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Author Topic: Wonder if the Lisa was inspired by the IBM System/23 Datamaster?  (Read 159 times)

rayarachelian

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This looks a lot like the Lisa, but with vertical drives and attached keyboard: https://www.ebay.com/itm/265247612884

It's as if the guys who designed the Lisa case copied it and just flipped a few things around to make it work for the Lisa instead.

The CPU/RAM board tray pulls out of the back similar to the Lisa, but much smaller: http://www.oldcomputers.net/ibm5322.htm
The power switch is relatively in the same spot as the Lisa, but it's a red rocker, hard power switch.
So aesthetically, at least, this looks like one of Lisa's predecessors.
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Lisa2

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Re: Wonder if the Lisa was inspired by the IBM System/23 Datamaster?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2021, 02:37:52 pm »

My personal opinion is that this is a bit of a stretch. 

There where many systems with this form factor at the time, the one I liked the most was the apple sounding "Eagle IIe":
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eagleiicomp.jpg

Also the TRS-80 Model III.   Two 5 1/4" drives to the right of the CRT seemed common at the time.

I would back you up more if the System/23's keyboard was detachable.

Rick
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rayarachelian

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Re: Wonder if the Lisa was inspired by the IBM System/23 Datamaster?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2021, 08:01:58 pm »

Very true, but none of those, including EagleII or TRS-80's have a detached keyboard, this one has two things that stick out as possibly inspirational to the Lisa's physical layout - power button on the front right, pull out card tray in the back.

The TRS-80 III you pull the top of the case off, and it splits into two parts, the CRT is in the top, the keyboard and microprocessor board on the bottom, *but* no pull out tray: https://youtu.be/p2GkL9fjV8

In some sense it sort of is laid out like the Lisa: https://youtu.be/dC0gZAqdSD4 in that the CPU board is vertical and in the back as well, but it's not on a pull out tray of any kind, and very hard to access, and it does have that tilted CRT a bit in profile - I can't tell if the angle is the same or not, I don't own any TRS-80 model III's nor IVs.

If you want a stretch, we can start from the Commodore Pet, it's basically got an attached monitor to a keyboard that sticks out, but that's likely one of the first with a built in monitor. Now the Pet was interesting in that it has a kickstand inside it which you can use to hold it open while you work in it, like a car's hood. But no floppy drives on the side of the display.

Take that guy, add drives to the right of it, and you have the first pass of many green screen machines, like the Eagle or TRS-80 III or IV.(Interestingly the TRS-80 Model I was a lot like the CoCo, it sat under its monitor, but I digress...)


But now change it up a bit and make it easy to take a part with a sliding tray, and you've got this datamaster as well as the Lisa. Sure, it's a lot more primitive than a Lisa, but then, so is a cro mag vs homosapiens sapiens, right? But this photo is what got me, not just the face with the power switch:


That pull out tray. Sure, it's horizontal, but yeah, that's an interesting idea that might have inspired the Lisa. Take this idea and the TRS-80 IV with the vertical CPU and I/O and RAM boards in the back, but add them on a tray, take this guy's drives, flip them horizontally. Make the keyboard more comfy by making it separate and have it talk serially. Add a mouse. Improve the power switch with soft power and a light. Also make the drives and power supply things that can slide in and out. (Would have been nice if the floppy drives had slide in edge connectors rather than separate power and IDC cables.) and you've got the basic shape of a Lisa.
But now that you've removed the keyboard, you've got a problem - that angled heavy CRT is top heavy and makes the Lisa list forward and possibly topple over. So you need to add feet - you have no choice in this if you want to slide the keyboard under the CRT and not have it fall over, otherwise you could extend out the area underneath the CRT, but that's wasted space. So feet are logical. And if you want to push the keyboard in under the CRT, well the keyboard has to have grooves for where the feet go. Bam! Designed accomplished! (Yes, that's a super cut down simplification of what was done for sure.)

The TRS-80 IV came after the Lisa, while the III came before (1980) so the III (but not the II) might have had a bit of inspiring on the physical layout and design of the Lisa, while the IV likely did not. If you merge these ideas together, you get very close.

There was some other early computer that looked like this but had the floppies on the left side instead, but it also did not have the take out tray in the back, but also I think was announced after 1982. But this thing, the datamaster, that was like 1979, which makes the timing right. And somehow the drives to the left just feel ugly. Not sure if it's because of repeated exposure to the Lisa and seeing things like the TRS-80 III, or just some western "we write left to right in English" cultural, or righthandedness, thing.

Sure, that datamaster thing is as ugly as pre historic hominid vs a modern day human, when compared to a Lisa.
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When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say. - GRRM
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