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Steve Jobs ThinkPad

 
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RacerX



Joined: 03 Jan 2006
Posts: 333
Location: Twin Cities, MN

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 9:02 pm    Post subject: Steve Jobs ThinkPad Reply with quote

One of the stories that has been passed around the net a few times is that when Steve Jobs returned to Apple he continued to use OPENSTEP on an IBM ThinkPad. The extended version of the story has it that he took his ThinkPad to the PowerBook team and told them that this was the quality of laptop that Apple should be putting out (it should be noted that the PowerBook G3 Wallstreet of 1998 was the first PowerBook to have a display resolution of 1024x768).

What IBM ThinkPad would Jobs have been using while at Apple?
I think we can assume that Jobs would have been using a ThinkPad from the time of his return (December of 1996) to the time that the first prerelease versions of the PowerBook G3 Wallstreets were available (Summer of 1998). Additionally, we can most likely assume that a minimum display resolution of 1024x768 would have been a factor in his choices.

This gives us a handful of models. In late 1996 he was most likely using either the ThinkPad 760E (12.1" at 1024x768, Pentium 133 or 150) or the ThinkPad 760ED (12.1" at 1024x768, Pentium 133) {1}. If we assume he upgraded to the top of the line (of supported systems) he most likely would have gotten either the ThinkPad 765L (13.3" at 1024x768, Pentium MMX 166) or the ThinkPad 765D (13.3" at 1024x768, Pentium MMX 166) in the summer of 1997 {2}... though most likely the 765L as it would have supported sound.

After the Wallstreets were available I'd guess it is safe to assume that Jobs was using an Apple PowerBook. The Wallstreets were perfect systems for Mac OS X Server (Rhapsody 5.3 and later). Each of the successive PowerBook models after the Wallstreet worked with the versions of Mac OS X (Developer Previews) that were available at the time, and Jobs would have (again) most likely been using those to watch the progress of each release.

While what Jobs used at Apple after 1997 is at best an educated guess (though I'm sure that more rumors would have been floating around if he had continued using a ThinkPad pass the Summer of 1998), there is evidence of what he was using as his system while at Pixar... at least up to 2001. The client information of e-mails (NeXT.Mailer (1.148.2)) from his Pixar account would suggest that he was using a NeXT system.


The good ol' days
While I'm quite sure that Jobs doesn't lament about the "good ol' days" back at NeXT (events of that period would hardly qualify as "good" for him I would imagine), I would be willing to bet that he does still take a measure of pride when looking at the quality of the products NeXT put out during that time.

If anything, I think that Jobs looks back on what they made at NeXT and keeps in mind that even the best products aren't guaranteed for success. You have to make both the best products and spark the imagination of those you want to sell them to... something that Jobs has been quite successful at doing since his return to Apple.


    {1} Both the ThinkPad 760E and 760ED were released in May of 1996.
    {2} Both the ThinkPad 765L and 765D were released in June of 1997.

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brams



Joined: 27 Dec 2005
Posts: 506
Location: Blackburn, England

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Steve Jobs ThinkPad Reply with quote

RacerX wrote:
One of the stories that has been passed around the net a few times is that when Steve Jobs returned to Apple he continued to use OPENSTEP on an IBM ThinkPad. The extended version of the story has it that he took his ThinkPad to the PowerBook team and told them that this was the quality of laptop that Apple should be putting out (it should be noted that the PowerBook G3 Wallstreet of 1998 was the first PowerBook to have a display resolution of 1024x768).

What IBM ThinkPad would Jobs have been using while at Apple?
I think we can assume that Jobs would have been using a ThinkPad from the time of his return (December of 1996) to the time that the first prerelease versions of the PowerBook G3 Wallstreets were available (Summer of 1998). Additionally, we can most likely assume that a minimum display resolution of 1024x768 would have been a factor in his choices.

This gives us a handful of models. In late 1996 he was most likely using either the ThinkPad 760E (12.1" at 1024x768, Pentium 133 or 150) or the ThinkPad 760ED (12.1" at 1024x768, Pentium 133) {1}. If we assume he upgraded to the top of the line (of supported systems) he most likely would have gotten either the ThinkPad 765L (13.3" at 1024x768, Pentium MMX 166) or the ThinkPad 765D (13.3" at 1024x768, Pentium MMX 166) in the summer of 1997 {2}... though most likely the 765L as it would have supported sound.

After the Wallstreets were available I'd guess it is safe to assume that Jobs was using an Apple PowerBook. The Wallstreets were perfect systems for Mac OS X Server (Rhapsody 5.3 and later). Each of the successive PowerBook models after the Wallstreet worked with the versions of Mac OS X (Developer Previews) that were available at the time, and Jobs would have (again) most likely been using those to watch the progress of each release.

While what Jobs used at Apple after 1997 is at best an educated guess (though I'm sure that more rumors would have been floating around if he had continued using a ThinkPad pass the Summer of 1998), there is evidence of what he was using as his system while at Pixar... at least up to 2001. The client information of e-mails (NeXT.Mailer (1.148.2)) from his Pixar account would suggest that he was using a NeXT system.


I once read that he basically would'nt go near anything Apple whilst he was still at NeXT. His daughter wanted a PowerBook and he said they where crap and got her a Thinkpad instead. Not sure which one. This is probably from the time when he also said that Apple was an has-been and was living on borrowed time.

I understand that Steve was seen to be using a Thinkpad 760 with OPENSTEP (not sure which one) at a Macworld Expo, maybe 1997

Quote:
The good ol' days
While I'm quite sure that Jobs doesn't lament about the "good ol' days" back at NeXT (events of that period would hardly qualify as "good" for him I would imagine), I would be willing to bet that he does still take a measure of pride when looking at the quality of the products NeXT put out during that time.

If anything, I think that Jobs looks back on what they made at NeXT and keeps in mind that even the best products aren't guaranteed for success. You have to make both the best products and spark the imagination of those you want to sell them to... something that Jobs has been quite successful at doing since his return to Apple.


If you're talking about what I said in another thread, the point I'm making is, that Steve probably does feel great pride/affection for NeXT on a personal level, that much is clear given that he deliberated over the Paul Rand logo, The Cubes case and color, even repainting the factory a couple of times with manic fascination.

My oppionion was in answer to the why don't Apple give operating systems for NeXT's away free of charge question, you probably know better than anybody on the board why they don't. Aside from licensing issues etc, what I'm saying is, even though Steve may feel pride etc, does he spend his time at Apple pondering the finer points of support for the NeXT community?, in that context I'd be surprised if he gave a damn about us. You don't make fortunes and turn companies around from the brink of disaster by looking back. Though Ford & Chrylser seems to be trying by going retro.

I know even though they where supposed to be friends he despised Scott McNealy and Sun's success 'cos he felt bad about NeXT, thus I think he'd prefer the whole NeXT chapter to be dropped from his life. It seemed from what I read he does feel sore about the issue.

That said, it does seem to be redeeming that Apple went onto it's greatest chapter using NeXT inspired technology and people and his leadership, in those terms I actually used to think that Apple was NeXT with an Apple logo over the front door.

All of that said, I've never read anything to say that Steve still does'nt own his Nitro station and the station he bought when NeXT had the hardware liquidation sale at the factory.

Points 1) & 2) in your post display so small using Firefox that it requires one to zoom to the sub-atomic level in order to make the writing legible Smile
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mdriftmeyer



Joined: 19 Feb 2008
Posts: 39
Location: Spokane, WA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:12 pm    Post subject: It was a custom build of Openstep Reply with quote

I set up that ThinkPad for Steve and Avie. Specifically, it was first for Avie and then Steve used it in his presentation at Apple and later it was used to demonstrate the unreleased custom version of Openstep at MacWorld 1997.

Scott Forstall was not in a very good mood as I recalled when he showed up at the merging NeXT Professional Services with Apple Enterprise Support [later Apple Enterprise Technical Support -- still have my leather jacket] demanding his laptop.

It was after 8:00pm and I was spending extra time supporting customers when I got an earful about this laptop which was sitting on my desk and dropped off earlier asking me to install Openstep.

I was unaware of it's significance and later that it needed a custom build I didn't even know was ready to install.

When Scott calmed down and apologized he explained the situation.

I contacted my old colleagues in SQA and Mark Bessey, Ali Ozer and myself [Marc Driftmeyer] made it a night of pizza and custom installation debugging before we got this ThinkPad up and running.

We had to use unreleased device drivers for several aspects of the system, including networking support. Then once we figured out to get it up and booted, Ali who was head of AppKit at the time had to install his custom version of AppKit.

Once it was done and Avie got his laptop around 3 am for is 8 am presentation with Gil Amelio I got a pat on the back and a big thank you.

No freebies, just "thanks Marc you were a life saver."

We had a blast getting that little bastard to work.

- Marc J. Driftmeyer
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Nightengale



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 145
Location: SD CA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Offtopic...hi Marc. Welcome to the NeXT forums as they are today. I believe you have a lot to offer here and hope you can become a part of this little community on the web. Please look around as there are quite a few folks here that definitely have a lot to offer. If you get time and feel up to it, you may want to post a little something in the Lounge area saying 'Hi' but from what I've seen it's not required (no, I'm Not from management of any type).

Welcome!
Regards
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kb7sqi



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 487
Location: Winston Salem, NC

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do have to give it to IBM for the build quality of most thinkpads. When my old Toshiba Tecra died last month after years of service for OPENSTEP, I was going thru my old x86 stuff & dug out a couple of my old thinkpads. I still have a 701C & a 365XD. If I could find the old CT65545 video driver, I'd enjoy running OPENSTEP on my 701C. The screen is small, but it's the perfect size for sitting in one corner on my desk. When I get a chance, I'm going to fix up the 365XD. I know driver wise, it's fully supported, but I need to dig out a 64 meg memory dimm for it. I'd hate to try boot up OPENSTEP w / 16 megs of memory. It'd be painful. Laughing

Hey Marc, besides the OS 4.0 Beta, if you ever want to give up your leather jacket, drop me an email. Cool Take care.
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mdriftmeyer



Joined: 19 Feb 2008
Posts: 39
Location: Spokane, WA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kb7sqi wrote:
You do have to give it to IBM for the build quality of most thinkpads. When my old Toshiba Tecra died last month after years of service for OPENSTEP, I was going thru my old x86 stuff & dug out a couple of my old thinkpads. I still have a 701C & a 365XD. If I could find the old CT65545 video driver, I'd enjoy running OPENSTEP on my 701C. The screen is small, but it's the perfect size for sitting in one corner on my desk. When I get a chance, I'm going to fix up the 365XD. I know driver wise, it's fully supported, but I need to dig out a 64 meg memory dimm for it. I'd hate to try boot up OPENSTEP w / 16 megs of memory. It'd be painful. Laughing

Hey Marc, besides the OS 4.0 Beta, if you ever want to give up your leather jacket, drop me an email. Cool Take care.


I stupidly bought a NeXT Jacket for my ex-wife. I did it to appease her. Hindsight is always 20/20.
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krfkeith



Joined: 15 Dec 2006
Posts: 127

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marc: YOU HAVE NS 4.0 BETA!!!!!!!! Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

I have been looking for that forever!!!!!

*cough* ISO *cough*

What? I didn't say anything about a disk image! Are you crazy? Wink
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kb7sqi



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 487
Location: Winston Salem, NC

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdriftmeyer wrote:
kb7sqi wrote:
You do have to give it to IBM for the build quality of most thinkpads. When my old Toshiba Tecra died last month after years of service for OPENSTEP, I was going thru my old x86 stuff & dug out a couple of my old thinkpads. I still have a 701C & a 365XD. If I could find the old CT65545 video driver, I'd enjoy running OPENSTEP on my 701C. The screen is small, but it's the perfect size for sitting in one corner on my desk. When I get a chance, I'm going to fix up the 365XD. I know driver wise, it's fully supported, but I need to dig out a 64 meg memory dimm for it. I'd hate to try boot up OPENSTEP w / 16 megs of memory. It'd be painful. Laughing

Hey Marc, besides the OS 4.0 Beta, if you ever want to give up your leather jacket, drop me an email. Cool Take care.


I stupidly bought a NeXT Jacket for my ex-wife. I did it to appease her. Hindsight is always 20/20.


There was one up on Ebay a while back. I got tied up working on a E15K on the last day of the auction. I was a little upset that day. Very Happy Back to Steve Job's thinkpad, I heard he also used a Thinkpad 560. I know it was pretty popular back in the mid-late 90's for OPENSTEP. I picked up a 560Z off Ebay last night. I'm looking forward to getting it. It's going to be used as a backup.
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