Glenn Chase

May 272014


image courtesy Wikipedia

Even though I have been using Macs for most of the three decades they have been around, I’ve never had a chance to use an Apple Lisa, the famous predecessor to the Macintosh that cost a cool $10K back in 1983 (or nearly $24K in today’s inflated dollars).

And while I’ve always wanted to add one to my collection of classic Apple computers, I’ve never had an affordable opportunity to purchase a working model. Thankfully modern technology allows us an opportunity travel back in time and experience using an Apple Lisa via a brilliant emulator written by Ray Arechelian. Thom Holwerda wrote about it on OSNews today and stirred up lots of new interest for LisaEm that appears to have been dormant since 2008. Be sure to check out the comments to see remarks from Ray who has apparently been coaxed into resurrecting the project with several offers of assistance.

Explore Ray’s site for the full story about his efforts to develop a software version of Lisa. If you are blessed to have a real Lisa and need help with troubleshooting it the Lisa FAQ is extensive. His Lisa Sites section includes a vast number of links to other Lisa-related sites and resources. I’ll be checking them out myself after I finish the steps to install LisaEm and find out what it was like to experience the Apple Lisa back in 1983.


Dec 162013

Long before there was an internet for us to shop for Christmas gifts there were early Macs, without any built in capability to connect to each other in the same room, much less connect to a computer across the continent.

The Mac Plus is such a computer, and getting it to speak TCP/IP to surf the web is far more of a challenge that you might expect. Read Jeff Keacher’s interesting tale of making his Mac Plus conversant with web sites and you might appreciate your speedy MacBook or iMac a little more.

Check it out: How I introduced a 27-year-old computer to the web

Jeff, I salute you for your relentless pursuit of bring your Mac Plus into 21st century communications just because you can. Now why don’t you put a web server on that Plus and let it show off its capabilities to the rest of the world?

Oct 072013

From the creator of comes a beautiful new 350 page book intended as a tribute to Apple innovation and design. Check it out at iconic and place your order now. Author Jonathan Zufi amazingly spent four years taking more than 150,000 photographs of over 500 Apple products, including many rare prototypes never seen in public.

Sold only through iconic, Iconic is available in two versions: a cloth hardbound edition for $75 and a special edition, priced at $300, which includes an engraved slipcase, vintage computer casing and an exclusive print of a photograph from the book. If you ever owned a beige Mac you’ll appreciate the special tribute in the design. Check out the demo video:

Thanks, Jonathan. Your sincere dedication to preserving the history of Apple products is deeply appreciated.

May 132013


This weekend I spent some time attempting to diagnose the symptoms plaguing several of my Classic Macs. One Color Classic refused to start up, displaying the blinking question mark when booted, indicating it could find no operating system. When booted from a Disk Tools floppy disk Disk First Aid saw no hard drive to check, while Drive Setup did see an internal hard drive and tested it successfully, but could not mount it. I decided it was time to boot from a Norton Utilities Emergency Disk and see if it could mount the problematic disk and make the needed repairs.

Although I have at least a dozen Norton Utilities Emergency Disks I could not locate the one needed for this Mac, so I hunted down an image and then spent a couple of hours trying to create a bootable floppy disk from it. That task was not nearly as simple as it sounds, since the disks and drives involved are over a decade old and therefore suspect, and Mountain Lion won’t run Classic apps like Disk Copy. I finally got a disk created on another Color Classic only to find it was unreadable on the one I was working on.

I could have saved myself a LOT of time if I had consulted Low End Mac first and read Creating Classic Mac Boot Floppies in OS X  from 2008 by Paul Brierley that describes how to use an external floppy drive and the Terminal application on a modern Mac to create a floppy disk from an image. I attached my blueberry colored VST external floppy drive via USB cable to my MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion, followed his simple steps, and in about two minutes had a perfectly functional Norton Utilities Emergency Disk to start up the Color Classic.


Jan 292013


The Register recently featured a nice article by Bob Dorman about the 30th anniversary of the Apple Lisa computer. At the close of the article the author includes the following citation:

A hat tip to the folks behind the site, a huge resource of information related to early Apple products.

I decided to explore the ftp site and discovered a treasure trove of information for any Apple historian.

One of the gems I discovered was the first name of the Macintosh, included in a document compiled by Jef Raskin in February, 1980 entitled The Macintosh Project – Selected Papers.

On the 8th page of this document is a copy of a memo whose first section is CHANGE OF NAME (see picture above). As you can see, Macintosh began life at Apple under the project code name of “Annie,” following a convention of using female names for major products in development.

When you get a chance take some time to click on the link above and enjoy viewing the myriad of historical documents and pictures carefully assembled for posterity.