Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited


About gsteemso

  • Birthday 05/07/1977

Contact Methods

  • AIM
  • Website URL
  • Yahoo
  • Jabber
  • Skype

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    north of Seattle, USA
  • Interests
    Reading, retrocomputing, conscriptery

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. gsteemso

    Biggest Laptop PATA/IDE Drive?

    I've been a bit out of touch lately—are laptop-sized CF or SD adapters no longer a feasible approach? I could have sworn they were cheaper than $200, but as I alluded to, it has been at least a year since I investigated the topic in depth.
  2. gsteemso

    SCSI ethernet adapter

    There's one I used to use called, if I am remembering the name right, a DaynaPORT. Good luck finding an image of the driver diskette though.
  3. gsteemso

    DB-19 Hot Juicy Awesomeness

    I think this is one of the most impressive "Well FINE, I'll just do it myself then, O thou self-proclaimed 'suppliers' who refuse to actually supply" that I have ever seen or heard of! If I knew of a haberdasher who hadn't gone out of business 20 years ago, I'd go buy myself a hat specifically to tip to you!
  4. About 15 years ago, I drove a fellow home (my job at the time was "professional designated driver") whose company had developed a method of building lead-acid batteries which, though having completely traditional chemical composition, had greatly improved energy density by reason of using "foamed" (extremely porous) lead electrodes, which naturally had vastly greater surface area than the traditional simple lead plates… or so he proudly claimed, at least. It would be interesting to find out if they ever succeeded in commercializing that. You could in theory run your Portable for twice as long with minimal or no alterations.
  5. gsteemso

    I've had enough! SCSI-2

    Unless I am misremembering, the 8100 IS one of the initial PCI Power Macs.
  6. gsteemso

    Non backlit Mac portable: LCD lines

    CC_333, I was unaware that windows with exposed heating traces were still a thing in new vehicles. I stand corrected. As to the possibility of dual-layer manufacture, you are probably right about it not being done that way; for all I know, they just stuck a layer of plastic over the traces on the windows I have seen. It's not like I have ever examined one very closely.
  7. gsteemso

    se/30 SCSI2SD

    I believe the “killed 9” message would be the OS under which the util was run reporting to you that, for whatever reason, the util was halted by some other piece of software. The Unix command for sending a control message (“signal”) to another running program is called “kill” because that is its most common use; the command to immediately and unconditionally halt another process in its tracks and wipe it from the list of running programs is “kill -9”. (The minus sign is not part of the number, but rather a quirk of Unix command lines; it tells the kill utility that the text immediately after itself, the 9, is being passed to it in a particular way.)
  8. gsteemso

    Us spec powerbook 1400 power supply

    Says it is good up to 220 VAC on mine. Better read yours to be sure though.
  9. gsteemso

    Non backlit Mac portable: LCD lines

    Yes they still use resistive defrosters. The modern ones have the traces between the layers of glass where they can’t get damaged though. As to the repair method, by the time I was old enough to have a car with a rear defroster, it was of the newer type; I have never actually needed to carry out such a repair and do not know anything about it, beyond that it is possible and was at one time a fairly routine operation. Sorry I can’t be more help.
  10. gsteemso

    AC Adapter went bad

    Well, I agree that the loss of “just turn it on and, presto, nostalgia!” from vintage Maccery is a bit of a downer, but I have come to see it from another perspective after giving the matter some thought over the past few years. The way I look at it, our fellow retrocomputing enthusiasts who came to the hobby through earlier systems (or less well-engineered ones, in a few regrettable cases) have been dealing with uncooperative and/or fragile hardware for a long time, but they get no reduced levels of enjoyment from it; it simply becomes necessary to allot a greater amount of time to the care and hardware servicing of each individual machine than was formerly required. What we Mac collectors are now experiencing is the transition from fiddling with vintage SOFTWARE on non-new but still reliable-like-new hardware, to fiddling with vintage HARDWARE and then, once that is working, proceeding to the fiddling-around-with of software. That is more or less how it always has been for enthusiasts of older systems, but as was well noted in the advertising of the 1980s, you didn’t need to be a hardware technician to use a Mac. I figure this paradigm shift has got to be more jarring for Mac users than for many of those who came before, because the Mac was the first truly widely adopted platform where you really didn’t need to know much about how it actually worked at very low levels in order to get full and productive use out of it. Most user-performed techie adjustments on Macs in the 90s were done in software rather than in hardware; suddenly needing to know about hardware in order to keep your Macs usable has got to be a fairly sharp adjustment to make for a lot of people. All things considered, I think that the aging-hardware issues such as capacitor decay that are beginning to become the norm for Mac collectors merely add a bit of depth to our experiences. Learning new things is rarely really bad.
  11. gsteemso

    System 6 Hard Drive Size?

    While the point about the aggregate size of the software library that will run on a given machine is a good one and quite apropos—for example, if my rather unreliable memory is not playing silly tricks on me, I believe the entire corpus of software _ever_ released for the Commodore PET line (that’s nearly 40 years’ worth!) is under 40 MiB in size—I must point out that, in recent years, personal computing has caught up to its more expensive cousins in that by far the bulkiest data most people now store consists of files to be _manipulated_, rather than those to be _executed_. You can readily prove this to yourself… all you have to do is compare the size of your MP3 library with the size of the program you use to play it back. In summary, the only really irrefutable conclusion we can draw from real-life experience over the last 50 years is that, like any sort of physical capacity (empty buildings, highway lanes, etc.) found in conjunction with frequent human activity, the virtual capacity found on an empty hard drive is guaranteed to get completely filled up after a few years if you regularly make enough actual use of the system (as opposed to just powering it on once every few months and, say, playing a game or the like). Make the drive twice as big as you need for a clean install (don’t forget to count your program installs and relevant data files as well as the OS!) for a rarely used trophy system and at least an order of magnitude (two orders is often even better, depending on your usage patterns) larger for a real working system. Substantially larger drives may take longer to fill up than to fail of old age, but wastefulness aside, are almost certainly not going to prove actually harmful in any way.
  12. gsteemso

    Non backlit Mac portable: LCD lines

    Back in the ancient history of cars with resistive-heated electric rear-window defrosters, say the 1970s through the 1990s, you could cheaply buy little bottles of goop from any auto parts store which were basically conductive paint. In those days the heating element was just printed onto the interior surface of the window, rather than being inaccessibly sandwiched between the layers of the safety glass. Thus, whenever you scrubbed, wiped, bumped against, or (it seemed) coughed gently while walking past on the opposite side of the street from such a window, the heating element would acquire a microscopic crack or scratch that would act as a cut circuit trace, and a thin stripe across your window would thereafter refuse to ever be defogged. The fix was to dab a little of the aforementioned cheap conductive paint onto the break. I don’t know whether that conductive car-window paint is still widely and cheaply available, nor whether something similar was ever produced for this sort of more delicate work, but either way, the repair of broken conductive traces on glass is a very well-known problem, and you should be able to buy or make some suitable repair compound without too much trouble. I realize this is all moot if a replacement LCD panel should turn up at an acceptable price, but the supply of those is finite, so at some point one of our future comrades will be needing to find this post in the archives.
  13. gsteemso

    AC Adapter went bad

    In principle, hiding a more efficient, stable, reliable, and (one would hope) long-lived modern power supply in the eviscerated carcass of the original unit (i.e., reusing the case), thus both preserving appearances and protecting the delicate vintage electronics in the actual laptop, would be a really good idea. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell based on a very few reports by the presumably knowledgeable minority who regularly do real repair work on these things, the original design has held up fairly well over the decades, even in comparison to more recently designed units—which, one might have hoped, were put together with a better understanding of how to make them excel (apart from the need to recap them, of course). Thus, unless your vintage wall wart really is verging on irreparability, the most cost-effective course of action appears to be a simple recap and cleaning. (I would welcome corrections on this point from anyone with actual field experience in performing such repairs.) I admit to having been somewhat annoyed about basic repairs being the most effective way forward save in extreme cases, considering how utterly undamaged and even pristine my dead PB 1xx supplies appear (which implies an irritatingly opaque and tedious diagnostic sequence in my future, should I wish to do a proper job of fixing them). Then I realized that it represents an entirely new (to me) aspect of our hobby to roll up my metaphorical sleeves and get stuck into, which I figure is very unlikely to be a truly bad thing when all is said and done.
  14. gsteemso

    This kinda sucks (recapping) 520/520c

    Woohoo! I knew that functionality was too useful to not have already been implemented by someone! Having been beaten to it by fully 21 years was a bit of a surprise, but I vaguely recall that dead PRAM batteries were a familiar nuisance even that far back, so I can’t really call it THAT startling. Thanks very much for the link! I am especially grateful given that poking around in the parent folder reveals quite a few vintage system add-ons that simply were no longer online to be found when I last tried to do so, a few years ago.
  15. gsteemso

    Compact Mac retina display

    Seconded! This is absolutely fascinating to follow. I can mostly follow the theory, but nowhere near to the extent of ever being able to try this myself. Massively intriguing stuff!