Macintosh History: The Lost Art Of Trici Venola

January 20, 2010

The mid-1980s were a great time to be a Mac fanatic.

The machine was new, developers were coming out with neat stuff for it, and even though there wasn’t an Internet, we all felt connected through magazines, Bulletin-Board Systems (BBSes), CompuServe, user groups, newsletters, and the floppy disk service EduComp.

One of the stars of that period was a young woman artist named Trici Venola.

Her artwork was seemingly everywhere and it was easy to spot because of her very distinctive style.

One of the things she worked on was Foundation Software’s Comic Strip Factory. But I remember her most from her work for MacWeek, a weekly electronic magazine that was distributed via BBSes and those EduComp floppy disks. (This MacWeek was before there was a weekly tabloid on paper.)

Oh yes, kids, long before there was a Palm Pilot and Peanut Press and Fictionwise doing eBooks, there were electronic publications. And the Macintosh had the best. MacWeek was memorable due to the passion of Jerry Daniels, Mary Jane Mara, and the artwork of Trici Venola.

For an upcoming post about screen design for publishing, I tracked down Trici (she is currently enjoying life in Turkey). I asked for one thing, didn’t get it, but wound up with some delightful lost Macintosh history that I’m excited to show everyone.

It’s a comic strip done for the MacUnderground, an early online service for Macintosh users.

Trici doesn’t remember, but I met her briefly at Foundation Publishing’s booth at CES in Chicago way back when. Doug Clapp (where’d he go?) was manning the booth and Trici was there too. She showed me her mouse finger and how it was bent inward. She drew all of her work by mouse. Keep that in mind!

After the break, words from Trici herself and some sample panels.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple: Kill My Blog, Please!

January 19, 2010

I never intended this blog to be a just about every day thing.

But I got fed up with the crap I saw circulating about books, publishing, eBooks, etc.

And I had to go open my big mouth.

Because there was no one else countering any of it.

Especially after I woke up from the eInk nightmare that had been pimped by others.

Next week, Apple unveils its seekrit creation. Which, despite recent trademark filings, I still expect to be called the iSlate. Because, as I posted, iPad has ownership conflicts.

Anyway, I expect four things from Apple:

1) The iSlate — I still expect one with a seven-inch, not ten-inch, screen. But any damned size would do at this point.

2) Apple announcing digital books for it. (Hello, Disney?)

3) Digital books given a real marketplace — not just lumped together with free games and eejitastic fart apps as they have been in the App Store.

4) A new version of iWork — with digital book creation ability for all.

Do that, Apple, and this blog is dead.

You will be settling the crap I’ve had to argue about for months now. I’ll have nothing more I will have to say.

I’ll be able to shut this blog and I get back to reading books (Derek Raymond is waiting!) and my own damned writing.

If Apple does what I expect, this blog is d-e-d on January 31st.

Some people out there will rejoice. But they were morons to begin with and will remain so after I’m gone.


Mac OS X To Get Major Facelift In 2010

January 18, 2010

Apple to launch 22-inch touch-enabled all-in-one PC in 2010, says paper

That’s what that item really means.

You can expect OS X to look much more like iPhone OS beginning later this year. The current face of it isn’t fingertip-friendly nor amenable to the grammar of touch.

Apple’s learned lots from the iPhone OS. They’ll incorporate that as well as add many new features not possible on a smaller display. Some of the new interface on the upcoming iSlate will provide hints of that.

And you can bet the shiny new OS X will include gesture macros.

Vook digital books will look incredible on it.

This will be the year that Apple really pulls away from the legacy model of desktop computing we’ve all been trapped in.

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Save some screensnaps of the current Internet. It won’t look anything like this by the end of 2011. The screwball and brain-dead scrolling down to read that’s been a torment to us all will be dead.

Catch up to what’s coming by reading the prior posts.

Previously here:

Will The iSlate Include Gesture Macros?
The INEVITABLE Changes The iSlate Will Create
Apple’s iSlate: Digital Waveguide Touch?
The Ugliest Fight Ever: Apple Versus Google
The 7 Principles Of Apple
How To Do Touch Right And Wrong
The iPod Decade And The Steve Jobs Effect
Touch Will Change Everything
What One Big Change Would An Apple iTablet Bring?



Asus Provides Peek Of Its Atomic Bomb eBook Reader

January 17, 2010

Get ready for the newsstand in your hand

Asus, the Taiwanese manufacturer that pioneered the netbook concept, has given InGear exclusive details of its DR-570 reader, to be released by the end of the year. Asus says it has developed a 6in, high-brightness, OLED colour screen that should run for a whopping 122 hours on one battery charge — and that’s not just when displaying text but under real-world conditions, such as running Flash video over its built-in wi-fi or 3G. If that claim stands up, it would make this game-changing device nearly as energy-efficient as today’s monochrome readers.

OK, now this is exactly what I meant about Asus upping the ante.

If that is true — including the bit about running Flash — this would be very, very interesting.

Why?

The Vook web versions of their digital books are powered by Flash and cannot be seen on a Flash-less iSlate (something I hope they will be able to fix by ditching Flash and going all-JavaScript and HTML5).

There are many other magazine sites that are powered by Flash too.

Also, since this is color and will allegedly run Flash, it puts yet another nail into the coffin of the eCrap Axis of E: eInk, ePub, eBook — in favor of digital books.

And that Elle magazine? Currently the digital edition uses Zinio Reader. Which is also available as an iPhone app.

So, has Asus signed a deal with Zinio for content?

— via Twitter from mobileread

Previously here:

CES, The Death Of eInk, And The Asus Factor
Enough eInk/ePaper/eCrap eBook Devices!
Barnes & Noble’s Incompatible Non-Universal ePub
Multi eInk eBook Device Fondle Report
IDPF Screws Up ePub eBook Covers For Everyone!
How Book Publishing Will Lose: eBooks Vs. Smart Digital Books
ePub For Seniors
Apple Will Break Open The Digital Book Floodgates
eBook Trademarks: Asus, Warner Brothers, And ViewSonic
The eBook Bubble: Save Your Money!
Moriah Jovan’s Asus eReading Flirtation
Why Digital Books Will Win
Smart Digital Books Vs. The ePub FAIL Model
How The Axis Of E Is Killing Publishing
Asus Atomic Bomb eBook Reader?
The Axis Of E Book Holocaust
Why eInk, ePub, And eBooks Will Fail
Dumb eBooks Must Die, Smart eBooks Must Live


Video Of The iSlate In 1994: Yes 1994!

January 13, 2010

I get all sorts of grief from people for advocating digital books over the eCrap ePub eInk eBook model of today.

Maybe this video will get them to STFU. It’s from 1994 and shows not only an iSlate-like tablet, but a fully digital newspaper.

Mind you, there are flaws here. But I’m astonished at the breadth of the vision.

I can’t think that Knight-Ridder is pleased to have this video surface. What the hell did you do with all that talent and vision you hired, KR? Nothing!

— thanks to @wmacphail via Twitter


iPhone Digital Book: Cathy’s Book

January 12, 2010

From the YouTube description:

CATHY’S BOOK, the first interactive teen novel, is back and completely reimagined for the iPhone and iPod Touch!

Things aren’t so peachy in Cathy Vickers’ life since she and her boyfriend Victor broke up. Her father dies unexpectedly, she’s failing in school, and all this drama is pushing her best friend Emma to the limit. But when Cathy decides to investigate Victor’s reasons for ending their relationship, things suddenly go from bad to very, very bad as her findings produce more questions than answers. Is Victor really what he seems? Will Cathy’s curiosity put everyone she knows in danger? Through Cathy’s unique and irresistible voice we enter a strange and fascinating world where things often aren’t as they appear. Part romance, part thriller, part mystery, you’ll experience the story by calling phone numbers, searching websites, examining evidence, discovering secrets, and exploring locations hidden in the pages of Cathy’s private sketchbook.

Help Cathy solve the mystery before it’s too late!

See the video after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


iWork Is Apple’s Thermonuclear Bomb

January 9, 2010

On September 26, 2007, I posted this: Apple To Rewrite Computing Again

My timing was waaaaay off because Apple wanted to do lots more work than I had ever anticipated (just as they did with iLife and iWork ’07).

Plus, this being the tech world, as a project is being worked on, the entire tech world around it changes — making just about every project a near-Sisyphean task. You start out with a blueprint for one screen resolution and then BAM! there are competitors suddenly out there offering crap devices at low-ball prices, ruining your projected positioning and cachet. So you start again and up the ante.

However.

I said that when Apple’s device would appear, it’d bring

the revelation of a customized version of the iWork suite for it.

Italics emphasis in the original.

Read the rest of this entry »


CES 2010 Note 1

January 7, 2010

There won’t be a parade of device announcements on this blog. Go elsewhere for that.

So far the only thing that intrigues me is the Sony Dash. I’ll post more once I know more.

The parade of landfill-ready eInk devices continues. I’ll probably do one big post about that procession of FAIL.

My initial take on Blio was that it was shit, then I caught a two-second glimpse of it running on an iPhone. Why didn’t they say so from the bloody start? Their website is pathetic for useful information. This is no way to go about doing things.

I’m still waiting for information about the Notion Ink tablet and Pixel Qi’s partners.

That hp mini-tablet Ballmer held up last night? Puhleeze. It’s fingertip-hostile Windows 7. Next!