Taking back the rainbow 

Posted on 9 June, 2008 at 12:41pm

During a recent trip home to Chicago (more precisely, Algonquin) I found myself going on a nostalgia treasure hunt through my parents’ basement. Among the usual prizes of old yearbooks, photos and toys, I unearthed a cache of computers, none of which had been turned on in almost fifteen years. The oldest machines in the collection were an Apple ][, a Mac Plus, and a Macintosh SE (all of which still boot). There were also two newer machines – a PowerPC box and a Performa, which was our first computer with a CD-ROM drive. Other Macs the household has seen are a blueberry iMac, a G3 iBook and a G3 tower. These days I use a Mac Pro tower and a Macbook Pro for work, while I tote around the featherlight Air for personal use. And then there’s the iPhone.

Yeah. This stuff is in my blood. It’s probably in yours too, if you’re reading this.

Old Mac users have more than just a shared history. We have intense cultural pride. There were times when it was a 45-minute drive just to get to a store where you could buy Mac software. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to try to make the stuff, much less sell it. While I was milling around the SFMacIndie party at Jillian’s last night I was astounded by the sheer number of developers there. There are people who converted because of the excellence of the developer tools, or because they see opportunity in the market, or because they are attracted to the explosive growth of the iPhone. Actually, these are all pretty legitimate reasons to develop software for a platform. It’s not just folks doing it for the love of it anymore.

There’s no way this is a bad thing. More developers means more choice, more innovation and a better experience for Mac users everywhere. It’s just different, and it’s easy to be wistful for a world that has gone by.

To me, the rainbow logo is the icon of the Old World of Mac. The world of Mac that I fell in love with is different, both simpler and more complex, than the glossy technoporn world we know now. So I’ve decided to take it back (with all due respect to Clerks 2). I want to remember the richness and color of that shared history, even as we move forward into what looks to be a Golden Age for the company who’s products have shaped my life in so many ways. So henceforth I’ll proudly display the old logo in place of the new one wherever I can, as a simple homage to the culture that brought us here.

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The Discussion

8 Comments on “Taking back the rainbow ”
  • You should register a domain and kick this off with badges and stuff.

  • I feel the same way, and oddly really miss the old logo. I’ve been doing this for more than 15 years (yes, I’m old) and have loved every minute of it. Even during the bad days, when we bled in five colours.

    I’d love to track down some old rainbow apple bumper stickers.

  • I’ve only started using Apple products when I got my iMac about a year ago, and started developing for Cocoa shortly thereafter, so I probably don’t really understand this sense of patriotism towards the old Apple days, but I sure don’t look forward to the massive explosion in Mac users and developers we’ll be seeing in the next decade. I had a small sense of this community feeling in a very old IRC channel for the past year, and unfortunately it’s fading very quickly. There has to be a solution, it just needs to be found.

  • I’m pretty sure there was a 6th color in all that bleeding. ;-) I’ve been a Mac user since 1986, and I’ve still got a Color Classic and a 7200 in the basement.

    I still had a 6-color window cling on my car until recently. I put a white sticker on when I got my latest usedmobile, but yeah, I kinda miss the ol’ rainbow of fruit flavors myself.

    I really like your “Mac to the Future” idea, as it combines two of my favorite things. And a Reunion Island .re domain is a possibility.

  • Of course, it’s spelled //e, not ][e :-) the ][ and ][+ get the square brackets.

    Pedantically yours,

  • Oops! I lied, it wasn’t a //e but a ][. I went back and checked the pictures.

    But yes, you are right and thank you for the correction. ;) Edited the post.

  • My MacBook sports only ONE sticker, the retro rainbow apple transparent sticker that shipped with old Macs.
    Yet, you should see the faces when people see it: it’s a simple, obvious idea, but apparently people love it. :)

  • Can I assume that you are using a Mac-specific font for this article? On Firefox 3 the character after your title, “Taking back the rainbow”, is rendered as a little box with F8FF in it. Upon careful inspection of my settings I have just about exhausted all possibilities OTHER than the fact that you are likely using a font not present on the majority of Windows-based machines.

    Let me guess… F8FF is the hex code for a Mac-specific font that displays a tiny little Apple logo?


Posted on 9.06.08 at 12:41 pm


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