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30 Years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the at-what-point-do-computers-become-antiques dept.

Apple 171

walterbyrd sends this excerpt from an article that might make you feel old: "At its annual shareholders' meeting on January 19, 1983, Apple announced two new products that would play a pivotal role in the future of the company: the Apple Lisa, Apple's original GUI-based computer and the precursor to the Macintosh; and the Apple IIe, which represented a natural evolution to the highly successful Apple II computer line. ... The Lisa introduced a completely new paradigm—the mouse-driven graphical user interface—to the world of mainstream personal computers. (Note that the release of the Xerox Star workstation in 1981 marked the commercial debut of the mouse-driven GUI.) The Lisa’s elevated retail price of $9995 at launch (about $23,103 in today’s dollars), slow processor speed (5MHz), and problematic custom disk drives hobbled the groundbreaking machine as soon as it reached the market. ... Around the time of the Apple III’s launch, Apple was so sure of the new computer's success that it had halted all future development of Apple II-related projects. But by 1982, as it became clear that the Apple II wasn’t going away (in fact, it was becoming more popular than ever), Apple scrambled to upgrade its aging Apple II line, which had last been refreshed in 1979 with the Apple II+. The result was the Apple IIe, which packed in several enhancements that regular Apple II users had been enjoying for years thanks to a combination of the Apple II’s plentiful internal expansion slots and a robust third-party hardware community to fill them."

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171 comments

Turtles (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42626633)

I like turtles

Re:Turtles (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42627221)

I like turtles

I like Turtle Graphics.

if the apple //e is 30 years old (4, Funny)

joeflies (529536) | about a year ago | (#42626639)

that must mean I'm .... really old now.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#42626717)

I know the feeling. The //e is what I cut my teeth programming on ^_^

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42626783)

I know the feeling. The //e is what I cut my teeth programming on ^_^

That was my second love, after the II+. Still miss the programming when it was direct and simple.

6502 assembly ... (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#42627003)

I know the feeling. The //e is what I cut my teeth programming on ^_^

That was my second love, after the II+. Still miss the programming when it was direct and simple.

I am so glad that I learned assembly language on a 6502. If I had started on an x86 I probably would have had a bad attitude towards assembly like most who did start on x86. To be fair, x86 became a whole lot better once it went 32-bit. However 68000 remains my favorite. Learned it via coprocessor boards in our Apple //e systems. PowerPC was OK, it had its moments.

Re:6502 assembly ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42627127)

The manual that came with my II+ had a section on 6502 Assembly that I believe was actually written by Steve Wozniac. I learned assembly in third grade just from that manual.

Could you imagine a kid nowadays putting down Angry Birds to figure out assembly code on his Intel i7 core-whatever? I don't know how kids today or in the future are going to learn the basics like we did.

(And get off my lawn!)

6809 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42627415)

I, too, started with assembly on 6502 (well, the Commodore 64 had a 6510 to be precise). Then 68000 on the Amiga. Good times. After that I mostly developed on ARM2 and ARM3. That was the most beautiful instruction set I've ever seen. All effects on conditions codes are optional, which makes for some very efficient code. Bloody fast, too. For that time anyway, I've not kept up with current trends.

But, for sheer fun, nothing beats the 6809 CPU. You can feel it's halfway between the 6502 and 68000. Underrated, really. I really should build a single-board computer with that delight again. Nothing against Arduino and such things, but there is something different about those older designs.

Re:6809 (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year ago | (#42628333)

The really neat thing about the 6809 is the auto-increment index registers, and having two stacks. It's like it was purpose-designed for running Forth.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#42626811)

Oh great. Now you've done it. All the dinosaurs will wake up and chip in about what ancient and obscure computing platform was in vogue when they became of age. Of course, I would never stoop to such foolishness, except to mention that toggle switches still trigger a brief rush of dopamine in my decrepit brain. Ahh, the blinky lights.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (2)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#42626955)

All the dinosaurs will wake up and chip in about what ancient and obscure computing platform was in vogue when they became of age.

Would I be off-topic or just not-dinosaur-enough if I said my first computer was an Apple //e?

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42627311)

To be an asshole and a pedant, one uses brackets with the normal Apple ][ computers and slashies with the //c :-D

--
BMO

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (2)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#42627787)

To be an asshole and a pedant, one uses brackets with the normal Apple ][ computers and slashies with the //c :-D

--
BMO

Yes you do, but the Apple //e computer (which followed the Apple ][+ and Apple ][ computers) used slashies before the //c..

I guess as an off-topic dinosaur asshole pedant, my first computer was and Apple ][+ as I held out for the basic in rom and improved color graphics over the Apple ][ model, but all my friends got the Apple //e and I was the one that had to suffer 40 column w/o native lowercase, since I couldn't afford an 80-column card :^(

As a stopgap I "liberated" a 70-column HRG patch that understood the shift-key-mod from a popular word-processor at the time, so all was not totally lost :^P

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year ago | (#42628357)

I think the original Apple II also had Integer BASIC in ROM. You had to press RESET while the system was trying to boot DOS from the diskette. Of course, once the Plus came out everyone wanted Applesoft BASIC which you had to load from diskette or cassette.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year ago | (#42628401)

Oops... correction, you had to press RESET on the II+, the II went right into Integer BASIC, unless you had the Applesoft BASIC on a plug-in card I guess. We had it on diskette at my school.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42628381)

>Apple //e computer ... used slashies before the //c.
>anon coward's pics

I.... I forgot...

I'm going to have to claim old timer's disease.

--
BMO

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42628137)

All the dinosaurs will wake up and chip in about what ancient and obscure computing platform was in vogue when they became of age.

Would I be off-topic or just not-dinosaur-enough if I said my first computer was an Apple //e?

The Apple //e is part of the topic of this Slashdot post, so you're not off-topic. However, I would be off-topic if I mentioned my old Atari 800, so I won't.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#42627007)

I remember using my abacus to calculate the profits on 48 million kilts ordered from the planet Skyron in the Galaxy of Andromeda.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#42627767)

Bah! Toggle switches? Those new fangled devices?

I had a professsor who used to like talking about programming via touching a nail to a series of contacts, inputting one bit at a time, and the wonderful innovation of a button that would input the whole byte a then *gasp* auto increment the input to the next byte in memory for you.

And to be fair to him, his ability to program in machine code (a hex pad with an enter key) strait into memory and have programs actually work as part of live demonstrations was impressive.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a year ago | (#42626867)

Apple II+ was what I started with, having a whopping 48kB of RAM. The IIe improved to 64kB.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

swb (14022) | about a year ago | (#42627967)

Didn't most people populate Slot 0 with a 16k RAM card on the ][+?

Mine (er, the one my parents bought us in 1982...) had one, and I'm pretty sure they weren't pimping it for my benefit.

It was less common on the vanilla ][s because they had Integer BASIC in ROM and used Slot 0 for AppleSoft Basic cards, and I think if you put a 16k card in the ][ you had to load AppleSoft basic from disk.

The irony being that the 16k card wasn't ordinarily useful because it shared the memory pages with AppleSoft on the ][+ and it took assembly to use the memory, as paging it in to make it accessible, you lost AppleSoft until you flipped the page switch again. I wrote one simple program (AppleSoft) with an assembly routine to use the memory and remember rebooting a number of times because I would exit back to my AppleSoft program without flipping the paging switch and crash because the entry point to get back to my AppleSoft was just garbage in the 16k pages, not AppleSoft.

Third party software made better use for it because the better programs were written in assembler and didn't need the ROMs paged in and could make use of the "whole" 64k (minus the memory mapped text and graphics regions).

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

stokessd (89903) | about a year ago | (#42626927)

I can still hear the sound of the floppy drives. Man, that's music to these old and tired ears.

The IIe was my first computer I programmed for as well. But the Macintosh was much more magical in what it could do.

Sheldon

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#42626761)

that must mean I'm .... really old now.

But are those elephant floppy disks still good, nothing forgotten?

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

Tackhead (54550) | about a year ago | (#42626969)

But are those elephant floppy disks still good, nothing forgotten?

Very probably just fine. I last booted my //e a year or so ago. Came up just fine. And yes, one of the disks was an Elephant.

EMS: An elephant never forgets. [modernmechanix.com]

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year ago | (#42627103)

Mine still boots fine too, and my disks aren't even Elephant. Still the only Apple product I've ever owned.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42627471)

My first computer was a Windows 98se. Bet you feel pretty old now.

Re:if the apple //e is 30 years old (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#42628297)

Hush. I remember the original Apple ][. Imagine how I feel.

I remember playing with the Lisa (perhaps Lisa 2 it was '84) in a computer showroom. Later when the Macintosh came out, I was surprised by how much smaller it was.

Quick! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42626643)

Apples stock taking a nosedive. MORE APPLE STORYS!

Another silly name (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42626647)

I read it as "Apple Lie". Silly marketing people.

Re:Another silly name (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#42626781)

I read it as "Apple Lie". Silly marketing people.

Heh. Me too. I thought this was going to be a fun diatribe+flamefest.

Re:Another silly name (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year ago | (#42626835)

I know it sounds childish to say Derp Derp, I thought it said Apple Lie, but no seriously I had to re-read it also.

I never would have made that mistake 6 years ago.

and thus began (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42626653)

apple's 30 year (and counting) history of un-innovation (unovation?), copying other people's ideas, and claiming them as its own.

Re:and thus began (0, Flamebait)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42626677)

apple's 30 year (and counting) history of un-innovation (unovation?), copying other people's ideas, and claiming them as its own.

Oh come on, the Lisa was very innovative in getting a number of large corporations and state institutions to shell out large amounts of money on extremely sub-par hardware.

Re:and thus began (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#42626785)

Oh come on, the Lisa was very innovative in getting a number of large corporations and state institutions to shell out large amounts of money on extremely sub-par hardware.

No, I think Sperry Rand can claim prior art on that one with their ridiculously overpriced/underperforming Univac near the end of the Univac cycle...

Re:and thus began (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42627037)

Apple spent YEARS developing Macintosh from 1979 through 1984 before releasing it. They did not just steal the GUI & mouse from XEROX and go.

For example, the Inside Macintosh programming manuals describe how to cut and paste text cleanly. Cut the highlighted words *including one of the adjacent spaces* & paste the word to the *side opposite that space*. Otherwise, the words have the wrong number of spaces & an extra space is left in the old position.

There are many stupid GUI errors left in MS Windows & X-windows TODAY that the original Macintosh team planned to do right.

Lies? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42626661)

Who else initially read the title as "30 Years of Apple Lies" ?

Re:Lies? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42626943)

I did. Also getting a kick out of everyone being downmodded troll for pointing it out, even though the visual is painfully obvious. Macfags have such sensitive egos...

Re:Lies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42628607)

Who else initially read the title as "30 Years of Apple Lies" ?

That's called a Freudian slip [wikipedia.org] you only read the title that way if you have an irrational hatred of Apple.

Poor Lisa, she never had a chance (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | about a year ago | (#42626673)

The Macintosh was such a superior machine in nearly every aspect that the unsold Lisas had to be hauled off to the landfill.

Lisa was better, its price was the killer ... (5, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#42626931)

The Macintosh was such a superior machine in nearly every aspect that the unsold Lisas had to be hauled off to the landfill.

I don't know about the Mac being superior. I had the chance to use both, the Lisa had many advantages over the original Mac.

The problem with Lisa was the $10K price tag. That just put it out of reach of many Apple II developers so a market never really materialized, unlike the Mac which was affordable by such developers.

Prior to the first native Pascal, and later C compilers, friends and I were actually using 68000 coprocessors for Apple IIs to write Mac software in assembly. A Microsoft Basic program running on the Mac would read the binary from the serial port, poke it into RAM and jump to it. I am not saying this was cost effective compared to buying a Lisa for Mac development, but we had time and no money. One of my friends actually completed a strategy game port from PC to Mac in this manner. I'm not sure but I think it was one of the SSI games. Its not as crazy as it sounds. Core non-UI code could be debugged to a degree on the Apple II's 68000 coprocessor.

Re:Poor Lisa, she never had a chance (2, Informative)

DickBreath (207180) | about a year ago | (#42627115)

Don't forget about MacWorks. The floppy disk that let your Lisa emulate a Macintosh. Slowly due to 5 MHz vs 8 MHz processor. And with weird display due to 1.5 to 1 rectangular pixels instead of nice square pixels.

Anybody remember having to use a Lisa to develop for the Mac? Cross compile. Put it on floppy disk. Then test it on a Mac. And every step was painfully slow. Compilers. Linkers. Inserting a floppy disk. Copying the file. Ejecting the disk.

Inserting the disk into the Mac had a much shorter delay before you could launch your program. (Assuming the Mac was booted and you had a 2nd floppy drive. Or you used a Corvus drive connected by Omninet.)

My how things have improved.

love the apple IIe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42626679)

Don't forget there was even a graphics tablet for the IIe, back in those days I hex editted appleworks from the IIc (my dad's apple) to my own IIe
i might unpacks the IIe again to use it with contiki for modern day usage :)

Re:love the apple IIe (1)

TXG1112 (456055) | about a year ago | (#42626853)

I remember the digitizers. My school had some Koala Pads [wikipedia.org]. I had a //c and though the computer is long gone, I still have a box of floppies for the nostalgia.

The Lisa was a flop (3, Informative)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#42626715)

The Lisa had a mouse and was pushed by Apple management due to the high price tag. The Apple IIe was much cheaper, had visicalc, supported a certain level of commodity hardware and wasn't pushed by Apple management.

The Apple IIe outsold [statisticbrain.com] the Lisa 20 to 1.

/subby, thank you for not claiming Apple invented the mouse and giving credit where credit is due....

Re:The Lisa was a flop (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#42626757)

Imagine that. A computer priced at around $2000 outselling one priced close to $10000. I guess it wasn't all gold paved sidewalks, peace and free love back then.

Re:The Lisa was a flop (3, Informative)

DickBreath (207180) | about a year ago | (#42627149)

Also remember that performance wise, the $2000 Apple IIe ran circles around the $10,000 Lisa. You could boot up VisiCalc and create a spreadsheet before the Lisa finished booting.

Re:The Lisa was a flop (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#42627171)

Oh, it was all gold paved sidewalks, peace and free love back then.

Only the price of gold was MUCH much lower.

Re:The Lisa was a flop (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#42627697)

Imagine that. A computer priced at around $2000 outselling one priced close to $10000. I guess it wasn't all gold paved sidewalks, peace and free love back then.

Even more significantly -- that's about $24k in 2012 dollars.

Re:The Lisa was a flop (4, Informative)

pauljlucas (529435) | about a year ago | (#42626981)

[T]hank you for not claiming Apple invented the mouse and giving credit where credit is due...

Except he didn't give proper credit. While Xerox had the first commercial sale of the mouse, it was invented by Doug Engelbart [wikipedia.org].

Lisa oh Lisa (1)

hhawk (26580) | about a year ago | (#42626743)

The Apple IIe was my first computer. At Bell Labs I also used the Lisa, which was interesting and a bit buggy but also the first "fun" computer to use.. but I had more fun using TROFF.

Apple best EVAR (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42626759)

Apple Apple Apple Apple Apple

Fuck all ya'all.

Re:Apple best EVAR (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about a year ago | (#42627173)

Back in the day, Apple rocked.

I can understand your bashing. Apple is not the same company anymore. But the topic is about the old Apple. Before it became as evil as Microsoft. Probably as evil as Google will one day become.

Apple ][ note: schematics included (3, Interesting)

mveloso (325617) | about a year ago | (#42626775)

If I remember correctly, my Apple ][e included all the board schematics, which made it easy for everyone to make cards/etc. A few years ago I found my AppleSoft basic tutorial, which was pretty neat.

Ah, the good old days. Too bad nothing's beaten Wizardry when it comes to RPGs.

Re:Apple ][ note: schematics included (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#42627085)

The Apple 2 red book had schematics, timing diagrams, and source listing for the system monitor. The tattered thing still sits on my shelf. The Commodore 64 had schematics as well. Those were the days.

Re:Apple ][ note: schematics included (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42627359)

You're thinking of the ][+. The //e (note, //e, not ][e, and yes, I'm being pedantic) was not quite as open.

Re:Apple ][ note: schematics included (1)

plate_o_shrimp (948271) | about a year ago | (#42627601)

You're thinking of the ][+. The //e (note, //e, not ][e, and yes, I'm being pedantic) was not quite as open.

So the Enhanced //e was not as open, but how about the original (unenhanced) ][e? (I'm being even more pedantic. ;-) All my 8-bit Apple lit is packed away and hard to get to, else I'd go look. Mine came as a ][e but I converted it to a //e....

http://www.apple-history.com/aiie [apple-history.com]

http://www.apple-history.com/aiiee [apple-history.com]

Re:Apple ][ note: schematics included (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42627805)

The logo on it still said "Apple //e". This [wikipedia.org] is what the one I owned looked like, and that was in 1984. The link you refer to says that the ][e was renamed to the //e when the //c came out, but the //c did not come out until 1985.

I also remember the splash startup logo on my //e saying "Apple //e" at the top of the screen, which differed distinctly from "APPLE ][+", which I had been used to seeing previously at school.

Re:Apple ][ note: schematics included (1)

plate_o_shrimp (948271) | about a year ago | (#42628155)

The logo on it still said "Apple //e". This [wikipedia.org] is what the one I owned looked like, and that was in 1984. The link you refer to says that the ][e was renamed to the //e when the //c came out, but the //c did not come out until 1985.

I also remember the splash startup logo on my //e saying "Apple //e" at the top of the screen, which differed distinctly from "APPLE ][+", which I had been used to seeing previously at school.

The early machines said ][ in the splash screen; the laters said //e. That was one way to know which ROM set you had.
http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/apple2/faq/01-010-What-is-an-Apple-II-The-Apple-e.html [stason.org]

Re:Apple ][ note: schematics included (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42628427)

Well, I had a revision B motherboard (something I specifically requested, because of certain features I wanted to experiment with), and the extended 80 column adapter, which expanded my system memory to 128k (bank switched, since only 64k was addressable), but the CPU in my system was definitely not a 65c02.

My system also did not have the MouseText characters that came out with the //c, so by the link you are referring to above, I had an unenhanced Apple //e. Nonethless, both the logo on the case and the startup logo said //e, not ][e.

This [vectronicsappleworld.com] website refers to a model that was discontinued in 1985, and is right beside an image that looks exactly like the model that I had. Note that it has the //e logo on the case cover. It's entirely possible that it was called the ][e for a very short time after launch, but I had never seen it... and I was practically living in a computer store near my place at the time, when I was preparing to get my own system.

Re:Apple ][ note: schematics included (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42628115)

So the Enhanced //e was not as open, but how about the original (unenhanced) ][e? (I'm being even more pedantic. ;-)

Try harder... the 'e' stands for "enhanced"!

Re: Apple ][ note: schematics included (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42628615)

Bzzzzt! See the link ending in "iiee"

BYTE (5, Interesting)

ihatewinXP (638000) | about a year ago | (#42626805)

For an amazing read look up the BYTE magaxine review of the Lisa. The article takes you on an amazing trip where the writer is trying to describe for the first time so many things we dont even think about.

IIRC he describes the 'pointing device' (mouse) as "about the size of a pack of cigarettes that moves a point on the screen - The screen then uses small pictures of common tasks to represent your actual desk top.

Watching them describe 'the desktop metaphor' when they dont know what it is a crazy reminder of just how fast this all happened...

Lisa (1)

Brickwall (985910) | about a year ago | (#42626839)

I worked on an Apple Lisa in Ottawa just after it was introduced. Like a lot of Jobs' ideas, it was a good concept that needed better, faster CPU's and denser, cheaper RAM. Think of the Newton - what is the iPhone but the Newton repackaged into a smaller form factor with superior hardware and telecoms added? I still think, if it hadn't been for Jobs and the whole Lisa/Mac lineage, I'd still be staring at c:>

Re:Lisa (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#42627005)

Which was the problem with Xerox machines as well. The thing about Apple is that they are selling stuff that sometimes isn't quite ready, from a commodity point of view, to be sold yet, or does not ultimately fit into the way we use computers. Here is what was wrong with the Newton. It was sold as a stand alone device. Some may disagree, but I used both models for a long time. They were very useful. They allowed my to do a lot of things. I could plug it into my network with a standard cable and work.

Here is what they got wrong. It was not a stand alone device. It really required a bigger more powerful machine to work well. That is why I move to the much less powerful, useful, rugged Palm V. At the end of the day, a partner was more useful than a competitor.

Apple has gotten that right now. Data can be viewed across a range of devices. Entered anywhere viewed anywhere. Which is the critical difference between the iPhone and Newton. Data Compatibility between the software. Google is also doing a very good job at this using Google Drive. MS still seems to be focused on making sure they receive a license payment for each individual box.

Re:Lisa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42628687)

Steve Jobs was kicked off the Lisa project 1982. His only involvement with the Newton was to kill it after Apple reverse-bought NeXT

Lisa was better than most people realize (4, Insightful)

ChrisC1234 (953285) | about a year ago | (#42626845)

The Lisa was ahead of its time, and many people don't know that. I grew up with a Lisa (later upgraded to Macintosh XL). For YEARS, my dad would complain how the Lisa could do more than the Macintosh operating system. Even the difference in desktop paradigms (where the Lisa was a document centric system, and the Mac is an application centric system). However, my dad's investment in the Lisas and their quick demise led him to curse Apple and Steve Jobs for a long time. We've still got 1 or 2 systems sitting in an attic somewhere. And I recall a few years ago having come across the whole set of system manuals for the original Lisa (with Twiggy drives).

Re:Lisa was better than most people realize (2)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about a year ago | (#42626873)

You do realize that all that is now worth quite a bit of cash? That being said, Lisas haven't aged very well. Many of them need extensive repair and restoration. The worst problem is battery leaking acid all over the boards.

Re:Lisa was better than most people realize (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year ago | (#42626975)

AFAIR, the Lisa had automatic versioning of files. When you saved a document, you didn't overwrite the previous versions. Of course, on a 5MB hard drive, you'd run out of space quickly.

Re:Lisa was better than most people realize (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year ago | (#42627763)

It was also, to my understanding, much nicer for hardware technicians. The case opened up easily, and everything was handy to get at. Certainly in comparison to the original Mac (and many of the later models too) which required weird screwdrivers and had exposed high voltage parts. No one who's accidentally touched a flyback transformer in a Mac ever forgets it.

The slide-out reference cards under the keyboard were also a good idea, and were present on the Mac during prototyping but never shipped. Too bad, or was a great idea. You can see them here: http://www.guidebookgallery.org/extras/spotlights/lisa/photos/keyboardreferencecards [guidebookgallery.org]

But it wasn't all perfect. IIRC, the Lisas all had GUIDs which they would write to install disks as a standard, built in copy protect scheme.

85 Years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42626887)

... of the Model A Ford.

Seriously, what's with the headline making like we're celebrating something that has been in continuous use? How about we celebrate the horse and buggy, or the flint and tinder?

(sigh) memories (2)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42626933)

The Apple ][+ was the very first computer I ever really programmed on to any significant degree, which I used at school, and I had a //e at home myself in 1984.

To date, it remains the only computer that I ever worked with which I felt I understood thoroughly. I had a reference book "What's Where in the Apple" which documented all of the Apple's i/o memory location/blocks, zero-page addresses, and practically every ROM procedure entry point, which I ended up practically memorizing.

I have many fond memories of writing for that platform, and I doubt I'll ever forget it.

Heck, I still remember some of the hex opcodes for 6502 instructions: EA was NOP, 4C was JMP, 20 was JSR.... and 60 was RTS.

I remember I was sad when Woz decided to leave Apple, because I knew, even then, that meant that Apple was probably not going to take the Apple // line any further.

Thirty years ago... tomorrow (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about a year ago | (#42627061)

Wouldn't it have made more sense to post this tomorrow, which is actually the 30th anniversary of the press release, rather than the day before?

//e + Mockingboard, skyfox, ultima, music const (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42627195)

Anyone a Mockingboard fan?

I cut my teeth too on BASIC and 6502 assembly back then when I was 11 years old in junior high school.
The mockingboard had excellent info w/ assembly examples etc. for working with the sound chips.
Used to use the 6522 interrupts on the mockingboard to do different things not always related to sound!
Huge ultima fan especially with mockingboard.
Music Construction Set -- landmark interface from child prodigy Will Harvey
Anyone wire up their non-maskable interrupt to jump into the monitor to aid cracking games? remember those days? The Pirate bay.
Also wrote BBS software w/ dialup modem and floppies to store BBS message base / user base / e-mail prior to internet e-mail.
Many hours in front of the apple hacking away.
Such nostalgia...
Hard Hat Mack, Cannonball blitz, getting ready to fire up an emulator!

Jobs Fired (1)

AllanL5 (814677) | about a year ago | (#42627213)

I'm surprised they don't mention Steve Jobs being kicked out of the company by John Scully in 1986, the decline in the company's fortunes from 1992, and Jobs coming back to save the company in 1996.

The problem with the Lisa was that it was built by a bunch of ex-HP engineers, to whom a $10,000 price tag wasn't extraordinary -- it's not like they bought their own equipment, the company did. But that was dramatically different from the Apple II+ customers, to whom $1500 was affordable. The Macintosh used the same processor (68000) and better disks, and a simpler GUI OS to fit in the more limited space. This made a much more successful, if more limited product, at a $2500 price point Apple customers could afford.

Slow? (1, Informative)

Zedrick (764028) | about a year ago | (#42627411)

How was 5MHz slow in 1983? I had a C64 clocked at 0.985MHz (PAL) around that time and it was more than enough + better (in every way) than any Apple.

Re:Slow? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#42628663)

Really? So you're saying the C64 had higher resolution than Apples? The syntax easier? More programmable both hardware and software?

Tell me, how did you jump over to our timeline?

Story Title... (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about a year ago | (#42627417)

Is it just me or did anyone quickly read the story title as: 30 Years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple LIE:

I guess my subconscious view of Apple is showing...

Re:Story Title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42628193)

You must be reading this on a Chromebook to mistake Lisa for LIE:

(Go on, do tell us another one...)

Re:Story Title... (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about a year ago | (#42628695)

You must be reading this on a Chromebook to mistake Lisa for LIE:

(Go on, do tell us another one...)

It was the IIE part in "30 Years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIE" that looked like the word LIE to me...

(you might want to work on that reading comprehension...)

Fond memories (1)

anerki (169995) | about a year ago | (#42627419)

I have fond memories of the Apple II. It, among many other things, had some very low entry level programming tools (basically no GUI means this is the case whatever you try to do on it) which was my very first experience with programming as a child. When at 10 I got my first computer, an Apple Classic though... It had HyperCard on it... Oh HyperCard, why did you have to go... It'll never be the same without you.

There's just something that's different now. Computers used to be, I don't know, more like *our* stuff. Now that's it gone from enthousiasts to the whole world it feels... different. Not worse per se, just different, like something was lost. My childhood memories are full of afternoons/weekends with dad on the Apple II or if some friend of his, a fellow enthousiast, came over to experiment on stuff. Those were the best days, ending with stacks of floppys of new stuff! Not that you had that much new stuff, it was just stuffitted :)

what $2,000 USD got you in 1983... (2)

Sebastopol (189276) | about a year ago | (#42627551)

Funny how PC prices still hover in the same general price range.

In 1983, for about $2,000, I got this (I was 13):

Apple //e, 64KB
Green Monochrome Apple Monitor
Apricorn 80-column card (for displaying 80-columns, duh)
Imagewriter Printer (9-pin dot matrix, noisy as heck)
Two 5-1/4" disk drives (and disk drive controller card)
PFS Write (Word Processor)
Snooper Troops (game)
Cheap Particleboard Desk
1-year subscription to NIBBLE magazine

Best Christmas gift ever. Of course, this was my ONLY Christmas gift for some time, as it depleted a huge chunk of my parents' savings, so after this Christmas gifts consisted of one or two pieces of $50 software (like Wizardry, or Bard's Tale).

This setup lasted me until late 1988 when I saved up enough summer job cash to build a 386 clone.

Praise And Horror For The Apple IIe (2)

EXTomar (78739) | about a year ago | (#42627623)

As I mentioned in another post, I very much appreciate my parents for getting an Apple IIe (with the 80 column text card) but it took me long after to consider how expensive that piece of hardware was for them just in 80s US$ let alone what it could cost today!! My fond memories of coding my own stuff (like a school presentation with ASCII graphics) and playing "Agent USA" and "Ultima 4" and "Ultima 5" and other games but it never really sunk in until these anniversaries came around just how expensive the hardware and software really was.

So while I salute my parents and Apple for providing me with a neat little computer to play and do some BASIC code on, I am really shocked it went anywhere due to the price tag.

Waaaay back (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42627657)

All I remember is PR#6

The problem with the Lisa (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#42627747)

The Lisa got so many things right. A good GUI, a protected-memory operating system, and a hard drive file system. The problem was price. The price problem was due to trouble at Motorola. The Motorola 68000 didn't do instruction backout properly, so it couldn't handle page faults correctly. That was corrected in the Motorola 68010, but the 68010 was too late for the Lisa. So the Lisa had to use a compiler hack to work around the lack of instruction backout.

Because the 68000 couldn't do instruction backout, Motorola didn't make an MMU chip for it. So the Lisa had a custom MMU built out of a large number of ICs. This pushed the parts count and cost way up.

Because good hard drives weren't available for personal computers when the Lisa was designed, Apple built their own, the LisaFile. Apple's attempt at hard drive manufacturing produced a slow, expensive, unreliable drive.

By the time the Lisa shipped, Sun was shipping the Sun I, and the UNIX workstation era had started. The Lisa was in the same price range as UNIX workstations, but the Sun I had a 68010, Ethernet, and hard drives that were expensive but worked.

If it weren't for the instruction backout problem on the 68000, the history of computing could have been completely different. The Lisa was usable, but overpriced. The original Macintosh was an appallingly weak machine - one or two floppies, a slow CPU, and very little memory. This tends to be forgotten, but the original Mac was a commercial failure. Not until the hardware was built up to 512K and a hard drive was supported did it become profitable. (Or usable.) But it was saddled with an OS designed for 64K of RAM. (The original MacOS had a good GUI, but under the hood, it was a lot like DOS - not only was there no memory protection, there wasn't even a CPU dispatcher. The original Mac was supposed to have only 64K of RAM (most of the OS was in ROM) but shortly before shipment, it was increased to 128K.)

Re:The problem with the Lisa (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42628031)

The Motorola 68000 didn't do instruction backout properly

What is instruction backout? I tried to Google it, but it looks like you are the only person who uses the term. :)

Re:The problem with the Lisa (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42628091)

Yeah, we got a Mac at the company I worked for when they were first released.

'That's kind of interesting with the mouse and stuff'
'But what can we do with it?'
'Look, if you move the mouse around you can draw pictures on the screen'

That was about it, really. No idea why the guy who ran the company bought one, guess it was the Apple logo on the side.

Ahh the Apple // lineup (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42627825)

Those were the days. Monochrome green, single 5 1/4" floppy drives, PR#6... I still have a working Apple //e (and C64) set up in my office at home. Sometimes I load "Beautiful Boot (by the Nibbler)" just to hear the speaker make those lovely blip blip sounds... I've been programing most of my life, and I miss the old days when Men were REAL Men, Women were REAL Women, and Small Furry Creatures from Alpha Centari were REAL Small Furry Creatures from Alpha Centari...

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