Yep, I’m a Wise Guy Alright
January 25, 2013
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Die-hard, old-school Mac fans may recognize this mug. And such fans probably also realize just how incredibly rare they are. I’m lucky enough to have one — and I didn’t buy it, I earned it.
Mac the Knife was, arguably, the very first Apple rumor blog. It started up at least as early as 1994 (possibly earlier) and lasted until 2000. It was published by MacWEEK (yes, there was a Mac-focused weekly magazine; crazy, I know). Details of who the author of Mac the Knife was remain scarce; some claim there was more than one. As a reward for submitting a tip to the column, one would receive a Mac the Knife mug. From the way it sounds, the vast majority of mugs were handed out to Apple employees, leaking the projects they were working on. MacWEEK eventually started sending out the mugs to random Apple employees as well, so as to take some of the pressure off the snitches from being caught.
I didn’t work for Apple of course, but I did keep tabs on the ecosystem about as closely as I do now. I recall back in 1998 how there was a popular rumor that Apple was going to port the whole Mac OS to a tablet of some sort (closer to the Newton than what the iPad ended up becoming). It made no sense to me or many others, and to express my opinion on the legitimacy of the rumor, I Photoshopped a Mac OS desktop onto the screen of a Texas Instruments TI-86 graphing calculator and fired it The Knife’s way.
I figured I wouldn’t hear back, but I did — The Knife e-mailed back and asked for my mailing address. Shortly afterwards I saw my work enshrined on the Web and a cardboard box arrived carrying my trophy.
I didn’t think to scrape the Web page at the time, and now Mac the Knife is completely offline (with MacWEEK having eventually been swallowed by Macworld, which I’ve also been published in — but that’s another story). With just a little luck in sifting through the Wayback Machine, though, I managed to find my page again.