MacPaint source

Apple has donated the the MacPaint source code to the Computer History Museum. Bill Atkinson was responsible for the code, including QuickDraw, which formed a large portion of the MacOS.

A reporter asked Steve Jobs, “How many man-years did it take to write Quick Draw?” Steve asked Bill, who said, “Well, I worked on it on and off for four years.” Steve then told the reporter, “Twenty-four man-years”. Obviously Steve figured, with ample justification, that one Atkinson year was the equivalent of six ordinary programmer years.

The main source is written in Pascal, and is quite beautiful to read — you can tell that he took pride in it. The rest of the code is written in assembler language for the 68000 processor.

MacBook harddrive failure

The harddrive in my MacBook decided to die on Saturday afternoon. Wasn’t doing much — had a few programs open and was in the process of checking out some books from the British Library. Tried to load up some bibliographic software, got the spinning beachball and most of the programs locked up. So, I did a hard reboot. After turning it back on, I received a grey screen with a blinking folder containing a question mark.

Macbook harddrive failure

It would have been nice if it was some sort of minor system glitch, but the harddrive is making that ticking death-rattle. Apparently, this kind of failture seems to be a somewhat common problem with MacBook users. The laptop is still under warranty for another month, so I should be able to get a free replacement. Although, there is the problem of the sales receipt being physically located in Canada. I have a Genius Bar appointment Monday morning at the London store, hopefully all goes well.

I had a complete system backup from a few weeks ago, so I’ve only lost two week’s worth of dissertation research. It could have been much worse. My computer is currently operating via the backup on my external drive. SuperDuper is a godsend and is well worth the expense, it allowed me to make a bootable clone of my harddrive. Senuti is also a handy little utility if you want to retrieve music from your ipod.

Let this be a warning to all of my fellow masters students (and everyone in general), make sure you have reliable backups. At least it happened now and not in two months when the dissertation is due.

Update: The Apple Store was willing to replace my harddrive, but I would’ve had to leave the laptop with them for 3-10 days because they didn’t have any 60gb drives in stock. Couldn’t really afford to be without my machine for that length of time, so I decided to replace the harddisk myself.

I picked up a Hitachi Travelstar 160gb drive, installed it in about 15 minutes, and restored from the three-week-old full backup. Everything is up and running again, but I’m now completely paranoid. In the process of making sure that I have copes of photos, music and school files on my web host.