Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 2nd Feb 2013 00:02 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
Apple "Thirty years ago, Apple unveiled the Apple Lisa, a pioneering machine that introduced the mouse-driven graphical user interface to a wide audience and opened a new chapter in personal computer history. The Mac borrowed heavily from the Lisa, and the Mac went on to great things while the Lisa floundered. As a result, it's tempting to treat the Lisa as merely a footnote in the history of Apple. But as anyone who has used a real Lisa knows, Apple's first GUI-based computer played host to many distinctive quirks and traits that tend to get overlooked in the history books. The machine's 30th anniversary is as good a time as any to take a look at a handful of both odd and useful features that truly made the Lisa something unique." A bit lacking in the meat department, but still fun.
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Soon...
by Kochise on Sat 2nd Feb 2013 13:09 UTC
Kochise
Member since:
2006-03-03

Wasn't the fate of the Lisa computer sealed when Jobs decided to sell it for about half the annual salary of an average US citizen ? The price tag haven't changed much though...

Kochise

Reply Score: 4

RE: Soon...
by cmost on Sat 2nd Feb 2013 16:44 UTC in reply to "Soon..."
cmost Member since:
2006-07-16

That and the fact that when the Mac was released, it was in nearly every way better than the Lisa and at a much lower cost. In fact, Apple eventually developed an expansion card for the Lisa that converted it into a Mac in order to move remaining units. Apple even changed the name of these machines from Lisa to Macintosh XL.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Soon...
by parrotjoe on Sat 2nd Feb 2013 18:04 UTC in reply to "Soon..."
parrotjoe Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, the Lisa got canned pretty fast and all attention went to the Mac. It did not exactly fly off shelves when released. But, when it came together with Aldus Pagemaker and the laser printer, desktop publishing was born.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Soon...
by henderson101 on Mon 4th Feb 2013 12:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Soon..."
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Um.. reality contradicts you... The Lisa did not "get canned so fast..." at all, in fact they released a both a Lisa 1 and later a Lisa 2 and continued production for 3 years. The original Mac 128 only lasted 1 year before it was discontinued in favour of the Mac Plus. The Lisa 2 used 3.5" floppies and addressed quite a few of the issues. The Lisa 2 continued to be sold late in its life as the Macintosh XL, which ran Mac OS via emulation. No one is saying it was "overly" popular, but it was by no means dropped quickly as you imply. The Lisa line was dropped in favour of the Mac, true - but then this is by no means unusual in the world of computing. Plenty of machines did okay (and by "okay", I mean sold enough units to not be an immediate failure) at the time, but then never saw a successor. Especially in the old days.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Soon...
by henderson101 on Mon 4th Feb 2013 12:19 UTC in reply to "Soon..."
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Jobs wasn't part of the Lisa project (or CEO) by the time the Lisa was released, indeed - he was championing the Mac, which is ultimately one of the reasons that got him fired by Sculley ( that and trying to oust Sculley.) Jobs therefore had zero influence over the price, bar the influence he had by sitting on the board. Sculley was his own guy, and if you believe Jobs controlled Sculley, I'd point you towards the fact that Sculley fired Jobs to disprove your assumption.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sat 2nd Feb 2013 16:43 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

I wonder why the crowd went nuts at the Macintosh presentation, because it, at first sight, looks like the Lisa from a GUI perspective, only cheaper (but still too expensive).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Kochise on Sat 2nd Feb 2013 17:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

That's why many people bought cheaper yet more powerful (ยง) Atari ST computer, and later added the Dave Small's Magic Sac, Spectre 128 then Spectre GCR expansion to them. With original Apple Macintosh ROMs, it litteraly transformed an Atari ST into a full featured Mac. Look for "Gadget by Small" on the Internet, this guy is a real genius, the old school kind of geek that just makes wonders.

http://www.atari-forum.com/wiki/index.php?title=Gadgets_by_Small

http://mrblog.org/2004/01/06/where-are-they-now-dave-small/

http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=19275

Kochise

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sat 2nd Feb 2013 20:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Thanks for the interesting links!

I'm an Apple person and I think these old 80's Macs are cute, but I would never have bought one back then and if I had I'm pretty sure to have been disappointed. The Atari ST and Amiga were much more powerful and well, more fun. I guess even an Apple 2 or Commodore 64 was more fun. More software, both serious and games. Even the ZX Spectrum had better looking games.

It's odd the Mac was marketed as the computer for the rest of us, because even without accounting for inflation if would be darn expensive today.

Also it seems the Lisa tried to be more innovative than the Mac.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by cwaig_g on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 13:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
cwaig_g Member since:
2009-11-30

Got to agree here.

I'm really attached my MacBook & iPhone these days.

But in all honesty, outside North America's wealthy, Apple of the 80's and early 90's was a complete irrelevance - I never saw an Apple II in the shops in the UK - ever. No-one owned one. No-one wanted one. I never saw one outside a magazine until I started work at BAe Space Systems in 1989 (they used one to run their environmental test ovens for satellite battery arrays). The Mac? Again, not in the flesh until university in 1990 - and even then, limited to one room - there were vastly more HP Apollo, Sun Sparc, or even ARM workstations than Mac's - the Mac was a toy that Atari and Commodore owners just laughed at (or emulated for DTP, at a quarter of the price with larger displays, faster CPUs and more memory).

And the Lisa - well, it didn't even make enough of an impression to get magazine coverage outside retrospectives on the Mac years later.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by tylerdurden on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 21:41 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

the Mac was a toy that Atari and Commodore owners just laughed at (or emulated for DTP, at a quarter of the price with larger displays, faster CPUs and more memory).


Well, the lack of self awareness of the Amiga and ST users has always been legendary...

Edited 2013-02-03 21:44 UTC

Reply Score: 3

v No
by Minuous on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 02:37 UTC
v RE: No
by UltraZelda64 on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 06:25 UTC in reply to "No"
RE[2]: No
by MOS6510 on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 06:51 UTC in reply to "RE: No"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

The article is called "5 quirks and oddities", not "5 amazing and unique features".

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: No
by UltraZelda64 on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 19:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

The machine's 30th anniversary is as good a time as any to take a look at a handful of both odd and useful features that truly made the Lisa something unique.

I didn't see a "handful of features" in the article that could be classified as either:

1. Not a ridiculous bug that any company would rightly be slammed to the ground for.
2. Not some kind of bizarre design decision that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
3. Actually a worthwhile feature for the user.
4. Or even a "feature" at all.

Really, the article leaves no wonder as to why the damn thing didn't take off in the first place... everything that the article claims makes the system "unique" is an undesirable trait.

Sorry, but the article is sorely lacking on what the summary suggests. It is a collection of basically nothing but "odd" bugs and design decisions. Useful features? Don't think so. "Features" at all? Not at all in my view. "Odd" is the only word they got even somewhat right.

Edited 2013-02-03 19:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No
by MOS6510 on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 19:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Not at all in my view.


I guess this is the core of your argument, it's your opinion vs the writer's.

Personally I don't care if something is a feature, bug, stupid or clever. If it's "odd" I find it interesting.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: No
by UltraZelda64 on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 19:31 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: No"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Not really; the core of my argument is that the sentence I quoted from the beginning of the article and the summary sounded like the rest of the article would be an interesting read. It most definitely was not.

Clearly the author failed miserably to get his point across. Just a bunch of bugs and other undesirable behavior, everything odd, but nothing of interest as a "useful" feature whatsoever. I was expecting after reading that line for something interesting, but no--nothing but pointless crap. Crap that would make you stay far away from Apple if you were in the market for a new computer at that time period.

Did that computer have anything going for it? Anything at all? After reading that article I was left with a firm no. If the author was trying to raise awareness of the genius of the Macintosh's predecessor, he failed miserably at that too. I went in looking for actual features and interesting and unique ways that it did things... and all I left with knowledge of were bugs and poor system design.

Edited 2013-02-03 19:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: No
by MOS6510 on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 19:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: No"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Considering the price I don't thing it really mattered if it was crap or the best thing since sliced bread: no one could afford one.

The points pointed out were things most people probably didn't know about the Lisa. Not only was it a commercial failure, but also overshadowed by the Macintosh. This makes the Lisa an enigma for most people, even Apple fans.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: No
by UltraZelda64 on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 20:56 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: No"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Considering the price I don't thing it really mattered if it was crap or the best thing since sliced bread: no one could afford one.

Actually, something that costs so much that no normal person can afford damn well better be top-notch quality! So the few people who paid out their ass just got a buggy, poorly designed system? Wow... seriously, it's almost starting to seem like this thing was specially designed to be a failure.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: No
by Soulbender on Mon 4th Feb 2013 03:58 UTC in reply to "RE: No"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

having two identically named--yet totally different files--is just stupid.


They don't have the same name, they have different names but what is shown is different from the actual name.
I can certainly see why it would be nice to have a view of a bunch of files with different type but same name.

Reply Score: 2

RE: No
by Soulbender on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 08:55 UTC in reply to "No"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I know Thom is a rabid Crapple fanbo


Wait, I am confused. Is Thom a rabid Apple fanboi, A rabid Anti-Apple zealot or a rabid Windows fan?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: No
by MOS6510 on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 09:19 UTC in reply to "RE: No"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

The common nominator is "rabid", so Thom is a rabid.

Reply Score: 5

Nice font
by IndigoJo on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 23:01 UTC
IndigoJo
Member since:
2005-07-06

Is that an anti-aliased font in those screenshots? That was way ahead of its time - even the Mac didn't get that until Mac OS X.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nice font
by tanzam75 on Mon 4th Feb 2013 07:58 UTC in reply to "Nice font"
tanzam75 Member since:
2011-05-19

Is that an anti-aliased font in those screenshots? That was way ahead of its time - even the Mac didn't get that until Mac OS X.


No, it's not anti-aliased. You're seeing image resampling.

The Lisa used rectangular pixels, at a resolution of 720 x 360 pixels. The image had to be resampled to 720 x 540 to display in the proper aspect ratio with square pixels.

As their names indicate, bilinear and bicubic interpolation will always sample in two dimensions. This causes the image to "smear" a little bit horizontally, even though only the vertical dimension has changed.

Edited 2013-02-04 07:59 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Mon 4th Feb 2013 12:05 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

My understanding is that Lisa was late and slow. And that every computer since then has copied the Lisa GUI, which was inspired by Xerox, but not a total ripoff.

That's all! Just the progenitor of computing as we know it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Luminair
by zima on Sat 9th Feb 2013 22:16 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

"every computer since then" hasn't just copied the Lisa GUI - they were also inspired by Lisa (among others), but not a total ripoff...

Reply Score: 2