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苹果Mac计算机发明人杰夫·拉斯金去世
作者:  点击次数:2142

 Jef Raskin: He Thought Different

摘要:
    美国苹果Macintosh计算机发明人杰夫·拉斯金2月26日因病在家中去世,享年61岁。提起苹果公司的大名,或许大家都会将目光集中在公司现任CEO斯蒂夫·乔布斯的身上,然而又有谁清楚苹果今天辉煌业绩的真正缔造者——杰夫·拉斯金先生的名字呢?
    Until his Feb. 26 death at 61, the creator of the Macintosh led the rallying cry for easy-to-use computers, leaving an indelible mark on Silicon Valley and helping to revolutionize the computer industry.

    美国苹果Macintosh计算机发明人杰夫·拉斯金2月26日因病在家中去世,享年61岁。说到杰夫·拉斯金这个名字,或许大多数人并不十分清楚。确实他并不像比尔盖茨那样,是世界闻名的巨型集团的CEO,他也不曾拥有动辄千万美元的资产,他只是一个默默无闻的高科技工作者。提起苹果公司的大名,或许大家都会将目光集中在公司现任CEO斯蒂夫·乔布斯的身上,然而又有谁清楚苹果今天辉煌业绩的真正缔造者——杰夫·拉斯金先生的名字呢?

    据美国《商业周刊》3月1日报道,苹果公司知名产品Macintosh计算机就出自拉斯金之手,而拉斯金先生在电脑产品易用性方面作出的贡献几乎贯穿了整个硅谷的发展历史。我们可以这样说,拉斯金先生改变了当前电脑产品的操纵方式。2月26日,这位勤勤恳恳的老人因为胰腺癌晚期在美国家中去世,享年61岁。

    去世之前的半年时间中,拉斯金先生将他的全部精力投入到一款名为Archy的操作系统软件研发中,根据项目中的合作伙伴提供的信息,此款操作系统将会大大提高用户易用性,并且有望将电脑用户沟通技术引入一个新的纪元。去年夏天,拉斯金先生的最后一个项目正式启动,然而也就是在同一时间,他被查出患有严重的胰腺癌。拉斯金先生并没有被疾病束缚住,他坚持在半年的时间内完成了软件工程的大体框架设计工作。

    在苹果公司的发展史上,拉斯金先生可谓是战功显赫。拉斯金先生以苹果公司第31号员工的身份加入了公司,在接下来的时间里,拉斯金的产品设计天赋得以体现,Macintosh以及iPod等苹果知名产品先后诞生在拉斯金先生的旗下。当拉斯金先生带领团队研发苹果Macintosh产品的时候,他手下仅有4至5名工作人员。Macintosh在市场上取得的热烈反响帮助苹果打响了进军IT产业的第一枪,并最终跻身为美国顶级个人电脑制造商的行列。

    拉斯金的构想在当时的IT领域可谓是独树一帜,在他的眼中电脑产品应该是以一种低廉价格的形式出现在市场上,并且应该拥有简单易用的特性来吸引那些非科技用户。在拉斯金的大力倡导下,苹果公司一直走在家用个人电脑领域的技术最前沿。他创造了“点击”和“拖拉”的鼠标选项,Macintosh正式推出后,图形界面的出现彻底改变了人机对话的方式。最终其他绝大部分的软件都开始走上图形界面之路,其中也包括微软的Windows操作系统。

    不过就在Mac计算机推向市场的两年前,苹果公司现任CEO斯蒂夫·乔布斯先生接手这一项目,而因为彼此的矛盾拉斯金最终离开了公司。不过,他一手打造的研发团队还是沿着他的构想,最终设计出了具有划时代意义的Macintosh计算机。

    在离开苹果公司后,拉斯金自己创办了一家名为Information Appliance的公司,并与佳能公司联手推出另一款小型电脑产品Canon Cat。此款产品中整合的搜索功能甚至还要高于现在Windows中整合的搜索功能。然而因为商业运作方面的失误,拉斯金先生品尝到了失败的痛苦。不过也有人将产品的失败归咎于佳能公司市场推广方面的失职。最终的结果是Canon Cat仅仅卖出了不到2万台,并且在不久之后就淡出了消费者的视线。

    2000年,拉斯金出版了一本名为《人本界面》(Humane Interface)的著作,书中阐述了界面设计的基本原理。这本书还被翻译成多种文字出版发行。另外,拉斯金还建立了一个名为“拉斯金中心”的非盈利性用户界面理论研究中心,上文提到的Archy就是研究中心最新的一个项目。

    有很多事情可以让拉斯金激情澎湃,他的家庭、音乐、艺术等等……然而,致力于让电脑更容易使用的工作占据了他大部分时间。用户总是在寻找应用程序以及相关文件上耗费大量的精力。而拉斯金先生感到自己有义务帮助世界上成千上万的电脑用户节省大量不必要浪费的时间。

    现在这位传奇性的苹果天才已经离开了人间,他的理想何时才能得以实现?

   (国际在线 李远)

    Jef Raskin wasn't the typical tech industry power broker. He was never a celebrity CEO, never a Midas-touch venture capitalist, and never conspicuously wealthy (although he was wealthy). Yet until his Feb. 26 death at 61, the creator of the Macintosh led the rallying cry for easy-to-use computers, leaving an indelible mark on Silicon Valley and helping to revolutionize the computer industry.

    The tech world won't know the final impact of Raskin's work until several more months, perhaps years. At the time of his death, he was working on what he hoped would be his biggest mark yet: a new type of operating system called Archy. Friends and co-workers describe it as his longtime vision of easy-to-use computing brought to life.

    Last December, funding from an unnamed international company came through at almost the same time his pancreatic cancer was discovered, and Raskin threw himself into completing the framework of the system in his final months, says David Burstein, who's making a film about Raskin's life and did dozens of interviews with him late last year and early this year.

    Raskin was programming up until he could no longer type, about a week ago, says his 21-year-old son, Aza Raskin, who worked with him on Archy for six years. "Jef largely ignored being sick," he says. "He thought it was more important to keep his work going. The only thing that happened was he worked harder if that's possible." Raskin's death came as the last in a series of untimely exits that circumstances forced Raskin to make just as he was hitting his stride on a project. He had several bittersweet successes.

    The first, and most famous, was his role in developing the Macintosh. Raskin was employee No. 31 at Apple (AAPL ) before the launch of the Macintosh, iMac, iPod, or any of the other ubiquitous brands that have made the company famous. He headed the Macintosh project back when it consisted of just four or five people, says former co-worker Bruce "Tog"

    Tognazzini, who was employee No. 66 at Apple and hired by Raskin. Raskin's vision: to build an affordable computer designed for nontechy consumers -- a radical idea at a time when using a computer required memorizing complex codes and commands. Raskin's credits include "drag and drop" capability and introducing Apple's founders to much of the work at Xerox's XRX ) Palo Alto Research Center, which made such innovations as the the mouse and the basic structure for the windows and folders still prevalent on operating systems today. And Raskin bestowed the project with the name Macintosh, after his favorite kind of apple.

    Raskin then took time to do what he loved most: teaching and thinking. He studied how people used computers for 10 years, writing the book The Humane Interface.

    About four years ago, still disgusted by the difficulty of computer use, he decided to give his vision another try. He founded the Raskin Center for Humane Interfaces, a nonprofit that's developing Archy. He had already been working on the concept for two years with Aza, a math whiz who published his first writings on physics at the age of 19.

    Raskin had many passions: his family, music, art, and archery among them. But making computers simpler to use dominated his creative time. Friends quote words of wisdom he would use over and over again. He liked to say, "How much work does a user get done on a desktop?" The answer is none, that it's wasted time trying to find an application or file -- a problem he was trying to solve with Archy.

    Raskin is survived by his children, Aza, Aviva, Aenea, and Rebecca, and his wife of 23 years, Linda Blum. The family hasn't announced a memorial service yet. No doubt he'll be missed, but his contributions to the Information Age will not be forgotten.



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