Bill Haenel

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Posted by Bill Haenel on 06-Apr-08

(NOTE/UPDATE: I have taken a break from getting Eliza loaded on my SE, in order to grab a version of the program a la JavaScript from mass:werk - ELIZA is now available on this site!)

My goal: bring my old '87 Mac SE back to life, making it useful once again. I think she needs a new life, one with purpose and meaning. Perhaps a new career, one which reflects her age and wisdom. So I am resurrecting my old Mac, reincarnating her as a therapist. Not just any therapist, but rather the famous and also vintage, Eliza.

In these days of LCD displays and Bluetooth keyboards, my Mac SE seems a little incommunicado. So my first challenge after a little moment of silence waiting for the Happy Mac, is to figure out how to get the Eliza software onto the Mac SE at all. I've downloaded it, of course, and now it's sitting on the desktop of my Windows XP laptop. How to make the jump?

The Mac SE has a 720K low-density floppy drive. My Dell D800 does not have a floppy drive. The Dell D800 has wifi and wired ethernet. The Mac SE has Localtalk. Can I connect via Localtalk? Don't think so. Can I transfer the file from my laptop to my server, which has a floppy drive? Yes. However, not only would it be tricky to format the floppy for the SE using the Windows-based OS on my server, but the floppy drive on the server is 1.44MB high-density - not friendly with the Mac SE.

So what will I do? I'll tell you, even though it will disappoint you.

My plan is to cheat. I'm not going to go directly from the Windows box to the Mac. I happen to have an array of classic Mac's in my basement. A Quadra 800, a Performa 6115 CD, an LC II, and of course my favorite, the SE. I guess I kind of collected these over time, picking them up from other folks at garage sales and such when they felt the machines couldn't help them anymore. My gain.

So I've fired up the 6115. I've uploaded my Eliza file to one of my web servers so it's easy to find. My 6115 happens to have an ethernet card, so I can download the file to the 6115, and then my hope is to put the file on the floppy disk from there. Yes, I actually have some DSDD floppies around. Not sure yet if they are any good anymore, but I'll know soon.

The next challenge will be finding out if the floppy drive in the SE is still any good after being in my basement for a while. I have faith. And I'm willing to put forth a lot of effort to have my Mac say to me, "We were discussing you, not me."

You must remember Eliza, don't you? She (it) was developed in 1966 by Prof. Joseph Weizenbaum as a parody of Rogerian therapists. She was also the first computer program I ever used, back in 1982 or so, on a TRS-80. I loved that machine, and I loved Eliza. I loved her so much that I immediately went to work learning how she worked and then learned to write BASIC programs myself, in an effort to create my own Eliza. Never happened. Now you can visit Eliza online any time you like.

Since you are here reading this I assume you have nothing to do with your spare time. So feel free to stay tuned and I'll try to let all of my many readers (you are both still visiting, aren't you?) know what happens.

So you think I'll be able to install the file? Hmm...

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