Throughout 1979 and early 1980 the Macintosh project led a tenuous existence.
Every few months it would almost get killed off, but each time Raskin managed to cajole Markkula into granting clemency.
It had a research team of only four engineers located in the original Apple office space next to the Good Earth restaurant, a few blocks from the company's new main building.
The work space was filled with enough toys and radio-controlled model airplanes(Raskin's passion) to make it look like a day care center for geeks.
Every now and then work would cease for a loosely organized game of Nerf ball tag.
Andy Hertzfeld recalled, "This inspired everyone to surround their work area with barricades made out of cardboard,
to provide cover during the game, making part of the office look like a cardboard maze."
The star of the team was a blond, cherubic, and psychologically intense self-taught young engineer named Burrell Smith,
who worshipped the code work of Wozniak and tried to pull off similar dazzling feats.
Atkinson discovered Smith working in Apple' s service department and, amazed at his ability to improvise fixes, recommended him to Raskin.
Smith would later succumb to schizophrenia, but in the early 1980s he was able to channel his manic intensity into weeklong binges of engineering brilliance.
Jobs was enthralled by Raskin's vision, but not by his willingness to make compromises to keep down the cost.
At one point in the fall of 1979 Jobs told him instead to focus on building what he repeatedly called an "insanely great" product.
"Don't worry about price, just specify the computer's abilities," Jobs told him.
Raskin responded with a sarcastic memo.
It spelled out everything you would want in the proposed computer:
a high-resolution color display, a printer that worked without a ribbon and could produce graphics in color at a page per second,
unlimited access to the ARPA net, and the capability to recognize speech and synthesize music,
"even simulate Caruso singing with the Mormon tabernacle choir, with variable reverberation."
The memo concluded, "Starting with the abilities desired is nonsense.
We must start both with a price goal, and a set of abilities, and keep an eye on today's and the immediate future's technology."
In other words, Raskin had little patience for Jobs's belief that you could distort reality if you had enough passion for your product.