Making The Mackerel Stack 1.0

We had desktop graphics services to sell. Our target market had Macs for graphics, but needed experienced Mac help. While a brochure would be too expensive to print, we could afford disks, a box at a time. As the summer of 1989 ended, we committed to creating a HyperCard stack to market our services.

Our stack needed to showcase both our technical abilities and our design sensitivity. And we learned from Emigre that our stack needed something interesting that was not just about us.

The title was a no-brainer, and once we had the name, the basic structure of the stack just fell into place. Soon we had a design for a main menu. note

For the demonstration of our capabilities, we gathered as much portfolio work as we could. Most work was presented in slide shows, that the user had no control over, synced to music made with HyperTalk. We were just starting up the hypermedia learning curve. note

Since we had committed to including fun facts about mackerel, the fish, we set out to learn about mackerel, and other scombrids. note

We had a blast injecting jokes note — detours about baseball note — and other non sequiturs note into the stack. Making an animated type intro was great fun. note And then we were done.

Unveiling The Mackerel Stack 1.0

As proud creators we started to show the finished stack to friends and colleagues. People were excited and supportive, and pointed out all the good things about it. They did not need to say out loud what was wrong with it, however.

We watched where people were confused and made mental notes. We started to get impatient, ourselves, showing some sequences. And we started to cringe during much of the music. All of the tunes in the stack where produced with the only two ‘instruments’ that were built in to HyperCard. After hearing the stack too many times it dawned on me what it sounded like:

boing tink boing boing boing tink tink boing tink tink boing....

Soon after, I learned how easy it could be to create and install different sounds in a stack — if only we had a MacRecorder. I’d have slapped my forehead and said D’oh! but didn’t know the word, yet. note

The response had been positive enough that we knew we had the start of something good, but version one was more annoying than effective; it was only good enough to be a prototype. We shelved it and made plans for an upgrade.

Page: MMBW07 version: 1.0 | 03.01.2005 | Tweaked 06.11.2018