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Frank Loves Lisa

Published on June 15, 2018

Frank has always wanted an Apple Lisa. He finally got one, but now it's in a museum. The 1983 Lisa was the forerunner of the Macintosh with its Graphical User Interface, but it had a high price at about $10,000.

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Discussion

By John Zarwan on Jun 15, 2018

Frank, if you'd wanted a Lisa, all you had to do was ask! When I was the pm at CG, shut the program down. (A good month was when more were sold than came back). We sold the excess inventory to employees. I think it was about $1000. Would have happily given you one.

 

By Frank Cost on Jun 15, 2018

What is the closest Pantone match of that distinctive yellowed ancient Apple computer plastic? I'm thinking of painting my office.

 

By Michael Jahn on Jun 15, 2018

I think John Harrison may need to correct me here, but I thought AGFA purchased a bunch of the apple Lisa as well!

 

By Michael Jahn on Jun 15, 2018

interesting fact - it was named after Steve Jobs' daughter, Lisa

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Brennan-Jobs

 

By Gordon Pritchard on Jun 15, 2018

In 1984 I used MS Word 1 on my 128 k MAC and an app called “Set & Send” to get galley type printed out on a Compugraphic. Had to learn and embed all the typesetting codes but it was very profitable for me as a graphic designer compared with using traditionnal typesetters. The gally type came out in one column ready for paste up. $15 a foot.
BTW, the Lisa had display PostScript with it used with a vector drawing app. Illustrator?

 

By James Kohler on Jun 15, 2018

I'll go back even further. As a young RIT student I remember when we got and I ran the Linofilm machine!! I thought that was a huge upgrade from running the Linotype machine. Also, I did a lot of Desktop publishing on two Amiga computers using PageStream - which I think is still around!! How times have changed!! Love my new iMac Pro!

 

By John Clifford on Jun 15, 2018

I remember seeing a compugraphic demo of the Lisa and its typesetting interface. You didn't mention that it was the first computer with a mouse (yes, that was the clunky thing in Frank's video sitting next to the machine) and what most impressed me was the ability to use the mouse to draw a shape and have the text justify to the "wrap" that was created. I saw a future where I wouldn't have to draw a shape on a mylar grid and then do line-by-line margin changes. What a world the future promised to become.

 

By Jerry Brown on Jun 19, 2018

With apologies to Jessi Colter.

I'm not Lisa, my name is Macintosh
Lisa left you years ago
My display is not gray
But mine won't leave you
'Til the sunlight has touched your face

She was your morning light
Her smile told of no night
Your love for her grew
With each rising sun

And then one winter day
Steve's hand led hers away
She left you here drowning in your tears, here
Where you've stayed for years
Crying Lisa, Lisa

I'm not Lisa, my name is Macintosh
Lisa left you years ago
My display is not gray
But mine won't leave you
'Til the sunlight shines through your face

 

By John Zarwan on Jun 20, 2018

Hey Gordon. One reason Compugraphic didn't go to the Mac was they didn't want to adopt PostScript. (I took over the Lisa product after that decision was made...a fateful one for both Linotype and CG). It certainly wasn't Adobe Illustrator, which didn't come along until a few years later. Interesting that you went Mac to CG, as that's essentially what Lino did (and CG did with the Lisa)

 

By Gordon Pritchard on Jun 20, 2018

@ John Zarwan

Yup. I'd set up the text in MS Word with all the codes and took it to a shop via 3.5" floppy and they output the galley text ready for pasteup.

One project that I used this for was a marketing piece for Quebecor/Ronalds Printing. I also use Thunderscan for the illustrations. You can see the result here: https://tinyurl.com/yb473zqe

When the prepress dept at Quebecor found out how I did it they rejected the galley type and reset it using their phototypesetting system.
They, like many others, just didn't want to see what was coming.

I hosted seminars to prepress and printshops in the 80s and early 90s to try and raise their awareness of the changes that were coming. The big word of the day that summed up my my warning was "disintermediation".

BTW, when Lisa came out, some folks (me included) saw it as the affordable alternative to the Xerox Star (Xerox 8010 Information System). I wanted the Lisa but it was beyond my budget. Then Apple introduced MAC - my check was ready. LOL

 

By Dov Isaacs on Jun 25, 2018

@Gordon,

No Apple product including Lisa and Macintosh ever had DPS, Display PostScript. After Steve left to found NeXT, he did put Display PostScript on the NeXTStation. The problem was that as an interpretive programming language, the overhead of Display PostScript was way to high for use for screen display. It was that realization at Adobe that at least partly lead to PDF and Acrobat. Happy 25 years to Acrobat & PDF!

- Dov

 

By Gordon Pritchard on Jun 25, 2018

@Dov, Thanks for the correction about display Postscript.

 

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