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Mac SE June 22, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Speaking of anniversaries, the Mac SE was released in 1987 and ended production in 1990, so almost thirty years ago. Now there was a computer, a tiny black-and-white screen, a single hard disk bay (some came with two – the excess). But you could do a lot of work on them, design, spreadsheets, whatever. And while rudimentary the GUI was considerably more user friendly than command line interfaces. Not that I’m averse to the latter either. The thing was there was fun to be had just messing around with computers.

The SE was tiny by comparison with later computers, and underpowered, but not so underpowered it couldn’t do anything. And the form of the machine, all in one, is of course echoed in today’s iMacs. It’s funny, though. This article in The Atlantic notes implicitly how limited the machines were, more akin to a mobile or tablet today – indeed arguably any mobile or tablet today would be vastly more powerful and allow for a range of activities so wide as to almost be beyond comparison.

And a point well worth considering… The Mac SE’s tiny screen wouldn’t have seemed so tiny back then; even the largest ones were only a few inches bigger. Well into the 1990s, a 17-inch computer monitor would have been heavy and costly, a luxury relegated almost exclusively to professionals.

True that.

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1. FergusD - June 22, 2019

I could only dream of an SE. I had a MacPlus, still have it, with a huge 4MB of RAM. I ran it with a virtual disk and an internal 1.4MB floppy drive. Booted up from the floppy which also created the virtual disk in RAM and then the system loaded into the virtual drive and the system floppy ejected. I then had a floppy disk with WriteNow, Cricket Graph and Uniplan (I think, a spreadsheet anyway) and room to save files which meant I could write a scientific paper, use a spreadsheet for my data, graph the data and paste it into the Write Now document for laser printing. Did everything I needed really. I couldn’t afford a hard drive. Got a massive 10mB external SCSI drive eventually. I have to say that this outfit was way more capable and pleasant to use than the PCs of the day. It was pre System 7 so I had an app called Switcher which allowed you to load several apps at a time and copy and paste and switch between them even with the virtual disk arrangement.

Those were the days!

I still have it in the attic. The lads loved HyperCard and did some rudimentary ‘coding’ while in junior school.

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WorldbyStorm - June 22, 2019

I never owned an SE – but it was the first computer I used – I did eventually with a relative get a LC b/w – lovely machine – and later a second hand LC III. Switcher brings back the memories – and HyperCard – it was all a lot simpler! 🙂

SCSI drives – those I don’t miss or SyQuests – always corrupting

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2. Dermot M O Connor - June 22, 2019

Used to friends with a sys admin guy in LA (he subsequently went on to have somewhat paranoid notions and started liking ‘White Pride Month’ on FB, along with Arno Breker sculptures, there’s no accounting for ‘taste’).

Anyway, years BEFORE that happened he stumbled across an old Mac SE (this was the late 90s). From what he could infer from the files, owner was pretty old, and the drive was full of screenplays he had written.

None of which had been made of course. In LA everyone has a screenplay! Always thought it was sad, the last relic of a failed creative, now just a curio.

Do they have estate sales in Ireland? Meaning : open house where you can go in and walk around the home of the recently deceased, basically a huge garage sale of a dead person’s stuff. Sister used to go, you’d never know what you’d find. Went to one out of curiosity, Christ, never again. Most depressing thing you can imagine, wedding honeymoon photos from 1970, pictures of forgotten dead people, old cameras, and the ghouls circling around buying up the stuff from the realtor, to flog on ebay.

‘For this I say:
be watchful of the cage of chance,
it opens alike to fool and sage.
Spy on the moment, for tomorrow will be,
like yesterday, an obliterated page.’

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WorldbyStorm - June 23, 2019

I never heard of such sales, but in flea markets I’ve seen old Macs from the 90s. I’ve often wondered about getting one at a knock down price to play old games I’ve still got.

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