Saturday, October 8, 2011

Steve Jobs: ComputerWare Employees Remember

Steve Jobs and ComputerWare had a interesting relationship. I think every employee of ComputerWare was an Apple Fanboy (Fanperson) in the greatest sense of the world, as they had dedicated their careers to Apple and Macintosh.  We all have memories of Steve Jobs coming into ComputerWare stores, and therefore I'm pretty sure he was a fan of us in return!  The interesting part was that he was so happy with ComputerWare, that he put us out of business by creating Apple Stores -- sometimes furnished with many of our former employees!  Steve surely recognized ComputerWare as a great place to buy Macintosh, but we were the "only one" and only in the Bay Area. As Apple Fanboys, we quickly forgave him and loved the Apple Stores after a short time of pouting.

Geoff W. and I had a chance to chat with Steve Jobs at a MacWorld after-party in January 1998. It was very late, and we managed to corner him all to ourselves for a few minutes. We were very happy that he was back at Apple, and that things were starting to really turn around. The subject turned to the complexities of the "new Internet, and I said that what we really wanted to sell was a simple all-in-one Mac that was built for the Internet -- a classic plug-and-play Apple solution to what was at that time a common question in our stores: "how do I get on this world wide web thing?"  

Steve smiled, yes, that smile that said he had something up his sleeve, and proceeded to give us the standard, "we've got some really exciting products coming out this year" line that I'd heard before from other vendors.

Three months later, Geoff and I received an invitation to a special Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino.  In early May we attended, and got to watch Steve roll out the first iMac in all it's Bondi-blue glory!

So, ComputerWare employees!  What is your Steve Jobs memory?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Macintosh Way by Guy Kawasaki - Free PDF Download

Guy Kawasaki's first book, The Macintosh Way, had quite a few references to ComputerWare in it. He promoted ComputerWare as the perfect venue for doing things the Macintosh Way, and we were all proud to part of the extended Apple family!

The Macintosh Way has been out of print for many years, and Guy recently managed to get all the rights back. He just announced on Alltop's Holykaw that he has graciously allowed his Twitter followers to download a PDF file of this book for free. 

To download the free PDF, you need to follow the instructions on -- Make sure that set your Twitter account up and follow @GuyKawasaki before trying to start the download, otherwise you will get a strange error that makes no sense, but means, "you aren't following Guy, so there!"  If you are following him, you should see a link to download the book!

Here's a quick screenshot of page 121, which is one of many references to ComputerWare (and Cho's):

Friday, July 30, 2010

ComputerWare Belgium

ComputerWare Belgium is something that has always confused me.  Even back in the day when ComputerWare was running strong, and had a large International Sales department, there was this strange ComputerWare Belgium that used all of our logos, marketing, and name -- and they weren't connected with ComputerWare in any way. Or am I wrong; was there a connection? It's been a long time, and perhaps someone can explain it now!  The strange thing is that ComputerWare Belgium's website is still up and running, and they are still using the same logo!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Marin Mac Shop

For all you ComputerWare fans that want to travel back in time in your own personal wayback machine, it will interest you to know that you can do just that by going to where the San Rafael ComputerWare store was located. It is now the Marin Mac Shop, and it is a great place that keeps the ComputerWare memories alive and well.

I had a recent catastrophic hard drive failure on my Mac laptop, and last time I had such a problem I went straight to a ComputerWare hardware technician. So, what are my options in 2008? Well, I sent it to the Marin Mac Shop and a certified ComputerWare Apple technician of lore, Carlson, fixed it! I even got the "Friends of ComputerWare" discount! Thank you for keeping great Macintosh customer sales and service alive and well.

Monday, July 28, 2008

QuickMail Discontinued

MacNN reports that Outspring has announced that it is discontinuing its QuickMail email client and server line. The company has suspended all sales and phone support for QuickMail, although customers who purchased QuickMail products in the last 90 days will still be entitled to another 90 days of telephone support.

Wow, that brings back memories. I only used QuickMail when I worked at ComputerWare, but I remember it well. When I got to the Santa Cruz store, QuickMail was our main link to the rest of the company. I remember all the "special" forms users created. I remember the Mickey Mouse flipping the bird message and a few others. Stefen Fanger from the Palo Alto store accumulated quite a collection of custom QuickMail forms.

Anyone have any favorites?

Also makes me think of the fact that to this day I sign all my emails with "--Eric K". This goes back to a problem on the mail server where Eric Matson's and my email boxes got intertwined. Since he was the manager of the new Sunnyvale store and I was just a peon sales guy at the Palo Alto store, I shouldn't have been able to see his email, and people needed to know when I was sending out email that I wasn't him, so I kept signing everything with "--Eric K" to avoid confusion.

--Eric K

Monday, July 7, 2008

Corporate Sales Team

Whoa. Who can remember the ComputerWare Times? The Corporate Sales Team was featured in the October 1991 issue. Where are they now? 

Also of interest in this issue:
  • The new Mac CPUs included three notebook Macs: the PowerBook 100, 140 and 170
  • The RasterOps 19" color display was on sale for $2399 (list: $5298)
  • Announcement: 'We now carry DOS & Windows software!'
...interesting to look back 17 years!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Join the ComputerWare Alumni LinkedIn Group

Former employees of ComputerWare: The MacSource who use LinkedIn are welcome and invited to join the ComputerWare Alumni Group on LinkedIn.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

ComputerWare Alumni on Facebook

Facebook is quickly taking over the world and now is the time to join the ComputerWare Alumni group on Facebook.

Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Where are they now?

Funny story: I'm going through a box of old papers and I come across this little Day-Tripper style 6-ring binder (The kind that came with the deluxe version of Dynodex). Anyway, I open it up and I see that at some point way back when I printed out various addresses using the software. One set of addresses is the entire staff at ComputerWare corporate. This dates way back to probably 1990-1991 because Roger Reid was still listed as CEO. I start to reminisce (we just had a ComputerWare reunion a few weeks ago and I was having a hard time remembering these people's names...)

So I go through all the names to see if any ring any bells. Some do, some don't. (I worked at the Palo Alto and Santa Cruz stores and seldom met people at Bayshore face to face). I get through all the departments and come to Tech Support. There at the bottom next to Kurt Widmann, Keith Redfield and Peter Corless is this name "Arnaldo Miranda". My current position as StuffIt Mac QA Lead was previously occupied by Arnoldo Miranda. He's now one of our software engineers (on the dark side!!!). I shot him an email and it turns out, our Arnoldo is one and the same...

Anyway, here's the directory. Maybe it will kick-start a few of your brain cells too...

--Eric Kopf
PS: My apologies for any typos...
PPS: If you want to know what anyone's old phone number was I can provide that info :-)

ComputerWare Bayshore Directory (circa 1990-1)

Naomi Estep
Andrea Morris
AnnMarie Pasmore
Diana Marcus
Maria Elena Macarty
Michael Moore
Regina Moguillansky
Rick Bonin
Sandie Gibson

Judy Bergland
Kim Perkins
Laura Klaus
Mae Klein
Mary Yardley

The "Brass"
Roger Reed - CEO
Dick Meigs
Geaff Stoller

"Brass Support"
Chris Halaska
Jack Winkle
Michael Boucher

Business Development
Margaret Leventhal

Nicholas De Paul

Mary McCarthy
Jeff McHenry
Ken Briot

Creative Services
Joanne Lesser
Mary Swift

Customer Service
Cheri Brown
Michael Winger

Direct Sales
Marianne Cleary
Andrew Ruff
Cathy Weiss
Joel Frankel
Sarah Landau

Dist. Coordinator
Jason Elliott

Richard Buckley

Pierre Pellisier
Abrahim Kalezan
Jonathan Braun

Human Resources
Annie Kavanagh
Michael Hyde
Suzanne DeSandre

Ann McLaughlin
Bryan Searing

-----------Printing problem - I could only read parts of these--------------
...rd Gresse
...iggs Searing
Pfred Arseneault
Stephen D'Andrea

Victor Stephenson

Chris Stefani
Rick Johnston

Robert Cudd
Sheryl Lee
Terry Lesser

Marketing Reps
Jennider Wread
Laurie Gibson
Rose Meagher

Night Picking
Dan Hoover

Ken Krich

Lynda Akkelquist
John Parkin
Julie Martinsen
Matthew Hartman
Richard Muro
Stephanie Paulson

Norman Durang

Brian Martensen
George McClure
Will Cerdarholm

Bob Easthope

Sales & Marketing
Geoff Westerfield
Linden Skjeie
Michael Laster

Frank Hendershott

Tech Services
Kurt Widmann
Keith Redfield
Arnoldo Miranda
Perter Corless

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Apple Products Through The Years

The Apple Design Group has been one of Apple's key assets over the years, and at ComputerWare we sold almost all of these at one time or another. How many of these do you remember?

Thanks to Guy Kawasaki for posting this image and story to his blog.

It appears that some of the printer are not covered in the chart, thereby removing my favorite LaserWriter Pro 810 design from discussion! :-)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mac Mac Mac Mac Mac Mac Mac Mac ComputerWare!

For those of you who remember all the great radio ads that ComputerWare did over the years, you'll be happy to know that they are all available on the Internet in MP3 or QuickTime format!

Bob Kilburg has posted all the ComputerWare radio ads to his website. Bob was one of the principals at Darien & Kilburg, ComputerWare's chief advertising agency.

My favorite is, of course, the famous jingle: Mac mac mac mac mac mac mac mac ComputerWare! Tahaaahaa ddaaaaa!

The other classic, is the "Know How Know Where" tag, which on the radio doesn't quite hold up... it sounds like, "No how, no where, no way!"

Bob has also posted one of the ComputerWare television ads to his site. Enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tech Support Stories

When I first started at ComputerWare in the summer of 1993 I was in the Technical Support department at headquarters, along with Earl Gerfen, Ron Reck, and Ross Gard. We did pre-sales and post-sales support for Corporate Sales, International Sales, Direct Sales, and all ten of the Macintosh-only Retail stores.

One of my favorite stories involved a customer who called to say that his computer would reboot every time he flushed the toilet. Doing over-the-phone support for this one was tricky, and you could actually here the computer chime and reboot as soon as he flushed the toilet. We sent out a hardware tech, who reported back to us the following: it was actually true. The issue turned out to be that there was an electric water pump that turned on and refilled a main water reservoir. Flushing the toilet caused enough water to run out of the reservoir that the pump kicked on and caused an initial voltage drop (brown-out) that was large enough to cut power to the computer. The computer would then get full power a second later, and reboot.

Another classic was the customer who called in to headquarters to complain about one of our retail technicians. She was very upset and wanted to make sure that we were aware that we had a thief working for us. The issue? When her Performa computer was returned to her after repair, all the virtual memory had been removed; stolen if you will...

There are also some funny Help Desk stories from other places besides ComputerWare.