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Panic Catharsis

Back in the day when MP3 players were still all the rage (and a dime a dozen), I had a special place in my heart for Panic’s Audion. The endless supply of skinnable faces it sprouted off were footbal lengths better than any of the skins available on WinAmp or SoundJam, BlackHot&Blue being my personal favorite.

Sadly now, with Apple’s iTunes seemingly taking over the space of all things audio (at least on the Mac platform), the Panic developers (Steven Frank and Cabel Sasser) have decided to retire the application. But with this decision, they’ve released a tell-all history of the tiny little MP3 player that could—from their negotiations with AOL, to their alleged missed opportunity at becoming the original iTunes (missing out to SoundJam in the end).

It’s a really great article for anyone who’s dreamt of having, owning, and being their own software company. My favorite part of Cabel Sasser’s wonderfully insightful writing has to be his interactions with Steve Jobs, or more accurately, the CEO’s famously blunt candor.

Jobs wanted to know how big we were, and how long we’ve been doing this. He wanted to know a few more things that I can’t even really remember. I remember he asked, "Do you have any other ideas for apps you want to work on?" I replied, genuinely, "Well, we’ve got an idea for a digital photo management program…" and he replied with a simple, "Yeah. Don’t do that one." Everyone in the room laughed but I had no idea why — remember, my head was still exploding — so Steven Frank had to explain to me that he meant, basically, it was already being made and, of course, it would be called iPhoto. Oh. I get it now.

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2 Comments


Scotbuff
19 November 2004 @ 2am

I know you are a MAC guy which is cool. I thought this was a very interesting read. Funny, right after I read this a few days later I heard Winamp which was big at one time on Windows was also ceasing development. Pieces of internet history being replaced by new trends.



mschindler
19 November 2004 @ 5am

Yeah, I think they both gave a great run. And they’ll always be remembered. Then again, I find Duke Nukem nostalgic.