A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

[Retrocomputing: Why Bother?] Machalla Part 2: Mousie and Mini vMac

  Well first up is that my mouse arrived ridiculously quick:

  It was a cheap third party mouse.  I am not showing the back because it simply has two check marks listing if its for the Apple II or the Mac.  (This one had neither listed.)

  Opening up there was merely this lovely whiter than this picture mouse in that pink bubble bag.  Yes it isn't original Mk1 or 2 Apple Mac Mouse but it is TWO buttons one of which may have built in uses.  And it is a lot more comfortable feeling than those bricky angled things Apple made then.  One of the buttons came stuck down, but pressing it made it pop back up good as new!  I plugged it into the Mac and tested it as far as I could, which at this point was merely to see the mouse cursor move about the screen smoothly.  This being an 80s mouse it uses a ball and roller setup as opposed to our modern rad laser mice.  I checked the rollers and they look crisp and clean.  This is probably NOS, aka NEW OLD STOCK.  Unused and unloved electronics that were never put to work for whatever reasons.  Hoarded?  Lost?  Late release that never got shipped?  Who knows?

  So far, so good!  While looking to see if just maybe I still had my old early 90s High School Mac floppies I failed to find them, merely finding the box I held them in all empty, yet finding a nice working PC power cable which is now supporting this Mac so I don't have to waste money on a replacement or hot swapping with other devices as needed.  Yes it isn't the beige or platinum grey of the Apple Mac line but.. free beats 13-20 bucks any day of the week!

  Checking my emails I find that the SD card drive emulator device is already shipped and due within a day or two!  So instead of a RUFUS' DAY OF DOING BUGGER ALL BUT VIDEOGAMES AND DVDS AND COMICS I see I gotta get off my keister and start working with Mini vMac so I can get my virtual 2 gigabyte hard drive up and running so it is just a matter of transferring the drive file to the SD card when it arrives.

  It was.. not the most pleasant thing.  Now as we will learn I would be better off installing a System 7.5.5 OS as to make many files work and archives de archive, but I am unsure exactly how much RAM my Mac Plus currently has inside it.  Once I get the drive and can check, I can see.  If it has 4 megs I can use 7.  If its the stock 1 or moderate upgrade 2.5 (due to how the memory sticks are placed) 6 is a MUCH better bet, especially with 1 megabyte.

  But many Stuffit Expander archives are in a version that can only be expanded in System 7+, and a number of programs the same.  And HFVExplorer is a very annoying and unintuitive program to get to do what I wish for it to do.  Not to mention installing another virtual hard disk as a System 7.5.5.  How much effort and time do I want to put to all of this?  I waste enough time and money as it is!

After finding an archive with the Mac Plus System Rom in it to set up, I had to find the mostly allowed by Apple OS disk images to mount.  Sadly vMac only really likes to acknowledge one drive at a time kind of.  Sorta.

Sadly the issue here is making the damned virtual hard disk image, especially the 1-2 gigabyte one these earlier Mac OSes can handle.  So basically what we have to do is either accept whatever oddball reason HFVExplorer will only make 1 gig drives, or use a program that makes dummy files such as This one  and make it an .img title of 2 gigs.

Then as we mount it (OH BABY YEAH MOUNT IT HAAARD!!), our startup disk in OS6 will want to initialize it.

Then it begins the great work which as we are doing in an emulated environment goes by super fast.
Customizing allows us to select stuff or to make smaller installs.  You see in most early Mac software a bit of the disk is basically taken up with a miniature version of the OS that will get you by, though it takes up valuable space on each 400 (and then for the Plus era) 800k floppy.  Or you can swap disk and swap and swap some more.  That way lies madness.
Easy Install is probably the best bet but you can go deeper and cut the fat out if you want or need to given at best a hard disk Apple would have sold in this timeframe would have had 20 or 40 megabytes for 1000s of dollars in 1986 money.

System Additions is needed to be installed as well.  Maybe other versions you can find of System 6 online as well to get things working right.

A super heavy install of OS 6.  Almost 2 megabytes in space.  You understand it all now don't you?  

Now the Control Panel will let us tweak things a bit.  And at least here in vMac Mini land it has our real time clock being real.  As opposed to the Plus which needs a 4.5 volt battery that is almost exactly the same shape as a AA.

For files that are in an "img" type that Mac emulators know by heart you can just insert it as a virtual disk, and just drag the disk over to the hard disk to install most of the time.  But note that even if modern Stuffit Expander type files expand on PC some of them are not in formats the emulator will understand and in fact, cannot be brought over to the emulator at all!  They will just make folders of junk files.

You would think bringing over said Stuffit's OS 6 incarnation would help eh?  (And note our OS install is solid as we can read the various readme type files.  Many programs come with text type files in other formats.)  

Like this .sit file that unlike so many classic Mac Stuffit archives is actually accepted by this edition of Stuffit.  Except sadly this program which is NEEDED as many old Mac programs to be found online have viruses on them doesn't work in OS 6.

Yet how do we get them on the machine as its not an image file the emulator likes?

 Using Import F1, its export version Export F1 (I guess if you want to play shenanigans with OS 7 and it's Stuffit Expander then bring em back over to 6 for us lower RAM old Mac machine folk you can do this.  I haven't messed with Export yet!), and BinUnpk or the other one you see here, Debinhex Drop Tool (which doesn't seem to work on OS 6 as it gives me errors).

 And thankfully I find a few programs to bring over, starting my Mac up with some workness and fun.  I renamed a few of these folders so their title names don't run into others.  You can also go with small icons and lists and all but in general with the size of the screen and all, normal icons are the way to go.  Some programs basically require you to make a folder and copy the files over to the disk, while a few have a built in installer.  And note my mention of system files on the disks.  You don't need them anymore thanks to having a lovely hard disk full of OS goodness.  (At least it seems to be working SO FAR DUN DUN DUNNNNNN!)

  Hopefully my Mac has beyond the stock level RAM in it because frankly OS 6 has a bit of a limit in what I can do with it and I honestly don't like the idea of having to constantly drag and drop things with Import/Export F1, and use various versions of Stuffit to transfer things over.  OS7 takes up more RAM than the more compact 6 but it can do just that little bit MORE that makes it what we want.  Ideally I would say a Mac SE is possibly a superior original style Mac system and experience given it's higher RAM inclusions and there being versions of that model with faster CPUs.

  Because if we need to get to it we will see how.. special...  installing RAM into a Plus (the first Mac that even makes such a thing possible actually.  Honestly the 128K and 512K Macs have almost zero use nowadays unless you enjoy pain,) can be.  Mainly because you can cause serious bodily injury if you poke around on the wrong thing inside these machines.

  Hopefully we won't have to deal with that.  Hopefully.


the one said...

Basking in all that monochrome glory!

What a wonderful sight it is :)


Captain Rufus said...

Yep. I did some more software installs onto the virtual HD today in preparation for tomorrow(well tonight technically) so I have more than enough interesting things to play around with. But whatever that may be won't show up till my next silly post!


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