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Remembering the good old days of Apple Computer

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Classic Mac Blog Posts

Remembering the good old days of Apple Computer

January 20, 2022

Info-Mac CD

This week ClassicMac we take a quick look back at Info-Mac CD collection: InfoMac VI - August 1995.

The CD was built on August 1, 1995, just in the for MacWorld Boston 1995. That particular show featured the PowerMac 8500, 7500, and 7200. I believe that I got the CD from the tradeshow.

Note: Windows 95 came out on August 24, 1995.

The Info-Mac CD collection was a collection of shareware applications. At the time, it was pretty much how developers were able to get their shareware applications out.

Info-Mac is still around at info-mac.org. The website host the "original online Mac user community." The only problem is that the community has gone quiet. The last post in the forum (as of today) was on June 18th, 2021.

Info Mac6

Welcome to Info-Mac VI!

This is the sixth volume of the compact disc archives of the Internet site at sumex-aim.stanford.edu, also known as Info-Mac. The Info-Mac archive is the definitive site for Macintosh shareware and freeware. Thousands of programs are uploaded to this site per year, featuring some of the best programs available anywhere for the Mac. The Info-Mac archive is mirrored by ftp sites all over the world, including our own ftp server (ftp://ftp.pht.com/).

This Info-Mac series is an attempt to archive and catalog the programs that have been uploaded, but more importantly, make the archive available to those who do not have access to the Internet or don't have several gigabytes of hard drive space to download it all! Having this collection on CD allows you to search though the archive at your leisure without worrying about on-line costs and lets you test all the software yourself immediately.

A new addition to this disc is the Tool Chest. There are a certain few shareware or freeware programs that every Mac user should have. [You know, the ones that line the bottom of your desktop right now.] However, these would only appear on these discs if they have been updated in the time period covered. Even if they do appear, people may not have heard of all of these programs. That's where the Tool Chest comes in. On every disc we will collect the best 15 or 20 programs that are indispensable to any Mac user and put them all in one folder. If you feel that your favorite utility or program was left out, please let us know. If enough people feel the same way, we'll make sure it gets into the next edition of the Tool Chest.

You may have noticed that Info-Mac V was a two-disc edition while this disc is just one. Some people found it annoying to have to switch discs constantly to browse the collection. We have decided to keep Info-Mac a one disc collection and release it more frequently so that you can have the latest files on your desktop, as well as keep it easier to browse through. We have also lowered the price of the disc to reflect this change.

Some Apps on the CD

These are some of the notable apps that are on the CD collection.

KitCat

KitCat is a clock for the Macintosh that looks like a black cat with an analog clock in it's belly. It works on system 7 and earlier.

Stop the Madness 0.851r

Stop The Madness is an Apple II+ emulator for the Macintosh. See the Read Me for more information. The original definitive FTP site is located at ftp://cassandra.ucr.edu/pub/apple2.

Minimalist Clock 1.0

Minimalist Clock is a very small application which displays a clock on your screen. You can move the clock wherever you like. You can also view the current date by clicking the clock once. Code Warrior C source code included.

WolfEdit 1.1

This program allows the user to create new levels for Wolfenstein 3D. The upgrade (from 1.0) includes some bug fixes and minor changes. Support for the Second Encounter is also added.

FPUseless 1.0b

WARNING!!! This program is potentially dangerous. It should be used with caution and NEVER put on a machine without everyone who uses that machine knowing about it! Probably meant as a joke, this control panel introduces small round-off errors in floating point math (FPU and native PPC math is not affected).

BBEdit Lite 3.0

BBEdit Lite is a freeware derivative of BBEdit 3.1, it is a popular text editor for programmers, on-line-service users, and anyone else who needs to edit plain text files. It also has features for writing HTML documents. This is an application we thought needed to go in the Tool Chest

January 13, 2022

About this Macintosh Dialog box

Apple has come a long way with MacOS. I was looking at the "About This Mac" dialog from a couple of my computers and it's pretty interesting how things have changed.

About Macintosh Mobile
About Macintosh Desktop

System 7.5.5

The "About This Macintosh" is from my Apple Centra 660av. This dialog box was useful in showing what applications were using the most memory. Got to love the old Macintosh logo.

This screenshot was taken in 1995 - just about the time I moved to California. At the time I was using this computer as an answering machine.

Mac OS X 10.5.8

THe "About this Mac" dialog is from my Powerbook G4. It shows some information about the computer and the Processor power. Pretty useful when trying to figure out the capabilities of the computer.

This screenshot was taken today! I still use this Powerbook every once in a while. I still have Photoshop CS2 and Indesign on the computer. I never updated Photohop beyond CS2 - so anytime that I feel the need to use it I have it available. This computer is also good in reading old Mac Data CD/DVDs.

macOS Monterey

This is the primary computer that I am using today - my iMac (Retina 5k, 27-inch, 2019). This dialog box is packed with information about the computer. Apple broke down other useful information such as Display and Storage into separate tabs - so the dialog box isn't overwhelming to the user.

This is my main computer, it works really well. Its amazing to see the difference of processor power that a computer has today than it did 27 years ago with my Centra 660av.

January 6, 2022

Fonts By David Rakowski

Here are some font examples there done by David Rakowski from the Boston Computer Society Software CD collection.

David Rakowski has been creating fonts since the early 1990s. All of his fonts are still available online at various font services such as fontspace.com, Font Squirrel, and dafont.com. Over the years he has created 96 fonts of various varieties.

David Rakowski is actually better known for his music. He is a Professor of Composition at Brandeis University. He has received numerous awards for his teaching and music. You can listen to some of his music on Spotify.

Here are three examples:

Bizarro, Gallaudet, Dupuy and Lilth

David Rakowski2022

Boston is written in Bizarro, The fingers were done using Gallaudet, Stay Hungry was in Lilth and the Champion Text was done using Dupuy. These can be found in the collection in dafont.com.

Good Sense of Humor

One of the things I like is David's humor in the Read Me files. In the early read me files, he describes the history of the font and some copyright information. At the end of the file is some reference to the Insect Bytes.

Here are a few humor examples:

User groups, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit shareware/public domain outlets may distribute this font given the above conditions. The Dupuy fonts come to you from Insect Bytes, a place with so-so sunsets (say that five times fast) and spectacular stargazing.

Lilith-Heavy is copyright (c) 1992 by David Rakowski. All Rights Reserved. It is distributed as shareware; if you like, use and/or keep this font, please make a donation to the Columbia University Music Department of $3.01 (a mere penny more than the cost of Lilith-Light). If your first or last name is hyphenated, please send $4.01 instead. Make your check out to Columbia University and send it to Cynthia Lemiesz, Music Department, 703 Dodge Hall, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. In it, you may enclose a brief letter with all the vowels left out (e.g. "Dr Cnth: Hw r y? m fn.).

Lilith-Heavy comes to you from Insect Bytes, and there's nothing you can do about it.

The Gallaudet font comes to you from Insect Bytes.

Bizarro is a real-life product of an imaginary entity known as Insect Bytes, a place where ice is something you walk on, not just something you put in a drink.

PixieFont is - by David Rakowski, and is distributed as shareware. If you like the font, please send a check for $4.99 payable to Columbia University to: Victoria Salter, Music Department, Dodge Hall, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. You should also enclose the following letter, typed in whatever font you choose:

Dear Victoria:

Here's some money. $4.99, to be exact. Now it's your move. Would a flashlight be better than velcro? I guess they had to take the wallpaper away. Nothing is going to stop the endless parade of purple. Oops. Gotta go.

Sincerely, (your name here).

December 23, 2021

WebStar

In 1995, when the Internet was getting some traction, one of the ways to make your Macintosh computer a web server is to use WebStar by StarNine. This was a paid Httpd server that would allow you to share information with other computers.

The "Ultimate World Wide Web Server" cost $349.

What is WebStar PS?

This is from the original help file:

WebSTAR PS 2.0 is a server for Macs participating in the World Wide Web (WWW). It allows you to serve hypertext documents to other WWW users from your Macintosh. WebSTAR PS allows you to serve text documents (like HyperText Markup Language documents) as well as binary files (GIFs, JPEGs, etc.). In addition, WebSTAR PS supports the execution of AppleScripts and other applications that cooperate with WebSTAR PS and can return HTML or other data to WWW clients. This allows you to integrate applications like FileMaker Pro, AppleSearch, HyperCard, or any custom application with WebSTAR PS. This server works with all WWW clients and supports the HTTP/1.0 standard. The server places a relatively small load on your Mac, both in memory and CPU requirements. It should run fine in the background on any Mac with MacTCP installed and System 7. WebSTAR PS runs in native mode on both 680x0 and Power Macs and is distributed as a "fat binary."

Many applications have been created to work with WebSTAR PS, including tools for supporting clickable maps, free text searches, fill-in forms, and other WWW functions. Information about these tools, additional examples, product update information, and the latest versions of WebSTAR PS can always be found on the WebSTAR PS Home Page. There is also a very active mailing list dedicated to WebSTAR PS, machttp_talk. Information on subscribing to this mailing list can be found on the WebSTAR PS Home Page as well. See the Support section below for more details.

You may be familiar with the commercial StarNine product, WebSTAR, which is the successor to WebSTAR PS. WebSTAR "PS" is a shareware version of WebSTAR that's available via the Internet for a low, fixed cost to all users. It will be suitable for personal home pages and very small departmental servers.

If you want a full-featured HTTP server for the Mac that sports an enhanced user interface, administration, and performance, the commercial version of WebSTAR is for you. In addition, WebSTAR will also have a series of add-on toolkits that enhance its functionality. The Security Toolkit will add support for the SSL protocol for secure connections between Web browsers such as Netscape and WebSTAR. The Commerce Toolkit for WebSTAR will provide a framework for electronic commerce with WebSTAR. These toolkits will only be available for WebSTAR, not WebSTAR PS.

Order Form

Check out this WebStar order form that I found:

WebStarStarNine_thumb.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Never Used it

I never used WebStar PS or WebStar. I discovered the application and help files on a Macintosh WebMaster Book and companion CD by Bob LeVitus and Jeff Evans. This CD was created in May, 1995 and is an interesting look back at how things were done in the early days of the Macintosh.

Interesting history note, when this book was released the current version of Macintosh was System 7.5.

WebStar History

WebStart is no longer being supported - surprise...surprise...

Shortly after WebSTAR PS 2.0 was released, StarNine was acquired by Quarterdeck Office Systems. In 2000, the assets of WebStar were sold to ACT, then renamed to 4th Dimension. In 2006 4D sold WebStar to Kerio Technologies. in January 2017, GFI Software acquired Kerio.

World Wide Web UFO

In the WebStar promotion, StarNine used a UFO drawing. Since the product is no longer supported, I assume that the copyright for the weird 1990s logo design is also not enforced. So here you go, the World Wide Web UFO graphic:

World Wide Web U F O

This is a PNG file with a transparent background - go crazy with it!

December 16, 2021

Powerbook Charger

When Apple made the PowerBook computers, one of the cool things they made was the Power Supply. Here's the PowerBook adapter to my Titanium PowerBook G4 (Otherwise known as the YoYo charger).

Powerbook Adapter Desktop
Powerbook Adapter Mobile

General Information

45 watt power supply/charger - Today's MacBook Pro power adapter delivers 85w, which means you couldn't put a tip adapter to use it on today's computers.

Official name is "Apple Portable Power Adapter"

In the PowerBook G4 Specification Sheet it is listed as "Power adapter with cable management system"

Apple Portable Power Adapter Model No. M7332

You can find the Power Supply on eBay for around $40.

The External Power cord is 6-feet long with the computer cord being another 6-feet.

Three Things I Liked

This Single unit that has two plugs. One half connected to the wall, and the second half connected to the laptop computer. Having the "brick" in the middle allows a simple plug in the wall. In the current generation, you run the risk of blocking another plug. This design doesn't have the potential to block an outlet. The cable that connects to the computer can be wrapped in the base, allowing you to only have out what you need.

When I was using the PowerBook a lot, I put the base on my desk. Co-workers always ask what it is. I think they think its some new Apple device. It does look like some wireless device or something. Maybe Apple can redesign a future Power Adapter that would also be a Qi charging station?

The unique design of the power adapter actually easy to find. The recent power adapters that come with last few releases of the MacBooks looks very similar. Even previous laptop adapters were pretty boring and doesn't stand out. When I want to use my old Powerbook, I know what cable that I need to look for.

Additional Photo

Apple Charger Collage
View of the Charger from the side, Bottom and the end that connects to the wall.

December 9, 2021

101,000 Image Collection

I was checking out some of my old CDs/DVDs collection, and I came across a CD Booklet that contains the CDs of the "101,000 Premium Image Collections."

All I have is the CD Booklet. There's supposed to be a large book that contains a preview of all the images.

I don't remember when I got this and how much I paid for the collection. If I had to guess it would be about $40. Maybe $25 if I purchased it at MacWorld.

This collection has three main parts, Clip Art Library, Photos, and Fonts. The most useful thing today has to be the font collection. The Clip Art and Photos are not as useful to me anymore. Websites like CreativeMarket and DepositPhotos have a lot more higher-quality clip art and photos. The nice thing about these sites is that you only pay for the clip art files that you'll use.

The MasterClips 101,000 Image Collection has a lot of files that I am not likely ever going to use. The CDs are no longer compatible with macOS. This is because the disks are formatted using "Mac OS Standard" format.

101000 Image Collection
Showing a Photo, Clip Art and the Bradley Hand Font.

Clip Art

Some Notes on the Clip Art Collection:

All clip art files are in EPS format (Encapsulated PostScript) I can open the files in Affinity Designer and Graphic Converter.

The EPS files are dated November 22, 1996. They were created by ImageMark Software Labs.

Inside the "Day and Date" folder are 572 icons many of which contain the same style with different days of the year. (This seems a clever way to increase the package image count)

I used Google's reverse image search and found sites that are using some of the clip arts. Some of the portraits are Russian women.

Photos

The photo collection is not so great in 2022. You would not want to go out of your way to get this collection for the images. You can find higher-quality images on Unsplash and other image-sharing sites.

The "high quality" images are 900x720 at 172 DPI.

Many of the photos seem out of focus or they appear to be cut off at a weird point.

Fonts

There are 3 Font libraries in the collection and many of the fonts are still usable today:

  • 300 Hand Writing Fonts - 200 Available
  • 17000 TueType Fonts - 819 Available
  • Non-Style-Merged - 316 Available

My personal favorite is the "300 Hand Writing Fonts" collection. This is great when I need to have some text appear to be written by hand.

Using FontDoc, I can browse the directory and find the perfect style that fits my need.

To install it using macOS Monterey, I have to open up Font Book and then open the file from the application.

December 2, 2021

Total Training for Adobe PageMaker 7

This week's feature is the Total Training series: "Total Training for Adobe PageMaker 7" hosted by Deke McClelland.

Total Training Pagrmaker7

Thoughts About the Training

This 3-disk collection came out in 2002. I probably purchased around the same time. Adobe discontinued support of PageMaker in 2004 as they were encouraging users to migrate to Adobe Indesign.

PageMaker only works on macOS 9 - it was never ported to Mac OS X.

This training is CD-Rom disk training. It will not work in the latest macOS computers because the CD-disks were burned using HFS format. You will need to use a computer that has MacOS 10.14 or older.

As I recall, these were purchased as a set at a discount - I don't recall how much I paid for them. I am thinking about $99.

The training host, Deke McClelland, is still very active in the training space. His website has a lot of the latest video and training series. You can follow him on Twitter.

Someone on Amazon.com Marketspace is selling one of the courses but doesn't list a price. Another person on Walmart.com has Disk3 for sale for $40.95 - which is way over price for a training program on a legacy product.

Promotional Video

This is the first part of the video that is shown when you first load up the training:

Course Outline

Disk 1: PageMaker Basics
Lesson 1: What PageMaker can Do
Lesson 2: Getting Around
Lesson 3: Creating a Page
Lesson 4: Working with Text
Lesson 5: Threading Text Blocks
Lesson 6: The Story Editor
Lesson 7: Character - Level Formatting
Lesson 8: Type Size, Leading & Kerning

Disk 2: PageMaker Essentials Lesson 1: Paragraph - Level Formatting Lesson 2: Column Breaks, Rulers & Hyphenation Lesson 3: Setting Tabs Lesson 4: Style Sheets Lesson 5: Lines, Shapes & Transformations Lesson 6: Fill, Stroke & Color Lesson 7: Placing Photos & Illustrations Lesson 8: Masking, Grouping & Text Wrap
Disk 3: PageMaker Pro Lesson 1: Managing Pages Lesson 2: Links & Master Pages Lesson 3: Assembling Books Lesson 4: Table of Contents Lesson 5: Indexing a Document Lesson 6: Data Merge Lesson 7: Printing & Trapping Lesson 8: Hyperlinks & PDF
June 30, 2020

Sony Digital 8

One of the things that I liked to do with my PowerMac G4 series desktop computers was to digitalize VHS tapes. In the early 2000s, it wasn't easy to connect a VHS player to a Macintosh computer.

Fortunately for me, I just happen to own a Sony DCR-TRV720 Digital Video Camera Recorder. This camera has an RCA input and a Firewire (iLink) output. This means that I could use the camera as a bridge to get video into my Macintosh from a VHS player.

This diagram shows how I was able to get video into the computer.

TRV720 Mac Layout

I still have the Sony DCR-TRV720 Digital Video Camera and still use it every once in a while to get video into the computer. It won't work with the newest iMac Computers - as they don't have a Firewire port. Sure I could get a USB-C to Firewire adapter but I don't think it's worth spending $29 for the few times that I would use it. In addition, I think using a dongle Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter could impact the video quality.

I am better off just firing up the old G4 computer and doing the converting and transferring it to my desktop to do any Final Cut Pro editing.

Five Things I Learned

  1. The Sony DCR-TRV720 Digital Video Camera is a good video camera but only captures video in 720 dpi - not useful when most videos today are in 1080p format.
  2. The digital bridge works when I have the camera set up as VTR mode and have a tape in the digital camera. Not exactly sure why this is the case, but it's the only way I got it to work.
  3. To play the VHS tapes, I used a JVC Stereo Video Cassette Recorder HR-VP673U. Which was a pretty good system at the time. I have never had an issue with VHS tapes breaking or playing back in poor quality. I still have this on my home desk today! (Hidden but still on my desk!) You can find it on ebay for about $65.
  4. I found that BTV was the best application to view and capture video. The application instantly found the video from the Firewire port. Ben Software has discontinued the application. They have an alternative solution called SwiftCapture which provides many of the same features. Since I am using an old computer - I can still use the BTV.
  5. The camera still comes in handy today. I still use it every once in a while to get VHS recordings to DVDs or YouTube. Some friends have asked to convert old home movies so they could watch them again.
June 23, 2020

SCSI Hard Drives

Back in the day, if you got a Mac, your computer had a SCSI hard drive. For many years it was the only hard drive option that the Mac supported.

S C S I_ Desktop
S C S I_ Mobile

Fun Facts about SCSI Drives

SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) is a fast reliable storage solution.

For external SCSI drives, you need to make sure they had to have a SCSI termination.

They were more expensive than the IDE drives and had less storage space. Basically you're paying more per MB.

My Power Mac G4 400 Series (M7891LL/A) had SCSI support on the Motherboard. (72GB Ultra160 SCSI (10K rpm))

I still have several of these drives in my basement. Unfortunately, I don't have any means to read them on the latest iMacs. Ideally, I would have to get my old PowerMac G4 up and running to access whatever data I stored on the drives.

June 16, 2020

Iomega Zip Disks

Back in the late 1990s I was doing a lot of multimedia work and needed some storage solution. CDs and DVDs weren't a viable solution since the disks were still expensive. Plus burning a CD was so permanent. If I made some changes then I would have to create a new CD.

iomega Era

I started buying Zip disks at Fry's Electronics as a solution to my storage. The 100 MB in size was perfect for my needs. At the time, I was thinking that I could just get a bunch of disks and just organize my collection.

Zip Disk Desktop
Zip Disk Mobile

Zip Disks - Awesome Idea

I got disks for work, audio files, games, mail back up and website content.

It was so easy to organize the disks and change the content whenever I needed it.

The disks were strong enough to carry around in my office bag - even though there was no need to since I didn't have a zip drive at work. But still, it was sturdy and strong that I didn't really have to worry about them.

Iomega started making color zip disks. Now things got cool. Now I could have red disks for my important documents - yellow disk for images and green disks for work (green for money!)

CDs Era

In the 2000s data CDs and DVDs became more affordable. That's when I decided to make the switch. My first data CD was made in 1997 - and I still have that disk.

CDs became more of a fun storage device. They actually held more data - 700 MB vs the 100 MB in a zip disk. I figured that I could get more creative about what I should be backing up. In addition, I could be creative and create colorful labels.

Re-Writable CDs were a thing, but I didn't really see the need for that. Using a CD as a simple backup solution was all I needed. There wasn't a need to constantly rewrite files on to a CD.

DVDs Era

Not long after - DVDs became more popular for me. They hold a lot more data - 4.7 GB. They are just as easy to burn. In addition, media prices were coming down. Places like MeritLine were selling unwrap spindles for around $50.

They were a great solution for backing up work files and my personal audio collection.

Zip Disks

Its been a long time since I took out my external zip drive and plugged it into one of my old computers. The drive was a SCSI format, which is long outdated to today's computers.

The last time I connected the drive to a computer, I heard the dreaded "click of death."

Iomega Click of Death

"Click of Death" is the term for the distinctive sound that a Zip drive's read head makes when it becomes misaligned and cannot read a Zip disk. The sound is caused by the head repeatedly hitting the end of its range in an ineffectual attempt to find the first track of the disk.

Looks like the drive I have is no longer good. The good news is that it doesn't mean that the disks that I have are bad. I simply have to get a new drive to read some of the data I have on my old zip disks.

Iomega Drives

People are selling Iomega zip drives on Amazon for $279! Wow! Are you serious? Why would anyone want to pay that much for a legacy system?

There are places on eBay that are selling them for around $90 - still a bit pricy in my opinion but a bit reasonable. The only problem with these is that there's no guarantee that you won't end up getting the click of death.

If you do buy one of these drives, just remember that they may not work on the latest macOS. I would recommend trying them on a much older system.