MacPaint (1984) online


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In 1984, I spent much time at the local computer store playing with MacPaint, the graphics painting program developed by Bill Atkinson and released simultaneously with the Macintosh 128k. It was packaged with MacWrite as a $195 bundle. The illustration above was created in 1983 by Susan Kare for Apple. According to the Macintosh Plus Owner's Manual, "MacPaint brings out the artist in everyone. Whether it's a technical illustration for a research project or a sketch for a party announcement, you can do it with MacPaint." Now, I can play with MacPaint to my heart's content online! (via @onthemedia)

More about the history of MacPaint here and here.

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  1. I was bummed when they stopped including the full Hypercard development stack in favor of Hypercard Player. And then they dropped Hypercard entirely.

    Hypercard was one of the best gateway drugs to programming that I've ever seen. It was also fun to point out how crappy GW Basic was to my friends when they saw Hypercard in action. Of course Microsoft doesn't ship any form of Basic with Windows anymore either. I guess it's not so bad since the Internet makes it so easy to get equivalent tools these days, but I still feel a bit sad that the focus is so heavily on media consumption instead of media creation these days.

  2. I miss Hypercard too. Sure, you can get close with some scripting environments. Or with multimedia tools like Powerpoint/Keynote/Present. But I really loved writing scripts, attaching them to buttons, and then putting buttons on a page. I do think, though, that it was really HTML and web browsers that finished off Hypercard.

  3. IMB says:

    It looks like a simplified version of Photoshop. Did MacPaint come first?

  4. this brings back memories. from the days when a 800k floppy set you back $5. good times.

  5. Nobody, but nobody, paid $195 for the Write/Paint bundle. So far as I know, it came with the system.
    You could, with small challenges (removing some fonts and desk accessories) get Write, Paint and the System and Finder all on one 400K floppy (which cost $5 apiece in 1984-5), with no room to save documents. Saving a file on a one-drive Mac resulted in about three or four disk swaps: nerrrrt nerrrrt chunk (spin then eject), ca-chak (insert next disk), nerrrrrrt nerrrrt neeeeert chunk (spin at different speeds then eject), etc.

    I found MacPaint's somewhat woodcut look to be very nice for reproducing Tarot cards. Later, I managed to make a couple grand selling a Hypercard stack for doing Genealogy called Genealogy Explorer -- it was a relatively (ahem) simple thing to do the sorts of relationships that were impossible at that time without extensive database libraries.

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