Mac OS 7.1 CZ, Serial Cable and File Share

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I’ve installed a new “hard disk” in my PowerBook 100 a few months ago. However, until now, there was no time to install an operating system other than the primitive System 6.0.8E that I used in the floppy-only mode. My goal was to have a Czech version that would allow me to read and write documents with our unique letters like Ř/ř. With a help of my friend, I got the floppy images of Mac OS 7.1 CZ and was able to copy them on real floppies (using my modern iBook G4 and a generic USB drive).

Working with old Macs can be painful due to use of file metadata (called resource forks) that can be lost very easily. Old Mac apps insist on this metadata and refuse to open a file if metadata is lost. Having a modern Mac is always handy to prevent these situations.

I don’t have a Mac serial cable. However, I recently bought two adapters for the conversion from Mac/SGI 8-pin mini-DIN to PC DB9. Connecting these adapters to a standard null-modem on both sides worked well and I was able to copy programs and documents from another old Mac. I’ve also managed copying files from/to a modern Windows PC. I pack the files into a ZIP file (to preserve resource forks) inside a Mac emulator and copy it using ZMODEM.

Expanded Sinclair QL

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This is my Sinclair QL setup. It is 0.9 meters wide when a 512kB RAM expansion, floppy controller and floppy drive are connected. You need a really big desk for this.

Sinclair QL, Motorola 68008 and Microdrive

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A friend of mine sent me one Sinclair QL in a big box with manuals and accessories (ROM modules, floppy controller, IDE controller, 512k RAM expansion, RS232 adapter) because I wanted to test it using our benchmark and compare the results with 8088 in PC and Motorola 68000 in Amiga 500.

Sinclair equipped the computer with Motorola 68008. The standard 68000 CPU has a 16-bit data bus, but this smaller version has it only eight bits wide. The rest is the same so there are 32-bit CPU registers and 16-bit ALU. Using the narrowed data bus was an understandable way to make computers cheaper. IBM PC 5150/5160 has also its data bus eight bits wide. On the other side Intel 8088, unlike Motorola 68008, has a small prefetch queue so there should be smaller performance loss in comparison with a standard version of the chip.

I’ve never done anything with Sinclair QL so this is my first time. I’m quite surprised that the keyboard is mechanically much better than the one on Sinclair Spectrum+ (which looks almost the same). Also two integrated Microdrive units are easy to use and surprisingly fast. Each tape can hold 100kB of data and having two drives allows for easy tape copy.

Amiga 2000

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This is my only professional Amiga at home. Amiga 2000 is the first Amiga that has big case which is ready for inserting additional cards. In addition to Amiga-specific slots there are also standard 8-bit ISA slots known from IBM PC. However to enable them you have to insert a special PC emulation card which had price set to about a half of whole A2000 (basic one with 1 MB RAM and no hard drive).

The original one (which you can see above) is equipped with 4,7 MHz 8088 CPU, 512 kB RAM and CGA compatible video adapter. This card was bundled with PC-compatible 360kB 5.25” floppy drive, however there is emulation layer that allows you to share Amiga floppy/hard drives so it is not necessary.

This puppy is still waiting for some performance tests but it’s in a working condition.