The Original Macintosh
Anecdotes about the development of Apple's original Macintosh, and the people who made it (122 stories)
“Great software requires a fanatical devotion to beauty.” -- Paul Graham

I (Donald Mathers) worked at Apple from 1981 - 1985 and I still own the Alice game, box and all! I wonder what it's worth today (November 2020). Would anyone like to buy it? Let me know at Thanks!

An MP3 version of this story with audio clips from Andy and Jef Raskin is available at:

An MP3 version of this story is available at:

The most informative article on Wikipedia about this symbol seems to be the one titled ”Looped square”:

Thanks for sharing the story very inspiring one.

I just came across an interview with Burrell in Doug Clapp's "The Macintosh Reader":

An MP3 version of this story is available at:

An MP3 version of this story is available at:

An MP3 version of this story is available at:

To see some of what Andy did on his leave of absence look for the story (on this site) called Thunderscan.

The Calculator Construction Set link is broken. It should go here: Also, a working link for The Puzzle:

I still have it, working with my mac 128k and my 136 columns Imagewriter :-)

There's something about facial hair and software in the 1980s. In '89 I was the (most) junior member of a development team at IBM. At meetings I noticed that if I stroked my beard and looked thoughtful in meetings, people would stop talking and listen to me. Are people hard-wired to think that men with beards are somehow more wise than those without? I do wonder if it was correlation or causation here.

Thanks for sharing this story. I started with minicomputers and the Apple II in the 70's, then moved to the IBM PC and the Mac in the 80's. You and Dan Winkler are my heroes for creating HyperCard and HyperTalk. After using BASIC, FORTRAN, Pascal, C, etc., it was the first time I felt I could just type code "in English" and have it work the way I expected. I helped hundreds of faculty members and students at Brigham Young University learn to produce educational software using HyperCard because it finally made the power of programming accessible to non-programmers. I remember going to a computer store and sitting my four-year-old sister in front of a Mac with MacPaint running. She figured out on her own how to use the mouse and the menus and draw a picture. I was blown away with how easy you had made it. Thanks for all the pioneering!

The command symbol is indeed used in Nordic countries (officially on maps and road signs) as the symbol for "information" (usually a tourist reception center or historical site). The symbol is standard on European maps (cartography). The symbol is ancient (hence not copyrighted); see the "symbol" history explication of the International Communicology Institute ( The symbol is now used internationally for "communication", for N-E-W-S and is now widely replaced by the ℹ️ symbol on keys or by the "i" in a "circle" in signage.

Didn't everyone notice? Steve/Apple made a lot of money (from Samsung) when they "trade marked" the Rectangle with Rounded Edges for the first design of iPhone! It's one of the Trade Mark infringement in the case vs. Samsung...

Remarkable to read this 40 years later. Thank you for documenting this chapter in history. 🔥

I will purchase that Big Mac from you if yo want to sell. ;-) (and no, not the McDonald's kind)

My beard/stache is so thick I could be president of the world if I wanted it....I just don't want it.

Do you remember when the Macintosh broke the GFLOPS and was classified as a weapon? LOL. Gotta love marketing.