Halt and Catch Fire AMC HD June 1, 2014 - Page 9 - AVS Forum
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post #241 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by hooked01 View Post
I wish the writers would let the Cardiff team get some enjoyment before pulling the rug out from under their feet. It would have been nice to have them end the show coming out of Comdex with a best in show award and a big fat contract from the Computer Store chain. Then in the next episode find out that the PC Store switched over to the clone machines and the fallout from all that. But I guess the finale is going to be even more tumultuous than that bump in the road.
I guess that's the point I ws trying to make: it was an unnecessary bump in their road. It didn't even last 10 minutes in the show before they diffused it. It was like Sam or Dean getting killed on Supernatural - 10 minutes into the next episode, they've been brought back to life.

In other words, they needn't have bothered putting it in there. The Mac at the end would have been a gut punch enough.

Granted, the Giant clone did provide the catalyst to make them remove the OS, but they could have done that by having the Computerland guy wanting them to get the price point lower and the extra memory that runs the OS is what needs to go to get there. They could have still had the debate about it that way.
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post #242 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 08:28 AM
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I've been mostly a Mac guy but I don't see the Mac being a game changer. It never was, other than inspire MS to develop Windows ultimately.

Gordon did the right thing, removing the query-based OS and the RAM. That is the way to salvage the Giant, which was going to die at Comdex otherwise.

History has shown that people were unwilling to pay a premium for the GUI at that time or a fancy user experience.

When the Mac was introduced, it generated some buzz, especially with the 1984 commercial, probably alienated more people than it attracted. But while they showed those pretty graphics and fonts, IBM PCs were on color already.
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post #243 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 10:50 AM
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I've been mostly a Mac guy but I don't see the Mac being a game changer. It never was, other than inspire MS to develop Windows ultimately.
I'm not sure how old you are, but I remember when the Mac came out. I attended a computer show in my home town and we had to fight the crowds with people elbow to elbow to get a look at one that was on display. People were awed by it since most folks were used to typing in commands and staring at monochrome screens.

Plus, most of us didn't even get to Windows until version 3 or later, which was a good 5 years after the Mac came out. I first got it with a PS1, and got Microsoft Works (the predecessor to Office) in the early 90's when I could get it on a student discount at college. Even then, I still preferred the Mac. Had I not been taking an Excel class, I wouldn't have bothered.

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Gordon did the right thing, removing the query-based OS and the RAM. That is the way to salvage the Giant, which was going to die at Comdex otherwise.
Only because of the artificial drama the show created to force them into. However, in the end, the query-based OS was silly. It's one of those good ideas on paper, like a voicemail system you can speak to, but in the end it just makes things slower and the novelty wears off quick.

In that respect, you're right.

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History has shown that people were unwilling to pay a premium for the GUI at that time or a fancy user experience.

When the Mac was introduced, it generated some buzz, especially with the 1984 commercial, probably alienated more people than it attracted. But while they showed those pretty graphics and fonts, IBM PCs were on color already.
Following that commercial, Apple sold $3.5 million in Macs. That's not chump change. The only reason things cooled later was the lack of innovation. They sat back and expected people would continue to buy the same old thing, like the "Mac Classic" and "Color Classic". Even when they tried to innovate, the result was the horrible "LC" series and the even worse "Performa" series. The award for most useless innovation goes to the Nubus slot, which was right up there with IBM putting cartridge slots in the PCjr.

As far as color PCs, those were a joke. Trust me, I had one in 1983. "Color" was 3 color RBG plus black and white. While it was great for playing Pac-Man, it was dreadful overall. Even worse, it was a massively expensive upgrade. I remember my father got the color upgrade for the PCJr he bought at a huge discount from Computerland. It turns out, that discount was to clear out stock because they disappeared overnight a few months later. Sears and Montgomery Ward in the nearby mall were eating their lunch. My Dad was lucky - some of the orders people had at that Computerland never got them filled, then had to fight like dogs to get a refund.

The grey scale screen of the Mac SE I got later, though, was amazing in it's graphics detail. I remember nearly drooling over the images in Hypercard. Plus, it had polyphonic sound, which was amazing compared to the audio in a lot of PCs. I still fire it up now and then to play "Dark Castle". A few years later, I drooled over a Mac Quadra that I couldn't afford as a high school student. The school had a few hooked up to the brand new Apple Laser Writer, though. Printing to it required permission, though. For anything less than a term paper or the school newsletter, you had to print to the Imagewriter dot matrix printer. Later, I got a Stylewriter ink jet printer, which was small enough to carry around with the Mac, each in their own soft side cases. The Superdrive I added later made the thing boot up in about 10 seconds.

The one thing struck me about the Mac was how friendly it seemed compared to the PCs I used. It smiled when it booted up and said "sorry" when it occasionally crashed. Back then, it was a machine you could customize completely, from the backgrounds and icon layouts, to add-on screensavers from outfits like "After Dark".

You have to understand, back then, the Macs weren't a whole lot more than a good PC. Graphics people loved them, not just for their great graphics abilities, but for how they could be creatively customized to make them your own.

Don't underestimate just how much people loved the Mac back then.

BTW: I'd like to point out that I grew up near IBM territory - and when I mean IBM territory, I mean from back before they were even IBM.
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post #244 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 11:03 AM
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I remember the old IBM display days: Monochrome, CGA, EGA, VGA, etc.
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post #245 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 11:23 AM
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Do you mean $3.5 billion?

Yes they move a number but the price was high (not as bad as the Lisa) so that kept it from the wider market. I recall one of those monochromes was like $2800.

The devotion was fanatic but there weren't that many devotees, relatively speaking.

Of course they had a chance to expand the market in the late 80s, after Steve Jobs was sent packing, by licensing. But the margins were like 50% plus so the people in charge wouldn't give that up.

Shortly thereafter, Windows became "good enough."

Interesting that Gordon used that expression, which is more current. I don't recall if that expression was widely used before the 21st century in the context of computers and later devices like iPods and phones.

Instead, back then, people touted DOS as for "power users" while GUIs were for the unwashed masses.
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post #246 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by phildaant View Post
I remember the old IBM display days: Monochrome, CGA, EGA, VGA, etc.
Yes, the CGA was the state of the art graphics adapter at that time AFAIR. 320X200 display and your choice of one of two 4 color fonts. What were they? Black-White-Cyan-Magenta and Red-Brown-Yellow-Green or something like that?

I thought that Joe was going to set up a compatibility test with the competitor. Back in those days compatibility was a big issue, especially if your hardware would not run the big apps like Lotus 123, DBase and Wordstar correctly.
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post #247 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 01:42 PM
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Yes, the CGA was the state of the art graphics adapter at that time AFAIR. 320X200 display and your choice of one of two 4 color fonts. What were they? Black-White-Cyan-Magenta and Red-Brown-Yellow-Green or something like that?

I thought that Joe was going to set up a compatibility test with the competitor. Back in those days compatibility was a big issue, especially if your hardware would not run the big apps like Lotus 123, DBase and Wordstar correctly.
I didn't remember those, but I did not use these old DOS programs back then. I just mainly played PC games. I did use DOS, but it was mostly Apple and IBM/MS. Wait, did this s(how/erie)s show/mention DOS yet? I only saw its pilot. :P
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post #248 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 05:37 PM
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I didn't remember those, but I did not use these old DOS programs back then. I just mainly played PC games. I did use DOS, but it was mostly Apple and IBM/MS. Wait, did this s(how/erie)s show/mention DOS yet? I only saw its pilot. :P
Gordon said he got a copy of MS DOS to put on the Giant...
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post #249 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 09:59 PM
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I wish the writers would let the Cardiff team get some enjoyment before pulling the rug out from under their feet. It would have been nice to have them end the show coming out of Comdex with a best in show award and a big fat contract from the Computer Store chain.
I think it's the nature of drama to have big conflict as part of the story, and it's neither dramatic nor interesting to have your heroes win all the time. One problem with a historical show like this is that the dramatized events have to dovetail with what we know about real life. In this case, TI never came out with a hugely-successful computer, and they certainly didn't have a portable in 1983 (let alone one that looked like this). So already, they've diverged quite a bit from reality.

I fell out of my chair when the Macintosh showed up, because there's no F'in' way anybody from the top-secret Mac development team would've shown anything in November of 1983. Hell, I'm not sure the thing was working at this date. They barely got it working as it was for the first introduction in late January 1984 at the Apple stockholder's meeting.

But I can forgive the historical fudge to the extent that no question, anybody making a computer would've been floored by what was in the first Mac. I remember very well how shocked a lot of hardcore computer people were at the time, and you can make a good argument that the Mac's introduction was one of the top 10 computer events in history -- certainly more than a barely-luggable portable MS-DOS compatible machine in those days.
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post #250 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 10:03 PM
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Shortly thereafter, Windows became "good enough." Interesting that Gordon used that expression, which is more current. I don't recall if that expression was widely used before the 21st century in the context of computers and later devices like iPods and phones.
I owned computers going back to the spring of 1980, and I can tell you for sure people used the expression "good enough" for a ton of technology long before that time.

A pal of mine watching the show did spot one anachronism in the Comdex scene: plastic wrap tying up the shipping cartons coming in to the conventional hall. That did not exist in 1983 to my knowledge -- that happened in the last 20 years or so.

Another big problem: assuming this was the real 1983 Comdex at the Las Vegas Convention Center, there were no multi-story buildings visible outside the glass windows. In fact, you couldn't see any glass windows from the show floor (you still can't in Vegas). The closest building was the Hilton, which is now connected to the convention center via a long corridor across a former parking lot.

But I can let this slide a little bit; the tackiness of the booths at the show was reproduced pretty closely in the show, and I thought the VFX work they did to extend the corridors and ceiling was pretty seamless.
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post #251 of 377 Old 07-28-2014, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
I think it's the nature of drama to have big conflict as part of the story, and it's neither dramatic nor interesting to have your heroes win all the time. One problem with a historical show like this is that the dramatized events have to dovetail with what we know about real life. In this case, TI never came out with a hugely-successful computer, and they certainly didn't have a portable in 1983 (let alone one that looked like this). So already, they've diverged quite a bit from reality.
It seems like the Cardiff team never gets a break. Perhaps ending the episode on a win in Vegas and giving them a moment to bask in victory could lead to a bigger fall at the beginning of the next.

Also Donna's weasely boss quit mysteriously and suddenly the day after she found him in her front yard.
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post #252 of 377 Old 07-29-2014, 01:28 AM
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Also Donna's weasely boss quit mysteriously and suddenly the day after she found him in her front yard.
I'm still trying to figure out how they got all the Cardiff information about the portable. Was he going through her file cabinet? How could they duplicate the computer that closely? No doubt many questions remain for the last episode.
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post #253 of 377 Old 07-29-2014, 07:01 AM
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Wasn't it the next door neighbor that was fired from Cardiff? He already broke into Gordon's house and could have done the same in the garage where the Giant was.
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Wasn't it the next door neighbor that was fired from Cardiff? He already broke into Gordon's house and could have done the same in the garage where the Giant was.
Except the Giant wasn't there until a day or so before the conference. Gordon only removed it after the FBI came by.

Neither of the guys would have seen the system after all the issues had been ironed out and after the pieces had come together.

Further, how did they pay for it?
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If you freeze-frame at the introduction of the Slingshot you see it's made by "Whitwell Computing"
"Whitwell Computing" is an combination of Hunt Whitmarsh (Donna's ex boss who quit TI) and Brian Braswell (fired form Cardiff). It seems they went off on their own... but we didn't see an actual prototype/sample machine at Comdex... just the posters with a drawing and specs.... and plain DOS and a lower price than the Giant.
Dot they have a working Slingshot?


EDIT- went back and rewatched the Slingshot intro- there was a sample there- it wasn't powered up, maybe it was just a shell.. but it was there.
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post #256 of 377 Old 07-29-2014, 07:35 AM
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Halt and Catch Fire AMC HD June 1, 2014

Did everyone miss the prototype they showed quickly? They had it there with then and opened it up during the presentation. Then only difference was that the color was the "computer tan" instead of dark grey. It was the whole point of them discussing how did they get all of the parts so quickly.

As far as the design goes, between having the plans at the house and discussing things I'm sure it didn't take long to figure out the rest. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a mole within the group though.

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post #257 of 377 Old 07-29-2014, 10:57 AM
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A pal of mine watching the show did spot one anachronism in the Comdex scene: plastic wrap tying up the shipping cartons coming in to the conventional hall. That did not exist in 1983 to my knowledge -- that happened in the last 20 years or so.
Pallet wrappers have been around at least 30 years. I know, because I wrecked one with a forklift at a summer job in '83.
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post #258 of 377 Old 07-29-2014, 11:26 AM
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Compuserve, Prodigy, AOL, BBS ahhh those were the dayyyyyssss
And BIX, GEnie and American People Link. All much better than any of those. BIX was Byte magazine's online forum and Commodore had their Amiga developer support there. The geek nickname for Prodigy was "Proctology."

I had to do all these long distance at the time because I lived in a dusty small farm town without any nearby nodes. But living back home was free and my rent was the phone bill.
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post #259 of 377 Old 07-29-2014, 11:30 AM
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Do we have any young viewers who wasn't around in the (19)80s watching Halt and Catch? Or are we all folks from that era?
The other question would if they do watch do they watch just clips or do they sit still long enough for a 44 minute episode? A friend who visited this last week says his two sons born in the early 80s mainly watch clips.
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post #260 of 377 Old 07-29-2014, 11:34 AM
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I thought it was hilarious .. the season finale had me practically rolling on the floor ..
Not only that Judge isn't exaggerating at all as living in the area, still doing software development, I can confirm it is as screwball as ever. I played the pilot for some ex-Microsofties and they were rolling on the floor laughing because it is so true.
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post #261 of 377 Old 07-29-2014, 11:45 AM
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The other question would if they do watch do they watch just clips or do they sit still long enough for a 44 minute episode? A friend who visited this last week says his two sons born in the early 80s mainly watch clips.
I was born before them. Its pilot was OK, but not enough to keep me watching for more episodes. Are there any good clips to see?
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post #262 of 377 Old 07-29-2014, 09:20 PM
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Pallet wrappers have been around at least 30 years. I know, because I wrecked one with a forklift at a summer job in '83.
I'll take your work for it, but I sure don't remember seeing them in that time.
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post #263 of 377 Old 07-29-2014, 10:18 PM
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I'll take your work for it, but I sure don't remember seeing them in that time.
I can't quite pin down the year, but I definitely remember having one where I worked, it couldn't have been any later than 1985, it was a piece of crap for sure, it seemed like it was down more than it was up. Wrecking it with a tow motor was most likely the best solution for it. LOL
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post #264 of 377 Old 07-30-2014, 12:37 AM
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The other question would if they do watch do they watch just clips or do they sit still long enough for a 44 minute episode? A friend who visited this last week says his two sons born in the early 80s mainly watch clips.
I do lol. Born in 84 and my earliest computer experience was windows 3.1 . I really like the show but critics are ready bashing the show and the ratings aren't there to rise another season. Lets hope they give it a chance. Breaking bad wasn't popular until its 3rd season.
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post #265 of 377 Old 07-30-2014, 02:38 AM
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I remember the old IBM display days: Monochrome, CGA, EGA, VGA, etc.
Had EGA color (386SX) Win Dos + Win 3x,WP + Corel spread sheet IIRC upgraded it to VGA then 486dx100 and so on and so on and so on @ win 7 x64 and 2560x1480 +1080p HD discrete graphics now.
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post #266 of 377 Old 07-30-2014, 09:10 AM
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...Born in 84 and my earliest computer experience was Windows 3.1 .
Well 3.0/1 was really the first "modern" versoin of Windows... not really too much different than today's (up to Win7) Windows.

Interestingly, at that time - Tandy had their own GIU that resembled Windows- "Deskmate".
It was bundled for free with many of their home PC's so it had a large user base. It had a word processor, spreadsheet, music composer, calendar, address book, draw, PC Link (connectivity), hangman game, and a box to run DOS programs. IMO, it was actually looked better, was more useful and easier to use than Windows 2.0, but when Win3.0 came out in 1990 that was the end of Deskmate.
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post #267 of 377 Old 07-30-2014, 09:51 AM
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I'll take your work for it, but I sure don't remember seeing them in that time.
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I can't quite pin down the year, but I definitely remember having one where I worked, it couldn't have been any later than 1985, it was a piece of crap for sure, it seemed like it was down more than it was up. Wrecking it with a tow motor was most likely the best solution for it. LOL



The earliest known stretchwrappers were manufactured for and marketed by Borden Incorporated (the milk people) in the late 60’s. Their Resinite film division made a plastic film that the machines applied to wrap sides of beef for cleanliness and to prevent dehydration during the aging process. The roll of film was the height of the carcass (full web.)

In the mid 70’s a former Mobil Oil Company (Exxon/Mobil now) employee, Pat Lancaster, who was making pallet shrink tunnels at the time, expanded this full-web concept to pallets of merchandise.

At exactly the same time a Canadian inventor, Michael Shullman, invented spiral stretch wrapping, and began marketing his product in Canada, then into the US also. This became the dominant machine.

Incidentally, Mr. Shullman also invented the overhead spiral machine in the mid 70’s, before the low-profile machine was possible, to solve a desire by Oscar Mayer to wrap loads moved by pallet jacks on the second floor (wooden) of their Chicago plant. He also introduced solid-state (PLC) controls into the industry in the mid 70’s.

Borden with PVC film and Mobil with low-density polyethylene film dominated the industry as film suppliers in the 70’s. Films stretched 10% (Mobil) to 40% (Borden), which were the limits of the film’s abilities. Additionally, the end tail of Mobil’s film had to be glued, heat-sealed, or taped to the load, as the film had no cling. Borden’s film had self-sealing cling.

In 1980 Mobil introduced linear low density polyethylene resins to pallet wrapping films, and the industry changed.

This is the stretch wrap films you see today, with their very high stretch levels, and cling.
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post #268 of 377 Old 07-30-2014, 12:20 PM
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Being an Amiga developer in 1986 I looked down on PCs and even the Mac (because they ditched multi-tasking). It was a great machine. Later when I needed to develop on a PC I hated the Intel architecture.

Regarding wrapped pallets they didn't have them in 1968 when I worked for my brother's transfer company. We would get in pallets of pop cans and if they managed to fall off the forklift then it was my job to salvage them.

BTW, another thing at my brother's company was my sister-in-law was learning how to wire boards to program a computer they had there. She complained years later to me about "this Windows thing" because she was used to console interfaces. Same with my sister too who had early computer experience.
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post #269 of 377 Old 07-30-2014, 09:49 PM
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I remember moving from dos to 3.1 on PC hated file mgr and c: win_> dir:c or maybe just dir: I think that's how it went been a good while ,actually liked Solaris on Unix at work better at the time it was more stable and all just took
a good loooong while to boot
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post #270 of 377 Old 07-31-2014, 03:54 AM
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No one has mentioned the brief view of the calculator in the briefcase. I had a couple of those at the time. Might not be the exact model, as it wasn't clear enough.

As for the Mac, they were purchased at the place I worked at the time in order to do the manuals for the products. They bought the monitor mods in order to have the external vertical displays. The Mac screen sucked for doing documentation.

I even purchased an Apple LaserWriter printer to use at home. I still have that thing. Good ole PostScript.

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