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Scott Knaster on xCards

Current Occupation: Technical Writer, Google

How did you get the job of writing on HyperCard?

I heard about HyperCard when it was getting ready to launch, and I thought it was very cool. Dan Winkler was looking for book co-authors, and we got together and ended up writing Cooking with HyperTalk together.

Did you have a HyperCard-related job before you started working on HyperCard?

I never really worked on the HyperCard team. When I started my main HyperCard project (the book Cooking with HyperTalk), I was working at Apple on an unrelated project.

What was your first job, ever?

Ever? Assistant Cook at the A & W Root Beer stand in Denver. My first computer-related job was Software Technician at a ComputerLand store not far from the A & W.

Who was your idol at the time?

Probably David Thompson, player for the Denver Nuggets basketball team. Obviously, I didn't have any good geek role models at the time. That changed when I moved to Silicon Valley.

Who is your idol now?

I very much admire Andy Hertzfeld for everything he's done and for his honesty & integrity. My tech writer role model is Caroline Rose, who led the writing of the original Inside Macintosh.

When, how and by whom did you get introduced to HyperCard?

When I first heard about HyperCard, I was working at Acius on a database called 4th Dimension. I got hold of a pre-release copy of HyperCard (yes, Apple actually provided previews of things in those days). I loved HyperCard from the first hour I used it.

What impressed you the most about HyperCard?

There were so many things, but I probably liked HyperTalk best, and the way it let me control what was going on in HyperCard. I'm only an amateur programmer, but HyperTalk was something I could master.

What do you consider your main contribution to HyperCard?

A strange book. ;-) Cooking with HyperTalk was a chance to explore what could be done with HyperTalk, with its creator (Dan Winkler) guiding me.

Please describe HyperCard in one sentence

A program that lets you store text and pictures in rolodex-like "cards". Or, more provocatively: a program for making web sites (years before the web was invented), but without Internet connections.

If you could have added one feature to HyperCard, what would it have been?

(Apart from color - we all wanted that)

A powerful programming environment, for example, to see all scripts at once.

Do you think there is a new HyperCard today?

Yes, the World Wide Web is the HyperCard of today ;-) .

Do you think there is still a need for a new HyperCard

We can always use great new tools that make things easier and more powerful.

Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Long live HyperCard!

Amen to that Scott, and thank you!

 
A day of acquaintance, And then the longer span of custom. But first -- The hour of astonishment.