Miscellaneous Software

1.5.1 - Where can I get 68K software?

David Wood's Resources for the Older Macintosh is also a good site. The VieuxMac site is one of the best for very old software, and Marten van de Kraats's System 6 Heaven and Bill Jagitsch's JAG's House sites are also very useful for System 6-era software and information.

The usual archive sites still apply, of course - Info-Mac and UMich are still great places to get old software, and they're well-organised and on fast connections.

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1.5.2 - Can I run UNIX/Linux on my Mac?

Heh heh heh...I get to pass the buck again, sort of. JAG has also covered this on his site. I'm not going to totally pass the buck, though. NetBSD will run on most Macs from the Mac II on up. JAG has a tutorial on running Debian Linux on an SE/30 (which should be somewhat applicable to other Vintage Macs). Warning: unless you're a real geek and have a desire to play around a LOT with stuff that doesn't always make sense, don't bother with trying to run Linux or UNIX on your Mac.

Lots more information is available at Pure-Mac, including information on A/UX, Apple's UNIX variant from the early 1990s.

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1.5.3 - How do I make my Mac talk or speak text files?

Thanks to the MacArchaeologist b.b., we have the answer right here. If you have System 6, you need the MacinTalk extension from Apple's web site. Drop it into your System Folder and restart. Once MacinTalk is installed, you can take advantage of programs such as the MacTalker desk accessory or the VoiceBox control panel. Thanks to its author, James Joaquin, MacTalker is available once again for public distribution. b.b. has it on his web site; the pickle will be adding it to his archive when he gets around to it. MacTalker can be used to read any text file by using Command-R or by choosing a file from the menu bar.

Now that you have MacTalker, get LipService and VoiceBox. LipService is another startup greeting which you can customize via the Control Panel. VoiceBox is a control panel that gives your System 6 Mac the Talking Alerts features available to System 7 users.

The Talking Moose and Welcome 2 are a couple more neat talking Mac applications, both available from JAG's House.

System 7 users need to get PlainTalk 1.5 from Apple. The English Text-to-Speech 1.5 software package, which is part of PlainTalk 1.5, is the part you really need, since Speech Recognition requires an 040-based AV Mac or Power Mac and really needs a Power Mac to be effective. Once you have that installed, check out the UMich Archive's Speech section. You can still use such System 6 goodies as MacTalker and Welcome 2 with System 7, just make sure that you place an extra copy of the MacinTalk extension loose in the System Folder, in addition to the one INSIDE the Extensions folder.

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1.5.4 - Can I play MP3 files on my 68K Mac?

Well, sort of. Two recent developments have enabled the playing of MP3s downsampled to mono and 22.4KHz on a 68040-based Mac. (No, an FPU isn't required, although it certainly doesn't hurt.) Neither supports anything remotely similar to the feature set of, say, iTunes, but both will work as a "proof of concept" or technology demonstration. What are these two wonders, you ask? They are mpg-123, version 1.1 (a 207K download) and MpegDec 2.5.3 (an 866 KB download that claims to work as far back as a 68020).

While I don't use either one, the consensus seems to be that MpegDec is greatly superior to mpg-123 as far as features go, although both are supposedly equally adept at playing MP3s.

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1.5.5 - What's that rectangular screen that comes up sometimes that makes me have to restart?

That's the screen of the built-in debugger. It can be accessed by pressing the programmer's - or interrupt - switch (command-power on later Macs or the switch with the solid round icon on Macs with the switch). The switch generates a non-maskable interrupt that immediately forces the computer into either the built-in debugger or Macsbug (if you have it installed). To get out of this box without restarting (assuming you accidentally dropped into the debugger, as opposed to crashing into it), type G and press return. If you got to the debugger by crashing, try typing G and return anyway, but it probably won't work. There are a few neat easter eggs on certain Macs that can be accessed by giving an address in memory after the G, but that's another topic.

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Last Modified on 06 November 2013
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