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MacWorld Expo Washington 1989

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April 1989

MacWorld Expo Washington 1989



April 26-28,1989


Washington DC Convention Center

This was the first (and only?) MacWorld held in Washington DC, advertised in the 1988 Boston expo program.

Macworld Expo 1989 San Francisco

898 words

9K on disk

January 1989

Macworld Expo 1989 San Francisco

Adobe, Silicon Beach, Claris, Dayna, Microtech, and other booths

Dates: January 20 – 23, 1989
Locations: Moscone Center and Brooks Hall
Attendees: 60,000


John Sculley, “attired in faded, wrinkled corduroys and an Apple sweat shirt,” introduced the SE/30 and IIx: two new machines based on Motorola’s 68030 CPU. Sculley also showed off a Mac controlling a Videodisc player through a HyperCard stack, a project dubbed HyperTV. This demo paired an 8Mb IIx with video capture and NTSC-RGB conversion cards from AST, all controlling a Pioneer videodisc player via HyperTV XCMDs (external commands).

The NuView board takes live video signals from the videodisc, camcorder or other video source, converts them to RGB signals, converts these to digital images


Jerry Borrell, Editor-in-Cheif of Macworld first named Apple’s introduction of 030-based Macs as the most important development at the Expo. He then named four further themes that he saw at the show:

1) Communication devices (modems and networking, presumably?).

2) Color printers for “hard copy output”.

3) Color Broadcast Video peripherals

4) Accelerator cards for the Mac, “believe it or not”. This was presumably one of the first time such cards *could* be developed. Two prerequisites had been met: first, the debut of the “Open Mac” architecture of the Macintosh II a few years previously (March 1987), and secondly a processor advancement (from the 68020 that shipped in the II, to the 68030 in the IIx and SE/30.) Of course, previous closed Macs such as the Plus could be upgraded with special clip-on chips which boosted clock speeds, but 1989 was the first year that accelerators could be introduced based on the Apple-approved NuBus boards.

Another view into what this Expo was like is given by BMUG’s David Morgenstern, who highlighted the differences between the two convention locations by noting:

Moscone was filled with huger over-designed super booths…. Brooks Hall had more of the flavor of the early MacWorld Expos, “old fashioned and friendlier” were often heard comparisons. There were lots of interesting startup companies there too, with more bucks spent on the product, than the packaging.

This comparison echoes the descriptions of “TinyTown” in more recent MacWorld Expos, a term invented by Merlin Mann for the micro-booths at one end of the show floor, usually populated small/indie Mac developers.


68030-based Macs made their debut with the Macintosh SE/30.

Both Macworld editor Borrell, as well as BMUG observer David Morgenstern, called out the Ricoh erasable magneto-optical drives on the show floor as a hardware breakthrough. This was early 1989, and the NeXT Cube, with its standard MO drive, was surely on everyone’s mind. The idea that the Mac could keep up with the best new hardware imagined by Steve Jobs was surely comforting to folks invested in the Mac ecosystem — and hardware manufacturers such as Ricoh no doubt appreciated the large, DTP-production-oriented audience. that the Mac market represented.

Another hardware breakthrough was the debut of True Color scanners — that is to say, 24-bit replacing previous 8-bit technology. “The silly scan-for-each-color contraptions are gone,” wrote Morgenstern, although the cost for these new devices was high: about $6,000. Indeed, I remember using a three-pass scanner as late as the early 90s, so it may have taken these new products a while to filter down to ordinary consumers.

Word Processing

Claris MacWrite II was a much-anticipated revamp of a program that shipped with the first Mac in 1984, now being managed by Apple’s spun-off software subsidiary. But the attention would be short-lived: Michael Simon has called this introduction of MacWrite II “one of the last times a Claris product would be among the show favorites.”
Ashton-Tate was showing off FullWrite, its word processor programmed (at least in part) by former Apple employee Randy Wiggington. Randy had been hired as a high-school student to help write software for the original Apple I, and later contributed to the first release of MacWrite when the Macintosh was under development in late 1983. “Randy still looks like a teenager…The discussion was interesting and
ranged from the programming languages to hardware configurations,” reported attendee Jack Russell from the Sequoia Macintosh Users Group. Russell also learned from Wiggington what the high-powered developers at Ashton Tate used for programming: “Mac IIxs, each equipped with a custom accelerator board running at 33
mHz and with 24 mbytes (no, that’s not a misprint!) of RAM.”


Dayna Communications was showing off DaynaNet, an early implementation of Novell NetWare which required a PC server with an accelerator card to run a variant of AppleTalk called DaynaTalk. The products attracted the attention of Computer Currents, which featured Stewart Cheifet reporting from their booth, but BMUG’s David Morgenstern griped about the “vaporware” status of the solution. Indeed, the product wouldn’t ship until August of 1989, eight months after the Expo.


Olduvai was showing off MultiClip, a kind of multiple-pasteboard Scrapbook/Clipboard replacement. This software was very useful for Desktop Publishing, especially in the days before MultiFinder.


Is going to MacWorld really worth the time, energy, and money? I don’t know, but I, for one, sure had fun. MacWorld is an extravaganza, and every year it gets larger and glitzier. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad, but if you’ve never gone to one, you really should, at least once, preferably before they have to hold it in Candlestick Park.

— Jack Russel, Sequoia Macintosh Users Group

MacTurkeyFest 1988

52 words

1K on disk

November 1988

MacTurkeyFest 1988


Due to a logistical conflict, this exposition was moved from October to November and renamed from MacToberFest to MacTurkeyFest. The special surprise guest was Steve Jobs. David Morgenstern reported:

The usually tough BMUG crowd was on their knees in a fit of religious rapture at the visit of a Macintosh saint.

MacWorld Expo 1988 Boston

1,866 words

19K on disk

August 1988

MacWorld Expo 1988 Boston

Trade Show

Cricket, Deneba, Claris, and other booths

Dates: August 11-13 1988
Locations: Bayside Exposition Center, World Trade Center
Exhibitors: 400
Attendees: 40,000 (estimated)


John Sculley, who showed the famous “Pencil Test” 3D rendering vignette of a cursor who escapes from the screen of a Mac. The video was rendered on a Macintosh II and involved 20 members of Apple’s Advanced Technology Group.


The weather was hot and the show was ‘dull’. There were lots of people in suits not buying anything. There was nothing new or revolutionary. The same could not be said about the food at expo parties, we had seafood every night!

As we prepare to wend out way through the multisite monstrosity
known as the Macworld Expo, it is interesting to look back and think that it
was a mere four and a half years ago that Apple introduced the Macintosh as
the computer of the future. […] When we hit the floors of the first Boston expo in August 1985, things were better, but business America was still snickering over the death throes of the Macintosh Office. […] And now the balance of power in the micro industry has shifted to the point where Apple is running at the front of the pack. […] Sculley, Gassee, Yocam and the rest of the Apple gang might not fuel that same feeling of wonder and fun many of us had when we got our first Macs in 1984, but they are moving the company in a direction that all but guarantees it will be around in 1994 and beyond.


Apple showed off its new Apple Scanner, with its bundled software package Ofoto. I remember ordering and using one of these not long after 1988, and Ofoto was indeed an an amazing step forward. The hardware was also well-designed, offering classic “Snow White” styling. If I recall correctly this was a greyscale model — color was yet to come. What I had no memory of, but that contemporary reporting documents, is that the Scanner had suffered from an 11-month shipping delay — apparently because of software holdups. Rumors that Apple would endorse CAERE’s OmniPage software for OCR turned out to be unfounded, however.

One Apple product which was rumored to appear, but which did not, was a new Mac based on the 68030 chip. Steve Costa, a leader of BMUG, shot down rumors at the meeting immediately preceding the Expo to this effect , including those printed in a front-page article in InfoWorld.

Word Processing

This MacWorld marked the debut of Paragon’s Nisus, at least in alpha form. The word processor was viewed as a further development of their existing text editor QUED/M, with advanced features such as a drawing module, while still maintaining modest (1mb) RAM requirements and good performance (“almost as fast as WriteNow, double the features of MS-Word, yet half the size of FullWrite!”). Though nearly finished as long ago as January of this year, Paragon still wanted to incorporate a thesaurus and other features, so November was the now the target shipping date. “Perhaps,” write an excited visitor from Sweden, “this is THE word processor!”

Meanwhile WriteNow version 2 was demonstrated but not shipping.

Desktop Publishing

Springboard introduced Publisher, a $200 package for those looking something easier (and cheaper) than PageMaker.


Was Macworld Boston 1988 the first year for Macintosh multimedia? That’s the impression you get reading the coverage of HyperAnimator, an animation system for HyperCard by Bright Star. The public television program Computer Chronicles chose to lead off their coverage of the Expo with a close-up of the software working its magic on a 1-bit digitized avatar of program host Stewart Cheifet. Contemporary articles, such a a mention in InfoWorld, explicitly linked the program to the goals set out in Sculley’s Knowledge Navigator concept video.

At its heart, this technology sought to map MacinTalk-generated speech to a set of pre-recorded face and mouth image, so that a person could seem to be ‘speaking’ arbitrary text without the need to provide full-motion video. In its own way, a testimony to the inventiveness of programs and programmers. before computers became powerful enough to handle more sophisticated forms of full-motion video.

Software with a more direct connection to the eventual direction of the industry was MacroMind’s VideoWorks, which we discussed last year in Boston. For 1988 Marc Canter introduced VideoWorks Professional. MacWEEK described the improvements as full-color paint; color palette controls; new animation tools; MIDI; 24-bit color support; and on-line help. Just as interestingly, a $700 CD-ROM disc with stock movies, sounds, and animation sequences. Does any copy of this early optical media survive, I wonder?

Speaking of CD-ROMs, MacWEEK produced an entire article on the intersection between these optical devices and the burgeoning world of large-scale content — a market sector that would eventually be called Shovelware. With Apple recently having released software support for the High Sierra data format, both Mac and non-Mac discs could be shown off on the show floor. One Mac-specific title of note weas Brøderbund’s Electronic Whole Earth Catalog (shown in pre-release form):

(See the User Groups section below for information on BMUG’s PD-ROM.)

Math Software

Mathematica was demonstrated publicly, together with a math typesetting program called Milo. The latter was described by Wolfram as a “WYSIWYG electronic math scratchpad” — perhaps based on the same engine as Mathematica, but without the requirement for the user to master that more complex program’s language.

Spreadsheets & Databases

FoxBase 1.1


Silicon Beach Software showed off Digital Darkroom, a greyscale photo editing app that had suffered long delays due to growing pains at the company. Silicon Beach also showed SuperPaint 2.0, its competitor to the recently-unbundled MacPaint.

Speaking of original Apple-branded software, MacDraw II, the long-delayed revision to the first object-oriented drawing program, was finally shipping. But it faced new competitors: Canvas from Deneba and the oddly-named Draw It Again, Sam from Aba. Another new entrant was Cricket Paint, a $195 offering that also brought object-oriented and bitmap graphics into one package.

The next step beyond object-oriented drawing programs was clearly Postscript design, and both Adobe’s Illustrator as well as Aldus’ Freehand were on deck to begin a rivalry which would continue until the eventual purchase of Aldus by Adobe. Adobe’s new version, Illustrator ’88, boasted “new features [that] have enabled Illustrator 88 to gain ground against Freehand,” in the words of Macworld editor Jerry Borrell.

Dubl-Click, best known for their clip art collections, threw its hat into the graphics ring with Wet-Paint.

Moving from 2-D to 3-D, Silicon Beach also showed Super3D, a real-time color animation program for the Mac II.


Aldus demonstrated Persuasion, a “Desktop Presentation Program” as the genre was then known. This may have been the first time the product name was announced — Macworld spoke of an “unnamed” competitor to Microsoft PowerPoint and Cricket Presents. . As Aldus president Brainerd noted:

Asked about the host of other recently announced Macintosh presentation packages, Aldus President Paul Brainerd acknowledged that the market would not support all of the products, but said he was confident that Persuasion would be one “of the few that will come to the forefront.”


A utility package which made a big impression at the show was “Screen Gems.” This $80 disk was published by Microseeds, and included four programs:

Switch-A-Roo by Billy Steinberg, an FKEY for changing monitor settings.

ColorDesk by Paul Mercer, which which promised to “Replace the boring desktop pattern with a full-color picture of whatever you like.”

Dimmer, a screen saver for the Mac II.

Olduvai showed MultiClip, which evolved from a Clipboard replacement to something more akin to a Scrapbook upgrade. Interestingly, this was complemented by ClipShare, which allowed clipboards to be shared across an AppleTalk network. (Intriguingly, ClipShare was listed as vaporware in a print volume as late as 1990…)


One of the first PostScript clones made its debut in the form of the Jasmine DirectPrint and QUME CrystalPrint (two printers based upon the same Casio engine with a liquid-crystal shutter.) A RISC-based processor and 3MB of memory meant it outperformed the LaserWriter by three to four times, but it wasn’t shipping till October. Cost was about $4,000, and observers from BMUG noted that it was “good looking.”

The TrueVision NuVista — a card I remember using well — turned heads on the show floor with its 32-bit color, an exotic feature in 1988. “Does everything you could imagine,” raved BMUG members, “including setting resolution from software. 32-frame virtual screens, way ahead of everything else.” One thing I didn’t remember about it was it’s high price: $6,000.

Mass Micro — an name I had always associated with hard drives — was apparently also showing off true-color and video capture cards as well at this MacWorld.

Jasmine was on the show floor with their BackPac for the SE or Plus. This device attached to the back of the compact Mac, and was available in sizes ranging from 20mb to 100mb.

Oddly, an accompanying 2400-baud modem plugged into the side. Have to try and dredge up a picture of this:

The company will also offer an optional 2,400-bps modem called TalkBac, which can be installed inside any BackPac drive.

FWB was also on-site with their Hammer series of drives, including the PocketHammer, at a mere 7x9x3 inches all around. Must be quite a big pocket.

Believe it or not, a Mac-controlled embroidery machine, which could generate patterns from MacPaint files, garnered a lot of attention.


Farallon, a spin-off of the Berkeley Macintosh User’s Group, showed off version 2.0 of Timbuktu. This screen-sharing software, which functioned as kind of a 1980s version of VNC, was described as an “innovative… AppleTalk-observe/participiate package.” Timbuktu Remote would extend these LAN-based services to the (slow) modem connections that were beginning to link workers to their offices while away from them. Macworld’s Jerry Borrell looked forward to companion products to Timbuktu that would involve distributed processing and advanced groupware. At least one of these actually shipped — “Katmandu”, to be known as ScreenRecorder. Paired with Farallon’s MacRecorder audio hardware, these were all the elements one would need to do what we now call screencasts. Regardless, Borrell exhorted his readers to “plan… to spend as much time as you can at Farallon’s booth at the expo.”

User Groups

BMUG introduced their PD-ROM, a CD-ROM full of public-domain software (what we might today call Shareware.) This represented all two hundred and eight floppies that BMUG had previously sold out of their office and through computer stores.

At $100, BMUG was charging for the cost of duplication and distribution, not the free software on the disc itself — a testimony to the costs of disc production in the 1980s.

BMUG also had their Newsletters on offer, volumes so thick that a visitor described them as “bibles…. the best book of MacWorld!”