Jøhnny Fävòrítê (johnnyfavorite) wrote,
Jøhnny Fävòrítê
johnnyfavorite

and now, an anecdote

It was June 1993. I had just started working at Newer Technology in Wichita. My first job at a Mac-oriented company, but I was not a Mac guy at the time. I was hired to do DSP assembly programming for the Windows half of a Mac/Windows product they were working on.

Newer made various bits of Mac add-on hardware, but their bread-and-butter product was RAM modules. RAM was hideously expensive back then. Nobody could afford as much of it as they wanted.

I’m told that much of the dinosaur CGI in Jurassic Park was done with Macs. A production company working for Spielberg was facing a RAM crunch. So Newer loaned them about $50k worth of RAM modules for their Macs, to make their rendering projects go faster. I’m pretty sure Newer didn’t make any money for this, it was just a favor. In return, the higher-ups at Newer were vaguely promised a mention in the credits of Jurassic Park. They couldn’t get a straight answer as to whether this would happen or not.

Based on the optimistic assumption that Newer would get the credit mention, the company paid for every employee to go see Jurassic Park one night, early in its run. We sat together in a big block of about 50 people. I had just begun a dalliance with a girl named Roni. I think that movie was the first time we went out together.

All of us sat in the dark and oohed and ahhed at the dinosaurs, just like the rest of the country was doing at the time. The credits started and most of the audience left. The Newer employee block all stayed in our seats, waiting to see if we’d get the credit mention. Seconds before the film stopped rolling, we did indeed see the name of our company go by. Yay!

I haven’t thought about this story in years. I was reminded of it when I saw Jurassic Park on cable TV last night. It was breathtaking at the time of its release, but like all effects-heavy movies, it looks dated today. I watched to the end of the credits, and yep, “Newer Technology” is still mentioned there.

Newer capitalized on this for months in their advertising. “If you like dinosaurs, you totally need to buy our stuff” blah blah blah. The project I was working on was a miserable failure, never even released. I was laid off several months later. Newer went out of business in the year 2000. There’s still a company called that today, but it’s actually some other company that bought the name and possibly some of the IP and/or inventory of the original company. It was another eight years before I became a Mac guy myself.

I still wonder what happened to Roni every now and then. I have completely lost touch with her. She was pretty radically different than anybody else I ever dated.

UPDATE: it seems we weren’t the only ones in the Mac camp with a vested interest in this movie. Jim Reekes tells a story about Mac sounds he created, and how one of them was featured in Jurassic Park.
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