The End of Dreamcard? -- but life after death?

jeffrey reynolds jeff at
Sat Mar 4 15:06:17 EST 2006

Man i am feeling old... I created Apples first educational CD-ROM  
(Earth Explorer - a multimedia environmental encyclopedia for jr high  
kids) when they decided to get into the CD-ROM business in the early  
90s using hypercard. they were amazed that a sophisticated multimedia  
product could be developed with hypercard. i had a meeting with  
higher ups at Apple to assure them that it was possible... their  
testing dept. finally confirmed that it worked and was relatively bug  
free! It struck me funny i had to sell the idea to Apple. in contrast  
the PC version (done in VB) took about 4x the person-hours to  
complete the software and that was with the content being squeaky  
clean (the mac version was 6 months ahead and did all the content  
testing) and content being exported to them exactly how they wanted  
it (i got it in all sorts of various forms that i used HC to convert  
to the final formats i needed--one of HC, strongest points). They had  
about 8 fat bug binders, i had about 2 and that included all the  
content bugs! The other guys were pro programmers with degrees and  
much better programmers than me (i was a molecular biologist and self  
taught programmer).

when i was designing the product i had mocked it up in hc and the  
company developing it was planning on programming it in C, but then  
when the mock up was doing 90% of what needed to be done I proposed  
me just doing it in HC. Boy did that get a laugh from the programming  
dept at first. but then they shut up when they realized that yes the  
prototype did just about everything that it needed to be done just  
fine (what was left was minor stuff that we took care of with a  
couple of custom externals) and the budget and timeline was a  
fraction of doing it all in C.

oh and it will still run today, even under classic. funny thing is  
cdroms are now getting very popular back in schools (they are finding  
the internet is not the solution to all educational content delivery  
-- realities of working in a school) and the product may be dusted  
off, content updated and new software done with revolution!

Just shows you what was possible with that quirky little piece of  
software. I dont think Apple fully realized how much HC was a part of  
the success of Apple in general. Apple survived on the fringes by the  
undying passion of users that things like HC kept going. Without them  
they would have never gotten a big enough market share to hold on or  
enough reasons why their hardware was at a premium price w/o the  
evangelists selling it so hard and passionately.

I think the lesson here is that there are options to make great stuff  
out of older things like stuff created in dreamcard. yes the simple,  
cheap gui building system like HC wont be there, but the work done in  
it can be moved forward and useful. No system lasts for ever, but  
moving stuff forward is possible and can really pull some rabbits out  
of the hat...


jeff reynolds

On Mar 4, 2006, at 1:00 PM, use-revolution-request at  

> Close. 19 years ago. I remember it came in the box with the new SE20
> for A&M studios. I was attempting to build an app with Z-Basic at the
> time, and not getting anywhere...then discovering this thing......
> what's this... some kind of add-in hardware card? ha ha

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