Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy Birthday HyperCard

This past weekend was a birthday for us old-timers.  HyperCard has a 25th birthday!  If you remember that great application from Apple, you are probably over 40.  HyperCard has great meaning to me.  It was my first endeavor into creating commercial software (but not my last).  In 1989, I was doing network consulting for Citibank in Chicago.  Part of my job was to make sure that there 200+ Macs were up to date and current.  I spent many weekends getting computers updated, I even employed a friend to help me get things done.  It was important work, but I thought, that there must be a better way to do this.  Using HyperCard, I created a “stack” that I called “NetUpdater”.  NetUpdater was set to launch as a startup application on all the Macs and it would check in with a server for any directions to follow.  If I needed to update a document or application, now I can do it in minutes vs. hours or days by just creating directions on the server for the 200+ Macs to follow.

Some people at our local Apple office heard about it and came in for a demo and they encouraged me to sell it, as it could save so much time for network administrator with lots of Macs.  So, I did exactly that and
NetUpdater was born.

I started getting traction, so I decided to try to get some big shots at Apple interested in this and I was able to contact Jean-Loius Gassée  (#3 at Apple at the time) and told him about what I had created.  He wanted to meet with me, so I could give him a demo.  He picked a coffee shop on a Sunday to meet.  Since, I was in Chicago, I purchased a plane ticket and made a hotel reservation.  I was more then excited - perhaps Apple would purchase this application and make it an Apple one.  Two days before my meeting with Gassée, his secretary called me and told me that he would have to cancel.  I tried rescheduling an appointment for a month, but decided becoming a stalker wasn’t a good idea - so I stopped.  I wonder what could have been...

Anyways, happy birthday HyperCard - I had great memories with you!

Michael Ginsberg