[vcf-midatlantic] Original Macintosh Architecture Questions

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Thu Jun 24 19:47:10 UTC 2021

> Mike Willegal 

> I agree that the original Macintosh (128K) is very painful to use, especially if you try to use it with only the single floppy drive that came with it.  Saying it has a poor system design without understanding the design constraints that the developers were faced with, is doing them a disservice.

> Once more memory and a SCSI hard drive were added with the release of the Macintosh Plus, the user experience with the same basic hardware and software system was transformed into a very positive one proving the basic system design was good.

I'm not sure if I disagree with Mike or not. He makes a point about 
early technology being a performance dog, which got fixed with later 
tech. He makes a point about "quality of system design" that's some mix 
of hardware performance and usability of software. And points about a 
company's development situation among a mix of products available and 
technology behind and ahead.

I think he's overly critical of the 128K at its point in time.

In my view, the 128K Mac and its operating environment, gave a class of 
potential (not actual yet) computer users an entirely different way to 
run programs, and to run all programs in a consistent *graphical* 
fashion. The physical package itself was attractive and portable (by 
standards of the time). And it came from a computer company with a good 
reputation and history.

I think the audience that 1984 computer found, weren't worried about 
"performance" and did not find the 128K Mac "painful to use". They could 
not look ahead to change their expectations; they were not users of 
command-line computers with multiple drives (floppy or hard).

Myself, I was working near a doctor's office at a time. They were using 
128K and 512K Macs, and getting office work DONE. I'm pretty sure they 
weren't reading technical manuals, or had run CP/M systems beforehand. 
Those Macs enabled their productivity. Sounds like a home run to me.

But I'm not sure what Mike was responding to, because the discussion 
thread shifted to SGI equipment for a long stretch. So pardon me if I'm 
a bit confused.

Regards, Herb Johnson

Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
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