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The Mac Plus Project
What can you still do with 20 year old computer? You might be surprised!

Getting Started:

My buddy Richard, the tech support guy for a rural school district near my home town told me that the school was getting rid of their old computers. Me being the tight-wad that I am, quickly ran over and picked up 2 truck loads of computers, saving them from a landfill. In this group of surplus machines were some 24 Apple Macintosh Plus computers. Complete with keyboard, and mouse. After testing these machines, I found that many still worked!

But what the heck was I going to do with these old machines? The were nearly 20 years old, most being made in 1986 or 1987, and the newest ones were from 1991. They had no internal hard drive, the floppy drives were 800k NOT 1.44MB drives, the processors were a mere 8mhz, and the RAM on most were 1MB. The screen is black and white, not even grayscale! Some of the machine had issues with the analog boards or the screens so I robbed them for parts.

Now I had a core of 15 machines that boot and work great. I learned how to upgrade the RAM to a whopping 4mb. [this required the removal of a resistor from the logic board!] Apple now allows you to download their old operating systems, including the ones that came with these machines, System 6. I also learned that a lot of people love these old Macs too. And several online resources are available for these vintage Macs.

I gave one of the better machines to Herb. He use to run the Mac Plus as a MIDI controller, and was very fond of the Macintosh 6.x.x operating system. He quickly upgraded the RAM, and researched a way to boot his Mac Plus from an old SCSI Iomega Zip 100 Drive. He sent me some music he made from the Mac Plus, ah, what fun to try and do things on the Plus.

Herb helped me get my favorite Mac Plus booting from a Zip Disk, and with 4MB of RAM, and System 6.0.8, these little machines surprisingly fast and easy to use!

I'm searching for old educational games for my 4 year old daughter to play, and me being a big Dark Castle fan, I now have a machine I can play this old favorite on.

Now the challenge is to get the Mac Plus online, build a web page, send an email, FTP the web page to my server, and get Microsoft Office running!

How does all this fit into a web page that is all about props? Well, the Macintosh Plus was featured in the 1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home movie. In the film, Mr. Scott uses a Mac Plus to illustrate the molecular structure of transparent aluminum. I'm not sure this was a real Mac screen used for the sequence or not but the impression was that of a Hypercard Stack, and a very early illustration of quicktime video. My goal is to either find or create this same animation sequence and display that on the Mac Plus. Sort of my tribute to the late James 'Scotty' Doohan.

Finding Hypercard is a trick. Finding the actual HC Stack used is hard, and may not even exists. Recreating the sequence is the challenge, and my require me to learn a vintage programming language, Hypercard.


More information to come for now, here are some pics:

Here is the Mac Plus And a shot of Dark Castle Running!



Last update, Sept. 30, 2005

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