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Made by Mac, On a Mac

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I met Mac a long time ago.

I was so much younger then and still in awe of all things computer. At one of our Honolulu Apple Users’ Society [1] meetings I heard that there would be a presentation about a wonderful book created on an Apple computer. Even though I was still in a relationship with Apple II computers this announcement grabbed my attention and beckoned me.

1986 this was. I journeyed to Connecting Point Computers in the Nuuanu Shopping Plaza to see for myself what this book called Whalesong looked like. They said it was made on a Macintosh computer. Then I saw the book. It blew my mind and I knew immediately that this was an extraordinary accomplishment.

Whalesong: A pictorial history of whaling and Hawaii
Whalesong: A pictorial history of whaling and Hawaii

That was the first time I met Mac—Mackinnon Simpson—the co-author of this reality-shifting book.

A generation has since passed and Mac is still writing, still designing and still publishing wonderful books about Hawaii and the stories of its people. Yesterday our members at the HI Touch Learning Clinic [2] were honored to hear the stories he shared. We talked tech, Hawaiian history and the stories about the people of our islands.

Mac shared how he and Robert Goodman used a Macintosh Plus connected to a LaserWriter printer and PageMaker software to create the landmark book Whalesong in 1986. This was truly a learning curve for two men who  had to learn how to do it on their own. There were no manuals. There were truly no classes to help. The Apple Genius Bar would not exist for another 15 years. They succeeded.

Our conversation with Mac revealed to us that the success was due largely to his ability to commit, focus and stay on course. He shared how when in his third grade at school he determined that he would be a writer. And thereafter applied himself toward that goal by reading great works of literature and writing and re-writing constantly to get “it” right. We are the beneficiaries of that long-ago decision and his single-minded effort to achieve that goal.

Mac has continued producing outstanding books since Whalesong. Always on a Macintosh computer. By his recollection, more than two dozen on many subjects: including Honolulu street cars, Waikiki, paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys), Kapi’olani Park, Oahu Railway, Honolulu, the USS Arizona and Life in Hawaii during World War II.

Mac has been a member of HMAUS since 1995. We occasionally see him between production deadlines at various HMAUS functions. If he doesn’t have a question for himself, he posts on the HMAUS List [3] questions seeking help for other people in need, which is more often the case.

Mac is currently hard at work to complete several more book projects before year end. These too will add to his body of work on Hawaiian history. It is an awesome legacy.

And it all started on a Macintosh Plus, a LaserWriter printer and PageMaker 1.0.

Made by Mac.

Mackinnon Simpson at HTLC
Mackinnon Simpson at HTLC

An Incomplete List of Mackinnon Simpson’s Works (as author, editor or designer)

Whalesong: A pictorial history of whaling and Hawaii by Robert
Goodman and MacKinnon Simpson (1986)

The Lymans of Hawai'i Island (1993)

Gary Reed, Paintings of Hawai'i by MacKinnon Simpson (1999)

Streetcar Days in Honolulu by Mackinnon Simpson, John Brizdle
and Simpson MacKinnon (2000)

Waikiki: In The Wake Of Dreams by Edgy Lee, Paul Berry, Nina
Berry and MacKinnon Simpson (2000) 

Paniolo: Way Out West in Hawai`i, MacKinnon Simpson, Spirit
of Aloha, (2001)

Kapi'olani Park: A History by Robert R. Weyeneth and
MacKinnon Simpson (2002) 

Next Stop Honolulu! The Story Of The Oahu Railway &
Land Co  (2004)

A Half-Century on Kalaepohaku: Chaminade University
1955-2005 by Jerry Bommer, Linda M. Iwamoto and
MacKinnon Simpson (2005)

A Century of Aloha: The Creation of Modern Honolulu by
MacKinnon Simpson (2005)

USS Arizona: Warship - Tomb - Monument by MacKinnon
Simpson (2008) (also on iTunes)

Hawaii Homefront: Life in the Islands During World War II
by Mackinnon Simpson (2008) (also on iTunes)


[1] The Hawaii Macintosh & Apple Users' Society, Inc. was
originally charted in 1979 as the Honolulu Apple Users'
Society, Inc. It wasn't until 1984 that the Macintosh was created.

[2] The HI Touch Learning Clinic is a monthly program hosted
by Eugene Villaluz and Terrence Young. This free open to the
public event includes guests and speakers on various technology

[3] The HMAUS List is a public email list where Apple enthusiasts
participate in conversations for technical help and information

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