I thought Apple was nuts.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


Bringing the old iMovie back from the dead

August 18, 2013

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

No one I know thinks the following story is anything but true. Strange, but true.

A software guy at Apple takes a much-needed vacation and inexplicably decides to create a totally new version of one of Apple's highly regarded software programs. After many hours, he heads back to Apple's headquarters with something he has to show Steve Jobs.

"It's iMovie, vastly improved, Steve," he says. Steve says it doesn't look like iMovie or work like iMovie or even seem like iMovie. But the software guy wows Steve with all the stuff the new iMovie could do. At the end of the day, Steve is won over. Apple comes out with an iMovie that could do marvelous things, all without working, looking, seeming or in any way reminding anyone of that wonderful, beloved, easy-to-use mainstay of personal computing in the age of video, the original iMovie.

You have to know a little about Steve Jobs before I tell you the next part. Steve had a special sense of things. He knew he was right even when everybody else said he was wrong. But you can rearrange that statement to say, "He insisted he was right even when it was as obvious as the nose on everybody else's face that he was totally wrong."

The new iMovie was a disaster -- very hard to figure out, almost impossible to use without a week of instructions. Even Dave Pogue, columnist for The New York Times, said it was looney. I thought Apple was nuts. Apple tried an end run and called the new version "iMovie HD," as if to keep its distance from the original name. But no one was fooled.

I tried repeatedly to learn how to do simple video editing with the new iMovie. I failed. Or, more fittingly, iMovie HD failed. I'm the bright one in this duo; iMovie is the dumb one. Or so I told myself.

When Mac users by the thousands started complaining, Apple posted the last good version of the old iMove on its file servers and told everyone who was unhappy with the new version to come and get the old one.

It was fabulous. A great gesture. Nobody said whose idea it was, but it smacked of Steve. He would never admit he was wrong and never, ever apologize -- that wasn't Steve's way -- but he also knew how to make things right just in case.

Then Steve passed away, taking the free download with him. Steveless and callous, Apple obliterated its iMovie past. All references to the download file led to a dead end.

Then blogger Robert Harder decided to make things right again. He posted the same "last good version of the old iMovie" on his blog for anyone to download. You can install it alongside the new iMovie and choose which to use. The old version should run on any modern Mac.

Get it here: http://blog.iharder.net/2010/08/17/imovie-hd-available-here/.

Have fun again. Steve would be happy, even if he would never admit it.