Happy anniversary, Mac.
25 years ago, Apple introduced the Macintosh and changed the way we thought about computers. For anyone outside a research lab, a computer with a graphical user interface was a revolutionary change in the way we worked with computers.
The Mac was a huge innovation, and its influence is still felt today, but our interactions with computers since its introduction have been largely evolutionary. Seeing multi-touch and speech recognition technologies taking hold in our daily lives today suggests we are on the cusp of revolutionary change.
It’s very exciting to think that we are starting to design our computers to interact with us, instead of forcing us to adapt ourselves to our computers. The implications in communications are huge. Most of our presentations today are static, with viewers passively receiving messaging due to technological limitations. Now, we are developing the tools to convert our viewers into participants, letting them interact with our messaging dynamically—even physically—with sight, sound, and touch.
Here’s to the next 25 years.
Just a couple weeks before the Superbowl, here’s a video that breaks down the technology behind the yellow first-down line on TV broadcasts for American football.
It’s a live compositing system that reads live camera position data from each camera on the field and draws the line over the video feed through some color filtering which masks out the players. I was struck by the simplicity of the engineering, using a spare audio channel from each camera to carry camera position data.