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OPINION AUGUST 13, 2001
Talkin' Smack: 20 Years of Innovation

And other catastrophes

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

As most of you are aware, this week is my birthday. Last year at this time I published a wish list of my favorite technologies in the hopes that you would send some of these things along in gratitude for the fine service that all of you agree I provide to the industry. I don't mean to toot my own, you know, horn or anything; I just like getting free stuff.

Included in last year's list was some pretty high-end equipment. But judging from reader response to that wish list, I think this year I'll have to lower the bar a bit. So, if it's not too much to ask, I sure could use a mouse pad—you know, the kind with the wrist rest attached? I could also use some more Zippo lighter fluid and some flints. (You can never have too many flints.) If you guys don't have a lot of money, just pool your resources and get me a gift certificate Victoria's Secret or something—not that I'm into that kind of thing; I just like to feel pretty sometimes.

Just get me something (non-explosive) because if I don't get at least one present from you people this year, I swear I'm going to chug a bottle of Jack Daniels and start posting Charlie White stories all over this site! Oh yeah, that's another thing: I could really use a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Another birthday
Now, in case you're wondering about the headline, no, I'm not turning 20 this week. I'm turning 33. The "20 year's of innovation" refers to another very special birthday, one I bet many of you are unaware of: the birth of the very first IBM peecee.

That's right, the IBM peecee turned 20 yesterday.

So what am I supposed to say about such a momentous occasion? Don't think I haven't been pondering an angle on this for quite some time now. After all, IBM is the one that started all the innovation lo those 20 years ago, or at least that's what the press release said. And, you know, you should always believe press releases. Here's one quote from the release:

On Aug. 12, 1981, IBM introduced a personal computer powered by the Intel 8088 microprocessor and Microsoft PC DOS 1.0. With the IBM PC, users could create documents, make basic spreadsheets and play simple games displayed in glowing green type on a monochrome monitor.

Despite a price tag that would translate to more than $5,000 today, the IBM PC was an instant sensation that appealed to more than just hobbyists and kit-makers. The result was a default standard that helped spawn an industry and a new era marked by rapid and dramatic change.

And here's what Bill Gates had to say about it:

IBM's entrance into the market in 1981 really legitimized the PC, enabling us to realize our dream of high-volume, low-cost software that made the power of personal computing a reality for everyone. Although it's amazing to look back and see how far we've come in the past 20 years, I'm even more excited about what the industry can achieve in the next 20.

For me the one company that always springs to mind when the word "innovation" is uttered is Microsoft. Now there's a company that inspires enthusiasm. I think the following performance sums up my feelings. Click on the image below to see what I mean as Microsoft CEO-In-Name-Only-To-Fool-The-Courts Steve Ballmer dances the Microsoft Dance.


After you view this piece, be sure
to visit http://www.detonate.net
for the story.

What more can be added? Here's to 20 more years of that. (And they say Steve Jobs knows how to work a stage....)

More this week
As if the birth of me and the anniversary of the peecee weren't enough for one week, I'm also pulling some pants on and heading out to the SIGGRAPH convention tomorrow. Why pants? Well, I always like to get gussied up for special events, and this one promises to be a very Mactastic animation show.

As usual though, I can't say anything until it happens. We have, however, seen an awful lot of animation-related releases for the Macintosh over the last few weeks, and I know for a fact there will be lots more at the show. So stay tuned for our coverage, even if you do have to wait for the evening for me to write it up—you know, when I can slip out of those pants and get down to binnis.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications.

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