410d ago
I was present at the BMUG meeting on Berkeley campus when Andy demonstrated Switcher for the first time. He did no talking, but simply ran up two or three applications... and then the whole screen scrolled sideways and the audience was on its feet cheering! The event was amazing, only perhaps matched by Bill Atkinson's demo of Hypercard. Happy days!
A few interesting tidbits:

Bill Gates: "a really good programmer like you should be able to write at least a thousand lines of code per week".

So the expectation for a really good programmer was around two hundred lines per day, assuming five days of work every week. That is not far away from today, even after almost four decades.

Bill Gates: "If it takes ten weeks, and you get paid four thousand dollars per week, that means you should get paid $40,000 for writing it."

So, around $100 per hour, effectively? Looks like Steve offered $250 per hour (assuming Bill's calculation is not widely off the mark). This was back in 1984. Thirty-eight years later, salaries have not increased by that much!

Folklore has a lot of these amusing and insightful stories. Here is one which I found amusing (except for the condescending adjective to describe Bill's voice - which I don't agree with), involving both Steve and Bill:
Bill Gates' clumsy attempts at lowballing were humorous, but Jobs was the true star of the story with his thinly-veiled threat of a lawsuit if Andy didn't sell it for the price Jobs demanded.
The various TSRs and application switching tricks on the PC that had their heyday just before Windows came down were amazing - so many applications had been made to run in low-memory systems that 512k or even 1MB (UMB!) was quite a bit.

I had a HP Palmtop that was greased to the skids with things like that, quite a powerful device. Even the modern iPhone doesn't quite do app switching as well, to be honest (the apps are often just reloading).


Mac OS gets multi-tasking - - May 2010 (7 comments)

I'm surprised Andy didn't counter Jobs' offer of $100K, even if it didn't go anywhere. I have to think Jobs was savvy enough to expect him to counter, in which case he would've met him somewhere in between.

Perhaps he knew AH well enough to know that he wouldn't counter..?

Video of it in action:

(@ 4:14)

Fascinating story. Especially interesting how he still felt compelled to make Microsoft’s apps work without any input from them. If it was important for them you’d think they'd agree to let him have access to the actual source code to debug. Or maybe I’m misunderstanding what pseudo code is in this context.
It’s pretty amazing that these programs used 128KB of memory. Nowadays, it is rare to find a program that uses less than 128MB.

I know I’m being a bit hyperbolic. There are definitely apps that use less than that, but my point is more that the actual capabilities of the software have not always increased at the same pace as the resource usage.

The sidesweep you do on your iPhone to change the page of app icons or when you switch fullscreens on your Mac I am sure is inspired by the Switcher.