A long time ago, in a Glasgow far, far, away…

25 years sounds like a really long time. A quarter of a century sounds even longer. Yet, that is how long it has been since PCalc 1.0 was released.

Date: Wed, 23 Dec 92 17:41:10 GMT
From: thomsonj <thomsonj@dcs.gla.ac.uk>
Subject: [*] PCalc 1.0 Submission

Enclosed is a binhex file containing a submission for your archives.
PCalc is a neat simulation of a programmable scientific calculator.

I sent an email to the Info-Mac archive moderators that evening, and it turned up on FTP mirror sites around the world a few days later.

It normally travelled on floppy disks. The web did not yet exist.

PCalc was my first ever application. I started writing in the summer of 1992 and it took me around six months to get it into a state where I was happy to show it to the world. Some of that code still runs today, deep at the heart of the machine.

That is both amazing and terrifying.

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t been writing PCalc constantly for 25 years. I wrote DragThing, which was the go to app launcher on the Mac for a good decade. I had a day job. I went to work for Apple on the Finder and Dock. I wrote a Twitter client for cats. I wrote one of the most excessive About screens in recorded history.

In short, I’ve lived.

But I keep coming back to PCalc. In a way, it’s the surprisingly devoted child that’s supporting me in my old age.

Thanks to everybody who has bought a copy over the years and made that possible, or put something into the tip jar.

If you want to read up the origin story in detail, you can do so here. You can even hear me talk about it below.

It doesn’t seem all that long to me since the 20th anniversary. So it seems entirely feasible that PCalc will make it to 30, as I hopefully make it to (almost) 50.

And yes, I will port it to the AR glasses and the car.

See you around, kid.