Editor's Blog: Rik Digs into 20-Year-Old Mac Mags - Everything's the Same, Everything's Different

Editor's Blog: Rik Digs into 20-Year-Old Mac Mags - Everything's the Same, Everything's Different


Recently, in preparation for a slight piece to be included in the June issue of Mac|Life, I had the occasion to dig through what Poe described as "many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore" - namely, issues of MacUser and Macworld from June 1987 - 20 years ago, to be exact. (That's in magazine time, which runs a couple of months ahead of human time.)


I was researching ancient prices of ancient peripherals, but in my perusal of those hallowed tomes I came upon a number of quotes which I thought you might find of interest, amusement, or value. Here are a few missives from that faraway time - before email, before the Internet, before the world "online" had any meaning to us Normal Humans™.




We're all tempted to offer our opinions about what the future may bring. In most cases, it's safe to do so - no one will call you on it if you're wrong. However, now that everything is saved forever, you might want to be more careful. For example, here's a news item from Macworld, June 1987. Hmmm... Didn't quite work out this way, did it?


"Giant floppies - such as Kodak's costly and rather slow 10MB, 5 1/4-inch drive - may be the wave of the future for people who need to cart around a lot of data and don't want to risk jostling the bits out of place on a hard drive."


Larry Tessler, Apple's then-VP for advanced technology, was more prescient in a Macworld interview that month. Remember as you read this next quote that the idea of a "worldwide network" was quite radical at the time - and Larry also had a solid call on "pervasive use." He was off the mark on ISDN, but otherwise this was virtuoso prognosticating.


"I foresee a personal computer so portable that you will take it everywhere. High-quality, 3-D, interactive computer-generated graphics on the desktop. Integrated Systems Data Network (ISDN) will be adopted as a communications standard, enabling easy use of a worldwide network. Finally, pervasive use of computing. People's communications habits will be based on the assumption that everyone has a computer, much as today we all assume that everyone has a phone."


Oh, and just so you know that Larry wasn't an infallible seer, here's his take on RAM limitations.


"Using NuBus cards, you could go as far as 4GB some day."


In the same month's issue, Macworld columnist Jerry Borrell had a "wish list" for improvements to the Mac experience. Bad call on the plasma-screen notebook, Jerry, but not bad otherwise - and we're all still holding our collective breaths for a comprehensive overhaul of the Finder in Leopard.


"A personal LaserWriter for under $2,000. Update the Finder. A portable Mac for under $2,500. And please don't use one of those miserable LCD displays. Do it right - like Dynamac - and use a gas-plasma or electroluminescent display. Multitasking. I want to be able to open and manipulate more than one window - and more than one application - at once."


Next: Ads from June 1987




+ Add a Comment


I don't know if Rik noticed, but he now has the perfect explanation when his significant other asks him why he's keeping all those old magazines.

I may need to write a similar article. And then an article on old sneakers, socks, and underwear.

sorry for the TMI





I have the Premiere Issue of The Macintosh Buyers Guide, Winter 1984 and a couple of MacUsers from 1987 & 1988. I don't know why they survived.
The one thing that stands out for me is the ad copy. It was done using cut & paste and photo plates, and it seems warmer.
The one thing we lost as computers advanced was the art of print. Maybe its just me, but I have used a Washington press, a Linotype machine and set my own lead type using a California job case and I always appreciated a clean font, proper use of whitespace and a legible layout.
Todays mags are an assault on the senses, and some of the cleanest and uncluttered type around these days is via RSS feeds. Too bad.


Keith Volkmann

I need the back issues from the old Mac User magazine published in the 1984-1987 years and after... there was a special edition with Boeing, Chevron, etc. and I was in the special edition .. the only one from a University ... any help or direction as to where the archives of copies of these magazines would be totally helpful and more than that appreciated... !

KTV .. keithty@hotmail.com

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