ScuzzBlog: Diaries February 2021

Entry 7th February 2021: Post 1: VisiCalc - The true saviour of Apple.

VisiCalc - The true saviour of Apple.

Prior to 1978 Apple's achilleas heal was the lack of floppy drive.
Their systems, like so many others, was fed by cassette. Consequently
Steve Wozniak was charged with coming up with a floppy system and
over a Christmas designed one from the ground up. He had little
previous knowledge of the drives and so was not constricted in his
thinking. And so in June 1978 the Disk ][ system was born. It was
priced at $495 and software driven.

Over at Commodore there was the usual inquisition with Jack Tramiel
livid at not incorporating a floppy drive into the PET given the
advice by Chuck Peddle that only double floppy drives would work.
Apple however proved them wrong and released Apple systems with
the Disk ][ single 5.25" floppy drive. They basically stole the
show and gave them a good years lead over Commodore.

During the late 70's business wasn't good for Apple. However with
the Disk ][ came an unexpected change of fortunes. The software
VisiCalc was targeted for the Apple primarily because of the disk
drive. Apple's sales rocketed ten fold and they were instantly
launched into the business market with lucrative orders on the
back of VisiCalc.

And so little could be done to stop the march of Apple it seemed.
Jack Tramiel was determined to develop an Apple killer and his
solution, much to his fellow colleagues objection, was the small
computer that would bring the technology to the masses. His aim
was to get computers in every home and drive Apple into the ground
that way. And so was born the VIC-20. This machine would eventually
have its own floppy drive, a single drive and not a very good one.

My comment is simple. Apple have always aimed up-market with their
products and against all odds have maintained a high standard at
a high price. It hasn't always worked but they have not been
dissuaded at any time from their basic philosophy. Me.. I hate them,
but hey, what do I know. Maybe it's cus I could never afford one
growing up and I therefore saw them as a grown ups machine.

One other thing.. that Steve Wozniak, what a genius. The great 'WOZ'.
I do have a lot of time for Steve. What a guy.

Watch Woz on the Big Bang Theory. Sorry about the **itty adverts.

Who the **ck gets excited about a spread sheet. Seriously bonkers.


VisiCalc - The true saviour of Apple.

Apple ][ e but not with the Disk ][.

Response from Jack Tramiel

A computer for the masses and not the classes.

German drive to counter the quite dreadful 1540.
$200 cheaper than the the Disk ][ but four years late.

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Last updated 7th February 2021

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