Tivo Founders Launch QPlay For Internet TV

TiVo founders Mike Ramsay and Jim Barton revolutionized the way we watch TV by letting us pause and rewind live TV or watch it later without having to mess with a VCR.  Tivo-like devices are common today but now Ramsay and Barton have set their sites on Internet TV with a new iPad app called Qplay along with an accessory that lets you watch Internet programs on a high definition TV set.

There is nothing new about watching net programs on a TV. Roku has been at it for years and you can also do it with most game consoles, Google Chromecast, some Bluray players, newer Tivo boxes and  directly on some TV sets. But what sets Qplay about is the ability to create a queue of programs from a variety of sources using a single app.

The app runs on the iPad (the company will eventually port it to other devices) and allows you to find videos to watch either on the iPad or on your TV using a $49 adapter. Like Google Chrome, once you start watching, the app doesn’t have to be running  because the adapter is connected to QPlay’s servers through your Wi-Fi network.

The initial content for Qplay’s early release program is mostly publicly available content like YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Vimeo, Twitter and other public sources. In the future, said Ramsay “we intend to support additional content that would include premium content that requires a subscription.”  He said that the system is architected so to that the “queue themselves are content independent”

The multiple app problem

The app addresses a problem that’s been plaguing me ever since apps started appearing on phones and tablets. I remember that bad old days when you needed a different piece of software for each online service you used. If you wanted to access CompuServe, you ran the CompuServe program. The same was true for AOL, Prodigy, The Source and all the other online services. But then in the mid-90′s, along came the commercial Internet and browsers so we no longer needed multiple programs for multiple content sources. But the app world is a giant step backwards because each service requires us to download its own app. Qplay doesn’t entirely solve that problem but it does mitigate it as far as video is concerned, especially once company starts adding premium services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.

In an interview, Qplay co-founder and CEO Mike Ramsay said “We used to complain in the Tivo days that there were 500 channels and nothing to watch. On the Internet instead of 500 channels instead of 500 apps.”

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Security experts at RSA decry government hacking

There’s an old expression, “I’ve met the enemy and he is us.” When it comes to cyber-security, “us” may just stand for “U.S.”

I’ve attended the RSA security conference for many years years and am accustomed to security professionals talking about the dangers from criminal hackers and hostile foreign governments. But this year there is a new Public Hacker #1, and its the U.S. Government.

The RSA conference is going on this week at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

I attended all but one of the keynotes Tuesday morning and every speaker I heard commented about the NSA’s role in reducing trust when it comes to the security of our digital communications.

Nawaf Bitar, Senior Vice President of Juniper Networks and head of its security unit, said that we should be outraged. He pointed to examples of real expressions of outrage like Nelson Mandela’s refusal to accept government conditions as the price for being released from prison or the anonymous man who put himself in front of Chinese military tanks during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. In contrast, he referred to most of our objections to what our own government is doing with our information as #FirstWorldOutrage,” saying it’s not enough to sign a digital petition or “like” a page from someone who objects to what the NSA is doing.

“We now know with stunning clarity how our privacy is being invaded, he told the thousands in the audience. “We’re complicit. Standing by and watching a crime being committed without stopping that crimes can be a crime.”

Bitar’s keynote was followed by a panel of some of the world’s leading cryptologists – the people who create the algorithms designed to protect our information.

Cryptologists vs. government hackers

Whitfield Diffie, one of the fathers of public-key encryption, said it was “disturbing that the NSA would tamper with NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) security guidance for the U.S. government.  “Despite my conflicts with them (the NSA), I believed that they were 100% interested in security of American communications.”

Another panelist, Adi Shamir, Professor, Computer Science and Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel suggested that only a “very small percentage of the world population” cares about privacy but that he is worried about “my data being kept by the NSA” as well as “the phone company, Gmail and all the other could services which make life convenient.”

Former top spooks on spooking

In another session, “Understanding NSA Surveillance: The Washington View,” panelists Richard Clark, who advised President Bush, Clinton and Obama as Special Advisor to the President for Cyberspace and National Coordinator for Security and Counter-terrorism, was critical of the NSA’s lack of transparency.  Speaking about the 215 program that collects cell phone metadata, he said “When you don’t have transparency, their claims about (surveillance) being useful and stopping terrorism were BS (he spelled it out).  He also questioned whether the program did any good, “If it hadn’t been there, the results would have been the same,” he said.

Another  panelist, former NSA and CIA director General Michael Hayden defended the 215 program. He said it was just like a “program that began under me, and we found it sometimes to be useful, sometimes for negative knowledge.” By negative knowledge he meant confirming that Americans may not be involved in an attack or a plot. It was asked “if there was North Americans nexus” in the Benghazi embassy attacks, he said and “they did not show up in a database which makes it easier for the President to confine his response to the Middle East.”

Clark questioned that logic. “I would never have said that I proved there is no threat if I sampled only 25% of the data. He earlier said 75% of U.S. phones are not monitored. Clark was one of five people on The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, which issued its report in December.

Edward Snowden may be in exile  in Russia, but his presence is being felt among the security professionals gathered in San Francisco.


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Love new ride services, but hold them to same standards as legacy companies

by Larry Magid
This post is adapted from one that appeared in the San Jose Mercury News

The fact that the Internet has disrupted age-old businesses has become an old story. Just ask anyone in the record industry what happened to their profits now that there are legal and illegal ways for people to access just about any recording for free online. The Internet has also done a number on the newspaper industry and is starting to impact TV networks as well. It’s also put a lot travel agents out of business and — thanks to Airbnb, it’s even starting to have a small impact on the hotel business.


Uber app shows where driver is and gives you a fare quote

And, over the past couple of years, the Net and mobile technology is having an increasing impact on taxi and limousine services. Mobile phone apps like Uber and Lyft allow consumers to find a ride by using their fingers to touch their smartphone rather than lift their hand to hail a cab on the street or dial the company.

The apps take advantage of geolocation services (GPS and other technologies) to know where you are and where the drivers are. Based on proximity, the app tells you approximately how long it will take for the driver to reach you, and it handles calculating the fare and paying the bill and tip. You never have to shell out cash or swipe a credit card. That may not seem like a big deal, but having to take out your wallet, peel out bills and wonder if you’re getting the correct change can be a minor annoyance as you’re leaving a cab.

Also, because you’re using your cell phone and a registered debit or credit card, the driver knows who you are and vice versa, which makes it safer for both of you. And you have an electronic receipt, which would also make it easier to recover any items you might leave in the car.


Sidecar drivers compete on price, car and other factors

A new player called Sidecar has just entered the field. The service, which currently operates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Austin, Texas, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., allows drivers to set their own prices and pitch customers with such things as what kind of car they drive or how well they know the area. Clearly there are well-heeled investors who believe in this concept. The company just raised a $10 million round of capitol from Union Square Ventures.

Needless to say, services like these are not popular among traditional taxi services. In many cities, taxi companies pay a lot of money for their “medallion,” which amounts to a license to operate a single cab. According to The New York Times, a taxi company paid $2.5 million at auction last fall for two medallions. It will take a lot of fares to pay that back, and that doesn’t cover the cost of buying and operating the vehicles.

The industry has been taking its complaints to taxi commissions and other regulators in city after city. The Detroit Free Press quoted a representative of a local taxi company claiming that “Uber drivers skirt rules that require vehicle inspections and registration and also sometimes charge beyond regulated rates.” Others claimed that Uber and Lyft drivers have failed to get proper licenses to offer rides for hire.

Uber is being sued by the family of a 6-year old girl who died in San Francisco after being struck by an Uber driver on New Year’s Eve. The driver was operating his personal car and didn’t have a passenger on board at the time of the accident. But the suit alleges he was logged into the company’s UberX app, which means he was available to pick up a fare. If this had been a Yellow Cab, I don’t think there would be any question as to whether the company could be held responsible for the accident. Uber carries insurance to cover injuries to passengers, but the person killed wasn’t a passenger and it’s debatable whether the driver was working for Uber at the time of the accident or just someone driving his personal car who happened to be logged into the Uber app.

Aop lets you "request a Lyft"

Aop lets you “request a Lyft”

While it’s hard to imagine how a taxi company might benefit from services like these, drivers can because it gives them another work option. There are plenty of cases of taxi or limo drivers switching over to Uber or Lyft because of more flexible work hours and — potentially — better pay.

I’m generally a big fan of disruptive technology because it creates more options for consumers and forces the industry being disrupted to either innovate or evolve. But I make exceptions when government is involved, such as with taxation or licensing. For example, I love Amazon.com, but I didn’t think it was fair when Amazon didn’t have to charge sales tax while local merchants did. Now that Amazon is collecting sales tax in California and several other states, it’s a more even playing field.

And while I love the idea that innovative apps allow us to find nearby drivers and “hail a cab” with a few clicks, I don’t think it’s right that the legacy part of the industry has to put up with regulations, taxes and licensing fees that its newer and perhaps hipper and more tech-savvy competitors get to avoid.

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34 more cities to get Google ultra-high speed Internet

Google’s high-speed fiber network is already available in Kansas City and Provo, Utah and will be coming to Austin later this year. But the company is now in talks with an additional 34 cities to bring its 1 gigabit per second service to their communities.  For more, visit this Google information page.

List of proposed cities

Atlanta, GA

  • Avondale Estates
  • Brookhaven
  • College Park
  • Decatur
  • East Point
  • Hapeville
  • Sandy Springs
  • Smyrna

Charlotte, NC

Nashville, TN

Salt Lake City, UT

San Antonio, TX

Phoenix, AZ

  • Scottsdale
  • Tempe

Portland, OR

  • Beaverton
  • Hillsboro
  • Gresham
  • Lake Oswego
  • Tigard

Raleigh-Durham, NC

  • Carrboro
  • Cary
  • Chapel Hill
  • Durham
  • Garner
  • Morrisville
  • Raleigh

San Jose, CA

  • Santa Clara
  • Mountain View
  • Sunnyvale
  • Palo Alto

Kansas City

  • Lenexa
  • Fairway
  • Mission Hills
  • Roeland Park
  • Merriam
  • Leawood
  • Prairie Village
  • Lee’s Summit
  • Raytown
  • Gladstone
  • Grandview
  • Shawnee
  • Olathe
  • Westwood Hills
  • Westwood
  • Mission
  • Mission Woods

Provo, UT

Austin, TX

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U.S. Safer Internet Day focused on potential, positives and problems too

Senator Charles Schumer with student panel at U.S. Safe

Senator Charles Schumer with student panel at U.S. Safer Internet Day (photo: Sarah Baker)

It was a great honor that ConnectSafely.org, the non-profit Internet Safety organization where I serve as co-director, was selected to host the first official U.S. Safer Internet Day.  The day, which has been celebrated in Europe for the past 11 years, saw events across the world including a celebration in Washington D.C. Tuesday where Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke along with a panel of high school student leaders and another panel of social media executives.

I moderated the event along with ConnectSafely.org co-director Anne Collier.

On a panel moderated by 17 year-old Aidan McDaniel of West Virginia, executives from Facebook (Instagram), Google (YouTube), Microsoft (Xbox Live), Twitter and Yahoo (Tumblr) talked about the way their companies deal with abuse reports, child pornography, bullying and other problems. But they all agreed that the overwhelming majority of their users are good online citizens.


Students attending Safer Internet Day U.S. (photo: Sarah Baker)

Just as cities and towns have to spend resources dealing with a small number of  trouble-makers, social media companies need to police their services so  users have mostly good experiences. All of these companies maintain close ties with law enforcement, which helps them deal with the most egregious problems. But in most cases when problems come up, they’re handled internally by warning the offending user or – if necessary – kicking them off the service.

Social reporting

Facebook now enlists its users to help each other with what they call “social reporting.” Instead of Facebook staff intervening in what are often relationship issues, they offer a tool that helps users work it out among themselves or seek help from a trusted third party.  The program, which is carried out with help from the Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale, has been very effective, according to its developer, Facebook engineering Arturo Bejar. “We found when we were looking at reports that there were a lot of things getting reported that were really misunderstandings or disagreements among people who use the site,” he told me in an interview shortly after the company launched the program.

One Good Thing

While some of the day focused on problems encountered online, much of the discussion at the U.S. Safer Internet Day celebration focused on the positive things people are doing with connected technology. An important part of ConnectSafely’s program this year is the ‘One Good Thing” campaign that encourages people around the country to post positive short videos or blog posts positive things they have done or know about, using the Internet or mobile devices. The list ranges from high school kids using Facebook to promote a “Save the Pandas” campaign to a college student who spoke about the  online support given to him and friends  after the death of a fellow student. Others talk about their school’s “compliments page” or how they have gone online to support fellow students who have been cyberbullied. You can view and read these great things (and add your own) at OneGoodThing.us.

The youth student panel, moderated by Yahoo Tech “Modern Family” columnist Dan Tynan, included students from Washington DC, Chicago and Detroit. The young panelists talked about ways students can be “upstanders” rather than bystanders when someone they know is bullied online or off.  And, the kids pointed out that bullying is not as common as some adults may think. Most of their classmates treat each other with respect at school and online.

Senator Schumer on economic benefit of net

The final speaker at the Washington event was Senator Schumer, who quipped, “While I’ve probably never snapchatted with Senator Rand Paul, I do understand the great potential of the Internet.”

He said that it is now a very important part of New York’s economy, both in cities (New York city is giving Silicon Valley a run for its money) and in rural areas. He pointed out that it increases political engagement of youth and has resulted in far more young people wanting to work for elected officials. He also touched on the Internet’s role in education and telemedicine and reminded the audience that it’s “important for every family to talk about Internet safety and rules in their household.”

Safer Internet Day 2014 has come and gone, but every day is safer and better Internet day. This year’s theme, “Let’s create a better Internet together,” is a rallying call not for legislation, big pronouncements or major new products but ways that we can all contribute every day by remembering that the Internet isn’t really a network of machines but a network of people with aspirations and feelings. So, it’s really not about creating a better Internet but creating a better world.



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Safer Internet Day Comes to US – Tues Feb 11th

View the live webcast here from 9:00 AM to noon Eastern (6:00 to 9:00 PT)

Click TV to view live image

Click TV to view Safer Internet Day event 9 AM ET Tues

by Larry Magid
This column first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News

For the past 11 years, the European Commission and InSafe, a Brussels-based nonprofit, have been coordinating Safer Internet Day celebrations across Europe and other parts of the world. It will be celebrated this year on Tuesday.

There have been sporadic Safer Internet events in the United States but, until now, it hasn’t been coordinated or official. But in late 2012, then Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and European Vice President Neelie Kroes signed a joint declaration to bring Safer Internet Day to the United States.

ConnectSafely.org, the nonprofit Internet safety organization where I serve as co-director, was asked to host and coordinate U.S. events. We’re planning an event in Washington, D.C., featuring a talk by Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, a panel of high-school leaders from the across the country and a panel of executives from Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo. Kroes will address the gathering by video.

The event will be webcast live starting at 6 a.m. Pacific time at ConnectSafely.org/sidvideo. It will also be carried on Facebook Live and archived for later viewing.

The international theme of this year’s celebration is “Let’s create a better Internet together.” Rather than just focusing on all the negative things that can happen online, we’re focused on what’s good about how people, including kids and teens, are using connected technology and what we can all do to make things better.

In the United States, we’ve launched a “One Good Thing” campaign where people have contributed videos and short blog posts about things they done or witnessed that improve the Internet or use the Internet and mobile technology to make the world a better place. You can view those entries at SaferInternetDay.us/blog.

One Good Things

Some of those “good things” come from teens, including Esmi and Jessie, who said they post anonymous compliments to teens who have gotten hateful messages on Ask.fm. Maddie and Monica talked about how they donated blood and used Instagram to encourages others to do likewise. Grant talked about posting to the compliments page on his high school’s website to “send out daily complements to brighten everyone’s day.” Emily talked about how her cousin had a friend who passed away but took solace in all the support he received from friends.

None of these examples are earth shattering, but that’s the point. They are little things that people of all ages do on a regular basis to make life better for other people.

Going positive

We started this campaign because we’re tired of all the negativity. Sure, there are bad things that happen online and it’s important to deal with cyberbullying, trolling, hate speech, unwanted sexual solicitations, sexting, unwanted porn and the risk to one’s security and privacy. It’s also important to remind both kids and adults that what they say online can stick around forever and come back to haunt them. That’s all part of Safer Internet Day, but it’s also a time to celebrate the positive and remind adults, including the Washington policy makers who will be at our event, that — like most adults — most kids are thoughtful in the way they use technology and try to respect themselves and others.

Yes, there are kids who bully online. But most kids don’t engage in that type of hurtful behavior and, when it does happen, it has a lot more to do with the relationships they have than the technology itself.

And, as Edward Snowden keeps reminding us, there are also reasons to worry about what our and other governments — as well as private companies — may be doing with all of the information that’s now available about us, thanks to our use of the Internet and mobile technology.

Change for the better

As I look back on my three decades as an active user of online services and the Internet, what I mostly recall are the ways they have changed our lives for the better. I was reminded of that last week as Facebook celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Even though Facebook has brought about some privacy issues we didn’t have before a billion people were posting personal information online, it has also contributed toward social movements all around the world and enabled individuals to stay in touch with families, rekindle old friendships and even make a few new ones.

The same is true for Twitter, Google Plus, Linked-In, Tumblr and just about every other forum where people are able to engage others online. For every post from a troll and bully, there are countless posts from people who want to enhance the lives of their online friends and use online tools to improve the world.

So, as we recognize Safer Internet Day, it’s also a time to recognize the fact that we are building a better Internet. It’s far from perfect, but it’s changing our lives and the lives of people all over the globe, mostly for the better.

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Artkick Turns TVs Into Picture Frames For Art

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.com and listen to 4 minute interview with Artkick CEO Sheldon Laube.


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Foundation invests $1 million in tech solutions to gun violence

Smart Tech Challenges Foundation website

CNET article about the foundation

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Services let you read unlimited number of books – like Netflix for readers

Scribd and Oyster and examples of services that allow you to download and read an unlimited number of books in a business model similar to Netflix for movies or Spotify for music. Scribd charges $8.99 a month and Oyster charges $9.95.

Click here for a CNET interview with Oyster CEO Eric Stomberg

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Larry Magid’s 1984 LA Times Review of Original Mac

Macintosh Shapes Up a Winner
by Lawrence J. Magid
The Los Angeles Times
January 29, 1984

I rarely get excited over a new computer. But Apple’s Macintosh, officially introduced last Tuesday, has started a fever in Silicon Valley that’s hard not to catch. My symptoms started when I talked with some devotees from Apple and the various companies that produce software, hardware and literature to enhance the new computer. By the time I got my hands on the little computer and its omni-present mouse, I was hooked. Apple has a winner.

The Mac, which retails for $2,495 is about 14 inches tall and takes up about the same amount of desk space as a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. It is smaller and lighter than most of the so called “portable” machines. The entire system can be slipped into an optional ($99) padded carrying case to be hoisted over your shoulder or placed under an airline seat. The case and computer together weigh 22 pounds.


Larry’s original LA Times review (click to enlarge)

Of course any computer’s real value is based on what you can do with it. For the first 100 days, Apple is including two valuable programs, MacPaint and MacWrite free with the machine. MacWrite has most basic word processing features with one outstanding addition. It can vary the size and style of your type on the screen and on paper, when used with Apple’s new $495 Image Writer printer. This computer/printer/software combination produces the first truly “what you see is what you get” word processing system on a moderately priced microcomputer. You can vary the type size from 9 point (about the size used in most newspapers) to 72 point headlines. You can also change your type style, selecting an Old English font or one of the more common type styles. Your type can be in bold, italic, underline or even shadow print. All this magic is controlled by the computer itself–the software merely takes advantage of it.

Write and Illustrate Reports
MacPaint is to graphic images what MacWrite is to words. I’m no Picasso, but I found myself drawing some rather pleasing images, using the mouse as a paint brush to draw pictures on the screen. You can paint with different size strokes (“brushes”), in patterns or using pre-designed shapes. It’s easy to custom design a letterhead, a map to your house, or even a self-portrait. The images you create in MacPaint can be integrated into documents produced on MacWrite, so you can create your own illustrated reports.

Until 1981, Apple, with some competition from Radio Shack, dominated the personal computer industry with its Apple II. The current version of that machine is still very popular. Apple started to loose market in 1981 when IBM introduced the first popular 16 bit computer. The IBM PC soon became an industry standard. Meanwhile the Apple Apple III was an unqualified dud and sales for its 32 bit Lisa were disappointing. Some analysists thought that Apple was a dying company. Apple’s young Chairman, Steve Jobs blames his company’s relatively poor performance on trying to compete with IBM on its own terms rather than “getting back to our roots.” With former Pepsi president John Sculley at the helm, Apple is now focusing its marketing efforts on small businesses, home users, and colleges rather than Fortune 500 companies.

The Macintosh is as innovative today as the Apple II was in 1977. It’s one of the few computers introduced in the last 18 months that makes no attempt to imitate the IBM PC.

It does, however, draw on Apple’s experience with the larger and more expensive Lisa. Like the Lisa, it uses a hand-held “mouse”–a small pointing device which enables the user to select programs, and move data from one part of the screen to another. Also like the Lisa, Macintosh uses a black and white display screen whose resolution is so high that it can quickly draw detailed pictures while at the same time display crisp and readable text. Apple did more than scale down the Lisa. To the contrary, the Macintosh team came up with so many innovations that Apple decided to re-design the Lisa so it too can run Macintosh software. Apple has also introduced three new higher performance Lisa computers with prices starting at $3,495. The Lisa sold for about $10,000 when it was made available last spring.

It’s Easy to Learn
The main advantage of the Macintosh is that it’s very easy to learn and use. Apple claims that novices can learn to use the Mac in as little as 30 minutes. The company is banking on the machine’s simplicity and modest price to attract “millions” of users over the next few years.

The system comes in three pieces. The main unit houses the 9-inch screen, a built-in disk drive and all the machine’s circuits and connectors. The separate keyboard is attached to the unit via what looks like a modular telephone cord. The mouse, too, has its own cord and connector.

The system is driven by a 32 bit Motorola 68000 central processing unit. It comes with 128K of Random Access Memory (RAM), 64K of Read Only Memory (ROM) and one 400K disk drive. The 32 bit CPU and the extensive ROM are largely responsibile for its impressive graphics capability. The machine will eventually be upgradable to 512K once the new breed of 256K RAM chips become commercially available. An optional second (external) disk drive is $495.

Instead of using the 5 1/4 inch floppy disks that the Apple II helped standardize, the Mac uses 3 1/2 inch mini-floppies. These disks come with a built-in protective cover, can fit in a shirt pocket, and are far less vulnerable to damage than standard floppies. Apple will also be using the 3 1/2 inch disks on its new Lisa series.

Once you’ve set up your machine, you insert the main system disk, turn on the power, and in a minute you are presented with the introductory screen. Apple calls it your “desk top”. What you see on your screen looks a lot like what you might find on a desk. Instead of just a blinking cursor you see pictures, called icons, that graphically represent the things you can do with the computer. One of them is a picture of a hand, writing on a piece of paper. That represents the MacWrite word processing program. Another shows a hand drawing on paper to represent the MacPaint graphics program. Other options are represented by equally clever icons. Any files that you have created are also graphically depicted on your electronic “desk top.”

To select a program, you move the mouse to the icon and press the button on the top of the little rodent. If there are any additional options, they are displayed at the top of the screen, so you can move the mouse to make the appropriate selection. When this process was described to me, it sounded cumbersome, especially since I’m already comfortable with using a keyboard. But the mouse is so much more intuitive. As infants we learned to move objects around our play pens. Using a mouse is an extension of that skill.

All the commands are presented and issued in the same manner. Apple has gone to great length to insure that all of its software uses the same interface. What’s more, they are using their extensive influence to assure that independent software vendors follow the lead. The intelligence that operates the mouse and creates the graphic icons is built into the machine’s ROM — making it relatively easy for software manufacturers to adhere to Apple’s standards.

The value of a standard user interface can’t be overstated. I run dozens of programs on my computer, and each software company has its own idea of how to move the cursor, erase data and save files. Even an experienced user must take frequent peaks at the programs’ help menus and reference cards. If Apple gets its way, every program you buy will use the same basic set of commands. Microsoft Corp, in Bellvue, Washington, has announced Mac versions of its popular Multiplan spreadsheet program, BASIC language, and Microsoft Word–an innovative new word processing package. Lotus Development Corporation (Cambridge, MA) has has a forthcoming Mac version of its best selling 1-2-3 integrated spreadsheet, and Software Publishing Company (Mountain View, Calif) will release its PFS series of data base management tools. Apple provided pre-release versions of the Mac to these and more than 100 other software companies so that their products could be available soon after the release of the new machine.

Available software is critical to the success of any new computer system and Apple is counting on broad support since the machine can’t run software written for MS-DOS or any other standard operating system. The machine’s inability to run MS-DOS could be its salvation or its downfall.

Machine specific magazines help spread the excitement of a new computer. PC World Communications, Inc. (San Francisco) has already released the first issue of Macworld, an attractive and well written user magazine. The 145 page premier issue includes a photo essay on the Mac’s hardware, several software reviews, tips for using the new machine, and a behind the scenes series of profiles on the people responsible for “Making the Macintosh.” Within a few months there will be other magazines and scores of books about the new computer. Whether Apple can take a byte of out IBM’s sales remains to be seen. But the new Macintosh has gotten off to a delicious start.

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