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ATPM 2.06
June 1996




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by Robert Paul Leitao,

OS 8, I Can’t Wait

As you may have read in our opening letter, ATPM is growing and changing. This is due to you, our readers, who have made our e-zine both popular and fun. We hope that we will continue to earn your loyalty and support. As the new managing editor I'm excited by the growth of our e-zine and the recent changes at Apple Computer. Our cover story this month is about the future - OS 8 and the nearer-term release of the transitional operating system codenamed "Harmony."

June also marks the beginning of summer and for many of us school graduation. For readers of my regular column "Apples, Kids & Attitude" I'm happy to report that Jessica has successfully completed her pre-school years and is preparing for the academic rigors of Kindergarten.

As we look to the future of personal computing, I thought about what was occurring at the time I took my first steps into the public school classroom. At that time, color televisions were just becoming affordable. Carl Yastrzemski was in his earlier seasons as the defender of Fenway's "Green Monster," and the original Ford Mustang was being first introduced. It was also a time when if someone called on the phone and quickly followed his or her name with the words "calling long distance" it meant urgent, "stat," find Mom or Dad immediately! A minute literally meant dollars.

I'm not recounting this for the purpose of simply disclosing my years, but to offer I hope, some perspective on the Macintosh as Apple Computer and the computer industry again go through historic changes. For those of you who are new to the Mac, there was a time several years ago when, for the most part, they did not come with color monitors or varying screen sizes. And, before System 7.x, there was System 6.x and before that and so on... As we await the release of System 8 (and many of us have been waiting a few years) I think it's important to be reminded that each new change in technology is adapted into our lives in ways we could not appreciate before its inception or release. We also quickly forget how life was before things changed.

Prior to TV remote controls we, as young children, would sit pensively at the point in each person's home that was deemed safe enough to avoid the much-rumored radiation spill from that major appliance, in order to be in prime position to run up and change the channel on the dial during commercials or between shows. This point was usually an arbitrary spot marked by a flower pot or other small, easily-moved household item. At my friend Gary's house, this spot could have been five feet or so away from the TV, and marked by the corner of the ottoman. At Shaun's house it may have been six feet away, marked by the location of the coffee table, and at my house four and one-half feet, marked by masking tape on the den floor.

We were told that if we sat too close to the TV we'd either lose our hair, or the ability later in life to have children. Fortunately, I'm happy to report that while the spot in my house was apparently too close for me to avoid the hazards of the former, it has not impacted the latter.

Before cable, we had the roof antenna. The taller and more elaborate it was, the more status your home had in eyes of your childhood peers. Our antenna had an electric dial that would change the receiving position of the antenna. I still remember hearing my dad at 2:00 in the morning , in the midst of a storm, trying once again in vain to find the signal from the station 250 miles away that he had once received during a weather anomaly. Distant station findings were the suburban counterpart to vacation fish stories.

When the Macintosh was first introduced, it changed the personal computer market in ways we could not have thought possible just prior to that fateful day. More recently, the internet has significantly changed the way we communicate and experience the world.

OS 8 will undoubtedly change the way we work with our Macs, and the way we use the Internet or its successor. As we prepare for OS 8 and other software and hardware changes, take a moment and write in a diary just how you did things today. I think you'll be amazed a few years from now how much things have changed. What we impatiently think we're waiting for today may be far more than we imagine.

Carl Yastrzemski has long retired but his legacy lives on in baseball's Hall of Fame. The original Ford Mustang? Well, we know the story. The computer company that started a revolution with a "mouse"? I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

This is my diary for today - June, 1996, today I put a tape in a VCR to watch a movie on my TV. I went into the office, turned on my Macintosh 7500/100 to access the Internet using a modem. I picked up a cordless phone that used an analog signal to talk to a friend. There was a bulky computer magazine - printed on paper - delivered to my mailbox located just outside my front door. A delivery person dropped off computer software that I ordered yesterday, shipped via of an airplane, and contained on a 1.44 megabyte floppy disk.

OS 8? I can't wait!

Robert Paul Leitao is the Managing Editor of ATPM. He can be reached at

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