After law school, I checked with IBM (I used a Selectric to do papers in school) to see what they had in a "memory typewriter". IBM did have a Selectric with a memory chip and dial that was limited to about 20 pages of boilerplate - no merge capability. Too much for too little.
SAVIN corporation (known for copiers) made a Wordmaster memory cassette deck ($6000) that attached to an IBM Selectric ($1,000) for input and printing. I immediately bought one and it worked great typing 130 words per minute, stopping at the insertion point for a variable, which I typed IN, then continued typing page after page at max speed for an IBM Selectric. With a removable cassette (unlike IBM's fixed internal memory system) we could (and did) have as many computer quality data cassettes (looked just like audio cassettes) as we wanted. (Incorporation, Wills, Trusts, Divorce, standard Civil pleadings, Probates, etc.)
Then in mid to late 70s and early 80s, competition among word processors like the $25,000 room filling Viadec using 8" floppies became intense. God I love when corporations compete for our money.
Burroughs bought out Redactor corporation (or at least its computer line from them), and sold a dedicated word processor with a large full letter size screen (portrait, not landscape) with dual floppy disk drives (RAM on a disc instead of linear on tape - HUGE time-saving improvement), for about $13,000. They gave me and another attorney a $3,000 discount if we would turn in a Redactor I so they could literally junk it at the city dump - they did not want to service them even for a $500 per year service contract. My buddy had one, and so we purchased a Redactor II (R-2) (which we promptly renamed R2-D2, of StarWars fame) for a mere $10,000. It used a Qume daisy wheel printer which had blinding speed that blew away the IBM Selectric, and we could attach different wheels for different fonts and sizes ranging from 10 pica to 12 elite to 15 fine print (great for attorneys ), Courier, Letter Gothic, and even "proportional spacing" Times (OMG!) print. It was almost like owning a print shop and having a sophisticated type composer machine. We could do anything...except graphics.
Several years later, Burroughs (soon to become UNISYS) came back to us with an updated offer on their new intelligent terminals for a mainframe computer called a B26, which had the newly released Intel 286 chip. Instead of one large, dedicated piece of equipment, it was at least modular, so in theory, we could replace parts of it. It too had a word processor program with some computational skills, especially when used with a 256 x 256 (row, column) spreadsheet developed by some MIT professors (I think) called Multiplan. Burroughs' charged $400 for their OS. Oh my goodness this was great, a computer that could really "think" and COMPUTE.
After a few years, the 286 chip gave way to a 386 chip which had much greater capability, larger hard drives (40 MB), so I looked into upgrading my modular computer. This time, I was the one who went to Burroughs, now UNISYS, instead of the other way around.
UNISYS/Burroughs quoted me $16,000 (including printer and WYSIWYG monochrome screen)...and WHAT, for a mere "UPGRADE"?
So I complained to the salesman on the phone with me long distance from Virginia (I was in AZ) about that ugly price and the lack of choice (maybe 8) fonts. He whispered "why don't you get an Apple Macintosh, Adobe has all the fonts for the Mac you could ever want at a very reasonable price, and the screen is not only WYSIWYG but it's in full color with images." I asked how much it would cost, he didn't know, but said he thought I could get in for less than a 3rd of what UNISYS was asking. Wow! under $5,000
So, in late 1991 I went to a PC/Apple dealer who showed me a MacLC with OS 6 (7 was just coming out). If I bought a CPU + MONITOR, Apple was giving a $350 rebate (sound familiar folks?) towards the purchase of an Apple LaserWriter printer (which I needed anyway; 300 dpi) making its cost only $100. I was in heaven for less than $3,000, including software and an upgrade video RAM chip (whatever the hell that was , I really had no clue...as of yet).
It wasn't a year before I got tired of doing word processing and working with spread sheets on the tiny 10.5" viewable screen, and paid NEC nearly $1,000 for a 16" screen (15" viewable) which I still have and it works great - thanks NEC. I literally cried when it arrived and I plugged it in, I was so happy.
All along this path I'd looked at IBM computers, laptops and products, tried MS DOS (sucked big time) and even MS Windows. Never competitive with Apple's OS 6 through OS X, never!
My investment in Apple software (Adobe, Apple, Macromedia, MS Office, and others) grew to what it is today, along with familiarity of user friendly things Macintosh.
Frankly, there is no way in hell that i would ever switch from Mac to a PC. If Apple went out of business tomorrow, I'd be happy with what I have today even if stuck in a 2004 Time Capsule on a Dual 1GHz G4, which is plenty fast for all the things I have learned to do.
And some guys bitch and moan about not being able to wait until the next little speed bump so they can shave a few seconds off of a render? While I understand the significance in saving TIME, you are spoiled rotten.
If you have any real perception of the value of time, money and progress, you could easily be patient for a few more weeks or months. I don't think very many people under 50 really appreciate the growth of computers. Shucks, in high school we used a slide rule to compute mathematical formulas because there was no such thing as a digital calculator. Mechanical calculators with 100 keys took forever to do division, while addition, subtraction and multiplication were rather straightforward.
In the 1960's my father spent 1/4th the price of a new Chevrolet on an Olivetti 10 key mechanical calculator and he was in heaven because of what it could do for his business presentations to clients. Dad retired (then died) before I could show him how a computer spreadsheet would have revolutionized (and eventually did for others) his daily computational chores.
Friends, we live in marvelous times. Ignore what PCs are doing, or how many days until the next Mac release. Enjoy life and your family.
Put computers into proper perspective and you will live longer and be much happier.
Stress kills. believe it!
Last edited by MacRAND : 03-29-2004 at 03:12 PM. Reason: Word Processor history on computers since 1970