ReStuff

StuffIt is the de-facto standard for file archiving and compression on Mac OS before OS X. Most old Macintosh software is preserved in StuffIt format, but a format change in StuffIt 5 makes archives created in this version unreadable in older versions of StuffIt. Since StuffIt 3.5 is the last version that works on System 6, many archives cannot be opened on compact Macs running System 6.

ReStuff is a SaaS that automatically converts StuffIt version 4 & 5 archives to a format readable in StuffIt 3.

This tool solves a big problem I’ve run in to getting software for my vintage gear.

Joshua Stein also has a C Programming on System 6 video series where he’s trying to make an IMAP client for System 6.

Audion 4.0

Once upon a time, we made one of the earliest MP3 players for the Mac, Audion. We’ve come to appreciate that Audion captured a special moment in time, and we’ve been trying to preserve its history. Back in March, we revealed that we were working on converting Audion faces to a more modern format so they could be preserved.

Today, we’d like to give you the chance to experience these faces yourself on any Mac running 10.12 or later.

Now, this isn’t a full-fledged return of Audion. It can play music files and streams, but it doesn’t have playlists, and we’re not offering support for it. Its primary purpose is to view faces in the converted format. In addition, we’re releasing the source code to document how these faces work and an archive of converted faces.

I love seeing the Audion icon bounce to life on my dock again.

Little Things That Made Amiga Great

In a time when home PCs were single tasking DOS boxes with 8 character file names and Ataris and Macs were single tasking GUI boxes, hampering any hacker with their glaring lack of a CLI, the Amiga was a champion of both worlds: It combined the CLI and GUI, leveraging both their strengths. But there was more to it than that, something that’s hard to convey in so many words.

Working from home at 25MHz: You could do worse than a Quadra 700 (even in 2020)

Despite these shortcomings, the Quadra 700 reinforced some of the same conclusions from my timing roadtesting a refurbished Macintosh IIsi some time ago. The gap between an ‘040 powered Mac and modern PCs doesn’t feel nearly as wide as it should. This computer was released almost 30 years ago. On paper, it should be inconceivable that this can at all fit into a modern workflow. Present-day computers are gigascale monstrosities that should smoke something as old and plucky as the Quadra. And yet, they just… don’t.

Computers today weld supercomputer levels of power by the standards of the Quadra 700, but they don’t seem any faster in terms of responsiveness for the end user doing normal tasks like typing in a word processor.

Dan Luu measured response latency in some vintage modern hardware and the results are surprising.

New Hardware: Summer 2020

My original plans for 2020 were to write more and complete projects. And you would think that being locked up in a house all spring and summer would be the perfect time to do those things. However, I have kids and a job that increased in demand due to the circumstances, and so my projects were put on hold.

I’ve got a handle on things now and have made a few new purchases this summer: a NeXTstation Color Turbo, Commodore 64 and an Amiga 500.