This week saw the open source release of a new version of SubEthaEdit and it sent me on a real trip down memory lane. 😍

I was a fairly late adopter of Apple technology. At the start of 2006, I was a pretty frustrated manager leading a team of ASP.NET developers writing HR software. As part of that job, I headed over to San Diego to attend O'Reilly Etech 2006. It was an amazing conference and I saw Kathy Sierra, Bruce Sterling, Kevin Lynch, Ray Ozzie, David Heinemeier Hansson and a whole host of other amazing people talk. That conference, and the people I met over the next few months also changed the course of my career.

I remember two things stood out from the first few hours in the convention centre. A lot of people were using Mac laptops, and they all seemed to be using a text editor called SubEthaEdit to collaboratively take notes in real time during the talks. No faffing about with network settings, the laptops just found each other (I didn't know about Bonjour at the time) and a new cursor representing a new user would pop into the file. I was there with my Toshiba Tablet PC 🙄 and I felt like an absolute dinosaur. I had been thinking about buying a Mac for a while, but that was the final push I needed. That evening I went straight from the conference to the Apple Store, bought a MacBook Pro and never looked back. I quit my job a couple of months later and started a company.

So why am I writing about this? When I saw the SubEthaEdit announcement this week it brought back all those memories and reminded me of why I fell in love with the Apple software ecosystem. Innovative software, crafted with love primarily by small, independent developers. It was unlike anything else in computing that I had ever seen. That feeling continued, and in fact got even stronger with the early days of iOS development. In my opinion, some really rapid advancement of personal computing happened during those years. It's a real shame that SubEthaEdit didn't find commercial success, but it definitely found a place in my heart.

These days, the reality of having two very popular mobile platforms, and the difficulties of creating a sustainable business on the App Store means that we see less and less software that really cares about innovating with the platform in the same way it did in the early years of OS X and iPhone OS. It does still exist though and it still makes me smile when I see it.

So, thanks to Dominik Wagner for this new release, and for being part of the reason I'm even here doing this today. I hope you all go and build amazing software in the spirit of what I first saw in that San Diego convention centre.

Dave Verwer  




Business and Marketing


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