Notes often include links
Text links are underlined. External links will open a new browser window. This icon
beside a term links to its entry in the
to further reading.
For example, here is a picture that shows the precise detail that can go into
black and white artwork. It’s also dramatic foreshadowing. There will definitely be Mackerel on the menu a few pages from now.
And if you are wondering, mackerel is one of the more nutritious fishes. In the previous sentence there are two links to pages that include a huge range of information about mackerel and related fish. With a bit of googling it was easy to find a single click that includes an accurate photo, nutritional details, and even recipes. Fifteen years ago it was considerably more work to find and share this kind of information about mackerel. I won’t go on at length, but this work involved libraries, books, files, photocopies...
means the note includes screen captures.
When I mention that Dave & I have been making interactive media since ‘the days when it was black and white,’ some people laugh, assuming I’m just making a joke. Others nod, knowingly; they remember.
Photography and television began black and white and evolved into colour, but multimedia followed a different path. Videodiscs and computer games delivered colourful interactive experiences long before a black and white computer inspired a new generation of pioneers.
In the early eighties, the personal computer was an idea still taking form. A few million hobbyists were playing around with the command line interfaces and clunky hardware of the first consumer computers. Most of us had little sense of how much our world was about to change, no clue that the future was about to slip into our homes and offices disguised as beige plastic boxes.
Thinktanks and visionaries had been inventing the future for decades, and had
been experimenting with graphic interfaces since the sixties. Apple successfully
incorporated these ideas into a relatively affordable personal computer in 1984, the Macintosh.
The development of the Macintosh
is pretty well documented.
(Folklore is an insanely great site that
collects stories of the creation of the Mac, and the people who made it. Highly recommended.)
While key ideas came from Xerox’s PARC thinktank,
the Mac and its OS included many further innovations that came from the team at Apple.
The black and white environment of the GUI may have originated with the Xerox Star,
(Up to that point the default state of a display
was dark, or black — unrendered — and text was typically rendered in a light colour like amber or white.
While the development of black on white flows logically from PARC’s research it was a huge leap forward.)
but it was designers at Apple, notably Susan Kare,
(There are three pages of Susan Kare’s
portfolio that are directly relevant, recommended. Her screen capture of
shows her graphic designs for the program’s tools, as well as a great example of art made with it.
Her icons and
pixel fonts (Cairo! San Francisco!)
are primary building blocks of the original Macintosh look and feel.)
who gave meaning and personality to every pixel.
Suddenly, a whole new group of creative people were using computers. The following year Apple, Adobe and Aldus (Although eventually swallowed by Adobe in 1994, in the 1980s Aldus Corporation and Pagemaker represented a third of the Desktop Publishing Trinity. The company’s name and logo referenced turn-of-the-fifteenth-century printing and publishing pioneer Aldus Manutius.) introduced PageMaker and the LaserWriter, the first PostScript laser printer. The graphic arts industries — already transformed by photography earlier in the century — were about to be transformed again and the computer would soon be ubiquitous in the graphics arts.
Within a few years there were a million (There were even more MS-DOS machines, but it was not until the 1990s and Windows that the platform became viable for many creative professionals.) Macintosh computers, and many of them were in the hands of creative, adventurous people. And then, Apple released HyperCard.
text, design: kevin steele
sounding board, shared experiences: dave groff
First published March 2005 at the Smackerel web site.
Republished at kevinsteele.com June 2018. The design was created in 2005 to be seen in web browsers, and includes screen captures meant to be seen original size. On a phone the monochrome graphics will inevitably be scaled and show some moiré. Additional tweaks for small devices March 2019.