Apr 022021

Stephen Hackett, the mastermind whose 512 Pixels is the home of the Aqua Screenshot Library (featured in my last post) has provided us with another beautiful treat, a catalog of every default wallpaper from Mac OS 10.0 “Cheetah” through macOS 11 “Big Sur.” Not only are they all downloadable, they are rendered in beautiful 5K resolution, so they will look great on your Retina display.

It’s a delightful way to visually travel through 20 years of the operating system that revolutionized the Macintosh user experience beyond anyone’s imagination back in 2001. And for those of us with a fondness for Mac OS 9, he’s got you covered with similar versions of those which are guaranteed to bring back memories of the 5 flavor translucent iMacs in brilliant lime, grape, strawberry, and tangerine. And blue dalmatian and flower power, of course.

Oct 022018

I was recently reminded of a fabulous online archive by a notice that it had been updated to include images from Mac OS 10.14 (aka “Mojave”).

Stephen Hackett, author of 512 Pixels, has compiled a brilliant collection of images from each version of Mac OS X, beginning with the first public beta version (“Kodiak”) through each major upgrade. Each version features a page of screenshots of various aspects of the interface, including the dock, applications, system preferences, and much more. It truly is a veritable time machine that enables you to explore the history of the Mac OS X interface as it has evolved since the first public beta version in September of 2000.

Set aside some time to explore and appreciate the depth of detail in the Aqua Screenshot Library. If you start at the beginning you can join the original beta testers in wondering why there was an Apple in the center of the menubar (that didn’t do anything).

Apr 172017

You are probably already well aware of archive.org as the amazing time machine that lets you view web sites the way they were years, even decades ago. It is actually much more, and one feature for lovers of classic Mac computing is the Mac Software Library they just added.

This isn’t just a gallery of screenshots – this is a way to experience classic Mac software like MacWrite, Dark Castle, Lemmings, and many more by playing them in your web browser. If you’ve been longing to relive computing in the 80’s and 90’s in glorious bitmapped monochrome, you’re in luck. You don’t need to find a compact beige Mac with a working floppy disk drive or install an emulator like Sheepshaver on your MacBook Air. Just point your browser to https://archive.org/details/softwarelibrary_mac and get ready for a trip down memory lane. Caution: you should probably allot a good amount of time in advance.

I plan to have my teenager spend some time playing some of these to better appreciate the gaming experience they enjoy now!

May 272014


image courtesy Wikipedia

Even though I have been using Macs for most of the three decades they have been around, I’ve never had a chance to use an Apple Lisa, the famous predecessor to the Macintosh that cost a cool $10K back in 1983 (or nearly $24K in today’s inflated dollars).

And while I’ve always wanted to add one to my collection of classic Apple computers, I’ve never had an affordable opportunity to purchase a working model. Thankfully modern technology allows us an opportunity travel back in time and experience using an Apple Lisa via a brilliant emulator written by Ray Arechelian. Thom Holwerda wrote about it on OSNews today and stirred up lots of new interest for LisaEm that appears to have been dormant since 2008. Be sure to check out the comments to see remarks from Ray who has apparently been coaxed into resurrecting the project with several offers of assistance.

Explore Ray’s site for the full story about his efforts to develop a software version of Lisa. If you are blessed to have a real Lisa and need help with troubleshooting it the Lisa FAQ is extensive. His Lisa Sites section includes a vast number of links to other Lisa-related sites and resources. I’ll be checking them out myself after I finish the steps to install LisaEm and find out what it was like to experience the Apple Lisa back in 1983.


Apr 212010

6.0.8 system startup window

I took a few moments to launch Mini vMac and play with Mac OS 6.08 on my MacBook Pro that runs Snow Leopard. Since Snow Leopard will not let you write to or create HFS disk images I was limited to what was available on the 6.08 Disk Tools disk, namely the venerable Disk First Aid and Apple HD SC Setup.

I was very proud of myself for remembering that there is a secret key combination to expose the logging window of DFA so you can see what it is doing. Back in the early days DFA just worked it’s magic and expected you to wait patiently for the watch cursor to disappear and the application to report it’s cryptic results.

If you press Command-S while DFA is open a window underneath appears that displays the status of the DFA processes. Since this always begins  and ends with a date/time stamp and the message “Scavenging begun” or “Scavenging ended” I presume Command-S was chosen to display the Scavenging process.

Disk First Aid 1.4.3

Disk First Aid 1.4.3 with secret window revealed

Later versions of Disk First Aid by default display the disk examination and repair process, but back in the System 6 days you had to know the magical keycode to watch its inner workings as it churned away performing its diagnostics and repair.