I am not complaining all the time! Top 15 of excellence in IT

I am Dutch, which is almost an another word for being someone that likes to complain. And I do, as you probably have noticed. I use this blog mostly to complain about things, describe what is bad and what I think is good.

But let me describe some things here that I think are good, and also why:

1.First an oldy: Fontographer 4. I loved this tool, which is so ancient right now that probably nobody has ever heard of it. But this tool by Adobe was to make custom fonts, and it simply worked. There were also no updates after it was created.

2. Sierra Adventures.I always was a nut for the Sierra On-line Adventure games when they were still a game factory in Yosemite. King’s Quest, Space Quest, Larry… I could not get enough of them. And their packaging looked gorgeous on the shelf, I still have most of them. After King’s Quest 6, the game market really started to boom, and Ken and Robertal Williams sold the company – if I am correct – and that is when the quality went down in my perspective, and the demand for adventures diminished altogether.

4. Maniac Mansion:The Day of the Tentacle. Probably the most funny and best adventure game ever made. Period. LucasArts did a magnificent job with this and still is I think a very high rated game in the top game lists.

5. Photoshop 3.Of course, I love Photoshop still, but version 3 was amazing simply because it introduced layers and a multi-step undo. All hail to Thomas Knoll!

6. Macromedia Director. I loved all the Director’s. As you will notice, although I am working mainly with Flash, it is not in this list. I still see Flash as a smaller version of Director, simply because director was (and is? I haven’t used it for a very long time) an excellent way to create multimedia locally on the computer, including 3D.

7. Microsoft Word 2.0 .I use Microsoft Office daily, and use version 2007 and probably will upgrade to 2010 soon. But the real stand-out version, also seen in the correct time-perspective was version 2. It worked, worked very well and was small and solid.

8. Apple iMac and iPod.I don’t like the Apple company, as many already know. But man, they absolutely put user experience on the map simply by getting IT out of it’s ‘nerdy’ history and put it into the hip now. It started with the original iMac, an egg-shaped computer in all kinds of bright colors in the later ’90s. They are never innovative technically, but man, they are so very slick. I still hate to love it 😉

9. The ‘I Love You’ Virus.A virus in this list? And also a crappy one at best? Yes. Simply because this was the very first ‘virus’ that used the human as the weakest link. The programmers did not know how to self-execute the virus, so they simply added the .exe in an email. And to get people, who still were ignorant of all the email-security flaws and etiquette, to run the program, just mention it that it is from that girl or boy you know. Nothing else. Man, I received it from a bombshell of a colleague, I was so happy… only to be digitally rejected by this program I guess 😉

10. DOOM 2. I love this game! And although it was Wolfenstein 3D that actually brought the first-person shooter game into existence, DOOM 2 is by far the funniest, especially in Co-op play.

11. Richard Garriott, Chris Roberts, Ron Gilbert, Ken & Roberta Williams. In my opinion these people were the major game designers that brought something new to the table. Richard Garriottfor his amazing Ultima series, Chris Roberts for his Wing Commander series (don’t mention the movie, please), Ron Gilbert for the more than excellent Monkey Island 1 & 2 and Ken & Roberta Williams for putting the whole game world into motion. You might mention Al Lowe (Leisure Suit Larry), The Two Guys From Andromeda (Scott Murphy & Mark Crowe) and many others I am forgetting, but they refined the genres instead of putting them into IT.

12. Thomas Knoll. This guy single has been most probably themajor influence in the bitmap-editing as we know today, introducing the concept of Photoshop and laying way for Adobe to become the company it is now.

13. Adobe After Effects. One of the best post-production tools available that you can master without being a pro-movie editor. It has a lot of possibilities and delivers amazing effects.

14. AutoDesk / Discreet Combustion. This is for me I think the film editing program, being able to handle all kinds of media and shape it into wonderful results.

15 VooDoo.Does anyone remember this one? No, I am not even mentioning the VooDoo renderer hardware card from VooDoo FX. I actually mean the Memory Manager from Origin. Ah… yes, that one. The one that made you reconfigure your config.sys and autoexec.bat all the time to make Ultima 7 show up. It was horrible to get it going, and you had hardly any memory left to run the game if you had the wrong sound card. Yes. That’s the one. Why is it in here? Because the program actually tended to crash too and kicked you out of The Black Gate. Still, remembering the size of the game that Ultima 7 was, physically, graphically and by shear game size, it was amazing that they were able to build this program that could actually run this game on a computer that did not actually met it’s requirements. VooDoo allowed a game written for actually 4Mb to 16Mb of memory to run on a computer having only 2. Now, that’s is some programming feat.

Alright, in my opinion, these are 15 of the things I really like and liked and appreciated in IT. A lot of games, but hey, that paved the way for me in what expectations should be met. And most of these programs listed here are 10-15 years old, if not older. If they were able to create this kind of stuff then, they can do it even better now.

But the world has changed, and there are new players now that are major elements. Like in the games area, games like Oblivion or Fallout 3, World of Warcraft etc. are shining examples of what games are going to. And there is a whole new share of designers and developers out there that are changing the world.

Yes, there is a lot to complain about in IT, but a lot to like too. Which is why I actually am in this area too.


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