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AppleWorld 1987: When the Mac got color and expandability
Steve Jobs was against color screens and expansion bays, but after he was forced out of Apple... they arrived!
June 04, 2024
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In March of 1987, Apple held an event at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.

That event, “AppleWorld ‘87”, was where Apple announced two of the most critical Macintosh hardware updates in history: The Macintosh II and the Mac SE.

The Macintosh II, in particularly, was a big move for Apple. For multiple reasons:

  • The very first Macintosh without a built-in monitor.

  • The very first Macintosh capable of color graphics.

  • The first Macintosh (along with the SE) to use the ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) for connecting peripherals like keyboards. (ADB was first introduced 6 months earlier with the Apple IIgs.)

  • The first “modular” Macintosh — with multiple drive bays and six NuBus expansion slots (which could drive up to six monitors at once).

 

The Macintosh II was much more “PC Clone” like than previous Macs. Big, rectangular box filled with expansion slots. With a monitor stacked on top.

 

That’s a heck of a lot of firsts.

Fun historical tidbit: Steve Jobs was opposed to the Macintosh line having color displays. He felt that everything displayed on a Macintosh must be able to be printed on a standard printer (he was an avid believer in true WYSIWYG). And, since color printers were rare, Jobs was firmly opposed to a color display on a Macintosh.

 

Steve Jobs was also opposed to expansion slots, of any kind, in a Macintosh. Jobs felt strongly that the Macintosh should be a sealed box — not user serviceable or upgradeable — with no internal expandability, relying solely on serial ports for accessories.

 

To get around this… the Macintosh II project was started, in 1985, completely without Jobs’ knowledge. After Jobs was forced out of Apple, later that same year, the project became more prominent.

The next year, in 1988, Apple would announce the second operating system for the Macintosh II: A/UX.

A/UX, Apple’s first release of a UNIX based operating system, was absolutely fascinating. A full, multitasking UNIX — running on a Mac II — with Macintosh System Software running on top. Which means you could run both UNIX and Mac software, side by side, a full decade before the first release of Mac OS X (OS X Server 1.0, in 1999).

 

A/UX being all A/UX-y.

 

Want to know something even more crazy?

Not only could the Macintosh II run “Macintosh System Software” and “A/UX”… but there was also a NuBus expansion card called “Mac286” that added an entire 286 DOS computer to the Mac II.

 

The two NuBus cards of the Mac286.

 

The Mac286 was two big NuBus cards, connected together with a ribbon cable. One card containing the 286 CPU, the second card containing the memory and drive controller. 1 MB of RAM, CGA display, and full access to the Macintosh hard drive (via a “D:” that provided access to the Mac hard drive).

Yeah. That’s right. Mac OS, UNIX, and DOS. All on the same rig. Awesome.

Ok. Back to AppleWorld 1987.

Below is the keynote from the event, with the new hardware being introduced by Jean-Louis Gassée — who was, at the time, a Vice President at Apple. I highly recommend watching this keynote in full. It is a gateway into a critical time in computer history.

One fun Jean-Louis Gassée tidbit:

During Memorial Day weekend of 1985, John Sculley (who was the CEO of Apple at the time), was in travelling China. Steve Jobs, who was feeling super grumpy at Sculley, hatched a plan to remove Sculley from the Company. Well, Jean-Louis Gassée, who was the Director of European Operations for Apple, found out about Steve Jobs’ dastardly plan. What did Gassée do? He told the board of Apple, who were not too pleased with Jobs (to put it mildly). This directly led to Steve Jobs getting the boot from Apple.

John Sculley then appointed Gassée to be the new head of Macintosh Development… Steve Jobs’ old role. Brutal, right?

During his time in the role, Gassée would introduce the Mac II, and create the Macintosh laptop line… starting with the Macintosh Portable. It could be argued that Gassée had a bigger impact on what the Macintosh would become… than even Jobs himself.

Gassée would later go on to found Be, inc., and create the legendary BeOS. The impact he has had on the broader computer industry is nothing short of astounding.

Fun side note: There was a period of time, during the late 1980s were Apple was producing four distinct operating Systems:

  • ProDOS for the Apple II line (including IIgs)

  • GS/OS for the Apple IIgs

  • Macintosh System Software (before it became known as Mac OS)

  • and A/UX (Apple’s UNIX version)

Four Operating Systems from Apple.  Plus the ability to run DOS via an expansion card.  And two completely different computer architectures -- both with similar, color graphical interface -- competing for survival (the Macintosh II and the Apple IIgs).

It was a crazy few years at Apple.

 

Advertisement for Apple IIgs (intruduced in 1986).  Which, in many ways, was directly competing with the Macintosh line (and the color Mac II specifically).

 

During that same time, Steve Jobs -- after getting the boot from Apple -- was off building NeXTStep… which would eventually get tweaked and renamed to MacOS X. (But that… is a different story.)

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The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go

Back in July of 2016, I wrote a short article for Network World entitled “The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go."

While the title was certainly viewed as a bit “over the top” and “conspiracy theorist-y”, it was really just a collection of (in my opinion, rather bizarre) facts that – even without any sinister connection – were worth documenting. I am republishing it here, with some additional (increasingly odd) details added at the end (including radio and TV appearances related to this article).

Some of the details relating to the exact permissions and capabilities of the Pokémon application have changed over the last few years… but everything else remains correct, factual, and up to date.

 


 

The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go

With Pokémon Go currently enjoying, what I would call, a wee-bit-o-success, now seems like a good time to talk about a few things people may not know about the world's favorite new smartphone game.

This is not an opinion piece. I am not going to tell you Pokémon Go is bad or that it invades your privacy. I’m merely presenting verifiable facts about the biggest, most talked about game out there.

Let’s start with a little history

Way back in 2001, Keyhole, Inc. was founded by John Hanke (who previously worked in a “foreign affairs” position within the U.S. government). The company was named after the old “eye-in-the-sky” military satellites. One of the key, early backers of Keyhole was a firm called In-Q-Tel.

In-Q-Tel is the venture capital firm of the CIA. Yes, the Central Intelligence Agency. Much of the funding purportedly came from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The NGA handles combat support for the U.S. Department of Defense and provides intelligence to the NSA and CIA, among others.

Keyhole’s noteworthy public product was “Earth.” Renamed to “Google Earth” after Google acquired Keyhole in 2004.

In 2010, Niantic Labs was founded (inside Google) by Keyhole’s founder, John Hanke.

Over the next few years, Niantic created two location-based apps/games. The first was Field Trip, a smartphone application where users walk around and find things. The second was Ingress, a sci-fi-themed game where players walk around and between locations in the real world.

In 2015, Niantic was spun off from Google and became its own company. Then Pokémon Go was developed and launched by Niantic. It’s a game where you walk around in the real world (between locations suggested by the service) while holding your smartphone.

Data the game can access

Let’s move on to what information Pokémon Go has access to, bearing the history of the company in mind as we do.

When you install Pokémon Go on an Android phone, you grant it the following access (not including the ability to make in-app purchases):

Identity

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Contacts

  • Find accounts on the device

Location

  • Precise location (GPS and network-based)

  • Approximate location (network-based)

Photos/Media/Files

  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage

  • Read the contents of your USB storage

Storage

  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage

  • Read the contents of your USB storage

Camera

  • Take pictures and videos

Other

  • Receive data from the internet

  • Control vibration

  • Pair with Bluetooth devices

  • Access Bluetooth settings

  • Full network access

  • Use accounts on the device

  • View network connections

  • Prevent the device from sleeping

Based on the access to your device (and your information), coupled with the design of Pokémon Go, the game should have no problem discerning and storing the following information (just for a start):

  • Where you are

  • Where you were

  • What route you took between those locations

  • When you were at each location

  • How long it took you to get between them

  • What you are looking at right now

  • What you were looking at in the past

  • What you look like

  • What files you have on your device and the entire contents of those files

I’m not going to tell people what they should think of all this.

I’m merely presenting the information. I recommend looking over the list of what data the game has access to, then going back to the beginning of this article and re-reading the history of the company.

Update: April 14th, 2020

In March of 2017, a little less than a year after this article was originally published, WikiLeaks released what they called “Vault 7." A series of documents that was purported to be a large leak of CIA related documents focused heavily on hacking and electronic surveillance.

Among those documents was a list of code names, descriptions, and various details around Android specific exploits.

Of the code names listed… almost a third of them were Pokémon names. Between that and the CIA investment (via In-Q-Tel) in Niantic (the company behind Pokémon Go)… I mean, that's just a heck of a lot more Pokémon than one would expect from the CIA.

One other little tidbit:

The original CEO of In-Q-Tel was a man named Gilman Louie. Louie received multiple awards for his work with In-Q-Tel - including CIA Agency Seal Medallions, Director's Award by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Director of National Intelligence Medallion – which included investing in Keyhole.

Louie now sits on the board of directors of Niantic.

In 2019 alone, Pokémon Go earned $1.4 Billion (USD). As of February 2019, the game had been downloaded over One Billion times.

Update: June 15th, 2024

After this article was originally published, back in 2016, I made a few radio guest appearances to talk about it -- my favorites being for Coast to Coast AM and Fade to Black.  Both of which remain available online.

This was followed by an episode of a TV show, for The History Channel, called "Breaking Mysterious".  That show only received a limited run in the USA, but it remains available via streaming in many other countries in case you want to look it up.

Here's a few snapshots from that episode (Season 1, Episode 1 - "The Watchers") just for good measure.

The show was originally titled "The Unexplained".  But the name was changed to "Breaking Mysterious"... and, later, "The Unexplained" title was used for an entirely different show, hosted by William Shatner.

 

Yup.  The video editors for the History Channel spelled my name wrong.  (It's with a Y!  A Y, I say!)

 

Sitting in a park.  Dropping truth bombs about surveillance on the show host, Jimmy Church.

 

Giving the show's host "The Look".
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... or simply don't know what we did, but it works.  It's "the algorithm".

 

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We're all doomed.

 

This is the correct answer for every topic for an experienced dev: I hate everything, for different reasons.

 

Correct.

 

This is a tough conversation for any dad to have.

 

The other 1% is giving up and just using a Center tag inside of a Table.

 

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"Backend Developer"

 

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