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ATPM 16.02
February 2010





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Segments: Slices from the Macintosh Life

by Stanley Jayne,

Back to the Beginning

After reading Back to the Beginning in ATPM 16.01, I just wanted to share a memory with you.

In 1984 I discovered the very first Mac in a business supply store in Stuttgart, Germany. I had read about the Mac somewhere, and there it was. A 128K, grey, thing of beauty. It was a machine that they were going to use to introduce the Mac at a German trade show. I made a deal that as soon as the show ended they would sell me the Mac. What a joy…and pain. I had never used a computer and had no idea what I was doing, so there were some real growing pains. I loved MacWrite and MacPaint, and the spreadsheet program…I’ve forgotten the name. They were all wonderful, but there was also a little music program that was so powerful that I have seen nothing to compare, even today.

I have forgotten the name of that little basic music program also, but this was the beginning. It utilized the four channels of the Mac…one voice per channel. One could click the notes on a choral staff, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, and move them around with the mouse until they were as you wanted them. It didn’t end there. Any number of notes in any voice could be selected, and the program would instantly convert those notes to any fugal/contrapuntal device. It would turn the music upside down, write it backwards, make the notes twice or half as long as the original, transpose, or change them every way possible.

Sure, we have such wonderful programs like Finale, Performer, Garage Band, etc., but this very first music program on a Mac was a composer’s dream. I have seen no program today that could do those things. If I were a programmer I would reinvent this thing and make a fortune.

Since that first Mac I have never looked back. I have owned two Windows-based machines, which I used for teaching music, but I became so frustrated with the last one that I gave it away to my very surprised 15-year-old student during a lesson. Right then and there I learned mine, and since converting my wife away from Windows, my house now has three Macs and two iPhones. We both love ’em.

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Reader Comments (4)

Rich Shields · February 3, 2010 - 17:43 EST #1
I think that spreadsheet program was VisiCalc.
Stanley Jayne · February 4, 2010 - 02:30 EST #2
Since writing my comments in "Back To The Beginning" I remembered that the spreadsheet program was called "Multiplan" and I think it was developed specifically for the Mac by Microsoft. Regardless of its history, it was the forerunner of today's spreadsheets and was absolutely super in its day. Thanks for your comments....
Sylvester Roque (ATPM Staff) · March 2, 2010 - 02:03 EST #3
Rich, I could be wrong but I don't think the spreadsheet was called VisiCalc. If I remember correctly VisiCalc was the spreadsheet often given credit for spurring interest in the early Apple II line.
Stanley Jayne · March 2, 2010 - 03:03 EST #4
Maybe I can offer some more info on spreadsheets.

According to "The Mac Bathroom Reader" by O.W. Linzmayer from CYBEX books, the first primitive spreadsheet was written in Applesoft Basic in 1979 by Daniel Bricklin and Robert Frankston and was called "Calculedger" and was published in October of that year under the name VisiCalc and ran only on the Apple II.

The first spreadsheet I ever used came with my first 128k Mac in 1984 and was called "Multiplan" by Microsoft. I believe it eventually evolved into Excel.

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