Archive for the 'Macintosh' Category

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Apple Lisa and Apple IIe

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Apple Lisa and Apple IIe on the cover of Popular Computing - March 1983APPLE'S BOLD NEW COMPUTERS IN ALL-CAPS

Thirty years ago last Saturday (January 19th, 1983), Apple announced two new computers: the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe.

Ultimately, the Apple Lisa met an early end, leaving behind technology that shaped the entire industry. The Apple IIe remained a reliable breadwinner during uncertain times in the early life of the Macintosh and remained the flagship member of Apple's popular 8-bit computer line until it ended in 1993.

Here's the cover of the March 1983 issue of Popular Computing which featured Apple's two new machines. It has always been one of my favorite vintage computer magazine covers.

By the way, I recently wrote an article about this anniversary for Macworld in case you're interested.

[ From Popular Computing, March 1983, cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used an Apple Lisa? What did you think about it?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] MacCharlie's FrankenMac

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Dayna Communications MacCharlie IBM PC accessory for Macintosh ad - 1985I'd like to have heard Steve Jobs' reaction when he first saw this.

Long before Boot Camp and Parallels, if you wanted to run IBM PC compatible software on your Mac, you had to strap on this unholy contraption — the Dayna Communications MacCharlie.

If I recall correctly, the MacCharlie was essentially an IBM PC clone in a beige box that hooked to the Mac's serial port. As a result, the Mac merely served as a serial terminal for the MacCharlie via custom terminal software running on the Mac. That's not a particularly efficient setup, but the lack of expansion ports on the original Macintosh meant that there was no other reasonable point of entry.

Since it worked through the serial port, the MacCharlie could only run text-based MS-DOS applications. Conveniently, the MacCharlie shipped with a keyboard extender that added the IBM PC's special function keys and a numeric keypad to the Macintosh keyboard.

[ From Byte Magazine, April 1985, p.71-73 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used a hardware system adapter (something that lets you use software from one platform on another through hardware, not software emulation) for any computer system?

[ Retro GIF of the Week ] Happy New Year 1993

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Happy New Year 1993 Raytraced Retro GIFClick to see other views of this image:
[ Original Size ] [ 2X Zoom ]

In honor of the impending New Year, I bring you this ray traced image that dates back to December 1992 — 20 years ago — and celebrates New Year 1993.

As per its inscription, this image was created using StrataVision 3D and retouched with PhotoMac by its author, CT. I have not determined who CT is yet, but I will do some more poking around soon and update this entry if I find out. (If you find out first, please let me know.)

Happy New Year!

[ Wondering what a GIF is? Read the introduction to this column. ]

Retro GIF of the Week Fact Box
Source File Name: NEWYEAR.GIF
Source File Date: December 16, 1992
Source File Format: GIF - 87a (non-interlaced)
Dimensions: 640 x 480 pixels
Color Depth
(bits per pixel):
8-bit (256 color)
Origin Platform: Macintosh
Derived From: Unknown
Creation Date: Likely December 1992
Artist: CT
If you know more about the origin of this image, please leave a comment.

Vintage Mac Christmas Art

Monday, December 24th, 2012

A Vintage Mac Christmas Slideshow on Macworld.com

Just in time for Christmas: Macworld has posted a slideshow of vintage Christmas-related Macintosh art and ephemera that I created for that site. I hope you enjoy it.

The Theoretical Christmas iMac

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Theoretical Red and Green Christmas iMac

The thought occurred to me the other day that one could easy make a Christmas iMac G3. You'd simply need one Strawberry iMac and one Lime iMac. Take them apart, then swap out the colored panels to make a mixed red and green system.

Alternately, you can use the later Sage and Ruby iMacs, which feature much richer, more Christmas-like colors. But Sage and Ruby iMacs are not as common as Strawberry and Lime ones, so that might be a problem.

I haven't actually done this myself, but I made a graphical mock-up of a Strawberry/Lime mixture that you can see above. If anybody actually makes one of these Christmas iMacs, please let me know!

[ Snapshots ] A Desk for a Mac Plus

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Benj's Mac Plus DeskA nice place to put a Mac Plus, I think. (December 2012)

Benj's Recent Macworld Adventures

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Macworld Logo

As long time readers of VC&G know, I usually post short entries about my non-blog writing activities on this blog so you can enjoy them.

Recently, I've been so engrossed in writing Macworld articles that I have neglected to mention them. Consider that remedied with this handy digest of pieces I've written over the past two months for said Mac-related publication. Conveniently, they all have history angles to them (or else I wouldn't list them here):

There's more on the way, so stay tuned to see whether I neglect to mention those here as well. The excitement is palpable!

Ten Years of the iMac G4

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The Exceptional iMac: Ten Years Later at Macworld.com

Yep, the iMac G4 turned 10 this year, and I wanted to write about it. I bought the high-end 800 MHz/SuperDrive model new back in January 2002 (just at launch), and I used it for about five years to do all sorts of casual, media-related things (email/iChat/iMovie/iTunes mostly). It was, and is, a great machine — it's a little slow, but it has always been a joy to use.

You can read my article celebrating the iMac G4 over at Macworld now. I hope you enjoy it.

The Secret History of Microsoft Hardware

Monday, July 16th, 2012

The Secret History of Microsoft Hardware on PCMag.com

Microsoft's recent announcement of its Surface tablet line has brought a lot of attention to the history of Microsoft's hardware products. Unfortunately, most accounts of that history are sorely lacking, rarely going beyond Microsoft's involvement in PC peripherals like mice.

I thought I'd remedy that gap in history by digging back into the past and bringing to light a forgotten era of Microsoft hardware — all of which, it just so happens, launched in the 1980s.

The result, "The Secret History of Microsoft Hardware," is now live over at PCMag.com. I hope you enjoy it.

Macintosh II 25th Anniversary

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Macintosh II 25th Anniversary at Macworld

25 years ago this March (1987), Apple released the Macintosh II, the first open architecture Macintosh. Naturally, I've written a short feature about this pioneering machine over at Macworld.

While speaking with Michael Dhuey, the Apple engineer that conceived the Mac II, I learned that Apple patterned the Mac II after the 1977 Apple II, which sported the same sort of flexibility and expandability as the Mac II. That self-referential influence amazed me — especially coming from a company that recently institutionalized the practice of ignoring its own history.

But only two years after Steve Jobs resigned from Apple, the company had no problem making the un-Jobs move of both looking backward and opening up the Macintosh. The result changed the course of Macintosh history.

[ Continue reading Macintosh II 25th Anniversary » ]