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Apple Easter Eggs

By: David K. Every
& Daniel Fanton
(C) Copyright 1999 DKE - All Rights Reserved.

Networking and Communications can get complex. Apple has had a few versions of communication technologies -- and things that start out as separate packages get bundled in with others. Here are a few of the different "packages" as they were known:

  • AOCE / PowerTalk
  • Apple Fax
  • ARA - AppleTalk Remote Acces
  • ComToolbox - Communication Toolbox with many components
  • MacTCP
  • OpenTransport

AOCE (Apple's Open Collaboration Environment) / PowerTalk

AOCE is the name of the technology or programming API's and PowerTalk was more the commercial name used for users, or at least that is how I think about it. PowerTalk allowed you to create "cards" for people -- like business cards which held all their information. Then you could connect to these people by this information, or give out these cards so that others could get in touch with you. Neat stuff. And a few hidden surprises.

  1. Using a text reader, open any PowerTalk info card (for example, Untitled Info Card).

Among a bunch of other words and gibberish, the phrase "silence=death" appears several times -- a sentiment that I agree with.

Note: The info card has to be on the desktop or any location other than a PowerTalk personal catalog for this to work.


Apple Fax installs the Apple Serial Modem (1.1.2) Control Panel only if you have a serial modem (and not a built-in modem). So this isn't a commonly seen egg.

  1. Control-Option-click the logo in the top left corner of the control panel.

This triggers a clever Easter Egg: The control panel goes black, and an image zooms out from the corner. It's a photo of the development team on holidays in France, and has the caption "Hello from Paris". It's quite a clear photo for such an easter egg. So it is worth the effort if you happen to have this configuration. And if you do, I'd love to get a picture for the site.

ARA - AppleTalk Remote Access

AppleTalk Remote Access was how you connected (Remotely) to an AppleTalk Protocol Network.

All Mac Networks used to be AppleTalk Protocol. Now Mac Networks speak Internet Protocol -- known as TCP/IP. Microsoft has their own Protocol, as does Novell, and IBM. It gets confusing.

Since ARA was later improved so that you didn't connect to only "AppleTalk" Protocol networks to allow remote access, Apple dropped the "AppleTalk" part -- and now is known as only "Remote Access".

If you look at the Remote Access Control Panel there is an egg or two there.

To make things just a little more confusing -- ARA (which used to be a separate package) got bundled into the OpenTransport package.

So ARA is really a package, a control panel, and had its own protocol (AppleTalk) -- but now it is just part of another package, and uses standard protocols (TCP/IP).


This is how Apple allowed some plug-in components to extend communication devices (support for many types of modems and the like). The Modem Tools themselves may have little eggs of their own, if you look for them.


This was at first a third party utility (Shareware) to allow the Mac to connect up to TCP networks, that got taken over by Apple -- and made available. I don't know of any eggs in it.

Then MacTCP was added into the system by Apple. Then it supported the "remote" dial in for TCP (which is called PPP) -- this does about the same thing as ARA does for the AppleTalk protocol but it does for TCP/IP and the Internet. (When Apple created ARA, PPP wasn't around (popular) yet -- and ARA works for AppleTalk networks).

Everything got bundled together as OpenTransport -- which uses TCP/IP. And the migration away from AppleTalk Protocol, ARA and all that stuf is almost complete -- but things get confusing when there are different standards.

OpenTransport -- almost an egg!

In some versions of Open Transport Control Panel (and in the TCP/IP, AppleTalk, and Modem ) if you held down Option and go to "About TCP/IP...", the credits pop-up -- but after about 3 seconds or so, the copyright information will disappear.

In the Open Transport PPP Control Panel there is an actual hidden credits that come up.

What this likely means is they all used the same code -- and someone actually had an easter egg template built in -- but the programmers forgot to fill it in, or it accidentally got partially removed.

Created: 08/26/98
Updated: 11/09/02

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