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NeXT
November 24, 2011 6:43 AM   Subscribe

Steve Jobs at NeXT. Videos of Steve Jobs brainstorming with the NeXT team, describing the goals of NeXT and demoing NeXTStep.
posted by Ad hominem (62 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here is a NeXT fact: Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web on a NeXT Computer at CERN. The first web server was a NeXTCube.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:56 AM on November 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


It often amazes me that the frameworks from NeXTStep have been translated more-or-less intact to OS X and to the iPhone. Even Interface Builder in 2011 looks pretty much like Interface Builder in 1988.

This doesn't seem like an impressive achievement, but UI libraries typically have a very short shelf life (e.g. Win32, COM, MFC, ATL, Visual Basic, .NET, WinForms, Silverlight, WPF). It's amazing that this 23-year old code was incrementally upgraded instead of thrown away.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:15 AM on November 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I always assumed the short shelf-life was an intentional marketing decision by Microsoft.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:20 AM on November 24, 2011


Here is a NeXT fact:...

Well, the Web, Wiki and even more was thought up a long long time before.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 7:24 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fascinating intertwingle, yoyo.
posted by ~ at 7:29 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well I'm no Apple expert but NeXTstep used Display Postscript and OSX uses Quartz does it not?

All , or most, of the Microsoft libraries listed simply wrap Win32. Win32 has been around since the first 32 bit version of window.

If we are talking about which wrapper Microsoft is pushing this week, that is a different story. But you can still use straight up Win32 if you want.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:37 AM on November 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


It often amazes me that the frameworks from NeXTStep have been translated more-or-less intact to OS X and to the iPhone. Even Interface Builder in 2011 looks pretty much like Interface Builder in 1988.

It was pretty amazing how far ahead of its time NeXT was, compared to the Mac and Windows out at the same tie.
posted by gyc at 7:46 AM on November 24, 2011


> NeXTstep used Display Postscript and OSX uses Quartz does it not?
Quartz 2D.... features such as path-based drawing, painting with transparency, shading, drawing shadows, transparency layers, color management, anti-aliased rendering, PDF document generation, and PDF metadata access.
posted by morganw at 7:48 AM on November 24, 2011


What I mean by most is that COM,ATL, .Net don't have much to do with UI, ATL is a wrapper for COM and Windows Forms is the UI bits from .Net. Silverlight is a slightly cut down WPF to run in a browser plugin.

Still annoying how they pump out a "new" technology every so often.

It was pretty amazing how far ahead of its time NeXT was, compared to the Mac and Windows out at the same tie.

NeXT was not coming from the home PC space, Sun had NeWS from the mid 80s.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:51 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any well designed library has staying power, RobotVoodooPower. NeXTStep's libraries have remained quit competitive with other user interface libraries in terms of programmer time.

OpenGL has been around since the 80s too, including it's predecessor IRIS GL. In fact, Microsoft's competing product DirectX gained parity during the last five? years.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:53 AM on November 24, 2011


The story of burning a magnesium NeXT cube shortly before (1991) NeXT stopped making hardware.

Funny, I remembered this story as being something done after it did (1993). I also remember the cube continuing to burn after they were done taking photos and after the sun set, but in this story they close the "burn cell" doors to let it burn itself out. Faulty memory or a different burn?
posted by morganw at 7:58 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


10:40 into the first video, a woman is accusing Jobs' unrealistic deadlines of suffering from "reality distortion."
posted by fungible at 8:24 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


> NeWS

I don't know how NeXTstep performed on NeXT hardware, but gawd, OpenLook/NeWS was so much slower than SunView on a diskless Sun 3 that we only ever ran it as a curiosity.

> brainstorming with the NeXT team

Reminds me why I like working at an established company. A startup can be exciting, but boy, talk about living on the edge. Have good ideas and work your ass off or your employer is gone. RSI was epidemic at Pixar after they got the first Toy Story out.
posted by morganw at 8:31 AM on November 24, 2011


I love hearing their late 80s biz-speak, though. I worked in a start-up in the late 80s and our marketing people talked just like that--the hippie style with the stock biz metaphors. Then our startup failed (I got 30,000 shares of of worthless stock) and I became a NeXT developer.

Also "nice" to see Merrill Lynch being bullish!
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:54 AM on November 24, 2011


Well, the Web, Wiki and even more was thought up a long long time before.

Yes, and Arthur C. Clarke thought up communications satellites.

The World Wide Web was developed on the NeXT.
posted by unigolyn at 8:56 AM on November 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


It sounds like most people are in agreement that NeXT was a pioneering machine with a great interface and good development tools. So... why did it fail? Why didn't they take the growing market of multitasking, networking professionals described in the second video?
posted by rh at 9:16 AM on November 24, 2011


It was pretty amazing how far ahead of its time NeXT was, compared to the Mac and Windows out at the same tie.

I remember we had them at our University bookstore and I remember thinking that things the Amiga did a few years previous might live on. It's taken years later for some of the things it did to be commonplace across all the major desktop platforms.
posted by juiceCake at 9:54 AM on November 24, 2011


rh: for one thing, price. Everybody loved them (I remember drooling over an "Actual Size!" brochure I got in the mail in '89), but not a lot of people could afford them.

I finally got a NeXT system of my own almost ten years later but by then it was a Turbo Color "slab". Never managed to get a Cube of my own, although I still want one.

Have to remind myself that the Mac system(s) I sit in front of all day *are* the modern versions of that NeXT Cube, and OSX is the *direct* descendant of NeXTStep.
posted by mrbill at 9:54 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


So... why did it fail?

What makes you think it failed? NeXT was such a success that they eventually took over Apple Computer and went back into the hardware business. They stuck the old "Macintosh" label on the machines for marketing purposes, but the software is all NeXT.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:59 AM on November 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


So... why did it fail?

Bill Gates wouldn't let Microsoft write apps for the platform, famously saying: "Develop for it? I'll piss on it." Hardware was expensive, software availability was poor, and so sales were slow. You needed a network to move data between computers, and networks were more expensive to implement, at the time.

Still, the NeXT operating system lives on as Mac OS X, and some of the hardware ideas made their way into Apple computers (Power Mac G4 Cube, Mac mini). Perhaps NeXT wasn't a failure, so much as a trial run.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:01 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Relevant: Jobs on the cover of the April '93 UNIXWorld magazine.
"Does Steve Jobs have a future in software?"
posted by mrbill at 10:04 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


So... why did it fail? Why didn't they take the growing market of multitasking, networking professionals described in the second video?

The history of computing is littered with technically great operating systems that failed miserably.

It's always really hard to get people to accept a new operating system that can't run existing software. Add to that the fact that NeXT machines were really, really expensive compared to a desktop PC, and that all of those fancy communication features Steve demoed are only really useful if everybody is using a NeXT.

They went after the higher education market, which was marginally successful (because now they were competing with more expensive and more powerful Sun and SGI workstations), but that was a much smaller market than the PC-using professional Steve Jobs wanted to target.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:07 AM on November 24, 2011


It's weird seeing something about NeXT that has narration and a production style that keeps making me think I'm watching Everything Is Terrible.
posted by ignignokt at 10:14 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's also neat to watch the "Steve Demo" video and see how it evolved into his "Apple Keynote" presentation style.
posted by mrbill at 10:26 AM on November 24, 2011


This is a great post, by the way. Nice find.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:30 AM on November 24, 2011


The history of computing is littered with technically great operating systems that failed miserably.
It's always really hard to get people to accept a new operating system that can't run existing software.


I think there is a geek misconception that the qualities of the operating system matter a damn. IMO, operating system is one of the least important aspects of a computer, and what software it can run is one of the most important.

Like any geek, I love to tinker under the hood, and I get driven mad by various failings and limitations of whatever operating system I happen to be using, but in the big scheme of things, I don't think operating system actually matters. I think it's hard to get people to accept a new operating system because the costs genuinely outweigh the benefits, and we who get caught up in the details and the technical excellence are actually the ones in the wrong.

OTOH, one of Apple's great achievements has been to ditch backwards compatibility and keep their market, and reap the rewards of doing so. It was rough on the users for a while, but the payback is longterm and makes Apple's task easier - I don't know if they could have remained competitive without doing it. Microsoft had the option of throwing more resources at it than Apple had available back in the day.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:00 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


OTOH, one of Apple's great achievements has been to ditch backwards compatibility and keep their market, and reap the rewards of doing so.

Boy, I'll say. While I won't complain about my first generation iPod Touch not being able to run any iOS newer than 3.x, did you know that the iPhone 3G can't be upgraded to iOS 5? Planned obsolencence indeed.

(Not meaning to derail, just supporting a point made earlier.)
posted by hippybear at 12:40 PM on November 24, 2011


I think there is a geek misconception that the qualities of the operating system matter a damn. IMO, operating system is one of the least important aspects of a computer, and what software it can run is one of the most important.

The operating system is a big part of what software can run on a computer. In addition to the raw capabilities it provides or does not provide to the software, how difficult the OS is for the application to use is a major factor in attracting or shooing away developers. If an OS provides a robust and relatively simple way to write multithreaded code (like iOS), more apps will use it, performance will be better, and your platform will be perceived as better by consumers. If an OS provides only a fragile and complicated way to write multithreaded code (like Win32), some applications will avoid it entirely, a few will do it well, and many will do it in way that causes crashes and makes your platform seem crappy.
posted by ignignokt at 12:46 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


> did you know that the iPhone 3G can't be upgraded to iOS 5? Planned obsolencence indeed.

Compared with the industry standard the 3 years of getting new features on my phone just by upgrading the software was more than I ever expected. And with the limited memory of the 3G it would have been ridiculous to try and cram much more into it.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:24 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The World Wide Web was developed on the NeXT.
Who knows? Maybe?

But, it WASN'T thought up on a NEXT

posted by yoyo_nyc at 3:34 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ted Nelson wasn't able to engineer his vision (or run a project to engineer it). But he gave it his best shot(s).

Berners-Lee punted all the hard problems and wrote a shitty little server, and now he's famous.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:44 PM on November 24, 2011


Berners-Lee punted all the hard problems and wrote a shitty little server, and now he's famous.

posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:44 PM on November 24 [+] [!]


eponysterical fer sure
posted by jeremias at 4:06 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


eponysterical fer sure

YouTube called. They said you escaped, and they're on your trail.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:25 PM on November 24, 2011


Happy Cranksgiving!
posted by TrialByMedia at 4:32 PM on November 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Happy Thanksgiving Crabby!
posted by jeremias at 4:32 PM on November 24, 2011


Happy Cranksgiving!

With a big ole' serving' of Crabby Appleton pie!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:44 PM on November 24, 2011


Happy Holidays!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:47 PM on November 24, 2011


Three Sayings of Chairman Jobs at Apple:
1. Real artists ship
2. It's better to be a pirate than join the navy
3. Mac in a book by 1986

Three Sayings of Chairman Jobs at NeXT:
1. The Honeymoon is Over
2. ?
3. ?
posted by unliteral at 5:16 PM on November 24, 2011


Bill Gates wouldn't let Microsoft write apps for the platform, famously saying: "Develop for it? I'll piss on it."

B-b-but curing malaria!
posted by JHarris at 5:31 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


This has done nothing to diminish my Susan Kare crush.
posted by Scoo at 7:11 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If an OS provides only a fragile and complicated way to write multithreaded code (like Win32), some applications will avoid it entirely, a few will do it well, and many will do it in way that causes crashes and makes your platform seem crappy.

This is a great example of how these things all seem very important to us, yet the runaway success of win32 shows once again that this stuff just doesn't matter very much in the big scheme of things.

OS is a long looong way down the list of things that make a successful platform.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:49 PM on November 24, 2011


So Steve Jobs started a company to provide computers for higher education, while also being fantastically open about not completing higher education?

And then in this video he talks about money not being the priority, that it's "heart", but then they all quibble about how price of the product is #1.
posted by alex_skazat at 7:52 PM on November 24, 2011


That was awesome. Thanks.

Boy, I'll say. While I won't complain about my first generation iPod Touch not being able to run any iOS newer than 3.x, did you know that the iPhone 3G can't be upgraded to iOS 5? Planned obsolencence indeed.

(Not meaning to derail, just supporting a point made earlier.)
posted by hippy bear


That isn't planned obsolescence. That's technology moving too fast for a phone built 3 years earlier. Buy a phone today, and in 3 years it will be left behind. I certainly don't want a company I buy from to make sacrifices for a phone released 3 years ago.

I mean, you can complain about it, but you're simply not dealing with any sort of reality in a fast paced market.
posted by justgary at 8:33 PM on November 24, 2011


Maybe this is a really banal observation, but wow, it's amazing how young Steve Jobs looks in that first video. (Haven't watched the others yet.) Especially now that we have the benefit of hindsight, it's such a privileged and seemingly intimate glimpse of an early stage. There was a seeming childlike naïveté in Jobs in that video that was touching. I don't follow Apple stuff very closely but I found that video quite amazing.
posted by jayder at 8:48 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boy, I'll say. While I won't complain about my first generation iPod Touch not being able to run any iOS newer than 3.x, did you know that the iPhone 3G can't be upgraded to iOS 5? Planned obsolencence indeed.

(Not meaning to derail, just supporting a point made earlier.)
posted by hippy bear


Compared to the competition, Apple has provided stellar support for their older iPhones.
posted by gyc at 9:10 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The computers at the Indiana University School of Journalism were all NeXT when I was there (early-mid 90s). I loved them! It's too bad they never really caught on.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:25 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Compared to the competition, Apple has provided stellar support for their older iPhones

Not only that, but the "open" competition is selling phones that are already out of date, which will never get updated, some with locked-down bootloaders that prevent any updates at all. I don't get why they would do that to their customers, but whatever the market bears, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:55 PM on November 24, 2011


The thing is, they did catch on. As others have mentioned, the work Jobs did at Next was picked up by Apple when they bought Next for $420 million, and formed the basis for what is now OSX. It's pretty amazing actually, to consider that many people (still) see Next as a failure. Jobs put ~$20 million of his own money in to start the company. Ross Perot and a few others also put in money, but I doubt it totaled more than $100 million. So, basically in less than 10 years Jobs started a company, created what was one of the best integrated development environments available, and sold it back to the company that had fired him for at least a 4x profit. And this is often cited as one of his few failures!

Furthermore, I am convinced that the work done at Next was crucial in the later success at Apple. The introduction of OSX not only gave them a rock solid OS and development tools for the desktop, but having an operating system they could easily leverage for portable devices (BSD/Mach Kernel, Unix toolchain) has to be considered in the success of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Windows has always had a very hard time on portable devices, because their operating system is extremely bloated and does not port well at all to small devices. Much of the success of XBox, as was linked here a few weeks ago, was due to that team's very difficult decision to abandon the Windows platform and build something better from scratch.
posted by sophist at 9:56 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Legacy support is a real bitch. I work in software QA, and one of the hardest things is qualifying updates and new releases against older versions of an operating system or hardware. On the development side, it's just as bad if not worse. Look at all the compromises MS has to make in order to maintain backwards compatibility for applications written to some archaic version of their API's. Technology marches forward at a very quick pace, and while I agree that you have to offer customers some reasonable level of support and updates for a few years, at some point you just have to abandon the old stuff or it sucks up a tremendous amount of qualification time and forces very ugly development and design compromises for new releases.
posted by sophist at 10:01 PM on November 24, 2011


Not only that, but the "open" competition is selling phones that are already out of date, which will never get updated, some with locked-down bootloaders that prevent any updates at all. I don't get why they would do that to their customers[...]

Yes. What a terrible thing that is, people being prevented from doing with their device what they choose. (DIRECT STARE)
posted by JHarris at 10:16 PM on November 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Look at all the compromises MS has to make in order to maintain backwards compatibility for applications written to some archaic version of their API's

So true, UI elements such as the ReBar or CoolBar get introduced in strange places, like the IE 3.0 update. MS is stuck shipping that DLL forever.

VBScript still uses the same error codes from Altair Basic written by Gates more than 30 years ago.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:45 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a terrible thing that is, people being prevented from doing with their device what they choose.

Eh. It's a bit more terrible when it contradicts the marketing campaign ("choose this because it is open", when it isn't), sure. At least, it seems a bit dishonest, and that's not taking into account the immorality of selling something that is obsolete even before the sale is made.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:28 PM on November 24, 2011


… in this video he talks about money not being the priority, that it's "heart", but then they all quibble about how price of the product is #1.

The price question, though, is about what it's going to take to get the product into people's hands and what's the lowest reasonable price to charge to keep the company afloat, not about how much profit they'll make on each sale. "Heart" and money are closely tied when it comes down to creating a viable product and company—making the next insanely great thing is meaningless if, for you to survive as a company, the product has to be priced out of all your potential customers' spending capabilities.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:23 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eh. It's a bit more terrible when it contradicts the marketing campaign

But you didn't say anything about marketing campaigns. "I don't get why they would do that to their customers" How terrible that was! At least, that's the context I got from your statement.

I agree with you on locked-down Android phones, but let's not pretend Apple is better. At least you can put your own OS upgrade -- Cyanogen -- on many Android machines, and at least you can install non-Android market software on many of them without jailbreaking, and you can develop for them without paying someone a yearly toll. That's Microsoft bullshit right there -- it's the same toll they charge people to participate in the Xbox Live indie community. (The Android Market entrance fee is $25 one time, and you don't have to use it to distribute software so you can skip their editorial process entirely.)

At least, it seems a bit dishonest, and that's not taking into account the immorality of selling something that is obsolete even before the sale is made.

Obsolescence is largely a fiction invented to push sales. Having gotten far more use out of my old Commodore 64 than many would have considered possible, I think I can speak there with some authority. Anyway, I remember upgrading my iPad 2 thinking how fun it'd be to mess around with Siri -- OH WAIT IT'S IPHONE4S ONLY DID WE FORGET TO MENTION THAT.
posted by JHarris at 1:45 AM on November 25, 2011


I agree with you on locked-down Android phones, but let's not pretend Apple is better.

Indeed. There are many options out there, and depending on your needs one is either better or worse than the other. They are both just OS's and phones, which strangely are close to the heart and identity of certain individuals. Lifestyle marketing bullshit at it's finest. The tribalism around them is utterly bizarre though not unexpected.

I selected a Google reference Nexus S because it is not tied to a carrier and is upgradeable, though eventually new features will come along in the future in new versions of Android that may well not be able to be be supported by the Nexus S, just like any other hardware that runs software ever made.

I don't care for the carrier locked model and therefore didn't go for it. Others probably don't mind it at all.

I selected it because I can get apps from web sites and a variety of markets. That appeals to me and that's all that it means. Love having a file browser as well.

My father and sister went the iPhone/iPad route because they don't care about those things, including Siri. That's all it means.

They are perfectly happy, as am I.

Yes, there are different markets, different situations, and different people who respond to them. The "my grandmother can use it" philosophy doesn't appeal to me because grandmother's needs are not mine (and that has nothing to do with simplicity).

It is because of the open source model that some carriers have been able to lock down their phones, Apple style. Don't like it, don't buy those phones. That said in some areas you have no choice, which is unfortunate. I am fortunate enough to be able to go with a smaller carrier with actual real unlimited everything for far lower prices than the majors.

Android 4.1 source code has been released, as promised, by Google.

It is interesting that open source operating systems have taken hold in a variety of sectors, if we want to call them that. Android is a massive success in the consumer sector (locked or otherwise). Firefox and Chrome in the consumer and professional development sector, though less so in the traditional business sector. Linux is a great success in the server and web development sector. Wordpress, MODx, Drupal, all big successes for open source CMSs.

For the non open source, or at least not completely open source models, both Windows and OS X (with NeXT in it's soul) are massively successful in the consumer sector, and Windows massively successful in enterprise. Of course iOS is a phenomenal success in the consumer market.

All these differing models of development and distribution for us to choose from. It's wonderful. None of them are perfect but thankfully we don't have just one choice. I was pleased to see Apple take NeXT to the next level though displeased to see them tie it to only their hardware so I'm taking a pass, but that's just me. Family and others I work with are fine with that model and I work and interact with them every day without enmity.

I am fortunate to work and interact with people who are not platformists. Platformism is something I can do without.
posted by juiceCake at 7:26 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The argument that the operating system is "not important" is interesting. I think it would be better to say that its importance is not obvious to the end user; if you don't have some knowledge of how it works and its limitations, you work within those limitations, blissfully ignorant of how they're making your life worse. For example, the fundamentally broken security model which Windows XP inherited has led to users who view anti-virus software, spyware scanners, and periodic "restores" as routine needs—to the degree that one of the most prevalent viruses, currently, spreads by convincing the user that they need to scan for viruses! The amount of time wasted dealing with these issues would be horrifying to quantify, although they do enable a grey-market industry in low-rent computer repair and bootleg copies of Windows.

Furthermore, saying that the OS is important only in the software that it allows you to run is also a little wrongheaded. Hypothetically, any software can be written for any operating system; the OS is important in that it makes development easy or hard in any of a thousand ways. Windows is great for GUI development, not great for system-level programming, and utterly abysmal for web and scripting development. Linux is great for system-level, web and scripting development. Its GUI landscape is a cratered morass heaped with the carcasses of dead technologies over which two giants, mutilated and grotesque beyond the dreams of humanity, wage eternal war. MacOS Classic was a painfully isolated ghetto with excellent facilities in some respects, but no mind-share or close kinship with another platform to borrow from (hence OS X turning to Unix).

I think these strengths and weaknesses of the various platforms can be traced directly to the types of software, and the success thereof, that the operating systems allow. Saying that this is independent of the OS itself is not sensible.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:42 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree with you on locked-down Android phones, but let's not pretend Apple is better.

I have jailbroken my old phone, so it's not the mission: impossible that it's made out to be. Nonetheless, Apple is definitely better about selling phones that can be upgraded. At least, every phone they sell can run the latest OS without jailbreaking, and they have a decent track record of bringing new OS versions to older phones, when it is technically feasible. At least, they have demonstrated putting a lot more effort into it than Google/vendors do. It's "platformist" to admit that I like that I'm buying something that isn't obsolete out of the box and that can last more than a year or two, before being EOLed — but I can live with better tech to be dismissed as a platformer.

Anyway, it's pretty awesome that I'm running a mobile version of NeXT on my phone, one which works well and doesn't need huge amounts of memory to run. It's a tribute to good craftsmanship, to be able to come up with a foundation that can stand the test of time, especially given how fast technology improves.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:30 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here is a NeXT fact:...

Well, the Web, Wiki and even more was thought up a long long time before.


And the hagiography of Steve Jobs continues apace...
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:08 PM on November 25, 2011


There is a Microsoft blessed third party Windows 7 phone jailbreak tool for available for $9.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:28 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every engineer and inventor I know considers an amazing, world changing idea to have a value of approximately $10. Amazing, world changing ideas are the easy part. Building the crappy web server such others start running a hypertext servers is the hard part. It requires actually building something and figuring out all the really hard details that it's easy to skip over when you have an "idea".

This is why software patents are broken: too many ideas are patented rather than concrete inventions.

NeXT took many great ideas and made them real concrete and useful. Tim Berners-Lee took an idea whose concrete implementation (Xanadu) was broken, and made it something useful. In each of these cases, all sorts if people independently came up with the idea, it was a common event. Making that idea reality is the rare and difficult event. And that's why "idea guys" are less useful to a technology-driven company than even pure marketers.

Recognizing those who are able to make ideas concrete is not hagiography, it is merely recognizing where the invention actually happens.
posted by Llama-Lime at 1:50 PM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


ideas are just a multiplier of execution
To make a business, you need to multiply the two.
The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20.
The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.

That’s why I don’t want to hear people’s ideas.
I’m not interested until I see their execution.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:12 PM on November 25, 2011


regarding the demo: drag and drop email attachments in 1991? that's crazytalk. how long did it take microsoft to get this into exchange/outlook? I didn't start using NeXT until 1994; by that point it had already started its decline. I remember being oblivious to the PPC macs and win95 and went through my unix larval phase instead...

as far as companies obsoleting older platforms, I still get useful work out of machines over a decade old with NetBSD. portable APIs and availability of source code are great for extending the life of hardware.
posted by poofygoof at 2:57 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


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