[SIGCIS-Members] First instructional videos for Macintosh?

Ceruzzi, Paul CeruzziP at si.edu
Tue Sep 9 06:23:52 PDT 2014

I do recall an advertisement for the Mac, when it first appeared, that its users had no need to consult the manual, as the Mac’s use was intuitively obvious. At the time I was very skeptical of this seemingly-outrageous claim; I was a die-hard DOS user, with its accompanying thick users’ manuals and cryptic error messages. But I recall being intrigued by the ad. If correct, then there probably would not have been such an instructional video, at least not produced by Apple.

Postscript: Just looked at _Byte_, special issue, Feb. 1984: “Once you have bought it, though, you will probably be learning how to use the Mac on your own. Apple will help you in this process by providing you with a cassette/disk combination. You boot up the 3 ½ inch disk tutorial and listen to the interactive lesson provided on the cassette (Of course, you have to have a cassette player). Although I have not seen the cassette/disk tutorial program, I think it will work well; text-only tutorial programs are fine, but many buyers of the Mac will benefit from the warmth of a human voice teaching them.”

The National Museum of American History acquired a Mac almost on Day One; I’ll check & see if they got this cassette/disk combination. (Of course, if they have it, we will need to find a cassette player!)

Paul C.

From: members-bounces at sigcis.org [mailto:members-bounces at sigcis.org] On Behalf Of Paul N. Edwards
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2014 7:50 AM
To: Luisa Emmi Beck
Cc: members at sigcis.org
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] First instructional videos for Macintosh?

Luisa, do you have reason to believe that such instructional videos existed?

It’s possible, but that was not so common in the 1970s or even the 1980s (the Macintosh was introduced in 1984). If they did exist, they would have been distributed on VHS tapes. Audio CDs were introduced until 1982, and DVDs were not invented until 1995.

I would look instead for stories in the print press - newspapers, and perhaps such magazines as Byte (an early personal computer hobbyist magazine). Or perhaps public radio archives!


Paul Edwards

On Sep 8, 2014, at 23:28 , Luisa Emmi Beck <emmi.beck at gmail.com<mailto:emmi.beck at gmail.com>> wrote:

Hi SIGCIS members,

I'm working on a radio story about the history of personal computing.

I would like to find instructional videos for the first Macintosh or other personal computers. The goal is to give listeners a sense for how new and incredible the idea of personal computing was in the 1970s. ​Does anyone on this list know of where I could find such videos? I haven't been able to find anything on YouTube but I'm hoping to be able to track down a few instructional videos (or at least the audio portion of the videos).


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Paul N. Edwards
Professor of Information<http://www.si.umich.edu/> and History<http://www.lsa.umich.edu/history/>, University of Michigan
A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming<http://pne.people.si.umich.edu/vastmachine/index.html> (MIT Press, 2010)

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