Feeds

How I saved the Macintosh

After getting the idea from a Clamshell Orgy

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Memoirs of a Salesman Today, Apple seems unstoppable - its new products dominate their markets or create entirely new ones. But there was a time, 20 years ago, when Apple seemed to have lost everything.

In 1984 I was caught in the middle of all this: I was a sales rep for ComputerLand Los Angeles; the top Macintosh salesman at the largest computer store in the world in Apple's largest metropolitan market.

In the mid-1980s, Apple released the products that defined its distinctive market niche in graphics and print production. Twenty-five years later, the Macintosh is still the mainstay of graphics studios, But it is hard to imagine the modest beginnings of the Macintosh desktop publishing tools. Today's designers would barely recognize the early Mac DTP systems. Nor would they understand the excitement over computerized typesetting and graphics.

In the early 1980s, things were changing in design. Designers had always used a wide array of complex tools to produce handmade artwork with machine precision. Work that would take hours by hand could be done in seconds on a computer. When the first Mac shipped in 1984, designers immediately saw the potential in early products like MacPaint.

In 1985 Apple released the LaserWriter with Adobe PostScript, and Aldus released Pagemaker. This combination of software and hardware was customized for professional typesetting and graphics. The enthusiasm of designers is obvious in this Apple promotional video released that year.

DTP

This video spoke to designers in their language. Every graphic artist wanted a Mac and a LaserWriter. But the cost was staggering. A basic Mac with Pagemaker would cost around $3500. The LaserWriter cost $6995 - adjusted for inflation, that is about $21,000 in today's dollars.

My corporate customers started buying Mac DTP systems to replace typesetting systems that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But few individual designers could afford them. I still remember one designer breaking down into tears when told that her $10,000 credit application was declined.

But many designers could afford a Mac without the printer. Graphics "service bureaus" would print your designs on a LaserWriter for 25 cents a page, $2.50 for ultra-high resolution film on a Linotronic imagesetter. Now the print quality of a major publishing house was within the price range of almost any designer.

Apple even had an advantage it didn't realize. Apple hardware engineers were notorious for sneaking in hidden features that nobody noticed - or approved of. One of those features was AppleTalk networking.

The LaserWriter was designed to work over a simple network using telephone cables. An entire office could share a LaserWriter, spreading its cost over a whole office full of Macs. Hewlett-Packard's first LaserJet printers, meanwhile, could only attach to one computer. The networked LaserJets weren't introduced until later.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Next page: The Shootout

More from The Register

next story
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION
Code jockeys: count up and grab your fabulous tablets
Twitter App Graph exposes smartphone spyware feature
You don't want everyone to compile app lists from your fondleware? BAD LUCK
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.