On Mon, 31 May 2010 00:12:44 -0700, Michelle Steiner
<michelle@michelle.org> wrote:

>In article <300520102348468822%nospam@nospam.invalid>,
> nospam <nospam@nospam.invalid> wrote:
>> i remember people asking me how many columns the original mac screen
>> had. i said there were no columns, the number of characters per line
>> varied because almost all fonts were proportional. it all depends what
>> letters and fonts were used, and what sizes.

>Yup, and trying to sell Macs to people who had been told by "experts" that
>they shouldn't buy any computer that didn't have at least an 80-column
>display was just that more difficult. I literally had to let people count
>the characters across the screen.

Yep, but that was when PC's had 12" or 14" screens, and the Mac Plus
had a 9" screen. It was difficult to see 80 columns on such a small
screen. There was also good business reasons for wanting 80x24
(actually 80x25 if you included the status line). Many users were
still logging into remote computers, mainframes, and text based data
services, all of which operated in text mode.

>> if it wasn't 80x24 or 132x24 of a fixed size amber or green letters, it
>> was a toy and they weren't interested.

Well, it was. There were terminal emulators (Versaterm) that did a
good job of dealing with text based terminal emulation, but no matter
how hard they tried, rendering of the characters on the Mac
Plus/SE/Classic display was ugly. The 3270 and 5250 mainframe
emulation was even worse. At the time, if you wanted a "business
machine", it had to be character based.

Apple also didn't seem to consider this a problem. At the time, they
were trying to create some level of product differentiation, which set
them apart from the rest of the market. If the Mac could do the same
things as a commodity PC, why would anyone want to buy a Mac at twice
the price? Apple considered the options and decided to emphasize the
graphics capabilities of the Mac, and let the business application
kinda flounder. Occasionally, there was a diversion into business
apps, such as A/UX and various servers, but basically it was superior
graphics that distinguished the Mac from the rest of the horde.

>Oh yeah, they insisted on amber (first choice) or green (reluctant second

Yep. Computer users are VERY conservative and difficult to change. At
the time, there were 3 basic types of word processors. The mouse
driven variety, as exemplified by MacWrite, the function key driven
variety, as in WordPerfect, and the control-key flavor, as found in
Wordstar. I found that I could move a customer from one word
processor to another as long as I stayed within the interface that
they were familiar with using. However, moving from a keyboard
intensive word processor, to a mouse driven flavor, was almost

Incidentally, I once found a surplus 9" CRT that was the same size as
the one in a Mac SE. Since I had a Mac SE with a broken tube (I
dropped it with the case off), I decided to try this CRT. When it was
finally running, it lit up green. Oops. So, I spent some time
twiddling with the CRT alignment magnets, cleaned it up, and presented
it to the owner. He liked it because he claimed the green background
was less "harsh" than the white background.

Speaking of conservative, I still use vi to edit my code. I still
can't debug well on the screen. I still print my programs and mark
the mistakes with a felt tip pen. I still use a blue background with
white letters for terminal emulation (IBM standard). It also took my
quite a bit of snarling on my assorted PDA's to stop using a pen, and
learn to use the iPod Touch style of finger poking. Old habits die

Jeff Liebermann jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558