Tuesday, February 16, 2016

AppleWorks and the Capriciousness of Nostalgia

Christopher Phin:

And if it wasn’t for AppleWorks smoothing the way between Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X—as a high-profile example of an app that could run on both thanks to Apple’s Carbon libraries—then I suspect that a good many people like me would have clung onto the classic Mac OS for many more months and years. As it was, because Apple released a free update to AppleWorks (originally for Mac OS 8.1) which meant that the same app could run in both 9 and X, on those occasions where you booted into OS X to marvel at all the shiny, lickable buttons, you could actually also choose to get some work done. Launch AppleWorks under OS X and not only could you open the same documents as you created under Mac OS 9, but because you were literally using the same app, both the formatting of your documents and the interface of the application remained unchanged. In other words, you had one fewer excuses to dismiss OS X as a toy and reboot back into the familiarity and power of OS 9.


My beloved Douglas Adams once wrote a set of three rules describing our reaction to technologies, and though not intended as such, they act as a perfect summary of why some bits of tech tickle our sense of nostalgia and some don’t. “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

See also: my AppleWorks 6 review.

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