowerBook Duo Dock sounds courtesy of the RetroMacCast on YouTube (insert, eject).


folklore.org - Macintosh Launch Day 3-Pack (1984)

     1/22/2021

Happy Birthday, Macintosh! Andy Hertzfeld and company rush to complete the first release of the Macintosh system software, then cobble together a demo before launch day.

Original text at folklore.org: Real Artists Ship, It Sure Is Great To Get Out of That Bag, and The Times They Are A-Changin’

Make your own four-voice 256-byte wavetable music, sine wavey or otherwise, with ConcertWare or MusicWorks.

Andy Hertzfeld “six person hours of testing” quote from his 2005 NerdTV interview. (video, transcript)

The entire January 24th, 1984 Apple Shareholders Meeting on YouTube.

Try Software Automatic Mouth in your browser or Macintalk in Mini vMac.

A Macintalk mini-documentary.


Interviews with StuffIt Creator Raymond Lau (1996/1998)

     1/3/2021

Two interviews with StuffIt creator Raymond Lau, conducted during Apple’s darkest days (Maclopedia 1996, AppleWizards 1998).

StuffIt Deluxe 2.0 review. Yes, people were already complaining about software bloat in 1991.

Raymond’s personal website

Raymond’s palmpilotfiles/palmcentral.com

Raymond’s PhD Dissertation: “Subword Lexical Modelling for Speech Recognition

Today, Leonard Rosenthol is a PDF Architect at Adobe.

StuffIt End-of-Life Announcement

Michael Dell’s “appearance” at November 1997 Steve Jobs Keynote

Barry Diller

Wikipedia claims PackIt III development stopped after Harry Chesley went to work at Apple.

Rumor Monger, part of Harry Chesley’s output in Apple’s Advanced Technology Group


The Road to Power Macintosh (1994)

     12/2/2020

The story behind Apple’s big RISC. Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld, May/June 1994.

Watch a special Christmas message from MFR.

The Alberta Goat Breeders Association (and the reason for linking to them)

Half-Moon Bay Review article on Jack McHenry

Apple’s extremely terrible internal marketing video for the Power Mac

The Digital Antiquarian’s take on the PowerPC transition

Gary Davidian Oral History (video 1, 2; transcript 1, 2)

Richard Lary’s highly entertaining (but not Mac- or PowerPC-related) career highlights (video, transcript)

Metrowerks CodeWarrior for PowerPC was ready in late 1993. Eat that, Symantec!

CPUShack: A look back at the Motorola 88000 family

The Computer Chronicles visits the Somerset Design Center

Andy Bechtolsheim on Motorola’s slow development cycle (CHM video, transcript)

Rich Siegel: interview podcast with iMore and The Mac Observer; Apple’s “Meet the Developer” on Rich; Rich on Twitter, still developing for the Mac 36 years on

Intro from Power Mac Reseller Training VHS tape with guest appearance from Jack McHenry

Regarding the introductory paragraph: keep in mind that in 1994, the longest QuickTime video I had ever seen was 15 seconds.


folklore.org: Black Wednesday

     11/1/2020

A shakeup in Apple II engineering frees up Andy Hertzfeld to work on the Macintosh.

Original text from folklore.org. Jef Raskin and Andy Hertzfeld audio excerpts from “The Macintosh at 20” panel hosted at Macworld Boston 2004. Highly recommended!


Why Did Apple Kill Newton? (1998)

     10/3/2020

The Newton MessagePad soap opera from product launch to cancellation, and all that could have been.

Check out “Love Notes to Newton” for even more history, interviews, and a great soundtrack. The director, Noah Leon, was interviewed on embedded.fm #262 and the RetroMacCast #440.

Steve Jobs quotes: WWDC 1997, EDUCAUSE 1998, Borg-like compliance and audience hissing at Internet Explorer at MWNY 1998

Hermann Hauser on Intel inadvertently inspiring the ARM: video, transcript

Avie Tevanian on the business decision we didn’t want to hear: direct quote, video (1, 2), transcript (1, 2)

Bob Supnik on Dan Dobberpuhl’s brilliant StrongARM: video (1, 2), transcript (1, 2)

On the memory leak that caused higher than normal recognition failure rates in early OS releases: “I can’t even get my unit to recognize the word ‘Newton’


Scrooge McDuck (1980)

     9/13/2020

The very first image displayed on the very first prototype Macintosh, an Apple II expansion card with a Motorola 6809E.

Original text at folklore.org.

Audio excerpts from Andy Hertzfeld’s keynote speech at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) 2000. Listen to the full keynote, preserved in 2004 by yours truly from a long-gone RealAudio streaming server.


MFR Housekeeping 2020

     8/28/2020

“Mask ROM” means something a little different in 2020.

E-mail your article and topic suggestions to derek at macfolkloreradio.com.


Newton MessagePad 2000 Review (1997)

     8/24/2020

Surf the Web, deal with e-mail, crunch spreadsheets, write real documents, and keep your life together with this 1.4-pound wonder.

Written by Jeff Pittelkau, MacUser June 1997.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The Palmtop Blues (1995)

     8/10/2020

Of Newton and Magic Link, Marco and Envoy. The Newton and its competition continue to make progress… sort of.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld April 1995.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


Not Ready for Prime Time (1994)

     7/14/2020

Newton will be great if it can live down its beginnings.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld January 1994.

Text available in HTML and ePub.

Audio from the Newton TV Commercial Collection.


Patching the Newton (1993)

     7/1/2020

From the days before flash ROM and easy firmware updates, the tale of Landon Dyer’s accidental inspiration for what to do when your ROMs are truly read-only.

Non-techies may wish to skip the middle bit and go straight to Landon’s Newton post-mortem at 12m10s.

Original text from dadhacker.com.

Intro audio clip from Michael Tchao at the Apple User Group Breakfast, Boston MacWorld 1993. Patch talk from the questions and answers section at 1h23m25s.

Outro audio clip of Steve Capps (ex-Newton) and Donna Dubinsky, former CEO of Palm and ex-Claris VP, from the Computer History Museum’s Computing In Your Pocket panel discussion.


Newton Storage History (1993)

     6/25/2020

Landon Dyer describes how he made the Newton storage architecture crash-resistant at the last minute before the Newton shipped.

Original text from dadhacker.com.


The Story of Tetris Max

     5/27/2020

Steve Chamberlin tells the story of the birth, death, and afterlife of the slickest shareware Tetris for the Macintosh.

Hear Steve’s interviews about Floppy Emu, Tetris Max and more on the RetroMacCast episodes 317, 351, and 358.

More about Steve’s various projects and items for sale at bigmessowires.com: Floppy Emu, Mac ROMinator II, Plus Too FPGA Macintosh, and homebrew CPU.

Visit famed Tetris Max music composer Peter Wagner and check out his 2020 remake of Bricklayer/T-Maxx.

Original story text from Steve’s web site.


MFR Chat Room

     5/15/2020

Join the MFR discord: https://discord.gg/WB4tJHw

Create a free account and verify your e-mail address to start chatting.


Glory Days (1989)

     5/2/2020

Why did the original Macintosh team disband immediately after 1984–and where were they five years later? Checking in on Steve Jobs, Burrell Smith, Andy Hertzfeld, Randy Wigginton, Steve Capps, and Bill Atkinson.

From Macworld February 1989. Text available in HTML and ePub.

Andy Hertzfeld’s Frox Demo (1990)

Bill Atkinson talking about PhotoCard

Buy gorgeous nature photography work by Bill Atkinson

Atkinson Interview - Triangulation 244, 247

Don Melton Safari stories: text, podcast

Andy Hertzfeld demonstrating Eazel’s file manager for Linux

The Machine that Changed the World - The Paperback Computer

General Magic Documentary

Love Notes to Newton


Douglas Adams - Pathways and Relationships (1987)

     4/19/2020

Douglas Adams’ delightfully irreverent take on HyperCard from MacUser December 1987.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


Douglas Adams - Under-the-Desktop Publishing (1991)

     4/7/2020

As elegant and intuitive as the classic Mac environment may have been, life went downhill fast if you needed more than two serial ports or your SCSI chain went south. The one and only Douglas Adams shares a personal horror story. Source: MacUser, November 1991.

Full text available at Douglas’ website.


Burrell Smith on Design - Doug Clapp Interview (1992)

     3/22/2020

From Doug Clapp’s The Macintosh Reader, PDF page 171-176, a rare interview with original Macintosh hardware designer/wizard Burrell Smith. An extra special thanks to vintageapple.org for scanning and uploading this and many other old Macintosh books.

Text available in HTML and ePub.

Burrell’s contrary statement on PC Board Aesthetics at folklore.org.


Burrell Smith 3-Pack (1979-1981)

     3/18/2020

A bonus episode to keep my tiny listener base company while they’re stuck inside because of you-know-what. Stay safe.

From folklore.org: I’ll Be Your Best Friend, We’ll See About That, and Pineapple Pizza.

Interview with Collette Askeland, PCB design and layout sorceress, at Drop III Inches.


Sound By Monday (1982)

     3/7/2020

Steve Jobs threatens to pull the sound hardware out of the original Macintosh design.

Original text available at folklore.org.

Download SoundLab, Talk Demo, and Hendrix at Macintosh Garden.


Larry Tesler on the Legacy of the Lisa (1985)

     2/21/2020

R.I.P. Larry Tesler, 1945-2020. With audio from Larry’s presentation on the development and testing of the Lisa user interface, and Bill Atkinson speaking about making modal interfaces useful.

You can hear more about Larry’s days at Apple from the Steve Jobs Legacy Panel, 2011.

Written by Larry Tesler, Macworld September 1985.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


Meditations on HyperCard (1988)

     2/16/2020

Bonus video! Watch Bill Atkinson demo HyperCard live on stage in 1987.

The problem with HyperCard isn’t HyperCard, it’s what people are saying about it.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld February 1988.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The Ultimate BMUG Thursday Night (1988)

     1/25/2020

A humorous look at a typical Macintosh User Group meeting.

Written by Ted Jones, BMUG Newsletter Summer/Fall 1988.

Text available in HTML and ePub format.


Tales of the MultiFinder (1988)

     1/12/2020

Behind Apple’s first multitasking system software is a controversy that cuts to Apple’s core.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld January 1988.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The Desktop Christmas (1992)

     12/12/2019

David Pogue’s Macintosh holiday gift guide.

Written by David Pogue, The Desktop Critic, Macworld December 1992.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The Plunge (1987)

     12/9/2019

You know you want a Macintosh II. But wouldn’t it be wiser to wait?

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld November 1987.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


Turkey, Stuffing, and Interchangeable Power Cords (1996)

     11/10/2019

The little things that Macintosh pilgrims can be thankful for.

Written by David Pogue, The Desktop Critic, Macworld November 1996.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


John Carmack on the Steve Jobs Rollercoaster

     11/2/2019

The co-founder of id Software shares his collection of Steve Jobs stories. Published by John Carmack at F—book.

Audio from the Macworld San Francisco 2000 keynote, October 1999 iMac DV launch event, and WWDC 2007 keynote.


A Secret Call to Andy Grove (1991)

     10/13/2019

The grassroots, cloak-and-dagger effort that brought NeXT and Intel together. Written by Chris MacAskill at cake.co.

Intro audio from Steve Jobs’ 2010 appearance at All Things D with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg.


That Vision Thing (1991)

     9/15/2019

An in-depth look at the beginning of Apple mismanaging itself into oblivion in the early 1990s.

Written by Cheryl England, Macworld September 1991. Fun fact: Cheryl England founded MacAddict magazine in 1996.

Audio from the Computer Chronicles’ coverage of Macworld Boston 1996. Steve Jobs inventory management quote from the WWDC 1999 keynote.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The Soul of a New Macintosh (1990)

     8/21/2019

The twisted tale of the Macintosh LC, or “how Apple did almost everything it could to stay out of the entry-level computer market”.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld December 1990.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


MFR Housekeeping (2019)

     7/21/2019

Some stats to celebrate MFR 2.0’s first birthday.

I welcome your old-time Mac stories and reading requests by e-mail: derek at macfolkloreradio.com

An iTunes podcast directory review or star rating would also be nice. Think of it as paying your shareware fee. :-)


Adventures in the RAM Trade (1989)

     7/18/2019

The worldwide DRAM shortage of 1988 encourages back-door deals and money grubbing.

Audio clips from The Computer Chronicles (Laptop Peripherals, 1988) and the Macintosh IIcx product introduction (Jean-Louis Gassee, March 7, 1989).

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld January 1989.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The Making of the Macintosh II (1987)

     6/30/2019

A backstage look at the creation of the Macintosh II and the unsung heroes who designed it.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld May 1987.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The Test of Time (1994)

     5/20/2019

Ten years on, a look at why some software is still standing, and why other products have died off. From the Macworld 10th anniversary issue.

Written by David Pogue, The Desktop Critic, Macworld February 1994.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The Not-So-Great Compromise (1990)

     4/14/2019

The trials and tribulations of working with Apple’s first portable Macintosh. Audio excerpt from the Macintosh Portable press event in 1990.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld March 1990.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


Mac Surgery (1989)

     4/1/2019

David Pogue goes through the harrowing process of installing an accelerator board in a compact Mac.

Text available in HTML and ePub formats.


Switcher (1984)

     3/15/2019

The story of the Macintosh’s very first multitasking environment as told by the programmer himself, Andy Hertzfeld, at folklore.org.

Audio excerpt from the “Macintosh at 20” panel hosted at Macworld Boston 2004. Highly recommended!

Text available in HTML, ePub, and at folklore.org.


Bill Atkinson on Joining Apple Computer 40 Years Ago (2018)

     2/12/2019

Bill Atkinson, well-known for QuickDraw, MacPaint, and HyperCard, reflects on the 40th anniversary of his start at Apple.

Audio excerpt from the Churchill Club’s 2011 event discussing the legacy of Steve Jobs.

Text available at folklore.org.


Can a Plus Be a Minus? (1986)

     1/15/2019

Taking the upgrade path is costly and confusing but ultimately satisfying. Steven Levy documents his upgrade journey from a Macintosh 512k to a Mac Plus.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld October 1986.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


Hello Again (MFR Housekeeping)

     12/14/2018

Welcome back, Mac Folklore Radio Listeners–both of you. Some rambling from your podcast host after a nine year absence.

Thanks again to vintageapple.org and the mysterious “SteveM” for all the new reading material.


The Desktop Christmas (1993)

     12/10/2018

Cheap and cheery gifts to put under the Apple tree.

Written by David Pogue, The Desktop Critic, Macworld December 1993.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


A Shut and Open Case (1987)

     11/27/2018

How “unauthorized” modifications to the Mac became commonplace.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld January 1987.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


Defying Gravity (1993)

     10/25/2018

The DiskDoubler Story: How to succeed by really trying.

Written by Guy Kawasaki, Wise Guy, Macworld December 1993.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The Goal of a New Machine (1993)

     10/1/2018

Guy Kawasaki’s take on the PDA: the Personal Telephone Assistant.

Written by Guy Kawasaki, Wise Guy, Macworld September 1993.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The NeXT Best Thing (1989)

     9/16/2018

Journalists are summoned to a preview of the NeXT cube.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld March 1989.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


Look Mac, No Hands! (1995)

     8/2/2018

One man’s quest to eliminate the keyboard.

Written by David Pogue, The Desktop Critic, Macworld August 1995.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


The Meaning of Slow (1991)

     6/14/2018

Passing the time with Apple’s StyleWriter.

Written by Steven Levy, The Iconoclast, Macworld December 1991.

Text available in HTML and ePub.


(OldComputerPods) ©Sean Haas, 2020