Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!! It's been a long, LONG time since I posted on this blog, which I almost totally forgot about... Anyway, much has happened since then. My 6100 died many months ago in 2010 from a power surge. But before that happened, I had it running side-by-side right next to a cool iMac G3/600 (2001)! As for the fried 6100, it has since been recycled at a local e-waste recycling event for my neighborhood.

The iMac G3... well, I got it off eBay for like $100, and it came loaded with OS 10.4.11, but not much else. So I added a few things to it. Here are the specs:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.11
  • Mac OS 9.2.2 (both for running in Classic mode and dual-booting)
  • PPC G3 @ 600MHz
  • 1.0 GB RAM memory
  • 60 GB HDD
  • DVD-ROM (internal)
  • White Apple Pro Keyboard
  • Kensington 2-button mouse with scroll-wheel
  • 10/100 Ethernet (connected to a switch, connected to my router)
I even loaded it with cool and useful software. Sure it's a bit slow by 2011 standards, but it all still works!

  • Photoshop CS2
  • Inkscape
  • Firefox browser (along with other optimized builds; TenFourFox, FireFoxMac (furbism's build))
  • Clasilla browser
  • iTunes
  • OpenOffice.org (because it's freakin' free!)
  • ...and many more!

Do I miss the 6100, HELL YES! And while I still wished that it could've ran at least Yellow Dog Linux 4.x or some other obscure 'distro' of Linux, my new iMac G3 will pick up where the 6100 left off.

And if you're curious, I have long since confirmed that my 'hybrid' Windows XP/Vista Kaleidoscope scheme works flawlessly under Classic!!! I know I released it on the MacNN forums, but unless anyone ever asks for it from me, I'll likely just keep quiet about it.

Again, Happy New Year! (and then, I disappear from Blogger for another 2 years!)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My PC is dead...

Since Spring 2000, my Compaq Presario 7AP140 has provided me with many, countless hours of Star Trek Elite Force, Justice League on YouTube, the occasional search for frivolous images (*cough*), and Napster (at least... until iTunes for Windows came along with its iTunes store!!).

But now, no more. It died a sad death.... losing one video card after another (because i always needed more ways to squeeze out more frames per second in my online frag-fests)..... and one day, I fried the video card upgrade with some static electricity. That's right, all because i neglected to ground myself by touching the metal part of the CPU case or power supply. So I put in the original video card (which worked) only long enough to find a suitable replacement.

As it turned out, they stopped making video cards for AGP 2x/4x systems a long.......... LONG time ago. So I opted for the AGP 8x cards, hoping they would work on my old system. I got the GeForce 5200. For a while, it worked flawlessly...... that is...... until I loaded MPGs, WMVs, and even Quicktime movies. As they all seem to put a heavy strain on my AGP port, it fried the motherboard.

So I waited a few days, pondering of whether to buy a new system with Windows Vista or get a custom-built PC with no OS, and then get a copy of XP Pro on it, just to play my beloved Elite Force game again.

Well, school just HAD to come first. I took the route of settling for an HP Pavilion with Windows Vista Home Premium.

Not all went bad. I mean, I realized that I'd be running everything "up-to-date", I'd get to be ahead of the hackers (for the moment), and that I would be able to play computer games that'd be released at least for the next 2-3 years. AND MY STAR TREK ELITE FORCE GAME WORKS ON VISTA!!!!! (32-bit; Home Premium)

But the only thing though is that Vista is missing some crucial Windows Media Plugins for Firefox, I have to buy a new microphone to tune my guitar, and now I'm having a really hard time doing graphics editing with this rather ridiculous LCD screen.... I guess I'll have to revert back to my old CRT, somehow. Oh, also, the PowerMac emulator for Windows, "SheepShaver" doesn't seem to work on Vista......... so, that sux.

But what does this all mean for my 6100? Well, thanks to Dave 5.x, I was able to share files and folders between my 6100 and Vista PC. However, I think I really should upgrade to a newer version of Dave, in case any bugs pop-up down the road.

My verdict? I actually like how the story turned out! But don't get me wrong.... it's still "Windows"..... lol.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Linux on a 6100, upgraded with a Sonnect Crescendo G3/NuBus card...

No, no... I haven't been able to do it.

You see, ever since I got Sonnet's Crescendo G3/NuBus upgrade for the Power Mac 6100, I have always wanted to install Linux and enjoy the benefit of being able to use more modern software. Tools like Firefox and OpenOffice... ANYTHING to squeeze out the most life I could get out of my Mac... EVEN if it means not using the Mac OS. (gasp!)

Alas that it would be a dream to never come to fruition. The best options we Power Mac 61xx/71xx/81xx users have is to either go to eBay and get one of the discontinued G3 upgrade options provided by NewerTech, or to simply make due with the stock PowerPC processor soldered onto our motherboards. At the "Linux/PPC for NuBus Power Macs" site (http://nubus-pmac.sourceforge.net/), there hasn't been any activity since January 2006.

I have made several attempts at "spreading" my idea of making a Linux-side driver for the Sonnet upgrade card, but I don't think anyone was listening at the SourceForge page.

Today, I just came up with yet another idea:
Why not make a "Hybrid Virtualization/Emulator Environment" (H-VEE).

What is it?
Essentially, it combines a virtualization environment, similar to Parallels for OS X, with (part of) an emulator like VirtualPC or SheepShaver.

How would it work?
Well... here's how the process would go:
1) Launch the Mac OS, WITH the Sonnet Crescendo upgrade card and the corresponding system extension BOTH enabled.
2) Launch the "H-VEE" (a MacOS 7.x/8.x/9.x-compatible "application")
3) Pop-in a PowerPC distro of Linux, BSD, Darwin, or even OS X (non-Intel).
4) -ONLY- the hardware portions needed for each specific guest OS would be emulated; the Open-Firmware, the PCI architecture, the presence of USB/Firewire, etc. Perhaps even a JIT (just-in-time) compiler could be used, just like in SheepShaver for x86.
5) Proceed to install the guest OS and your favorite 3rd party software.

Because if you still have a working computer that is still in great condition, you should NOT have to toss it out to the trash or a landfill if you can still make some use of it (especially if you made the choice of upgrading it over the years). Lets face it... WaMCoM, iCab, ClarisWorks, and even Mac OS Classic just aren't cutting it anymore.

Clearly, this would mean that your seemingly worthless NuBus machine would have more added value. And it could serve you for even more years down the road! Lets face it... if you have maintained your old NuBus Power Mac fairly well, then you can agree with me when I say that Apple really made these machines to last.

Well, seeing as how I have no idea how to program, I would have to (again) submit my idea to all the helpful (MACINTOSH) programmers at SourceForge. I only wish I could still find a willing developer who also knows how to program for OS 7.x,8.x, and 9.x. Those programmers have always been rare and today, ever-increasingly hard to come by.

I'll submit my idea as early as I finish writing this blog entry. As for when this project will break ground.... well, that depends on the developers (if there are any.... and if they are willing).

Well, since this would be a collaborative effort, amongst people from around the world, this project should be open-source, for anyone and everyone to be able to modify. So it would be fitting to give this project its own page at SourceForge.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


So I finally decided to try my hands on another browser for Mac OS 8.6-9.x: WaMCom.

I must say that after having tried MSiE 5.x and iCab 2.x-3.x on the Mac and MSiE 6.x and Firefox 1.5.x-2.x on VirtualPC on my 6100, WaMCom really seems to be the best in terms of compatibility with most of the websites out there today.

I mean, I tried the following websites and ALL of them worked properly in WaMCom:


.....and a bunch of other sites as well. (yes, I even managed to make an order for pizza online for dinner!)

I just have to say that WaMCom is amazing.

But it does have its weaknesses......... just because it's running under OS 9.x. No full Unicode support (at least, not with certain Unicode characters that were typed from MS Windows), streaming Flash movies don't show video stream (YouTube, MySpace, etc.), skinned interface elements seemed to slow down my machine more than it should've, scrolling is -SLOW!!!!-, and memory usage (after checking with the "About This Macintosh" window) appears to show that WaMCom just ended up hogging most of my free RAM.

While the programmer(s) who compiled this browser suggests that WaMCom 1.3.x is less secure than the later versions of Mozilla (which this browser is based off of), I still find this browser suitable for my basic browsing needs.

Monday, December 04, 2006

the big 5......

So there I was... sitting in front of my suped-up 6100, with VPC 4.0.2...................... and Firefox 2.0 installed and running!!!!! I tried several sites, and they all worked fine....... except for ones that made extensive use of Java, JavaScript, embedded Flash movies, or even complex CSS's. Performance either just slowed to a crawl (felt like working on a 10-MHz machine at times), or just resulted in a Kernel32 error (Windows98 side) and I had to restart the emulated PC.

It wasn't long after that night on my 6100 that I had my prospective eyes set on getting ahold of VPC 5.0 and trying it out. After some serious researching and finally getting ahold VPC 5.0 (with PC-DOS), I proceeded to install that and updated it to 5.0.4.

I set VPC 5.0.4 to use the current Win98 disk image that got installed by 4.0.2. It worked great! But for some reason, every time i try to run the VPC app, it always seems to force the "Control Strip" to launch. To fix that, I simply uninstalled Control Strip and its associated Preferences file and Control Panel.

I was told that 5.0.x should feel faster than 4.0.x, but I really didn't notice any difference, except for the fact that I had better, if not more control over VPC's functions; Pause, Resume, etc. Hey, anything to get my 6100 up to date with the times.

Another thing I noticed was that downloading large files from the web (using either Firefox or MSiE 5.x/6.x) on the Windows side of VPC was a HELL of a lot faster than downloading through iCab or MSiE on the Mac OS 9.x side of my 6100. It's strange but true. With my 3.0Mb/384KB DSL connection, I should at least approach 260KB/s like I normally do on my Compaq PC. That simply wasn't the case. I understand that having a 10Base-T ethernet transceiver acts as a bottleneck on my network, but still... if I can get speeds of 100 KB/s or higher on the VPC side, why can't I get those same exact speeds on Mac OS 9.x? It's just not fair. <_<

Saturday, December 02, 2006

VIDEO!!! (wOOt!!!!)

Yeah!!! My 6100 now has video capabilities!!!

View/download the video here. (made, compressed, and uploaded using my 6100!)

For this video, I used an old Sharp VL-NZ100 digital video/picture camera (from way back in 2002), Apple Video Player, and Quicktime 6.03.

VPC 4.0.2 Update - Dec. 02, 2006

Ok, so I've just received the upgrades that I purchased from WeLoveMacs.com:

  • a) ONE Power Macintosh AV card for the Power Mac 6100 (NEW IN BOX..... !!!!!) (part#: M3447LL/A) (2 MB VRAM)
  • b) TWO 64 MB SIMMs (RAM)

My new system specs are like this now:

Macintosh Performa 6115CD/AV (Power Macintosh 6100/AV)
Sonnet Crescendo G3 @ 480 MHz, 1 MB cache
136 MB RAM
4.0 GB HDD (Quantum Fireball - SCSI)
Apple 300i CD Rom (2x - SCSI)
Mac OS 9.1
10Base-T Ethernet (add-on transceiver; Farallon)

My screen resolution and bit-depth have gone up...


640 x 480 @ 16-bit (Thousands of colors)


832 x 624 @ 32-bit (Millions of colors)

So.... what have I learned from all this?

  1. Pluging the VGA monitor's cable into the old motherboard connector only limits you to 16-bit color at 640x480. Simply connecting the monitor to the AV card gives you access to higher bit-depths and higher resolutions. (you *MUST* have a Mac-to-VGA adapter in order to use this connection scheme)
  2. Using RamDoubler 9.x with 136 MB of physical RAM or more only limits you to 240 MB of "doubled" RAM. (Ram Doubler 9.x employs a software scheme that usually lets you 'double' or 'triple' your RAM)
  3. Internet Explorer 5.0 on the Windows side is actually bearable... at least more websites work with it than the Mac port of IE 5.0
  4. Internet Explorer 6.0 ACTUALLY RUNS!!! AND RUNS FAST!!!!! However, I ran into a few errors.... most likely due to the lack of RAM or resources available to the VPC app.
  5. FireFox RUNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fast? Well.............. maybe just slightly slower than IE 6.0.... but OMG............. AT LEAST I GOT A MODERN, COMPATIBLE BROWSER ON MY OLD 6100!!!!! WOOT!!!
  6. Haven't tried FireFox 2.0 yet. But I -DO- have it installed..........


Thursday, November 30, 2006

The story of: "Firefox and the Power Mac 6100"

Once upon a time, there lived a Power Mac 6100 who felt so left out of place in the 21st century that it was on the brink of becoming a doorstop for its owner's door. The 6100 wanted to proove to its owner that it still had some usefulness left in it, aside from the occasional messing around with Photoshop.

In all seriousness, I was lucky enough to come accross a copy of the old Connectix VirtualPC 4.0.2......... Windows 98.......... SECOND EDITION!!!! Having remembered that FireFox 1.5.x for Windows requires AT LEAST Win98SE, I realized that this was the perfect opportunity for me to see how this thing runs on a G3-upgraded 6100.

Now WHY would i want to do such a thing? Sure there is the old MS Internet Explorer 5.1.7 for MacOS 9.1 and earlier, but it doesn't even work on a lot of the new sites out there. Even trusty iCab, doesn't display many of the common pages out there correctly. Prior to getting my hands on a copy of VPC4.02, there were next to no viable web browser solutions for modern-day web browsing and related activities. Using Firefox under emulation sounded like the PERFECT solution to my problem!

There several catches however.

I am restricted to working in a resolution of 640x480, the maximum resoltion my hardware can support in 24-bit color. If i were to go to a higher resolution with my current hardware, I'll only have 256 colors (8-bit), which is unacceptable. I have to wait for the Power Macintosh AV card I've ordered in the mail last week to come in before i can even begin to break free of my 640x480 limitation.

Next, I only have 72 megabytes built in. Obviously not nearly enough to run a large OS like MS Win98SE or newer. I'll have to wait until my pair of 64MB simms come in through the mail. But once I receive and install them on my machine, I'll have a total of 136 MB of RAM, and obviously more to allocate to VPC and the entire operating system in question.

Ubuntu Linux 6.06 (LTS), appears to work......... but only up to the screen where it says that it finished loading the Linux kernel and couldn't detect the correct mouse and keyboard in use. At that point, I just get a cryptic, blinking character-entry prompt. I guess running Ubuntu as a substitute for Win98 is just out of the question.

So what did I do and what are my reults?

The speed is rather slow, like reverting back to a PowerPC 601-based machine (slower than molasses, at times).

But even if its slow, at least i get to run a modern browser in my 6100 that is pretty much 100% compatible with most if not all of the major websites on the web!