6

Back in about the mid-1980s, there was a period of time when "multimedia encyclopedia" and training resources were being made for schools, for the early monochrome-only Macintosh that tied it to a Laserdisc player via a serial cable.

A typical way this would work is that there would be a HyperCard stack with cards for each topic, and then buttons on the card would command the Laserdisc player. It could either play a short video clip for the subject matter on a TV next to the computer, or freeze-frame on a single full-color image that the monochrome Macintosh was incapable of displaying by itself.

I've been trying to figure out what these programs were named so that I could try to find them again for nostalgia reasons, but I come up empty scratching my head trying to think of any, or how they would have been described at the time.

  • A Google search found this: applefritter.com/?q=content/… – snips-n-snails Nov 30 '17 at 6:14
  • 1
    An alternative hardware stack for the same purpose that was commonly used in UK schools was to have a laserdisc player attached to a BBC Master; this was the original target hardware for the Domesday Disk. It's not mentioned on Wikipedia, but I'm pretty sure later versions worked with the RM Nimbus PC-186 that we recently discussed in another question. – Jules Nov 30 '17 at 18:13
  • Regarding the Domesday project, see also this question. – Stephen Kitt Nov 30 '17 at 20:33
  • @Jules I didn't see your comment before posting mine on the answer below; the link down there — atsf.co.uk/dottext/domesday.html — mentions a Nimbus version: "The project was produced firstly for the BBC Micro Master computer (not the traditional BBC B), with an RML Nimbus version following quickly." Written in BCPL, so possibly it's the same code on both platforms to a greater extent. – Tommy Nov 30 '17 at 21:11
8

These were known as LaserStacks, and a DDG search turns up some information. Some titles were known as hypervideo databases. The biggest publisher appears to have been Voyager; various manufacturers built compatible LaserDisc drives, notably Philips and Pioneer. A number of tools could be used to build LaserStacks.

The HyperCard on the Internet Archive post links to a documentary featuring a LaserStack demo.

Since they use LaserDiscs, they are hard to preserve and I don’t know whether any are available online. This document describes Voyager’s production history and preservation efforts (focusing on their CD-ROM releases). A good place to start exploring HyperCard in general is the Internet Archive’s HyperCard stacks repository.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.