MacinTalk

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Joseph Katz

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May 29, 1991, 4:51:35 AM5/29/91
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Recently, Rick Holzgrafe posted an article regarding the status (past and
future) of MacinTalk. There were several incorrect and/or misleading
comments made which I would like to address.

In response to what Rick Holzgrafe writes:

>MacinTalk was done by an outside firm,

TRUE. MacinTalk was written by myself and Mark Barton. Apple contacted
us back in late 1983 to write a speech synthesizer for the yet to
be released Mac.


>and Apple purchased the program so the Mac could have an extra splashy
>intro in 1984: it could introduce itself.

FALSE. Originally, MacinTalk was supposed to be included in the system
folder and bundled with every Mac as part of the basic OS. Apple
did indeed want at least a preliminary version working for the
1984 intro, and we busted our butts to provide them with one.
Later (about June of '85) Apple decided that they would not
necessarily distribute MacinTalk with every system.

>We never purchased the source code.

TRUE. During out initial contract negotiations, Apple was given various
options regarding exclusivity, licensing arrangements, etc. They
chose to purchase binary code only.

>That's why we can't upgrade it to work with new System software: we're as
>helpless as you are.

FALSE. Over the years I've been in contact with various people at Apple
and have tried several times to setup some arrangement to upgrade
and maintain MacinTalk. Always, after some initial interest, the
matter simply dies.

>(It was patched the hard way once, to get rid of some self-modifying code
>that failed on 68020's and 030's,

Yes, MacinTalk was patched. No, MacinTalk has no self-modifying code.
It would be more correct to say that MacinTalk did not maintain a pure
code space (we stored a variable in a local area within a code module).
When the Mac II was being developed we tried to negotiate with Apple to
maintain and improve MacinTalk, but could not agree on terms. See below.

>but its current problems are much more fundamental.)

All too true. Originally the sound manager was much too slow to use
and we had to directly access the hardware. THIS WAS DONE WITH APPLE'S
PRIOR KNOWLEDGE AND APPROVAL! Later, as I said, we were unable to come
to terms with Apple regarding maintenance and upgrades.

>I can't comment on possible replacements since I don't know of any. (Not
>my line of work - though it sounds like fun! :-)

Too bad. I guess we'll have to wait.

As you may have gathered from the above, there was a falling out between Apple
and us. The basic problem was that when the Mac II was under development, we
went to Apple and tried to create a working relationship with them. At that
time, totally out of the blue, Apple demanded source code to MacinTalk, and
flatly stated that they would not consider any form of compensation. When we
balked at that, they told us that unless we agreed to their terms, Apple would
no longer support MacinTalk. We did not agree to their terms, feeling that to
do so would be to support the all too common practice of big companies
unilaterally and retroactively rewritting already agreed upon contracts.


As I said before, since that meeting I've been in contact with several people
at Apple (after about a year or so) and have actually found most of the initial
contacts rather enthusiastic about resuscitating MacinTalk, but it never got
very far.


My intention is not to give the impression that this is a full and complete
accounting of what went on with MacinTalk, and obviously it's my version of
things, but I've seen these half-truths repeated too often now. It's been
so long that I don't remember if Rick was actually present in any of our
negotiations, or if he is simply repeating what he has heard. In either case,
my intention is not to castigate him personally or to start a "you did this/
you did that" sort of flame war, but to answer some of the comments that have
come out of Apple regarding MacinTalk.

--
|
Joseph Katz |
SoftVoice | ... but don't his suit fit nice?
(213) 390-4417 |
jk...@netcom.com |
|

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jarom Hagen

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May 29, 1991, 5:14:38 PM5/29/91
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jk...@netcom.COM (Joseph Katz) writes:


>As you may have gathered from the above, there was a falling out between Apple
>and us. The basic problem was that when the Mac II was under development, we
>went to Apple and tried to create a working relationship with them. At that
>time, totally out of the blue, Apple demanded source code to MacinTalk, and
>flatly stated that they would not consider any form of compensation.

Owch!

>As I said before, since that meeting I've been in contact with several people
>at Apple (after about a year or so) and have actually found most of the initial
>contacts rather enthusiastic about resuscitating MacinTalk, but it never got
>very far.

I suppose Apple thinks that digitized voice and sound is better. I would
rather have the synthetic voice of MacinTalk. It was great when the Mac
could "speak" a text file too you! Digitized sound takes up lots of disk
and memory too. :-(

Jarom
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602 Cameron St, Alexandria VA 22314
(UUCP: ...uunet!uupsi!npri6!jhagen)

Don Gillies

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May 31, 1991, 7:30:24 PM5/31/91
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jk...@netcom.COM (Joseph Katz) writes:
>>MacinTalk was done by an outside firm,

> TRUE. MacinTalk was written by myself and Mark Barton. Apple contacted
> us back in late 1983 to write a speech synthesizer for the yet to
> be released Mac.

It is a pity you have not pursued macintalk as an independent product.
It seems plausible that you could update and/or improve macintalk and
market it yourselves, in many different ways.

1. You could have it speak the data coming in through the serial port, to
make a talking terminal.

2. You could integrate it with quickdraw to make a macintosh for the blind.

3. You could integrate it with commercial scanners to make a book
reader for the blind.

4. Macintalk could be the basis for a sound language for the macintosh.
This is something that apple has been ignoring for many many years
(finally they've started to address it in system 7.0).

5. Macintalk source code could be licensed to game manufacturers.

Why haven't you pursued these options with macintalk?

Don Gillies | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
gil...@cs.uiuc.edu | Digital Computer Lab, 1304 W. Springfield, Urbana IL

--

Stephen Sakamoto

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Jun 1, 1991, 2:54:36 AM6/1/91
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In article <1991May31.2...@m.cs.uiuc.edu> gil...@m.cs.uiuc.edu (Don Gillies) writes:
>jk...@netcom.COM (Joseph Katz) writes:
>>>MacinTalk was done by an outside firm,
>
>> TRUE. MacinTalk was written by myself and Mark Barton. Apple contacted
>> us back in late 1983 to write a speech synthesizer for the yet to
>> be released Mac.
>
>It is a pity you have not pursued macintalk as an independent product.
>It seems plausible that you could update and/or improve macintalk and
>market it yourselves, in many different ways.
>
<IDEAS DELETED>

>
>Why haven't you pursued these options with macintalk?
>

Actually they have improved MacinTalk a great deal for the various other
680x0 platforms they support. They couldn't to anyting for the Mac because
of licensing restrictions in the contract they signed with Apple.

Apple bought the binary and prevented them from marketing MacinTalk
themselves.

Philip Machanick

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Jun 1, 1991, 1:09:59 AM6/1/91
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In article <1991May31.2...@m.cs.uiuc.edu>, gil...@m.cs.uiuc.edu (Don Gillies) writes:
|> jk...@netcom.COM (Joseph Katz) writes:
|> >>MacinTalk was done by an outside firm,
|>
|> > TRUE. MacinTalk was written by myself and Mark Barton. Apple contacted
|> > us back in late 1983 to write a speech synthesizer for the yet to
|> > be released Mac.
|>
|> It is a pity you have not pursued macintalk as an independent product.
|> It seems plausible that you could update and/or improve macintalk and
|> market it yourselves, in many different ways.
[5 ideas deleted]
6. A talking debugger. Some of my students once used MacinTalk
for of debugging output. It was great fun - they could
tell what their program was doing without having to mess up
the screen.
--
Philip Machanick
phi...@pescadero.stanford.edu

J Boswell

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Jun 5, 1991, 5:25:35 AM6/5/91
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jk...@netcom.COM (Joseph Katz) writes:

>As you may have gathered from the above, there was a falling out between Apple
>and us. The basic problem was that when the Mac II was under development, we
>went to Apple and tried to create a working relationship with them. At that
>time, totally out of the blue, Apple demanded source code to MacinTalk, and
>flatly stated that they would not consider any form of compensation. When we
>balked at that, they told us that unless we agreed to their terms, Apple would
>no longer support MacinTalk. We did not agree to their terms, feeling that to
>do so would be to support the all too common practice of big companies
>unilaterally and retroactively rewritting already agreed upon contracts.

My hearty congratulations. I believe you acted responsibly and with integrity.
It is good to see people striking a blow for contractors otherwise trodden on
by the big guys.

In my opinion Apple blew it. Having called their bluff I'd say that you've
made them look pretty silly. MACINTALK was GREAT !!! I don't think they know
what a winner it was for them. REALLY REALLY DUMB APPLE <:-)

> ... It's been


>so long that I don't remember if Rick was actually present in any of our
>negotiations, or if he is simply repeating what he has heard. In either case,
>my intention is not to castigate him personally or to start a "you did this/
>you did that" sort of flame war, but to answer some of the comments that have
>come out of Apple regarding MacinTalk.


Very honourable BUT in my opinion Apple owes it to its customers (you remember
us Apple - we're your source of income !) to explain why they would deliberately
cause the obsolesence of LOTS of software, remove functionality from our
machines and remove yet another distinction between the mac and those other
boxes sold by people in blue suits.

Perhaps we should be "upgrading" to 4.1 or 5.3 to get speech synthesis instead
of moving to SSW7.0.


I know this sounds over the top Apple, but there is only so much Mac you can
erode away and I'm tired [:-O<-==dd of losing functionality with every
"upgrade" of the SSW unless I buy the latest platform to run it on, and in this
case that won't even help.

James.
-----------------
Of course these are my opinions, my employer does'nt even know what a Mac is !

J Boswell

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Jun 5, 1991, 10:25:35 AM6/5/91
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