Early Augmented Reality

There’s lots of chatter about Augmented Reality these days.

Here’s a Sports Illustrated article from 10 years ago, talking about an AR innovation from 25 years ago – the birth of the yellow first-down line in football broadcasts, first seen in 1998.

That was probably the first Augmented Reality thing most people saw and enjoyed, and it took a 48-foot truck full of equipment to make it work.

Fox had introduced FoxTrax, the glowing hockey puck, in their NHL broadcasts two years earlier in 1996, but everybody hated that and it didn’t last. The idea of sensors in the puck is still around though.

The first-down-line on a football broadcast seems so normal now, it’s almost jarring to go to a live football game and NOT see it. Or to wonder on a broadcast “How come the guy didn’t run a bit further? Why did he step out of bounds there? Didn’t he see the line?”

Interestingly, the same guy, Stan Honey, appears in both of those stories.

Imagine where we’ll be 25 years from now.

First Down Yellow Line

Fox's Glowing Puck

May 23 2023 – 30 Years At Apple

My Apple badge says that my start date at Apple was May 20, 1993, so yesterday was officially my 30th anniversary here.


Apple sends you a beautiful block of something every 10 years, and you can see my 10th, 20th (with reflection of me) and 30th awards in the photo above. They get increasingly shiny and increasingly hard to photograph.

When they announced the 10/20/30 year awards, I think I was on year 24, and they retroactively sent the 20th one. I made a mental note to stick around long enough to see what the 30 year award looked like – and now I know. And I also know there is a 40 year award, but I’m pretty sure I won’t make it to that one. One colleague has been here 42 years and told me she’s hanging around for the mythical 50 year brick.

It’s been an amazing journey. The team I work on has pretty much turned over several times, but I keep getting to work with new, talented, funny and creative people, and I hope I can do it for a while longer. I kind of stumbled into this job but it’s unfolded brilliantly – I’ve been able to travel; I’ve given talks at over 300 universities and in over 14 countries and, I hope, inspired a few people to try writing their own iPhone apps. Apps for a device that didn’t even exist when I started here.

So what was I actually doing on May 24, 1993, my supposed start date at Apple?

I honestly don’t remember. I worked for NeXT, which Apple famously acquired, but NeXT laid me off for a year and then re-hired me later. Apple includes your time at an acquired company when computing these start dates, but somehow they decided May 20, 1993 was my actual start date even though at the time I was self employed, fumbling along as “Steve Hayman and Associates” (note: there were no associates) in between my shifts at NeXT. I started at NeXT in September of 1991. That feels more like my actual anniversary.

Speaking of the 30 year mark, I have a child rapidly approaching that milestone. Now THAT makes me feel old.