View all posts by: Vectronic | View all posts in category: Macintosh Software

When Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh in 1984, he let the computer speak for itself. I have often wondered how they did that on a computer with 128K RAM, an 8 MHz CPU, and a 400K disk drive. I think that I have found the answer. I have came by a program called Speak from a university FTP server. It has no Read Me files or any other documentation, so I am unaware of its creator. It appears to be a 36K Pascal program that uses SimpleText as a text editor. Basically, it works the same as MacinTalk. You type the text and click Speak from the Apple Menu. The program is available for download at the bottom of the page. It will run on any 68K Macintosh.

The voice that the Speak uses sounds suspiciously like the original 128K Macintosh introduced by Steve Jobs at the Apple Annual 1984 Shareholder Meeting. You be the judge. Here is Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh at the meeting. He rattles on for a little while and then introduces a talking Macintosh computer. (392 KB QuickTime file)

I tried the same words that the Macintosh spoke back in 1984 on the Blue Max Classic II. It sounds the same to me.

Original 1984 Macintosh Speech

Trying not to be redundant, I have not included a sample of that speech on this page. It sounds exactly like the 1984 Macintosh. I have included two other samples. The Blue Max Classic II read the text and my trusty LC III recorded it using a Macintosh PlainTalk microphone through the Sound Control Panel.

"Hello" Text Read by the Classic II

Here is the sound file: hello.aif (268 KB AIF file)

"Uncomfortable" Text Read by the Classic II

Here is the sound file: uncomfortable.aif (268 KB AIF file)

Not bad. It is a joy to find little gems like this. If you don't have a compact black and white Mac to play this on, go get one!



Speak is compressed with Stuffit Expander and is a .sit file. Use Stuffit Expander or a compatible decompression utility to expand it.