Married & Moving & Seeking Employment:January 2005

Volunteer Work at Apple

The story of how Graphic Calculator came to be developed and shipped on the Mac is mindblowing.

It reminds me of two plotlines from the comedy series Seinfeld. In one, George is fired from a job and continues to show up, as though nothing happened. In the other, Kramer starts showing up to a job for which he was never hired.

But how this non-official software product was started, halted, skunkworks-ed, QA’d, usability tested, and localized without ever having been sanctioned or paid for by Apple is a wonderful tale that fits perfectly into the lore of corporate apathy.

two comments so far...

It’s an amazing story but there is something in it that pisses me off. The story only gives more credence to the ‘masochist programmer’ that has created the unhealthy working and social conditions that are the bane of this industry.

I agree of course, but to me it doesn’t sound like masochism — it sounds more like a hobby, an avocation — maybe even a calling, and I admire him for it.

I’m not sure what to make of Apple in this — if anything it makes me think that in big corporations it’s entirely possible to get things done, as long as what you’re doing is outlandish and you’re willing to make sacrifices. It’s kind of “better to ask forgiveness than permission” in action.

Graphing Calculator is a wonderful piece of software, actually, and I remember playing with it often back when I had my originally PPC 8500.

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