Macintosh System 6 – The Speed Demon of the Mac OS Family

I recently had cause to fire up my old Macintosh SE, one of the original all-in-one Macintosh models. It was donated to me by a family friend some years ago, but it was never of much interest to me, and as a result has spent more time gathering dust than doing anything else.

Macintosh SE

By today’s standards, the Mac SE’s screen is ridiculously small, and the lack of color seemed a curious omission, particularly given the emphasis Apple placed on the color capabilities of its cash cow Apple II. I have read that Steve Jobs was behind this decision (of course!), reasoning that since color printers were rare to non-existent for the average user of the day, the principle of WYSIWYG demanded that the Macintosh screen be similarly monotone. In the end, irrespective of the reasons behind its design decisions, a small screen, black and white device did not fire my imagination and it has spent the majority of its time sitting quietly on a back shelf in the HappyMacs lab since being donated…

…until recently. I needed some information on an old app that would not behave properly on any of my System 7 or later Macs. My long ignored Mac SE was running System 6, and so I set it up and powered it on. What immediately and absolutely impressed me about it was the speed of the machine! I know that saying “Macintosh SE” and “speed” in the same sentence may seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but the numbers bear it out. My Mac SE goes from power on to desktop in only 22 seconds, making it the fastest booting vintage Mac in the HappyMacs lab! In addition, applications seem to launch in a heartbeat and system shutdown is nearly instantaneous.

What lay behind this remarkable performance? Well, for starters the SE is rocking an Applied Engineering Warp 030 Motorola 68030 CPU accelerator. Research into the available Applied Engineering Warp 030 accelerators of the day revealed that both 40 MHz and 50 MHz models were produced. There are no utilities loaded onto the SE (yet) that can tell me what clock rate my SE’s Warp 030 is running at but I plan to find out in the near future.

M68030 at 50MHz

However, an accelerator alone is not enough to explain the speed. A 68040 is generally understood to be 2x to 3x the speed of an equivalently clocked 68030. Given this, if I assume that my SE has the fastest AE accelerator that was made for it, the 50 MHz model, then the performance of the SE should be in the same rough neighborhood as a 25 MHz 68040 based Macintosh. Happily, I have one of those, a Quadra 660AV, and I measured its boot performance: 63s from the end of its power on RAM tests to full desktop, approximately 3 times longer than the boot time of the Mac SE.

Astute users will quickly point out that this is not an apples to apples comparison (pun intended!). There might be RAM speed differences, there might be hard drive performance differences, and of course there was a pronounced OS difference: the Quadra 660AV is running Mac OS 7.6.1 while the Mac SE is running Macintosh System 6.0.7.

System 6 About Dialog

This last difference is the one I want to focus in on, because I believe it is the true story here. I wasn’t really sure how to calibrate the impact of this difference. System 6 is a nearly wholly unknown territory to me. My experience with Macs started with the early versions of System 7 and moved on from there.

I did a little web research and discovered what the SE’s boot time suggested – System 6 is a speed demon, and despite its age, is still remarkably capable relative to System 7, which replaced it. System 6 ruled the Macintosh world from 1988 until System 7’s debut in 1991. During that period of time, Apple’s CPUs were clocked in the 8 MHz to 16 MHz region, RAM was expensive and not provided in generous amounts and hard drives were sized in the 10 MB to 100 MB range. In short, computers were relatively limited in the resources they provided, and their operating systems had to be in step with the constrained platforms they were deployed on. System 6 was light because it had to be!

This begins to explain the performance of my Macintosh SE. When you couple a (for the time) beefy 50 MHz 68030 with a light OS that is more in step with a 16 MHz CPU, you begin to experience real speed.

I decided to test this idea by pairing System 6 with a more typical machine of its day. I settled on the Macintosh IIsi as the test machine, a decision guided by the need to meet the very pragmatic requirements of (a) being reasonably available on eBay these days, (b) supporting System 6 and finally, (c) being clocked in the 16 MHz to 20 MHz range.

Macintosh IIsi

I will report on the results of my testing in an upcoming post. For now however, I will note that this particular post may not occur for a little while. The Macintosh IIsi I purchased on eBay almost immediately introduced me to one of the truly vexing problems associated with working on really early Macs – blown capacitors on the motherboard. My next post already has the working title of “(Un)Happy Macs”, and will concern itself with the issues I encountered, and how they were overcome.

Unhappy Mac

Also of some interest, as I started to dig into System 6, was the very real problem of loading software onto a non-networked older Macintosh that supports only dual sided 800K floppies, a media type that has long since disappeared from both Macintosh support and public consciousness. I found two interesting workarounds and will share those in another upcoming post.

Box of 800K Floppies (398x356)

Until then, my limited work with it to date suggests that System 6 is a remarkable OS, so light that it practically floats, and yet so capable that it will run all the major applications of its day in the blink of an eye, and even get you on the internet! If you haven’t tried it out, it may be worth your time. More to come…

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Using TurboGopher to Access HappyMacs Archive

I mentioned in my last post that perhaps the most “classic” way to access the HappyMacs software archive was to do so from a classic Mac, via the TurboGopher application.

TurboGopher About Screen

I have TurboGopher, which is a FAT binary, running on both my 68K Macs and my PPC Macs, and so it should work for any classic Mac you may have. I have tested it from Mac OS 7.6.1 onwards.

This post is a mini tutorial on how to access the HappyMacs gopherspace from TurboGopher, and how to set the default font in TurboGopher so that the HappyMacs gopherspace renders nicely on your Mac.

Default Font and Size

Let’s start with the default font. Like many gopherspaces, the HappyMacs gopherspace uses some ASCII art to make the site a bit more visually attractive. In order for this art to render properly, it is key that the Gopher client (TurboGopher in this case) uses a fixed width font. I have settled on the Monaco font for no particular reason other than that I like the way it looks, but you can use any fixed width font that appeals to you. However, all the screen shots below feature Monaco.

To set up Monaco as the font to render gopherspaces with, go to the Gopher menu in TurboGopher, as shown below:

1 - TurboGopher Prefs

From the Preferences dialog, drop the Other Preferences list in the middle of the window and select Default Font & Size, as shown below:

2 - Default Font, Size

Now navigate the font and size list to select Monaco 12, as demonstrated below:

3 - Monaco 12

When done, the result should look like this:

4 - Resulting Screen

Accessing HappyMacs Archive

Now that you have the default font and size set properly, accessing the HappyMacs gopherspace is a breeze. Once more go to the Gopher menu in TurboGopher and select Another Gopher, as shown below:

1 - Another Gopher

In the resulting dialog, type in “happymacs.ddns.net”, as demonstrated below:

2 - happymacs.ddns.net

If all is well, you will be greeted with the following display of the HappyMacs gopherspace:

3 - Resulting Screen

That’s it! Note that the image of the classic Macintosh, and the “Welcome to HappyMacs” banner are both examples of the ASCII art I mentioned above.

Bookmarking the HappyMacs Archive

One last thing. All of us live in the modern age, even if we have a certain fascination with vintage Macintoshes and MacOS, and so we are attuned to the idea of web browser bookmarks. Wouldn’t it be nice to bookmark the HappyMacs archive so that you did not have to type in the address every time you wanted to access it? Well happily, TurboGopher lets you do just that, although it is not entirely obvious how to do this until you have walked through it the first time. So… let’s walk through the procedure here.

When you start up TurboGopher, it presents two windows – the Home Gopher window and the Bookmark Worksheet. This later window is the bookmark list that we want to work with. By default it comes preset with a number of what were helpful gopher links back in the late 1990s. These days, they are all dead links, and need to be replaced with more current ones. Let’s add the HappyMacs archive to the list, and then delete all the others.

To do this, follow the procedure above to arrive at the HappyMacs gopherspace site. Next, position your cursor on the window’s top bar and type Opt-c. This copies the gopherspace’s URL to an internal copy/paste buffer. Now, position your cursor on the top bar of the Bookmark Worksheet window, click once and type Opt-v. This pastes your HappyMacs gopherspace URL into the bookmark list. Finally, to get rid of the preloaded and now dead links, position your cursor on each of them, one by one, click once, and type Opt-x. This deletes them, one by one. When done, you should be left with just the HappyMacs gopherspace in your list.

Bookmarking the Floodgap Systems Gopherspace

There is one other site you might wish to add. I think of it as the father of all current gopherspaces – gopher.floodgap.com. I have made it my Home Gopher in TurboGopher. gopher.floodgap.com is the gopherspace of the same Floodgap Systems people who bring you the Overbite plugin for Firefox and act as the general champions of Gopher in today’s world. You can follow a procedure similar to the one for arriving at the HappyMacs gopherspace to get yourself to the Floodgap gopher page and then add it to your bookmarks list. You may also wish to make it your Home Gopher, which you can do by editing the Home Gopher definition, available as the first selection in the Preferences dialog under the Gopher menu of TurboGopher.

4 - Resulting Screen

Editing Gopher Bookmarks

One more “last thing”! Like any good bookmark, you can rename TurboGopher bookmarks to anything you want as opposed to having the actual URL show up in the list. To do this, highlight the bookmark of interest, go to the Gopher menu of TurboGopher and select Edit Gopher Descriptor, as shown below:

1 - Edit Descriptor

In the resulting screen, type in the name of your choice in the Title section of the editing screen, as demonstrated below:

2 - Editing Screen

I did this for both HappyMacs and Floodgap, and here is my current Bookmarks Worksheet:

3 - Resulting Screen

…and that really is it for this TurboGopher tutorial!

Happy Gophering!

 

Macintosh Repository – A Great “New” Mac OS Archive

I love serendipity. Today I was searching for a copy of Power Windows, a great Mac OS system control panel that provides a number of goodies such as full window dragging, translucent menus and more. Much to my surprise, the first entry that showed up in my Google search results was a file in a new (to me anyway) site called “Macintosh Repository” (www.macintoshrepository.org). In all of my travels through Mac Classic space, I have never encountered this site before.

macintosh-repository

A quick check around the site made it clear that this is a serious repository of Mac OS abandonware, one with an enormous collection of software titles, many of which I have never seen before anywhere else. I have added this site to the Recommended Links list here at Happy Macs, and would encourage you to surf on over to the Macintosh Repository and have a look if you are on the hunt for a particular piece of software you are having difficulty locating.

I did NOT find Apple’s Firewire 2.0, something for which the search continues, but I am still delighted to have stumbled upon the Macintosh Repository. This will not be the last time I visit. As for Firewire 2.0, I suspect that it will be found on one of the many Mac OS install disks I have – it will turn up sooner or later.

A final note – Power Windows IS a great addition to any Mac OS installation with sufficient CPU horsepower to drive the effects, and will be the topic of an upcoming post. Until then, happy hunting at the Macintosh Repository!

i-logout.cz – A Mac Software Repository in Gopherspace

Floppies

“A Mac software repository WHERE?”, you ask? In gopherspace, I reply. Those of you beyond a certain age may remember Gopher, a text based precursor to the World Wide Web. Gopher largely faded from public view with the emergence of the web, but I am happy to report that a dedicated band of vintage enthusiasts is keeping Gopherspace alive and well, and YOU can still access it today.

Gopherspace - The Hidden Internet

You may reasonably ask why you would WANT to access such an anachronism, but it turns out that there are at least two very good reasons. First, as a reader of this blog, which is concerned largely with vintage Macs, you clearly have an interest in older technology. Gopher may therefore be an interesting avenue of investigation in its own right. If however this is not enough motivation to take a peek into the odd gopher hole or two, how about this? I have just found a wonderful little vintage Mac software repository in gopherspace, and you may just want to check it out.

The repository in question is i-logout.cz and it has an interesting collection of both Mac OS and Mac OS X titles (plus PC, Amiga and more), many of which definitely qualify as “hard to come by”. I found a few programs I have been looking for for quite some time now, and you may too.

So, how do you access this small miracle in gopherspace? It is actually very simple. The address is:

gopher://i-logout.cz/1/software/Mac/

Type that into your browser’s address bar just like you would an HTTP:// address. However, if you type that particular address into your browser right now, it won’t really know what to do with it, since the gopher:// part of the address will represent an unknown protocol to it. Happily, for those of you on Firefox, there is a plugin with the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek name of OverbiteFF that adds Gopher capability to your browser.

Picture 1

Installation of OverbiteFF is a breeze. You can get it from here:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/overbiteff/

and this page features a large “+ Add to Firefox” button. Simply press the button and follow the simple instructions, and you will quickly be rewarded with a Gopher capable version of Firefox.

Now so equipped, head over to i-logout.cz, at gopher://i-logout.cz/1/software/Mac/ and have a look. There is a healthy selection of software on tap there, all neatly organized into straightforward categories, as you can see below:

i-logout

All of this, and you can now explore gopherspace as well. You can thank me later! 🙂

You Need WriteNow, Right Now!

WriteNow Post Cover Image

One of the long forgotten gems of the Macintosh world is the excellent and compact word processor, WriteNow. In the September 1993 edition, Macworld awarded WriteNow its World Class Award for the Word Processor category, edging out all other contenders, including Microsoft Word 5!

WriteNow Wins 7th Annual World Class Award, Composite

The Wikipedia entry for WriteNow summarizes the tale of this product perfectly:

“WriteNow was one of the two original word processor applications developed for the launch of the Apple Macintosh in 1984, and was the primary word processor for computers manufactured by NeXT. WriteNow was purchased from T/Maker by WordStar in 1993, but shortly after that, WordStar was purchased by The Learning Company, who ended sales. It remains fondly remembered to this day, for a combination of powerful features, excellent performance, and small system requirements.”

WriteNow Splash Screen

The Wikipedia entry continues at a later time, extolling the outstanding performance and GUI strengths of WriteNow:

“WriteNow represented what many saw as an ideal Macintosh application. It had a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI), no copy protection, and it worked in practically every revision of the Macintosh operating system, including in the Mac 68k emulator on PowerPC Macs and in Mac OS Classic mode under Mac OS X. Its biggest claim to fame, however, was its speed. It was written in assembly language (Motorola 680×0) by a group of developers who had a reputation for producing extremely efficient code. The user interface was unusual in that while the typical word processor had a ruler embedded in the main document window, WriteNow used a separate, fixed window that could be sent into the background, freeing screen space on the compact Mac’s small nine inch screen.”

WriteNow 4.0 Manual Cover Shot Straightened

All of this sounds compelling enough by itself, but you need WriteNow, right now, because in addition to its outstanding performance, small size and clean, easy to use GUI, WriteNow sports one last killer feature: it can read and write Microsoft Word files, as well as WordPerfect files, in addition to its own “native” format.

I tested WriteNow on two machines, a Quadra 840AV, where WriteNow ran native on the machine’s 40 MHz 68040 processor, and on a Power Macintosh 7300/200, where it ran under emulation on the beefy 200 MHz PowerPC 604e. I am happy to report that performance was snappy and responsive in both cases.

It is interesting to compare file sizes as well. Using a specific test document with 51,494 characters, organized as 9661 words and 1026 lines, the file size for the MS Word .doc format of this file was 66,334 bytes. The WriteNow native format for the same document was 92,251 bytes, actually larger than the MS-Word format. This came as a bit of a surprise, but I guess WriteNow can’t be faster AND smaller!

Pick up a copy of WriteNow and try it out. It remains a valuable word processor to this very day – lean, fast and light on resources… isn’t that what good software is supposed to be all about?

You can get WriteNow from the ever helpful Macintosh Garden, at http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/writenow

Networking Your Classic Macintosh with Windows, Part 3 – Using NetPresenz and Fetch

Multi OS Networking

This is the third in our series concerning how to network your vintage Macintosh with its Windows peers of the day. The first two posts in this series covered accomplishing this with two fairly well known tools for this purpose, Thursby Software’s Dave, and Connectix’s DoubleTalk. Both of these use the SMB protocol to achieve networking. Today’s post attacks the networking problem from a totally different direction – the FTP protocol – using a much lesser known application, NetPresenz.

Networking w FTP

“NetPresenz?” you are thinking to yourself… What the heck is NetPresenz? Names like Fetch and Transmit pop unbidden into your mind when you think of vintage Macs and FTP, and this is not without reason. Both are excellent and well known FTP clients, each providing a means for getting files TO your vintage Mac via FTP, from an FTP site. However, what if you want to share files FROM your Mac via FTP? For that, you need a Macintosh FTP server, a job beyond the limited means of FTP client applications like Fetch and Transmit.

Sharing Files from a Macintosh to a PC via NetPresenz FTP Server

This is where NetPresenz comes in. NetPresenz is a wonderful freeware package that delivers an FTP Server, a Web Server AND a Gopher server (if you haven’t heard of Gopher before, you can think of it as an early predecessor to HTTP). With NetPresenz and Fetch installed, you can both make your files available to others via FTP, and you can access files that others are making available to you, also via FTP.

First things first, as always. You can acquire a copy of NetPresenz 4.1 from http://files.stairways.com/other/index.html. At this location you will also find an excellent and very readable user’s manual for NetPresenz, which I would encourage you to at least browse before starting the application for the first time.

A note of key importance highlighted by this manual is to make sure that File Sharing is on before you run NetPresenz. It was not on my Mac (I used a Power Macintosh 7300/200, running Mac OS 9.1), and so I enabled it via the File Sharing Control Panel:

File Sharing Starting Up

Every FTP server needs some files to share and so I created a top level folder on my Mac’s main hard drive which I called simply “FTP Site”. I enabled sharing on it and copied a few small test files into it, so that I would recognize them if/when I was later able to successfully access the folder from FTP. With this essential setup done, I was ready to dive into NetPresenz itself.

When you unpack the NetPresenz archive, you get an install folder that looks like this:

NetPresenz Install Folder

Installation is simplicity itself. Merely move this folder into your Mac’s Applications folder and you are done. Next, to setup NetPresenz, you start, obviously enough, with the NetPresenz Setup application. When you double click this application, you are greeted with the NetPresenz splash screen and then the NetPresenz setup GUI:

NetPresenz Setup Splash

NetPresenz Server Setups

Since the objective of this particular blog post is to setup an FTP Server, I clicked the FTP Setup button, and was led through a simple and obvious series of GUIs related to FTP setup. Most things didn’t have to be changed.

NetPresenz FTP Setup

BTW, NetPresenz 4.1 is now officially free from its vendor, Stairways Shareware, and so I was amused when I clicked the “I Paid” button at the bottom of the FTP Setup window, and NetPresenz obligingly said “Thank You” through my Mac’s speakers!

Back at the main NetPresenz Setup GUI, I now clicked the FTP Users button and pointed it at the “FTP Site” folder I had established before starting. Finally, I allowed anonymous FTP access to it.

NetPresenz Setup FTP Users

That was it! Back at the Install folder, I now double clicked the NetPresenz application itself, and was greeted by its incredibly minimalistic log window as my sole indication that NetPresenz was now serving FTP out onto the HappyMacs network.

NetPresenz Log Window

Now that the server was running, I needed an FTP client to test it with. For this, I looked no further than my trusty Power Mac G5 Quad running Mac OS X 10.4.11 Tiger, since almost every web browser these days supports FTP “right out of the box”. Noting that my NetPresenz Macintosh’s local IP address was 192.168.0.9, I typed ftp://192.168.0.9 into the address bar of my browser (TenFourFox G5, of course!) and was greeted with the below:

Logged In to NetPresenz from G5 Quad

That was easy! It worked the first time, no muss, no fuss. Through the browser presented FTP page, I was able to download files from the NetPresenz Macintosh, but could not upload: uploading requires a more complete client than a web browser provides. To test uploading therefore, I turned to another trusted Mac OS X standby of mine, CyberDuck. Using CyberDuck on my Power Mac G5 Quad I was able to both upload and download files via the NetPresenz server running on my vintage Macintosh.

Now of course this series of posts is about networking your vintage Mac with its vintage PC peers of the day, and so I went to my favorite vintage PC, a 200 MHz Pentium Pro machine running Windows NT 4.0, and fired up another old friend of mine, WS_FTP32, my favorite Windows FTP client from that period. I pointed it at 192.168.0.9 via its site setup dialog:

Setup NetPresenz in WS_FTP32

I then double clicked the site name I had just setup and sure enough, once more, with no muss, no fuss, I was presented the below:

Logged in to NetPresenz from WinNT

Once again it had worked first time! Once again I was able to upload and download files to and from the Mac with ease.

One nice behavior of NetPresenz that is observable from WS_FTP32 but that cannot not be seen from TenFourFox is the login greeting message. NetPresenz allows you to set per user login greeting messages, so that when a particular user logs in, they are greeted with a customized message. The ability to customize the login message was typical of FTP servers of the day, but it is still a nice refinement. In NetPresenz you can also set per folder greeting messages, such that when a user navigates into any given folder, they get a folder-specific greeting message, but I did not bother with that additional setup. In the meantime, if you look at the last two lines of the above WS_FTP32 screen, you will see the greeting message I had established for user “anonymous” (“Welcome to the 7300/200 FTP Site! Enjoy Your Stay.”).

With that, file sharing FROM the Macintosh TO the PC, via an FTP server running on the Macintosh, was fully up and running.

Sharing Files from a PC to a Macintosh via the Fetch FTP Client

What about the other direction – sharing files FROM a PC TO a Mac using FTP? Once again, an FTP server is needed, but this time it is a Windows-based FTP Server that is needed. Those of you who are intimately familiar with Windows NT 4.0 will recall that even the Workstation version (the version I have running on my 200 MHz Pentium Pro machine) can run an FTP server as part of its Peer Web Services. The Peer Web Services are not installed by default and so you will need your Windows NT 4.0 Workstation install CD to proceed. If you choose to take this route (I did not) Microsoft helpfully provides the following instructions on how to install and enable the native FTP server:

How to Install the FTP Server Service in Windows NT 4

Why didn’t I go this way? The quick answer is security. I have read one too many articles to the effect that the Windows NT 4.0 FTP Server is riddled with security holes – a nightmare waiting to happen. All by itself, that is reason enough to look elsewhere, but I was also worried about readers who didn’t have Windows NT 4.0, but rather had Windows 95 (or worse, Windows for Workgroups 3.11) – I wanted a solution for them as well.

With this in mind, I went hunting for a generic Windows FTP Server that could be installed on at least Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. After going down many a blind alley, I finally came upon acFTP, an open source FTP Server whose only stated requirement is Win32. This made it perfect for both Windows 95 AND Windows NT 4.0 (…and it might even work on Windows for Workgroups 3.11 with Win32s installed… who knows! I didn’t try this – if you do, let me know how it went!). You can pick up a copy of acFTP at http://sourceforge.net/projects/acftp/.

I won’t go into the Windows NT 4.0 installation and setup of acFTP – this blog is about Macs and not PCs after all! However, it was straightforward and direct, and the FTP server was up and running with almost no effort.

I wonder whether the author of acFTP was inspired by NetPresenz, or perhaps visa-versa? acFTP sports the same incredibly minimalistic style of user interface that NetPresenz employs, providing only a log window as evidence that it is running. If possible, acFTP is even more minimalistic than NetPresenz – configuration is accomplished solely through text based configuration files, without even the GUIs that NetPresenz provides. acFTP may be minimalistic, but it was effective, and it successfully served FTP out onto the HappyMacs network.

All I needed now was a Macintosh-based FTP client.

For this, I picked Fetch. Fetch was my “go to” FTP client “back in the day” when I was lucky enough to have a Macintosh on my desk as my day-to-day computer at work. Without question, this made Fetch my first choice. As I mentioned earlier however, Transmit is another very popular choice of FTP client for Mac OS Classic, if you wish to try something different. You can get both Fetch and Transmit from the Macintosh Garden at http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/fetch-212 and http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/transmit-17, respectively.

As was the case with NetPresenz, installation of Fetch is a doddle – just copy the Fetch folder to your Mac’s Applications folder and run the application. Pretty darn simple!

Fetch Install Folder

I did check Fetch’s preferences, but I didn’t feel that anything needed changing, and so I left them as they were:

Fetch Options

I logged in using anonymous FTP:

Fetch Site Entry

Fetch happily connected, and rewarded me with the following screen:

Fetch Connected to Server

As you can see from the above, I pointed Fetch at something a little more beefy than the simple test files I had set up for NetPresenz testing. I established a folder full of programs, screen shots and wallpaper images, and then proceeded to both download (Get File) and upload (Put File) files to/from this folder using Fetch. Both directions worked flawlessly.

Fetch Getting File

Fetch Putting File

With that, sharing files FROM a PC TO a Macintosh over FTP was also now fully up and running.

Closing Thoughts

We have seen that you can set up your vintage Mac to be either an FTP Server, via NetPresenz, or an FTP Client, via Fetch (or any one of a number of other excellent Macintosh FTP clients, as you wish). With your Mac set up as an FTP Server, you can share files directly with vintage PCs with your Mac providing the common ground. If your Mac is set up as an FTP client, you can share files directly with vintage PCs running an FTP server such as acFTP with the PC acting as the common ground. Of course, you can also do all of this indirectly, using as a middleman any FTP server that is visible to both the Mac and the PC.

That’s it for this installment of the networking series. In the next installment, we will look at sharing files from your Mac to a PC (and to almost anything else that supports HTTP) using a clever and almost completely forgotten gem that Apple debuted in Mac OS 8. Until then, happy FTP’ing!

Network Your Classic Macintosh with Windows, Part 2: Using DoubleTalk

Network Your Classic Macintosh with Windows, Part 2: Using DoubleTalk

In the first post of our series on networking your classic Macintosh with Windows, we examined the use of Thursby Software’s Dave, and found it more than equal to the task. In this post, we will look at use of Connectix DoubleTalk, the other classic solution in this space. If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, it might be useful to go back and check out at least the initial paragraphs, as they lay out some background details that will make what follows a lot more understandable.

Alright, let’s network with DoubleTalk! It is important to know that DoubleTalk is more limited than Dave – it only provides an SMB client. This means that a DoubleTalk-equipped Mac can read and write files to and from a Windows machine, but a Windows machine cannot even see a DoubleTalk equipped Mac on the network, much less read and write files to and from it. BTW, you can download a copy of DoubleTalk from the always valuable Macintosh Garden, at http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/connectix-doubletalk.

DoubleTalk. Install Folder

DoubleTalk may only provide a one way Mac -> PC connection, but even a one way connection is quite valuable, and I am pleased to report that DoubleTalk does a very good job at providing it, at least after a little jiggling to get around the “blank list of shares” problem.

Installing and Configuring DoubleTalk

Installation and configuration was simple and fast, and finding Windows machines on the network was as seamless as selecting the AppleShare DoubleTalk Workgroup zone in Chooser. The available PCs obligingly showed up in the right hand pane, ready to be mounted and used.

DoubleTalk Workgroup Zone, DP200 Highlighted

At this point however, the “empty list of shares” problem raised it head, as it did with Dave in Part 1 of this series. When I selected the PC of interest (Dualpro200), DoubleTalk presented me with a blank list of available shares, leaving me with nothing to connect to. I could “see” the PC of interest, but could not connect to any shares on it.

DoubleTalk Share List, Blank

As we saw in Part 1 of this series, this problem was easily resolved at the PC end of the link, by reducing the share name length of the PC’s shared folder to 12 characters or less. However, the workaround to the “empty list of shares” problem is instructive, and so we carry on as if we had not solved the problem in this manner.

Unlike Dave, there is no Add Share button in DoubleTalk, and thus it would appear that you are stuck. Happily, this is not the case. The copy of DoubleTalk that I downloaded from the Macintosh Garden included both Version 1.0 of DoubleTalk and a Version 1.1 updater. I had installed both and so was running Version 1.1. Consulting the documentation that came with Version 1.1 (excellent, by the way), I discovered that Version 1.1 added support for something called the DoubleTalk Mounter, a capability that is functionally identical to Dave’s Add Shares button.

Available from DoubleTalk’s control strip module, the Mounter pops up a dialog that allows you to directly type in the names of shares that you want to mount. These are the same share names discussed in Part 1 of this series, in the “blank list of shares” portion of the Dave description.

There is one caveat. The names have to be entered as fully qualified network names, including both the computer name and the share name on that computer, together as a single path name. The computer name is the name you assigned to the PC in its Network Control Panel, preceded by two back slashes, and the share name is the same share name mentioned above. Putting this together, for the PC named Dualpro200, and the share on that computer named DP200-SMB, the fully qualified path name would be “\\Dualpro200\DP200-SMB”.

Just as with Dave, one by one I entered the share names of interest into the DoubleTalk Mounter:

DoubleTalk Mounter

and DoubleTalk took them all.

Networking with DoubleTalk: Mac to PC

Once the above was taken care of, mounting PC shares was a simple and seamless exercise with Chooser, identical in operation to Mac OS based server connections.
Reading and writing files on the Windows machine was an intuitive exercise in drag and drop and was identical to doing the same with Mac files and folders. All in all, DoubleTalk provides a very simple and usable experience that achieved the desired result of trading files between a Classic Mac and a Windows machine, if only in one direction. Mac to PC networking via DoubleTalk was up and running!

DP200SMB on Desktop

Networking with DoubleTalk – Summary

With Mac to PC networking fully up and running, I can now summarize the recipe for success with DoubleTalk:

  • On the PC side, make sure that you have one or more shared folders, and take note of the “Share Name” name you assign to each. Keep the filename of each shared folder to 12 characters or less.
  • Still on the PC side, if you CANNOT keep the share names to 12 characters or less (perhaps the machine is not under your control), compensate for this on the Macintosh side. On the Macintosh side, when you use Chooser to select the PC, if you are greeted with a blank list of available shares, use DoubleTalk’s Mounter to manually add the shares whose names you took note of in the last step.

    If you have to use Mounter to add your shares, you will have to repeat this step each time unfortunately. Unlike Dave, DoubleTalk does not remember the names between sessions.

  • That’s it! Apply the above and you should be happily networking between a Macintosh running DoubleTalk and a PC running Windows NT 4.0.

Closing Thoughts

That’s it! This completes our roundup of “classic” solutions to the Mac-Windows file sharing need. In Part 1 of this series, we have looked at Thursby’s Dave and in this post, Part 2 of the series, we have looked at Connectix’s DoubleTalk. This author recommends Thursby’s Dave for people wishing to network their classic Mac with a Windows machine, but as we have seen above, Connectix DoubleTalk does a very able job as well, albeit in one direction only.

In the next post in this series, we will look at using a Mac OS Classic FTP server to enable Windows (and Linux as well!) to access files on a Mac, complemented by a Mac OS Classic FTP client to enable the same in reverse. Until then, Happy Networking with EITHER Dave or DoubleTalk!