Apple's legendary Clarus the dogcow returns in macOS Ventura

Posted:
in macOS
Forget Stage Manager, forget Live Captions -- from now on macOS Ventura will be famous for bringing back Clarus the Dogcow to its rightful place.




The dogcow is not Susan Kare's finest hour, except that possibly it is. For across the thousands of superb designs Kare has made for Mac, Windows and more, there was a Cairo dingbats font, with Clarus.

Called a dogcow because it's so poorly drawn that it's impossible to tell whether it is meant to be a cow or a dog, this one symbol rose above its origins. You do have to have been a Mac user for a very, very long time for it to mean anything to you at all.

But if you are, you know this was Apple's clever way of making sure you knew in advance what you were going to be printing. Sat there in the page setup dialog, Clarus and the icon of paper it sat in, would show you whether you were printing portrait or landscape.

That's it.

Clarus the dogcow lost its job in page setup sometime in the late 1990s. But now, as of 2022, if you press Command-Shift-P in certain applications, you get Clarus back.

It isn't every app. Ones such as Final Draft that implement their own page or document layout dialog don't have it, but otherwise most text editors do.

And in each one it appears, Clarus is back showing you whether your page is portrait or landscape. It also grows or shrinks if you use Page Setup's scaling feature.

The wilderness years

Between Clarus's retirement sometime after Steve Jobs returned to Apple, and its return, life has been pretty quiet. Yet if Clarus couldn't get a job in Page Setup for decades, it could make personal appearances.

There were sightings of the dogcow in promotional images, in early Apple virtual reality -- and earlier in 2022, in an iPhone easter egg.

Some people had it as a tatoo, too. Such as Stephen Hacket, whose 512pixels site was among the first to spot Clarus's welcome return to work.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 547member
    Welcome back Clarus!!!   We missed u...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 22
    lmasantilmasanti Posts: 162member
    Maybe some of the very… very… very old Macintosh users… —I bought my first Macintosh in October 1985— will remember that Clarus even had a ‘Technical Note’ —I do not remember if it was #10 oe #19— than then was removed from the list of Technical Notes —by that time, TN where the ‘holy grail’ to understand the system—.

    As for the disappearance… although it was around Steve Jobs coming back… I think that it was more related to the disappearance of the original Macintosh OS… when it began to be replaced by Mac OS X.

    (One thing that I never understood was the disappearance of ‘HyperCard’! Snif, snif…)
    ravnorodomkurai_kagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 22
    mretondomretondo Posts: 86member
    He doesn't look a day older:)
    StrangeDaysbageljoeywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 22
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 156member
    Long live the Moof!
    StrangeDaysrandominternetpersonJWSCdarkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 22
    ravnorodomravnorodom Posts: 501member
    I also miss flying toaster. Not sure if that’s the Apple thing or Toast thing. 
    JWSCalcoholicfrogkurai_kagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 22
    hmlongcohmlongco Posts: 374member
    Should have mentioned that Clarus was the official mascot of the Apple Macintosh Developer Community.
    shaminowatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 22
    CuJoYYCCuJoYYC Posts: 73member
    Moof.
         
    zeus423ravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 22
    charles1charles1 Posts: 59member
    He lives !
    edited June 14 shaminozeus423sdw2001ravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 22
    shaminoshamino Posts: 501member
    I also miss flying toaster. Not sure if that’s the Apple thing or Toast thing. 
    Neither.  Flying toasters were a part of the After Dark screen saver software, made by Berkeley Systems.


    JWSCravnorodomdarkvaderwatto_cobramaltz
  • Reply 10 of 22
    charles1charles1 Posts: 59member
    shamino said:
    I also miss flying toaster. Not sure if that’s the Apple thing or Toast thing. 
    Neither.  Flying toasters were a part of the After Dark screen saver software, made by Berkeley Systems.


    After Dark: Flying Toasters has been resurrected as freeware, download here. Comment says it doesn't work in Monterey but I can confirm it works fine.
    ravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 22
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,068member
    Interesting how the smooth, modern version shown in the article has a prominent udder (milk sack) whereas the original pixelated version by Kare did not...

    No photo description available
    zeus423JWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 22
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 907member
    jdw said:
    Interesting how the smooth, modern version shown in the article has a prominent udder (milk sack) whereas the original pixelated version by Kare did not...

    No photo description available
    It does, just not so prominent. 

    Also, it's probably the upper thigh.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 22
    I love Claris, but I expect if you asked 100 people who had never seen it before at least 95 would describe it simply as a pixelated dog. The only cow aspect is the spots, and plenty of dogs have spots. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 22
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,972member
    I love Claris, but I expect if you asked 100 people who had never seen it before at least 95 would describe it simply as a pixelated dog. The only cow aspect is the spots, and plenty of dogs have spots. 
    Moof!
    darkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 22
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,247member
    jdw said:
    Interesting how the smooth, modern version shown in the article has a prominent udder (milk sack) whereas the original pixelated version by Kare did not...

    No photo description available
    What’s interesting? It’s an update, and dogs or cows with completely flat undercarriages are thin on the ground.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 156member
    jdw said:
    Interesting how the smooth, modern version shown in the article has a prominent udder (milk sack) whereas the original pixelated version by Kare did not...

    No photo description available
    After all these years, whose body doesn't sag a little?
    thtJWSCRJvMravnorodomappleinsiderusershaminowatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 22
    RJvMRJvM Posts: 1member
    I fondly remember visiting Apple's HQ at Infinity Loop in Cupertino in 1995, at the time, Clarus was still standing in the famous icon garden, next to a lot of the other great icons designed by Susan Kare. 
    ravnorodomdarkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 22
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,497member
    YAAAAYY!! (Kermit flopping arms around violently meme)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 22
    ravnorodomravnorodom Posts: 501member
    RJvM said:
    I fondly remember visiting Apple's HQ at Infinity Loop in Cupertino in 1995, at the time, Clarus was still standing in the famous icon garden, next to a lot of the other great icons designed by Susan Kare. 
    I was there. Missed those days. The only Apple Store ever existed in that time is at Apple HQ, Infinity Loop, Cupertino. What a treat.
    darkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 22
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 866member
    lmasanti said:
    Maybe some of the very… very… very old Macintosh users… —I bought my first Macintosh in October 1985— will remember that Clarus even had a ‘Technical Note’ —I do not remember if it was #10 oe #19— than then was removed from the list of Technical Notes —by that time, TN where the ‘holy grail’ to understand the system—.

    As for the disappearance… although it was around Steve Jobs coming back… I think that it was more related to the disappearance of the original Macintosh OS… when it began to be replaced by Mac OS X.

    (One thing that I never understood was the disappearance of ‘HyperCard’! Snif, snif…)


    And of course there was the improved DogCow in the QuickTime Beta: 

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