Twiggy Mac
October 23, 2013 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Many of the Macintosh team members gathered Wednesday, September 11 2013 to play with one of the original “Twiggy Mac” prototypes still in running condition. Quick, Hide In This Closet!
posted by unliteral (23 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
The folklore site is full of gems like these.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:46 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is as good a time as any to link to my favorite Mac prototype story.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:53 PM on October 23, 2013


Instead, the Lisa hardware designers (Paul Baker, Bob Paratore and others) solved the problem by including a little Apple II, with its own memory and microprocessor (but clocked twice as fast), inside the Lisa to control the Twiggy drives.

The early days of microprocessor-based computing were full of craziness like that. I believe that both Sun and Apollo had dual 68000s in their original configurations. This was needed because the 68000 had limitations that prevented the handling of page faults in software. So one processor acted as a kind of watchdog. When a page fault was raised, the main CPU was halted mid-cycle while the watchdog CPU loaded the page into memory. The main CPU would then resume, unaware of what had happened while it was sleeping. (The 68010 subsequently fixed this limitation in the CPU architecture.)
posted by Slothrup at 6:52 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


… and yet, despite having a 6502 of its own, CBM's 1541 drive was a thing of surpassing assness.
posted by scruss at 7:20 PM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


and yet, despite having a 6502 of its own, CBM's 1541 drive was a thing of surpassing assness.

I had a total of three Commodore 64s and two 1541s. You are entirely correct. God those things were slow!
posted by JHarris at 7:39 PM on October 23, 2013


The story about Steve Jobs's idea for Mr. Macintosh is one of the more charming things I've heard attributed to him.
posted by JHarris at 8:04 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mr. Macintosh = Clippy but cool
posted by Bwithh at 8:56 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apple should seriously put Mr. Macintosh into OS/X. As an homage to Jobs maybe.
posted by JHarris at 9:23 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was a time when the Mac's laser printer had a more powerful processor than the Mac itself.
posted by zippy at 9:44 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


More! More stories of the insaneness of the early days of microcomputers! More!
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:28 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


wow Mr. Macintosh kinda looks like if Strong Sad had an office job
posted by danny the boy at 10:38 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had a total of three Commodore 64s and two 1541s. You are entirely correct. God those things were slow!

Five times slower than they were designed to be, as a matter of fact. (Bagnall's book "Commodore: A Company on the Edge" tells this story in much greater detail.) Imagine how different the C64 experience would have been if the drive were five times faster!
posted by /\/\/\/ at 10:55 PM on October 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Surprised Jobs didn't fly into Randall Flagg-style apoplexy when he found out.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 10:58 PM on October 23, 2013


And all you rich Yanquis ... Most of us in Europe were waiting half an hour to load stuff off cassette tape into the C64, so dry your eyes about the speed of the 1541! ;)
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:01 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The concept of a next-generation floppy disk really tickles me.
posted by forgetful snow at 2:30 AM on October 24, 2013


> And all you rich Yanquis

I'd just like to point up that I'm Scottish, so C15s all the way. Only one friend had a C64, and when they saved for months for a 1541 and it was about the speed of a Speccy's cassette, we all didn't know where to look …
posted by scruss at 4:04 AM on October 24, 2013


You had tapes? Lucky bastards! We had to type games in manually, copied line by laborious line out of the back pages of COMPUTE! magazine!

By god, that was videogaming. Not this Grand Theft Auto nonsense the kids do today.
posted by Naberius at 6:55 AM on October 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh god, now I want to write Grand Theft Auto: Creative Computing as one page of BASIC with obfuscated functions for the car's acceleration and the player's star level.
posted by zippy at 7:53 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought that Commodore used 6510s in the C64 and 1541 - it had an extra I/O port. The VIC-20 used a 6502 though. The 1571 on a C128 in C128 mode was quite pleasant though. Temple of Apshai took forever to load by cassette on my VIC-20.
posted by rfs at 8:10 AM on October 24, 2013


One little bit of techno-nostalgia for Brits of a certain age: Research Machines (now RM) has just announced that it's getting out of hardware. I think that's the last British PC maker out of that game, and most certainly the oldest - its RM 380Z was launched in 1978, and was many schoolkids' first contact with computing.

I don't weep for it, as I have friends whose attempts to sell tech into schools were stymied - they say unfairly - by RM's extensive influence with local education authorities, and I certainly consider many of their later products to be over-priced and under-specified. But I did like the 380Z.
posted by Devonian at 2:15 PM on October 24, 2013


I thought that Commodore used 6510s in the C64 and 1541

The C64 used it, but the 1541 used a plain ol' 6502.
posted by JHarris at 9:47 PM on October 24, 2013


Apple II drives had most (not all) of the logic in software, so improvements were possible, like the move from 13 to 16 sectors per track, and 5x speedup using interleaving.

My old Apple can still read an entire disk in the time it takes my Mac to start iPhoto.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:10 AM on October 25, 2013


How come there is no fact checking before posting? This has turned into a complete fact correct thread. I was hoping for a discussion about the revelation that Twiggy Macs exist. Oh well.
posted by unliteral at 6:13 AM on October 25, 2013


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