|Simone's Computer Blog (no JS mode)|
Because every software needs one
So here we are with the second blog post. Oh, wait maybe is the 3rd or the 5th!? You're missing out, better check that Feed RSS.
Not much happened lately except I bought a ZX Spectrum Sinclair 48k and an old cassette recorder to load and save some stuff on it. Will probably write a blog post about it soon. By the way there's also a new widget called "Lite Bulb" that has been added to the main screen, just in case you want to fidget with something while reading this post. For now, I will explain more in details something that I've originally written for my
First week of the pandemic I thought I'd have plenty of time to focus on my side projects and blah blah blah, so I jumped immediately into one that didn't even last 3 days. In this experiment I wanted to see if it was possible to export a picture created with MacPaint from an old Macintosh to a modern OS. I knew this was feasible somehow but most importantly I wanted to upload this picture on my website to prove the world how cool I was.
The process turned out to be pretty straightforward but a wee bit expensive with the right tools. What you need is an old Macintosh (dah!) that runs MacPaint, a copy of Photoshop 1.0, a thing called Floppy EMU and lastly the app Mini vMac.
These days you should be able to find a working Macintosh around €400 on ebay. The Floppy EMU instead is $99 at the time I'm writing this article. But look, the little gadget is phenomenal, I tested it with an Apple IIe and it worked like a charm, it is capable of emulating different Macintosh floppy formats and hard disks, compatible also with Lisa. Thanks, Steve Chamberlin you really are a big boy!
Now, if you buy an old Macintosh online chances are you won't find much in it out of the box, so you'll need to download good old abandonware. Some really resourceful places to find such software are: archive.org, Macintosh Garden and WinWorld. Also, on BMOW store you can find a $13 sdcard with lots of apps in it including MacPaint and other iconic games. Alright enough with the ads.
First step was of course to draw the picture, I came up with a very minimalist and Picasso-like concept of smiley face which I'm very proud of. It was very hard to give a name to such a masterpiece so ended up naming it "pippo", which is the most used metasyntactic variable in Italian language. Because creativity bruh! I have to say It was all very nostalgic and melancholy to use the MacPaint designed by Bill Atkinson, kind of reliving the stories written on Folklore by Andy Hertzfeld (my favorite is I still Remember Regions).
The Next step was to save the picture into a readable format for a modern image editor. In order to do so Photoshop 1.0 or 0.63 came to the rescue. You can find both on WinWorld. These early versions of Photoshop are crazy, one might think that they are rudimental and archaic, but the experience felt really solid and amazing. Of course, I faced some bottlenecks due to the Macintosh Plus performance, (lots of loading bars), but the software and the UI were very slick for being released in 1990. By opening the picture with Photoshop and re-exporting it under CompuServe GIF I would've been able to theoretically open it later on with Gimp or Preview.
And now comes my favorite part: the time travel wormhole, Floppy EMU. The gadget allowed me to emulate the Macintosh Plus hard disk where my picture was initially drawn. This hard disk file, with extension
.DSK, resided on Floppy EMU SD card. Connecting the SD card to a laptop and then opening the dsk file with Mini vMac I was able to emulate the same virtual Macintosh Plus environment with System 6.
One last step remained, exporting the file out of Mini vMac. This was achievable using the ExportFl tool provided by the same author. Selected the picture to export, boom, I was able to save the file on Catalina desktop.
To make sure this was the picture I actually created with the Mac Plus I fired up Hex Fiend and:
Appeared on the first 6 bytes, Madonna sanda it actually worked!!
pippo.gif is the mascot of the fake operating system you're reading this article on. I thought you might want to hear some background story about the smiley face that appears when you click the top left button :)