December 13, 2011

But Can It Do Any Calculations?




If the last post dealt with the year 1987, this one deals with the year 1991.
What did I do in the mean time?
I finished High school after the 11th grade (this is not due to any particular brilliance, that was the law in Quebec Canada at the time), and studied Physics for one year at the Technion. At the end of that year I met my girlfriend.
Then I went to serve my country in the IDF (I served in the Nahal Brigade, which was not only a brigade then, but more on that maybe some other time...).
So in 1991 I was nearing the end of my military service, and my girlfriend who was also a soldier at the time, served for the IDF spokesperson. In 1991 this was high honor indeed because in the Gulf War, the IDF spokesman (that was their name at the time) pretty much ran the country.
Anyway, she invited me over to see the latest and greatest computer they had - the Macintosh II. They used to print an English language newspaper than, depicting the IDF in a positive light. They used their Macs for Desktop Publishing, and it could really do pretty amazing things back then (especially compared to the PCs, that could barely print one shabby font of Hebrew on Dot Matrix printers).
It also had a screen saver - flying toasters.
I was really impressed, but being a science buff I had to ask - Can it do any calculations? it must be able to print really cool graphs of functions or something?!
Try as we might, we did not find any such piece of software on the machine. My girlfriend was a bit annoyed that I kept asking that. I'm afraid this was not the first time that I annoyed her, nor the last time.