The prehistory of the Internet painted almost by the minute, starting from the early 50-ies, but until the mid-90s, he was one of the many communication services, then as if someone turned some switch in the “On” position, he broke into the open and took the market like a tidal wave, all the communication services that were before him.
I know who, when and what kind of switch turned in the “On” position, but to the topic in front of you is not the case. Let him off the chain, okay. Services smaller covered head and few people remember the services larger got out and caught the wind in new for them and for the world the waves, survived the cataclysm.
Some companies that built their wonderful products under the pre-Internet services, have suffered greatly – but not because of the inability to see the future, namely because of the suddenness of displacement by the Internet of all its competitors. This applies not only to General Magic that I was referring to in the previous lines, just with “the most great companies from the dead” (according to Forbes) I do know, they really could improve the world.
The Internet was not predefined backbone for the development of communications, he had alternatives, which we do not know just because of the fact that they are already very long gone.
However, if the Internet is not possessed remarkable talents and was not so attractive, no clicking of the switch will not make it into our all.
The word AppleLink like WorldWideWeb. It also refers to two entities:
- an online service based on the information service GEIS, where the first letter stands for the very General Electric, it was instead the Internet, for use of GEIS Apple Computer paid General Electric for $ 30 million per year;
- client software for Macs and Apple IIGS.
The first information about the use of AppleLink date back to 1985. Prior to that time to negotiate with GEIS about the organization the global network for Apple and connect the company’s offices worldwide, as well as to enter into a contract with Peter Bernita writing and technical customer support AppleLink.
In 1985 there was already dozens of online services, AppleLink but among them was one of the first that did not require from the user (subscriber?) intellectual feats of development alien to the majority of people subject area. For contact he had:
- to connect your computer to AppleLink, using the cable supplied;
- to run the program AppleLink and type reported code word in response to unambiguous questions;
- look around and proceed.
As advertised the first iMac about three simple steps to the Internet (connection to the WWW in the late 90’s, it was a non-trivial task, a lot of people and companies made a good life) is to connect, enable and… and the third step is not there!
Tradition The Apple. Something computer can’t do never (to drink, to fight and not to go to work, for example). Something the computer can and knows infinitely better than we do. Complicated set up himself for something that he can answer his questions, he is head and shoulders better than the best of us. With the other services he speaks the same language. They have the same blood.
The client program AppleLink expanded the global network of the metaphor of the desktop, familiar to each user of the Mac and 16-bit advanced Apple II (the Apple IIGS). Network area and sites were folders and files.
In the first versions AppleLink new user met:
- a set of public bulletin boards, something like a modern chat;
- the e-mail, in the first years of the exchange of letters was only possible between subscribers of the network AppleLink.
Advertising (in a few years, in the first years of AppleLink, people from the street were not available) called the interface AppleLink simple and intuitive. Simplicity and clarity and in fact was a very important asset of the service in those years (however, very soon many services imitating Apple began to make its services easier and more convenient, that is making the world a better place).
If you want my opinion about intuitive interfaces, it is in the last paragraph.
AppleLink, short story
The first AppleLink subscribers were employees of Apple Computer. Burned on the Apple III, the company is now professed the principle later formulated by guy Kawasaki in one of his works: “if you produce dog food, eat your dog food yourself.” Before with pomp and fanfare to spring something on the heads of naive and nothing in front of you not to blame users, try something for yourself.
The first customers were employees and members of their families. For free. To take money for voluntary and forced participation in any, even in really necessary and fun activities – a crime against humanity. Family members played the role of experimental animals, but nothing happened – they even liked it.
Then connected to AppleLink dealers. Apparently, not all – in 1991/1992 the company where I worked, was one of the first dealers of Apple (back in the USSR), us to any AppleLink no one hooked up. AppleLink was Apple IMC (Independent Marketing Company), so Apple calls the company, represents its interests in secondary markets. In the markets of the first magnitude are the most Apple units (as now in Russia). Proud to announce that I am a witness AppleLink.
However, all I have stuck in my memory is the almost immediate replies from correspondents in Munich (there was the headquarters of Apple Europe before 1998) and in Cupertino. 10-15 minutes, in Moscow 1991, and even with my desired programs!
Externally, AppleLink was just another Mac-native program. I enjoyed it two or three times.
With dealers, as far as I know, any fee for the use of AppleLink took. And, apparently, considerable.
Then the number of the elect joined the developers for the Apple platforms (Macs and Apple II if someone guessed myself – sorry), user groups, Apple and some other useful organizations.
Then anyone could want to connect to AppleLink. For the use of the services of the network took quite inexpensive: only $ 15 per hour plus $ 35 per month for renewal. At the expense of “cheap” I mean that other similar services cost about the same.
It is important to note that in addition to the use of the service, Apple Computer had nothing. And annual payment and all payments to Apple or customers hourly rates was in the pocket of GEIS.
E-mail from orbit
In August 1991, during the 4th mission of space Shuttle Atlantis (code name mission STS-43), on Board was the Macintosh Portable, which was compiled by the research programme of the four points. The second item on the program was sent on AppleLink an electronic mail and a few files.
NASA engineers made changes to the modem built into the Macintosh Portable, providing compatibility with synchronous communication system space communication, and the battery pack computer, because the staff design did not meet the requirements for items sent into space.
Otherwise it was the usual serial Portable in the standard configuration.
Email message and file have been successfully sent, the text of the mail message with interpretation of technical terms published in dozens of places on the Internet here it is not important for us.
It was the first e-mail from orbit.
The rumors that it’s fake, arose because of the stupidity of journalists. They reported a fake address space Shuttle, STS-43@APPLELINK, for which tens of thousands of people sent letters, but received nothing in response.
A real email address in orbit was (and still is!) classified. Is it never changed?
PS About the intuitive interfaces
“Interface intuitive in General” complex systems do not exist, they cannot be in principle. Contrary to popular belief, we are all very different. We just mimicries the people around me, trying not to stand out too much, it’s an instinct he has inherited from his ancestors, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of years lived in packs.
We are too complicated to be the same.
The so-called intuitive interfaces based on smaller sets of very simple rules that are implemented for different objects at different levels. The click, click (I don’t like the “click” in this sense), double click, and a few “words” the interface of language, moreover, all important. A similar but slightly different language is used in touch interfaces.
Friendly interface – an example of good engineering, not magic.
To be continued.