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How interesting is the Lisa?

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Just curious about how people feel about the Lisa.  I've got two working ones (at least they were before they went into storage) and one non-working one.  I think they are interesting as the first Mac like system Apple produced and have a solid place in history.  But you can't do that much with them, truthfully. 

 

They seem to fetch high prices on eBay these days but I haven't followed up on the listings to see if they are actually selling at those prices.

 

Just curious what people here feel about them.  Do you feel they are an essential part of a collection?  If so, why?

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I would absolutely love to find one someday, simply for historical purposes. My interest is mostly historical, with future preservation, so they are an important piece to me. Sure, you can't do much, but then again you can do basically jack these days with any Apple II system.

Edited by LaPorta

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59 minutes ago, LaPorta said:

but then again you can do basically jack these days with any Apple II system.

Well, with an Apple II system there are worlds more software available.  I love many of the old Apple II games and wrote many of my college papers on Apple Writer.  My dad wrote a couple of books on Apple Writer as well:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Electronic-Integrated-Systems-Design-Camenzind/dp/0882757636/

 

https://www.amazon.com/Circumstantial-evidence-John-Penter/dp/0939762005/

 

The prices on that last one (written under a pen name) crack me up.  We have a box of them in the attic, should fund some good vintage Mac purchases. :)

 

I would probably set up an Apple II with a Floppy Emu and some games for the kids.  The Lisa I would probably set up with an Image Writer printer so you could at least mess around and print something. 

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I think it all depends on where you fall on the spectrum. I never really liked Apple IIs, because my family's first computer was a Mac Plus. Apple IIs were "ghetto" by comparison, and I hated having to use them at school. Granted, playing Oregon Trail was fun. However, the lack of a mouse was totally foreign to me, not to mention 5.25" disks and command line code.

 

I made a custom Quadra 630 in a clear acrylic case with LCD for my kids, At Ease and multiple games from my childhood.

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I guess the nostalgia factor plays a big part in preference.  Since I grew up with the Apple II (I remember loading lemonade stand from cassette tape) it holds a special place in my heart.  And the paddles are really quite good for space invaders and such. 

 

I never owned a Lisa, but I remember doing computer support when I was in college and several of the teachers had them.  They were probably Mac XL's at that time. 

Edited by pcamen

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I find the Lisa about as interesting as the Apple III, which is to say I don't find it interesting at all. I feel like my Macs give me essentially the same experience as the Lisa at a small fraction of the cost.

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I see the Lisa in the category of a 128k. It's pretty much useless today, underpowered, etc, but would I want one? Yes. Do I want to spend over $500 for one? No.

 

It's not like a IIfx, which is uncommon and expensive, but super useful.

Edited by Johnnya101

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A Lisa running Lisa Office System is "interesting" in that, sure, it's a window to the initial all-encompassing computer-as-an-appliance vision that Apple was pursuing with their first GUI work. (The first Macintosh is a significantly watered down version of said vision despite, ironically enough, actually having the hardware itself nailed tighter shut.) But I'm pretty sure I'd be done playing with one after a few hours and never really be inclined to touch it again. So unless I were actually interested in curating a computer museum then, no, I don't think I'd want one. Even for free, really. (Assuming I'm not allowed to flip it.)

I don't know off the top of my head what the percentages are but my perception at least is that the majority of surviving Lisas were are effectively used as MacXLs (regardless of whether they've had the screen modification that makes it official or not). In one sense those might actually be more fun to "play with" because, well, there's a heck of a lot more software. But objectively speaking they're also kind of terrible Macs, slower than even an original Fat Mac (except for the hard disk) and lacking compatibility in some areas such as sound. So, again, they're mostly interesting as museum pieces. Or as part of a freak show.

Apple IIs are completely another kettle of fish. If you want to debate places in history the Apple II's is about as secure as the Lisa's in terms of significance. (IE, strictly speaking neither was the first of its kind, but the Apple II was *close* to the first mass-market color personal computer and the Lisa was the *among* the first fully GUI-centric computers specifically aimed at the personal computer market, albeit the very high end of it.) And unlike the Lisa the Apple II was actually commercially successful and is with a varying degree of fondness strongly engraved in the memories of those who lived through the initial decade of the personal computer revolution. (Class of 1977-1986.) The population that actually has contemporary nostalgia for the Lisa is far smaller. People love the Apple II at a gut level and its limitations and warts are an integral part of its experience, the Lisa is pretty much solely interesting because it's a "technical milestone".

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