Thursday, January 4, 2024

David Feldman, RIP


He earned a BS in Computer Science from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2023, he served as Distinguished Visiting Technologist at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, and received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Maine College of Art and Design for developing the technology for the monumental sculptures of Studio Janet Echelman. At Apple Computer, David served as principal engineer for the file system on System 7 and invented the concept of an alias to a file or folder. He often laughed that perhaps his most well-known computer science legacy would be his recording of the “quack” beep sound, the first human voice on all Macintosh computers. He co-founded several successful startups, and founded Feldman Advisors, a technology investment, strategy and development consulting firm.

Jim Luther:

Dave made it easier to find things and then find things again on the Macintosh by adding CatSearch, CreateFileID, ResolveFileID, DeleteFileID, and ExchangeFiles to the System 7 File Manager, and for making backwards compatible changes to the HFS file system format for file reference IDs. These API and file system changes made it possible for the Alias Manager to track files that had been moved or renamed, made Finder Alias files possible, and made searching for files by name, date, size, etc. much faster.

The descendants of those API are in modern macOS, and are supported by Apple’s APFS file system.

I worked on Dave’s code years later, and later to enhancements of the features he helped introduce. One of the many times I was a standing on the shoulders of giants.

David K. Every:

Insert a floppy disk and rename it “KMEG JJ KS”, or “Like Wow Man.HFS For 7.0!” (where the space after ‘Man.’ is actually an option-space; you’ll have to type this somewhere else like the Note Pad then cut/paste it into the disk name), or “Hello world JS N A DTP” (exactly as is).

Eject the disk using Commad-E and double-click on the ghosted disk icon. The resulting message is “HFS for 7.0 by dnf and ksct”. In other words, it is saying “Hierarchical File System for System 7 by David N. Feldman and Kenny S. C. Tung.”


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David K. Every. Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. He was the ultimate (classic) Mac OS fan. I enjoyed his website back in the day. I wonder what he’s up to nowadays.

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