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the mac turns 20

macintosh.jpgAlmost forgot: January 24, 1984, was the launch of Apple's Macintosh. Yes, a lot of the ideas were already present in Xerox's Star, but the Mac did have include many inventions (I guess that today we'd call them "innovations") and it did mean that all of these things were within the realm of the affordable. More importantly, the Mac forced the rest of the industry to improve.

Some time ago I found online a copy of the famous '1984' ad that launched the Mac, directed by Ridley Scott. It's really great. I can only imagine the impression it must have caused at the time. I mean, a computer being advertised, quite literally, as part of a revolution? These days all "revolutionary" icons have been turned into marketing gimmicks (say, images of Che Guevara being used to sell T-Shirts, Jeans and such), but 20 years ago that must have been quite the thing to see. And to sell a computer no less.

One more thing: something interesting from this CNN article:

Twenty years ago, on January 24, 1984, Apple Computer launched the Macintosh. It contained virtually unknown features, including simple icons, and an odd little attachment called a mouse.

Many newspaper stories at the time had to include a definition. Silicon Valley's newspaper The San Jose (California) Mercury News, for example, described the mouse as "a handheld device that, when slid across a table top, moves the cursor on the Mac's screen."


Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 24, 2004 at 11:12 PM

the lord of the rings: the return of the king


And so it ends.

I just came back from seeing The Return of The King, and I must say: Wow.

The Two Towers had been (I admit) slightly dissapointing. Too many liberties taken with the story, for my taste. Mostly, I think that the second movie suffered because it didn't end with a massive cliffhanger (as the book does) but rather carried the "cliffhanger moments" into the beginning of RoT. But RoT being what it is, all is forgiven.

The battle of Minas Tirith has to be the best battle scene I've ever seen, and maybe the best ever put on the big screen. When the Rohirrim charged against the hordes massing outside the city I could only hope that it would last just a little longer. Frodo's and Sam's journey from the gates of Mordor to Mount Doom is a bit cut here and there (no encounter with a company of Orcs, for example), but it retains its essence (I can clearly remember the overpowering dread throughout those 60 pages in the third book).

How the tension was maintained across the wide range of things that were happening at the same time was also very impressive. Eowyn's confrontation with the Nazgul was great (although they skimped on the consequences for both her and Merry. Okay, maybe not skimped--ignored :)).

As far as other things that were missing, well, the "Scouring of the Shire" was the single biggest no-show, but I understand why they had to cut it. I can only hope that the "director's cut" on DVD will include it (assuming they filmed it, that is). No mention of the effect of the Ent's drink on Merry and Pippin, and an oversimplification of what the Palantiri did (including no mention of the role Gondor's Palantir had to play in Denethor's madness). The corniest, most off-place moment was Aragorn asking Gandalf "What does your heart tell you?" which made me roll my eyes. Come on! He's a demigod for crying out loud! (a Maiar, like the Balrog, Saruman and Sauron) What is up with this sappy Titanic-like moment? (DiCapio wasn't around, I checked). I guess it made sense dramatically. Anyway. A few oversimplifications here and there, the most notable being at the end, with a simplified version of the fate of The Fellowship ommiting a number of important details (e.g., Sam's ultimate destination, having been a ringbearer if only for a short time, or some more details about the Three Rings of the Elves). But those are small problems compared to the achievement that was putting LoTR on the big screen. I probably count as one of those "die hard readers" that are usually so hard to please.

So. Great, great movie, and a worthy conclusion to the trilogy (movie-wise that is). If you haven't seen it, try go see it in a theater, it's what it deserves. Now, I just have to wait for the box set with all the extended versions and watch it all over again... :-)

Posted by diego on January 24, 2004 at 5:53 PM

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