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Miscellaneous Information

There's not a lot of information about MacCharlie on the web but here's some 1985 snippets from Usenet and eslewhere.


Comdex a bore

MacCharlie, a PC-compatibility box for the Mac was there, two models perched behind glass. Careful inspection showed these to only be mock-ups, with "vents" on the top painted on and disk drive faceplates only. Keyboard was wood, and the keys didn't look like they work. It will ship May 25. Well, they got 60 days to make a real case for it. Price for 640K, 2-drive mode was $1700. Apple, IBM and Commodre (as well as Atari) WEREN'T there. AT&T was, showing (Safari, 7300?) their new machine only if you signed a non-disclosure agreement! I, of course, didn't.

-Rusty Hodge

From: Gary L. Crum (crum@utah-cs.UUCP)
Subject: the MacCharlie product
Newsgroups: net.micro.mac
Date: 1985-09-15 10:59:59 PST

The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper printed an article on the front page of its 15-Sep business section about Dayna Communications and its "MacCharlie".

For those that haven't heard, MacCharlie is an expansion box for Macintosh that allows it to run IBM software. The ~$1800 system includes an 8088, one 5.25" disk drive, and 256K RAM. The "plus" version has two drives and a total of 640K RAM. The price of "MacCharlie plus" wasn't mentioned.

An interesting quote from Bill Sadleir, chairman of Dayna Communications, revealed his marketing stradegy of initally high prices. Here's the quote:

"But we're confident that because of our inside relationship with the people at Apple and the start we already have in this market, we will always be able to price competitively," Mr. Sadleir said. "Right now we are pricing our product in a monopolistic environment because we are the only one. We will be able to handle the competition when it comes."

Have any of you purchased a MacCharlie unit yet? I'm just curious about how the unit utilizes the display monitor of the Macintosh. The article touted "The line graphics are outstanding. Even the size of the Macintosh screen does not detract too much from the crisp, 80-column text display." I certainly wouldn't say that 80 monospaced characters across the 512 pixel horizontal resolution of the Mac results in an aesthetically pleasing text display.

Gary L. Crum University of Utah {seismo,ihnp4,hplabs,decvax}!utah-cs!crum

Subject: MacCharlie: kludge of the century?
Newsgroups: net.micro
Date: 1985-05-23 20:35:12 PST

A two-page ad on pages 80-81 of the June BYTE introduces MacCharlie. It shows a Mac attached to an extra box on the left with a 5-1/4" floppy in it. Attached to the keyboard is an extension with 10 function keys on the left and a numeric/cursor keypad on the right, just like the IBM PC. The screen shows MacPaint (no wonder people think there's no other Mac software), and says "I'm IBM Compatible." Here's some of the text of the ad:

"Macintosh and IBM PC software. Compatible at last, thanks to MacCharlie, a rather innovative coprocessing system ... "Nearly 10,000 IBM PC software programs ... now join forces with Macintosh's own popular programs ... "And, the myriad of IBM PC-compatible software adopts Macintosh's many beloved features, including desktop utilities such as the clipboard and the calculator ... "You see, MacCharlie delivers hardware compatibility, as well. For example, IBM letter-quality printers can easily be used with Macintosh. "Furthermore, MacCharlie now allows Macintosh to perform virtually any networking an IBM PC can perform ... "... Suggested retail price for the 256K single disk drive model is only $1195, and just $1895 for the 640K dual disk drive version ... call Operator 14 at 1-800-531-0600 (in Utah, 801-531-0600)."

It's from Dayna Communications, 50 S. Main St, Salk Lake City, Utah 84144.

In other words, an IBM PC processor, floppy, and keyboard extension that attaches to the Mac. (How? Through the disk drive port?) It sounds like it might have IBM PC-compatible slots, but the ad seems to suggest that there may only be a parallel port. Has anyone heard anything else about this? Does it exist, or is it just vaporware? Does it work? Does it work well? It sounds like it could be really great, but it could also be a big hype.

Address any flames, etc. to me. I'll summarize, or you can just post to info-micro. Whatever. Also, could someone post this to info-mac (info-mac@sumex-aim) and to info-ibm (info-ibmpc@usc-isib). As usual, I am not affiliated with Apple, IBM, Dayna Corporation, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or anyone else. Similarily, my views do not represent theirs, nor that of Usenet, Rutgers University, my computer, or anybody's avocado plant.

ARPA: BRAIL@RU-BLUE.ARPA UUCP:!{seismo,harvard,sri-iu,ut-sally,ihnp4!packard}!topaz!ru-blue!brail

From: Peter Merchant (merchant@dartvax.UUCP)
Subject: Re: IBM <-> Mac Software??
Newsgroups: net.micro.mac
Date: 1986-05-08 15:24:36 PST

> It's budget time, and once again management keeps stomping on the Mac by saying ''s not IBM compatible.'

> Well...., crap. Who out in has personal experience with > systems or techniques that allow Mac software to be used on IBMs and vice versa? I've seen ads for MacCharley (sp?) but have never seen it reviewed. Comments?

> Don Chitwood
> Tektronix, Inc.

I always enjoy that. The best weapon I've found against "management" is to get statistics on Mac use vs. PC use. Worked here at the Merchant Marine Academy, and this is The Government. (I'm from the government, I'm here to help you...)

Anywway, though, having to deal with both machines, I looked into MacCharlie and played with it for a bit and was relatively impressed. The PC end is a typical PC (nothing tricky, garden variety 8088) and it pretends it has a monochrome monitor. Unfortunately, this slices out a number of "scientific" applications that want a colour monitor.

You can cut and paste between your Macintosh and your PC, but beware the slowness of going from Mac to PC. It also has a way of doing file transfer.

For those people who use both machines alot, it's pretty good. For avid PC users, they will probably grumble about the PC part, especially the monochrome monitor.

Dayna has mentioned that they will be supporting Appletalked printers (such as the LaserWriter) and they also plan to have an expansion box for accepting your favourite cards (which could solve the monitor problem). I'm waiting to see what happens before I have this place buy me one.

-- "Don't waste my time." Peter Merchant

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