[opendtv] Re: The tragedy of FireWire: Collaborative tech torpedoed by corporations
- From: Craig Birkmaier <brewmastercraig@xxxxxxxxxx>
- To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:03:35 -0400
On Jun 25, 2017, at 10:14 PM, Manfredi, Albert E <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
Craig Birkmaier wrote:
You are clearly out of your league here Bert!
As you continue to be, Craig. You've been in a roll lately!
And exactly what was it that you did to help build the "desktop video" industry
You seem to believe that the commodity PC still rules the world - fact is it
Maybe this analogy will help you come to grips with reality...
The IBM PC was to the world of workstations and desktop computers, upgraded to
do data intensive creative tasks, what the table is compared to a modern high
In 1982 I started working with Industrial Light and Magic on a product called
Edit Droid, based on a Sun workstation. ILM had a room filled with disk drives
that were used to support the complex image compositing process developed by
Lucas Arts for Star Wars. These drives from DEC were about the size of a dorm
Working for Grass Valley Group we provided the video processing hardware
incorporated into the Edit Droid - that editing system filled an entire rack of
electronics and cost several hundred thousand dollars. In 1995, working with
Media 100, we introduced the first broadcast quality "desktop video" system,
based on a Mac and disk arrays using the SCSI disk drive interface.
A few year later I worked with 3M on several video products and developed
marketing materials for them. We used a vendor to produce four color
separations for a brochure. Their system used a workstation with large storage
arrays to manipulate page layouts with text, graphics and high resolution
In 1987 I bought one of the first Macintosh II computers and a LaserWriter for
about $8,000. It supported 32 bit graphics (16 million colors and an 8 bit
alpha channel) and "WYSIWYG" graphics. That "Desktop Publishing" system was
used to create a 16 page four color brochure, producing the first four color
separations from a desktop PC in Gainesville on a Linotype 100.
Most PCs were still running DOS with CGA or EGA graphics; The first IBM PC
with VGA graphics was introduced in 1987; it could support 16 colors on a 640 x
The PC struggled in both the Desktop Publishing and Desktop Video markets for
years - it was not until the introduction of Windows 95 that the PC started to
compete in these hardware and GUI intensive applications.
What were you doing with your PCs during the last century?
This is simply NOT TRUE.
Here we go, with Craig's arguments spiraling out of control again. This is
what the article said:
"The decision-makers in the Mac engineering and marketing groups refused to
add FireWire to the Mac.
Redundant stuff deleted.
So why did they start offering FireWire in 1997?
Why did they make it standard on most Macs in 1999?
Why was it an essential technology for data intensive applications for more
than a decade after that?
I was a consultant in the QuickTime group at Apple in the mid '90s. I can
assure you that FireWire was NOT dead at this time; the reality is that it was
just being born.
And in January 1999, even Apple finally started putting FireWire into its
Macs. Before this, you had to get a PCI expansion card to add FireWire
YUP. And for another decade you had to add PCI FireWire boards to PCs, if you
wanted to use Desktop Video applications like Adobe Premiere with DV cameras.
So tell us Craig, did the article put a lot of the blame on Apple, or not?
For what reason did Intel drop its support, Craig?
The article placed both blame and kudos on Apple for the role it played in the
development and evolution of FireWire.
Here's the real story. Apple had little choice but to build a walled garden
around both it's Mac hardware and software in the '80s and '90s. The technology
behind commodity PCs simply could not support the applications that Apple
pioneered during that era.
Apple introduced standard AppleTalk networking on Macs in 1985. Networking was
an add on feature - mostly for corporate PCs - in the '80s and '90s. It took
years for Ethernet to emerge as the industry standard; PCs with standard
Ethernet did not ship in quantity until this century, driven primarily by the
need to connect to Internet routers. My 1987 Mac II had Ethernet.
When Jobs came back to Apple he began the process of moving to industry
standard technologies where they made sense; e.g. USB instead of the
proprietary Apple Desktop Bus, Intel processors, standard Ethernet. It is worth
noting that Apple drove the adoption of 3.5" floppy discs, WiFi and h.264.
I cannot grasp why there is any "blame" to be placed on the widespread
deployment of a technology that enabled a wide range of data intensive PC
applications. I still own several FireWire arrays and portable disk drives with
FireWire interfaces; some also have USB interfaces, but they are VERY slow by
Looks to me like Thunderbolt is merging with USB, adopting the
That's about as far as it goes Bert.
And you're wrong again!
"What is the difference between Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C? Thunderbolt 3 is a
superset solution which includes USB 3.1 (10Gbps), and adds 40Gbps
Thunderbolt and DisplayPort 1.2 from a single USB-C port. This enables any
dock, display, or data device to connect to a Thunderbolt 3 port, fulfilling
the promise of the USB-C connector."
Superset, "includes USB 3.1," meaning that USB-C ports which support
Thunderbolt 3 ALSO support USB 3.1. Get it? That's what "superset" means,
Craig. The two are merging into one.
You're on a roll, like I said.
NO BERT. They are NOT merging into one. For some reason YOU cannot grasp what
Thunderbolt provides a solution that allows one connector to support multiple
standards; it is already being widely deployed in a variety of "docking
stations" for laptops, which have slimmed down to the point where the
proliferation of ports on commodity PCs can no longer fit.
While Microsoft is trying to turn Surface into a Mac/iPad competitor, nobody is
going to use Surface for sophisticated professional applications like video
production and high quality desktop publishing. Meanwhile the MacBook Pro with
Thunderbolt supports Multiple 4K displays, high speed disk arrays, and the
extended color gamut being used in high end video and film production.
As I said, you play in another league. One that is in rapid decline, as the
legacy PC is becoming a liability...
The recent WannaCry ransomware attack hit hundred of thousands of legacy PCs
running XP and Windows 7. Why are so many companies running decade old
Microsoft software with un-patched vulnerabilities?
Commodity PCs are just that Bert - cheap commodity products that run cheap
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