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The Green Tree | The Bleat.

My friend Rob has an excerpt of his recent column on Jobs here, and it’s a reminder that he may have gone gentle into that long night, but he didn’t go gentle into that prototype demonstration. I have the feeling he looked at the early drafts of the Apple.com homepage obit spread – he’d asked for the mockups last year – and threw a bedpan at someone over the picture. What the hell did you use to compress this? The thing Sarah Conner used to kill the Terminator at the end of the first movie? There’s artifacts all over the place.

I read a long big book about Apple many years ago, and it wasn’t exactly pro-Jobs. Woz talked to the author; Jobs didn’t. A perfectionist, a tyrant at times, a guy you dreaded getting into the elevator with because he wore the same damned turtleneck for days on end, that sort of thing. The book ended with his return to the company, and noted that it was a hopeful moment, but it probably wouldn’t save Apple. Its glory days were long past.

No! We said. It’s still the greatest! I remember reading MacAddict in those days, when we rejoiced over every new program (they’re still making them! Yay!) and vowed never to give up, to adopt a rogue mentality, us against the world, and so on. But the machines were ugly. The company’s attempts to come up with a radical new OS had splintered and foundered. What could Jobs do?

Perhaps he did this: he gathered all the engineers together. He said “here’s what we’re going to do.”

He laid out a manilla envelop with 25 sheets of paper inside.

“I want a laptop that’s this thin. No thicker. The processor speed will be ten times as fast as our fastest machine now.”

He took out a deck of cards. Cut them in half.

“I want a mobile phone this thick. It will be operated by touch. It will play music, movies, do email, connect to the internet.”

He took out an Etch-A-Sketch.

“I want a tablet half as thin as this. Like the ones you’ve seen on Star Trek, right? Also touch-operated, and it will do everything the phone will, as well as other things like music composition, video editing, and reading virtual books.”

He patted the big CRT monitor sitting on top a Performa. “We’ll still make computers, but I want the screen to be huge, flat, and oh – no box to sit on. The screen is the computer.”

He took the other half of the playing cards. “I want a personal music player, and it can start out this size. But it should get around to this.” He put down a postage stamp. “Also touch-operated.”

“One more thing. All these devices will talk to each other and share information, and store data in offsite locations that can be accessed anywhere through the air. Everyone else will be there in 15 years. I think we can do it in ten. So work backwards from these ideas, and have your ideas on my desk tomorrow. Start with a new Mac. For God sakes, the ones we have now are just an embarrassment. How about colored plastic?”

It makes sense, doesn’t it? It all seems inevitable in retrospect, but it wasn’t. It took a guy who could see several steps in the future. Beyond this to the thing beyond that.

And now he’s gone to the thing beyond it all. Thanks, Mr. Jobs. Every day: thanks.

I tweeted that it was, for my daughter’s generation, like the death of Walt Disney. Premature, too. The difference, perhaps, was that Walt seemed like a Grandpa when I was growing up; Jobs seemed to be in eternal that-friend’s-cool-dad phase.

At least I picked the right week to be sick; the weather has been spectacular, and there’s nothing like sitting in the sun to made you feel less sodden, as head colds are wont to make you feel. Too grotty to go out beyond the confines of the back yard, although yesterday, in a fit of early-cold enthusiasm (I can beat this! Yes I can!) I got up and drove to St. Louis Park to see if I could rent a cello. Hey, we’ve all had spur-of-the-moment ideas like that. I found the site online, noted that their terms were fair, and figured I could be there before they were open. In the back of my head something said “call first, to see if they actually have a cello,” but I knew if I did that the chains and anchors of the day would start to drape themselves around my shoulders. So I just hit the road.

To my surprise the store was next to the last surviving example of the Glass Tree Bank:

Sorry, I forgot; these things should be run through retro filters:

Midwest Federal put up several of these in the suburbs – there was one by Southdale, one by Rosedale, I know that. Perfect 60s modernistic whimsy, to use two words you don’t see in close proximity together. It’s a lamp store now. The slab out front still bears the sign of the Tree, the Midwest Federal logo that glowed green atop the building downtown most of you know as the Mary Tyler Moore building.

Here’s an old ad from 1960, with the tree fully anthropomorphized:

Anyway, they didn’t have a cello.

So I went back home. Got back on my laptop, checked out other places. There was one. Called it up. They had a cello.

It was ten blocks from the first place I went to. Sigh. See, befogged and cold-clogged; didn’t even think to check other locations on my phone. So I drove there and got a cello. While I signed up I looked at the wall, where there were many photographs of famous musicians. Perlman. Rachmaninoff. Benny. (Jack.)

So you had Rachmaninoff as a customer, eh? I said to the young fellow who took my order. He said he didn’t know. Have to ask the owner, and he’s not in. I figured it was unlikely they had him as a customer, this being the suburbs. Well, the inner-ring, which goes back, but still, I don’t think Serge popped in to St. Louis Park for strings and rosin.

While I was waiting for the order to be finished I looked at the picture of Rachmaninoff.

It was signed. To the owner, I believe.

Stood there feeling a curious sense of wonder: the things you find in the world. The things you never suspected.

Anyway. Drove home and got to work and did things, and later pounded out more novel. Home stretch. Two weeks to completion. Sequel already in my head, and that one may take the title “Skid Row Jack,” because it doesn’t fit this one at all. I’m actually considering “Tangle Town,” since a few key scenes take place in my neighborhood, specifically the Toast Castle up the street.

I’m in the pipe, five by five; novel done by Saturday night.


62 Responses to The Green Tree

  1. Brian Lutz says:

    I’ve never been an Apple fan (far from it, in fact) but when I think about it, I really feel that Steve Jobs was about as close as we’ve ever gotten to having a real-life Willy Wonka, complete with the mysterious factory churning out groundbreaking (some would even say magical) products that inspire irrational exuberance among some, and polarized others. To be honest, I’ve been more of a Slugworth fan myself, but it’s hard to deny the impact.

    And yet, at the same time, I can’t shake the feeling that in the end, it’s all just candy…

  2. shesnailie says:

    _@_v – i suppose that music store didn’t have a downtown location back in the days of living downtowns…

    long live the iMortal steve jobs

  3. GardenStater says:

    OK, I’ll bite:

    Why are you renting a cello?

  4. Irish Al says:

    RIP Steve – not really an innovator as many are saying, but instead a person whose genius lay in taking existing concepts, applying brilliant design and execution, and making it so your mother had to have one. The industry needs people like him.

  5. John Peabody says:

    The Midwest Federal tree logo always reminded me of a mushroom cloud.

  6. Kerry Potenza says:

    After having been riddled with computer viruses on my PC (yes, I used antivirus, antispyware, etc.) and being without a computer for awhile after it crashed, I reluctantly forked over the extra money for a beautiful IMac computer. I was persuaded by Mr. Lileks and others who exalted the virtues of the Apple products. Unlike most Bleat regulars, I am not techno-savvy and have very little interest in computers. Everything about my new IMac seems right: the gorgeous graphics, simplicity, and ergonomics. And Santa is getting my kid an IPod Touch this year. I am already converted. RIP Steve Jobs. And thanks to OGH for recommending the Apple line of products.

  7. [...] if you can hear this somehow wherever your spirit may be a-roaming: thanks. Of course, Lileks has something to say too: It all seems inevitable in retrospect, but it wasn’t. It took a guy who could see several [...]

  8. Pops53 says:

    As to Steve Jobs, I’m a PC user who frequently rolled his eyes at the swooning fanboys (occasionally including OGH)and their “too-cool-for-school” presumptions — never so much as when they spend ‘graph after ‘graph going on and on about the complex fixes and workarounds required by their “perfectly simple” machines. My iMac is in a box in the garage as I type this on a Dell. But I’m well aware of the fact that Apple dragged the PC by the lapels into the 21st century, and am grudgingly grateful.

    But as to what Steve Jobs meant to me moswt, one word: Pixar. The rrising tide that lifts all boats, which did for animation what Apple did for personal computing.

    “I’m in the pipe, five by five…” Great, James — but this time don’t leave the damn door open!!!

  9. J.Paul says:

    It wouldn’t be that surprising to find out that Rachmaninoff visited a music store in suburban Minneapolis. More surprising is that in 1923 he actually performed in Altoona, PA (my hometown), a place not really known for the arts.

  10. wiredog says:

    5 years ago, when my Linux PC caught fire, literally, I bought a 24″ iMac. It was Unix under the hood, and was no more expensive than building my own box to the same specs. Plus, it was quiet. I plugged it in and It Just worked (TM). It still works.

    There’s something to be said for the intersection of design and engineering.

    Two obituaries on the front page of the Washington Post this morning. This is the other one.

  11. Bob Lipton says:

    I went Apple five years ago and it wasn’t because Apple was so cool (best industrial designy since Loewy went the way of all flesh). It was because my Dell went down and my tech friend spent six hours with an intelligent help line person. We got on the phone, connected with someone at Microsoft and discovered that the problem was that the software and hardware were designed by two different shops — technical reasons, but that’s how it came out to my monkey-pushing-buttons mind. So I decided to let the arguments take place in one shop and went Apple. Haven’t regretted it.


  12. Peter says:

    Needing the ability to produce professional quality DVDs, I tried every Windows solution (free and “Pro”) and all fell short. The only viable option was an Apple product. I bought a Powerbook 5 running OS X Tiger for about 4 times what I would pay for a similarly powered PC, and was able to create the DVDs I wanted. When Apple introduced an expensive upgrade called OS X Leopard, I thought I could stay with Tiger. Then Apple moved to Intel-based hardware and Snow Leopard and the Powerbook line was made obsolete. Programs on the Tiger machine stopped working, claiming that they needed an OS X upgrade in order to continue. The only upgrade possible was to Leopard (which was by now reasonably priced on eBay). Moved to Leopard, which broke even more of my existing programs, including the DVD creator. There is no way to upgrade a Powerbook past Leopard, and no new Apple software works on Powerbooks.

    From purchase to stranded was less than 18 months. I’m done with Apple. They don’t care at all. Meanwhile, Microsoft is still supporting 10-year-old WinXP for free.

  13. RPD says:

    I’m also a Slugworth guy. Never had any real problems that I needed help resolving. Once I went to work at a place that used all Macs (Jobs interregnum OS8 Macs). Either they would lock up, or Id spend half an hour relearning how to do tasks that were otherwise 2nd nature. So I never glommed on to the Jobs train. Nor do I have any iDevices, never saw the value in a portable mp3 player, or a phone that does more than place and receive calls, and I’m especially mystified by the popularity of the tablets. Ah well, better start shoveling coal in to the car and build up some steam so I can get going…

  14. quraina says:

    The Bleat banner picture: Is it from “The Great Gatsby,” or “Appointment at Samarra?”

  15. Over the years I’ve used several Apple products.I have a few iPods, and the iPod Touch was a brilliant step forward. Perhaps because I deal with technology in a business environment, the lack of suitable applications kept me from spec’ing an Apple product as my main work device. Apple, Windows, Linux, Unix, they all have their idiosyncrasies, and they all have their strengths.

    But Jobs, more than an innovator, was a visionary. Nothing about him impresses me more than his battle against cancer.

    I hate cancer.

    Hate is a very strong word.

    When it comes to cancer, hate cannot possibly be a strong enough word.

    I hope that Jobs saw fit to leave a legacy, both in organization, and financially, to continuing the battle against cancer. He waged it so well, it should inspire others.

    Prayers for Steve Jobs, his family, and his friends.

    Gentle Rest.

  16. Chas C-Q says:

    I believe that if Steve Jobs had only been 90% as “difficult,” Apple would have only been 45% as successful, and he would only be remembered as a “bad boss.”

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Sergei got around. His career ended here:

    Wikipedia: “[Rachmaninoff']s last recital, given on 14 February 1943 at the Alumni Gymnasium of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, included Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2, which contains the famous Marche funèbre (Funeral March). A statue called ‘Rachmaninoff: The Last Concert’, designed and sculpted by Victor Bokarev, now stands in World Fair Park in Knoxville as a permanent tribute.”

  17. crossdotcurve says:

    It should be “half as thick” or “twice as thin”, not “half as thin”. “Half as thin” means to have half the thin-ness, that is, to be twice as thick.

  18. rbj says:

    “See, befogged and cold-clogged; didn’t even think to check other locations on my phone.”

    How short ago would the last half of that sentence not made any sense. And now it’s not even remarkable anymore.

  19. Larry says:

    Isn’t Tangle Town a modern name for the neighborhood that wouldn’t have been in use in whatever prior period you’ve set the sequel? But fully understand that it might stir interest from purchasers that live in the present.

  20. Moishe3rd says:

    Baruch Dayan Emes. Steve Jobs. May his memory be a blessing.

    James – Many folk such as myself read you for your ephemera. Rachmaninoff. That is interesting. But – it would be more interesting if you actually gave the name of the store in St. Louis Park where you bought the cello. I might actually visit it just to see the signed photo. Or, I might Google it to find out why there was a signed photo in that store.
    Please. Details are important… (You’ve got to pay attention to the details… anyone can put the shingles on your house and make it look good… Oy. Too much radio!)

  21. First started on Macs back in 1989, on a Mac Plus (with a huge 20 MB external humming under it). Spent half an hour looking for the command prompt. Was ResEditing Syatem files into oblivion in a month or so. Ran PhoneNet connectors all over the office, until the union showed up and said it wasn’t an acceptable network communications system.

    That accelerated obsolescence that Peter describes is a new thing, I think, brought on by the Second Great Processor Swap. Got burned by it myself when I found out my new iPhone would communicate perfectly with my wife’s 8-year-old PC, but not with my 5-year-old G4. Took a few calls, but Apple did fix the situation after I rubbed it in a bit.

    And after the hours I spent yesterday trying to outwit a sneaky piece of malware on wife’s PC, I’ll stick with MacOS, thankyewverymuch.

    Mr. Jobs will be long and fondly remembered, I think even by those who wrote the “inside Apple” tell-alls. Let’s hope that the innovation can continue, but it may be mooted by the growing instability and disorder in the world. :\

  22. hpoulter says:

    @Pops53 :

    Ditto. I could not care less about Apple Products, but Pixar has greatly enriched my life. I am forever grateful to Jobs for believing in it and nurturing it all those years before it could make money.

  23. Larry says:

    Juanito -
    Thank you very much, well said,

  24. [...] and create the outstanding products he did. James Lileks imagines Jobs’ modus operandi in his Bleat blog post today. It sounds very plausible to me: Perhaps he did this: he gathered all the engineers together. He [...]

  25. I’ll always remember back in the 80s the tooth extraction like process of getting a document of graphic out of a PC and having to print it multiple times before it looked right.

    The Mac just did it in a WYSIWYG fashion.

    Criticism of MacOS just seemed like jealousy by PC owners or a distraction by MS people buying time until they got their product ready for market.

    So I also thank the Steves that my work PC is more user friendly.

  26. AnnaN says:

    I am a most recent convert to Apple Products. The change initially came summer of 2010 with the iPhone. I had dropped my BBerry down a flight of concrete stairs at work and needed a replacement. Husb and I wandered into an Apple Store at lunch one day to look at the iPhone.

    I had only ever used my phone to talk – never texted, never kept a calendar on it, nothing. But the iPhone? Mmmmmm. Even the packaging was aesthetically pleasing.

    That started the ball rolling as I gave my husband an iPad for his birthday which led to buying a couple of iMacs to replace our PCs this past summer. I have to admit to some struggle adjusting to the new OS – the simplicity was strangely unnerving coming from years of fighting with the craptastic Windows Vista.

    I am sorry he is gone – 56 is so young. I think, what else would he have produced or accomplished if he had lived another 25-30 years? It’s odd to feel a sense of loss for something that never was.

  27. Ron Ramblin says:

    I seem to remember OGH complaining in 2001 about the iMac’s lack of floppy drive and that everything had to be uploaded and retreived from internet to get it to another machine. Not such a big deal now but those were dial-up days.

  28. swschrad says:

    Zen question about Jobs. he’s practicing Buddhist, so we shan’t expect to see him in (christian-defined) heaven any time soon.

    but what is he coming back as in the next life?

    you have the cool cat in public, and the 5-gallon can of mercury fulminate and bearing balls at work, in meetings, etc.

    what will the Karma wheel decide?

  29. swschrad says:

    oh, the cello? I think OGH just switched insurance companies.

  30. hpoulter says:

    @bgbear: true. Apple made Microsoft better.

  31. HelloBall says:

    Jasper must’ve chased off the falcon.

  32. I couldn’t resist slightly changing my commute route today to pass the Apple HQ in Cupertino.

  33. swschrad says:

    @hpoulter: Apple made Microsoft thrive.

    return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when men were men, and geeks were fractious and spitting code in every direction of the compass. in the early 80s, with a plethora of cheap computers that did their own thing, and a bunch of business-ish beige that basically ran MS-DOS and PerfectWriter if you were this way, or DR-DOS and Electric Pencil if you weren’t, there were visionaries like Engelbart pushing hockey puck “mice” that didn’t seem to fit in.

    there was the occasional reference to Xerox PARC, where it is said they had bigger and better things than the copier, or some sort of magic printer that was part copier, or maybe it was just free sodas. Occasionally somebody would have a line or two in Byte or ComputerWorld about maybe we’d someday have Star computers.

    well, the only ones were at PARC and a few government offices, because the machine was 50 grand and it was damn hard to make one in a row, and leasing the software was another 40 or 50 grand.

    Steve Jobs, old HP hand with connections, talked his way in there with a handful of coworkers. heh, what can these kids do? maybe if they’re good enough, we can lure them back here. he saw the Star and the laser printer.

    got back to Cupertino and formed a two-layer skunk works.. the core was just over a dozen folks. there were, iirc, 22 signatures inside the cover of the Mac128 on initial sale.

    they came out with a Lisa machine in under two years that did the same thing for 10 grand, software included. year or a year and a half later, the Mac was out at two grand.

    and that blew the snot right out of Bill Gates little cooperative with IBM called Presentation Manager, which was basically tiled DOS boxes that pretended to look like windows on the screen. you needed EGA to run it correctly, it was way cobby on CGA.

    Windows 1.0 was out soon after, and that paved the way for Microsoft to part ways with IBM and spiral up to the biggest tech breakthrough since the steam engine or moveable type.

    1.0 basically hoovered. I had to support a word processor on it, dedicated CPT system that had a second directory with Mass-11 on it, where most of the real work of publications in that college was done. it was as stable as Charlie Sheen with a car full of goddesses and a trunk full of blow.

    but by the time it got to 3.0, it worked. and 3.1 networked. and soon after, Windows 95 hit like a rock star party.

    took MS over a billion bucks market cap.

    Jobs needle inoculated Microsoft with powerful serum.


    what ever would have happened if Xerox PARC had one or two Jobs types inside to make products out of the projects? we might have our flying cars.

  34. Chas C-Q says:

    @AnnaN: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” — John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

  35. swschrad says:

    not to be forgotten, Woz’ works lived on as long as the Mac had floppy drives. a little off-center in the motherboard of a classic mac was the easiest place to find his last major contribution… the IWM.

    Integrated Woz Machine chip. floppy controller, encryption, bus interface, in a 64 pin square.

  36. Gumpy Gus says:

    Way back, in the Fall of 1983, I got a last-minute invite to see a small and secretive dog-and-pony show put on by Apple. Sigh, I thought, maybe it’s the Apple II++.

    The salesman pulled this funny-looking boxy thing out of the carrying case, and THE THING LIT UP. Wow! Mac 128. I was sold on the concept. Instant fanboy.

    Spent the next 5 years programming it, and it was lovely…. But then around 1989 I noticed the system was very quickly going in all the wrong directions– slow, ugly, buggy add-ons, no support for the things I needed, like internet, multitasking, and HyperCard was dying a slow death by degrees– I bid a sad farewell to the Mac. Became pretty well resigned to working on PC’s for a decade.

    Later on, could not get enthused about the early iMacs, or those hot and noisy Power PC’s.

    Then a few years back, noticed that the iMacs were getting cooler and quieter and sleeker– dived back in, and now fully Mac at home, sigh- PC at work.

    As for Jobs, sad to see him go. He’s shaped a lot of lives.

  37. winterhawk says:

    He’s gone far too soon. I love the Willy Wonka reference–I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but Wonka has always been somebody else I’ve admired so I’m amazed I never did.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been this sad over the death of a public figure before. I’m not even a Mac aficionado (I love my iPad, my iPod, and my iPhone, but my previous attempts to switch from Windows to Mac have always met with failure–I just prefer Windows) but I have nothing but admiration for somebody that full of ideas (and good ones!) who had a strong enough personality that he could *be* a tyrant in order to make sure they weren’t watered down. With very few exceptions (Mac Cube, anyone?), Steve got it *right*.

    My spousal unit used to work at Apple (he’s trying hard to get back in again, realizing after leaving just how much he loved it there). He used to tell me stories about “SJ” (that’s what they called him around there)–stories like how Steve chucked an iPod at a manager in the spouse’s group in a meeting because it wasn’t performing the way it should. Like how Steve was adamant about how the original iPod should do everything with one button and one scroll wheel–if it couldn’t be done with those, it didn’t need to be on there. He (the spouse) has an iPod that was handed to him by SJ himself (a bonus for his group after a successful project) and almost ran into him in the cafeteria because he (SJ) wasn’t looking where he was going :) . I love hearing these stories. Damn it, 56 is too young to lose that kind of genius. And meanwhile, people like Phred Phelps still walk the earth. What more truth do we need that life isn’t fair?

  38. hpoulter says:

    Thanks for the history, swschrad. What a long strange trip its been.

  39. Another death in the news, maybe only of interests to Star Trek fans. Long time character actor Charle Napier. Adam has bit the fruit and gone to Eden.

    (for Blues Brothers fans, he was the leader of the “The Good Old Boys” band).

  40. swschrad says:

    Charlie and the Oompa-Loompas are still there. but let’s hope the post-Jobs era is not going to be trying to make Copeland work.

  41. Ian S. says:

    @swschrad: and the replacement SWIM and SWIM2 chips worked in the exact same way as Woz’s Disk II controller, even though that meant Macs continued to grind to a halt during floppy access. SWIM3 (on the first PowerMacs) finally fixed that by adding some additional functionality that twiddled the underlying Disk II-style hardware while the Mac did other things.

    And let me add to the praise for Jobs’ support of Pixar during their lean years. Animation was nearly dead as an art form before Toy Story came out, and now it’s feeling much better.

  42. Chuck says:

    J Paul, actually Altoona Penn was known for its performances in the early 20th century. The biggest stars were going to/from Philadelphia or New York and Pittsburgh via train. Would make a stop in Altoona and do a show, before heading on to their destination.

    George Burns famous line: “They still love me in Altoona”

  43. swschrad says:

    @Ian S: Pixar was really a software shop when Lucas sold it, they had a rendering farm for contract work, and RenderMan for sale if you wanted to sponsor witchcraft in your own house.

    Luxo Jr. was their trade-show bait to try and drum up business, and was the answer for the question, “Why did Jobs keep hiring animation creatives instead of just software creatives?”

    on the cello: that’s a bit of a large bite to chew. it’s a very expressive instrument. provided you learn how to express it. the French Horn of strings. Jasper is going to have some good howling practice in the near term ;)

  44. hpoulter says:

    swschrad: as long as you are being the historian, what is the relationshipe between RenderMan and (San Rafael-based) AutoDesk? I remember seeing RenderMan modules in AutoCAD long before I heard of PIXAR.

  45. swschrad says:

    @hpoulter: uhh, was going to say never encountered AutoDesk/AutoCAD, but I think I fixed a network issue to a workstation running them once.

    it was probably an ex/im filter, perhaps for 3D renderings.

    but I’m throwing darts here.

  46. DryOwlTacos says:

    I think for computers, we all prefer what we started out on; therefore I prefer the Windows oeuvre, and I’m stuck with it, because I have a quarter of a century of files in that OS that I still access. However, I love my iPhone (still using the original model but will soon upgrade to the 4GS), and last night as I was casually updating my Facebook status on my iPad, I considered that it had become such second-nature that it felt like there had always been such a marvelous thing. RIP, Steve. You helped make ALL computers good and Apple products great.

    Now that he has left the building for good, Apple, may I make just one request? Please adapt your marvelous handheld devices to run Flash video, so that your market share of all mobile devices will finally approach 100%.

  47. Chas C-Q says:

    @hpoulter, @swschrad:

    Silicon Graphics’ subsidiary Alias|Wavefront developed (with help from Disney) the 3D modeler called Maya in 1998, which Autodesk bought in 2005; then, Alias|Wavefront was renamed Alias, which Autodesk bought in 2006.

    “RenderMan for Maya” is a flavor of Pixar’s RenderMan that can be plugged into Autodesk Maya to create photo-realistic renders and animation in such applications as 3ds Max.

    (Information condensed from Wikipedia and Autodesk sources.)

  48. swschrad says:

    @Chas C-Q: well, I at least hit the inner ring with that dart. they’ll not throw me off the team this week.

  49. Chas C-Q says:

    @hpoulter, @swschrad:

    I forgot: the last AutoShade (DOS; ~1988, ACAD R10, I think) used RenderMan for output. It has been a long time.

  50. DensityDuck says:

    Of course it’s all just candy. But, in the end, isn’t candy what makes life worth living? Obviously it can’t be all about the candy. But total denial that candy can have worth is just as bad. That way lies the Puritans, and Diogenes, and Anthropogenic Global Warming zealotry.


    I like how, in The Register’s bio of Jobs, they point out that his life at Apple was lived in three acts; in defiance of Fitzgerald, who claimed that you only got one. And, they point out, he finished Act II in fine dramatic style–his chief babies (NeXT and Newton) crashing in flames, his pet movie company (Pixar) being shut down, his body starting to disintegrate under him. However will our hero survive? Come back next week for “Steve Jobs III: The Final Battle!”

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