Jump to content
uniserver

Macintosh II - Do you remember what it was like?

Recommended Posts

Do any of you remember your first experience with the Macintosh II?

Were you blown away, by it?

With all that 68020 Speed / Color / Expandability and the mathematical power of that Motorola 68881 FPU installed!

 

image3.jpg

maciiopen.jpg

motherboard.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't get to use a modular Mac until the Iicx, so no, I don't. :-p

 

I *DID* get a summer temp job in high school that I got to use a IIfx for the most undignified thing possible: copying floppy disks.

 

The (very large) company was rolling out System 7, and needed many sets of install disks. The only dual-floppy-drive system available in IT was the IIfx. So I got hired to copy floppy disks for 8 hours a day on the fastest computer available. (This would have been Summer 1991, IIRC.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My schools seemed to go right from apple IIe's to LC's, nothing in between.. in '02 however, there was an se/30 and a stylewriter that the whole class (10 people?) shared.. it was odd..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a Mac II and IIx at the NYMUG office, but they had the tiny 640x480 monitors of the era, so they didn't really impress me that much. My SE/Radius16 production machine was just as fast and had the Math CoPro. I was going to get a used Mac II to upgrade for the Rocket I'd planned on buying, but the guy I talked to at Sun Remarketing made a good case for going for the extra money for the IIx rather than bringing a II up to the specs required.

 

The performance of the IIx still didn't impress me much, even with the extra four MB of RAM. The PanaPro M1900M2 B&W TPD/Card combo was a revelation however, the 5x increase in desktop real estate was like playing on a football field. [:D]]'> The SE became the Plotter Server, productivity soared and I was happy as a clam while I saved every Nickle and Dime the business could spare for the Rocket.

 

The Logitech ScanMan, when the 4" hand scanner class rolled around and became affordable, was the only productivity enhancement to come anywhere near the escape from the confines of the 9" Periscope of the Compact Series in terms of productivity.

 

Those six NuBus slots made the Mac II revolutionary. :approve:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember when the Mac II first shipped there was almost zero software that could make use of the colour capability. We had to wait until August 1987 for SuperMac to launch PixelPaint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first experience was with a regular II with 8mb ram , the stock framebuffer and a monochrome display. It was a decent upgrade from the SE I had been running for years previous as it was at least twice the power of the SE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first experience with a full width modular Mac (can't say whether it was a II, IIx, or IIfx) was right around Y2K. I was teaching Office to junior high aged kids at an Omaha high school in the Summers between 1997 and 2003. The regular-school-year teacher whose room I used had a fantasticly stocked back room full of every kind of Mac. So one day for giggles we took a II and put a graphics card in every slot. (Was there such a thing as a dual monitor nubus card? Because I swear I remember 8 monitors hooked up to it when we were done.) Anyway we arranged the 6 or 8 monitors on school desks in a semicircle around the chair and everybody took a turn taking the mouse pointer from the first screen all the way to the last with the Kensington mouse ball. It was like sideways Golden Tee. Bzzzzzzzzz!

 

We did all kinds of fun stuff with those spare machines of his. He quit suddenly one summer and left it all in that back room. I managed to rescue a few from their destined dumpstering, only to leave most of them in a back room at a different school myself a few years later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so basically the Macintosh II had alot of potential, but software hadn't come around for a while... By the time software had come around, Newer macs were already out and the new machines were alot better.

 

Reminds me of my VOODOO 5500, it was a bad to the bone graphics card at the time. there was only a couple games that could drive it.

it kinda seemed to me at the time like a silly waste of money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
so basically the Macintosh II had alot of potential, but software hadn't come around for a while...

 

Right away there was good software for the Mac II, just not colour software. Excel calculations or database sorts ran five times more quickly, even before the apps were optimised. Scientific and engineering apps that used the FPU became monstrously fast.

 

And the Mac II really gave the graphics card developers something to work with. Multi monitor systems became commonplace in the Mac graphics art trade, even though it was mainly a greyscale world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mac BBS systems flourished, filling the slots in the Mac II with Hurdler HQS 4-port Serial Cards from Creative Solutions

 

Before the Mac II, the world was Black & White, for all practical purposes. Grayscale was a revelation and color of any quality was almost unheard of, the Mac II series was the breeding ground for the evolution of high end color graphics solutions. Digital_Darkroom shipped for grayscale the same year as the Mac II, but Photoshop 1.0 was still three years away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately the Mac II was released about 4 months after I was born. I've never even seen one in person, other than the IIfx-upgraded Mac II that I owned for a very short period of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My IIxperience was while working in a hospital radiology department. We used the II's to track and print (barcoded) labels for the Radiology film jackets. I hung around the guy who was developing the program (it was done in MS Quickbasic) and at the time it was the largest program written in that language on the Mac. He had to work with Microsoft to overcome some size related limitations and after he left, he gave me his copy of Inside Macintosh (1-3).

 

The best part of the program was the Machine language routine that printed the barcodes out in under a minute! Pretty fast for the time - I wonder what they did with those Mac II's? For that matter, I would like to know where the IIfx's in Nuclear Medicine went to...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody know where to find the story of the "contest" that the Macintosh II won? I know folklore.org tells the story of the Mac, and that Burrell Smith was working on a next design, that wasn't chosen, but that's all it says. Another source I've read says there were three contenders for the next Mac, but that's all it says. What's the scoop?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Before the Mac II, the world was Black & White, for all practical purposes. Grayscale was a revelation and color of any quality was almost unheard of, the Mac II series was the breeding ground for the evolution of high end color graphics solutions. Digital_Darkroom shipped for grayscale the same year as the Mac II, but Photoshop 1.0 was still three years away.

 

That timescale pretty much ties up with the launch of 32 bit QuickDraw (April 1989). Graphics card manufacturers had created 24 bit colour boards before that date but each one implemented the functionality in a different way. Software developers had to write around the limitations of Color QuickDraw to get 24 bit colour, and they had to do it for every card. Development speed was limited until 32 bit QuickDraw on System 6 created a new standard. Then colour really took off.

 

Does anyone recall the test image of a frog that was used to demonstrate the ability to print green on a dye sublimation printer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Before the Mac II, the world was Black & White, for all practical purposes. Grayscale was a revelation and color of any quality was almost unheard of, the Mac II series was the breeding ground for the evolution of high end color graphics solutions. Digital_Darkroom shipped for grayscale the same year as the Mac II, but Photoshop 1.0 was still three years away.

The Amiga would like a word with you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry off topic, I recapped an Amiga board / 040 cpu card over the weekend for the first time.

 

from purely a cap perspective the job was about as annoying as IIcx +/-

 

Seems like some pretty decently built stuff, I never had the luxury of playing around with an Amiga.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's an interesting system - from that period where new computers were branching out into this GUI thing, but before everything became either Windows or Unix derivatives. You can get a basic A500/A2000 setup pretty cheap, should you ever want to give it a shot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Amiga would like a word with you.

 

I worked with a bunch of Mac programmers in the 1980s who wibbled with an Amiga at home. The Amiga and Atari ST were great computers but they were an even smaller market than the Mac. There was just no space in the commercial market for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Amiga is a fascinating system. At the time, it had excellent graphics and sound, roughly equivalent to a Sega Genesis game console, the A500/600/1000/1200 boxes even sharing the same CPU. Because of these capabilities, it was a popular home computer with a LOT of great games. The other application they were particularly good for was video since they had native support for NTSC and PAL video formats. A great many TV studios used Amigas for video overlay graphics and video switching, right up until the transition to HD.

 

These days there is a really cool open source clone of the Amiga http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimig

 

I built one of these recently and have a few extra blank PCBs left if anyone is interested. This is NOT a beginner project though as it's almost entirely surface mount, including the 208 pin FPGA. It took me several hours to assemble it by hand. Ready-made units are available but they're a bit spendy. There is also a build that will run directly on the Altera DE2 FPGA dev board, that one uses a soft core 68000 implemented within the FPGA while the original Minimig uses a real 68k chip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I remember was playing around with one at the old Micro Computer Systems store in Lynnwood, WA, and having one of the salespeople do a remote desktop of someone else's Mac Plus, then, that person shutting the Mac II down from their Plus. Was back in November 1988. Also remembered looking at the price tag and thinking that someone could easily pick up a nice 1983 Volvo 240 for that amount ($8400 or so with all the peripherals)...

 

-J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Before the Mac II, the world was Black & White, for all practical purposes. Grayscale was a revelation and color of any quality was almost unheard of, the Mac II series was the breeding ground for the evolution of high end color graphics solutions. Digital_Darkroom shipped for grayscale the same year as the Mac II, but Photoshop 1.0 was still three years away.

The Amiga would like a word with you.

 

Yup, with Deluxe Paint, one of the first full-color graphics editing applications - a full two years before the Macintosh II came out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×