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How a former Apple engineer slipped his program onto the first PowerPCs

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Graphing Calculator 1.0 made its debut on the original PowerPC computers, but how it got there is a different story altogether.

Apple sign
Apple sign

The tale of a contractor's cancelled project is a common one. Funding, management, bureaucratic red tape, or any other variation of a creative roadblock can bring a product's development to a screeching halt, but none of the aforementioned obstacles were able to stop former Apple engineer Ron Avitzur from bringing Graphing Calculator 1.0 to the company's original PowerPC computers.

After a year of diligent work on a program that would show off the processing capabilities of the PowerPC, Avitzur's project was dropped in 1993, but was far from dead. With the help of Greg Robbins, another contractor at Apple, the two continued to work on the graphing calculator, later finding additional supporters of the skunkworks project who would help out pro bono. Through proper planning and tricky scheming, Avitzur and company were able to continue working within the Apple building by sneaking into the facilities by piggy-backing employees through the front door and, eventually, obtaining the same badges that the janitors and cafeteria staff used.

For an in-depth trip through Avitzur's "Mission Impossible"-esque crusade, take a look at the full story at Pacific Tech's site.