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 Jef Raskin: He Thought Different

    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.







    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。



   (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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