December 2, 2004
"Revolution in the Valley": The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac was Made
Sebastopol, CA--Mac users tend to be passionate about their machines.
And why not? From the start, it's been special. It was the first computer
to smile at you when you'd boot it up. More significantly, its innovative
user interface has influenced the direction of software development on all
platforms since it first appeared. Granted, it's had some highs and lows
over the years, but as a computer, it's undeniably great. Insanely great.
And equally great is the story of how the Mac came into being. Told by
Andy Hertzfeld, co-creator of the Mac, Revolution in the Valley (O'Reilly,
US $24.95, hardcover) takes readers into the hallways and backrooms of
Apple, to where the groundbreaking Macintosh computer was born.
"There are occasionally short windows in time when incredibly important
things get invented that shape the lives of humans for hundreds of years,"
writes Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, in his foreword to the book.
"The development of the Macintosh computer was one of these events. Every
computer today is basically a Macintosh, a very different type of computer
from those that preceded it. Who developed this revolutionary computer?
What motivated them?"
Revolution in the Valley answers these questions as it traces the
development of the Macintosh, from its inception as an underground
skunkworks project in 1979 to its triumphant introduction in 1984 and
beyond. The stories in the book come on good authority: Hertzfeld, a core
member of the team that built the Macintosh system software and a key
creator of is radical user interface, was one of the chosen few who worked
on the project with Steve Jobs. You might call him the ultimate insider.
When Revolution in the Valley begins, Hertzfeld is working on Apple's
first attempt at a low-cost, consumer-oriented computer: the Apple II.
He notices that Steve Jobs is luring some of the company's most
brilliant innovators to work on a tiny research effort--the Macintosh.
Hertzfeld manages to make his way onto the Macintosh research team,
and the rest is history.
"Most users today have never experienced what computing was like before
the GUI," says Hertzfeld. "The Macintosh became very successful, although
not quite the way we imagined. Today, the GUI we pioneered is ubiquitous,
used by hundreds of millions of people every day, though most experience
it through non-Apple platforms."
Through period photos (many published for the first time here), original
sketches, and Hertzfeld's vivid firsthand accounts, Revolution in the
Valley reveals what it was like to be there at the birth of the personal
computer revolution. The story comes to life through the book's portrait
of the talented and often eccentric characters who made up the
"It's chilling to recall how this cast of young and inexperienced people
who cared more than anything about doing great things created what is
perhaps the key technology of our lives," Wozniak adds in his foreword.
"Their own words and images take me back to those rare days when the
rules of innovation were guided by internal rewards, and not by money."
Now, more than twenty years later, millions of people benefit from the
technological achievements of this brilliant and determined group of people.
Revolution in the Valley
ISBN: 0-596-00719-1, 291 pages, hardcover, $24.95 US, $36.95 CA
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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