Oct 15, 2011

History of the world: Apple Computers (5)

(Go  here for earlier acts)

Act V. Now comes the part that is omitted in all the obituaries. A few weeks later, still 1985. The Apple laser printer appears on the market. And it prints like a professional printer, plug and play, 50 different fonts, some very convincing ones. Your manuscript looks just great, your letters look just great, your writs, opinions, protestations, tables of content, graphics (Graphics), indexes, they all look great. You look great. A picture values a thousand words, a laser-printed graphic is invaluable; (in the PC-world of MS-DOS of 1985, you might, just might have been able to connect to some third party laser printer and print something in Courier font until the next software glitch put an end to your pretentiousness, but graphics where an entirely different animal and would have had to be printed separately anyhow).

My research grant applications are looking so much better than those of the competition, I'm collecting one grant after the other, until I get a Pioneer Grant from the Dutch government that allows me to start my own research institute, the Applied Logic Laboratory. I'm still convinced that my success in those years hinged on the flawless Macintosh laser print of my submissions, and in particular on the flawless laser-printed  tables of content. For example, the committee for the Pioneer grant met only once, with forty longish applications to evaluate, and only one grant to award. You can bet that the committee members, all busy, distinguished scholars, didn't start reading the stuff until they stepped on the train for their meeting in The Hague (much Dutch work gets done on trains, ask Paul Krugman), and they had barely time to read the tables of content during the journey. Mine was the best.

First Apple laser printer (plug & play)

Anyhow, the laser printer constituted a quantum leap, and many people understood, got their Macintosh laser act together, bought it together with the Macintosh, and saved the company.

Go here for the next act.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

Fantastic story. I remember many, many times where I was in front of a group who were trying to award an assignment to the best person/team. Whether I won the assignment or lost it, I always tried to ascertain later, why the choice went for me or against me. The more often than not answer? You/he seemed the most professional. Seems simple in retrospect but I wonder if the 20 somethings know this?