Big Fear in MacLand
Wednesday, January 17, 1996 by Dave Winer.
The www.suck.com parody stung a little.
They mocked me.
PS I love you! they said.
Get it? A Beatles song. Cute!
I do love you, yes, but I've never said it before.
I felt it was too early in the relationship.
Everyone I knew said how cool it is (notice, only two o's) to be mocked by www.suck.com. I became a bit more self-conscious about my writing. Maybe I should stop using so many o's?
Maybe they're right -- that too many o's is not a gooooood thing?
What about it?
And to all the people who say I use too many o's -- get a life! There's hunger in the world. They're censoring the net. AIDS is ripping up our culture. Why do you have time to care how many o's I use? Hmmm. Not likely. I don't usually give advice but this time I'll make an exception -- give it up.
I'm in Time Magazine! Page 59, 1/22/96 issue. "The geeks are buzzed," says Dave Winer, a Silicon Valley-based programmer and self-described geek. "It's like a whole world just opened up to us." Yeah! I agree with that. Sometimes reporters get the quotes wrong, but this time they got it just right.
It's a beautiful piece -- a brochure of the optimism for the new software business. A picture of the Java team looking bright and happy. A tired and sweaty Bill Gates saying that Java is the curveball it appears to be.
I also like that I got to keep my DaveNet voice. I like it when I can hum and weave in print. The geeks are buzzed. That sounds like me! I like it. Hm um. Buzzz.
Don't you think it was wierd that no one from Apple was in the Time piece?
Yes Apple is tubing. Today is the day. Stay tuned.
Let's fix it, I continue to say. There's lots of good energy in the Macintosh platform, *someone* is going to make a bunch of money selling these babies. If it isn't Markkula, someone will. Gotta be, because people still need them. I was going to buy a few Macs myself this year. Who should I make the check payable to?
I have decided to act like the CEO even if I don't have the title yet. Let's set a software direction for the platform. Copland is cooool. OpenDoc is not. CGI scripting and servers. Netscape plugins. Content development. Beautiful Internet user interfaces. A net message from top to bottom. I want to buy a license for JLG's BeBox. I want to do a deal with the JavaSoft people to build the best Java machine in the world. Let's hire the best hardware designers to build the next generation of systems using the Macintosh OS as the foundation and Java as the new API. I want a product that's as immediately recognizable as the Apple II and the first Macintosh. $2400 with good margins and Big Mo.
Almost 80 percent of the people coming thru hotwired.com are using Windows, and that percentage has been going up steadily. The relative advantage that Macintosh used to enjoy is dissipating. The opportunity to grow significantly by being the best net client has faded.
We need a strategy for this thing! Is it finally clear that it isn't going to come from Cupertino. I've been saying this for over a year now. We're going to turn the platform in a whole new direction. Get it more in line with what's happening in the world around it.
We're getting into Windows. We have to. There's no Java for the Macintosh. Big fear in MacLand -- Mac Netscape 2.0 may go golden without Java support. Big fear and big anger. How did this happen? Who's screwing who?
So if you're a net content developer, like I am, there's a Windows machine sitting next to your Mac now. The need for this just happened in the last two weeks, in my life at least. I'm always late for these platform things.
"PointCast" is not announced. I *did* get the scoop. You read about it first here in DaveNet.
People are realizing that they don't need to do *everything* in the browser window. New cool clients are coming. Pointcast proves it. But Rob Wilen, http://www.webcrawler.com/, astutely points out that Netscape got there first, a consensus has decided they need a web browser, and they've decided that Netscape is it. The numbers I get from HotWired continue to support this belief. Over 70 percent of the people cruising thru hotwired.com are using Netscape.
I'm planning on doing a source release of MacBird Runtime sometime in the next couple of weeks, so it can be ported to other environments. Authoring, for now, on the Macintosh, but the cards will run on Windows, Unixes, inside Netscapes, and in front of Java applets. Major unanswered questions about what scripting and storage engines will serve as the backend on Windows and Unix. It's set for the Macintosh of course. Ideally we need a multi-threaded script-running environment that has an integrated database. It may take a few months, but I think we'll work it out. The discussion will happen on the "frontier-talk" list, for now, until the macbird-talk list is on the air.
I promised to write about why the Macintosh is not easy to learn and never was, and to explain why it didn't matter. There's no time for a full piece. Here's the core of the argument.
It doesn't matter if the Finder is easy to learn. It is. So what?
Quark XPress, Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Director are not easy to learn. Nor are the new web authoring tools.
The truth is that no creative activity on a personal computer is easy to learn. I can't use PhotoShop. I really want to! I took the manuals with me on a plane trip. I got off the plane even more confused.
I can relate to people who can't learn how to script. We all have our talents. I feel scripting in my bones. To me the world looks like a script. To some people the world looks like beautiful typefaces and cool special effects. I wish to learn how to do what they do. But it isn't easy for me.
And so what? Life is about learning. Who ever said it was going to be easy? It's a jagged little pill. You live you learn. It's OK.
Where have you heard that before?
PS: I love you!