For Lisa, the World Ended in 1995

If you try to set the clock in Lisa OS 3.1 to 2010, you’re out of luck:

You can only enter years from 1981 to 1995. That’s a span of 15 years – why? And what happens if the clock runs past the end of 1995?

Well, it wraps around to 1 Jan 1980.

But why does it not allow entering 1980 then? That’s why:

Whenever the clock is set to 1980, it thinks the clock is not set up properly. So it is a 4 bit counter. Too bad, a 5 bit counter could have made it into 2011, and we all know that’s way more than ever needed.

6 thoughts on “For Lisa, the World Ended in 1995

  1. Darren

    In Mac System 1.0 you can set the date to anything you want. The crossover date is 2020; if you set it to “20” it will read it as 2020, and if you set it as “21” it will read it as 1921.

    But what’s interesting is that the System 1.0 date control panel has an up/down control, so if you enter the year as “20” and then click the up-arrow to increase the year, you will get 2025, 2030, etc.

    The Mac calendar will go as high as, you almost guessed it, 2039, before it wraps around to 1904.

  2. Lars

    OH, man. It’s been a looong time since I used a Lisa. They were fun – I had a good time hacking them. Not as capable as SmallTalk on the Xerox machines it was lifting from, but somehow more real.

    Thanks for the memories.

  3. Nate

    Don’t you always set your date back when using an old computer? It’s always 1985 somewhere in the world. 😉


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