[OT] And You Thought Richmond Kept Old Macs Alive

Jeff Reynolds jeff at siphonophore.com
Sat Mar 28 16:18:57 EDT 2015

I was in grad school at Berkeley in the 80s and our department went mac crazy fast (yes i helped this along greatly!). Getting folks to sink thousands in to a apple laserwriter was hard, but I was able to convince a couple of labs that had one to share if other labs would buy cartridges and maintainance. But of course to work well this required a local talk network thru the 5 story building. Well the university would not hear of this and at the time they wanted everything token ring and could care less about macs (except in many departments like ours macs were outselling pcs like 25 to 1 on new purchases) and the cost was about the cost of a mac or pc at the time to get a network connection put in by the university. I asked if we could just run some phone wire down the halls in the pipe chases to do a simple local talk and the university went ballistic saying it would cause fires and acted like the building would collapse if anyone zipped tied a phone wire to a pipe chase!

I went to the building supervisor who was avery cool guy and asked if i could run some phone wire down the pipes and i would make sure they would be well hidden and not connected to any pipes or other wires so no one would get upset if repairing something. for a couple of six packs he was willing to look the other way. so one weekend with a couple of helpers and 4 big boxes of phone cable and local talk connectors i was able to wire like 50 rooms and computers over 5 floors. Took a week or two to get the terminators set just right to get every station to respond well but then churned on like a charm for years. Some of the mac heads in the area were amazed that i was able to get the size of network done with local talk across a building like this so simply. Just took care of branch points and doing solid connecting wiring and then of course the termination issues...

later bridged it over to the campus network and out thru a sun spark farm as well. 

Was never "discovered" by the university and lasted until they wired the building with ethernet many years later, but by then most macs were ethernet anyway and the internet was there as something most could start using!

the main use the first use the next week though want not really printing but everyone in the building discovered they could play the multiplayer star trek game and all computers were taken up in this before being discovered by the profs what was going on and then it was made clear not to do so (well we did just late at night when they were not around!)



ps still have my clear developer newton and my sinclair z80. but alas dont have all my basis 108 and long line of macs as all went thru 2 or 3 other folks after i got new machines. they would live on and on and be passed on. really loved to see that happen as each new user got such joy and some work done on those old macs!)

On Mar 28, 2015, at 7:00 AM, use-livecode-request at lists.runrev.com wrote:

>> Localtalk connectors.
> At A&M in the late 80s and early 90's I set up a very expensive Farallon
> rack-mounted hub with plug in cards. And the first card was a localtalk hub
> with each computer home-run'd to the hub rather than daisy chained. Later
> we added and Ethernet hub and ethernet cards to the machines and a gateway
> through ISDN to 'the internet'. Before the web existed we had a local
> networks and outside dial-up so I could screen share with any machine using
> Timbuktu
> Pretty cool for a recording studio... but I ended up as a reluctant IT guy
> for a while.

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