A Quadra 660AV Revived

As I have mentioned in previous posts, after our recent move I ended up with no working Quadras at all, despite the fact that two 840AVs and two 660AVs made the move with us. I recently recounted the story of the revival of one of the 840AVs, now happily humming away in the Happy Macs Lab, and indicated that I was moving on to the 660AVs to see what I could accomplish. I am happy to report that this effort has been successful, and the revived 840AV has been rejoined by its old 660AV running mate.

The non functioning 660AV presented with a wholly different set of symptoms than the 840AV. When powered on, it would simply repeatedly click, with a 5s to 10s frequency. The monitor light would turn on and off right along with each click and the lights on the keyboard would do the same. This seemed like a power supply issue at first blush, but after my recent experience with the 840AV, I decided to check out the motherboard carefully nonetheless.

This was a fruitful exercise. There was extensive “bad cap” fouling in one area of the board and I suspected that I might have found my culprit right there. Repeating the steps I took with the 840AV, I got my trusty rubbing alcohol and Q-tips and went to work:

The Pile of Dirty Q-Tips Post Motherboard Cleanup

This was MUCH easier on a 660AV than on an 840AV; no need to perform major surgery just to extract the motherboard. The 840AV is a fine machine, but it is a beast to service. Not so the 660AV, where everything is cleanly in reach once the case has been removed.

Cleaning the motherboard SEEMED to resolve most of the issue. After a few attempts at powering up, greeted in each case with the usual serenade of clicks, I was being extremely low tech and hovering my ear over each section of the motherboard to isolate the source of the clicking (by the way, it turns out to have been the speaker – it was getting power cycled every 5s to 10s and responding with a brief noise – the click – each time). While I was thus engaged, quite suddenly the machine stopped clicking, issued a startup chime and took off! Amazing!

I suspected that one of the damaged caps just needed a little time to build up enough charge to do whatever its job was and had finally done so. With bad caps, you never know if there is enough functionality left for the machine to work or not – in this case, it seemed like one or more caps just needed some time to get to health.

This was a good theory, but alas it was not the on-the-ground reality. After playing with the machine for a bit, and after several successful restarts, I took the plunge and turned it off. I let it sit for a few minutes and attempted a power on. Clicking… just endless clicking. No amount of waiting would be rewarded, and after multiple sessions of this, I had to dismiss that one lone power up as a successful, but extremely rare, fluke of timing. Clearly, I had not resolved enough of the problem with my motherboard cleaning.

So, back to my first theory – a power supply problem. I have two Quadra 660AVs, one which has never worked and was acquired for parts and the one I was attempting to revive. The “for parts” 660AV would reliably power up (disks would spin up, noise would be heard) but would not boot. SO… it seemed to have a good power supply at least.

To add to this diagnosis, checking my files I realized that when I had first acquired the 660AV, I had been lucky enough to find Apple’s original service manual for it online and had downloaded a copy. Darned if my very scenario wasn’t addressed in the manual! In the usually not very helpful “Troubleshooting” section, I found a note that said that if the 660AV clicked on power up instead of booting, the cure was to replace the power supply!

So, I did just that. I extracted the power supply from the “for parts” machine and transplanted it into the 660AV I was trying to revive.

Once done, my initial attempt at power up was met with a startup chime and a successful boot, as has every attempt since then. Now, prior to the move, this particular 660AV was a bit finicky about booting up. It always took two or more attempts to get it to boot. It always booted, but sometimes it took a little patience. Now however it boots every time – cleaning the motherboard does seem to have paid some benefits later on.

In the end, the issues I experienced with this particular 660AV were attributable in part to the physical trauma of the move and in part to one or more caps getting bad enough to interfere with the functioning of the product.

Most of you will not move vintage Macs nearly as often as my career has required me to do, and so you will not have to deal with issues caused by the physical trauma moving entails. As for the rest of us, we need to keep in mind that the older these vintage Macs get, the more distressed caps we will see, and the more perfectly functional machines we will see suddenly becoming non-functional. Be ready for it, keep your rubbing alcohol and Q-tips at hand, and keep the faith. In the end of course, if the worst comes to the worst, there are services out there that will recap vintage Mac motherboards. Find one, send your motherboard away and keep your fingers crossed!

Breathing Life into an Apparently Dead 840AV

It was starting to look dangerously like I was going to need to change the title of this blog. You cannot write a blog named “Quadras, Cubes and G5s” if you don’t have any Quadras! That was my situation up until this past Friday. Four Quadras moved with us in our latest move. Two were fully functional, one was functional but occasionally not, and the last was without any life at all – being kept as a hedge against days like these, when I might need a ready source of spare parts.

There were two Quadra 840AVs, the fastest 68K Macs Apple ever produced, and two were Quadra 660AVs, wonderful little “pizza box” form factor 68040 powerhouses. One 840AV and one 660AV were fully functional. One 840AV was functional, but occasionally would refuse to start. The remaining machine, a 660AV, was totally dead, and has to this day resisted my best efforts to restore it to life.

All four were DOA at our new location. I started with the 840AVs and stripped them both down, extracting the motherboards and an unknown NuBus card from one of them. I examined each circuit pack carefully, I verified that the power supplies were good and producing the requisite voltages and examined every interface connector to be sure all were in good shape. I even changed out the motherboard batteries, although that had been done recently before the move.

I then carefully reassembled both machines and tried them in sequence. Nothing. No life. However, being the persistent type, and having seen too many strange things in my time with vintage Macs, I kept attempting to power them on and off. One gave no reaction at all to the power switch; the other would fire up the power supply and the hard drive, but refused to boot. This later one showed no signs of CPU life at all. There was no startup chime and complete indifference to the many boot time keyboard shortcuts that I tried. For all intents and purposes, the power supply was good, but the motherboard was not.

And then… it blinked. After multiple consecutive reboot cycles, it sprang to life and booted up Mac OS 7.5.1. Knowing that this could be a “one and done” scenario, I tinkered with it while it was up, running diagnostics and generally attempting to gather all the status information I could. I then powered it down and retried the boot. Once again it refused to boot, but once again after multiple consecutive attempts it “caught” and booted up. However, that was the last flicker of life I got from it. From that point onwards, it steadfastly refused to provide any indication that it might support life.

This was discouraging, but still useful. Clearly, the motherboard was more or less functional, and so there was hope. I stripped the machine down once again and completely reexamined the motherboard with the proverbial “fine toothed comb”. Eventually, careful examination of every nook and cranny revealed an unknown square, black surface mounted part that had clearly leaked some (or all) of its contents onto the traces around it. Finally! Something I could work with. Perhaps it was not the physical trauma of moving that had done in this machine. A part had simply exploded and fouled the board. Perhaps it was just the passage of time!

With rubbing alcohol and Q-tips in hand, I carefully cleaned the entire effected area, and then cleaned it again. One down, how many to go? I kept up the detailed examination and eventually found one other tiny cap that had similarly leaked a very limited amount its contents around it. This I cleaned carefully as well.

Eventually, I could find no more and methodically reassembled the machine. I held my breath and pushed the power button. The power supply and hard drives kicked into life, but that was it. I waited and waited, but there were no signs of CPU life (any life at all!) whatsoever.

Disappointed, I was mentally running over my options for next steps when the seemingly impossible happened. The monitor kicked on and there was good ol’ Mac OS booting up. “Of course!”, I thought – I had maxed out the RAM on this particular machine, giving it the full complement of 128MB that an 840AV can support. Running boot time RAM tests on such a large amount of RAM takes even a 40MHz 68040 more than just a few seconds. This explained the post power on delay!

I am happy to report that since then, the machine has been 100% reliable! The speaker is clearly dead (that will be a task for another day) but when I hooked up external speakers, the 840AV delivered a robust start up chime. It does this each time, then pauses for 45s or so while it runs the RAM tests and then moves on with the process of booting Mac OS. I have had no further boot failures and no other “flakey” behavior since I cleaned up those two areas of leakage on the motherboard.

SO… we can learn a few things from this sequence of events:

(1) Persistence counts. Never say “die’.

(2) A Mac that appears non-responsive may simply be busy. Be patient and give it a minute or two to complete boot tests before concluding that any given boot attempt has failed.

(3) Finally, examine all circuit packs very, very carefully, looking for “exploded” parts. Clean up any that you find. Macs were wonderfully over-engineered “back in the day”, and the loss of one or more caps may not cripple the machine. It depends on where they are located and what role they were playing on the board. In my case, I presumably lost the use of one unknown square black component plus one cap, and the machine still operates apparently normally.

When running, the revived desktop looks like this (Apple System Profiler results shown):

Quadra 840AV Running Mac OS 8.1

Now it is time to turn my attention to the two 660AVs and see if I can succeed in breathing life into at least one of them.

The “body count” (deceased computers) from the move is slowly dwindling. At this point, I have revived all except the Quadra 660AVs and the last PC I owned before moving over to Macs as my personal computers – a 2003-vintage 3GHz Pentium IV with Windows XP. This one boots and runs, but eventually seizes up. It is clearly overheating and the CPU is shutting down. Restoring it will not be a trivial fix, but there is a straightforward path ahead of me that should recover the machine.

Another Long Hiatus Comes to an End

This is how it happens. Blogs like this don’t die, they just fade into obscurity, with posts becoming less and less frequent until finally one day the author writes a final post announcing what everyone had already deduced long since – the blog is no longer active.

Happily, that is NOT the case here at Happy Macs. As I type this, another long hiatus is coming to an end. Once again, we have moved from one state to another, gone into temporary housing and built a new home. That process, now complete, has taken almost exactly a year, and in that year the equipment that comprises the Happy Macs Lab has been securely nestled in boxes in climate controlled storage.

I am now busily unboxing all of them and getting everything reconnected and set back up. That is a long task, but I am making good progress. Regrettably, there have been casualties, as there always are when you move delicate equipment like vintage Macs. Two older Apple monitors were reduced to crushed piles of plastic and electronics, and thus far, both of my Quadra 840AVs are non-responsive. I have not given up on them by any means, but they will undoubtedly need lots of love and care to get them back into working order.

In addition to getting the Happy Macs Lab back “on the air”, the scope of this blog is broadening as well, to include the truly fascinating Apple IIGS, a machine that COULD have neatly bridged the worlds of Apple II and Macintosh, providing the sort of seamless ongoing upward compatibility that the Wintel folks managed to pull off. Regrettably, Apple focused all their marketing attention on the Macintosh and the Apple IIGs slowly faded away. It has a vibrant enthusiast group however and so in reality it lives on.

For those not familiar with the Apple IIGS, it was a wholly new 16-bit machine that could be run in 8-bit Apple II backward compatibility mode. In native 16-bit mode, it was a completely new game however, and by the end of its life cycle, it was running the GS/OS operating system, which is visually nearly indistinguishable from Macintosh System 6. The Apple IIGS was the first Apple computer to sport a color GUI and the first Apple computer to feature the Apple Desktop Bus. Upon its introduction in 1986, it outsold the Macintosh by a healthy margin.

With Apple II backward compatibility and an essentially Macintosh GUI, it could have dominated if Apple had chosen to pour their marketing muscle into it. Unfortunately they didn’t, but perhaps that is what makes the machine so fascinating… the “what if” scenarios are amazing to contemplate.

Anyway, look for more in the coming months on this amazing machine, and some new software for it that I have been busily creating over this one year hiatus.

The Happy Macs Lab, and this blog, live on!

HappyMacs Gopher Site: We Are Back!

In HappyMacs Software Archive is Open!, this blog introduced you to the HappyMacs Gopher site. This site is largely a vintage Mac software repository, with all titles available for download via the Gopher protocol. Gopher, as you may recall, was a predecessor to the web, providing a plain text clickable link environment that can be thought of as not being all that different from HTTP, but without inline images, video and sound.

The HappyMacs Gopher site opened in 2015, and has provided largely uninterrupted service from then until September of 2020. It has been down more than up since then, and has just come fully back on line in January of 2021. This post is to highlight that happy fact – we are back!

So what happened in September of 2020? Well, at that time I upgraded the cable internet at the house to 1Gbps service, which required my service provider to replace the existing cable modem with their latest model. This new modem certainly did what they said it would. It delivers blisteringly fast 1Gbps service, but in delivering that it completely and fundamentally broke the HappyMacs Gopher site. 

The new modem seems to have a protocol-aware NAT function, and Gopher is a protocol far too long in the tooth (a very little gopher joke there!) for the manufacturer of the modem to have bothered with support for in their latest product. Without NAT functionality, everything stops working of course. If you don’t know what NAT is, don’t worry. All you really need to understand is that it is a fundamental underpinning of how home internet access works these days, and without it things grind to a halt really fast.

It took me a week or so of tests to come to the conclusion that it was NAT that was the problem, but I finally isolated the issue and proved it. Nonetheless, my service provider’s technical support was of no help. “Gopher” was not a word they understood to be anything other than a large toothed rodent (!) and at any rate, there was no fix available. The modem did what it did and that was that. Pretty much no-one cared if an obscure and long dead protocol like Gopher no longer worked across this new modem. 

Well, no-one but me, that is. I did care, and I spent the two months or so, in fits and starts as work allowed, reworking the entire site to get around the lack of NAT. I won’t go into the details, but I am guessing that NAT must have been “hit and miss” in the days when Gopher was first designed. At least the Gopher server I am using could be configured to force the NAT issue in the design of the site itself. The solution was painful, requiring a Gopher configuration file for each archive file being served, and with over 400 files on offer at the Happy Macs vintage software archive, this was no small task.

So, instead of manually hand-cranking over 400 Gopher configuration files, I settled in and wrote a program to automate the generation of these files in a completely recursive manner. Point the program at the top of the software archive, and it would descend the site hierarchy and generate all necessary configuration files for all files on offer. I got the program finished and running over the Christmas break and had the site back “on the air” by the end of the year. It has taken me this long to get a post written about it, but here it is at last. 

Accessing the HappyMacs Gopher Site

So, with the site back on the air, and if you are learning about it for the first time as you read this post, you may be wondering how you access something that is built around this ancient Gopher protocol. Regrettably, modern Gopher clients are completely non-existent, and most web browsers no longer support Gopher either. So, on first examination, it would appear that the HappyMacs software repository, available via Gopher, is not really available at all –  there no clients, no browsers and so, no way to access it… right?

(Happily) Wrong! If you are interested in a vintage Mac software repository, it follows that you either have a vintage Mac to run the software on, or a modern computer running a vintage Mac emulator. Either way, you have the ability to run vintage Mac software, and there were plenty of Gopher clients available in the heyday of MacOS. All you need to do is load one on your vintage Mac environment and you are “good to go”. Once you have it up and running, you can access the HappyMacs vintage Mac software repository to your hearts’ content. 

So where do you get a Gopher client for your vintage Mac, so that you can access the HappyMacs vintage software repository? Well, from the HappyMacs vintage software repository of course! Now I know that this sounds like a MacOS “Catch 22” – you can get a Gopher client from the HappyMacs software repository, but you have to already have one in order to even access that repository. This sounds like a non starter, except that it is not. 

Thanks to the good people at Floodgap Systems, you can access the HappyMacs software repository via their web browser based Gopher proxy just long enough to download a Gopher client from there and install it on your vintage Mac. After that you can use that Gopher client for all further accesses to the repository. 

The Floodgap Gopher proxy is available at https://gopher.floodgap.com/gopher/gw, and it looks like this once the page has loaded:

To access the HappyMacs Gopher site, enter “happymacs.ddns.net” into the gopher address line per the below screenshot, and click the “Go” button to the right of the address entry box. It all looks like the screen shot below:

When you do that, you will arrive at the Happy Macs Gopher site, and that will look like this:

Here at HappyMacs, we recommend using the TurboGopher Gopher client. As the name suggests, it is fast, even on a 68K Mac. Note that you may find some of its operations not intuitive, since they do not always follow the behavioral norms that web browsers have taught us since TurboGopher was in its prime. The in-program help is good however, and if you get stuck on something, just use it to read up on how to accomplish your desired task. I have to do this every time I want to set the TurboGopher equivalent of a bookmark.

To get TurboGopher, click on the “Vintage Mac Software Archive” entry on the HappyMacs Gopher site. 

For 68K

  • Select “1 – 68K (Up to MacOS 8.1)”
  • Scroll down to “TurboGopher 2.0.3 (FAT)”
  • Click “TurboGopher 2.0.3 (FAT)” to download

For PPC

  • Select “2 – PPC (Up to MacOS 8.6)”
  • Scroll down to “TurboGopher 2.0.3 (FAT)”
  • Click “TurboGopher 2.0.3 (FAT)” to download
  • Despite the title, this version of TurboGopher runs perfectly under MacOS 9.x

By the way, if you are enlightened enough to still be using System 6, there is an earlier version of TurboGopher available that runs nicely under System 6. Just drop a comment on this post and I will add it to the site so that you can download it. It will be part of the System 6 area on the site when I get that built out, so it is not there yet, but I can add this one file if you need it.

Just a warning that downloads are quite slow through the Floodgap proxy (at least in my use of it), but you will find them much faster once you are accessing the site directly via TurboGopher. Be patient, the proxy download will ultimately complete.

Expand and install TurboGopher and then start the application. Point it at happymacs.ddns.net and enjoy Gopher and the HappyMacs vintage Mac software repository in all its intended glory. 

Cache is King, Revisited

Back in Cache is King – Enable Yours, I extolled the virtues of enabling the Motorola 68040 cache when using 68040 equipped Macs. In today’s post, I again extol the virtues of cache, but this time hard drive cache.

I detailed in Return to Snow Leopard my decision to return to Snow Leopard as my main computing environment. I recently began to experience a slow decline in the performance of that machine, a Snow Leopard driven 2008 Mac Pro. Booting each day took longer and longer, and even once booted, the system would suddenly pause, display the spinning beachball, and seemingly wait for 15 to 30 seconds at a time. As booting got longer and longer and the beachball showed up more and more frequently, I knew (I just knew!) that the HDD was slowly failing, likely taking longer to achieve its full 7200 RPM at cold power up, and then occasionally losing that rotational speed for moments at a time. I knew (I just knew!) that one day, the system would simply fail to boot, or would freeze up at the worst possible moment during operation. It was time to replace the HDD.

I have always felt that there is real relationship between the amount of onboard cache a hard drive has and its apparent performance, quite aside from the more directly related statistics such as its seek time or its sustained transfer rate. If a drive has more onboard cache, it doesn’t have to seek out (to) new and different tracks to get the next chunk of data as often, and overall throughput is often improved.

Disk Cache Figure, v1.0

SO, now that the time had arrived to get a new HDD, I focused on this once more. The original HDD that came with the Mac Pro was a 750 GB Seagate drive with 16MB of onboard cache. When the machine arrived in 2008, I found it surprisingly slow to boot, which was rather unexpected given that it was a top of the line Mac Pro. Since I am an engineer by training, I dug around on the web and found the data sheet for the drive that was installed. I checked out its specs and then went looking for a better ones on the web. I found a similar 750 GB Seagate drive, with a slightly better but essentially similar sustained transfer rate, but with 32 MB of onboard cache. This was the largest cache I could find at the time and it was twice the size of the cache on the (then) current drive, so I purchased it and installed it.

One Carbon Copy Clone later, this new drive became the boot drive and the result was dramatic. Boot times improved by almost 50%, applications launched faster and overall operation just seemed snappier. I was happy with the outcome and declared a good job done. The machine retained that configuration until the story related above began to happen. Clearly, 12 years later, my “new” hard drive was starting to fail and it was time to replace it.

Again I headed out onto the web looking for a new 750 GB hard drive, but I simply couldn’t find a new one any more. I guess 750 GB hard drives are simply too small these days! The closest I could come was a 1 TB Western Digital hard drive. Much to my delight, it came in various cache sizes. The top end was a 64 MB cache, which delighted me even more – twice as much as the drive it was replacing. I quickly settled on this drive and purchased two of them for the ridiculously low price of $44 each – presumably that low because no one wants a drive that small anymore! Why two? I am a fan of symmetry and my thought was to replace the two current 750 GB drives with two new 1 TB drives. Replace two of one thing with two of another.

Just like when I upgraded from 16 MB of cache to 32 MB of cache back in 2008, the result of this latest cache doubling was gratifying in the extreme. However, before provide the result details, I have to be completely transparent. 12 years later, hard drive specs have gotten better. The two new drives had a 50% larger sustained transfer rate than the ones they were replacing, and so I knew a priori that performance would be better, even without thinking about the increased cache. And I was right. It was better … MUCH better.

Prior to the upgrade, once the gray Apple logo appeared on the screen, it took approximately 22 revolutions of the gear wheel animation for the system to boot Snow Leopard. After the upgrade it took only 6! This is a nearly 4x boot time increase! Being as generous as possible, I can attribute up to 2x of that to the larger sustained transfer rate, but the remaining 2x has to be attributed to the increased on-disk cache size. Just like in 2008, when I doubled the on-disk cache, I halved the boot time.

Just to underscore how important more on-disk cache is, back in 2008 I ran the XBench scores for the Mac Pro before and after the hard drive upgrade. Before that upgrade, the XBench disk score was 36.7. After the upgrade it was 68.4. That was a 86% overall score improvement, just from increasing the disk cache. Cache IS king!

What does any of this have to do with vintage Macs you may be asking? Well, the lesson is the same. If you want to punch up the performance of your vintage Macs, the next time you have to replace the hard drive in one, replace it with one that features a larger cache than the one you are replacing. You will be pleasantly surprised with the result. The vintage Mac purist in me wants you to ensure that the result remains “period correct” however, and so confine your new disk selection to disks from the same era as the Mac you are putting them into while still maintaining cache size as a selection factor. If you do this, you will accomplish both period correctness and better performance. Happy vintage computing!

Installing System 6.0.8 on a Macintosh IIfx

As repeatedly promised, I am finally returning to the Macintosh IIfx thread I started all the way back in The Mighty Macintosh IIfx perhaps too many side trips along the way.

As the story has unfolded to date, I purchased the vaunted Macintosh IIfx (the “wicked fast” Mac) some time ago, and left it sitting idle for some time while I explored a variety of other topics.

Mac IIfx Running Mac OS 7.0.1

Along the way however I did spend some time attempting to get it onto the Internet, a topic that did not resolve easily, but ultimately did resolve. That story was told here [insert article reference here].

THIS story concerns itself with loading the Macintosh IIfx with System 6.0.8, which is a much more period appropriate OS for the machine than the System 7.5.5 that it arrived with. After all, the Macintosh IIfx was on sale from 1990 to 1992, and for the better part of that interval, it was complimented by System 6, which was the Mac OS of the day from 1988 to 1991 (replaced by System 7 during 1991).

System 6 Logo

The Macintosh IIfx I worked on was (and still is!) quite the machine. It was fully functional, loaded with System 7.5.5, and “loaded” with 32 MB of RAM and four 2GB partitions on its capacious 8 GB hard drive (definitely not original equipment back in 1990!). It was without doubt a generously equipped machine for that era.

My intent was simple enough. With three free 2GB partitions, I would leave System 7.5.5 undisturbed, load System 6.0.8 onto one of the free partitions and be able to dual boot as I wished. I already had a set of System 6.0.8 install floppies, and so in theory, this should have been a fairly straightforward, if laborious, exercise.

Of course as we all know, nothing is that easy in vintage Mac land, and I proceeded with caution. This WAS a new machine to me, and not wanting to risk my precious 6.0.8 install floppies on an untried floppy drive, I formatted a fresh 800K diskette on the lab’s Mac IIsi and popped THAT into the Mac IIfx floppy drive.

Regrettably, my cautious approach was rewarded. The diskette not only would not mount on the desktop, but worse still, it would not eject! I tried a restart to force an eject, but even that failed to accomplish the objective – the diskette remained stubbornly in place. Alas, the drive had “eaten” the diskette. Not an auspicious start to this effort!

Now all good vintage Mac people know that just to the right of the floppy drive slot there is a small pinhole into which you can place the end of a paperclip, or something similarly thin and rigid, push inwards slightly and mechanically eject any reluctant floppy disk. Of course, I am one of those vintage Mac people, I knew this and so I tried it. It didn’t work. The diskette remained steadfastly in place. Uh oh. However, despite this, it DID accomplish something… the diskette mounted on the desktop! Progress at last. I dragged its desktop icon to the trash and it ejected properly. Realizing that the diskette simply needed to be inserted into the drive a little more forcibly in order to mount successfully, I retried it several times until I could reliably mount it and eject it.

OK, it was time to try the System 6.0.8 diskette. I inserted the first of these into the drive and of course (!), it was not recognized. The Mac IIfx knew there was a diskette in the drive, and helpfully offered to format it for me, but it did not recognize it as the valid Macintosh floppy that it was. Hmmm…. one step forward, two steps back. I made a copy of the diskette on my Power Macintosh 7300 and tried again. Same result – it “saw” a floppy disk, but did recognize the contents and offered to format the disk for me. Since this was now a copy, not an original, I OK’d the reformat and it ran to completion successfully, afterwards mounting a clean 800K diskette on the desktop.

I took that freshly formatted diskette back to the 7300 and manually copied all of the files from the first System 6.0.8 install diskette onto it. I took the result over to the Mac IIfx and put it into the floppy drive. That did it. It recognized the floppy AND the contents and brought it up in Finder. Now we were getting somewhere. I “blessed” the System folder and rebooted with the floppy still in the drive.

Success! The Macintosh IIfx booted into System 6.0.8 for the first time in its tenure at the Happy Macs lab… and FAST! I didn’t time it at that point, but it was really fast! Less than 10 seconds I am sure.

Finder (Cropped)

I replicated the above procedure for the remaining diskettes of the System 6.0.8 set, pre-formatting four more blank diskettes on the IIfx and then using the 7300 to copy over all of the files from their source System 6.0.8 diskettes onto them. I now had a full set of recognized and ready to go System 6.0.8 install files.

To this day, I still do not understand why the Macintosh IIfx will only recognize floppies that it has formatted itself, but I have learned to work around it, like so many peculiarities of vintage machines. If any of you kind readers have any insights, please do send them on!

After that, installation was straightforward. Starting with the System Tools diskette, and progressing through the Utilities 1, Utilities 2, Printing Tools and finally System Tools, I installed them all. Of course the first step was to run the installer on the first of those diskettes, the System Tools diskette. I did that and it reported to me:

  • Finder 6.1.8 / System 6.0.8
  • Total Memory: 32,768
  • Finder: 6,966K
  • System: 25,802K

From the installer, I used the “Customize” option and selected the following:

  • 32 bit Quickdraw
  • Software for ImageWriter (I have one of these)
  • Software for AppleTalk ImageWriter
  • System Software for Macintosh IIfx
  • AppleShare (Workstation)
  • Software for AppleTalk Responder

After selecting one of the free partitions as the target of the exercise, I clicked Install, and off it went, eventually consuming all of the install diskettes and running to a successful completion.

Alright. With the install completed, I held my breath, restarted and waited expectantly. Unfortunately, it booted right back into System 7.5.5. The newly loaded System 6.0.8 partition was mounted on the desktop and I could see all the files that had been installed, but I had landed back on the System 7.5.5 partition, not the freshly loaded System 6.0.8 partition. However, it looked complete and ready to go, and so I went into System 7.5.5’s Control Panels, ran the Startup Disk control panel and selected the System 6.0.8 partition as the startup disk. Once more I held my breath and hopefully restarted.

This time I was rewarded with a System 6.0.8 desktop! The new partition was up and running. Now nothing is perfect of course. System 6.0.8 complained about the System 7.5.5 partition, claiming that it needed “minor repairs”. This was worrying. It occurred to me that System 6.0.8’s “repairs” of an otherwise functional System 7.5.5 partition might end up trashing the partition, but since System 6.0.8 was the OS that I ultimately wanted on the machine anyway, I decided to take the risk and let it make its “repairs”. Worst case – I might have to reload System 7 at a later time if I decided I wanted it. I OK’d the “minor repairs” and they ran through quickly and apparently successfully. Once complete, the System 7.5.5. disk mounted on the desktop without complaint and all was well. I restarted once again.

Success all around. The Macintosh IIfx booted up into System 6.0.8 without any warning or error messages this time, and with all partitions mounted on the desktop. And it was FAST… really FAST. The Macintosh IIfx really is “wicked fast”! I repeated the boot and timed it. From the first appearance of the gray screen after power up until full desktop was only 7.5 seconds! THAT is fast! I ran Apple Personal Diagnostics and was rewarded with the below screen shots:

Mac IIfx APD Results 2

 

Just to round this story off, I have to close out one last hanging thread. Did I trash the System 7.5.5 partition with the “minor repairs” that System 6.0.8 had made? Could I still boot System 7.5.5 afterwards? I am happy to report that all was well in that department too. In System 6.0.8, I started the Control Panels and selected the Startup Device control panel. I was able to see and select the System 7.5.5 disk as the startup partition, and after a restart, the machine did in fact come up in System 7.5.5. Of course from System 7.5.5, I could use the Start Up Disk control panel to select the System 6.0.8 partition and so henceforth, I could flip back and forth between the two at will, just as I had hoped.

The net result therefore was that the Macintosh IIfx could now boot either its “native” System 6.0.8 or the later System 7.5.5. Complete success had been achieved.

Where to from here? Next up in this series will be a (hopefully) short post about loading and configuring applications onto the System 6.0.8 install for the Mac IIfx. I won’t “make a meal out of this” since for the most part it was already covered in some detail in my earlier series of posts on System 6.0.8. That will be followed by a post relating the results of the performance tests I ran between the Mac IIsi under System 6, the Mac IIfx also under System 6 and the Mac IIfx under System 7. To round this out, we will look at similar tests between the 40 MHz 68030 powered Mac IIfx and the 40 MHz 68040 powered Quadra 840av. A little unscientific, but interesting nonetheless.

Finally, and to round the performance test area out, I will also digress slightly and present the results of a similar performance test I ran between an eclectic set of racehorses: the 40MHz 68040 based Quadra 840av (Mac OS 8.1), the 25 MHz 68040 based Quadra 660av (Mac OS 7.6) and finally a 100 MHz 486DX4/100 PC (DOS/Windows 3.1). These results were quite interesting and in some cases can be compared to similar results from the Macintosh IIfx tests!

Lots more to come!

Recovery of an Overheating Power Mac G5 Quad

Some time back, I did two posts on the apparent death, and then partial recovery, of my much loved Power Mac G5 Quad.

G5 Quad

In A Casualty on the Front Lines I described discovering the machine one day with its fans running at full blast, and the CPU temperature meter hovering in the 80’s C. I shut it down immediately, assumed rather too quickly that it was done for and deduced that there was no course left but to harvest all the valuable parts I could from it and put the carcass out to pasture.

In The Reports of My Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated, urged on by reader Ty (author of the now defunct Resto-Bytes blog) to not give up without a fight, I made an initial effort to find and repair the cause of the problem, which at the time I assumed to be a failure of the G5 Quad’s infamous Liquid Cooling System (LCS). Instead, what I found was dust, and lots of it, obstructing free airflow into the CPU area of the machine.

Dusty Grill

This aligned perfectly with the blistering CPU temperatures and the full speed fan rotations and so I carefully cleared all the dust out and closed the machine back up, confident that it would now be back in the land of the living. I was wrong. It improved, but the CPU temperature stabilized in the low 60’s C region, and the fan rotations at their full value of 3600 RPM. This was both too hot and too noisy to allow me to return the G5 to full service.

Clearly I needed to get into the CPU area and get at a presumed accumulation of dust there before I could restore fully normal operation. The machine wasn’t dead anymore, but it was far from healthy.

I downloaded the G5 Quad service manual from the web and reviewed what needed to be done. It did not look like a trivial undertaking and I did not have the time just then to do anything more complex. So, I backed up the G5 Quad, restored it onto my similar vintage G5 Dual and put that machine back on line (the G5 serves as the Happy Macs Lab online Gopher server, and so it plays an important role, requiring a stable and reliable machine).

This remained the state of affairs for the next many months. Finally, I recently had the time to undertake that next step and see if I could recover the G5 Quad back to full functionality. With all of this as preamble, this post details the steps taken and the results achieved.

I started by opening the G5 Quad’s side access panel and removing the clear plastic air deflector. Anyone who has ever looked inside a late 2005 G5 will be familiar with these steps. Next, I extracted the front inlet fan assembly, which can be directly lifted out of the case with only a light amount of force. Now I had unobstructed access to the CPU area.

The CPUs and their all-important LCS are protected by a metal panel with the iconic “G5” lettering emblazoned on it. Apple calls this the Heatsink Cover.

1.Heat Sink Cover In Place at Start

To get at the CPU area, this cover has to be removed. This sounded simple enough in the service manual. All that was required was to locate the plastic rivet that secured the cover to the PCI divider plate directly above it, pry up the rivet’s center post and then pry up the rivet itself. With this done, the entire rivet could be extracted. With the rivet out of the way, the heatsink cover could then be removed by sliding it forward and lifting it up and out. Like all too many things however, this turned out to be quite a bit more difficult to do than to say.

I found the locking rivet easily enough. It is located at the top right of the CPU area, along the flat top surface, and was such a good color match with the rest of the panel that you almost wouldn’t notice it if you weren’t specifically looking for it. Aesthetics were everything for the Apple of 2005!

Per the service manual, I used a long handled Xacto knife to gently pry up the rivet’s center plug. This took multiple efforts and a little finesse, but in the end it was a fairly simple operation. The outer casing of the rivet itself was another matter entirely. While I managed to pry it up from the surrounding plate with some effort, I could not get it to come up far enough to extract it. Any part of it that I touched with the tips of a small pair of pliers would just come apart. Ultimately, the remains of the rivet simply fell into the housing, solving my immediate problem. The service manual did note that the rivet needed to be replaced during reassembly, which was clearly going to be a problem now, but hey, one step at a time.

With the rivet now out of the way, I was able to slide the Heat Sink Cover forward and then lift it out, leaving me with unobstructed access to the inside the CPU area. Regrettably, the hoped for accumulation of dust was nowhere to be found, and with it, any simple explanation for the overheating I was observing. I checked the LCS itself carefully, but there were no signs of leakage from it, and no obvious external damage. Since the LCS appeared to be in an excellent condition, it was probably not the culprit I was looking for.

Then I noticed a small pile of black debris lying right along the front edge of the fan inlet area.

3b.Debris Pile and Insulating Mat (Annotated)

Where had that come from? Well, there is what appears to be a thin insulating mat running along the bottom of the processor area and parts of it seemed to have disintegrated over time. The small pile of black debris appeared to be from that source. Now all that debris was sitting quietly in a tidy little pile with the machine turned off and opened up, but when it was closed and operating, this set of debris was in all probability plastered all over the inlet or exhaust areas, held in place by fan air pressure. This would very effectively obstruct airflow. Had I found a possible villain? I thought so.

I used two long handled screwdrivers as opposing clamp pieces to gently pick up and remove the debris. I got most of the large pieces out this way, but far too many times, the pieces had a tendency to come apart as they were being lifted out and then fall back into the CPU area in a shower of smaller pieces. The material had a very fine consistency, almost like dust in some cases, making it very hard to get a grip on any one piece without simply breaking up that piece. Regrettably, any physical contact with the insulating mat itself caused more pieces of debris to fall off, and as a result, it became almost impossible to get all of the debris out.

Ultimately, I resorted to a vacuum with a long thin nozzle attachment and gently vacuumed the area out, avoiding as much contact with the insulating mat as I could. While I had a vacuum engaged, I also re-vacuumed the fan filters at the front and back of the CPU area. When I was done, despite my best efforts to avoid contact with the insulating mat, there was a significant chunk of it now missing.

5.Damaged Insulating Mat at End

Other than that, all looked well, and certainly much better than it had when I first opened the G5 Quad up. Time to sew the patient up and see if this was a cure! I replaced the processor Heat Sink Cover, albeit without the now broken rivet, put back the clear plastic air deflector and finally closed up the side access panel. I reattached all the relevant cables and hopefully pressed the front power button. There was no startup chime, but nonetheless the machine fired up and quickly came to the Tiger desktop.

I am happy to report that the net result was something approaching complete success! After boot up, the CPU temperature started displaying at 53C, but then much to my distress quickly shot up to 63C. Just as I was about to declare defeat, it started to come back down. After ten minutes, the G5 was idling at about 51C with the CPU fan speed being reported as 1310 RPM. This was a HUGE improvement over my last effort, where the results had been mid 60s and 3600 RPMs.

In order to decide what “success” actually looked like, I decided to check my original install logs and see if I had taken any temperature and fan readings from the G5 when I first got it. Sure enough I had, with iStat Pro used as the source. Immediately after I installed Tiger on the G5 in 2011, iStat Pro reported 50C to 51C as the idling CPU operating temperature, and 1250 RPM as the CPU fan speed needed to maintain it. So, eight years and a little repair work later, it was once again 50C to 51C, but the CPU fans were working a little harder to keep it that way. Not a LOT harder, but a little harder… running 4.8% faster. It would seem that “success” had been achieved after all! Not bad for a 15 year old machine that I was about to strip and put out to pasture!

What can I say except” Welcome back to the real world, G5 Quad!”, and thanks to reader Ty for encouraging me to soldier on. A fine old machine is back on its feet again as a result.

Looking forward, I keep promising to report on the work I did with another now much loved machine, my Macintosh IIfx. In the interim however, I have diverted to Snow Leopard, to networking older Macs and now to the rescue of this G5 Quad, but I have not lost my thread. There is one more short post coming on Snow Leopard, and then we will return to the Macintosh IIfx theme. Stay tuned.

Networking Older Macs – Link Speed Auto-Negotiation

After my last post providing the back story of the Macintosh IIfx, this next one logically ought to concern itself with my efforts to dual boot System 6 onto a Mac IIfx that was delivered with System 7.5.5 already on it. However, as happens all too often, I ran into a roadblock right out of the gate. Despite the presence of a networking card that the seller assured me was fully functional, I was unable to get my Mac IIfx to connect to the Happy Macs lab internal network. Resolving this matter unearthed an issue of some small interest, Ethernet link speed auto-negotiation, and so as a prelude to dual booting System 6, I will delve into this somewhat arcane topic for just a moment.

I have used a vintage Linksys 10/100 switch to connect most of the older Macs in the Happy Macs lab with no troubles at all. The oldest of the Macs thus connected is a Macintosh IIsi running System 6.08, and connected via an Apple networking card (Apple Ethernet Twisted-pair transceiver M0437LL/A).

Linksys 10_100 Switch (Reduced)

The “new” Macintosh IIfx came preloaded with Mac OS 7.5.5 and a Farallon EtherMac II-TP networking card. The seller confirmed that the machine connected to his local network just fine, and in fact included pictures of it running an early web browser.

Farallon EtherMac IItp

Therefore, one of the first things I did with this machine was to hook it up to the internal network of the lab via my proven Linksys switch. Since I am writing a post on this topic, it will come as no surprise to find that this did not work!

I was not overly concerned to start with, assuming some form of software configuration issue. Since I was going to reload the machine with System 6.08 anyway, I decided to wait until I had done so before getting too involved in trying to get networking up and running. In due course, I did in fact load the Mac IIfx with System 6.08, replicated the networking software configuration and settings that were working so well on my Mac IIsi, and then wondered in frustration why it would work so well on that machine but not at all on the Mac IIfx!

I focused immediately on what was different and relevant between the two – the networking card. I found Farallon drivers for it and loaded those, to no avail. I tinkered with the software lineup and configuration, again to no avail. I began to suspect that the networking card itself might not have survived the trip intact, and started to look for the same Apple card that was doing such a fine job in my IIsi.

While I shopped, I did a little research on line to see if this was perhaps a well-known problem. I didn’t find anything of great interest on the topic, but this lack of information did cause me to think in a little more depth about the problem, and ultimately I vectored off into the area of link speed auto-negotiation, something I came to find out that all modern switches do, and most vintage ones did not. The reason is simplicity itself. The standard used for auto-negotiation, IEEE 802.3u (“Fast Ethernet”), was released in 1995. My non-communicative Mac IIfx was released in 1990!

The Farallon networking card was clearly also released sometime in this period, but just when was not clear. It’s documentation said that it supported IEEE 802.3, but it did not mention IEEE 802.3u. However, even if 802.3u was supported by the hardware, perhaps something was missing in the Mac OS 6.08 software layers that was being handled in firmware on the Apple networking card?

I never did answer this question, and so must leave it hanging for your consideration should you ever run into a similar bind. At this point, I took a different turn. IF auto-negotiation was the issue, this could be tested for easily by simply removing the need for it – get a 10 Mbps switch and try that. I decided to do just this, but in a “modern way”. I found an inexpensive managed switch that would allow me to manually set the speed of a link and thus eliminate auto-negotiation entirely. In this case, I chose the NetGear ProSAFE GS108PE, ordered one on Amazon and it arrived a few days later.

Netgear ProSafe GS108PE Switch (802x510)

To make a long story short, I plugged the new switch in, used its built in web interface to set the speed of one of the links to 10 Mbps Half Duplex, plugged the cable from the Mac IIfx into the selected link and it came up right away! I have been using it successfully ever since and can report that it is very stable. A whole lot of files have been transferred over the network via that switch since that day.

We can learn a few things from this exercise:

  • Some older networking cards will successfully establish a link with a modern auto-negotiating switch and some won’t. I have unearthed various reports since then indicating that various cards by Asante do quite well, as do the Apple card I mentioned above. See this link for model numbers:http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~netmgr/ether.mac.html

I cannot vouch for the cards mentioned of course, and the article does not indicate what sort of switch these cards were tested against, so your mileage may vary.

  • If you have none of the above cards, you may wish to approach the issue of network connectivity with some patience. My experience suggests that a managed switch with the link speeds set to 10 Mbps Half Duplex may save you a great deal of grief.
  • Apple made a good networking hardware “back in the day”!

Good luck networking your older Mac!

 

The Mighty Macintosh IIfx

In the second half of last year, the Happy Macs lab had the good fortune to acquire a Macintosh IIfx at a reasonable price.

Mac IIfx

Regular watchers of Macintosh offerings on eBay will know that on the rare occasion when a Macintosh IIfx is made available for sale, its price is typically anything but “reasonable”. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I pounced immediately, but then the machine sat quietly in a corner of the lab for the last many months, while I completed the series on System 6, and then a new series on the SyQuest EZ-135.

Most users familiar with vintage Macintoshes will hold the Macintosh IIfx in something approaching awe, and not just because of the jaw-dropping prices that it still regularly commands. Released in March 1990, the Macintosh IIfx was at the time the fastest Macintosh ever delivered to market. It was retired in April of 1992, but it would not be outperformed in the Apple lineup until the July 1993 release of the Macintosh Quadra 840AV.

Frank Casanova, the Apple product manager for the Macintosh IIfx, dubbed it “wicked fast”, a moniker that was not only accurate, but long lived as well – in enthusiast circles, the Macintosh IIfx is still known as “the wicked fast Mac”. Frank was from Boston, a place where the adjective “wicked” is routinely used in the same sense as the word “extreme”, making sense of the “wicked fast” designation.

Wicked Fast Pin (Cropped)

The Macintosh IIfx was not just “wicked fast” however, it was also “wicked expensive” for the time (and even for today!), weighing in at $10,000 to $12,000 USD, depending on the configuration. It has been reported that some customers interpreted the “fx” designation as an acronym for “F#@*ing eXpensive”, an understandable response to this elevated price point.

What did customers get for all that money? A beast! While employing the same external case as the Macintosh II, the Macintosh IIfx was a very different animal under the skin. It was powered by a Motorola 68030 CPU running at a then blistering 40 MHz, almost twice the clock rate of the fastest Macintosh Apple had offered to that point (the IIci). Keeping that screaming fast CPU “fed and watered” was 32KB of Level 2 cache, which was not optional, as it was on the IIfx’s running mates, but rather supplied as standard equipment. Byte magazine declared the IIfx to be the new “top of the line”.

Mac IIfx Byte Cover

The performance DNA didn’t stop there either. This was a machine built for “wicked performance”. Its’ hardware included a number of proprietary ASICs that were designed to enhance the speed of the machine further, including a brand new SCSI controller, two 10 MHz 6502s (the same CPU which at 1 MHz formed the heart of the Apple II!) handling support functions and all I/O, and finally, to round things out, an ultrafast type of 64 pin SIMM RAM, with parity. The system software played its’ part too. All this highly optimized hardware required equally optimized software and as you might expect, the Macintosh IIfx required a specific version of System 6 (and later, System 7) to fully exploit it.

All this dramatically over-engineered hardware seems like incredible overkill for the typical Macintosh user of the day. What possessed Apple to field such an ultra high end machine? …a frontal assault on the engineering workstation market, or perhaps the graphic design workstation market? No one really seems to know, but a quite different thought is often reported. It is rumored that the IIfx was created under a United States government contract, which required Unix workstations with specific hardware features, and which was endowed with a generous budget. It perhaps corroborates this thought ever so slightly that Apple released version 2.0 of its’ A/UX Unix implementation at the same time as the Macintosh IIfx, and that A/UX 2.0 could be pre-installed on the IIfx’s hard drive.

It’s not clear how many Macintosh IIfx units were sold to the US government, or if any were at all, but at the time Apple was interested enough in this high-profile and high revenue market segment to later create a new business division to serve “large businesses, government, and higher education”. Apple continued development of A/UX until 1995.

Fast forwarding back to the present time, not so long ago an instance of this very machine sat expectantly in the Happy Macs lab, waiting for life to be breathed into it. It came preloaded with a minimal installation of System 7.5.5, but I reloaded it from scratch, with both System 6.0.8 and System 7.0.1. I will report on that process here in the pages of this blog.

I will also report on benchmarks between the same software and tasks running under System 6 on the lab’s 20 MHz Macintosh IIsi and then on the 40 MHz Macintosh IIfx. The delta should be illuminating. Finally, I will be reporting on benchmarks between the same software and tasks running under System 7 on the lab’s 68040-equipped Quadra 660AV and on the 68030-based Macintosh IIfx. I had an expectation that the Quadra’s 25 MHz 68040 would perform at similar levels to the IIfx’s 40 MHz 68030 when both were running System 7. The results should provide an interesting glimpse into the relative performance of these two CPUs.

Until next time!

Return to Snow Leopard

Occasionally, in the pages of this blog I post about things that are not of and by themselves directly about vintage Macintoshes, but which are related in some way to vintage Macintoshes. This is one such post, and concerns itself with Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard has always been one of my favorite releases of Mac OS X. It was a rare big cat indeed: a release largely dedicated to stability and performance instead of flashy new features. Snow Leopard was a move that only Steve Jobs, with his commanding technical and market authority, could have pulled off successfully. It was also, IMHO, the last “true” release of Mac OS X, before the creeping IOS’ification of Mac OS X began with Lion. My only real issue with Snow Leopard was (and still is) that it did not support the Power Mac G5, forever stranding my 2.3 GHz G5 Dual at Leopard, and in practical daily usage, Tiger, which has always been a favorite as well.

Released in 2009, Snow Leopard is now ten years old, and at that age, it almost qualifies for discussion in a blog dedicated to vintage Macs. However, this blog is dedicated to pre-Intel vintage Macs, and so technically Snow Leopard is out of scope no matter what its’ age. However, I am going to relax that restriction for this one post.

Why think about Snow Leopard now? Well, since 2011, my daily driver has been an early 2011 27” iMac, running Mac OS X Mavericks these days (I had to upgrade it from the Mac OS X Lion it came with in order to add a USB3 dock). My iMac has been in every way a satisfactory machine, and with a large and speedy SSD as its main boot drive, it has been very fast as well. However, the machine has slowly been losing that cutting-edge speed, and after eight years of faithful service, I had begun to think that a complete reload might be the best cure.

2012 iMac

However, that got me considering whether it might not be time for an even bigger change… reinvigorating my long idled 2008 Mac Pro, loading it with Snow Leopard (it still ran the Leopard that it came with) and going “back to the future”. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of a sleek, optimized and at this point almost iconic version of Mac OS X as my main operating environment.

2011 Mac Pro (442x640)

SO… I have taken the plunge. I have reloaded my Mac Pro with Snow Leopard and have moved onto it full time. My Mac Pro is a beefy machine, and loaded with Snow Leopard, it really flies. The only restriction I have found so far is that there is absolutely no completely current web browser for it, which has had the practical side effect of requiring me to fire up my iMac whenever I need to access my bank, whose web site insistently requires that it only be accessed by the most current technology. Other than that, all is well in Snow Leopard land.

Perhaps I should say that all is better than well. Snow Leopard comes with a number of advantages for vintage Mac enthusiasts. Perhaps the most compelling of these is that it is the last release of Mac OS X to sport Rosetta PowerPC support, enabling access to my full arsenal of PowerPC programs, many of which did not make the transition to Intel. In case this has you thinking about it, no, Snow Leopard does not support the old Classic environment, so you cannot run those truly venerable Mac OS programs.

All in all, I am very happy with my new daily driver, and really enjoy the speed, stability and enhanced program set that it enables. Now I know that some purists out there will take exception to this move backwards, but please hold your fire. I fully agree that Snow Leopard is not as secure as Apple’s most recent macOS offers, but I practice safe computing, sit behind a substantial firewall and have experienced no issues whatsoever.

Looking ahead, it has been rather quiet here at the Happy Macs blog for the majority of 2019. This is not because I have not been busy with vintage Mac projects, but rather because some of them have been sizeable, and have taken quite a long time to complete. This, coupled with a demanding job, and a newly enlarged commute (which eats up far too much free time each day!) has slowed things down rather more than I would like. However, with several projects now complete, I am ready to start posting, and you should be seeing a small flurry of posts over the Christmas break.

In those posts, we will be delving into the Macintosh IIfx, Apple’s foray into Unix (A/UX) and even some new software that I have developed for the A/UX environment, which I will be adding to the Happy Macs Gopher site. Stay tuned!