Wednesday, June 27, 2007

HyperStudio is Announced!

Why was I getting up at 5:45 AM for 7:00 breakfast at the Omni Hotel sponsored by the KievMac software company? It was because Roger Wagner would be there to unveil HyperStudio 5.0.

You might remember HyperStudio. It was a multimedia authoring tool that Roger Wagner (then a 4th grade teacher in San Diego) developed back in 1986. He wanted a user-friendly system that 9-year-olds could use to create programs that were filled with images, text, sounds and animation.

Roger began the HyperStudio company and matured HyperStudio on the Apple IIgs and then onto the Macintosh and Windows platforms. It was a wonderful programming language that was used in k-12 schools throughout the world. We used it for our Educational Media classes to provide a relatively easy way for students to create multimedia programs.

In 1999, Roger had the good fortune of selling his HyperStudio company to The Learning Company for millions of dollars. This was fortunate for Roger but highly unfortunate for the rest of the world. The Learning Company tried to update HyperStudio to version 4.0 and the program imploded around its faulty code. This was so disastrous that schools, teachers and kids dropped this fallen albatross for the likes of mPOWER and PowerPoint.

Even amidst the shards of HyperStudio, Sunburst Software purchased HyperStudio from The Learning Company - Talk about a Fire Sale . . . They decided to rewrite the program from the ground up. Apparently, they enlisted the services of MacKiev. This is a software programming company in
. . . Russia of course.

Last November, Sunburst flew me over to Chicago for a day to consult on some upgrades that they were considering for their keyboarding software. I found myself in the car with a man who informed me that they were working on HyperStudio but they are just trying to settle some ownership rights issues.

Well, apparently, rights were settled last Friday when Roger Wagner signed on the dotted line to purchase the program and then market it through MacKiev. I don't know what the agreement is, but I DO know that they are promising to release HyperStudio 5.0 by September.

I have spent this entry explaining the background of HyperStudio but didn't say much about the program. Don't want to make this posting too long, so I will continue with this next time.

Z

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