personal history of personal computers

Mike Loewen mloewen at
Mon Jan 4 15:38:01 CST 2021

    Andy Molloy had a Canon Cat at VCF East in 2006. Unfortunately, it smoked.

On Mon, 4 Jan 2021, dwight via cctalk wrote:

> There was a little known 68K machine. It was the Canon Cat. Although, it was generally not intended as a development machine, in its short life, several applications were developed.
> It was primarily sold as a word processor ( quite powerful one at that ). It had Forth running under the word processor. One could do both assembly and other things once one understood how to access the Forth.
> If you should ever get one, don't use the disk drive until you talk to me.
> It has a common problem that if you don't understand it will destroy the drive.
> Dwight
> ________________________________
> From: cctalk <cctalk-bounces at> on behalf of Fred Cisin via cctalk <cctalk at>
> Sent: Monday, January 4, 2021 11:35 AM
> To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts <cctalk at>
> Subject: Re: personal history of personal computers
> On Mon, 4 Jan 2021, Liam Proven via cctalk wrote:
>> I suppose that the 68K only trickled down to the home/consumer market
>> after about 5 years. The original Mac was circa $2.5K and the Lisa was
>> around $10K -- *not* home computer prices for most people, even in the
>> USA.
> And yet, . . .
> I remember an Apple Lisa ad that showed a toddler playing with it on the
> living room rug.  (Probably rolling the mouse around and making "VROOM!
> VROOM!" noises, pretending that it was a car)
> Similar ads for Macintosh and IBM PC.
> The marketing people TRIED to portray them as home computers.
> You can place an infant on a Cray Couch; that still doesn't make that a
> home computer.
> YES, a fully loaded IBM PC, complete with buying a full suite of software
> from IBM WAS comparable in price to a complete Macintosh.   However, the
> ENTRY point was lower.  You could buy a minimal machine and expand it
> yourself.
> My first TRS-80 was $400, because I used my own monitor and cassette.  And
> then later, my own disk drives.
> My first 5150 was less than $1500, because I used my own monitor, memory,
> disk drives, and printer.
> Segmented memory was a kludge, and not the only kludge.  Remember that a
> DMA transfer could not straddle a 64K boundary!  Many programs, even
> MS-DOS, failed to take that into account adequately!  It was not hard to
> handle that particular one - just test for it, and rearrange your larger
> data structures accordingly.
> BUT, by building through a series of kludges, it was truly trivial to port
> software as the machines progressed.  At time of release, IBM had
> pre-planned to have VisiCalc and Easy-Writer.
> Porting Wordstar to the PC was fast and easy; it took them longer to edit
> the documentation (using a word processor?).
> Porting SuperCalc (a major VisiClone) was very quick.
> The opposite approach, of NO KLUDGES, resulted in much better product.
> But, it took longer, AND, it meant a serious delay for software, since
> any low-level software would then also need to be rewritten from scratch.
> To avoid the PR nightmare of a machine with no software, Apple decided
> that when the Macintosh would be released, it would come with four
> significant software packages.  It ended up being scaled back to the four
> being Mac-Write, Mac-Paint, Mac-Write, and Mac-Paint.  But, it came with
> some usable software.
> It took a long time before after-market software, even spreadsheets, were
> available for the Macintosh.
> --
> Grumpy Ol' Fred                  cisin at

Mike Loewen				mloewen at
Old Technology

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