20 years of Apple: Craig Hockenberry

As part of the celebrations for our 20th anniversary, we asked some of our friends to tell us what Apple has meant to them over the 20 years we’ve been here to cover it. Don’t forget that as part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, you can win an iPad mini by voting in our poll to select the best Apple products of the last two decades, and download our very first issue from 1993, enhanced with optional text, audio and video interviews, completely free inside our award-winning app edition!

Here’s what Craig Hockenberry, a developer at the Iconfactory, told us about his Mac-using life:

“In 1993, I had abandoned the Mac. I was one of the first developers in line to buy a Mac in 1984, but by the time MacFormat was first published I was working on Unix-based workstations for a company in Sydney, Australia.

“My workstation back then was state-of-the-art: a blazingly fast 75 MHz processor with 16 MB of RAM and a few hundred MB of hard disk storage. And since I was doing graphics work, I was one of the lucky developers to have gorgeous 1024×768 24-bit color graphics projected onto a 100 lb. CRT monitor. This computer cost more than $10,000.

“This note I’m typing right now is being done on a MacBook air with a 2 GHz processor, 4 GB of memory and a 1440×900 LCD display. I have no idea how much this machine weighs because it’s light enough not to matter. The cost is 1/10th of the one I was using in 1993.

“One thing that hasn’t changed is the operating system: for the past 20 years I’ve been using the Unix. When something ain’t broke, developers don’t fix it.

“Even more amazing is the computer in my pocket. I was one of those developers who couldn’t wait to run my own software on the first iPhone. The first command I ran after doing the jailbreak was “uname”. This command, which has been around since the late 1970’s, tells you which version of Unix a machine is using. It made me very happy to see that my phone was running Darwin Unix, just like my Mac.
That knowledge of Unix served me well: I was the first developer to figure out the memory size and processor speed on the first iPhone (Apple didn’t publish these specifications.) Using standard Unix functions, I discovered that there was 128 MB of memory and a 400 MHz processor. Both of which were better than my “powerful” workstation in 1993!

“I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years is going to bring. These powerful Apple devices we’re using today will feel antiquated, and that’s very exciting. My only hope is that the color palette of MacFormat’s first issue isn’t projected directly onto my eyeballs. :-)