Two decades of work by Jef Raskin, the father of the Macintosh, culminated today in the release of Raskin Reality, a new version of reality that more closely conforms to Raskin’s worldview. Since his departure from the Apple team that developed the original Macintosh, Raskin has suffered from detractors who claim his outlook, while not factually inaccurate, is tangential to the reality experienced by everyone else.
“It was quite a simple matter to set things right,” Raskin said, trimming his mustache closely. “I found that even through determined effort I was unable to bend your reality to my will no matter how many letters to the editor I wrote. It was much easier to create an entirely new reality.”
Raskin added that he would be remiss to not credit Douglas Adams for the idea. In Raskin Reality, however, Raskin came up with the idea and authored Hitchhikers Guide, while Douglas Adams is still alive and a bestselling travel guide author.
Raskin advocates the elimination of graphical interfaces in favor of what he calls The Humane Environment (THE), a method of offering individual commands that may be executed at once or in combination that eliminates explicit applications and keeps the user from perceiving or needing an operating system interface at all.
THE is generally impenetrable to explanation or demonstration – see this screen shot – and thus Raskin found it necessary to create a reality in which THE was the dominant mode of computer interaction.
Long-time rival and hypertext guru Ted Nelson, who has spent almost thirty years on his Nelson Noosphere, was bitter at Raskin’s victory.
“I would link to Raskin Reality instead of explaining it, but Raskin Reality only points to itself, violating my principles,” Nelson said while driving a VW bus using an N-incomplete map to steer between points. The Nelson Noosphere requires every piece of information to be linked to every other piece of information in the universe. Nelson believes he is close to “as X approaches 100” percent finished, with only Zeno’s Paradox yet to be integrated.
Raskin has long fought a battle to ensure his place as a bold footnote in the history of computation and a double asterisk in the stories of Macintosh development, correcting journalists and bloggers alike who fall sway to Steve Jobs’s much-earlier alternate universe that many experience through the famed Reality Distortion Field. In Raskin Reality, the musician, philosopher, and computer scientist is always appropriately invoked in any article about the Macintosh. And in any article of any kind in any publication. And Steve Jobs cleans urinals at 1 Infinite Loop.
Using Raskin Reality requires an eyeglass-mounted heads-up display, a hot-air balloon, a sopranino recorder, and an academic institution. When events occur in actual reality, Raskin Reality will provide the corrected information for the participant. Raskin and his immediate family have been beta testing Raskin Reality for their entire lives.
Raskin Reality is not yet totally perfected. (Although, in Raskin Reality, it is.) In a recent interview with The Guardian, Raskin Reality was ineffective briefly, with Raskin remarking on the last 20 years of computational development, “There has been immense progress, primarily in the richness of applications. But all this power is lost on many people, and impedes the utility of it for the rest, because of the unnecessary complexity of using computers.”
Fortunately, Raskin Reality kicked back in quite quickly, as he next said, “Some programs I wrote in Basic on an Apple II ran faster than when written in a modern language on a G4 Dual-processor Mac with hardware 1,000 times faster.”
Raskin Reality was available for immediate delivery 20 years ago.
In Raskin Reality.