A Macintosh Plus 1986 connected to modern Web


It is quite common in the world of computing experiment: Take a old computer, update your software to the extent possible, apply a serious amount of hacks and connect to the Web. Personally I have had such crossings with Windows 3.11 and Windows 98, but Jeff Keacher decided to take his adventure to end and connect nothing less than a Macintosh Plus. The project required the assistance of external hardware and Raspberry Pi , however, the end result was definitely worth it.

The pleasure of restoring something and keep it running even in these days contaminated with planned obsolescence and waste is immense. Should not even be an associated computer or electronics item. Furniture, clothing, a tool, kitchenware … anything goes. Often mistaken, and try to improve what is worse than before , but even that loss can be transformed into knowledge that will be useful next time. In the case of computers, we still have good availability of older drivers, manuals previous versions and full service. But more interesting is when we try to reconcile these old systems with the current Web. Flash, CSS, multimedia content and to the HTTPS protocol are complete strangers to the computers of the 80s. Jeff Keacher was privileged witness of that generation gap when it decided to sail his Macintosh Plus 1986 as amended.


A Plus Mac, Raspberry Pi, and much software. Fantastic

The first step was a little maintenance for the Mac itself. After having been stored for more than ten years, one of the capacitors in the power supply of the hard disk demanded permanent retirement. After replacing the capacitor, Keacher began searching for compatible software. The merger between 2.0 and MacTCP MacWeb proved stronger than expected under System 7, but the big challenge was to establish a physical connection between the Mac and the router. At that point is when he appears Raspberry Pi . Using a serial cable (or number if you prefer) , two adapters, one level shifter and combo MacWeb-MacTCP-MacPPP-SLiRP , the Raspberry Pi functioned as a kind of false modem . Place all the software in the Mac Plus required a dark pathway ZMODEM file transfer (that “yes” is old), using the terminal emulator Microphone already installed on the Mac.

The last piece of the puzzle came with the help of a friend Keacher, Tyler Hicks-Wright Who developed Macproxy a script that extracts all elements MacWeb can not interpret. This is how a special text version of the Web, viewed through a computer with 29-year-old is obtained. The experiment was a success … as long as you have patience. The Mac Plus has an 8 MHz processor, and input-output operations on serial port devour cycles, therefore, the load of each site takes about … six minutes, at best. Having known the torture of waiting ten minutes to download one megabyte (2 kilobytes per second with telephone modems, we were gods!) , those six minutes does not sound so bad.