Lawrence THE HANDLE, which varies in length according to the height of its user, and in some cases is made by that user to his or her specifications, is like most of the other parts of the tool in that it has a name and thus a character of its own.
The business took off, and its founders made a lot of money and received the credit they deserved for being daring visionaries.
But around the same time, Bill Gates and Paul Allen came up with an idea even stranger and more fantastical: This was much weirder than the idea of Jobs and Wozniak. A computer at least had some sort of physical reality to it. It came in a box, you could open it up and plug it in and watch lights blink.
An operating system had no tangible incarnation at all. It arrived on a disk, of course, but the disk was, in effect, nothing more than the box that the OS came in. The product itself was a very long string of ones and zeroes that, when properly installed and coddled, gave you the ability to manipulate other very long strings of ones and zeroes.
Even those few who actually understood what a computer operating system was were apt to think of it as a fantastically arcane engineering prodigy, like a breeder reactor or a U-2 spy plane, and not something that could ever be in the parlance of high-tech "productized.
New releases of operating systems are launched as if they were Hollywood blockbusters, with celebrity endorsements, talk show appearances, and world tours.
The market for them is vast enough that people worry about whether it has been monopolized by one company. Even the least technically-minded people in our society now have at least a hazy idea of what operating systems do; what is more, they have strong opinions about their relative merits.
It is commonly understood, even by technically unsophisticated computer users, that if you have a piece of software that works on your Macintosh, and you move it over onto a Windows machine, it will not run.
That this would, in fact, be a laughable and idiotic mistake, like nailing horseshoes to the tires of a Buick. A person who went into a coma before Microsoft was founded, and woke up now, could pick up this morning's New York Times and understand everything in it--almost: At first he had seemed like such an intelligent and interesting guy, she said, but then "he started going all PC-versus-Mac on me.
And does the operating system business have a future, or only a past? Here is my view, which is entirely subjective; but since I have spent a fair amount of time not only using, but programming, Macintoshes, Windows machines, Linux boxes and the BeOS, perhaps it is not so ill-informed as to be completely worthless.
This is a subjective essay, more review than research paper, and so it might seem unfair or biased compared to the technical reviews you can find in PC magazines.
But ever since the Mac came out, our operating systems have been based on metaphors, and anything with metaphors in it is fair game as far as I'm concerned.
One of my friends' dads had an old MGB sports car rusting away in his garage. Sometimes he would actually manage to get it running and then he would take us for a spin around the block, with a memorable look of wild youthful exhiliration on his face; to his worried passengers, he was a madman, stalling and backfiring around Ames, Iowa and eating the dust of rusty Gremlins and Pintos, but in his own mind he was Dustin Hoffman tooling across the Bay Bridge with the wind in his hair.
In retrospect, this was telling me two things about people's relationship to technology. One was that romance and image go a long way towards shaping their opinions.
If you doubt it and if you have a lot of spare time on your hands just ask anyone who owns a Macintosh and who, on those grounds, imagines him- or herself to be a member of an oppressed minority group.
The other, somewhat subtler point, was that interface is very important. Sure, the MGB was a lousy car in almost every way that counted: But it was fun to drive.
Every pebble on the road was felt in the bones, every nuance in the pavement transmitted instantly to the driver's hands. He could listen to the engine and tell what was wrong with it.
The steering responded immediately to commands from his hands. To us passengers it was a pointless exercise in going nowhere--about as interesting as peering over someone's shoulder while he punches numbers into a spreadsheet.
But to the driver it was an experience. For a short time he was extending his body and his senses into a larger realm, and doing things that he couldn't do unassisted.Starting a Business essays When starting a new business, there will be many important decisions to make as well as rules and procedures that must be addressed.
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