Very sad news.
Being an ex-employee of Softpress, Freeway was a very big part of my life for quite a while. I remember seeing alphas of Freeway 1 from afar and then became involved more directly with Freeway 2 onwards as part of the testing team. Also worked on the Softpress website for a while. I think I left Softpress after 8 years in 2006.
Since 2006 I have not really kept up with Softpress and Freeway so this comes as a surprise to me.
I would love to see somebody write a history of Freeway and Softpress, as I expect there’s enough for a book.
I also genuinely think Softpress has a small place in Apple history. I read one of the many books about Apple history some years ago and remember thinking that Softpress should really get a mention, in particular when talking about Freeway’s ancestor, Uniqorn and it’s font technology.
Softpress also sent me all over the place demoing Freeway at trade shows like MacWorld. I visited San Francisco 5-6 times over the years, Japan once (hello James Wages), Stockholm, New York and Paris.
I have some amazing memories with Softpress. Highlights include:
• Demoing Freeway to Mac OS X engineers at Cupertino.
This was in the very early days of Mac OS X. During the demo, one of the engineers joked about how Mac OS X had loads less features than Mac OS 9 despite all the time and money they’d spent on it.
• Demoing to an Apple executive “behind the scenes” at MacWorld Paris. Apple iWeb appeared not too long afterwards.
• Demoing to some high-up Microsoft exec and spending half the time criticising MS software without realising who I was demoing to.
• Japan! I’ll never forget it. We were in a city some 4-5 hours outside Tokyo. Loved every minute and I still want to go back.
• For a while, Softpress was based at Richard’s house. That was weird! I expect it was very hard for the family too.
There are so many other memories that…er…I can’t remember right now.
Oh yes – the crunch periods before Freeway release dates. Working from 9am till 11pm or later to meat deadlines. I’m not sure customers ever got to see this side of things. They would sometimes last for months at a time.
I must thank Richard and Softpress for the opportunity I was given. I travelled the world. Learnt so much. Met amazing friends who are still friends today. Slingshot me into another job (that’s a story by itself) in Central London that I’ll also never forget.
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