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The little-known Apple Lisa: Five quirks and oddities

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:30 AM

Post your comments for The little-known Apple Lisa: Five quirks and oddities here
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#2 User is offline   stimarco 

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  Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:48 AM

The "DRM" thing is not quite as onerous as it seems: the application would have only been available on a disk, and that disk would allow you to install the application on *any* Lisa. It's only the copies of that disk that would be tied to the specific machine.

This fits the best practices of the day: you buy an application, copy the disk, then use the copy as your 'master' disk –┬áthe original disk is kept in its box and retained as an archive.

As long as that original disk is kept, you'd have no difficulty installing the application on another Lisa.
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#3 User is offline   user88331 

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  Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:11 AM

I miss the days when OS research was alive and kicking. I love my Mac but I agree with Rob Pike that Unix is old, and tired, and we need a new paradigm. It's neat reading this article and remembering the excitement of brand new ideas.
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#4 User is offline   Kentbob 

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  Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:31 AM

I remember MS Works had a similar copy prevention. Once you used the original floppy, you could know longer copy it.

The work-around was to switch on the record safety tab on the floppy, then make a copy of it, then use that copy to install from.
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#5 User is offline   writerbenj 

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  Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:17 AM


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#6 User is offline   lrosenstein0 

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  Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:44 AM

Benj is correct. (I worked at Apple on the Lisa software as my first job out of school.)

As I recall, the system would not let you run an application from the master floppy, nor would it let you copy the application unless the original floppy was writeable, so it could be serialized. Apple didn't provide a way to make a bit-for-bit copy of the master disks, and since the original hardware used the proprietary "Twiggy" drives it wasn't possible to make a copy on some other machine. I once visited a customer who has multiple Lisas, and they had to keep track of which floppies went with which machines.
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#7 User is offline   Norton 

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  Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:43 PM

Respect.
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#8 User is offline   webwielder 

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  Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:49 PM

The ugliness of these screenshots shows how important it was that Steve Jobs hired a trained artist (Susan Kare) to work on the Mac UI. It resulted in a considerably friendlier and more pleasant experience. Very few people in the tech industry considered aesthetics to be of importance (or even realized they were a factor).
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#9 User is offline   philomath777 

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  Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:36 PM

What was impressive at the time was the multitasking. I remember driving 2 printers at the same time, which the subsequent Mac could not do.
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#10 User is offline   ChrstB 

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  Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:59 PM

I am more interested in my apple2E proDOSE guarantee of support by apple because I didn't make it at the U of Michigan Music where It was displayed at the library. My OhioScientific Challenger has always been a superior design with its 48 pin backplane.
concerning Amiga and multi-tasking................... the 16bit motorola is multi-tasked: gary dices and slices blitters and heap stack pointers directing denice paula agnus.....................it is not about concurrent software applications
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#11 User is offline   ZPedro 

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  Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:48 AM

I have never known the Lisa, but I remember reading that the serialization thing was a whole pain when it came to support: if a Lisa had to be serviced it was not possible to exchange or even loan another one while the problem was being fixed, since the software would only run on that one Lisa, so one had to wait for the repair to be done.

Worse, if the problem was with the board or the particular chip that housed the serial number (was it a PAL on the video hardware? I'm not sure about the details) then the Lisa had to be factory serviced so that the faulty part would be replaced with one that had the same serial number (instead of the local dealer putting in a spare part, which would have had a different serial number, in turn preventing the software from working and preventing even the possibility to reinstall it).

Modern DRM may be restrictive, but at least it is a little bit more flexible than that.
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#12 User is offline   Helgi 

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  Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:36 PM

Xerox Star could handle files with the same name, and even files without a name, AFAIR. See
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#13 User is offline   meyerjr 

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  Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:54 PM

Of course, the computer pictured in the article is not a Apple Lisa, it is a Macintosh XL. The Apple Lisa shipped with two 5 1/4 inch "Twiggy" floppy drives. The twiggy drives turned into a nightmare, for reliably reading what had been previously written.

Apple issued "conversion" kits to Lisa owners to remove (forget) the two twiggy drives and replaced them with a single 400K Sony 3.5 inch floppy drive that had begun to ship with the original Mac. There was another option to add a ten MB hard drive inside the (converted) Mac XL - where the upper twiggy floppy drive used to be.

I have lots of trivia about Apple products from that era. Feel free to ask, if you like.
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#14 User is offline   sherryann 

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  Posted 08 September 2013 - 11:00 PM

My dad bought a Lisa for $10K. I was one of 2 people in my graduating college class of 1986 with access to a computer for writing term papers (printed on a dot matrix printer!). If I recall correctly, Lisa had an error message, "Lisa has died an untimely death" which I thought was very macabre since the machine was named after Jobs' daughter.
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