Vintage Mac Living

Using Apple's Lisa for Real Work

- 2007.04.02

Ever since I can remember, I have loved computers. For the last ten years I've loved the Mac OS, but now I seem to have found something better - the Lisa Office System (LOS).

I know that LOS is old and outdated with no upgrade path whatsoever, but something else has drawn me to it: Its functionality.

It doesn't crash, I don't have to remember to save my work, I can turn it off with all of my documents open, and I can continue working right where I left off when I turn it back on.

LOS isn't without it faults: It's slow (very slow at times), doesn't support color, can't really use any other software except for the 7/7 suite, and can't go online. (It can do some of those things under MacWorks, but MacWorks isn't LOS.)

What do I use it for, you ask? I use it for writing.

As I have said before, I find that old machines inspire me to write, and the Lisa has that effect on me more than any other machine. It feels great to say, "I have a working Lisa, and I use it for real work."

Some people simply can't understand why anyone would want to use an old computer. One person asked me: "Why use a Lisa (or any machine more than three years old) for writing or anything else? Sure, it's cool to have old stuff, but you can't use it - anything you make on an old machine looks nasty!"

Apple Lisa 2I responded: "Why not use an old machine for writing? I dare you to look at one of my articles and tell me what kind of machine I wrote it on. Granted, you wouldn't want to use a Lisa to make a big presentation for work and you can't edit Photoshop files, but you can use plenty of modern applications on 8-year-old G3s and iMacs for stuff like that if you just give them a chance."

I can't believe how naive some people are. I mean, really, just because something is old doesn't mean it's useless.

I think it's a shame that LOS didn't take off like the Mac did. It was far more advanced than anything else in its time - and in some ways it's more advanced than anything we have now.

Because I like the Lisa so much, I plan to do most (if not all) of my writing on it from now on. I just feel safe knowing that I'm not going to forget to hit Save.

I like being able to turn it off and have everything come back up the way I had it, even if there's a power outage (try doing that on a newer desktop machine with sleep).

As for those of you who think I'm nuts, please don't try to sell me on new machines unless you can show me why Word 2007 is better than LisaWrite - and don't say Spell Check, LisaWrite has that. LEM


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