Wednesday, July 23, 2008

phonebook edition

Fall of 1985. The phonebook edition of Inside Macintosh arrived. It was sent in a huge yellow manilla envelope, which the USPS had completely trashed. Amazingly, the book itself was still in good condition. I had acquired the Macintosh Development System disks from Tom, and spent many a happy hour browsing through the manual trying to figure out how to create programs for my Macintosh 512K. I recall thinking, “Gee, these people are really smart. I bet it would be cool to work with them.”

Summer of 1988. I am unpacking a box of books in Bandley 3. Among the many volumes I find my tattered old phonebook edition of Inside Macintosh. I recall the day it first arrived, and how much fun I had reading it. Then, suddenly I realize that I am now working at the company where the Macintosh was created. Not only that, I was in the very building where most of the code documented in that battered old book was written.

Spring of 1991. I just joined the Newton group (which was not called that, but I can't remember what is was called then; perhaps the Advanced Products Group?). I was unpacking a box of books in Bubb 5, and came across that beloved phonebook edition of Inside Macintosh. I remembered the rush when I unpacked it in Bandley 3, and in double-flashback style the awe when I first started reading it back in college. And then I realized, not only was I working at the same company, but I was now working with some of the original Macintosh developers (Larry, Steve).

Summer of 2008. We finally emptied out the storage unit (Door-To-Door are highway bandits, by the way). Of course, that meant sifting through 20 boxes of books looking for keepers. And there it is, my old friend the phonebook edition of Inside Macintosh. It's been more than ten years since I worked at Apple. The company today bears little resemblance to the “no adult supervision” one I worked at. But I still remember sitting in Bubb 5 and realizing that I was living the dream.

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