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NeXT history thread

Started by Rob Blessin Black Hole, May 31, 2023, 06:57:21 PM

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Rob Blessin Black Hole

Quote from: zombie on May 31, 2023, 04:07:37 PMRob you should keep writing about this. Start a NeXT history thread maybe and move some of these posts there. And others can add to it. A bit like the apple folklore site, but invite others to participate that have bits of NeXT history.

I worked there and all the biographies etc SUCK SUCK SUCK at telling what it was like at NeXT. It was maybe the most eclectic place ever, and some crazy amazing stories. The vast majority of which have not at all come to light. It is still the black hole (pardon the pun) of the history of apple.

Steve Jobs petty incoherent tyrant came in at one end, and out popped the greatest 2nd act in business history.

WHAT HAPPENED in that black box in between has yet to be told.

Oh by the way al you bored forum members . I have practically hidden from view to most as the links are tricky to find the about section of Back Hole Inc, the worlds longest running now called blog and first social media site although primitive and bat shit cray ups and downs of my life running Black Hole Inc since 1996

lol also are the old websites or fractions of with permission of Alembic systems, Opensource , App Wrapper , Deep Space , Turbo Software, Etc and my primitive first web store including being one of amazons first book vendors and dells first 100 customers , well Michael Dell was still running it out of a dorm room to run NeXTstep intel 486.Years later when we needed credit , they we're cracking up as they had never seen a vendor number that low.

We were trying to figure out stuff like how long can a web page actually be and what kind of stuff can I put out here as at first it seemed as though I was alone in the wilderness, basically no one had the balls to put a sort of diary out there and I was really not sure what the heck was going to happen.

What had my friend and customer Tim Berners Lee created and well I'm damn glad I fixed and upgraded his cube whilst he was at MIT and several of them now as perhaps

the web may have been lost in a Black Hole including the one Tim used at the opening ceremony of the London, Olympics.

In a conversation with Tim and in his book weaving the web, (he sent me a signed copy saying keep up the good work) ...

somewhere around here;      I have it still ..... that his bosses at Cern did not think the WWW was a good idea.

Ha I took the ball and ran with it starting in 1993 ,

my bosses we're not happy about this unprofessional writing on the web stuff.

We we're still getting paper cuts on our tongues from stuffing envelopes with NeXT 3rd party marketing materials sending to customers .

At the time there we're not many pages out on the web for anything ,it is all in the blog.

WE created a website at Alembic systems with download links to peak and one of the worlds very first 3rd party app Alembic cd's

and Jesse at App wrapper had the early app store and cd's

to others including GSCorp and Stone Design, to others moving over from BBS to to www sites innovation in streaming music and video.

Oh I remember talking to Mark Cuban as well,  see he was asking about if NeXT was capable of doing video streaming and we talked at length about the dimension board capabilities and he thought NeXT was cool.... he made a fortune selling out his video stuff to Yahoo a few years later.

Webcrawler on NeXT Became AOL .... on and on and on.

It is in the blog.

So at one point my server hard drive crashed and the Black Hole website was being attacked by idiots and they nuked it

probably Microsoft , NDAs opponents or Facebook bitter after losing prior art patent litigation cases because the NeXT technology we demoed upended their patents sometimes by 5 years .

I thought it was lost to time, the way back machine to the rescue .

and the wayback link below saving the loss of it all fiasco ,

Yes it all needs to be edited and rewritten in parts an condensed ,

some parts when I wrote that like what the heck kind of stuff was I on,  when I wrote that but that is life.

Also my original art works out there are they highly valuable NFT's now confirmed antiques by the wayback?

To having fun making some of the web's first primitive games on flash lol

and crashing peoples web connections with my highly complicated animated videos,

me screaming about getting high speed internet over modems ...

The BHI Blog started here on page one and 3 1/2 years later,  I think I was still writing on page 1 ... 

and I need to add a crap load more from various rants that I've posted here and around the web including my recent near death hospital stuff .

I like the great idea Zombie  of a contributing posts thread ; as everyone has their own NeXT stories , we are not alone ,

I talk about that in the blog long ago,  you will see and controversial topics like saving the planet from global warming in 97,

I knew I was onto something when my friends started to get interested and involved  and wanted to be on it .All we needed was a software front end in hind site, it would have been possible modifying the early cgi scripts on BHI.

I was and still have running on the BHI site to add them customers and post to start their own social page and I talk about that as well in the blog ....

If you don't own Luciano's fantastic Inside NeXT book, I have it for sale here , I've sold hundreds of copies for him

and I am down to the last box.

I think, I'll take a chance and order another 100 copies from him, it is fluid at the moment as we are figuring it out logistically with increased prices possible and of course eventually I hope to have a NeXT book as well may be I do editing the Black Hole Inc blog lol.

I'm still recovering from MRSA  with 2 1/2 month's' in the hospital and get winded easily so I'm pacing myself

thank you for all your well wishes and patience on orders I'm catching up . I'm making a comeback.
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected]
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93


Not sure if this is the right thread, but there is incredible history on this website (now only at with photos of the NeXTdimension daughter card, etc.

Has this site's content been integrated and captured somewhere? Even interesting diagnostic utilities there too.


That is Randy Rencsok's website - one of my main info sources (along with the* USENET groups and Tim Luomat's site) when I started getting NeXT machines back in 2000...
I referenced him in the "Directory of NextStep/OpenStep Software Archives" sticky note in the NextStep/OpenStep Software section.
And just referenced him in the "Government purchases..." thread in The Lounge, about asking him where he got his stock of NeXT hardware - I believe it was from one of the U.S. 3-letter agencies (NSA or CIA)...


Randy @TurboSoftware joined the forums here back in 2009. It doesn't look like he ever posted though.

I made a backup of his site back in 2006. His Network and System Administration Manual and his NeXTstep 3.3 Developer Documentation Manuals are archived here as well as other places.

The NeXT diagnostic utilities are mixed in with others in the archives here. I believe he authored a NeXT printer repair manual that is archived here as well.

His Nitro Accelerator picture looks familiar, although I can't quite place it. :)


User @Rob Blessin Black Hole posted some great history in NeXT Acquisition

Quote from: Rob Blessin Black Hole on November 02, 2023, 02:08:38 PMHello NeXT Community:  This wiki does a fine Job explaining Gassee , his role at Apple and in helping oust Steve Jobs in which Gassee took over the Macintosh project. He had some followers at Apple according to the WIKI article quotes the lone protestor with berat, coat and earing stud Gassee's signature look, others marched to keep Gassee at Apple as well,

When Gassee left Applewith a few of the engineers, they started developing a ground up hardware company with software on PPC , then canned eventually the hardware after producing 2000 BE Boxes and was assisted by Intel to make the port but sounds like Microsloth strong armed BE OS out of the intel market in the US . Be was valued at $80 million ,

Gassee was trying to bilk Apple for $275 million for an incomplete OS in which Apple pivoted as Copland OS was floundering and Apple had spent1 Billion on it . When NeXT stepped in it  blind sided BE .

They never saw it coming , I certainly did and was ridiculed for it ha and the rest is as they say history. 3 Trillion ....  as a bonus Jobs came back firing on all cylinders oh and it was personal, NeXT simply had the better tech and people . Jobbs also killed BE OS by canning all the cloned PPC hardware as Be Boxes among them we're capable of running MAC OS as well.

Another advantage for Apple was NeXTSTEP/ Openstep were already rock solid on multiple architectures 68K, Intel, HPPA Risc and Sun .
It was surreal demonstrating Openstep boxes at that first Macintosh Developer conference lol  I'm mean the AppleCopland developers we're pissed man, some 2 million lines of copland code and poof . Greg Anderson at Anderson Financial summed it up best, "We are in the land of the blind, selling working eyeballs (NeXTSTEP) and they (Copland / MAC OS dev's) are worried about what color they are" 

The NeXT developer tools we're cross platform NT , Mach and Solaris , Apple brought back Rubenstein former NeXT hardware GURU from Firepower and the NeXT 3rd party developers we're porting the seasoned NeXT 3rd party apps to Rhapsody. Rhapsody was the first blush of the hybrid NeXT/ Mac OS future OS with Blue box app letting legacy Mac apps run Rhapsody as well.
NeXT even made an app that let the Apple devs run their code legacy , diagnosed the barnacles and provide a road map template of how to port the apps to OSX  and continued to update MAC OS to 9,1 so it wasn't as harsh of a transition 

Apple kept the Openstep Intel port alive under code name Marklar, as the writing was on the wall that PPC had no well thought out plan for the future.
Also as a bonus NeXT Apple got Web Objects , PDO and EOF software and a catalog of customs Object Oriented Projects from 3rd party vendors and a list of high end clients and seasoned developers. 

And a few legends in their own mind like me lol, Apple called me to take over all of the Openstep and NeXTSTEP software sales on Day 1 of my being laid off for 4 hours from Optimal Obects as Optical called and asked if I wanted to take over everything else an hour earlier,

I thought what the heck I'll do it, first calls in we're from MIT, John's Hopkins, Stanford , UCLA , Nations Bank, First Chicago , Bank of America and even Cannon so I hit the ground running . I was already selling NeXT 68K hardware and had a couple hench men my buddy Larry from Yale , Jace from CU  and my guru tech Max , a room I rented for $300 a block away .... it was better from me to work from home as Larry and Jace rivaled cheech andchong only with brains lol.

Apple with NeXTSTEP and Openstep but they cranked out some Y2K patches as they realized the liability cluster **** of Y2K so things we're real sporty in the trenches once again for me but I pulled a thorn out of the big lions paw help cover the Y2K flood of calls. emails , doing Apples solids left, right and center .

I can go on and on to prior art patent litigation cases we're we (Apple)n crushed greedy patent trolls .... the NeXT tech demos were like Bambi (trolls) verse Godzilla lol in court. Here is that Gassee flatulence rat bro Wiki sense of humor required , mic drop.   


Source: NeXT Acquisition thread

Quote from: Rob Blessin Black Hole on November 03, 2023, 12:39:50 AM
Quote from: pTeK on November 02, 2023, 03:51:09 PMLike I write Rob, You always have great stories :).

##### Thank you!

Once you took over as the main support for NextStep/OpenStep did you have to keep in touch with Apple to tell them what customers contacted you and for what so that Apple could update their OSX to make it more appealing and enticing to their current corporate customers?

###### To put this in context remember in 1996 and 1997 , Apple was losing 1 Billion a month so they we're bailing out water.  NeXT was no longer promoting or in effect updating Openstep as 4.2 was the last but I was not at NeXT . They had pivoted to Web Objects as their primary direction, I think I was literally the last salesman on earth lol Black Hole indeed still selling the operating system.

We have many parallels it seems, perhaps the most surreal for me was Garrett Rice , as Garrett worked at Alembic then bailed with the sales staff and shipping manager Matt Moran taking the database of customers and forming Opensource during my 9 month exodus from Alembic. Garrett was hired by NeXT when Open source closed their doors and now was our rep at NeXT. We had the discussion in person Max, Garrett and myself at Alembic as NeXT's western regional office was next door to mine in the Denver Tech Center about specifically Apple talking to BE OS. I even wrote an article NeXT and Apple a logical fit. We talked about what a different world it would be if Steve had stayed at Apple lol. Garrett called Ellen Hancock VP at Apple as he was working at NeXT with Steve Jobs.  I went into work everybody said what did you do now, lol as Apple had bought NeXT , my article was out this one  and said they had enough and we're closing their doors in 2 weeks. Nobody except a few gave it a snowballs chance in hell of working , hell I actually bought AAPL stock for $15 a share lol people called me flat out crazy. I thought I was banking selling it at $120 , damn it now that $10K in stock would be worth Millions . I think my dad held on to his , we shall see.
i.e. Standford contacted me about this custom in-house scientific application linking to this type of hardware,

I was working with Professor Zalta in physics at Stanford integrated a few NeXT intel boxes for him, also Timothy Grey at Wolfram gave me permission to distribute Mathematica for NeXT 68K and everybody knows Fernando at CCRMA Music department at Stanford , they had the NeXT frankenstein Intel box , heck even Tim Berners Lee one of the very first web pages he made was to share phone numbers with the guys at SLAC :) His bosses at CERN thought the WWW was a bad idea ha.  Numerous other accounts as hey Palo Alto always has movers and shakers.

John Hopkins with their custom patient application linking to the SQL database over the network pulling in the MRI scans, this custom app has allowed the doctors to be more productive and see more patients so could be a market in it.
Yes you are probably talking about my good friend Anthony Fernandez to this day check out his latest stuff including his NeXT now Apple imaging software..... he worked at Harvard, MIT and with JHU really nice chap!

I want to say Mike Cutheral at Johns Hopkins , also had a heck of a story  regarding imaging.
 A company had hired a team of 20 Windows developers to create an app , where they had topographic maps , over layered with property lines and assets linking historic data of flood plane locations to calculate the probability of future flooding on existing and planned infrastructure . Also linking past flood payouts so they would be able to assess risk and thus calculate rates for flood insurance. $20 Million and I want to say 6 month's to a year in a lot of money in those days , the insurance company pulled the plug.

 Mike indeed housed on  them, 1 guy and may be an assistant, 2 month's time, NeXT developer tools and waving a magic wand spun up a fully functional jaw dropping working NeXT app probably still used today. 

Here at CSU in Fort Collins they used NeXT to predict and forecast  Hurricanes and it wa indeed ported over to Apple.

Rob when did Apple call you to take over support for NextStep/OpenStep was it pre or post 2000?

**** Apple called me the first day that would have been mid January 97 . I was layed off from Alembic had changed names , the last incarnation was Optimal Object Tech. Apple was already dumping most of the supports calls to me at Optimal , think about Apple is in Shambles, they went from Copland OS to having Steve Jobs back, from my understanding on a rampage lol with Openstep ,Apple employee's were deer in the headlights , I envision the post it notes with my number for any strange software calls , have them call Rob Blessin.  If Apple employee's heard Steve coming, diving under desks, into trash cans  standing behind curtains, plants or flat out sprinting with then stampeed like Paul Revere stuff, you could be fired on an elevator ride with Steve seriously. When they flew me out to Apple for a prior art case , they changed the sign on my door to Patent Office War room NDA stuff  lol I should have taking a photo of the sign lol and the NeXT set up it looked like something out of the future lol . No stress at all , Thousand dollar an hour lawyers lurking over my shoulders, hair standing up on the back of neck, me trembling what happens if I break wind south in this grind so yeah , I said please let me do this stuff at my home as they wanted version 1.0 cubes with working optical drives , I convinced them you need to use, full height hard drive and almost on cue blue smoke bellowed out of one of them . Yes of course we won and it works for me and them , working here, my God.
I've never said this but I positively think one of those early tech support calls for Openstep from Apple was Steve , himself lol . The guy was asking a lot of complicated technical stuff about Openstep and I think I passed the BOZO to Hero test that day .  The Crazy ones commercial , so corporate customers , well trying to pitch them on Rhapsody , Apple Bondi Blue I-mac's was not the successful route. See most fortune 500 companies at the time bought into the Microsoft hype so on Purchase Orders for Custom Intel hardware for the Developers boooya I would sell them a dual boot system . The bean counters and corporate Ken's / Karen's in lockstep with Microsoft Would see Intel System Windows NT / Openstep 4.2 Developer Tools for Mach and NT with the all important Y2K patches :) I didn't venture much into the Apple Hardware side as I was surfing in the curl of my NeXT hardware niche along with a few others. They all dropped off or moved onto Apple , it became weirder working with Apple as years went by trying to explain what NeXT even was to the new Apple employee's I was contacting as my former contacts retired. I don't even know where I am any more on this in some kind of alternate universe.  ##### So I'm going back to my project of the day now repairing this NeXT laser printer, the bloody thing crumples up the paper from the brand new paper tray but when I hand feed it works perfectly. So it is an alignment issue.
What is frustrating I've noticed with SCSI2SD's and ZULU SCSI etc print jobs and printer error messages don't seem to clear so they just hang. In frustration I carefully shut down and reboot so for my sanity I'm now putting an old school hard drive in my dedicated printer test NeXTstation to see if it allows me to speed up the trouble shooting printer project. As it is jamming me up on my back ordered NeXT hardware orders. On a positive note I no longer have a sledge hammer wielding blond bashing up ,  my ex roommates stuff lol as he comes daily now at night to move more and more stuff out. Bro is dodging her for sure as she may pop out of a bush out front at him lol. If I hear his screams I will call 911 again , not my circus not my monkeys. It is 12:30 at night and I'm going to bed.


@Rob Blessin Black Hole  can you tell us what the process is when you need to set up NeXT props for a TV Episode or movie?

Do you need custom apps, How hard is to set up the network, or do they just use the NeXT as props and photoshop GNUStep over the top afterwards with the original icon set?

Are you dealing with the director, or the IT consultant to the director.