Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rotten Apples - A Personal History Of The Computer Industry And The Myth Behind Apple Computer's "Hip-ness"

Original Apple
Honestly, the whole mystique around Apple Computer is lost on me, but I moved to the area about the time the computer industry was beginning to blossom in the mid 1970s and may be biased.

Edgar Winters and SynthThis town was littered with it.

Prophet Synthesizers... Edgar Winters played one on the seminal rock-synth tune 'Frankenstein'... was operating out of a converted bungalow on Ocean Street and Broadway. Mountain Computer and Sirius/Victor in Scotts Valley... some smaller... almost no one may know of them anymore.

Sirius9000/Victor 1'Woz' and the guys used come over-the-hill to The Albatross, a music bar out along Portola Drive near KSCO, the local AM radio station which occasionally 'bled' over the PA system (and all the phone lines within a mile radius)... and they'd hang out at the beach, party to the music... ...after playing with breadboards... ribbon connectors, edge connectors, balky chip sockets, soldering rudimentary circuit boards under bad lighting in 'the garage' for days or weeks on end.

What they were doing was called 'decompression'.

Work hard... Play hard. Try to keep SOME brain cells intact.

Chateau LiberteIn the mid-70s, you could see the occasional bleary eyed burnt out tie-dyed code writer or 'idea person' (whom Apple likes to call "Technological Evangelists" now days. True believers one and all.) wandering around downtown at dawn attracting sour looks from the local police (Dang hippies!) and looking for a cup of coffee after spending some time at one of local watering holes, or roadhouses in the mountains, on a Wild Night... weekend... week... or month Out, and often ended up watching the sunrise over the Monterey Bay, or Big Sur, or Half Moon Bay (Neil Young's stomping grounds).

Those days are long long over.
The 'money-men' inexorably moved in.
The innovators moved on.

That's why they're innovators.
It's not about the money.
It can't be.

The two mindsets are mutually opposed and eternally repellent of each other (actually, the money end of the human equation is parasitic... could not exist without the innovators, meaning the innovators are under constant pressure to resist.), as the North end of a magnet repels the South end of another.

Money is needed to develop complex ideas, products, and bring them to fruition, yet money interferes with the creative flow in some base archetypal way.

Child labor would be one of those 'ways'

Apple admits using child labour in China

Apple has admitted that child labour was used at the Chinese factories that build its computers, iPods and mobile phones.

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
27 Feb 2010
Trust me... There ain't no "T-shirts and Tennis Sneakers" surfer dudes and dudettes up in Apple's Cupertino offices, and there haven't been any for a long long time.

But the myth of some long-lost Apple 'hipness' lives on.

Legends in their own minds... with HUGE advertising budgets in place to remind YOUR mind of those mythical times when the people running the show in the computer industry were creative in ways other than 'creative marketing strategy'.

Not "A Van By The River", A Car By The OceanAs the local surfers like Tapu (the Hawaiian who ran a morning-only omelet-exclusive breakfast joint, he who swallowed fire, literally, in the restaurant for customers when he felt like it, and was liable to be closed anytime the surf was up) and the "Night Fighters" (of Pleasure Point) down at the finer surfing spots around here might have said to the turistas, as a mildly disrespectful reminder that they were considered clueless:
"Pack your trash"
That's what Apple needs to do. Pack it, and move it on down the road to someplace where they tolerate slave labor. Because I for one do NOT believe the word of these greedheads, now pervasive in an industry once dominated by people who did it for the love of it, NOT the money in it, that they WILL police their overseas vendors effectively a day longer than they have to.

Peace, Out.

No comments: