Posts categorized “system7”.

Success: docking the eMate with the PowerMac G3

October 18th, 2010

Now that the iMac G3′s hard drive was installed into the PowerMac G3, it was time to see if my Newtons would get along with the new setup. My hope was that, since the OS 9 drive and OS 8 drive seemed to share a common Desktop, maybe the OS 9 drive would share some of its Entrega serial-to-USB adapter driver love. But no such luck:

USB not recognized!

As before, the PowerMac wouldn’t recognize it or the Keyspan adapter I plugged in. The Keyspan adapter drive I downloaded (USA-28XG) didn’t even recognize the adapter I plugged in. But then I remembered: back when Keyspan was gobbled up, I saved a backup copy of the USA-28X adapter installer. Maybe the one I saved would work.

After transferring the file over to the PowerMac, the installation process went smoothly. In the Control Panels, there sat both Keyspan 28-X controls:

Keyspan control panels

The 28-XG hadn’t worked. Would the 28-X?

Keyspan found

Sure enough it did. It recognized the Keyspan adapter and allowed me to mess with the advanced settings:

Keypan prefs

I had no idea what half of this stuff meant. The real question was, would it work with the eMate? And it did. Finally – although not before I had to remember to set up Newton Connection Utility to recognize the port:

NCU prefs

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Before, in the run-up to the System 7 experiment, the lack of a Newton driver was all that was keeping me from going through with the plunge into obsolescence.

With the ability to sync the Newton, I can work more on the whole Claris Organizer project, and keep backup files of all the eMate’s packages on the PowerMac’s HD. If I need it, I can use the iMac’s HD as a backup system. It’s beautiful.

This whole deal taught me two lessons: how easily I forget, and how important it is to keep backups of files. Especially ones you can’t get on the Internet any more.

The main reason I couldn’t go through with my Seven Day of System 7 experiment was because I couldn’t get the eMate (or the MP110) to connect with the PowerMac. Shuffling between the iMac and the PowerMac seemed like a hassle in an already full-of-hassle experiment. Now I only lose the bulk of the iMac, not the brains.

Really, I was waiting to find that stupid Entrega driver CD. Since it never surfaced (notice I’m blaming the disc), the experiment never happened.

But now? Man, it’s on. I have everything I need: my iMac’s games, files, and configurations; the ability to connect and sync my Newtons; a faster, more expandable machine in the PowerMac.

My plans still include buying a flat-screen monitor to save space – probably some refurbished Dell el-cheapo LCD. In the meantime, the Studio Display will be an workable stand in.

You know what I really like? The hum of the PowerMac. More delicate and softer than the PowerMac G4′s fans, the Blue and White provides a nice, steady white noise that I find relaxing. It’s something you never hear on modern Macs; the noisiest thing on my desk now is a pair of external hard drives. You can hear and feel those things kick on, especially during Time Machine backups.

A room full of PowerMacs might be a bit much, but the one I’m keeping produces a soothing whir that’s not obnoxious or distracting.

So by transplanting my iMac’s brain and finding a Keyspan adapter driver, I’ve turned the PowerMac G3 into an all-I-need Macintosh – the best of all worlds in one complete package.

Syncing Claris Organizer with Newtons – denied!

July 7th, 2010

Through my dragged out Seven Days of System 7 experiment, a few obstacles have blocked a full immersion in mid-90s Mac’ing. First, there was my lost Entrega USB adapter disc. Now I find that Claris Organizer and Newton Connection Utilities (or perhaps my eMate) can only hold hands. They never get past first base.

Dad's contact info

Throwing PIM data into Organizer is a snap. The whole thing is setup just like an Outlook/Entourage/Address Book + iCal system. Even the search works like a charm, and it’s a wonder why Apple didn’t keep Claris Organizer, instead of selling it to Palm, and making a unified PIM system. Maybe it’s the Outlook pro in me, but I prefer it that way.

I built a test account in Organizer, adding a few dates and contacts just to see if it would sync with my Newton. Organizer is a little different in that, once you get your information logged in, you have to save the whole thing as a profile file (in this case, the “davelawrence8″). Everything – contacts, calendars, to-dos – lives in that file. And at first, everything seemed easy and promising.

Organizer / NCU sync settings

Through Newton Connection Utilities, you set the Newton’s sync file to whatever Organizer file you saved as your main profile. To sync, you manually connect each Newton data pool to the appropriate file. In this case, I want everything – my to-dos, my contacts, etc. – to sync with the Newton.

Sync prefs

And for this first time, I set NCU to let the Mac’s information override anything already on my Newton. After the initial sync, I would let it go the other way around, where anything changed on the Newton would be dominant.

No sync for you!

Clicking “Synchronize,” NCU looks like it’s going to sync everything with the Organizer data. And then bonk. There’s a connection error.

Import names

Since I tried to fit the whole PIM bundle the first time, I wondered if it was too much. Instead, I tried syncing the PIM info bucket by bucket. For the first test, I tried just syncing the contacts in Organizer.

Everything goes fine. NCU takes a few seconds to pull down Organizer’s data and push it through the serial connection with my eMate. No problems.

Next, I try the calendar data. And here again, NCU looks likes it’s going to work, and then bam. Another connection error.

Sync repeating appointments

“Maybe it’s my repeating meeting appointment,” I think to myself. So I set my recycling meeting to occur only once instead of a repeating appointment.

PHFFFT. Nothing.

That’s where things stand now. I’ve been defeated. The only thing left to try is to-dos, and maybe do a reverse sync – to see if an appointment added to the eMate manually gets synced with Organizer.

All this is part of the fun of setting up a system for the Seven Days experiment. I haven’t even got a good start on the thing when, POW, some roadblock stands in my way of full integration.

A side benefit: I did come up with a simple Automator Services script (above) that takes PICT files from OS 8/9 and adds the .pct extension to the files in batches. Since I do this quite a bit, making the mundane task a Service was pretty handy.

No Preview for you!

However, as you can see, Preview gives me sass on how to open up these files for viewing. So I said to hell with it and used Photoshop for any editing. But the “add .pct” Service is still a hit.

Friday’s the day

June 10th, 2010

Looks like I have a few things to do tomorrow.

Mac OS 8 doesn’t play nice with iTunes

May 27th, 2010

iTunes vs. Mac OS 8

As I get ready for Seven Days of System 7 (or, more accurately, OS 8), my focus is on loading my PowerMac G3 with software that I might need over the week. Apps like a good, sturdy browser, an image editor, and a music player are all important.

For music, I have a few options – all apps that, as the classic Mac OS period ended, paved the way for iTunes’s dominance. These are apps like SoundJam, iTunes predecessor, and Audion from Panic. I grabbed the final copy of Audion, but wondered if OS 8 could handle an early copy of iTunes.

In a roundabout way, it can. Apparently, the original version 1.0 and 1.1 are both able to run on Mac OS 8.6, with help from a certain patch. Load the patch, install iTunes 1.0 or 1.1, and enjoy the wonderfulness of Apple’s first version of its now-dominant music app.

Except when it comes to legacy software, patches, and theoretically-incompatible operating systems, failure is always an option.

First, the patch. Developed by Loizos Pavlides and last updated in 2001, the patch requires that the iTunes.smi file, the patch installer, and the iTunes installer all reside on the same slab of hard drive space. In my case (and from what I could gather), the best place was the Documents folder.

If you try simply installing iTunes on the Mac’s hard drive, it will proceed as normal. You just won’t be able to open the app.

There it sits on your hard drive, useless and almost foreign with that classic icon. Instead of today’s well-known double eighth note, the iTunes icon used to sport three eighth notes, all different colors.

iTunes patch install

The patch and the two iTunes files now sitting side by side in the spatial Finder, running the patch is a no-frills affair. Pick your copy of iTunes, select everything you want to install (above), and away it goes.

CD Authoring warning

Except that if you pick the “CD Authoring” options, you get this weird warning about incompatibility and USB devices. I had enough trouble finding a USB patch for Mac OS 8, so I opted not to include the CD authoring support. For one, it’s probably the longest non-gibberish warning dialog I’ve ever seen. And two, what a hassle.

If this means I live without iTunes’s CD ripping abilities, I’ll live. There’s always a CD player (so ’90s!) handy.

iTunes for Mac OS 8

After the patch does its thing, you now have another version of iTunes sitting in the iTunes folder, with a “for Mac OS 8″ title. This is the one to use if your Mac is running OS 8, right?

iTunes 1.1 crashing

Wrong. At least in my case. Each time I try to run iTunes for Mac OS 8, it crashes.

The dreaded Error Code 3. Digging into the Classic Mac OS error code database, error 3 means “illegal instruction error,” and running iTunes in Mac OS 8 is definitely illegal. Like, PRAM-zapper-proof illegal.

Though Macwizard says it’s “very common,” the solution isn’t. I came up empty-handed after a bit of digging into the possible solution to the problem. And no matter how many times I reset the PowerMac, iTunes never opens without crashing.

One solution is to simply upgrade the G3 to OS 9, but as I’ve said before, I like the idea of having a Macintosh for every version of the Mac OS.

Reading more of the comments from the patch only added to the confusion – and frustration – seeing that other users were experience hit-or-miss installations of iTunes on OS 8. So for now my attempts to get the thing going are stalled.

Seven days of System 7

May 6th, 2010

Seven Day of System 7

Low end Mac users are masochists. There’s no easy way to take a classic Macintosh and do modern, enjoyable work without some pain or effort involved. Everything is a project.

Now, for most of us that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s why we work with classic Macs. Either that, or we know low end Macs so well that using anything prior to OS X comes as second nature. Also, it’s a hobby.

With this in mind, and as I shared on The hello Show this week, I’m undertaking a bit of an experiment: spending an entire week with nothing but my low end Macs. Specifically, I’ll be using:

…as my main computing machines.

I’m leaving my new 21.5″ iMac switched off, using my iPhone 3G for phone calls only, and relying only on Apple products that were released in the 1990s.

I’ll call it Seven Days of System 7.

That’s not totally accurate. I’ll also be using OS 8 (on the PowerMac) and OS 9 (on the iMac). For portability, contact management, and calendar duties, I’ll use my Newton MessagePad 110 and eMate. And I might pull out my iBook G3 and boot into OS 9 for some portable Macintosh.

The experiment, inspired by Morgan Aldridge’s and Riccardo Mori’s experiences, will be me attempting to get by – or even be productive – on non-Mac OS X machines. This includes any writing, web browsing, scheduling, graphic design, and web development. For the week, I’m setting up a special page here at Newton Poetry that will be a sort of proto-blog – where I can post updates through the week. The entire thing will be made on my PowerMac G3 sporting Adobe’s classic HTML editor, PageMill.

Right now, I’m collecting other applications that I might need through the week, including:

  • Claris Organizer for my to-dos, contact management, and calendar, synced to my Newton
  • Corel Graphics 8 for design work
  • PhotoShop LE for image manipulation
  • Panic’s Audion and iTunes 2 for music
  • AppleWorks 6 for spreadsheets or heavy-duty word processing
  • BBEdit Lite for text editing
  • The latest build of Classilla
  • Adobe PageMill for web stuff
  • Panic’s free version of Transmit for FTP’ing
  • A bunch of games for recreation, including SimCity 2000, WarCraft II, and (for the first time) Marathon

Because it’s only a week-long experiment, I won’t need much more than that. I’m not going to do any heavy graphic design lifting, or attempt to do a whole lot. It’ll simply be a week to see how easy it is to be productive and live day-to-day on low end Macs.

There are a bunch of sources I have to credit for the help, including my podcasting pal David Kendal (for the links to Panic’s free offerings), System 7 Today for some game ideas, UNNA for Claris Organizer, and eBay for PageMill and WarCraft II.

The experiment will take place in the next week or two. In the meantime, if you have any ideas or software to try out, let me know.

Most of all, wish me luck.