March 28 — new acquisitions

It’s been a long time between drinks. Sorry about that, I’ve been busy and tired.

Some things came in the post today. The first is a relational database for the Mac 128k from 1984 called MacLion, which appears not to have been archived before. I’ve uploaded it to Macintosh Garden.

The interface is *not* standard.
Licence sticker still on the floppy!

I have all the manuals — I’m going to try to scan them, but that will depend on making them feed on my work’s printer. See how we go.

The other is this Tecmar serial hard disk, which I bet you a thousand dollars won’t work. But it was $40, so it’s worth a try. Hard disks are meant to rattle, right?

Mmmmm…battered, and not in the good way.

I have a review of Word 1.05, written in Word 1.05, coming up soon. I also have an assignment due…

3 March — WriteNow

Happy Marchintosh, everyone. Merry Marchintosh? Should we call it MacInMarch? Probably too late for that. Anyway, thanks to Joe and Ron for running the thing and for the shout-out. I’m enjoying all the content so far, but mostly I just hope lots of people are using it as an excuse to muck around with old Macs.

WriteNow is one of the earliest Mac word processors (Macintosh Garden link). Said to have been a shadow project in case MacWrite fell through, it was later published by T/Maker and owned by, of all places, Steve Jobs’ post-Apple company NeXT. The WriteNow wikipedia page refers to it being released in 1985, but the earliest references I’ve been able to find in magazines are from late 1986.

WriteNow 1 on a 128k Mac with a MacDraw image posted in. Taking notes from a uni lecture.

I don’t remember if WriteNow was the first Mac word processor I used — I think that might have been MacWrite. But it’s the one I remember the best: I remember my dad using it to prepare material for his teaching job and book reviews for the local paper, and I used it for the very limited writing I did in the early years of primary school (a.k.a. elementary school). I think that was version 2.2. I’m using version 1.07 here. Off the top of my head (I’ll work it out before I finish!) the only difference I can think of between versions 1 and 2 is that version 2 has built-in curly quotes. 

Famously fast because it’s written in assembly language (although that led to its downfall with the transition to PowerPC chips), WriteNow seems to me to be amazingly powerful for something that runs on a 128k machine. It doesn’t do everything I want, but it comes pretty close. It doesn’t use WriteNow’s seems-weird-now-but-kinda-makes-sense multiple rulers in a document formatting method — it feels entirely modern from that point of view. It has useful things like “keep on same page” and showing invisible characters (I’ve never understood how people can write with “show invisibles” turned on, but it’s useful sometimes). 

In “Writing Your Own Ticket: Ten word processors for the Macintosh” in MacWorld December 1986, WriteNow is compared to MacWrite 4.5, MindWrite 1.0, Word Handler 1.6, MS Word 1.05 and 3.0, HabaWord 1.0, Laser Quill 1.2, and the word processor modules in Jazz 1A and MS Works 1.0. (Amazing diversity in the market.) “More than any other program considered here, WriteNow upholds the utilitarian virtues of MacWrite while adding advanced features to the formula.” This review does note that WriteNow lacks cursor key support — something I hadn’t noticed, writing on my 128k keyboard, from which Steve Jobs prohibited arrow keys. This roundup article has one of those giant tables of features (MindWrite can do a 14 7/8 inch margin width, but Word can do 21 3/4 inches!). On the basis of this table Word 3.0 wins the day easily with 36 feature points, Word 1.05 comes second with 27, HabaWord and LaserQuill (both of which seem to have vanished without a trace — if you have a copy, upload it!) come third on 25 points, but WriteNow comes fourth with 24. Poor MacwWrite 4.5, decidedly languishing by now, has only 12 points. It should be noted that WriteNow cost a notional $175 (although ads in the same magazine quote $109) but Word 3 cost $395 (and was presumably also discounted somewhat). 

I think the best review of WriteNow is by Mick O’Neil in the March 1987 edition of Byte. “The first thing that struck me” O’Neil writes “is that its authors must have taken a hard look at the shortcomings of MacWrite and set out to rectify them.” He notes that all of WriteNow’s features are available from drop-down menus — no dialogue boxes à  la Word. He also noted the “revert to saved” and “revert to backup” functions in the File menu. Revert to saved is obvious, but the program apparently stores a version of the previously saved version of your file on disk. To save space on 400k disks it only stores the differences. Pretty cool. O’Neil also notes the well-written manual, an assessment with which I agree. It’s great. His two criticisms are that WriteNow lacks mail merge and a glossary. 

NeXTWorld vol. 1 no 4 [Northern] Winter 1991 has a potted history of WriteNow:

  • 1983 MacWrite for as-yet unannounced Macintosh is late. Steve Jobs contracts with Solaster of Seattle to write another word processor as backup. 
  • 1984 Apple finishes MacWrite and announces Macintosh. Apple has right to bundle WriteNow as possibel advanced MacWrite. 
  • 1985 Apple decides it doesn’t want WriteNow. Solaster continues to develop it as independent product. 
  • 1985 Steve Jobs leaves Apple and founds NeXT. 
  • 1985 Jobs buys Solaster and hires programmers to finish WriteNow for Macintosh and NeXT. 
  • 1986 NeXT sells marketing rights for Mac and PC versions to T/Maker. 
  • 1986 T/Maker releases WriteNow 1.0 for Mac. 
  • 1988 NeXTcube announced with WriteNow 1.0 bundled. 
  • 1988 T/Maker releases WriteNow 2.0. 
  • 1989 T/Maker acquired development rights to Mac version. 
  • 1989 NeXT ships NeXTstep 2.0 with WriteNow 2.0 bundled. 
  • 1990 T/Maker releases WriteNow 2.2
  • 1991 (October) WriteNow unbundled from NeXT system, shipped as shrink-wrapped product. 

The original MacWrite couldn’t go beyond about eight pages of text in a document because it stored the whole document in memory. WriteNow has no such limitation, although the wait to load another screen of text from disk when scrolling is significant. (In fairness, MacWrite overcame that limitation in early-mid 1985.) It would be fascinating to know how complete WriteNow was in 1984, because it runs rings around the early versions of MacWrite in so many ways. 

The subtitle on the WriteNow box is “performance word processing and spell checking”. Looking at the features called out specifically on the back of the box is an interesting way to determine what was important to consumers at the time. Speed is the first item — “The program is fast. Very fast. Especially with large documents.” [Emphasis in original.] It also highlights automatic repagination, which was (hell, it still is!) a bugbear in Microsoft Word. 

There are no stylesheets. You can copy and paste a ruler, which gets you the equivalent of paragraph styles to some extent, but not character styles. There’s also a nice feature I didn’t know about until looking at the back of the box: hold down the shift key while making ruler changes and they happen to all identically-formatted paragraphs. The manual even gives a hack-like tip:

To take full advantage of this feature, set up the formats of the different components in your document to be unique. One way to guarantee uniqueness is to place a tab marker in a unique position outside the left or right margin; it won’t affect the format but will associate the ruler with a particular type of component.

Surely once they’d gone this far, naming the paragraph styles wasn’t a huge conceptual leap? Anyway, it’s quite powerful compared to MacWrite. 

For my purposes, WriteNow’s  crucial addition to the MacWrite feature set is footnotes. I’m using the 128k for academic (ish) writing, so footnotes are pretty important. (None of that Chicago-style referencing nonsense in Australian universities.) You can have the program number them automatically, or turn numbering off so that there is no visible marker in the text, but an invisible character that you can view with the command View:Show Markers. I guess in that case you can manually insert text to act as a footnote marker, but I must admit I’m not sure why you’d choose this. Perhaps if you wanted symbols (*, † , °  etc.). The option is a document-wide setting, too, so you can’t have more than one stream of footnotes. 

The other significant addition over MacWrite is built-in spell checking. The 50,000-word dictionary is over 100k in size, so this would have been unworkable on a sytem with only a single 400k disk drive. The box says “Macintosh 512k or larger recommended for spell checking”, but it seems to work so far. I might well run into a problem with longer documents, but so far so good. 

Last year when using Word 5.1 to write fairly long and complex documents for uni I didn’t come across any features I wanted that Word didn’t have. A few things like consistent formatting will be a bit harder in WriteNow version 1, but I can’t think of anything that I’ll definitely miss. See how we go.

23 February — adventures in copy protection

I read somewhere about a nice-sounding database program from 1984 called FactFinder. I can’t remember where I read about it originally, but I thought it might be useful for collating my reading and information for assignments on the 128k. It wasn’t on any of the regular vintage Mac software websites (MacintoshGarden.org; MacintoshRepository.org). I eventually found a copy on Macgui.com (which is also host to the amazing Mac512k Blog, which is one of the big inspirations for this blog — not that I could ever hope to live up to it). A French system file, but that was easily enough remedied.

Unfortunately, copying it onto a hard drive meant that it became a demo version:

Note “*DEMO”. That’s not there in the original disk.

Hmm. This smells like copy protection. Hopefully it’s typically cunning 1980s copy protection.

I opened my trusty copy of ResEdit 0.8, and sure enough — a weirdly-named file on the original disk that doesn’t show up in the Finder:

Why hello, Bryan-Rudi, if that is your real name

Unchecked the “Invisible” box, copied it to the other disk image, made it invisible again (after it didn’t work while the file was visible, of course) and Robert’s your mother’s brother;

No “*DEMO” here!

I’ve uploaded this to Macintosh Garden now: macintoshgarden.org/apps/factfinder

Interestingly, the developers seem to have been around at least as late as 2011. They have a blog post at diezmann.com talking about rewriting the software for a more modern audience. One of the authors is Rudi Diezmann — it seems like we’ve found half of Bryan-Rudi. Turns out it *was* his real name! I wonder who Bryan was…

Quoting extensively from that post:

Fact Finder Software was established in 1979 as a software development and consulting firm with offices in Santa Monica, California and Seattle, Washington.

The initial focus of the company was to provide consulting services for mainframe database users, but Fact Finder shifted its attention to the embryonic microcomputer market in 1980.

The company initially developed a number of programmers’ tools and end user applications which were released for the Apple II, Apple /// and IBM PC. These included a disk-based word processor and one of the first PC communications programs to support 1200 baud operation.

Fact Finder Software also provided consulting services to a variety of clients, including Ashton-Tate, Borland, Software Publishing, Apple Computer, CalFed, and State Farm Insurance as well as a number of law firms in southern California. 

Returning to the founders’ interest in information management, Fact Finder developed its first “text storage and retrieval” product, sold as “DataFax” in 1982.

In 1983 the company began the development of FactFinder™ for the Macintosh, a text storage and retrieval application which was introduced in September 1984 and which continues in use today. This application was received very favorably by the market, with many thousands of satisfied customers. It was heralded by Byte Magazine as being of sufficient technical novelty that it warranted a separate preview article.

Although the application continued to be well reviewed and was popular among its user community, the developers moved to other things.

I also found an old review which describes FactFinder as “intriguing” https://academic.oup.com/bioinformatics/article-abstract/1/4/288/230870?redirectedFrom=PDF

Another — rather more comprehensive — review from InfoWorld: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=4i4EAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA46&ots=BqMbUrFnKW&dq=factfinder%20macintosh&pg=PA43#v=onepage&q=factfinder%20macintosh&f=false

So, I have a fully-functioning version, it appears. I’ll try to use it and see how it goes.

The windows from a blank “stack”.

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22 February — I cannot believe that worked

Well, I took out the beautiful, clean, restored-by-Recapamac logic board (which looked beautiful, by the way — I’m in no sense criticising Bruce’s work, the RAM chip he replaced isn’t the problematic one) and replaced it with the dusty old one from my Grandfather’s 128k which had beer poured into it in the mid-1990s and has been languishing on desks and bookshelves ever since, and… 

I genuinely cannot believe that worked. I doubt it will work for long, but we’ll see. At least I have two 128k motherboards that are close enough to working to be worth fixing. 

I’ve found a few sources for replacement RAM chips, which seem to be called “4164” chips. I’ve ordered some from a local joint for about $1.80 a pop. Apparently recovered from arcade machines, so who knows what they’ll be like. I took the last eight they had. There appears to be an alternative in the form on one of the large electronic firms, but their ones are $20 each and I’d need to order at least ten. I may just bite the bullet and do it, but not just yet.

I’d better do some homework now. 

Last year when I was studying, I had a not even slightly Rube Goldberg-ish process:

  • Download reading onto my iPad
  • Highlight useful passages in PDF Expert
  • Export the highlights to HTML
  • Run the HTML through a shortcut which converted it to text and removed most of the Unicode gumph
  • Email the resulting text (via the same shortcut) to a dedicated email address with a short password that my IIfx could connect to
  • Save that email as MacWrite Pro
  • Run an AppleScript in MacWrite Pro to strip out the remaining unicode gumph, and finally
  • Export to Word 5.1 in which I was doing my work.

There’s no sense in which this was procrastinating. 

Anyway, I doubt there’s any way to get email onto the 128k. I might be able to rig something up with one of the very early TCP/IP stacks if I can persuade one of my newer macs to operate act as host. (I could just transfer them with the FloppyEmu SD card, but that’d be cheating). For the moment the plan is to read my reading then type up notes the old fashioned way, on the 128k. 

21 February — this can’t be good

Uh oh

Bugger. 

According to this archived support document, the 04 indicates a “Memory test–Mod3 test” and the 0800 indicates the chip at G8. I said in the first post that I’d write everything on the 128k unless something went wrong with it, and…well, here we are.

It booted fine the first time I switched it on tonight. But when I launched WriteNow the screen looked funny and I got a system error (which I didn’t photograph, it not occurring to me that this might be the last time the 128k boots). Sad Mac as soon as I rebooted. 

Masterpiece of timing, too, because all my uni reading was released today. 

Which brings me to explaining what I was planning on using the 128k for. I work as a consultant to government, so security rules mean I can’t actually use a 128k Mac for my work (I doubt anyone would be able to break into it without stealing my FloppyEmu, but I digress). 

However, in my endless hours of spare time (ha!) I’m studying a university course in urban planning. I blame SimCity, of course. Last year I did an entire course on my IIfx. That was quite fun — it involved doing quite complex plans of the local area in a combination of ClarisCAD and Intellidraw, as well as writing some mid-length papers in Word 5.1. It all worked very well until I had to include photos. Even with 64 megs of RAM the IIfx just choked under the load of 24-bit photos. So the very last bit was transferred to a modern Mac, but all the writing and drawing was done on the IIfx (and was submitted in PDFs prepared on the IIfx). It’s a miracle it worked as well as it did, really. Got a good grade, too. 

So, the theory was to do the same this trimester on the 128k, using WriteNow MacWrite Word and MacDraw or MacDraft. My new EmoMac has put paid to that temporarily. Apart from the first few paragraphs, this post was written on one of my Mac Plusses. I think I’ll use this machine until I can get the 128k up and running again. Nowhere near as much of a challenge, but it’ll have to do for now. I tried booting the Plus from my 128k boot disk, and while it does boot and WriteNow launches, the curly quote desk accessory I was using crashes on the Plus. I’m not going to manually type my curly quotes like an animal (I’m in good company there), so with the new-found flexibility of the Plus I’ve upgraded to WriteNow 2.2, which has curly quotes built in. 

I have a couple of options with the 128k. I have another 128k board that might, by some miracle, still be in working order. I’d be surprised, but it’s worth a shot. I have several 512k boards which, while much more flexible in terms of RAM, at least have the limitation of 64k ROMs, which means no HFS (unless I use an HD20 hard disk and the accompanying init). So if the 128k board fails I’ll try a 512k board. I’ll also try to work out what the options are for repairing the 128k board. Are there by some miracle new chips that will work? Am I going to need to cannibalise from my other 128k board? 

I guess this was always a possibility. Wish it hadn’t happened so early in the piece, though. 

The patient

10 February — initial setup

I plan on looking into all the software I’m using in some more detail, as well of course as changing it around as a thinly-disguised method of procrastination, but I though I should outline what I’m using for these initial posts:

  • System 1.1/Finder 1.1g from April 1984 — there’s no Shutdown command in the Finder! Dragging a disk to the trash does nothing. Zoomrects from opening windows go to the centre of the screen first. Floppy icons are different. It’s not quite System 1 — I’ll need to look into how the early systems developed. One modification: I’ve ResEdited the Finder so that command-w closes a window. Turns out that’s the one thing I can’t live without. 
  • WriteNow 1.07 — I need to work out if there’s any difference between 1.0 and 1.07. Brilliantly fast (written in Assembly), it does one thing I really need that MacWrite doesn’t do: footnotes. Can’t do anything academic without footnotes. (Yes, yes Chicago method referencing, but I’m not allowed.)
  • Smart Quotes desk accessory by Philip Borenstein of Oak Square Publications — necessary because none of the normal smart quote utilities work. This early a system can’t load extensions (which were called inits back in the day). That said, Smart Quotes is relatively new — copyright 1987.
  • Screen Saver by Dr E. Wrench Jr, from Silicon Beach Software’s Accessory Pak 1. Does what it says on the can, by blanking the screen and zooming a little animated Mac icon around. User-defined (at installation) activity delay. The screen returns with a click. 
  • New Jclock, by James T Sulzen. A menu bar clock which Screen Saver doesn’t blank out. 

I’ll look into each of these in more detail, the problem each solves, and other solutions in later posts. A post on mid-80s menu bar clocks? Told you it’d be nerdy. 

I also need to add a recent hardware triumph: a working Sunmmagraphics MacTablet. I’ve had the tablet for ages, but it came without a power adaptor and had an unusual four-pin power connector. I couldn’t find any information online. As a bit of a gamble I bought the PC equivalent hardware, and the power adaptor is the same: a Sino-American RAW212-301, part number 62-1004-202. The driver software is here. One little wrinkle that almost convinced me my hardware wasn’t working: it seems you need to launch the desk accessory before using the tablet. It doesn’t need to stay open, but it needs to be launched once per boot. I”m not totally convinced of the benefits of drawing with a tabled in MacPaint, but if it’s good enough for Pinot W. Ichwandardi (@pinot) I’m willing to give it a shot. I’m also not exactly an artist, but I used to love drawing in MacPaint/FullPaint/SuperPaint back in the black and white Mac days, so I think I need to give it a go again. I’ve fallen utterly in love with the pixel art community. Can’t get enough of that aesthetic. Check out Zen and the Art of Macintosh and @Pinot’s work if you can. 

I also think I’m going to need to work out where/if the phone lines terminate in my house. RetroBattlestations on Reddit is doing a BBS competition, so I think I’ll need to connect with my 128k. Phone extension cord across the back lawn to the garage?

Just discovered something interesting. I’ve been resetting my 128k’s clock regularly because I didn’t have one of the obscure A133 4.5v batteries it takes. Got one ($35!!) and it doesn’t seem to make a good connection — some corrosion on the contacts from a previous leak, by the looks of it. However, in newer versions of the classic Mac system software (I refuse to call it MacOS — it’s anachronistic for this era anyway, but it reeks of crappy 90s Apple management and the apeing of the Microsoft business model for Windows) you can’t set beyond a certain year (2020?) in the General control panel — it crashes. You need to use the modern SetDate init or one of the other solutions. SetDate doesn’t work in System 1 because of the no inits thing. If I type “22” into the year field the machine assumes I meant 1922. But if I manually click the up arrow (in the Susan Kare-designed control panel of course — no arrow keys on this keyboard) from 22 all the way to… 22, it understands that it’s 2022. No Y2K bug here. 

6 February 2022 — buying the 128k

Right. Home from hospital. My advice is to avoid septic pre-patella bursitis if you can. 

Something those of you in the US won’t necessarily be aware of is that vintage Macs aren’t as available elsewhere in the world. Obviously the US being a bigger market than anywhere is a factor, but there are more proportionately in the US than elsewhere in the world. At any given time there seem to be at least half a dozen in-box 128ks for sale (some, admittedly, for insane prices). They don’t come up often in Australia. 

Then one did, and I happened to have some money burning a hole in my pocket. The price was mad, but it was in its original box. The price was insane, but it came with an in-box Imagewriter I (which seems not to work, but that’s okay —  I have four). The price was mental, but it came with Sargon III and freakin’ Mouse Stampede!

In the course of emailing the sellers I had, of course, asked some questions;

• Does the machine say “Macintosh” or “Macintosh 128k” on the back? 

• Does it boot?

• Have you had it serviced?

Through this conversation I determined that the Mac was booting to a sad mac error. The sellers got its analogue board repaired by local guru Bruce Rayne and had its floppy drive cleaned and lubed. We negotiated for a while, I steeled myself and committed, and started the three hour drive from Canberra to Sydney to collect the thing. A pretty cheerful drive, listening to nerdy podcasts and Bruce Reyne’s Mac Plus recapping guide on YouTube (without watching — I was driving!). They were clearly honourable sellers — after I had paid a deposit they had received an offer for severall hundred dollars more, but refused on the basis that (a) they’d taken the deposit, and (b) I obviously really wanted it. 

The packaging isn’t in perfect condition, nor is it entirely complete, but it’s pretty close. It came in the original Picasso (actually Matisse) box, with the Picsso (actually Matisse) keyboard and accessories boxes inside. Original foam. The mouse box is missing, but the original MacWrite/MacPaint box was included. The Imagewriter accessories box with a Picasso (actually Matisse) logo of a parallel (or is it some sort of wide serial?) cable on the front was included.

The machine came with some interesting software. I’ve mentioned MacPaint and MacWrite. They’re obvious, although I was pleased to find it included the “disk-based” version of MacWrite which can cope with documents longer than eight pages. The full list of software:

• System software

• The Guided Tour of Macintosh disk and tape(!). If you’ve never listened to that tape, do. It’s beautifully produced with a lovely classical soundtrack, and is a really interesting study in what it’s like to teach someone to use a GUI from scratch. 

• MacWrite/MacPaint, in the (original?) combined box. 

• Transylvania (complete with some 1985-era gameplay maps and notes on Imagewriter carriage paper)

• Sargon III (chess)

• Mouse Stampede (centipede with Mac-themes icons)

• Mac Fun Pack

• TOPS networking hardware and software. 

All of which I’ll look into later. 

Once I got the beast home, I found the machine boots beautifully. It hasn’t skipped a beat yet. The geometry of the screen could do with some adjusting — I think Bruce did some, but the geometry changes over time with heat and so on, I think. I reckon it’s about 2°  rotated anti-clockwise from the user’s point of view, and has a noticable inward barrel distortion (or is it pincushion if it’s inwards?). 

The Imagewriter doesn’t work — it starts, the lights light up, but the carriage never moves and it doesn’t do anything when I try to print. That’s okay, because it’s my fourth (including the 15 inch wide carriage version, which is basically only useable in MacProject and a couple of spreadsheet programs).

The mouse and keyboard work very nicely, the floppy is a bit stiff but works, and the voltage out of the mouse port boots my FloppyEmu perfectly. Winner. 

I have it set up with the working Imagewriter, FloppyEmu, an Apple modem (like the ones sitting under the phones in the 128k manual) which is either 300 or 1200 baud (I can’t test it because it’s 2022 — I don’t have a landline), and an external floppy case with no drive inside. The last two are obviously just for the looks (for the moment).

1 February 2022

Whelp, its the old chestnut — start a new blog and promptly get hospitalised with an infection in your knee. “Septic pre-patella bursitis”, apparently. I’m home, and blog post no. two will be up soon.

Hello

And happy 38th birthday to Macintosh.

Welcome to 128k.site, which I hope to make into a very modest blog about using a 128k Macintosh for everyday work in the third decade of the 21st century. 

“Impossible!” I hear you cry. The near-uselessness of the 128k is axiomatic, but I have some family history which makes something of a counterpoint: My grandfather wrote a substantial book on his 128k in the mid-1980s, and continued to use it until he replaced it with an LC II. There are, I’m sure, a hell of a lot of similar examples. 

So is the reputation for uselessness deserved? In some ways I think it might be. The two famous limitations are the RAM-based MacWrite’s 8-page maximum document length, and the floppy-swapping required on a single-disk system. As I’ve prepared to start this blog, even knowing what to expect, I’ve been surprised by just how limited the 128k is in terms of software availability. A lot of the software that I used as a kid (and that I half expected to use here) requires at least a 512k. It seems as though the release of the 512k so soon after the original Mac drove (or at least allowed) a lot of Mac development — this might also be because of the release of more accessible development tools (themselves enabled by the 512k). But MacWrite was updated to use disk-based storage, and Microsoft Word solved the problem immediately. I’m writing this post in WriteNow 1 (which came out some time later, but is small enough to work on the 128k).

Storage is a real problem. It’s extremely impractical to work with a single 400k drive. My 128k’s internal floppy is working, but its inject/eject mechanism isn’t 100%, and of course my 400k floppies are all nearly forty years old. I have a couple of external 400k drives, but one has similar problems and another is totally dead. I have two wonderful FloppyEmus from Big Mess o’ Wires, but they don’t seem to like disk repeated disk swapping very much. I could emulate two floppies by plugging one FloppyEmu into the internal drive port, but then I’d miss out on the warm red glow of the real drive. So I’m cheating, slightly. Well, quite a lot when you take into account how much faster the FloppyEmu is than a real floppy, even though it runs over the floppy interface. More on that later.

The 128k can’t use Apple’s HD20 floppy port hard disk (although see the 512k Blog’s work on that — it can theoretically be forced to load the software, but it lacks the memory to load both the hard disk driver software and the Finder). I will  source a serial hard disk if I can, but of course they’re incredibly rare and subject to eBay’s insane vintage Mac prices despite inevitably being sold “untested”. 

The intention is to write everything on the 128k itself — unless something goes wrong with it. Obviously the content will need to be transferred to a modern computer for posting. For the time being I will do that via the FloppyEmu SD card, but I’d like to work out if there’s a way to do it via networking or perhaps a terminal program. (I also gather there’s a TCP/IP stack for the 128k… .) I did consider printing the posts on my ImageWriter, scanning them, and posting that, but… no. Too cute by half. 

That’ll do for an introductory post. I don’t know how often I’ll update the thing, but I’ll try to do so at least once a week. The internet is littered with blogs begun and abandoned, but I’ll try not to add to the pile. 

Thanks for reading.