Why not?

Because thanks to an open source emulator called “Sheep Shaver” and the various packages others created with it. I just launched a classic OS 9 environment on my 2014 MacBook Pro.

I first installed oone version that included apps like Claris Works, but it lacked HyperCard. Then I found another one from James Friend that is bundled with HyperCard. No mucking around, you just double click the app.

Here is one of my earliest HyperCard stacks likely done in 1992, to house a collection of quotes.

Running a HyperCard stack!

Running a HyperCard stack!

And just for fun, I also ran one of my early Macromedia Director gizmos, a random drawing app called “Ruby’s Art Pad” named after an elephant at the Phoenix Zoo who painted. That’s right, my own web site still has the original web page I made for it; the Phoenix Zoo web page devoted to Ruby can only be found in the Wayback machine.

ruby's art pad

Why is this important?

Who said stuff had to be important?

It is pretty brilliant that open source, and software that can run virtual operating systems are able to extend the life of technologies that in recent years have been rendered dead. And also include people rabid enough to make it happen. And to share it.

Because in these days where most people seem invested in the moment, the top of the status scroll, where everything is just swipe swipe, let the past disappear… when web sites vanish wholesale… the future ability to understand the current now is in jeopardy.

Or so I believe.

Tomorrow I think I am going to build a new HyperCard stack. I’m going to create this thing I will call the “World Wide Web”.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. OMG! Hypercard! I used this with 2nd and 5th graders as a collaborative project for several years when teaching at the elementary level. In some ways I see it as what so many are calling the “coding” rage in k12 classrooms today. Students needed to work with buddies on script and writing, develop hyper stacks and create the sequences. They were engaged, collaborative and had to use higher order skills to complete. I would love to be able to go back now and review those stacks and compare them to student work today.

    I agree – it is wonderful that there are techniques to bring some of this back to life for those only familiar with newer technologies to have at least some awareness that this just doesn’t happen and that many earlier versions of ideas and functionality started long ago to get to what they use today. I remember putting some old Apple IIe machines in a classroom and the young teacher didn’t know what a boot disk was and couldn’t get it going. The newer tools allow greater numbers to use tools. The ease of new tools also allows for focus on content and message – using for the greater good. But the world never would be at that awesome place in time if it weren’t for the creators and innovators who balanced both and continue to create tools that allow many to use instead of only those who have the passion for the behind the scenes work.

    Great find and interesting post.

  2. Thanks for the blast from the past! Have you messed around much with [LiveCode from RunRev?][1] It claims to be inspired by HyperCard and markets itself as a simple, drag and drop mobile app builder.

    [1]: http://livecode.com/

    1. No, Ted, I’ve not done much beyond driving past their site. It builds app? anything different from Mozilla app builder (I know it’s simple, but ease of use seems intriguing).

      I’m really motivated to try building in the original Hypercard for absolutely no useful purpose beyond my own curiosity.

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