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Vintage Mac app About boxes show just how far we’ve come

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Mac consultant, writer, and translator Riccardo Mori has a collection of vintage Macs, and he’s been putting them to good use creating a wonderful archive of About boxes while trying to determine what apps are on some old CD-ROMs and floppies.

About boxes, in case you’re new to the term, and those little screens that appear when you go to the “About…” item in an application’s home menu. Many of today’s About boxes are small, drab little things compared to what used to happen in the pixelated black and white days of the first Macs. That “system bomb” above was actually part of an animated About box for SoundEdit from Farallon Computing.

This was truly a trip down memory lane for me, as I remember most of these About boxes from the hundreds of different apps that my employer purchased in bulk for our large network of Macs.

While I won’t re-post all of Mori’s work here out of respect for copyright laws and my desire for him to get a ton of page views today, there are a few I want to call out.

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In 1985 I helped publish our company’s annual report in-house using a pirated copy of Aldus Pagemaker 1.0. In between crashes, I actually got it done.

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MacPaint was the app that a lot of us used to show off the graphic power of the first Macs. Bill Atkinson had a nice portrait of himself in the MacPaint version 1.0 About box.

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I still use Ambrosia Software’s SnapzPro X (version 2.5.4) for screen shots. So happy to see that they’re still around… but would you believe they still have the same logo (albeit much nicer-looking)?

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The slowest Windows in the world – running Windows 3.1 under SoftPC with Windows on a really fast Mac. I still have nightmares about this…

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