= The HyperCard Nerd vs. PowerPoint =
March 18, 2014
by Marcio Teixeira
Often I have looked back and longed for HyperCard. To me, it was the perfect application: it allowed me to balance my artistic and my geeky side.
On the one hand, it allowed me to create amazing content; on the other, it allowed me do anything I could dream of with a powerful scripting language and an even more powerful native code interface.
It was truly nirvana. There has not been anything like HyperCard since. Yet, HyperCard is gone and PowerPoint became the dominant way to present information.
[[figure-screenshot:/artwork/electricity-stack.gif A page from the Electricity and Nuclear Fusion stack, an interactive HyperCard presentation I made for school. Find it in the “Marcio's Stacks” disk.]]
“Why was that?” I have often asked myself.
HyperCard was the superior application. At least I think so. But I was, and still am, a nerd who has the time and desire to tinker. I took HyperCard as far as it could possibly go, and further yet than that, simply because I could.
HyperCard was clearly the superior application for me, but I am not everyone; and, most especially, I am not a business person.
== Compare for Yourself: ==
Yesterday I saw Forethought PowerPoint for the first time, the version of PowerPoint thatwas contemporary to my beloved HyperCard. Looking back on it nearly twenty years hence, I can understand what business people saw in it that I would not have seen (or cared about) at the time.
"icons" : [
["Marcio's Boot Disk", "boot-hd", "/disks/mac-marcio's-boot-1.0.qed"],
["Marcio's HyperCard Stacks", "floppy", "/disks/mac-marcio's-stacks-1.0.image"],
["PowerPoint V1.0", "folder-dot", "PowerPoint.html"]
Maybe HyperCard could have adapted. Maybe Apple could have made HyperCard a worthy competitor to PowerPoint. But then, it no longer would have been the HyperCard that I knew and loved.
Rest in peace, HyperCard. You will be missed.
=== Why Nerds love HyperCard: ===
# Bitmapped graphics provide artistic freedom with just enough constraint to make it a challenge—like a Model T, you can only express yourself in one color.
# If you make a mistake, you must painstakingly paint over your blunder, like Michelangelo would have done, had he ever made a mistake.
# An English-like scripting language allows you to write code as if you were talking to an artificial intelligence.
# The powerful XCMD interface allows you to link your HyperCard stacks to compiled Pascal or C code—so if you ''really'' need colors, well, you can hack it in yourself in a couple days (if you're good).
=== Why Business People like PowerPoint: ===
# I want arrows and I want to reposition them when I make a mistake—I make a lot of mistakes.
# I don't know what a scripting language is. Why should I have to learn one to go to the next slide?
# I want to spend less time perfecting my presentation and more time boring people with it.