I came across this hefty box, “the easy way bundle”, as it bills itself, the easy way to save over $1,000 on four popular software packages for your new Macintosh computer. Clearly the box has seen better days over the last 27 years but amazingly the contents are just fine.
It’s amazing how much more cheaper software has gotten over the years. Software used to be super expensive on the PC level, it really wasn’t until the office bundling with new machines that drove the price down. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s it wasn’t uncommon to pay upwards of $500 USD for a single application, like a spreadsheet or word processor.
Inside the box is more boxes, and inside those boxes is a rare sight, manuals! Actual printed manuals! That is how you know this is something of near museum quality. I kind of like being able to read a physical book from time to time, and it’s really great.
Oh and incidentally the disks all worked, much to my amazement. I just needed to get a working Macintosh with a drive that can read 800kb disks and an Ethernet card.
Although it does list four packages, it really is 3, featuring:
- Lotus 1-2-3
AccessPC is simply a FAT driver for MacOS to read MS-DOS floppies & removable media.
So let’s take a quick look!
I haven’t seen something like this in a long while, an actual license printed on nice stock certificate stock paper (remember those?!), with a hologram tag. Does WordPerfect even exist anymore? Can I mail this in for an upgrade? Does it even matter?
While the install options give the impression that WordPefect is a really full featured word processor once loaded up for some reason it really felt barren.
Although it does have the important proofing tools, don’t expect a dictionary or thesaurus to have anything more than the words, no definitions or anything like a style guide. It did ship on floppy and I guess I’ve just become so spoiled living in the future with terabytes of storage and an overwhelming supply of deference media.
Going back to 1992 is a real trip to not only how clean some of the UI elements feel, but just how seemingly feature sparse the more advanced applications feel.
Personally I never really liked WordPerfect so I more so installed it as a curiosity, much like when I had WordPerfect for Unix. I’m the crazy one that likes MS Word.
With that said, I went ahead and installed Lotus 1-2-3, and I was really surprised, that the installer was not only really appallingly bad, requiring you to copy the contents to the HD before installing it (so you need a lot of free space), but there was no copy protection at all either on the disks, or in the form of a certificate/serial code. In school I did start with 1-2-3, but with the onslaught of Microsoft Office had quickly moved to Excel, and after 30+ years I really don’t remember much of the slash commands, let alone how to use if effectively. Luckily the menu is okay to walk through, and of course there is Macintosh style menus so you don’t even have to deal with the slash menu if you don’t want to.
SoftPC didn’t come with a box within the box, just the two manual sets & the disks shoved into the manuals. I doubt it came like that, but this is all I have.
Compared to the WordPerfect certificate, the stickers hidden in the folds of the SoftPC manual just feel cheap. And the years have not been kind as you can see with the discoloration, and the cheap adhesive on them has completely dried off. After I had scanned this they have all fallen off the backing paper. Although I also have version 3.1, I didn’t want to lose this so I’ll just save it for prosperity.
And SoftPC is a great program, although it really is an absolute crutch, allowing you to run PC software on your Mac. Flash forward 30 years, and the industry continues with VMware & Parallels. What is more amazing is how so many leaders in PC emulation completely missed the virtualization market. But most people would think you were a little strange to run a PC on a PC. Or more than one at the same time.
SoftPC emulates a really barebones PC, it only supports a maximum of 640kb of RAM, and the CGA graphics adapter. For anything more advanced you really need to get SoftAT, which supports more options. Or even better, get a copy of SoftPC 3.1, which not only allows more memory but bundles a copy of MS-DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.1
I found the emulation of the CGA kind of lacking when compared to version 3.1 Although some games like BattleTech render just fine, Space Quest just looks horrible in version 2.52.
Although to be fair it doesn’t look so much better in version 3.1 either. However 3.1 emulates both EGA & VGA (along with expanded & extended memory) giving a far more richer 286 based emulation solution
As you can see there really is no comparison to the EGA version.
Although there are far more better solutions today to do PC emulation, for some reason there is always something cool to have an emulator running an emulator.. Sadly the 80386 based emulation didn’t come to the 68000 based platform, instead the later generation emulation was only available to the PowerPC.
I guess it goes to show, but of all the applications I have for MacOS, I enjoy SoftPC the most. I suppose I need better softwares.