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Apple "BS Disk I" - MacTalk

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Year released:
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us [mirror].de (132.30 KB)
MD5: 102224317d5b7dfdf8a7fca0c73f5aae
For System 1 - 5
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us [mirror].de
BS_Disk_I-MacTalk.img (409.46 KB)
MD5: 0d404dbdb6f72c1aa4f4aa18ce639ec4
For System 1 - 5
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us [mirror].de
bsdiskI.sit (134.73 KB)
MD5: 9e573642ac7245f207eaaab928981d15
For System 1 - 5
This app works with: Mini vMac

This is a disk that came into my possession containing what appears to be internal Apple development software from the Macintosh project, and/or from the software companies that worked on the Macintosh project, in 1983. The people I acquired these disks from claimed they met in college in Cupertino in the early 1980s, while one was doing a computer science degree, and working for Apple or a closely associated company on the Macintosh project.

First upload: zipped 400K MFS .dsk for use with emulators. Not Bootable. Works in Mini Vmac. Boot off of the "Macwrite Boot" disk I just released:
Second Upload: raw DiskCopy 4.2 .image (rename to .image)
Third upload: Stuffit 3 .sit archive containing the disk image, for copying, extraction and writing on a real Compact Macintosh. The machine and floppy disk drive will need to be capable of writing 400 Kilobyte MFS formatted floppy diskettes.

Macwrite 1.0 is necessary for modifying and saving a file called "QD.text".

Later versions of Macwrite will only open QD.text as read-only, and can only save a copy, and cannot save it in text format that "talk demo" and "MacTalk" (the earliest versions of Macintalk) require to function. This has been heavily tested on my part. So, to play with QD.text (and hear it's easter egg message at the end if you modify it), you need to open it with Macwrite 1.0, and save a copy elsewhere on a disk named QD.text as "text" format (NOT Macwrite), and then put it in a folder ("Talk" on this disk), replacing the original.

QD.text is the separate file that contains the phoneme script that talk demo/MacTalk read in this video at around 2:20-

Hint: to hear Mactalk read the "easter egg", modify the file "QD.text" removing the # around halfway through. Then save it as "text" (NOT Macwrite) elsewhere on the disk, or on the Macwrite boot disk. Make sure it is named QD.text. Now, go into the folder where MacTalk is located and remove the original QD.text. Put the one you saved elsewhere there and run MacTalk. When it is finished reading its script about "Before 1984, not very many people used computers for a very good reason...", it will pause and read what almost sounds like an advert for the Fairlight CMI synthesizer, describing its operation (It sounds kind of like later General MIDI devices, if you ask me.). Pretty cool, huh?


My contact says:

"Well, I went digging on Google Groups and found some highly relevant
information... in a thread about Kate Bush.!msg/


J. Eric Roskos (May 17, 1985):

This reminds me of a question that has been bothering me for a long
time. Back when the Apple Macintosh personal computer first came out,
there was a demo disk distributed to various dealers, etc., of a voice
synthesis program (it's the one that had different names over the
early part of the product life, names like MacinTalk, MacTalk, etc.,
and I don't know the name it has now or had then). Included with it
was a little demo that recited the well-known "In the olden days,
before 1984, not many people used computers, and for a very good
reason: not many knew how, and..." story.

Well, if you looked in the text file that contained the text of this
message, there was a delimiting string at the end of the message,
something like "#####", and then some more phonetic text. If you took
out the "####", after it got through telling you about Apple, it would
start giving you a little talk about how the Fairlight CMI worked! Why
is this? Was that voice synthesizer made by the same people who make
the CMI? Or is there a version of it that runs on the CMI? or what?

----- (May 20, 1985):

The name of the program was indeed Macintalk. It fell into obscurity
after last spring when it first released, was re-released (with better
sound) in December to a few developers, including myself, and is now
on the verge of falling into obscurity again. I really hope that Apple
finally finishes off the contract work on this thing and releases it

Macintalk was written by the same people who wrote SAM (Software
Automated Mouth) for the Atari and Apple II. They were commissioned
early on by Apple to do a Mac port, and it appeared in the original
Mac demo in January, '84 (on a 512K Mac!) Over the past year, I have
been able to collect bits and pieces of old Macintalk junk including
the Mac/Fairlight script mentioned earlier. The New (December '84)
Macintalk sounds a lot better. It sounds like a computer in its mid
30's rather than an old man whose false teeth are out for repair.


I had no idea that MacinTalk was developed by outside contractors.
There's another thread where one of those contractors, Joseph Katz,
tries to clear up its history. He says that Apple never actually
possessed the MacinTalk source code, because they refused to pay any
money for it!!msg/comp.sys.mac.system/BOekHR6KGvg/-_OBQaXQAeMJ

Anyway, both MacinTalk and Macintosh Pascal were developed for Apple
to publish, so it makes sense they'd turn up in a set of disks from
inside Apple."


"So far, the bad news is that your version of Alice is identical to the
first known prototype. The good news is some of the other finds are
unique to my knowledge, like a debug version of Johan Strandberg's
Daleks and an October 1983 prototype of Macintosh Pascal, when it was
known as "Instant Pascal.""

(The datestamp of Pascal found on this disk is from November 1983, so this may be on a later disk, but this disk does indeed contain a development version of Macintosh Pascal.)

As always, please rate this and let me know if you have trouble with the files, I goofed up (there's a lot here to curate and upload), and so forth.

Architecture: 68k


lilliputian's picture
by lilliputian - 2020, February 3 - 2:57am

Dang hoarders.

24bit's picture
by 24bit - 2019, August 15 - 11:24am

Again, thanks a bunch for sharing!
I´m just a plain user, no programmer, but the early Mac stuff is much appreciated for sure.
Luckily most people here rather share than try to make money out of old Mac stuff.

(The greedy pilferers do know whom I´m talking about.)