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

I was working in software development at the time, and this wasn't seen as a problem. Colour monitors were expensive and not usually high-quality. In PC-compatibles, the Colour Graphics Adapter (...
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90 votes
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Did Apple not originally allow anyone to develop software for the Macintosh?

This is most certainly a myth. There was no conspiracy by Steve Jobs or Apple to prevent third-parties from engaging with the ecosystem that would eventually flourish for Classic Macintosh ...
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47 votes

How did the early Macintosh computers update the display?

TL;DR: Exactly as you assume. The CPU shovelled the data around, even way slower than your calculation suggests, and everyone was happy about the high speed with which it happened :) To be honest, I'...
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43 votes

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

The Mac was designed from the start to be a GUI-based machine so clear, high-resolution graphics were a requirement. At the same time available memory was extremely limited due to cost considerations....
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41 votes
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Why do all the Speech Synthesizers have that same Voice?

The ones you list are all S.A.M, from what is now SoftVoice Inc. It was developed first for the Apple II, Lisa, Atari 8-bit machines and the Commodore 64; based on awareness of those versions, the ...
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37 votes

What was the first C compiler for the Mac?

The Early Days As you said, the most important languages on the Mac in its early days were Microsoft's BASIC, Pascal, and, of course, 68000 assembly. The Macintosh's System Software and ROMs were ...
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37 votes
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Glitch in the display of a Mac SE/30

As comments on the question already suggest, it looks quite like an address fault when video memory is read. While the picture is not really great, I'd say: Blocks of 8 lines are visible, so it must ...
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37 votes

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. Yes and no. While the switch was there, it was on the ...
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33 votes

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

The premise of his argument was that Apple could have ruled the world with the Macintosh (as in, Windows/IBM Compatibles wouldn't have had a 90% or whatever market share) but Steve Jobs was just too ...
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33 votes

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. For back then the whole assumption ...
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33 votes
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How did early computers handle mice?

How exactly did early computers like the Amiga, Atari ST and Macintosh handle the mouse while also carrying out demanding tasks? In case of Amiga and Atari ST it was achieved by not low level ...
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30 votes

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

Memory protection. It's not that preemptive multi-tasking is expensive, or hard. It's not. It's easy. It costs (or can cost) essentially the same as cooperative multitasking. You have to save process ...
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30 votes
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How did the early Macintosh computers update the display?

There were three important design aspects of the original Macintosh that allowed the relatively limited video display hardware to provide a pleasing user experience in terms of the performance of its ...
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30 votes
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How did the classic Macintosh come to use Eurocard connectors?

I’m not sure the Macintosh II designers chose the connector as such, but rather the bus, NuBus, developed at MIT and documented by Texas Instruments (Document No. TI-2242825-0001, published in 1983). ...
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26 votes

What was the first computer malware that could infect Mac systems?

The very first virus might have been nVir of 1987 Although technically not one, nVir worked much like a boot sector virus. Its source code did circulate on BBSes very soon after, leading to short ...
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25 votes
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How did the original Apple Macintosh and Atari ST use protected mode?

The (plain) 68k never had anything directly comparable to the Intel x86 range's Protected Mode. When Intel introduced the Protected mode (PM) to its x86 range of CPUs, this lifted a number of ...
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25 votes
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Why did 3.5" floppies win (and not another size)?

So the way Wikipedia puts it, sounds like the decision was basically made by committee. And that's what it was - and what made it succeed. A standardized disk format with a drive interface ...
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25 votes
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What causes the traces to wrinkle like this and should I be worried

They were most likely wrinkled like that from the start, due to the way they were manufactured, and thus you should not be worried. Until the mid-90s, boards often went through an HASL, or "hot air ...
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24 votes

Were Mac systems faster than Windows in processing performance?

Why Mac systems were always faster than Windows in processing performance? Mind to give any proof to this claim? According to various Benchmarks, the PCs usually outperform Macs of the same time. ...
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24 votes

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

The "programmer's switch" is more technically known as the NMI (Non Maskable Interrupt) switch. It is mapped to a priority 7 interrupt on the 68K CPU, which means it is capable of ...
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23 votes

Linux 68k Macintosh emulator

Preface As Stephen rightly points out in his comment, SheepShaver only emulates PowerPC, and so it is not a valid suggestion for your 68K-based question. From SheepShaver's home page However, you ...
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23 votes

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

The first set of Inside Macintosh books was about 1000 pages of documentation covering everything you needed to write a Macintosh application, and was available from the beginning. It didn't only ...
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23 votes
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Why was preemptive multitasking so slow in coming to consumer OS's?

Speaking for the Macintosh here. TL;DR: It wasn't possible to do this in a compatible manner after the hardware was capable enough. Compatible to the already existing application base. You'll need to ...
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21 votes
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How do you open an SE/30? (a.k.a. what is a "pull-apart tool"?)

There was, at one time, a custom tool for this job called the "Mac Cracker" and Apple provided their own to dealers and authorized repair shops. In essence, what you need is a long handled Torx T15 ...
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21 votes

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

Short Answer: At the time PCI was devised, the x86 bus had already gone a long way toward being less chip specific. PCI is maybe a clean design, but some choices for signals are still 'intelish' ...
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20 votes
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What was the significance of the cursive 'ƒ' in an application name?

It wasn’t typically in the application’s name, it was in the name of the folder containing the application, and used to mean “folder.” For example, the folder containing SurfWriter, its Apple Guide ...
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20 votes

How did the early Macintosh computers update the display?

As others have said, refreshing the whole screen in a fraction of a second was considered blindingly fast at that time. The Mac's biggest early advantage, though, was the QuickDraw framework. This ...
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  • 2,686
20 votes
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How did 68k-based Macs (or other contemporary systems) detect how much RAM was installed?

Yes, part of the POST sequence (which occurs before the display lights up) is a simple memory test which also serves to detect how much RAM is present. The Mac then sets up the hardware and its ...
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  • 16.1k
19 votes

Linux 68k Macintosh emulator

Basilisk II works well on Linux (it's even packaged for Debian) and provides most of the features you're looking for. I know I've used the following: 68040 emulation; host filesystem access inside ...
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19 votes
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Will any serial mouse connect to Classic Macs?

The pre-ADB Macintoshes use a simple quadrature-encoded mouse input, no formal serial protocol. Quadrature encoding is a simple, physical process, that lends itself to a convenient cheat if you're ...
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