Questions tagged [apple-macintosh]

For questions about Apple's Macintosh line of computers.

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Did Apple not originally allow anyone to develop software for the Macintosh?

This probably nearly belongs on Skeptics.SE but here goes. Within the last few years I've become an Apple convert for the most part, which occasionally brings me into (usually) good natured conflict ...
Tom Kidd's user avatar
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53 votes
10 answers
11k views

Why was preemptive multitasking so slow in coming to consumer OS's?

Preemptive (rather than cooperative) multitasking was a highly-touted feature for PC's in 1996, with its inclusion in Windows 95 for the first time. It was also highly-touted for 2001 Macs when ...
Brian H's user avatar
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51 votes
16 answers
19k views

How was it back then in 1984, when the Apple II had color, and the new Macintosh didn't?

I imagine it being a huge downgrade for some, not to have color on the Macintosh. Macintosh games were black and white in the beginning, while Apple II had color. I'm especially interested in ...
Johannes Bittner's user avatar
28 votes
6 answers
9k views

How did the early Macintosh computers update the display?

This question is about the Macintosh 128k, but if you can give an answer which describes one of the other very similar machines, that's good too. The bitmap was 512 by 384 pixels. Assuming that one ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
28 votes
3 answers
8k views

Why was MacOS unix certified?

As I understand it most Linux distros adhere to the UNIX specifications while only a few actually get UNIX certified. If plenty of Linux distros can happily adhere to the standard without being ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
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26 votes
2 answers
7k views

How did the "Programmer's Switch" work on early Macintosh Computers?

The early Apple Macintosh computers (original Mac, Mac 512K, Mac Plus) all came with a "Programmer's Switch" installed on the side. I believe this persisted for a long time, with the switch ...
Brian H's user avatar
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26 votes
3 answers
3k views

Linux 68k Macintosh emulator

I'm currently using the absolutely ancient "Fusion" emulator to emulate a 68k Macintosh (specifically, a Quadra 700), but it only runs under MS-DOS, so I'm using a VirtualBox VM to emulate that. I'd ...
Mark's user avatar
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25 votes
5 answers
7k views

How do you open an SE/30? (a.k.a. what is a "pull-apart tool"?)

I have been trying to work out how to open a Mac SE/30, in order to have a better look at its internal condition. I have the repair manual, and in the "Take Apart" section it references a "pull-apart ...
felixphew's user avatar
  • 612
25 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why do all the Speech Synthesizers have that same Voice?

The first time I ever played with software speech synthesis on a microcomputer (not hardware synthesis, like in TI's Speak & Spell) was around 1983, using S.A.M for the Commodore 64. A year later,...
Brian H's user avatar
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24 votes
9 answers
10k views

How did early computers handle mice?

Early computer mice worked by sending a series of pulses; the more rapid the movement, the higher the frequency. How was this handled at the computer end? At one level, it sounds easy: just run a loop,...
rwallace's user avatar
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22 votes
3 answers
3k views

Glitch in the display of a Mac SE/30

I found an old Macintosh SE/30 in the basement and fired it up recently, only to find that there's some kind of problem with the built-in CRT. I don't really know how to describe it, though. Can ...
maldata's user avatar
  • 331
21 votes
5 answers
3k views

How and why did Intel make the PCI bus "CPU Agnostic"?

Intel invented the original 32/64-bit PCI bus in the early 1990s to replace the decade old ISA bus used in PC's. It was immediately popular (in comparison to Micro Channel or EISA), being both faster ...
Brian H's user avatar
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21 votes
4 answers
3k views

How did 68k-based Macs (or other contemporary systems) detect how much RAM was installed?

If I upgraded, say, a Macintosh II with larger SIMMs, naturally the machine detected that additional RAM. But how did it perform that check? Does it simply sweep all addresses until it fails? Or ...
user18197's user avatar
  • 213
21 votes
5 answers
3k views

Was 1991's Hellcats the first instance of incremental screen updates?

In case you have never seen it, 1991's Hellcats was a seminal release on the Mac. It ran at full 8-bit color and could, on a newish machine, drive three 1024x768 screens at the same time. Nothing on ...
Maury Markowitz's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
3k views

What causes the traces to wrinkle like this and should I be worried

I have a Macintosh SE in my collection and I noticed these odd looking traces on the mainboard. Not quite sure what to think of it
yanagibashi's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why did nobody ever succeed in "clean room" cloning the Apple Macintosh?

As is well recorded, in the PC/MS-DOS world, Compaq and Phoenix (among others) successfully "clean-room" implemented their own versions of the IBM BIOS, thus opening the door to the PC clone ...
dgnuff's user avatar
  • 495
20 votes
2 answers
1k views

Unknown Apple to VGA adapter

I've got this Apple to VGA adapter. I cannot remember what model this is for: it has got a male DB-15 pin connector at one side, and female DE-15 connector at the other side. As you can see, it has ...
mcleod_ideafix's user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
4k views

What was the first C compiler for the Mac?

When did a C compiler first become commercially available for the Apple Macintosh? And what was its name? The only programming languages that I recall were available for the Mac at launch (January ...
hotpaw2's user avatar
  • 8,183
18 votes
3 answers
2k views

How did the original Apple Macintosh and Atari ST use protected mode?

The Macintosh, ST, and Amiga were all 68000 CPU systems released in 1984-85, along with their respective new Operating Systems. While this was 5 years before protected mode became commonplace on Intel ...
Brian H's user avatar
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18 votes
1 answer
1k views

Did the Macintosh Classic series use DMA to display video?

I'm learning more and more on how the original Macintosh series worked. I can't, however, find information in my research on how the Mac's video generator accessed the video RAM. My assumption is ...
cbmeeks's user avatar
  • 8,531
17 votes
4 answers
2k views

A good method for formatting a modern device in HFS (Not HFS+)

I started this project ages ago and it's just been sitting on my bench for ever. I have this old MacIIci and I put a LAN card in it, maxed out the memory, has the turbo proc in it. The next step I ...
Digital Shiba's user avatar
17 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why did 3.5" floppies win (and not another size)?

It's an open question whether desktops would've kept using 5.25" until the end of the floppy era, but laptops meant something smaller was going to be introduced; that much was essentially ...
rwallace's user avatar
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16 votes
5 answers
3k views

Did the original Macintosh not have any MIDI or similar music capabilities?

The original version of Shadowgate for the Macintosh is an eerie experience after you have played the NES version, with its amazing soundtrack. The Mac version is entirely mute, save for some random ...
user27284's user avatar
  • 161
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

How did the classic Macintosh come to use Eurocard connectors?

Almost all of the mainstream classic desktop computers that had internal slots relied on the card-edge type of connector. The classic Macintosh computers were one exception to this "rule" (...
Brian H's user avatar
  • 60.8k
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

What was the design of the Macintosh II's MMU replacement?

I am in the process of repairing a Macintosh II and trying to understand the design rationale behind Apple's MMU replacement part installed in this machine. As you can see in the picture, there is a ...
Brian H's user avatar
  • 60.8k
14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Original Mac capacitor inspection

Which capacitors should be inspected and, if necessary, replaced before attempting to power up an original Mac (purchased January 1984, but "upgraded" to a 512Ke) that has been sitting unused for a ...
hotpaw2's user avatar
  • 8,183
14 votes
4 answers
10k views

How do I run PowerPC Applications on an Intel Mac

Apple created a dynamic binary translator called Rosetta and bundled it into their OS X operating system. As of OS 10.7, however, Rosetta was removed, and PowerPC applications are no longer supported ...
JAL's user avatar
  • 9,502
14 votes
1 answer
715 views

Which FPU for my Mac?

I have an LC III that has been overclocked to 33.3 MHz. I'm not sure what speed FPU I should buy - do I match the clock speed, or the bus speed? What kind of FPU should I put in this one?
acolchagoff's user avatar
  • 1,231
13 votes
4 answers
2k views

What were the most common software distribution formats for MacOS Classic?

What were the most common formats for distributing applications for System 6/7-era MacOS Classic? Were applications distributed on floppies/CDs or online/via FTP/via BBSs? And what format were ...
gorgo's user avatar
  • 358
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

What was the significance of the cursive 'ƒ' in an application name?

I feel like I used to know the answer to this... In classic Mac days, probably the early 90s and before, some applications would have a cursive / decorative ƒ character in their names. What was the ...
Coxy's user avatar
  • 286
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Apple II GS versus Mac Plus cost

I just came across a fascinating video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7h4tepFbMso&t=78s which makes a coherent case - I don't feel I can pass a final verdict on whether he's right or wrong, but a ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61k
13 votes
2 answers
816 views

Creating an System Extension (INIT) for classic Mac OS

I have some old Macs that I would like to remove their clock batteries so that I don't have to worry about them leaking and destroying logic boards. That being said I do want to operate them from time ...
acolchagoff's user avatar
  • 1,231
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

How can I build Gameboy Development Kit 2.1.5 on a modern Unix/Mac platform?

Continuing with my quest to build the Infinity Game Boy Color source code, I am trying to build the Unix source of GBDK 2.1.5 on my macOS El Capitan machine. Trying to make the files in the lib ...
JAL's user avatar
  • 9,502
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Writing 800k Mac floppy images for 1.44M-equipped Macs using Linux

If you have Macintosh filesystem image of an 800k boot disk, but your physical Mac has a 1.44M SuperDrive, how can you produce a physical disk that can boot that Mac?
knghtbrd's user avatar
  • 1,039
12 votes
4 answers
5k views

Does DB15 actually exist?

I have found a Macintosh Quadra 700 recently, together with an Apple High-Resolution RGB Monitor and want to try out if they are functional. Since both came out slightly before my generation, I am ...
kopaka's user avatar
  • 223
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

Which Apple floppy drive is compatible on both Apple IIc and Macintosh

I have an old Apple IIc (not Plus) and an old Macintosh Plus (1MB RAM). I want to buy an external 3.5 inch floppy drive that works on both machines, that way I don't need two different drives around ...
Tom Shen's user avatar
  • 607
12 votes
1 answer
755 views

How are File Timestamps recorded in classic Mac OS?

When I save a file it has a 'Created At' and 'Updated At' Value saved as well. I would like to know HOW these values are saved? Are they saved as an integer representing a number of seconds since 1904?...
acolchagoff's user avatar
  • 1,231
12 votes
5 answers
865 views

What was this almost-magic Mac data conversion tool?

In the mid 1990s I was working for a large construction/engineering consultancy. We'd often engage the services of an acoustic consultant who used a wonderful piece of software to convert all manner ...
scruss's user avatar
  • 21.6k
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Was the Mac XL hardware different from the last versions of the Lisa?

The Lisa was a fairly impressive platform for the day. In comparison to the original Macintosh, the two did have different displays and aspect ratios but the Lisa also had additional hardware such as ...
bjb's user avatar
  • 16.3k
11 votes
5 answers
3k views

Was there a way to play an hourly custom sound on Macs circa 1985-1995?

I have a memory of my dad's old Macintosh playing a custom sound every hour. It was his a capella rendition of the Westminster Quarters. This was decades ago and my memory could be faulty. Was this ...
Atomic Tripod's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
690 views

Building hello world on a Macintosh IIfx with MPW

I'm trying to compile a hello world object using MPW... I've created a file called hello.c on my desktop, contents are as follows: #include <stdio.h> int main(void){ printf("hello world!\...
acolchagoff's user avatar
  • 1,231
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Classic Mac OS colors to modern RGB

I want to find a way to convert RGB colors used by classic Mac OS to RGB colors that are understandable to modern image editors and to web browsers. The two palettes that are subjects of my interest ...
yrslv2022's user avatar
  • 113
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Side-scrolling shooter game for the Macintosh from the 1990s

I'm trying to find an early to mid 90s Macintosh game. It was a side scrolling shooter in the style of R Type. You flew a spaceship that looked vaguely like the USS Enterprise from Star Trek, albeit ...
hexamon's user avatar
  • 325
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

How does the Mac SE/30 send video to the analog board?

I can't seem to find where the video signals leave the digital board of my Mac SE/30 and travel to the analog board that is connected to the monitor. I even searched for pinouts online but I guess my ...
cbmeeks's user avatar
  • 8,531
11 votes
1 answer
753 views

Did the original Shadowgate for the Macintosh (1987) not have "take" or "leave" command?

I'm very familiar with what I consider to be the "real" version of Shadowgate -- the NES port. Today, I noticed this screenshot from the actual original: There is no "take" or &...
Loai Hopen's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
491 views

Was Apple's automatic disk ejection mechanism patented?

I always though it was an awesome idea, but no one ever copied it. Even if more complicated than a standard eject mechanism, I guess it should not have been so outrageously expensive not to be ...
user180940's user avatar
  • 3,716
11 votes
2 answers
3k views

Resources for developing in Classic Mac OS MPW?

I'm learning about IDEs and software development on Mac OS Classic systems and recently discovered Macintosh Programmer's Workshop. Navigating to a cached version of the old MPW Tools page on Apple's ...
JAL's user avatar
  • 9,502
10 votes
6 answers
3k views

How prevalent is the CR (classic MacOS) line ending today? [closed]

In a parser library I am maintaining, I stopped recognizing singular Carriage Return characters as line endings to reduce complexity in the tokenizer's position tracking code, a perennial source of ...
Theodore Tsirpanis's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
869 views

What HyperCard extensions did Myst use?

The original Macintosh version of Myst was written in HyperCard. According to https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20549685 Adding useful features, such as uploading those HTML files to a web server, ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61k
10 votes
3 answers
678 views

What source-code management tools were available for Classic Mac OS development?

I've been reacquainting myself with classic Mac OS programming (e.g. the Toolbox, MacsBug, THINK Pascal/C, etc.) and became curious how software engineering best practices were ...practiced... using ...
David Rubin's user avatar