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Retro Computing

There was something really special about personal computing in the 80s. There was a greater diversity of computer architecture and people struggled to do great things with very minimal resources. Above all else, for me, computers of that era just felt more personal.

I grew up in a 'Mac household'. The early Apple Macintosh computers were amazing at the time and can still hold their own today on some tasks, despite their limitations.

I'm not really a Mac man anymore - for a variety of reasons - but I still enjoy booting an old mechine under emulation once in a while.

A Macintosh System 6 Desktop
A Macintosh System 6 Desktop

Aside from waxing nostalgic, the computers of yesteryear still have much to offer as a teaching tool and a guide for how things really ought to be done. Today's systems are overly complicated and bloated, without good reason. Some things can never be done in a few hundred kilobytes of memory, but that is no excuse for stacking layer upon layer of poorly engineered software. The whole thing might work, mostly, but it is neither the basis for robust solutions nor a solid foundation upon which to build a free society.

Somewhere along the line, computers lost their 'soul'. I still remember switching on the old Mac Classic II and hearing the friendly 'bong' after it completed it's diagnostic self-test. This was accompanyied by the reassuring clicking of the internal hard disk, with maybe a grand total of some 40 megabytes (that's megabytes, not gigabytes!)

Back then, the user interface had to be fairly simple because the computer simply didn't have adequate power or resources to do something more complicated. Today, although we should have ample resources for all but the most demanding tasks, software developers still manage to find a way to push resource utilisation to within an uncomfortable fraction of it's limits.

System 6 Memory Usage
System 6 Memory Usage

Today user interfaces are almost garish and very cluttered by comparison.

So this page will be a place to celebrate all that was good about our old computers (mostly Macs, but also other well engineered systems like the Amiga).

Macintosh Retro-computing Resources

Miscellaneous Retro Video

This page modified: 13 November 2016 at 12:44pm AEST