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Desktops (Apple) Apple

Apple Macintosh Turns 30 154

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-don't-look-a-day-over-40 dept.
snydeq writes "30 years ago today, Apple debuted the Macintosh. Here are some reviews of the early Mac models, including the Macintosh ('will be compared to other machines not only in terms of its features but also in the light of the lavish claims and promises made by Apple co-founder Steven Jobs'), the Mac SE ('contains some radical changes, including room for a second internal drive and even a fan'), the Mac IIx ('a chorus of yawns'), and the Mac Portable ('you may develop a bad case of the wannas for this lovable [16-lb.] luggable'). Plus insights on the Macintosh II's prospects from Bill Gates: 'If you look at a product like Mac Word III on that full-page display, it's pretty awesome. ... But the corporate buyer is never going to be a strong point for Apple.'" iFixit got their hands on a Mac 128K and did a teardown, evaluating the old hardware for repairability. What will the Mac look like in another 30 years?
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Apple Macintosh Turns 30

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  • It probably will (Score:4, Interesting)

    by davidwr (791652) on Friday January 24, 2014 @11:27AM (#46056495) Homepage Journal

    They used lead solder back in those days, assuming the floppy drive isn't too dusty and your boot disk is intact.

    When Steve Jobs died I booted a mid-80s Mac and it came up fine. MacPaint (source code here [computerhistory.org]) was an amazing feat given that it had to run in 128KB (really 192KB - like most Mac applications of its time, it made extensive use of the code that was in the 64KB of ROM).

    So was the "disk copy" program that could copy a 400KB (400,000 byte) disk in only 4 passes. It stole a large chunk of the 22KB RAM normally allocated to video to do it.

  • MS Word (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 24, 2014 @11:30AM (#46056539)

    MS Word on the original Mac was an incredible change. (This was before MS went all gung ho on Windows: they were still doing MS DOS and Windows was this DOS addon). I remember doing my physics papers on it and being able to put in math symbols and format and a bunch of other font and formatting things - all with a click of the mouse! And the WYSIWYG interface that printed what you saw on the screen!

    That was mind blowing back then. Because before that it was a text editor and trial and error in getting it to print well - or just an old fashioned IBM Selectric and a bottle of White-Out.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I had to write papers in the snow, uphill, both ways,.... AND LIKED IT!

  • by knarf (34928) on Friday January 24, 2014 @12:51PM (#46057471) Homepage

    Not having a CLI and forcing developers to either limit their applications to what could be pointed at and clicked, or implementing their own application-specific CLI is one of the reasons why the Macintosh ended up being a niche platform, derided by some as having its manual 'printed on drool-proof paper'. If there is one thing Apple did right when they introduced OSX it is their decision to 'allow' command line access.

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Friday January 24, 2014 @01:28PM (#46057949) Journal
    I remember the first time I saw a Macintosh. I was in my late teens, very much a young techie, and visiting what few computers stores there were at the time was a treat for me, I'd maybe get an opportunity to play with some of the new, cutting-edge stuff I could only dream about affording. At the time I was using Z80-based systems running CP/M, so there were no fancy bitmapped graphics for me, only a text terminal with ASCII/ANSI character sets. I'd heard about this "Macintosh" thing, and happened upon one, and sat and played with it for a few minutes. I found the "graphical user interface" to be "cute", but somewhat useless. After poking around with it for a few minutes, I thought to myself "well, this graphical thing is cute and clever, but let's get a look under the hood at the real operating system" and attempted to find a way to exit to the command line I expected was underlying this frilly graphical thing on the screen. Imagine my surprise (and to a lesser degree, horror!) when I discovered that this frilly, almost childish-looking graphical thing on the screen was in fact the operating system itself! I shook my head and blinked in disbelief and walked away, disbelieving that anyone could ever do anything useful with such a machine. To this day I've never owned an Apple product, but I guess I do have to admit that they were on to something big with the Mac.

    ..and no, Mac fans, I am not trolling you, and this is not flame-bait either, this is a true story, so spare me the hate, OK?
  • by hey! (33014) on Friday January 24, 2014 @01:31PM (#46057999) Homepage Journal

    The Blackbird [wired.com].

    It was chunky by modern standards, but back in 1994 it was elegant and sleek. I still think it looks really good. More importantly, I think the 540c was the best computer for *working on* I've ever had. It had a terrific keyboard, a trackpad whose operation has never been equalled in my opinion, and you could swap out the optical drive for a second battery for a then-astounding four hours of battery life.

    The screen was in modern netbook range for size (9.4 inches/24 cm diagonal), and very low resolution (640 x 400), but somehow it was very comfortable to work on for a long time. The entire system had only 4MB of RAM, but the software was built around this and it felt like plenty. About the only thing I didn't like was the proprietary Ethernet transceiver connector, (a) because it was proprietry and (b) because it was garbage. That's it. Everything else was as perfect as the technology of the day could make it.

    If I could have a mint 540c with software and a pair of fresh batteries, I'd use it instead of my modern laptop for a lot of things like writing where I had to focus on one thing for a long time, use a keyboard and didn't need a lot of CPU. Alternatively I'd settle for a laptop with a really good keyboard.

  • A/UX was indeed expensive. But even the early Macs could be decent Unix machines, as time (and open source a decade or more later) proved. The SE/30 was an incredible machine - able to take up to 128MB of RAM back when 'standard' was 1MB or less! Mine has seen lots of use as my piddly little home webserver [homeunix.net].
  • by lord_mike (567148) on Friday January 24, 2014 @04:40PM (#46060629)

    I remember my first time. It was at a department store that had decided to open up a "business computer" shop. I remember going in and seeing the mac, and trying it out. I was blown away. It was such a completely different paradigm, I didn't know what to do or how to use the machine. Even the text was different--black on white? Who would have ever thought of that? Is there any reason to even have a keyboard? I didn't manage to use it once while I was there. I played around with McPaint for about an hour and left disoriented. I looked at the other PC's, Compaq's, and PC clones around the store, and they seemed so incredibly antiquated. My mind was blown. I knew that whatever this Macintosh was, it was going to change a lot of things with computing. I wasn't sure if I was going to like that or not, but change was inevitable... and it was.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday January 24, 2014 @06:44PM (#46062191)

    Some apps reimplemented command lines, and a lot of apps went to the super-limited interface, of course... but most stepped into the relatively new paradigms of the GUI (Apple not being the first, but popularizing it)

    Some friends and I were Apple II developers back then. We therefore had automatic acceptance into the Mac developer program. So we signed up and bought a Mac as soon as possible.

    Months before the Mac shipped, Apple sent the Inside Macintosh manuals (a set of three ring binders). So we had docs but no computer, Apple found a way to get developers to read the manual.

    While reading Inside Macintosh they introduced us to the new GUI paradigm and offered a convincing argument to go with the GUI and not just implement a terminal/console user interface.

    We couldn't afford a Lisa for development so we got 68,000 coprocessor boards for our Apple II's, cross assembled 68K assembly, and downloaded the binary to see it run. Took me days to get an application menu going, it was very frustrating, then I learned that the A5 registers was not for general purpose use. :-)

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