• archive,  linux,  mac os x,  windows

    Archiving CDs and DVDs with .ISO Files

    I wanted to start going through my Apple, Palm, and Microsoft CDs and DVDs and convert them to .ISO files for backup and archival purposes. In a way, I wanted to give back to the Internet for being able to download and use floppy disk archives of Apple II, 68k Macintosh, and Newton software.

    This post will outline the steps to create an ISO 9660 archive disc image file.

    I will be using my Mac Studio (M1 Max CPU, macOS Ventura 13.2), an Apple USB SuperDrive with an Apple USB-C to USB adapter, and the Disk Utility program.

    Here is my .ISO image file capture process:

    Step 1: Connect the SuperDrive and insert your disc.

    Step 2: Launch Disk Utility and select the disc from the pane on the left.

        Step 3: In the Save As dialog box, enter a title for your .ISO file, and set Format = DVD/CD master.

        Step 4: Click the Save button.

        Step 5: Open Terminal and then run the following command:

        hdiutil convert /home/username/original.cdr -format UDTO -o /home/username/destination.iso

        where /home/username/original.cdr is the Save As path and filename from Step 3 and where /home/username/destination.iso is the hdiutil .ISO file output path and filename

        Step 6: Rename the file so that .iso is the only filename extension.

        Step 7: Test out your .ISO image by mounting it on another Mac, a Windows PC, or Linux machine.

        Don’t forget to preserve any important information in companion files, such as the full software title, CD keys or serial numbers that are necessary to re-install the software, and version numbers and publication dates. Bonus points are awarded if you go the extra mile and scan the face of the CD/DVD, packing materials, or paperwork that came with the disc.

      1. macintosh,  retro computing

        Apple Macintosh 12-Inch RGB Display

        Better get a Band-Aid because I don’t think a Magic Eraser can buff that out!

        I purchased a Macintosh LC III (1993), the companion Macintosh 12-inch RGB Display (1990), and an ImageWriter II printer (1985). What can I say? The Mac had an Apple IIe Card (1992) installed.

        One of the things that you will inevitably have to deal with when you get into retro computing is tracking down technical information about the equipment to repair and service it.

        As for my monitor, well, as you can see from the picture above, old brittle plastics don’t always hold up to the stress of being shipped around the country. I’m using PAPPP’s blog post to help me take apart and get inside my monitor so I can replace the CRT housing.

        I wanted to share the information that I collected and downloaded. Hopefully, if you are looking for more information about the 12-inch RGB Display that has found its way to you, this will help.

        Apple Macintosh 12-inch RGB Display: Technical Specifications

        Apple Monitors and Mass Storage Service Guide from October 1992

        LowEndMac.com’s Macintosh 12″ RGB Display write up, including a list of compatible Mac models and product details.

        PAPPP’s Rambling – Apple 12″ Macintosh RGB Monitor Recap discusses how to open and replace leaking electrolytic capacitors.

        Console5 Apple 12-inch RGB Display Recap Kit contains all the replacement capacitors necessary to service the display.

        Good luck with your repair! A serviced CRT display is one less CRT display headed for a landfill!

      2. laser,  vtech

        The Laser 3000, My First Computer [Updated]

        VTech Laser 3000 via Bytecellar.com

        Thomas Fuchs, @thomasfuchs on Mastodon, posed the question, “What was your first #computer?

        Seems like a good time as any to post my reply, both on my blog and to my Mastodon account.

        My first computer was the VTech Laser 3000. It was an Apple II “compatible”. I learned, by playing games, “Apple II compatible”, felt more like an Apple II or Apple II+ compatible rather than being an Apple //e compatible. This was likely due to the software that had to be reversed engineered to make the computer work. Interesting, the Laser 3000 manual has been scanned an uploaded to the Internet Archive if you are interested in that sort of thing. The Laser 3000 was followed up by the Apple IIc clone, the Laser 128.

        I remember getting the Laser 3000 for Christmas 1985. Or was it 1986? In any case, it was the “family” computer. Any preconceived notion about who’s computer it was were dispelled by the reality of who’s bedroom the computer ended up in. In addition to the computer itself, we also had an amber screen CRT monitor, the external floppy drive, and an Epson LX-86 dot matrix printer. I loved it. The Laser was a good machine to get started on. Cracks in compatibility started showing up as stores in the local mall started selling software. New software was being written and released for the Apple //e and I started noticing that the software that was being used at school wasn’t working. So before long, I started begging for an Apple //e. Which I eventually got. Second hand, but I took it.

        The Apple //e gave way to the Apple IIGS. And then, in 1990, the Macintosh Classic. The reset, as “they” say is history.

        Thanks, Mom and Dad. Your investment in the Laser 3000 has paid off well.

        Update

        A fine fellow on the Internet, replied to the Mastodon discussion, mentioned above, that the VTech Laser 3000 was also sold as “The Cat” from Australian reseller Dick Smith – similar to the now defunct Radio Shack chain here in the US. Below is a picture of the complete color system. In the picture, the Laser 3000 badge is replaced with a Dick Smith The Cat badge.

        The Cat image provided by Craig Bradley

      3. apple,  apple //gs,  retro computing

        Welcoming Home an Apple IIGS from 1986

        Mac Pro (2013) helps welcome home my Apple IIGS (1986)

        I’m an Apple //e fan, but in the mid-1980s, with the introduction of the Lisa in 1983 and the Macintosh in 1984, it was becoming clear that the largely text input-based Apple II line of computers needed an innovative refresh.

        In 1986, Apple II fans got their new graphical interface upgrade in the form of the Apple IIGS.

        Developed under codenames such as “Phoenix”, “Columbia”, and “Cortland” the Apple IIGS was an attempt to modernize the Apple //e and the non-expandable Apple IIc into a modern computer. At the time, attempts to replace the venerable Apple //e with the Apple III and the Apple IIc did not go according to plan. The Apple III ended up being a commercial failure and customers favored the Apple //e over the IIc largely in part due to the //e’s expansion card bays.

        The Apple IIGS is a curios machie because it encapsulates both what has come before, the Apple II platform, while embracing a future with a graphical interface, a mouse, improved sound capabilities, and a 3.5-inch floppy drive – just like the Macintosh. Powering the Apple IIGS is the new 16-bit 65C816 chip running at 2.8MHz. The 65C816 is a 65C02 compatible processor, meaning that it can emulate the CPU used in prior Apple IIs. The 65C816 also has two run modes: the native 2.8MHz mode for running software written specifically for the graphical GS/OS operating sytem, and a 1MHz mode for running a customer’s older Apple II series software.

        In addition to the new CPU, the Apple IIGS also includes 256kb of system RAM, expandable out to a total of 8MB. The “GS” in the IIGS name stands for Graphics and Sound, and this Apple II is able to deliver. The new GUI interface was made possible due to a new super Hi-Res video mode capable of putting a 16-color palette up on a 200×320 screen. The included Ensoniq Mirage sound chip improved the audio features of the machine.

        There is a lot going on under the hood of this Apple II and that’s because the designers needed to address two project goals. First, make it compatible with the older generation of Apple II hardware and software. Second, bring the technology advancements from the Apple III, the Lisa, and the Macintosh to the Apple II line. In short, the IIGS ended up becoming a bridge from the Apple II line to the Macintosh line.1 This feat was made possible by Apple’s new custom integrated circuit (IC) the Mega II. The Mega II included the functionality of several of the ICs from the Apple //e and the IIc into the IIGS motherboard. In the end, the IIGS was able to run at least 90% of the titles in the Apple II software library. With the use of an optional disk controller card and floppy disk drive, the Apple IIGS could also read and write 5.25-inch disks created for earlier Apple IIs.

        The Apple IIGS was forward looking too. For example, the graphical GS/OS environment used 114 of the same QuickDraw calls as was found on the Macintosh. The graphical interface program used to access disks, draw windows, and work with menus and files is called the Finder and is modeled after the Macintosh desktop program of the same name. The Apple IIGS also has an Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) port for connecting up to 16 daisy-chained devices. The same ADB technology that is used on the Macintosh, allowing keyboards and mice to be interchangeable. And, finally, the IIGS is the first Apple II computer to include built in support for AppleTalk networking. Yes, the Apple IIGS and the Macintosh could talk to each other and share files over an AppleTalk network.

        The Apple IIGS was released in September 1986 with a base price of $999. Customers would then need to add one or more disk drives, a color monitor, and possibly a printer, easily raising the price of the machine to the $2,499 – $3,199 range.

        The Apple IIGS did succeed in delivering on it’s promise to be true (and compatible) to it’s Apple II roots and simultaneously embrace a graphical interface future. And for Apple II fans, that was a positive point. However, in terms of the state of technology in 1986, many journalists coving technology at the time considered the Apple IIGS to be too slow and too expensive when compared with contemporary machines of the day, including the Macintosh, the Amiga 500, and the Atari ST.

        In 1988, waiting for my back ordered Apple IIGS to be delivered by ComputerLand, I was excited to this new computer. For me, I could leverage everything that I had learned about my Apple //e with the IIGS and share hardware and software between the two machines. I will admit that my cousin’s Amiga 500 had way better looking games, but I loved my Apple IIGS. Unlike the closed case Amiga 500, the Apple IIGS could be easily opened allowing me to tinker around inside and add new expansion cards, foreshadowing my career in Information Technology. Today, I still tinker around inside PCs and servers thanks, in no small part, to the openness of the Apple II platform.

        Apple II Forever!

      4. apple //e,  apple //gs,  lifestyle

        Byte Magazine Archive Available

        Byte magazine Feb. 1983 Cover

        While doing some research into the Apple IIe (1983) and the Apple IIGS (1986), I came across a large Byte magazine archive that is available on the Internet Archive.

        The magazine archive is labeled as “complete” and has issues from Sept. 1975 through Apr. 1989. And while I can’t vouch for the entire archive, the three issues that I looked at had clean and easy to read articles from the issues that I wanted to read. Here are the links to the articles I was reading earlier this week.

        Feb. 1983 – Apple IIe Review by Robin Moore pg 68

        Oct. 1986 – Apple IIGS Preview by Gregg Williams and Richard Greham pg 84

        Apr. 1987 – Apple IIGS Review by Philip Chien pg 223

        I really appreciate that these archives exist. Reading computer magazines before I started my professional IT career was a fun way that I learned about computers. A+ and inCider were two of my favorites. Once I started working in IT, I loved to read Windows NT Magazine, PCWeek/eWeek, MacWeek, and Information Week.

      5. lifestyle,  social,  twitter

        Archive Your Twitter Account in Case You Get Hit with a Ban

        If you are like me and have no patients for Elon Musk’s jackassery, you might be looking to move to another smaller social media community. I have opened a Mastodon account and am reconnecting with other retro computing fans.

        Under Musk’s “leadership”, Twitter has gone from a stable mismanaged platform to a mismanaged platform under constant churn. Take last night’s unforced error. In a now deleted tweet, Twitter Support posted a notice that the company would begin removing accounts promoting or linking to other social networks. You can read The New York Times and CNN coverage of the latest dust up if you can stomach it.

        Since I have a pinned tweet redirecting folks to my Mastodon account, I was expecting that either the tweet would be deleted, or that I would end up being banned from Twitter. So, I decided to request an archive of my account.

        Here’s how to request your own archive.

        Step 1: Login to your account.

        Step 2: Click or tap on More > Settings and Support > Settings and Privacy

        Step 3: Then, click or tap on Your Account > Download an Archive of Your Data

        Step 4: Click or tap the Request Archive button.

        Assuming that Twitter.com is still functioning at a basic level, within 24 hours you will receive an email with a download link to your archive download.

        I’m not a prolific social media user and do not have any regrets about deleting my Facebook account years ago. As it stands now, I am fine if I get banned or suspended because I am reconnecting to other retro computing enthusiasts, as I said, on Mastodon. I am also supporting my favorite creators on Patreon. When a paid subscription also includes a Discord server, I also occasionally stop in there to hang out with other like-minded nerds. It’s nice to not be bombarded by ads and accounts that just want to cause chaos.

        So, will I delete my Twitter account? I honestly don’t know. As it stands now, I probably won’t delete it yet. I am spending less time on Twitter these days. Just like discussion boards gave way to blogs which stepped aside for Twitter, I’m ready for the next thing. If Musk speeds up that transition to the next thing, so be it. Buckle up!