Hypercard – An Amazing Tool I Still Miss #hypercard25th

Way back in the early days of computing, the first computer I had at college was a Mac 128k. It was eventually upgraded to 512k, but I managed to sell it and get a Mac Plus (which I still have). The decision to get that Mac Plus was significantly influenced by my having seen Hypercard.

I worked for Cornell’s campus store computer department, and was a member of the campus Mac users group. I recall writing an article for the campus newsletter about how to use Hypercard on one floppy (for those of us who didn’t have 2 drives.) This required lots of disk swapping, but was still doable. I was a huge Hypercard fan, and learned lots of introductory programming and scripting concepts via Hypercard.

When I graduated college and applied for my first job, at BBDO, I sent them my resume on a Floppy Disk using a Hypercard stack that showed my experience, jobs, and even a page with a picture of Cornell where the bell tower sound would play if you clicked it. I got the job, and that same stack helped me when I applied to NYU’s ITP program. Though I do recall Red Burns taking me down several notches for inconsistent interface design, difficult navigation, and more, it did get me in.

At JP Morgan in 1992 or 93, there was a need to roll out some custom software for 360 peer review to every mac user-over 3000 around the world. I ended up developing a Hypercard stack that did the majority of the work (with some custom code from Microsoft to communicate with a mail server), and I did it in my “spare time” with my tech friends at the bank doing the testing. This ended up getting me an advancement and helping shape my future career.

My friend Christopher Allen mentioned that  this weekend is the 25th Anniversary of Hypercard, so I  wanted to put down this small reminiscence and thank Bill Atkinson and the team at Apple that made Hypercard such an amazing product.

Elsewhere: David Weinberger has a great take on Hypercard@25 (and h/t for the picture).


Riding to support Cancer Survivors

I’m going to be doing a few rides this year, and this is the first. Will you support me in my effort to raise money to help cancer survivors?

My sister-in-law was just diagnosed, and my mother-in-law and cousin are both survivors. So this ride is for them. If you have a survivor in your life, would you donate $1 per year for their age? If not, send what you can or go big with a $100. Thanks for your support.

Click Here to Donate

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Random Thoughts

Interview with Tom Morello at Hillman Journalism Awards

This week during my coverage of the Hillman Awards (see below) I was able to interview Grammy award winning guitarist and activist Tom Morello about his support of the Occupy movement.


Happy to support the US Olympic Genome Project by Samsung

At SXSW I was shown and invited to support* the US Olympic Genome Project, created by Samsung. I don’t take on support of brands randomly – I think this is a fun effort. (And before you worry, no one is trying to attempt to graft genes into me to make me a better athlete – though, if you have an idea – call me.)

Samsung wants to get people thinking about the upcoming Olympics, and more than just the highest profile athletes. I’ve met many Olympic athletes due to my work via the Harbrooke Group for the New York Road Runners, some high profile (like Apolo Ono) and some who are not household names.

Without exception, these people are exceptional. They work hard and are committed to a goal with singular purpose. They’ve generally been polite, intelligent and unassuming. This follows with a story that one of the Samsung folks told me – that they had 2 ex-Olympians working in their office in NJ, and no one even knew they had been in Equestrian or Pentathalon events.

It made the team think about all the Olympians and Para-Olympians living among us who we don’t know, and don’t understand how we might have connections to them. At SXSW I saw a sneak preview of the US Olympic Genome project, which will enable you you to find, via your Facebook connections, listed place of residence and birth, and your interests, how you’re connected to various athletes. This is pretty creative marketing and it taps into an opportunity for all of us to learn more about the athletes and para-athletes in our midst, whether in well-known sports or lesser-known ones.

While this project is a closed beta, I was able to see some of the Olympic quizzes, games and data visualizations that will let everyone see their connections to athletes and sports they weren’t aware of. Taking the quizzes and doing games earns you points, and you can use those points to donate money to Team USA via the non-profit USOC, which pays for athletes to train and go to the Olympics.

Glad I can be a part of the soon-to-be-everywhere Olympic spirit in 2012, and kudos to the creative folks who thought this one up.

*Note, this post was created in connection with my appointment as an Ambassador for the Samsung US Olympic Genome Project – this is a compensated position. 

causes compensated not-for-profit

Joining Nokia’s SXSW Cause Marketing Experiment

As part of Nokia’s efforts this year at SXSW to raise awareness of the over 4 million acres of land burned in Texas wildfires last year, they’ve started a contest to generate some excitement and re-plant some of those trees.

I’ve been asked to participate as a blogger/twitterer in this friendly contest, called #IJustPlantedATree @SXSW 2012. For this participation, they’ve given me one of their slick Nokia Lumia 800s to use.*  From the site:

So, during our time at the Interactive portion of SXSW, we invited 50 of our favorite Twitter friends to help us out in our mission. They will take part in a 48 hour online Twitter challenge using the hashtag #ijustplantedatree. Each time they tweet with that hashtag, 5 trees will be planted locally by our friends at the Arbor Day Foundation. To make sure we keep up the pace, an online leaderboard has been established, and will start to keep track of who is planting the most trees.

There is a sub-contest where the tweeter who plants the most trees gets one of the shiny new Nokia Lumia 900 phones. Great if I win, but I’m not concerned about winning. If you re-tweet me, you’ll also be helping plant trees (not helping me win).

So if you see Tweets regarding “ijustplantedatree” you’ll know what I’m up to.

*Disclosure – it is my option to keep or return the phone – I have not decided yet what I will do. I will update this later.