AMCtv 80’s tech-boom drama Halt and Catch Fire premiered it’s third season this Tuesday and is off to a strong critical reception at 95%.
Halt season 4 is currently in limbo pending season 3‘s success.
Emmys: 1 nomination
Joe Macmillan abandons a long and successful tenure of salesmanship at International Business Machines Corporation to get his own slice of the pie at a small hardware sales company in Texas named Cardiff Electric.
He directly recruits a software specialist BIOS coder Cameron Howe and a hardware specialist head engineer Gordon Clark to gut an IBM PC and make a few a adjustments.
The crew goes to COMDEX ’83 to show off the fruit of their labors, the Giant. Their first portable PC attempt with a dynamic OS written by Cameron that is ‘interactive’ or meant to emulate human interaction.
The Giant competes with the major PC’s of its time but Joe leaves Cardiff Electric disgruntled, having destroyed thousands of dollars worth of corporate property — the first shipment of Giants.
He finds a pertinent love interest Sara Wheeler and accepts a job under her father Jacob, an oil tycoon and CEO of Westgroup conglomerate. Joe becomes network administrator and uses this position/opportunity to offer a t1 speed network to Mutiny via time-sharing.
His boss Jacob requests a meeting with someone at Mutiny and develops a rapport with Cameron.
Negotiations take place. Joe pushes for a Westgroup acquisition of Mutiny.
Negotiations go sour as Cameron sees the $5 mill deal as selling out which is not a concept that she is interested in.
Joe relocates to Silicon Valley for a fresh start. His boss rips off Mutiny and calls it Westnet.
Cameron sabotages Westnet with a rogue program Sonaris. Joe leaves Westgroup and starts his own company by the bay MacMillan Utility. He nets $10 mill in investment capital for his new anti-virus software venture.
I’m sorry if my tone is businesslike but I am your boss and this is, in fact, a business. — Joe MacMillan
The truth is, our systems are outperforming every top seller in the market. — Joe MacMillan
Reverse engineer an IBM PC with me. — Joe MacMillan
Because I want to build a machine that nobody else has the balls to build. — Joe MacMillan
Maybe I see Cardiff Electric as a mid-major ready to take the jump and myself as the heavy hitter you need to legitimize your sales force, this company, this region. — Joe MacMillan
Then I’m your guy. — Joe MacMillan
It’s also what 200% of quota looks like. — Joe MacMillan
“The golden circle.” — Joe MacMillan
“I’m a big boy… I’m learning a lot.” — Joe MacMillan
It’s what’s best for the machine. — Joe MacMillan
“Let’s be adult about this.” — Joe MacMillan
COMDEX is about selling it and that is my area of expertise. — Joe MacMillan
“Comes a time when vision meets engineering — you hire people.” — Joe MacMillan
Greatness comes at a price, no? — Joe MacMillan
“Open architecture. The idea of it. As a way of life. It kept me up at night. It made me that kid again.” — Joe MacMillan
It’s about soaring, leaving the competition in the dust, which is exactly what this design can accomplish. — Joe MacMillan
“I thought that maybe we could do this precisely because we’re all unreasonable people and progress depends on our changing the world to fit us. Not the other way around.” — Joe MacMillan
“Just let everybody cool off.” — Joe MacMillan
“He wants to work with innovative companies who are agile and committed.” — Joe MacMillan
Think bigger. — Joe MacMillan
“Let’s cut through the bullshit and act like adults. You want speed, and this machine is the fastest one you’ll find, period.” — Joe MacMillan
I’ve been knocking around tech for a long time, always working to the next new thing. — Joe MacMillan
“Don’t underestimate it. He came in here with zero interest in what we were doing. Now, whether he writes that we’re geniuses on the cusp of something great or misfits who almost crashed and burned, at least he’ll write something, and right now that’s all we need.” — Joe MacMillan
“We’re not going to jail. There’s always another move.” — Joe MacMillan
“Computers aren’t the thing. They’re the thing that gets us to the thing.” — Joe MacMillan
“I was at COMDEX two years ago. I saw the symphonic demo. It was ahead of its time. That was then, this is now– and a year from now, you’re gonna thank me. You’re a builder, Gordon.” — Joe MacMillan
“It’s dangerous to try and really connect with someone.” — Joe MacMillan
Ron three things… nimbleness, vision, and a complete lack of fear. — Joe MacMillan
I’m gonna do whatever I wanna do. And you’re gonna do whatever I tell you to, do because that’s the way this relationship works. — Joe MacMillan
The next time I move to close. Here’s what you do. You shut up. — Joe MacMillan
I’ll break numbers. I always do. — Joe MacMillan
“But under 400 milliseconds, ah. That’s the sweet spot.” — Joe MacMillan
“Something forward-looking with the potential to change everything. For me, that’s still tech and will be until proven otherwise.” — Joe MacMillan
“If we project the wrong image then it can all fall apart.” — Joe MacMillan
The truth is, I just want to do something great. — Joe MacMillan
“I’ve been to Tokyo nine times.” — Joe MacMillan
“Any similarities in the code will be completely coincidental, just like Columbia Data. Just like Compaq. You know the legal loophole as well as I do.” — Joe MacMillan
“We’re hitting the radar people. I mean really cooking with gas.” — Joe MacMillan
“You wrote a treasure map. If you see him around, I wanna meet that guy. There’s a project I want to discuss with him.” — Joe MacMillan
“Let’s skip the ‘Two Roads in a Wood’ bullshit. You’re not Robert Frost. You’re pawnshop hacks selling my dream under a cheap plastic mask.” — Joe MacMillan
“You sound pretty sure about that.” — Joe MacMillan
“Something tells me both of you need this just as much as I do.” — Joe MacMillan
“We jump start the project, crush the timetable from six months down to three. Build the prototype on our own dime, then show investors when we have leverage.” — Joe MacMillan
“Well, I’m here today to tell you that those rumors were true. Change is coming to Cardiff, and I’m pleased to announce that each and every one of you will have a role to play in this company’s bright future.” — Joe MacMillan
“This is corporate espionage I need to know what was compromised and the extent of the damage.” — Joe MacMillan
“We don’t just need money. We need smart money. A name. Someone who can put us on the map.” — Joe MacMillan
“I’m worried about their attitude.” — Joe MacMillan
“Well tomorrow you start building tomorrow.” — Joe MacMillan
So we force their hand. — Joe MacMillan
“Before me you were boozing not building and your balls were in a box by your wife’s bedside table.” — Joe MacMillan
“You change your BIOS just enough to stay out of trouble. Then within a year, our PC’s on a shelf right next to theirs. That’s how this works. Come on, let’s get in the game.” — Joe MacMillan
“I’m paying attention.” — Joe MacMillan
“They took their shot. They missed.” — Joe MacMillan
“You still haven’t answered my question.” — Joe MacMillan
“You’ve got a lot of excuses.” — Joe MacMillan
“I regret what happened.” — Joe MacMillan
“It wasn’t supposed to be personal. I was scouting you. Scouting you for this exact moment.” — Joe MacMillan
“See, now you’re thinking like a professional.” — Joe MacMillan
Bold, impulsive, resilient, gifted with a silver tongue Joe MacMillan is an Artisan.
Cameron Howe is directly recruited by Joe MacMillan, for which she drops out of college. She is hired at Cardiff Electric and writes the BIOS code for the Giant’s operating system. Soon she becomes discontent with corporate overhead and beguiles most of Cardiff’s engineers to her tech start up company Mutiny.
Mutiny is a gaming company which runs an online gaming community client the first of its kind — pay to play subscription-based model.
Mutiny’s game base includes: checkers, backgammon, chess, parallax, tanks, and community. It and its game are riddled with bugs.
Cameron writes her own proprietary RPG text-based game named Parallax. Her very freelance attitude begins to clash with her coworkers most specifically Donna Clark, a co-founder.
Cameron takes a meeting with Jacob Wheeler CEO of Westgroup the guy who’s running their new high speed network.
She turns down a $5 million buy out from Westgroup conglomerate.
Wheeler and Westgroup pull Mutiny’s network space and give it to Westnet which commandeered all of Mutiny’s users, and replicated its interface.
Cameron utilizes a bit of rogue programming named Sonaris to sabotage Westnet. Her, Donna, and Gordon repackage Mutiny and take it to San Francisco.
We create a fully interactive experience. — Cameron Howe
Um, look, cartridge games may look better for a while, but online gaming is the future. — Cameron Howe
I want to build something that makes people fall in love. — Cameron Howe
I mean, they don’t want what’s next or vision, they want an Adam’s apple. — Cameron Howe
“Our codes better. It’s more efficient and creative.” — Cameron Howe
I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself. — Cameron Howe
No, it’s a community. It’s my community. And we don’t kick people out. — Cameron Howe
“Connecting people. You dial in, you play games across phone lines with real humans.
Let me just make one thing clear. This is my company. And I’m not selling it. — Cameron Howe
“You love talking down to me don’t you?” — Cameron Howe
“Welcome to mutiny.” — Cameron Howe
Hey, computers could be more. They should be. — Cameron Howe
Does it even matter what I want to do? God, this is an industry built on people ripping off each other’s boring ass ideas. — Cameron Howe
“SCP rips off CP/M, Microsoft rips off SCP. Oh, IBM rips off everybody, right?” — Cameron Howe
“You mean we’re not in love?” — Cameron Howe
“Uh, I just want you guys to keep a few things in mind. One, I’m not your boss. Nobody here has titles. Your title is your first name. Mine is Cameron.”
Also, this isn’t my thing. This is our thing. Which means you’ll get out of it exactly what you put into it. For me, it’s everything. For all of us, it should be everything. Otherwise, why even do it at all? — Cameron Howe
“Gosh, you’re right. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. With all your grandstanding I somehow got you confused with a visionary.” — Cameron Howe
“Or I guess it just doesn’t matter what you’re saying as long as people are listening, right?” — Cameron Howe
Forgive me. I just thought something around here should have a soul. — Cameron Howe
“I’m sorry you feel bad for hurting my feelings but don’t worry, you didn’t.” — Cameron Howe
“Look, I don’t need to look at your BIOS because I’m not interested in copying garbage.” — Cameron Howe
“No. When you’re in the flow creating something you don’t just stop for some mindless bookkeeping.” — Cameron Howe
“Have you considered motivational speaking ’cause you’ve got a gift, man. Seriously sign me up. Send me the tapes.” — Cameron Howe
“Your whole thing, it attracts people, but it won’t keep them around.” — Cameron Howe
“Uh, and just one last thing. A lot of people are gonna want us to fail. But that’s because we’re the future and there’s nothing scarier than that.” — Cameron Howe
“That sounds nice. We could build something together, a partnership. Make our own future.” — Cameron Howe
“Except you’re not the future. You’re a footnote. For a while, you had me fooled. I mean, I thought I heard a heartbeat. But it wasn’t a heartbeat. It was an echo.” — Cameron Howe
I loved you… because you recited my own ideas back to me and pretended they were your own. — Cameron Howe
Otherwise, you’re a thousand dollar suit with nothing inside. No one gives a shit. — Cameron Howe
“I’m not interested in project managing.” — Cameron Howe
“Gordon is too scared to try anything new or different because he’s traumatized from being a loser his entire life.” — Cameron Howe
I just pretended I was there on purpose. Mr. Monroe taught us BASIC and it was like finding water in the middle of the desert. For the first time I knew how to talk to something. I finally had the right language. — Cameron Howe
If you want to lead people, you have to show them who you really are. — Cameron Howe
Authenticity is what inspires people. — Cameron Howe
Computers should have photo-realistic screens. They should have a million pixels and be self-learning and run expert systems. They should beat me at chess. — Cameron Howe
“Stop selling me. I don’t need you.” — Cameron Howe
“This takes off, I write my own ticket, but if it goes wrong, I’m a college dropout repairing VCR’s for $3.25 an hour, so forgive me for weighing my options.” — Cameron Howe
“Your letters meant a lot to me.” — Cameron Howe
No it’s not done. It works fine but it needs a soul. It needs to be something that people can fall in love with. We can do that. — Cameron Howe
“Oh, my God. Stop. Is this another lie?” — Cameron Howe
“I’m sure they’ll be little angels.” — Cameron Howe
“Is this how you’re gonna talk to me from now on?” — Cameron Howe
“You are too screwed up for words.” — Cameron Howe
“Writing BIOS for a machine no one gives a shit about.” — Cameron Howe
“Maybe we should.” — Cameron Howe
You took it out. Everything that made it unique — Cameron Howe
“Wow. You practice that in a mirror?” — Cameron Howe
“And then a whole bunch of other shit that you either made up entirely or stole from someone else. You’re just a salesman.” — Cameron Howe
Visionary, optimistic, benevolent, always championing Cameron Howe is an Idealist.
Donna works at Texas Instruments, but leaves to help her husband build his personal computer the Giant at Cardiff Electric.
She assaults her former boss Hunt Whitmarsh at COMDEX who ripped off and reverse engineered a version of the Giant.
Donna co-founds Mutiny with Cameron Howe and essentially handles all the DTD ops a la bookkeeping, housing needs, electricity, finances, appointments, coffee, food, groceries, coding, roster, etc.
Donna begins to relent the burden of her duties and lack of appreciation in doing them.
She writes a Mutiny game ‘community’ in which users chat with one another. She is delighted by the implications of this concept/sentiment.
Donna recruits her husband Gordon and goes with him and Cameron to Silicon Valley to build an online gaming community via their company Mutiny.
I’m gonna fix it. — Donna Clark
And if you want to pay him more, you can give him my salary. Because if you keep making unilateral decisions like this, I will not be sticking around, okay? — Donna Clark
Great. I spent the entire afternoon planning our legal strategy. What an efficient use of resources. — Donna Clark
And you never even picked me up out of a hole in the ground. — Donna Clark
I lifted you up so many times. I carried you and the kids. And I was tired and miserable and you didn’t give a shit. — Donna Clark
It’s just literally a mistake that we can’t afford to make again. — Donna Clark
“What I know is you need to be at work in four hours. Four.” — Donna Clark
“Like you didn’t pick the Giant over me every single second of every day.” — Donna Clark
Please never tell our daughters I was apart of this. — Donna Clark
“I know you think you need this. And whatever it is, I’m pretty sure I can’t stop you.” — Donna Clark
“I make your world possible.” — Donna Clark
“That is what it costs to fix our marriage.” — Donna Clark
Nose to the grindstone. — Donna Clark
“You scared my girls.” — Donna Clark
I don’t know if you heard but I recovered your code. Not all of it but 93.6%. — Donna Clark
“One time when I was in school, I spilled a whole Coke on my motherboard. Hand’t backed up for weeks. I felt like jumping off the Bay Bridge.” — Donna Clark
“But I have to tell you, my code… was never like yours. Yours is uh… well, it’s like a piece of music.” — Donna Clark
“What am I gonna say? I’m really enjoying my dead-end job and having my mom raise my kids?” — Donna Clark
“You should go home. Sleep, maybe eat a real meal. You can work tomorrow.” — Donna Clark
You made this a place without a boss, and that sounds really nice, but what that translates into is a bunch of crap falling through the cracks that I end up having to deal with. — Donna Clark
“Because I don’t want to be the mom here. Look, I do that at home. I came here to do what I love, and I don’t love dealing with the power company.” — Donna Clark
“I’m not sure that I’m strong enough.” — Donna Clark
“You can’t change it. It’s a thing of beauty.” — Donna Clark
No, Gordon, you built a beautiful machine. You have to stand up for it. Joe MacMillan’s an asshole. He doesn’t know a fraction of what you do about what makes a good computer. — Donna Clark
Well, FYI, I am also an engineer with a degree from Berkeley who’s not only created my share of code, but given birth to two real humans so yeah I am somebody’s mother and you could use one right now because frankly, you’re a mess. — Donna Clark
“I’d like to speak to my husband… privately.” — Donna Clark
“Would you please tell me that you didn’t buy all this?” — Donna Clark
“Cameron, he’s an ex-convict which is not exactly the smartest hire when we’re in the market for more funding. And when we’re this strapped for cash, you’re gonna waste it on somebody that doesn’t know a bitmap from a baud rate?” — Donna Clark
We talked about being in this together. We talked about communication being key. This– this isn’t what we walked about. — Donna Clark
“Well, you have to do whatever you can to change his mind. Even that means inviting him into our home. It’s your machine, Gordon. Don’t let him ruin it.” — Donna Clark
“You’re drunk, so the best thing you could do right now is to shut up.” — Donna Clark
“Excuse me, like you’d know technical know-how like it hit you in the head.” — Donna Clark
“Gordon? Gordon, we can’t do this again. You know we can’t.” — Donna Clark
“If the guys at NASA can grind parabolic mirrors to within one sixth of the wavelength of yellow light by hand, I’m pretty sure I can control the rotation of a disk.” — Donna Clark
“In fact, my chances of success are greater by a factor of 144.” — Donna Clark
“I really don’t understand. Why would you lie to me?” — Donna Clark
“You did. You lied.” — Donna Clark
Build it. Whatever it is you’re dreaming of, build it. I know you can make it great. — Donna Clark
“But here’s the deal. You wanna partner with Joe Macmillan… then you partner with me and this family.” — Donna Clark
“Yes, but do you realize what you’re risking?” — Donna Clark
Don’t you realize what you have now? — Donna Clark
“Well, it always has been enough for me. But I guess I never had the burden of believing that I was some misunderstood genius.” — Donna Clark
“So you think of me as my mother?” — Donna Clark
“Do you know? Because I just had to spread the payments for Joanie’s next dental visit over three credit cards.” — Donna Clark
It’s a silly computer mommy and daddy built that didn’t work. — Donna Clark
Grounded, administrative, stoic, and dependable Donna Clark is a Guardian.
Gordon decides to reverse engineer an IBM PC with Joe MacMillan and serves as the lead engineer for the development of the portable computer the Giant.
Gordon collects a $900,000 from Cardiff for his work on the Giant and Giant Pro but decides to take an indefinite leave and pursue other interests. He begins to take an interest in his wife’s online gaming platform Mutiny.
Gordon writes a rogue program Sonaris that accidentally eats Parallax. In recompense he approaches Joe to connect Mutiny with a t1 network.
Gordon is diagnosed with chronic toxic encephalopathy after they found atrophies in his brain presumably due to his long term exposure to lead solder.
He cherry picks some engineers for his own company a custom built PC venture. This doesn’t pan out.
Gordon helps Joe get back on his feet after Westnet gets axed by giving him an antidote program Tabula Rasa. He goes with his wife and Cameron Howe to Silicon Valley to put Mutiny into the mainstream consciousness.
Well, I’m also degree-in-computer-science-from-Berkeley guy, where Donna went, with honors and top grades that’d make your penis shrivel, so maybe if you shut up for a second, you could learns something. You time-stamp the input from each individual modem and at the end of each complete token pass. You put them in the correct time sequence before you execute them. That way whoever shot first, wins. — Gordon Clark
We had a problem. Now we have a product. — Gordon Clark
Okay, well, I also didn’t see a computer anywhere in sight. — Gordon Clark
My guess is, knowing those guys, the Macintosh is all bells and whistles and zero utility. You want a toy, you buy one of those. You want a computer, you buy one of ours.— Gordon Clark
“I’m not in the mood, all right? Why don’t you go blow-dry your hair some more or something?” — Gordon Clark
“This is what I want to do with my life.” — Gordon Clark
“This puts the future squarely in the hands of those who know computers not for what they are, but for everything they have the potential to be.” — Gordon Clark
“Oh, um, the chip makes it talk. You know, like you and me. Not right now, kiddo.” — Gordon Clark
“I’m not like you, okay? I have a wife, kids, a mortgage, okay? I was fine until you threw that stupid article in my face and gave me some–.” — Gordon Clark
“That article I wrote in ‘byte.'” — Gordon Clark
“Wow, you’re serious. Look, that’s a terrible idea. For such a multitude of reasons that I– because it’s illegal.” — Gordon Clark
“Worst case scenario IBM sues us into the ground. Uh, Cardiff finds out, then both of us would be on the street. — Gordon Clark
Apple, IBM, they have the market sewn up. Plus you got Commodore, Tandy, Texas Instruments. — Gordon Clark
“This is a big idea. You have to see it through.” — Gordon Clark
“Yeah I only built the damn thing, Joe.” — Gordon Clark
“The symphonic was the best thing your dad ever did.” — Gordon Clark
“I am a little rusty at this.” — Gordon Clark
“The hardest thing in life is to get knocked down and then get back up constantly. But we do it because we love it and we know deep down if it’s the right idea, it could be bigger than all of us. For a long time I wondered if I was ever gonna find it. The closest I’ve come is my kids.” — Gordon Clark
“Our first test shipment came in. I got everybody going over it with a fine-tooth comb.” — Gordon Clark
“Look, I’ve been awful. I’m sorry.” — Gordon Clark
“Computers, my job. None of that matters. Not without you.” — Gordon Clark
“Look, there are a thousand other engineers we can get. Preferably one you haven’t bedded down with.” — Gordon Clark
“I’m the guy who figured out the boot code in four days. What have you done?” — Gordon Clark
I have more microcomputing experience than anyone here. — Gordon Clark
“Tell me you have a plan, Joe.” — Gordon Clark
“No, it’s brilliant. It’s brilliant.” — Gordon Clark
“That’s right. You used to work at IBM. That was before you came here and ruined several people’s lives and an entire company.” — Gordon Clark
“After I let 46 people go this morning something I am in no way qualified to do.” — Gordon Clark
Their attitude is based on the laws of physics, which, if I were you, I’d bone up on. You’re looking at our only engineers with any microprocessor experience at all. They’re what’s left, so, yeah, these are my guys. — Gordon Clark
“Donna was right you’re all hat and no cattle.” — Gordon Clark
Software comes and goes, hardware is forever. — Gordon Clark
“I think we can make this work. If we actually split the motherboard and then layer one half on top of the other, run the jumpers vertically.” — Gordon Clark
“I knew that the moment I met her. How I’d never really deserve her. And frankly, I’m amazed she puts up with me.” — Gordon Clark
“You mean overpromised. Must be nice to have a job where you get to say words without having to actually do anything.” — Gordon Clark
You asked me to do something and I did it. It was impossible and I did it anyway. — Gordon Clark
Nobody gives a damn about what the computer looks like as long as they work. — Gordon Clark
Look, if we continue to put form ahead of function, we’re gonna be the ones left behind with everyone laughing at us. — Gordon Clark
You can have it fast or you can have it work. It’s up to you. — Gordon Clark
“Part time alcoholic, full time failure as a father. But I knew what I had with you, Donna. And I never stopped trying to live up to that. To you, Donna. To you, I never, ever gave up.” — Gordon Clark
“All right, this is the first test shipment from the manufacturer. We got 100 machines here so I need all hands on deck QA-ing these boxes. Hardware, software, failed pixels, I/O ports… pinch tension, internal temp, fit and finish.” — Gordon Clark
Check every millimeter of this machine. — Gordon Clark
The Giant ships out in less than six weeks. It must be perfect. — Gordon Clark
“We built an IBM compatible machine. You wanted a computer. You have a computer. You need to sell your computer, okay?” — Gordon Clark
Categorical, subjunctive, analytical, forever intrigued by technology Gordon Clark is a Rational.
— Halt and Catch Fire (@HaltAMC) August 27, 2016