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$800 and only a crumby CD to show for it ...


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When it comes to CD-ROMs, I guess I was an early adopter. I ended up paying $800 for an NEC Multispin 2x CD-ROM in 1992 or so. Even though it cost a fortune and could only read disks, it was external and it was SCSI. It seemed like a good value at the time. Of course it doesn't seem like such a great deal now, given that you can buy a DVD writer for about 5% of that price and you can buy software that uses those drives for a couple of dollars a pop. (If not less.)

 

Anyways, those things used to ship with a software bundle. Part of the reason was probably economically motivate: it is better for a vendor to get $10 from every CD-ROM drive sale than it was for them to get $100 from one in ten CD-ROM sales. (Reduced marketing overhead, reduced distribution overhead, etc.) That bundled software was a boon to the buyer as well. In an era when free online encyclopedias were not available, and print encyclopedias cost several hundred dollars, a bundled encyclopedia was a huge incentive. I don't remember exactly what came in my bundle. The Grolier's encyclopedia was definitely there, as was The Animals 2.0, and Time Magazine and Compact Almanac 1990. There were probably 2 or 3 more titles that I've long since forgotten about.

 

Of course a major incentive for buying the CD-ROM was to use CorelDRAW 3. While it may have been possible to buy the program on diskette, the version you really wanted to buy included fonts and clip-art galore on CD-ROM. I eventually went out and bought a Night Owl shareware collection. It was the type of CD-ROM that many BBS sysops bought to give their BBS an instant file area. (Users were then expected to maintain a suitable upload to download ratio to freshen things up, but that's a story for another day.)

 

Time went on though. Eventually the CD-ROM died. The SCSI card was a boon though, since I could use it for speedy Zip and SyQuest drives. It also prepared me for making the jump from a 486 to a Macintosh SE, since I already had a CD-ROM and removable drive to liven up the machine. (I'm not sure if it was the original CD-ROM drive though, or just the enclosure with a new drive in it.) Virtually all of the bits and pieces are gone now though. Maybe I still have the SCSI cable and terminator, but can't identify it anymore. But I just found one of the CDs that came bundled with it. It was that Time Magazine and Compact Almanac. Maybe I should look up some of the old articles that interested me as a teen (something to do with special relativity and abiguous test results).

 

Oh, and for the interested: http://www.archive.org/details/cdroms_2

 

EDIT:

 

There is a news bulletin at the end of this program discussing Apple's attempts to develop wireless networks. Keep in mind, this is 1990 or 1991. Back when a few were using BBSes and fewer were using the Internet.

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my parents were semi early adopters on the pc cd scene, and they still have all the bundled software (sitting in a little cd rack behind the computer)

 

course that was about the end of them being cutting edge, I got my father a 2 gig usb stick thats super tiny for his keychain, then had to explain how many cd's that would hold

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My Dad bought an Apple CD 300 back when we got the LCIII for roughly AU$800ish from memory. At the time the whole "multimedia" thing was just starting to take off, and it was the new, new, new thing. It came with a SCSI cable, a terminator, as well as The Animals!, the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, and World Atlas. Still have everything, though the drive died a few years ago, and the enclosure is now used for an 8x Matsushita drive. I'd like to pick up another Sony caddy loading drive one day to put in it, just for old time's sake.

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I paid $1000 for an NEC external CDROM I-don't-know-how-many years ago. It probably came with Grolier's Encyclopedia, but I mostly remember a lame clip art collection. It broke not so many weeks or months later, and I think I immediately sold it's replacement, and bought Apple's first-gen CD-ROM, which I recall being lots nicer, including an audio CD playback desk accessory. Funny, it felt like such cutting-edge stuff, and 650 megabytes seemed like practically the universe on a single disk. Fond memories of impatiently awaiting the arrival of the BMUG CD!

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It felt like cutting edge stuff because it was cutting edge stuff!

 

The hard drive on my 386 could hold 40 MB and even though that CD-ROM initiated an upgrade to a 486 (because CorelDRAW 3 and Windows was chewing up most of my disk space), that 486 only had 200 MB or so of disk space. To add a little additional context, I recall 40 MB being about twice the standard disk size on personal computers of its era. That would have been 1991 or so. While I don't recall if I went for a larger hard drive on the 486, I don't see why I wouldn't have. After all, why spend buckets of cash on 16 MB of RAM (in 1993 or so) when you don't have enough disk space to do interesting stuff.

 

Anyways, it's nice to know I'm not the only crazy person out there. :)

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I ended up paying $800 for an NEC Multispin 2x CD-ROM in 1992 or so.

And to think, that was the equivalent of spending over $1,200 today. You could buy an iMac or MacBook Pro for that, with a DVD-R built-in ... and have some money left over to buy a few DVDs :beige:

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I remember back when we got our very first CD player in 1992 (the year before we got the LCIII), I remember how incredible CDs seemed, and how you practically had to treat them like diamonds, holding them by the edges, etc, etc. 17 years on I hurl old/bad CDs and DVDs around the room like frisbees. :p

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The old Apple drives seem to be pretty reliable, especially the ones with 300 in their name. I've got four 300e drives and all of them work perfectly. I also have one of the original Apple SCSI models (the one that fits underneath a Classic/Plus/SE); it too works great.

 

My first CD-ROM drive was a Power User brand from Mac Warehouse. It came with the usual bundle fare--Grolier's Encyclopedia and The Animals. The can't miss title that prompted the purchase was A.D.A.M. The Inside Story, which I still have today. The drive was purchased in December 1994 and died exactly five years after that. I replaced it with a NEC 3-speed drive that I no longer have (mostly because it required FWB CD-ROM Toolkit 2.0 to run and my Toolkit 2.0 master floppy failed).

 

I found my first Apple CD-ROM drive, the original model, at a yard sale in 2001 for $5. The guy threw in a brand new SCSI cable with it. He also had a few old Macs (I believe they were Pluses) and ImageWriters, which I would have bought if I had brought more money with me that day (I was en route to the zoo when I told my mom to stop after spotting a Mac in the corner of my eye). I got a call from a friend the next month. He told me that he had an LC II he wanted to unload and gave me the first of my four 300es with it. I have decided I like the 300e best out of all the external drives.

 

The Power User had a Toshiba mechanism inside of it. I know the 300es use Matsushita units (it's the same company as Panasonic/Technics). Does anyone know what the original Apple CD drive uses?

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My first CD-ROM drive was purchased in 1993 for my 386 and I paid around $700 for it. It also included Groliers, Corel, some cheap-o games and a cd full of demo's.

 

Demo's back in the PC days were from groups like Amnesia and Second Reality where coders would put together a nice graphic with music that lasted around 5 minutes or so.

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I was late to the CDROM game because few titles were interesting. When CDROM and soundcard kits (Reveal in my case) were around $150 is when I jumped in. I still have the external case, cable, and adapter plate that allows you to run an IDE drive in the external enclosure powered from the PC supply through the thick SCSI looking cable.

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Demo's back in the PC days were from groups like Amnesia and Second Reality where coders would put together a nice graphic with music that lasted around 5 minutes or so.

 

oh they still do it today http://www.pouet.net

 

I like some of the new microscopic ones. Take a look at the demos by .theprodukkt, they have some amazing ones. .debris is particularly amazing, in that it is only 177 KB, yet looks absolutely incredible. They even have a first-person shooter, kkrieger, that is only 96 KB!!

 

I just got myself an Amiga 500, almost solely so I can go get all those old Amiga Demos. They were amazing. I remember being floored by the PC Demos.

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Demo's back in the PC days were from groups like Amnesia and Second Reality where coders would put together a nice graphic with music that lasted around 5 minutes or so.

 

Funny thing is, I didn't even know about demos until late in the game and I was bouncing around BBSes since the early 1990s. So I think the first demo I actually ran was for OS/2 and that would have been in the mid-1990s. (I think that there were a whole 2 demos for OS/2.) I think, on the whole, the PC world was far too utilitarian and the technology changed far too quickly for demos to make a big splash. So that's my excuse, and I'm sticking by it.

 

Of course to understand the appeal of demos you really have to look at the Amiga demoscene. Now those were amazing. It was amazing because of what the hardware could do, and because of how much creative and technical talent went into figuring out what that hardware could do.

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  • 1 month later...
Demo's back in the PC days were from groups like Amnesia and Second Reality where coders would put together a nice graphic with music that lasted around 5 minutes or so.

 

oh they still do it today http://www.pouet.net

 

I like some of the new microscopic ones. Take a look at the demos by .theprodukkt, they have some amazing ones. .debris is particularly amazing, in that it is only 177 KB, yet looks absolutely incredible. They even have a first-person shooter, kkrieger, that is only 96 KB!!

 

I just got myself an Amiga 500, almost solely so I can go get all those old Amiga Demos. They were amazing. I remember being floored by the PC Demos.

 

@ the two posters quoted:

 

.Debris was pretty cool, though of a slow frame rate on my T60.

 

I guess I will whip out the USB floppy drive with DOS 5 on a disk and try out some of the other demo's from the linked sites.

 

Thanks! You really brought back some awesome memories for me from my youth. If you are ever in California I will buy you a nice cold beer (or beverage of choice). Demo's were traded back and forth by friends on disk back in the day or downloaded / uploaded from and to various BBS's. They were what originally got me into programming and multimedia. To say that they were fundamental in helping me to understand the power of the byte would be putting it lightly.

 

A very hearty 'Thank you' from me to you. ;)

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OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!

 

The demo that I have been searching for is alive!

 

Check it out!

 

http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=63

 

This was one of THE demo's back in the day!

 

OMG OMG OMG!

 

I have been searching for this for a very, very long time!

 

EDIT: Even more OMG!

 

The soundtrack can be downloaded from here;

 

http://www.futurecrew.org/skaven/music_tracker.html

 

The file is .s3m and can be played with xmplay for Windows and I don't know for Mac (I know, fail).

 

It has been 16 years since I last saw this demo!

 

Hello memory lane!

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Speaking of demos, does anyone remember the Club Kidsoft and Educational Resources demo discs?

 

These were filled with demos and movies about educational titles. Some of the demos were playable and were essentially crippled versions of the programs. The one that stands out in my mind is SimCity 2000. From memory, I recall that the game could only be played for 20 minutes at a time and that not all of the structures existed--one could build police stations but not hospitals, for example. I wound up getting the SimCity 2000 CD Collection not long after that. (This was back in 1995 when SC2K was at its peak).

 

There was a way to call in to Kidsoft and order the software over the phone. They'd supposedly give you a way to unlock a product from the CD. I never tried this mostly because Egghead Software was just a few miles from my house and to me a trip to Egghead Software was everyone else's trip to Toys R Us.

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