Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Note by JAC:  As I wasn’t 100%, Grania (peace be upon her) once again offered to put up the early-morning Hili dialogues. Sadly, Malgorzata and Andrzej are both still quite ill, and I’m told Andrzej had to crawl to his computer to put up not only Hili, but the regular articles for Listy. I wish them a speedy recovery (it’s a virus, I understand); we may have a hiatus in the words of the Princess until they recover.

by Grania

Good morning! Jerry is better-ish, but I am still on Dialogue Duty today, although PCC(E) will join us anon.

Today has been a somewhat ominous and auspicious day in history, being the day of Roman Empire despot Caligula‘s assassination (41AD) – surely a blessed relief to all those who had encountered him; and the day the Macintosh was released to the world in 1984 (ha!) by one Steve Jobs. It featured:

–  32-bit 68000 CPU
– Memory: 192k
– ROM 64k
– RAM: 128k

JAC: I had one of these (or something issued soon thereafter) that I got as my first computer at my first job (University of Maryland), and in fact that model still sits in my outer office. Ever since then, I’ve always used Macs.

Our musical note comes from birthday man Jools Holland (born 1958), pianist and composer. He’s most well-known for his musical collaborations with artists (but check out this spoof/homage with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie). Here he is performing with The Temptations.

And on to Poland, where Princess Hili is registering her displeasure at the weather:

Hili: This still doesn’t look like spring.
A: It’s January.
Hili: So I see.

Hili: To nadal nie wygląda jak wiosna.
Ja: Ciągle jest styczeń.
Hili: Właśnie widzę.

And from out in the Arctic wastes of Winnipeg, where polar bears are ravaging the dumpsters, we have a photo (taken by staff Taskin) of Gus waiting for his breakfast:



  1. Stephen Barnard
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I also have an original Mac. It still works.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Me too. I got it after it was current as I was way too poor to afford an original one but I have it in my basement.I even have the external drive for it.

  2. GBJames
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I also had one of the original 128K Macintosh computers. I took it apart and unsoldered the RAM chips, replacing them so as to get a 512K system. Those were the days!

    • darrelle
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Never owned a Mac myself (TI-16 then TRS-80), but I did some work on a FatMac (512K).

  3. rickflick
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I worked in a Mac environment in the 1980s. The aesthetics made a big impact on me after struggling with DOS. Actually, the basics haven’t changed much. It was a huge breakthrough.

  4. Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Wanda D. Jefferson and commented:

  5. Dominic
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Never liked them, though I own a Mac Mini. I never found them intuitive the way a Microsoft one is to me, despite people telling me they are. I could never find files & was intensely annoyed by the way they overcharge for everything.

    Linux is the way…

    • Dominic
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      PS Also the birthday of Gustav III of Sweden, famous for his coffee v tea experiment!

    • GBJames
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      That’s why Linux dominates the market! 😉

      • Dominic
        Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Ah! You have me there – but ‘free’ & ‘community’ are Linux words. …& I don’t even have the interweb at home!

    • Stephen Mynett
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Agree about Linux, I migrated to it a good few years back and it is as good, possibly better than Windows and Mac. Not sure what the OS licences cost in the US but in the UK I save close on 100GBP per machine when I get a new computer and for audio, graphics and video there is just as good Open Source Freeware as the paid for brands.

      Difficult to know exactly how many people actually use ‘nix but it is certainly the most popular server distro.

      • GBJames
        Posted January 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        According to Wikipedia, the number of generic users who run Linux is pretty much trivial. It is much higher (22%) in the developer community (26% Mac, 52%Win).

        • Stephen Mynett
          Posted January 25, 2017 at 12:38 am | Permalink

          Not sure about that Wiki piece as it is very difficult to work out the number of Linux users, unlike Windows and Apple there are no units sold and sales figures to go by.

          I agree it is still very low compared to the others but has been rising in the last few years if online fora and computers magazines are correct. There is a growing number of people who dual-boot, often using Windows as a gameing machine or for a specific programme and a Linux Distro for everything else.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      I think that’s because people oversell the intuitive part. If you come from using a PC, you need to learn a new OS and people aren’t prepared to do that because they have been told it’s “intuitive”. It isn’t if you are used to doing something one way and this OS does it a different way.

  6. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Had every major form of Mac at work and/or at home since the two-floppy disc model (can’t remember the name).

  7. jrhs
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    “So I see” = “Właśnie widzę.”

    With the help of Google Translate and Hili Dialogue, I bet I can learn at least 50 polish words and phrases this year.

    Thanks. 🙂

  8. Stephen Barnard
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Here are comparisons of a few specs showing how far digital technology has come since the original 128K Mac, introduced in 1984:

    128K Mac
    CPU 1.8MHz
    RAM 128K
    display 1-bit 512×342
    camera none
    video none
    price $5,752 (2016 equiv.)

    CPU 2.34 GHz (about 300 times faster)
    RAM up to 2 GB (about 16,000 times more)
    display 750 x 1334 16M colors
    camera primary: 12MP, secondary: 7MP
    video 2160p@30fps (and other formats)
    price $649 (32GB) (about 9 times cheaper)

    Plus, it’s a phone.

    I’m not arguing that Macs and iPhones are the greatest. Apple’s imitators make some very good computers and phones. It’s indisputable, though, that Apple completely changed the game with the Mac (GUI interface, desktop metaphor) and the iPhone.

    • ratabago
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      The first home computer I saw was built back in 1978 by a friend, and his father, who really was a rocket scientist. It was built around a Thinker Toys motherboard, with an 8 bit CPU. It had a slave board, designed and built by the rocket scientist, running one of the first 8086 CPUs, 16 bits at 4.77 Mhz. 32K RAM on the motherboard. Initially 128K RAM on the slave board, later upgraded to 256K. Storage was on cassette tape, and later on 8 inch floppies. Video was output to betamax. It cost about $5000 Australian in 1978 dollars to build the base system.

      It was a sod of a thing to program on. The 8 bit CPU was mostly used to boot the system, play simple games, run the text editor, and hand stuff off to the 8086. All programming for the 8086 was done in assembly language. Nobody ever got around to writing a compiler for the system, as compiled code would have been too slow, and needed too much RAM. The thing was used for computer art and animation, image processing, particularly for geological field work*, and mathematical and computing science research by the rocket scientist. The graphics were displayed on a SONY studio monitor (as in television studio VDU, not the headphones of the same name) that cost more than the system, and had, by current standards, lousy resolution. But it did allow 16bit colour.

      It could take days to render a few seconds of simple 2D animation.

      The first desktop metaphor/GUI system I used was a W Windowing System on UNIX in 1983. Somebody at one of the local tertiary institutes grabbed a copy when visiting MIT late that year. It, and the execrable Apple Lisa of the same vintage, were developed from ideas incorporated in the Xerox Alto in 1973 (later, about 1981(?), superseded by the Star systems Doc Bill mentions below). The first touch screen multi processing smartphone I saw was an LG Prada, released to the public in January 2007, but it won a major design award the previous September. I think it sold more than a million copies before the first iPhone was released. The first internet connected tablet I saw was a Nokia 770 in 2005. Five years before the first iPad. Apple also make some pretty nice imitations. That’s how culture works.

      * Paid for the cost of the hardware, and later upgrades.

  9. docbill1351
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    We used the first Mac in our lab in 1984, but we also had a couple of Xerox Star systems which were a little more advanced, although not general purpose systems: graphical interface, mouse, etc – dedicated to word processing of all things!

    I snapped up the Mac Plus when it came out in 1986. I still have it. It still boots up, faster than my new iMac and runs System 7.4! Fun to play the old games: Daleks, Cairo Duck Hunt and BRICKS!

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I worked on the Star team for a couple of years in the late 1970s, but I think this it the first time I’ve ever met a user!

      Star was meant to be a general-purpose office workstation, but there were no apps for it at launch other than word processing. Our in-house prototype system, called Alto, had all the expected apps: drawing, painting, desktop publishing, email, database, programming tools, games, and more. But by around 1980 it was clear that Xerox management had no idea how to sell this stuff and people were bailing left and right to Apple, Microsoft, DEC, 3Com, and various startups.

      • ratabago
        Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        I knew a couple of printing firms that bought Star systems in the mid 1980s. They used them as desktop publishing systems. Unfortunately, the cost of those systems, and the very little extra work they brought in, were instrumental in putting them out of business.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          There was some sentiment internally that Star was over-engineered and overpriced for its target market. After a couple of years in the Star group I moved to a different group whose aim was to jump-start the market by placing Alto systems in high-level corporate and government offices. Jimmy Carter’s chief of staff had one in his office. (I sat through a couple of meetings with NSA people who wanted assurances that the thing couldn’t be hacked remotely from the White House parking lot.)

          The CEO of Xerox grudgingly allowed us to put one in his secretary’s office, and that real-men-don’t-touch-keyboards attitude pretty much summed up the mismatch between the technology’s potential and the prevailing corporate culture.

  10. Posted January 24, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I’ve always found it interesting that white and black come out looking like shades of blue …

  11. busterggi
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    – 32-bit 68000 CPU
    – Memory: 192k
    – ROM 64k
    – RAM: 128k

    Damn but that makes my CoCo 2 look obsolete.

%d bloggers like this: