Tell us another story from the old days, Grandpa.

Nadine, who also could not resist ;-)

Jeremy H. Griffith wrote:
> On Fri, 17 Apr 2009 10:32:12 -0600, Patrick Fortino <pxforti at> 
> wrote:
>> But imagine it's 1986 and you are in a computer store looking at 
>> computers.
> I can't resist.  ;-)  In 1986, I was working at a company that
> had pretty much standardized on Macs.  People loved them.  I had
> one of the older DOS boxes, with a special drive that allowed
> it to read and write Mac disks (for conversion purposes).  Macs 
> were so "special" other machines couldn't read the disks at all, 
> even at the record level, much less write to them.
>> One the hand, you have DOS with it's blinking cursor waiting for  
>> instructions from you. If only you knew what those instructions were.
> Yes, it did call for knowing what you were doing.  ;-)  But
> so did the Mac.  How long did it take *you* to figure out that
> the way to eject a floppy, other than the paperclip taped to 
> every Mac, was to drag it to the Trash???  This was intuitive?  <bg>
>> On the other hand, you have a Mac Plus, it's friendly face and graphic  
>> interface inviting you to experiment. Both computers will pretty much  
>> do what you want, the big difference being ease of use and cost. Macs  
>> were easier to use and cost a LOT more (I'm not trying to start a  
>> windows v mac battle here: I use both and think they are now pretty  
>> even on ease of use).
> Back then, Macs had another interesting feature.  If anything
> went wrong during a write to the floppy, a daily event, the
> entire disk became unusable.  You discovered this the next time
> you inserted your wonderful project, and the Mac offered to
> format the "damaged" disk for you.  You could literally hear
> the screams from one end of the office to the other.
> So on that DOS box, I studied the Mac filesystem on the disks.
> After a while I worked out the rules for it (Apple wouldn't
> tell you, unlike, say, IBM), and wrote a simple program to
> fix up a very common (and harmless) error made by the Mac if
> it wasn't totally done with the disk before it was removed.
> (It wasn't updating the free list until then, so a block just
> written would be in both the used and free lists, and the Mac 
> threw up its hands.  I just removed any used blocks from the 
> free list and updated it.)
> After a while there was a steady stream of folks with tearstained
> faces gingerly clutching a floppy coming to my desk.  It took a
> few seconds for my program to fix them up.  They went back to
> work on the easier-to-use system... much happier.  <vbg>
> My point?  It's *not* that easier is worse.  It's that every
> tool has its use, and if you master them all, you are better
> off than those who limit themselves to one.  Even if you think
> it's the easiest.  ;-)
> And what did you expect, on Friday afternoon?  <g>
> -- Jeremy H. Griffith, at Omni Systems Inc.
>   <jeremy at>
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