The Smoke Filled Room
Thursday, August 15, 1996 by Dave Winer.
Irma Thomas is a famous New Orleans R&B singer.
I first heard Irma sing about the smoke filled room when I was an undergrad in New Orleans in the 70s. I was a very young man. She made a huge impression. Her eyes so clear so intense so totally honest. Her voice so clear, she looked right at me, and got right in there, into a spot I didn't know I had.
She comes into a smoke filled room and suddenly she's face to face with her old lover. She feels a flood of emotion, like a wave, it rolled on thru. It takes her back to yesterday, when love was all she had for him. It was good enough she thought, good enough for him.
The smoke burns her eyes, it's like the rain from a troubled sky, but she isn't crying over him. Tears from a smoke filled room.
He's locked in another girl's embrace. She can see the way she looks at him. She knows the feeling because she used to be in her place. She's tough. She can stand the pain. She's choking, but it's not from some old flame. No, it's just the smoke filled room.
Hmmm. Soulful. This is the ideal, what a woman should be. Tall and proud. Clear as a bell. Strong but vulnerable.
Here's to you Irma, where ever you may be. Today you're on my mind and on my sound system, and I'm singing right along.
So is the world.
Mark the week of August 5, 1996 on your calendars. It's when the business press re-discovered the independent developers of the Macintosh platform. A dozen calls from business reporters at all kinds of pubs. They're listening respectfully. Asking followup questions that reiterate the premise. We're in agreement. This is different. In the past, talking to reporters, I'd always have to argue with their premise. "Why are you paying so much attention to Apple?" I'd ask.
I wail to no avail. People only hear what they want to hear. What they're expecting. They want to hear that Apple is dead, and they want to take the Mac down with it.
Well, the world has changed, we've grown, you just watch. This piece will resonate. They'll pass it on. You'll remember this one. The world is coming together right!
Many thanks to Lee Gomes of the Wall Street Journal and Don Bradford of Microsoft. Each of them became a lightning rod this week. Soon I hope the controversy will settle down and people will remember that cool stuff is happening on the Mac. That's the real message. Microsoft's role is clear. They make some of that stuff.
And Bradford is a good man, his heart is in the right place, but he got caught with his foot in his mouth. That's the truth. Life goes on. Still diggin!
People ask, again and again, if Microsoft is buying the loyalty of Mac developers. No. I thought some more about this. It's not necessary, and in my case, at least, it's not possible. I'm only into win-wins. So many wins are possible. So why leave value on the table? I want more than money.
Let's share the bounty! Instead of eating seed corn, let's grow a great crop of new standards built on the ones we have. It'll be a love festival, you'll see. All we need is to believe. Apple should be encouraged to commercialize and improve their own technology, and stay out of markets they didn't create and don't participate in.
On the Semper-Fi mailing list people are talking about Apple Internet Graphics -- a hypothetical cross-platform implementation of QuickDraw GX. This idea is interesting. Vector graphics instead of bitmaps. Low bandwidth! Cooool.
So, everyone, Apple included, let's stop crying over lost love! It's just a smoke filled room. Look forward. Let's create new love.
Thank you Irma.
What a babe!
PS: Remember where Java came from. If market share were all that mattered, Java would never have happened.