My new favourite podcast

I know I’m two years late but I’ve just discovered that Don Melton, formerly director of internet technologies at Apple, and the guy responsible for WebKit and the Safari browser has a podcast of his own. His guest spots on the Debug podcast about developing software are brilliant and insightful into what really happens at Apple, and he is refreshingly honest. Curses like a sailor too 🙂

Check it out.


The Lost Treasures of Infocom – iOS

Exciting adventures await you :-P

Exciting adventures await you !

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

If this sentence ever struck terror into you then like myself, you probably have fond memories of text adventures, or interactive fictions games from the early 1980s and spent many hours plotting maps on grid paper or trying to “hit the troll with the elvish sword”. Well now you can relive those memories with the release of “The Lost Treasures of Infocom” for iOS.

Continue reading

Computers, Macs and Steve Jobs

Today the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs passed away. Pancreatic cancer. He was 56 – way too young. The outflowing of emotion around the world was amazing considering he was a CEO of a major company. There’s been a considerable amount of commentary in the press about this so I won’t repeat what they had to say, rather I’ll concentrate on my own thoughts.

I wasn’t one of the Apple faithful who got their start on the Apple ][. I think the only time I played with an Apple ][ at all was in high school, the library got one for cataloguing and the librarian asked for help setting it up, but I really didn’t know what I was doing with the Apple.

My first computer was a Commodore VIC-20 with an awesome 5kb RAM, storage on audio cassette and a 6502 CPU running at 1MHz. You couldn’t do much with it, and soon we upgraded to a Texas Instruments TI-99/4a. This was the computer I have the fondest memories of using. Highly expandable, sprite graphics, faster with a 16bit processor, more RAM and easy to program – this was the computer I wrote my own (crappy) games on, the first computer I got online with (bulletin boards – only academics and the military were using the Internet back then), awesome times. I was in high school, it was early to mid 1980s and computers were new, exciting and going to change the world.

Eventually we outgrew the TI – and the next computer was the Commodore Amiga. I eventually owned a succession of Amigas into the 1990s, the games were awesome, it was faster still with multi-tasking etc. – although there was something missing. It was a lot harder to program the Amiga, I had a few goes at learning using Amiga Basic but never got the hang of it. The books I was using were probably hard too, and I think most programming on the Amiga was actually in C. I didn’t realise it then but I think the golden age of the computer was already over for me. Commodore went bankrupt and eventually I succumbed to the Dark Side and got a PC.

Over the next 15 or so years I’ve owned a number of computers, I used mostly DOS then Windows, everything seemed backwards – I mean honestly all that work configuring CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT to get games to run optimally? I was forever upgrading, dabbled in Linux, eventually I studied and started to work in IT but it never quite had the same appeal.

Then about 4 years ago I got a MacBookPro at work, running OS X. The attention to detail that goes into the products is probably the think I love most about them. Pretty soon I got an iMac and since then I’ve added an iPhone and iPad to the mix – Matt at work calls me a fanboy. Yeah I think I am, I find that the Mac is probably the closest I come to enjoying computers like I did when I was at high school. It doesn’t have the freshness it did back them, but its the closest I’ve come yet.