initgame = I = installfest

insanely great adj.

[Mac community, from Steve Jobs; also BSD Unix people via Bill Joy] Something so incredibly elegant that it is imaginable only to someone possessing the most puissant of hacker-natures.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Also the title of a book by the mac lover and journalist Stephen Levy.

The book, whose subtitle is The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything details the history of the Mac, from its inauspicious beginnings as an offshoot of the Lisa through to a new after-afterword wherin Steve Jobs reveals to the author the iMac. The book's laidback narration style, much like the culture surrounding the computer it documents, is easy to read. Narration is interspersed with liberal quotes from such luminaries involved with the projects, such as Bill Atkinson, Susan Kare, and Jef Raskin. An easy read, and enjoyable as well, as the author takes you on a detailed but not overwhelming tour of the Mac's backstory.

The only complaints I had with the book were Levy's tendency to downplay the truly momentously stupid mistakes that Apple's management made, and a somewhat scattered feel to the way in which he presents events. This last critique is understandable in a way, as some of the projects that resulted in the Mac were overlapping, ongoing events. This doesn't change the fact that occasionally his easygoing narrative style makes it hard to understand what is going on when.

Those problems aside, Insanely Great is a good light read for anyone interested in learning more about the translucent beasts that have now invaded offices and homes throughout the world.

My recollection is that Steve Jobs did not originate the term "insanely great," but that an early Macintosh fan sent a letter to Apple that he'd composed on his 128K Mac and printed on his ImageWriter printer. This testimonial consisted primarily of the phrase in question, printed very large and in the garish fonts of the day (I believe he used the San Francisco font). Apple re-printed the letter in its ads.

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