Sandy Miranda on Apple's ARC Connections

Source: Interview with Sandy Miranda, 14 April 2000.

Pang: Before we started recording, you mentioned Harvey Lehtman talking to you about whether he should join the company. Were there other ARC people or Tymshare people who you had spoken to about it?

Miranda: Well, I remember when Harvey called me. And I think that it seems to me like Dirk van Nouhuys also called me. I'm trying to remember, but I think he did too. Those two in particular, and I think there were others. I remember the day that Harvey called me, because I've always been very fond of Harvey. We were good friends, you know. We still talk every once in a while. I just saw Dirk last weekend. And they just were checking it out and...the only thing you could say at that point was, "How fast could you get here?" [Miranda laughs] You know, it was quite a zoo.

Pang: Were there other ARC people who you ended working with when you were at Apple? I know David Casseres is also one of the....

Miranda: Yeah, that's the one I was trying to remember. He was in the tech writing group when I got to Apple. He's always been one of my favorite people. Whenever there's a party when we get back together, I make a beeline for David, he's the one I want to see the most, 'cause I never see him except at these reunions. I ended up working with him. I think he was the only one in that first group, but later on, they were all there. They were all, all those people it ended up, they were in different groups from me, but David, I actually was in the same group with David and we used to talk about it all the time.

And Dirk van Nouhuys, he was there, but I was in the Lisa group and they were in the Apple II group at that time, or Apple III, whatever it was by that time. They were across the road, and at that time Jobs-- by the time they started developing the Mac-- he wouldn't let anybody in that building unless you had that badge. [Miranda laughs]

Pang: It sounds as if working in that more secretive kind of way was a new thing for the company.

Miranda: Yeah, that didn't happen until the Mac started. And I think it probably was because the Lisa team was still there, they kind of took-- The Lisa was a transitional project that led to the Mac. We did all this development and then they took it and said, "Okay, this is good, now here's what we really want to do." And so I think they were worried about people getting upset, cause it was always the pariah. They kind of made it into a bad thing. But it wasn't a bad thing, it was part of the process.

Pang: Now you had said something about Jef Raskin...

Miranda: Oh yes. This is a good story. This is good. You'll like this. Somebody, I can't remember who, but when I was at the USGS working on earthquakes, somebody showed me an Apple manual, the very first one, I think it was Basic. And it was Jef Raskin's first book for Apple, and in there on page ten or something it said, "If you can understand this page, you are a mutant, and you will go far in the computer world." And when I saw that, I said, "I'm going to work at this company and I'm going to write books with whoever did this because I love this." And that's why I did. I just called them up and said, "I want to come down and interview because I love what this guy said, who is this person?"

That was my idea of a great time, 'cause I'd been writing this government stuff, and the stuff at ARC was so serious. That was my only big complaint about ARC, it was a true privilege to be working in that group, but the stuff that we produced was so serious. The people were great but it was very serious stuff that went out. And Apple had this whole different vibe to it, and it was like, "Hallelujah." It was kind of getting, letting you out, unlocking the door, saying, "Okay now you can really let it all hang out," you know what I mean?

But I see Doug every once in a while, and whenever I see him he comes up and gives me a hug and says, "Hi, Kid." He always says that to everybody, right? Anne Duvall was one of my best friends at ARC, and Pamela Allen--have you heard of her? And Bill Duvall, of course, was my husband's (Jim Norton) good friend, and I still see the Duvalls socially. Like I said, we all see each other.

That's a family that was created that will never go away. 'Cause basically, we all know we changed the world. We don't say it that way, but we did, and when we got to Apple, we really changed the world. Doug Engelbart laid down the foundation, and then we went out and took it to town.

Pang: It must be gratifying seeing Doug's work get the recognition that it has now.

Miranda: Yeah, it's fantastic. The evolution of the whole project is really interesting, and I mean the tool-- every writer wants this tool. This was a dream back then. There was another guy in ARC called Kirk Kelley, have you ever heard about Kirk Kelley?

Pang: He worked for Sun... he died a few years ago?

Miranda: Yeah. Kirk had this demo, back in those days, that was called the Whole Universe Catalog, it was like on the computer, and it was the first vision of the Web, sort of. What he did was he would show the Earth, and the next frame would go down, and then pretty soon you'd go in each level, so you went into a state, and into a city, and into somebody's house, then you could read something that was on the table. He had this demo, I mean, this is the kind of thing that the Web does now. This was in '73, talk about a visionary.

This is the kind of thing that was going on there, and here I am right out a college as a mythology grad... you know, studying all this stuff. And I didn't-- I mean a lot of us, even people of us who had training as computer programmers-- we didn't know what was going on there, it took about a year to know what Doug was doing. You know, people just said, "Whoa, I don't really know what's going on here, but I'll do what I can to help." [Miranda laughs]

Pang: So you went to college right in the area?

Miranda: San Jose State.


Document created on 20 June 2000;