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Blast from the Past: Apple Lisa


It's 1984. Meet the Lisa. I'm warning you now, this video is not short. It starts with a nostalgic look back by the expert who more than twenty years earlier introduced the Lisa in a televised interview. He talks about the moment in time, the technology, and his rhinoplasty. You may want to skip a few minutes into the video.

One of the things I love so much about this video is seeing the menus in their original forms. They're so familiar and at the same time, you're struck by the differences.

It's also great to see the core set of Mac Apps that shipped with the Lisa and watch them in action, like the word processor and drawing programs. You get a sense while watching about how revolutionary the Mac leap forward was (and as an Alto and Smalltalk user, I assure you this was way beyond anything from Xerox).

It's also fascinating to see how slow things were. Watch how long it takes for the calculator to load! And notice the 5MB hard drive enclosure on the top of the machine. What an amazing thing to have to think about the Lisa being able to run more than one program at a time, while the Mac could not. Of course, this was around the same time of the height of the Symbolics Lisp Machine, which could pwn the Lisa in almost every way possible, but was way beyond the Lisa in cost.

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