Halt and Catch Fire: Up Helly Aa
July 28, 2014 6:47 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Complications menace the PC at Comdex.
posted by drezdn (8 comments total)
The part with the Slingshot seemed to parallel the story of the real Cardiff Giant, where PT Barnum, a wealthier, more established player, copied the work of an unknown and passed it off as the original.
posted by Small Dollar at 3:13 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Even with that foreshadowing, I didn't see the Slingshot twist coming.
posted by drezdn at 6:03 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

These last couple episodes have really turned me around from morbid fascination to genuine near-enjoyment to the point where now I am almost sad at how colossally it's probably going to fail.
posted by SharkParty at 7:40 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, this has turned into a good show after such a rough start, and I hope it's enough to keep it alive for another season if this quality can be maintained.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:30 AM on July 29, 2014

I was curious when the actual Mac 128k showed up at trade shows. Wikipedia has it as "announced to the press" in Oct 1983 and claims it shipped in Jan 1984. Dan Bricklin of Visicalc has about 90 minutes of video of Comdex 1983 up with Windows, HP touch screens, wallpaper in the suites even worse than H&CF, and the Gavilan SC in Sorcim's booth which has a similar form factor to the Giant, though with a vertically squished LCD. The GRiD compass had a squarer screen, but it was EL and it was fantastically expensive.

There's one CRT "portable" in the video with a price of $1900. Under $1000 for a 15 pound portable PC with full 16 bit memory (8086 not 8088 like IBM PC XT) and a hard drive seems a little low to me.


The Cameron/Joe and Donna/Gordon relationships developed nicely this ep. Plenty of actually dramatic stuff in their lives with some believable reactions and less off-the-wall flailing and screaming was a nice development.
posted by morganw at 7:58 PM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thinking about it some more, the only thing surprising about the Mac was that it was positioned (unsuccessfully*) against PCs and clones at $2500 without a hard drive. The Lisa was shipped at least a year earlier (I saw one at the University of Rhode Island as a faculty brat when a road show invited faculty to come see it). The Xerox Alto was in Byte in 1981. LISP machines were being built around the same time. They were crazy expensive, but people knew they were coming. Cameron being wowed by WIMP and OO talk from Xerox guys? Smalltalk was the cover article for Aug 1981 Byte.

So why's Joe's jaw dropping?

*It took the Mac Plus and the Laserwriter (1985) to really get the Mac off the ground. Dang, so much happened so fast in those years. I guess a little shuffling for the sake of plot is reasonable.
posted by morganw at 8:13 PM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I loved the hustle they pull on the printer dudes.

It was cute the way Donna and Gordon reconnected. Too bad it didn't last that long.

Ferret Face from next door is lucky that Gordon didn't come completely unhinged. We already know he can dig a grave.

I'd love to know if Apple really demoed the Mac by candlelight.

P.S. So amusing to see Atlanta and environs stand in for the road to Vegas and a Vegas hotel.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:37 PM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

This was just....a great episode. I'm watching this on Netflix, so I can binge and also no commercials. It's really good this way.

IT SPEAKS. Joe's expression when the guy turned on the Mac. Loved it.

I don't know if I can take many more episodes of Cameron as she is now. I just can't stand her petulant toddler ways for 29 more episodes. She doesn't know how to act around people, yeah, but she also doesn't seem to know how to eat, or drink, or sit still, or...pretty much anything. Here's hoping her character has a lot of growth between season 1 and season 2...... 0_o
posted by the webmistress at 2:44 PM on August 11, 2019

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