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The Feature Thief, conclusion: AppleWorks and the lessons learned
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May 1, 2015, 10:43 AM
 
Over the past week, we've been having a picnic in the software graveyard of Apple's various revamps, do-overs, and outright murders of programs that sometimes suffered from having too small a niche to devote the time to (such as Aperture), sometimes got dumped by most users who outgrew them (iWeb), and occasions where Apple painted itself into a corner (iMovie, Final Cut Express, iDVD). Today, we conclude the series with the grand-daddy of Apple abandonware: AppleWorks.

AppleWorks started life as a program for the Apple II in 1984. That's right: it pre-dates both Microsoft Office and Windows, and even the Macintosh (barely). It introduced the concept of a modular set of business applications that integrated data from each other through a common clipboard, and was the second thing Microsoft was, ahem, inspired by, following the entire concept of a GUI-based user interface with a mouse as controller.

The original AppleWorks on an Apple II
The original AppleWorks on an Apple II


Yes, today "AppleWorks" sounds more like an industry comment on how well the company executes than the name of a software application. Trust us, we had a bigger laugh at the launch of Microsoft Works.

You need to remember that software was a very different world in the 1980s and 1990s. Back then, software cost hundreds of dollars, and that made it a business purchase -- yet the makers could see all those untapped consumers waiting. There were all these potential customers, and here was all that expensive software the companies had developed. It's not quite like the way today that a store-label can of baked beans might be made by the same company and in the same way as the branded ones are, but it was close.

The makers had done the hardest part, they had built the engines that ran word processors like Word, they could surely re-use that work somewhere else. They did, and they still do: when you write an email in Microsoft Outlook on a PC, you're writing using the Word engine. There is nothing new under the sun: back in the 1980s and 1990s, all the major software companies took their "office" suites of applications, and made consumer versions.

AppleWorks, Microsoft Works, WordPerfect Works. Here was software that, yes, had some features removed, but they weren't features that you cared about. What began as price-cutting and marketing became why these Works software applications were smaller, lighter, less feature-bloated. They weren't cut down versions of three or four big, professional office apps; they were one single application that did three times as much.



For a bargain price, you got what could be a great piece of software. It was such a bargain that, in large part, AppleWorks was one of the programs that kept the original Apple line of computers going far beyond its heyday. The original suite continued on for another seven years after the Macintosh was introduced, and the AppleWorks GS incarnation managed to make it into the beginning of the second Clinton administration. Contrast that to Microsoft Works, which has vanished -- or Microsoft Word, which will easily make it to what might be another Clinton administration.

The Mac version of AppleWorks had an astonishing 13-year run, from 1991 to the last gasp in 2004, and was so popular (building as it did on the earlier versions) that Apple briefly spun off Claris, a software company, just to make it and related productivity apps, before re-absorbing them (and, let's not forget, killing off nearly everything Claris did, except for AppleWorks and one other app).

Consequently, its fair to middlingly rabid fans can speak equally fondly of both AppleWorks and ClarisWorks, its initial name. You've heard of the Claris company, by the way, you just might not realize you have: it's now renamed for its even more successful application, Filemaker.

Speaking of names, though, nobody remembers WordPerfect Works -- they don't even remember its brilliantly-named sister title LetterPerfect -- and nobody cares about Microsoft Works. Yet people do remember AppleWorks: oh, how they remember it.



AppleWorks was so fundamentally a part of the early Apple and Mac experience that when it was killed off once and for all in 2004, users went to extraordinary lengths to keep it going. Even now, more than a decade on, we know people who keep an older Mac model around that is capable of running Snow Leopard with its Rosetta ability, just to run the PPC-based program.

One user of our acquaintance was so desperate to resurrect his voluminous collection of AppleWorks documents that he went through the difficult process of installing Sheepshaver on his Intel Mac to emulate OS 9 in order to finally convert the documents into other formats.

AppleWorks running via Sheepshaver on an Intel Mac
AppleWorks running via Sheepshaver on an Intel Mac


The Mac version of AppleWorks included a word processor, a spreadsheet, a database, a vector drawing program, a paint program, and a terminal program ("a what?" you ask). It was, in short, the Swiss Army Knife of the Mac, an integrated suite of most of the things computer users of the 90s needed a computer to do. It introduced countless millions to the very concepts of consumer-use databases and vector-based drawing, and later on added a slideshow creator (dubbed the Presentation module) where Apple got a measure of revenge against MS, which had copied the entire "office suite" concept; Apple then stole the idea of PowerPoint for its own use.



To this day, in 2015, we occasionally get asked to assist users in converting a lifetime's worth of papers and layouts of various sorts from AppleWorks into something modern programs can use; the words, the numbers, the databases, and especially the drawings are still deemed valuable enough to keep and carry on with, a full 10 years after the time when people should have converted them. For the record, the previous version of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote (the "iWork 9.x" set of Mac apps), which still works on OS X 10.10.3, can read in the AppleWorks 6 versions of word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

AppleWorks 6, itself, could both read in earlier versions of Mac AppleWorks documents and translate some of them (the three aforementioned modules' output) into Microsoft Office format, which was and of course remains a standard. The latest "iWork" iterations of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote have lost these abilities in their break from the past, not the first time Apple has abandoned AppleWorks users; it is indeed the fourth time, and this time permanently.



While we're on the topic of conversions, here's a very quick guide to what to do if you have old AppleWorks documents (either pre-dating the final AppleWorks 6 file format, or from one of the modules that never got a direct iWork translation) and you need to convert them. For AW drawing files, there's a program called EazyDraw that, for over a decade, has made its ability to convert those files -- and other ancient vector programs like MacDraw (II and Pro), Canvas and even PICT files (!!) -- into standard formats a central claim to fame; but even it has moved on, and now only offers that ability in a special version called EazyDraw Retro, which only works with OS X 10.7 (Lion) and earlier.

The birth of 64-bit computing has turned out to be the final nail in AppleWorks' coffin. Figuring out EazyDraw's bizarre licensing scheme so you can actually buy a copy we leave as an exercise for the reader, and we recommend just calling them. Another option is Intaglio, an $89 vector drawing program that still supports AppleWorks and MacDraw (and PICT) drawing files (no Canvas support). In many ways it is a better program -- and a far better website -- than EazyDraw, but it is more expensive, and hasn't seen a full-number upgrade since 2008 -- though it was just recently updated to version 3.6.3 and has been slowly but steadily incremented over the years.

If it is truly "last last call" for the WP, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing files created by AppleWorks -- and it is -- for the remainder of files created by that suite, the train not only left that station a while ago, it has since been converted from steam and coal to a futuristic monorail, and not even the Hogwarts Express is going to save you. Just about the only options left in the 21st century are to buy a functional older Mac that can be made to run a copy of Snow Leopard (still available from Apple on DVD only for $20), somehow locate a copy of AppleWorks 6 (or if you're lucky, someone already has it on an old Mac or the CD it used to come on), and use it to open and export those database and paint files into standard db and bitmap image formats.



There was an independent program that was brilliant at converting all manner of these 90s-era files into the later standards, called MacLinkPlus Deluxe by DataViz, but again they haven't made that program in nearly a decade. You might have to resort to Sheepshaver, but we warn you in advance you will not enjoy getting that option to work.

Without getting into a longer discussion of file formats and the long-term preservation of important files, let's simply say that the lessons of AppleWorks is that most formats will eventually die, and that it is up to users to preserve and convert their retainable documents and projects, and periodically convert them to whatever is the standard these days. For the most part, many of the standards from that time are still the standards today; particularly for Microsoft files, but also for most of the usual image and generic word-processing and database formats like RTF and comma-delimited. It's definitely something for readers of this series to put some thought into, if you want your files to outlive you.

And so as we draw to a conclusion to this week-long surgical examination, we don't want to leave you with the impression that you can't trust Apple's software for the long haul. Even Microsoft has changed its standard Office file format, and the Office of today would be completely unrecognizable to people who built their careers on it in the 80s and 90s.

Avert your eyes! It
Avert your eyes! It's the Windows version of AppleWorks!


Apple is hardly the only company guilty of walking away from popular programs in the name of (usually) building something better; we have stacks of old PageMaker, QuarkXpress, ReadySetGo, and MacroMedia app files (among others, some of you will be feeling a bit old just now) we likely will never need to open again, but might like to view for nostalgia's sake someday ... but we're not even sure we can pull that off today, let alone in another 20 years when we get round to it in our dotage.

In most of the cases we have looked at in this series, Apple has almost always had rational, defendable reasons for moving on, even if sometimes the execution of the transition (when we even got the luxury of a transition) could be as harsh as a prom-night breakup. On nearly every occasion, Apple replaced what it dropped with something that was ultimately better, but often took far longer than it should have to get there (a lot like societal change, now that we think about it). There's no evidence that will change much going forward.

Will it ever please everyone when these occasions occur in the future? Probably not -- there are still a small but vocal band of "PPC4EVER" types zealously keeping their iBook G4s and G5 Mac Pro towers going, determined to keep using (insert name of discarded program here) until the end of time. Most of the rest of us adapt after a period of awkwardness, and move forward; even us veteran Mac types find it a bit painful to look at the old screenshots of some of the stuff we spent years mastering, and now barely remember compared to the conveniences of modern software.

The lesson to be learned from it all is that digital creations are still more fragile than we like to think: having successfully shepherded that terrible screenplay we wrote in the 90s through Zip drive failures, hard drive crashes, electrical brownouts, magnets accidentally left on top of floppy disks and much more, we might finally be undone by the fact that we saved it in some Amiga format and never converted it. Ernest Hemingway lost a suitcase full of papers; we still have our work in our hands, and yet we are just as sunk as he was.

All those old files one thoughtfully burned on CDs back in the day may need to be periodically reviewed and updated to modern formats, or preferably (when possible) converted into what we think now are the formats that will still be readable when our kids want to look at our old art files or writings or photos (it will happen, it will; if they ever want to borrow the car, it will).

Looking at the bigger picture of where we are and what we can do with modern technology today, most of the decisions made by Apple and others in hindsight look to have been wise, however well or badly they were handled at the time (we're still bitter about Intuit's continuing hostility to Mac users, and mad at Filemaker for killing Bento; our rage about those will never die). As long as computers and the Internet as we know it have been around, they are still a fairly young technology, and still going through periodic and tumultuous change on the scale seen in the early days of transportation, printing, filmmaking, and more: each of those technologies experienced huge paradigm shifts early and often before (mostly) finally settling into a slower pace of change that was easier to accept.

The history of television is one good model to study for an analogy; many people and companies struggled for decades to create a universal vision of the idea; several formats, even popular ones, were tried and abandoned; finally, a patchwork of still-incompatible "standards" was reached that was good enough to go mainstream; and then, for a while, a plateau occurred, where change was more incremental. Then there were still periodical upheavals, like color TV. Again, color came when the standards were good enough, rather than great -- Europeans used to mock our NTSC, calling it "Never Twice the Same Color" -- but to us it was the norm, and it was here forever.

Except then we had remote controls, cable TV, pay TV, home video recorders, video-on-demand, HDTVs, 16:9 TVs, and lately 3D and 4K TVs. It never ends, and despite the occasional pain this causes, the alternative -- stagnation -- is ultimately less desirable. If we must be victims, at least we are victims of progress.

And yes, this means you're going to be re-buying your favorite albums and movies over and over again for the rest of your life. Get used to it.

-- William Gallagher (@WGallagher) and Charles Martin (@Editor_MacNN)

If you've missed any part of this series, you can find the introduction to it here; our look at the history of Pages from Monday; the saga of Apple's various video apps that was covered on Tuesday, the bitter murder of iWeb from Wednesday, and the requiem for iPhoto and Aperture seen yesterday.

[Update]: And the thievery continues -- since this series was written, Apple introduced what some would call a "lobotomized" version of Disk Utility in El Capitan that sports a cleaner, more visual look, but removes a few useful features, or makes them harder to access. The functionality itself is still present in OS X through the Terminal, but readers have complained that this isn't a viable replacement. Thus we see the circle of feature life turn again ...
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Jan 8, 2016 at 01:48 PM. )
     
bobolicious
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May 1, 2015, 11:59 AM
 
"we occasionally get asked to assist users in converting a lifetime's worth of papers and layouts of various sorts from AppleWorks into something modern programs can use; the words, the numbers, the databases, and especially the drawings are still deemed valuable enough to keep and carry on with, a full 10 years after the time when people should have converted them."

When we SHOULD have converted them? Who pays for that ? Is that the new hidden backloaded overhead cost for choosing Apple in the first place ? Does one bill former clients ? Are computers supposed to make life easier & more efficient ? Is there a difference between archival access of original digital files (forensic accounting/legal) and access or upgrading to reuse content...?

How long/much should one budget to going through upwards of 13 YEARS worth of files, letters, reports, specifications, contracts, etc...?

In one world I know of there is actually a LEGAL requirement & 16 year Statute of Limitations for document access. This is not an optional or elective requirement. Irrespective of this in liberal arts circles there still seem entire museums & special thermally controlled rooms dedicated to preserving historical documentation...

Is a lack of reverence for history in general or anything older than last years promotion to the corporate coffers of vested interests reasonable...?

Is this is the first century in history where documentation may be lost forever by design ?

"For the record, the previous version of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote (the "iWork 9.x" set of Mac apps), which still works on OS X 10.10.3, can read in the AppleWorks 6 versions of word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations."

Which version specifically? I have iWork 06 & 09 & Apple Support even sent a disk containing a version of iWork 08 Pages which they claimed would open Appleworks files to no avail, later confirming (as I recall) that no version of Pages could access Appleworks files...?

Archival/access options I have found that seem work:
- an old mac (at risk of hardware failure)
- LibreOffice (as of last year, limited, no support window)
- Appleworks in W7 (technically 'educational' license only, W7pro support to 2020)
- AppleWorks in Snow Server in Parallels (unknown support window)
- PDF (signed, with access/reuse limitations, CC support window unknown?)
- paper (hard copy support 'infinite' )

Is it an ultimate irony that Apple offers iBooks Author as a compelling & brilliant potential new 'digital printing press', yet by design offers no access to the potentially substantial body of Mac user digital content created in it's own past AppleWorks software ?

Nuff said - let the futurist flames begin...
( Last edited by bobolicious; May 1, 2015 at 12:24 PM. )
     
Mike Wuerthele
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May 1, 2015, 12:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by bobolicious View Post
"we occasionally get asked to assist users in converting a lifetime's worth of papers and layouts of various sorts from AppleWorks into something modern programs can use; the words, the numbers, the databases, and especially the drawings are still deemed valuable enough to keep and carry on with, a full 10 years after the time when people should have converted them."

When we SHOULD have converted them? Who pays for that ? Is that the new hidden backloaded overhead cost for choosing Apple in the first place ? Does one bill former clients ? Are computers supposed to make life easier & more efficient ? Is there a difference between archival access of original digital files (forensic accounting/legal) and access or upgrading to reuse content...?
This is less a function of Apple, and more an overall problem with the industry. Word today won't open a Word 4 document.

Document migration is an individual preference. I can't tell you when its universally "time" to do this. I've got some files I shepherded along for literally decades and only pitched them recently, because it was a project I literally will die before I get back to it. It was important to me, so when the writing was on the wall that a program was departing, I used the hardware and software I had on hand to migrate.

Is a lack of reverence for history in general or anything older than last years promotion to the corporate coffers of Apple (and MacNN advertisers & developers) reasonable...?
Not sure where you're going with this, but I suspect it may have more to do with featuritis. If AppleWorks had a UB moving to Intel, and continued support from the code monkeys at Apple then I suspect there would be a wide user base, still.

Apple had other plans.

For the record, editorial (myself, Charles, William, Malcolm, and a handful of others) have zero interface with the advertising department.

Is this is the first century in history where documentation may be lost forever by design ?
Yes. See online-only requirements for gaming and the developers calling reverse-engineering servers to keep these games alive piracy.
     
bjojade
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May 1, 2015, 12:54 PM
 
I don't understand why software companies remove the ability to read the old file formats. Yeah, there is some extra code needed in the software to do the conversion. SO WHAT? Application file sizes aren't the issue they once were. The code for the conversion would be next to nothing.
     
jfgilbert
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May 1, 2015, 01:01 PM
 
"In one world I know of there is actually a LEGAL requirement & 16 year Statute of Limitations for document access."
Are you aware of the warehouses full of boxes of blank paper that are kept by the banking industry, because of the legal record keeping requirement? Shame that nobody told the ink on the computer printouts that it was legally obliged not to fade out after 3 to 4 years.
Do you realize that, if you want to keep paper records of your former customers, you have to put them in filing cabinets, keep them dry and safe from fire or other damage, and maintain a filing index that would allow you to retrieve them? Then, when you want to get rid of them, you still have to make sure they get destroyed properly to protect the privacy of your clients, and sometimes your clients' clients. Do you bill your former customers for that?
These are not "new hidden backloaded overhead cost for choosing Apple", these are costs of doing business and have nothing to do with what computer system you are using.
     
Charles Martin
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May 1, 2015, 01:11 PM
 
Bobolicious: how much does it cost to save a Pages document in Word format? Oh wait, it's $0.

As for "the first century where [knowledge] is lost forever by design" that would probably be (or pre-date) the Dark Ages, where A LOT of knowledge was deliberately destroyed by the church (shades of the modern-day taliban). There's also the stupidity of writing things on stone that may break or crumble, papyrus that you know perfectly well can burn, languages that die out, and of course taking pictures on unstable film (which all film is, by design). Do you have a magnetic tape reader for these spools, or a way to bring back these BBC TV shows that were wiped by the BBC, or a punch-card reader? How's your Latin, or your morse code these days?

Knowledge preservation is nothing new, having to change formats in order to keep material relevant resulted in the Bible (and other early works), and attempts to suppress or destroy ideas is as old as the first election. For an old-fashioned guy, you seem very unfamiliar with history.
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Grendelmon
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May 1, 2015, 01:14 PM
 
I miss AppleWorks. It was so dang quick and simple to use.

On a different subject, anybody remember Cyberdog? That was another suite of apps that had a lot of potential, back in the day...
     
Charles Martin
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May 1, 2015, 01:15 PM
 
Additionally, I have just opened Pages version 4.3 and used it to convert an AppleWorks 6 document. So if you can't make that work, that's either because you're trying to convert documents older than AW6 (and as stated in the article, that's what you got AW6 to do), or it's operator error on your end.
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bobolicious
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May 1, 2015, 02:56 PM
 
"I have just opened Pages version 4.3 and used it to convert an AppleWorks 6 document"

Indeed I just copied over Pages 4.1 from iWork '09 from Snow to Yosemite and it does open an Appleworks 6 text document (albeit with errors) yet not Appleworks 5 as suggested... This still precipitates migrating all AW5 files (that version offers an 'unsupported' error) prior to moving past Snow ie if a mac dies & one buys a new one...? I would still concur with bjojade - these things should 'just work', especially with in house software ie ideally also in Pages 5, and then we can access what we need when we need it, moving forward without the fear of content loss...

...and morse code and a pocket mirror could save your life, if you ever end up needing help and your iPhone runs out of juice...

Is Bento/Filemaker a part of any AppleWorks database equation...?
( Last edited by bobolicious; May 1, 2015 at 03:49 PM. )
     
panjandrum
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May 1, 2015, 04:17 PM
 
I'll just say that I agree that this is indeed "less a function of Apple, and more an overall problem with the industry." However, I don't agree that this makes it "the right thing to do" or in any way lets Apple (or any other software developer) off the hook. It's an argument that sounds suspiciously like an "appeal to tradition". I.E. It's always been done that way, so let's just keep doing it that way... I guess I just wish that Apple would hold themselves to a higher standard. I don't have a single file in Appleworks format, but I've seen so many users struggle with this issue... It would have cost Apple almost nothing to include the ability to open Appleworks files in every version of iWork. Look at Apple's profits. Look at their cash reserves. The only possible explanation for not doing the right-thing is that, like basically all other large companies in the world, the just don't care. It would be so nice if they did...
     
Mike Wuerthele
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May 1, 2015, 04:36 PM
 
Panjadrum, do you listen to the podcast we do? I say that if there was money to be made in puppy-kicking, they'd be off in a shot.

For us, abandonment of OS X functionality to boost iOS users is just that, puppy-kicking. You're right. They just don't care about this.
     
MitchIves
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May 1, 2015, 05:44 PM
 
What no mention of the Lisa 7/7 programs. Pre-dated everything (1982/83). Could open several programs at the same time and copy and paste between them. Office wasn't even a concept then. It was many years before Multi-finder on the Mac and the ability to do what we did back in 82-83...
     
Mike Wuerthele
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May 1, 2015, 05:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by MitchIves View Post
What no mention of the Lisa 7/7 programs. Pre-dated everything (1982/83). Could open several programs at the same time and copy and paste between them. Office wasn't even a concept then. It was many years before Multi-finder on the Mac and the ability to do what we did back in 82-83...
The line's got to be drawn somewhere. We didn't cover PDP or Prime 500 word processing packages either, both of which had greater market penetration than the Lisa did.
     
Charles Martin
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May 1, 2015, 06:03 PM
 
MitchIves: believe me the list of things we left out is as long or longer than the ones we left in! Open Transport, anyone? Front Row? The aforementioned Cyberdog? Me, I'm still crying over iCards and the loss of podcast functionality in Garageband ... that graveyard is a big one, full of weeping angels ...
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panjandrum
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May 1, 2015, 07:07 PM
 
Hey Mike, I'll listen to the podcast. I have not done so! That's interesting, because I had a completely different reading of your recent Feature Thief about the Photo apps, and came-away with the impression that you (as in MacNN) more-or-less supported the "iOSification" of the Mac UI. My sincere apologies if I misread...
     
Charles Martin
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May 1, 2015, 08:51 PM
 
Each staff member has their own view on that, panjandrum, but in general we are fine with it when it improves things or makes sense (like being able to send SMS and iMessage directly from the desktop, not to mention phone calls) and not fine with it when it doesn't (I'm not personally a fan of so much "white space" in Yosemite, but I'm okay with the softer, flatter icon scheme). Some things work better on a small screen than on a huge monitor, Apple is figuring that out.

I've been around long enough to remember Aqua, however, so I know already how this plays out -- go take a look at 10.0 and then take a look at, say, 10.5. Big difference, much better. So it will likely be with the Yosemite look -- little refinements (which have already started, really) over the next few upgrades.
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Michelle Steiner
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May 2, 2015, 10:00 AM
 
The reason Apple spun off Claris had nothing to do with ClarisWorks/AppleWorks. The product that eventually became ClarisWorks was started by two independent developers (who had previously worked for Claris, BTW), Bob Hearn and Scott Holdaway, who marketed the product to Claris and other software development companies. For various reasons, they eventually chose Claris.
     
DudeMac
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May 2, 2015, 10:28 PM
 
AppleWorks was an awesome application. My wife still finds that iWorks doesn't quite get it done compared to AppleWorks, things she took for granted.
     
Inkling
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May 3, 2015, 09:24 AM
 
Great article. I would suggest to users that, if an app they use is bitting the dust, they save the content of files in some simple format. I did that with my books in Framemaker when the Mac version was discontinued. It'd be a lot of work to rebuild those books in InDesign, but nothing like starting from scratch. And if the two authors of this article have the time, they might also do an article on the continuing fascination some Mac users have with the last non-bloated version of Word, the long ago Word 5.1. From time to time, I try to interest a developer in creating a near-identical equivalent for OS X.
Author of Untangling Tolkien and Chesterton on War and Peace
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 3, 2015, 03:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by bobolicious View Post
"we occasionally get asked to assist users in converting a lifetime's worth of papers and layouts of various sorts from AppleWorks into something modern programs can use; the words, the numbers, the databases, and especially the drawings are still deemed valuable enough to keep and carry on with, a full 10 years after the time when people should have converted them."

When we SHOULD have converted them? Who pays for that ? Is that the new hidden backloaded overhead cost for choosing Apple in the first place ? Does one bill former clients ? Are computers supposed to make life easier & more efficient ? Is there a difference between archival access of original digital files (forensic accounting/legal) and access or upgrading to reuse content...?

How long/much should one budget to going through upwards of 13 YEARS worth of files, letters, reports, specifications, contracts, etc...?

In one world I know of there is actually a LEGAL requirement & 16 year Statute of Limitations for document access. This is not an optional or elective requirement. Irrespective of this in liberal arts circles there still seem entire museums & special thermally controlled rooms dedicated to preserving historical documentation...

Is a lack of reverence for history in general or anything older than last years promotion to the corporate coffers of vested interests reasonable...?

Is this is the first century in history where documentation may be lost forever by design ?
No, last century got started on that. It's been a fundamental problem since the dawn of the Digital Age.

There are still mainframes from the 50s and 60s maintained and kept operational simply because there is no effective way to transfer the databases contained within the systems into more modern formats.

This is a Huge Issue, and it is certainly nothing particular to Apple, nor anything new - it just didn't really begin to affect ordinary users until about twenty years ago.

A friend of mine maintained the largest corrected database of jazz songs (all of the fake books and collections available are riddled with harmonic mistakes made in transcription) - thousands of songs in Notator format on an old Atari. The guys at Emagic could never manage to find a way to convert it properly into Logic format and keep the chord symbols intact. They tried several times.
     
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May 4, 2015, 09:26 AM
 
Mike and Charles: my comment was more tongue in cheek than anything. Of course you can't cover everything. Looking back, it was amazing to be able to open seven programs at the same time and move information between them... in 1982! Placing a graphic or a chart in a written document was unheard of. I got a call from the largest real estate syndication company in the country... not to buy our property, but to ask how I made that package with the graphics and charts in the document? Of course, having proportionally spaced fonts on a LaserWriter when the whole world had monospaced dot matrix printouts was also a big deal.

I enjoyed your series even though it brings up painful memories... in the case of Aperture and FCP X...
     
Mike Wuerthele
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May 4, 2015, 09:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by MitchIves View Post
Mike and Charles: my comment was more tongue in cheek than anything. Of course you can't cover everything.

<snip>

I enjoyed your series even though it brings up painful memories... in the case of Aperture and FCP X...
Yeah, I figured it was

This is it in the series, for now. There are way more Apple-killed projects we could delve into, but these are the big ones.

On to the next thing!
     
Tom53092
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May 4, 2015, 04:31 PM
 
In 1984 I was selling Apple II systems with Appleworks. A computer with 2 floppy disks, printer, and Appleworks sold for about $2050. My one bedroom apartment on Nob Hill in San Francisco was $425 per month. In other words, the computer cost almost 5 months San Francisco-rent. My how times change.
     
MitchIves
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May 4, 2015, 09:38 PM
 
Mike & Charles: I knew this was the last one in the series... just wanted you to know I found it interesting... do more things like this...
     
Mike Wuerthele
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May 4, 2015, 11:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by MitchIves View Post
Mike & Charles: I knew this was the last one in the series... just wanted you to know I found it interesting... do more things like this...
Yep, we have a plan.

For instance, did you know, we have an actual published author on staff? Not like one thing, either.

I wonder what we might do as a series utilizing his knowledge. Hmmmmm.
     
Vulpine
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May 7, 2015, 12:48 PM
 
I was a strong fan of the Appleworks/Claris Works suite; I wrote my first novel in it. Interestingly, I still have some of those original files buried away. Fortunately, there is at least one, if not two applications which can convert Apple/Claris Works' files and they are the open source Open Office and it's now split off Libre Office. Yes, there's still some manual editing that needs to be done because it can't translate all the formatting codes, but the end result is pretty basic text that can be reformatted pretty easily.
     
   
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