Maccast Members #192 - Moof!
V The Dogcow
V I stumbled into a corner of the Internet
* I know may lead to a great story or a horrific one.
* With the Steve Jobs movie hitting theaters, I’ve been getting waves of Apple history and nostalgia
V This stories are important and we need more of them.
* Check out Andy Hertzfeld’s book, "Revolution in the Valley", and
* I think I saw a tweet from Stephen Hackett and followed to his 512 pixels site
* There he has a Dogcow shrine. It was then I realized I knew what a dogcow was, but not why it is.
V Origin Story
* Like all good heroes, Dogcow has her origin story (yes, it’s a she).
V Steve Jobs had an insistence on the original Macintosh having great typefaces.
* Had Susan Kare design several fonts for the original Macintosh.
* They were named after cities. Monaco, New York, Geneva, Chicago, Athens, San Francisco, and Cairo
* Side-note: The original SF font was mixed charter styles and weights for each letter giving it a "ransom note" style feel. The new one designed for iOS 9 is nothing like the original.
* Cairo was a "dingbat font", a series of images (like hieroglyphs) and for the "z" the image was of a dog or cow-like creature.
V Humble beginnings
* In the late 80’s the icon was used in the Page Setup printer dialog to show the orientation of the print job.
* Apple had started shipping the iconic Laserwriter printer, supporting PostScript, and fueling the desktop printing revolution.
* "Clarus", not to be confused with Claris, the dogcow now had a place outside the font menu and was developing a personality of her own.
* Back then Apple has a series of documents that were available for developers called Technotes.
* They were maintained and written by Apple's Developer Technical Support (DTS) team.
* One member of that team, Mark ("The Red") Harlan became fascinated with the icon saying, "To me it showed perfection in human interface design. With one picture it was very easy to explain concepts like an inverted image or larger print area that otherwise would be nearly impossible to communicate."
V But he had questions about the odd creature.
* What kind of animal is it?
* What does it sound like?
* He pestered another member of the DTS team, Scott ("ZZ") Zimmerman, about what it was and to get Mark to leave him alone he told him it was neither a cow, nor a dog, but "dogcow".
V Now, there is some debate on who and when it was first called a "dogcow".
* Scott called it that to Mark on October 15th, 1987
* Though another ex-DTS member, Ginger Jernigan claims that she coined the term.
* Mark seems to have given Clarus her voice though, "Moof!" (play sound)
V The legend grows
* With a name and a voice the legend of the Dogcow could rise
V At the 1988 Worldwide Developers conference they made Dogcow button with the words 'Moof!' that was given out in the Debugging Lab.
* The buttons had a "Mountain Dew" green background
* John Sculley wore one of the buttons during his WWDC 1998 keynote speech
V There’s actually 3 versions of the pin
* The WWDC green one
* A red one with Kanji which translates to "Moo-aann!" because Japanese dogs don't woof.
* And the ultra rare red version with 'Moof!'
* In April 1989 the DTS team decided they wanted to do something for April Fools and thought adding a "dogcow" entry to the Tech Note for that month would be the perfect fool.
* Mark drug his feet though and had to write the article in just in 40 minutes, one pass, right before the April deadline.
V From that the now legendary Tech Note # 31 was born
* Simply titled "The Dogcow"
* Originally it was almost called Technote "e", but they noted that early on in the development of the Tech Notes some of the numbers were skipped, so 31 was available and since it was a "prime" number Mark liked it.
* Luckily Steven Hackett has a link to a PDF of Tech Note #31. You can also find it on
* "Dogcows, by their nature, are not all dog, nor are they all cow, but they are a special genetic hybrid. They are rarely seen in the wild. Since dogcows are two dimensional, they will stand facing a viewer "on edge" to avoid being seen."
V We also know from the document that they:
* Have no natural enemies, keeping the population in check through stupidity. Mostly by grazing off cliffs.
* The images of dogcows in the Page Setup screen are "life-sized"
* "Moof!" is a term of affection.
* Dogcows are notorious for brainwashing people
V The document provides and illustration on the right and wrong way to draw a dogcow.
* There's a mistake in and the "correct" way to draw the dogcow is actually wrong.
* In rushing to get the note finished they used a weird Postscript file and it mutated the dogcows shape.
V The document ends with a poem:
* A dogcow is what I want to be.
Pictured in dialogs,
Running through the weeds,
In and out of advertisements,
Loving my naughty deeds.

Feeling in black and white.
Over the edge of cliffs,
Out with the tide in the sea.
Living life to the fullest,
Sweet survival in 2 D.
* The first letter of each line of the poem spelling out, "APRIL FOOLS".
V The April 1989 mailing is the only time the #31 Tech Note was ever in print under the official auspices of Apple.
* It was an easter egg in the Tech Notes CDs. Activated with a "bizarre sequence of commands"
* Most people found it through ResEdit hack though.
* Technote #31, is the only one ever written by Mark Harlan, but arguably the most famous.
V Other Trivia
* There have been lots of dogcow t-shirt and apparel, but only one "official" one. A black DTS sweatshirt with the small dogcow on the chest .
* There was a green mousepad of which only 500 were made, but Apple designers called Pepsi-Cola to get the exact color of Mountain Dew green for the background.
* Clarus is female, because she’s a dogcow, not a dogbull.
* Was one of the featured icons in the "icon garden" on Apple’s R & D campus until 1998 when the garden was taken down.
V The legend becomes myth
* So what became of Clarus?
V There was another updated Technote 1031 in 1996 when QuickTime VR came out
* Titled "The Dogcow Goes QuickTime VR"
* "This Technote attempts to document the Dogcow's various and sundry exploits -- most recently, in the world of QuickTime VR."
* She stared in a couple of QuickTime VR sample films. "Dogcow Merry-Go-Round" and "Dogcow Roll"
V References here and there continued to show up in developer articles.
* Mostly small hints in things like variables or descriptive text.
* Most recently there was a reference in the "Naming Constants and Variables" section of Apple’s Swift documentation
V In 2000, not long after Steve Jobs return to Apple, Clarus was removed from the 'Page Setup' dialog box in Mac OS X, though was left in iOS 9.2.2
* It’s not clear what happened, but some think Steve was directly involved in killing Clarus
* Certainly he was not one for holding onto the past.
* Once Apple killed 'Classic' mode in 2007 then she was gone from the OS all together.
* The new icon is referred to by Clarus fans as "boring guy".
V If you want to get Claus back in OS X Mavericks or OS X Yosemite there is a utility called: ClarusX
* Not sure if it’s compatible with OS X El Capitan
V Closing
V Revamped supporters program
* I’m still in the process of figuring out all the details for an updated membership program
V Slack Channel, is one benefit that will be part of the new program, but you can get access now.
* Slack is a private group messaging app
* There are clients for web, Mac, iOS, etc.
* If you want to join this exclusive group then email me you’re email address at and I’ll add you.
V Keep emails coming. Audio comments.
V 281-622-4269 or 281-Mac-I-Am-9
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