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A Bit Of A Rarity

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No surface mount capacitors or leaky batteries to worry about at least. Was the belt on the twiggy drive replaced or original?

 

 

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@OldMacGuy Your keyboard seems to have the same pull-out drawer as one of the other surviving Twiggy Macs. Is there anything inside?

 

Thanks for the additional pictures! I'm grateful you're taking the time to thoroughly photograph and document this machine. :smiley:

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11 hours ago, Unknown_K said:

No surface mount capacitors or leaky batteries to worry about at least. Was the belt on the twiggy drive replaced or original?

 

 

It’s the original belt.

 

The battery wasn’t in it, thank god. No popped caps, no battery leakage. 

 

The Twiggy Mac, along with its keyboard and mouse had been in its original padded carry bag at least since the original owner died in the 1990s. The original owner was a member of Apple’s board of directors at one point in time and when he died, his daughter ended up with it. I’m her computer tech and she called me over one day to go through “a bunch of old equipment” to identify what to donate and what to throw away, and this old equipment included the Twiggy Mac.

 

Neither of us knew what it was, but I knew no production Mac had ever been released with a 5.25” floppy drive and that it was probably a prototype of some kind. She wanted it to go to a good home when I told her it was likely a semi-rare or rare Mac, so she gave it to me in mid-December. I did some research and realized it was a Twiggy Mac and that finding it was, as I put it at the time, “like finding an albino Bigfoot.” (Yes, I’ve kept quiet about it for nearly 6 months. It’s been hard to do. I mean, imagine finding an Albino Bigfoot - Who wouldn’t want to let the world know about it?)

 

When I got it, the floppy was inserted incorrectly. It was face-up, but it was rotated 90° from proper orientation (see the video). I couldn’t remove the floppy; it was wedged in pretty good, so I left it in the drive and only removed it after I pulled the Twiggy drive and its frame out of the case. 

 

The FileWare floppy - a literal one-of-a-kind item due to the OS on the disk being written for the specific ROM revision on the board - may be damaged.

 

The Twiggy Mac starts but does not load the OS. I’m pretty sure the Twiggy drive is working as designed (for what that’s worth :-Dbut I can’t tell. Due to the utter uniqueness of the hardware, Im thinking I can’t just pop in a FileWare disk for a Lisa and expect it to be read (although I haven’t tried).

 

If anyone wants to lend a hand with backing up the FileWare floppy and/or troubleshooting the Twiggy drive, I would be eternally grateful. I know this is a special Mac, one of only 3 of its kind known to exist. I’d love to get it working again.

 

And I’m glad people are digging the fact that it exists and that it’s not a hoax. If anyone is skeptical - I get it. I’m a skeptic by nature and I could scarcely believe it myself at first and didn’t believe it was an actual example of the near-mythic Twiggy Mac until I saw Mac Man on the logic board.

 

So that’s the (recent) history of my Twiggy Mac.

 

Thanks for reading and for the interest in my Albino Bigfoot.

 

OldMacGuy

 

And now…

 

This is a Public Service Announcement (unfortunately without guitar):

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9 hours ago, fri0701 said:

@OldMacGuy Your keyboard seems to have the same pull-out drawer as one of the other surviving Twiggy Macs. Is there anything inside?

 

Thanks for the additional pictures! I'm grateful you're taking the time to thoroughly photograph and document this machine. :smiley:

I just checked, thinking I might have overlooked it and wondering for a second or two if I’d find Steve Jobs’ Apple ID card or something. Alas, it doesn’t have a pull-out drawer.

 

You’re welcome. I’m happy to share this odyssey.

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8 hours ago, OldMacGuy said:

I just checked, thinking I might have overlooked it and wondering for a second or two if I’d find Steve Jobs’ Apple ID card or something. Alas, it doesn’t have a pull-out drawer.

That is surprising! Your keyboard has the same groove in the same place as the first Twiggy Mac's keyboard. 

1946764588_Bottom3.jpg.ec3df509eca076414370f371f4c2fc51.jpg2088853369_Bottom2.jpg.7d891c804f701450aef67c119c1c85a0.jpgimage.png.6f2ece2839ae7602b195a82c721fbd4c.png

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8 hours ago, fri0701 said:

That is surprising! Your keyboard has the same groove in the same place as the first Twiggy Mac's keyboard. 

1946764588_Bottom3.jpg.ec3df509eca076414370f371f4c2fc51.jpg2088853369_Bottom2.jpg.7d891c804f701450aef67c119c1c85a0.jpgimage.png.6f2ece2839ae7602b195a82c721fbd4c.png

Holy crap - You’re right!

 

Unfortunately, it’s empty. No Apple ID card, no reference card, not even a playing card.

D70B73AF-488B-45DD-B1EA-685400DEB9A0.jpeg

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This is beyond incredible, this redefines what a "lucky find" means!

 

Can you please take a photo of the analog board if you remove it, it would be interesting to compare it to the production one?

 

Which Apple director owned it originally?

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Wow, what an amazing story. She gave it to you!? That’s awesome. Congratulations. Hard to believe there are people that generous still in a world where it’s common see a broken, cracked and yellowed Macintosh Classic listed for $500 and “SUPER RARE STEVE JOBS L@@K!” in the title on eBay.

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Thank you for the story!

 

What a happy outcome. Direct gift to somebody who will restore it and share it with the community. You love to see it. 

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19 hours ago, OldMacGuy said:

 

The Twiggy Mac starts but does not load the OS. I’m pretty sure the Twiggy drive is working as designed (for what that’s worth :-Dbut I can’t tell. Due to the utter uniqueness of the hardware, Im thinking I can’t just pop in a FileWare disk for a Lisa and expect it to be read (although I haven’t tried).

 

I have heard rumours that you can stick a Macintosh Twiggy disk into a Lisa 1 and dump it using Basic Lisa Utility (BLU), but that's only a rumor/speculation. The Twiggy drives were notoriously unreliable though, so perhaps your drive has some sort of f ault - especially if the original belt is still on.

 

Any chance of dumping the ROM? That's something that also needs to be preserved.

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I have a Lisa 1 and have advertised on 68kmla before about my enthusiasm for helping people back up old disks. I will gladly do this for free for anyone with a disk in a condition that's unlikely to damage my drives.

 

Unless there's something unique about the geometry of Mac prototype Twiggy drives, which I suspect is unlikely (but have no idea either way), backup via BLU is likely to work for a disk in fair condition.

 

That said, I live in the UK and any overseas shipping would have to be considered very carefully! There are probably other recovery options to consider first. Still, my Lisa 1 is at your service.

 

Thus far Twiggy drive belts appear to be fairly robust. (At least something about the drive is robust!) Mine are the originals as well, and I've heard at least one other Lisa 1 owner reporting the same.

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Probably the best option will be to try to have a contact with Adam Goolevitch (Canada) who is the owner of one of the two Twiggy known units.

 

he was able to revive his own and the other one, has a lot of knowledge of Twiggy drives and Apple Lisas (1).

 

Has been there, done that...

 

probably a contact through Cult Of Mac i agree..

 

 

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12 hours ago, stepleton said:

Unless there's something unique about the geometry of Mac prototype Twiggy drives, which I suspect is unlikely (but have no idea either way), backup via BLU is likely to work for a disk in fair condition.

From a 2013 thread about one of the other two Twiggy Macs:

On 3/12/2013 at 7:46 PM, Mac512k said:

The Lisa 1's file format is completely different than that of the early Twiggy Macintosh's file format. This is why we needed to use the "BLU" (Basic Lisa Utility) in order to archive and subsequently duplicate these 2 Macintosh Twiggy disks. The "BLU" (Basic Lisa Utility) has several functions - one of which is to copy any data on a disk (bit-for-bit) that is introduced.

 

@OldMacGuy - Sounds like a good first step will be to find someone (ideally) local with a Lisa 1, who should be able to read and back up your disk over a serial connection to a modern computer. I'd recommend pursuing a backup now before continuing to test your drive with that disk, so you don't lose any data or corrupt the disk during your testing!

 

As for the drive itself, there's been some good discussion about Twiggy servicing over at LisaList2 lately. Perhaps you'll find that useful at a starting point:

https://lisalist2.com/index.php/topic,80.0.html

 

If the controller board on the drive is identical to the one used in a Lisa, I wonder if the whole drive could be hooked up to a Lisa 1 and "exercised" by BLU, which would give you an indication as to whether or not it's working properly. Obviously, you'd have to make *absolutely* sure everything was identical before attempting this...

 

 

 

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I'm still convinced the first step should be contacting Marc, who might be able to get him in touch with a real Apple Engineer who worked on the project.

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On 6/1/2020 at 2:18 PM, OldMacGuy said:

If anyone wants to lend a hand with backing up the FileWare floppy and/or troubleshooting the Twiggy drive, I would be eternally grateful. I know this is a special Mac, one of only 3 of its kind known to exist. I’d love to get it working again.

 

@OldMacGuy I recently restored my Lisa 1 with dual Twiggy drives just this past weekend.  You can see a quick demonstration and hear the variable speed Fileware diskettes in it below.

 

Stepleton helped me out with my Lisa and would be a great help but if you need someone a little closer, I am in Canada at least.  I'd be happy to back up the Fileware diskette in BLU.  I could also take a look at the drive, if you wish and try it on a Lisa, if it's compatible.  I would suspect it is but I'd have to take a closer look at the top/bottom boards.  

 

I don't know how to add a YouTube link without it embedding the video here so here is my quick video. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by snuci

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10 hours ago, fri0701 said:

If the controller board on the drive is identical to the one used in a Lisa, I wonder if the whole drive could be hooked up to a Lisa 1 and "exercised" by BLU, which would give you an indication as to whether or not it's working properly. Obviously, you'd have to make *absolutely* sure everything was identical before attempting this...

 

Mac Twiggy drives have a different connector altogether---20 pins as opposed to 26 or so. It's possible you could work up an adaptor, but I wouldn't volunteer to do it for you :lisa:.

 

Another possibility would be to swap the digital board (lower board) on the drive for a digital board from a Lisa Twiggy drive, then stick the resulting Frankenstein into the Lisa. Here too I would explore other options first.

 

There is a Twiggy expert in the UK who would be thrilled I think for the chance to learn about the Mac drive specifically. He's been studying Twiggy drives for a long time and is probably a good person to know in your quest to put the drive in working order (assuming it is not in working order already). I'll point him at this thread.

Edited by stepleton

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The Mac Twiggy has a custom built digital board made purely for the Mac, the Analog is the same in the Twiggy. You need to contact James MacPhail of Sigma Seven , Maker of the X/Profile and the BLU Software as he helped to restore the other two Twiggy Macs and backup the software. As each one had different versions of ROMs He is the only person who has the expert knowledge to help you with this Twiggy Mac.

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On 5/31/2020 at 1:20 AM, olePigeon said:

@OldMacGuy  I would recommend getting in touch with CuriousMarc:

 

https://www.curiousmarc.com/

 

I bet he would absolutely be interested in getting that machine going.  He's local here to the Bay Area in California, but has friends in high places at the Computer History Museum and actual Apple engineers who worked on the original Macintosh team.

Thanks again, olePigeon. I just emailed Marc.

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15 hours ago, Triptech said:

The Mac Twiggy has a custom built digital board made purely for the Mac, the Analog is the same in the Twiggy. You need to contact James MacPhail of Sigma Seven , Maker of the X/Profile and the BLU Software as he helped to restore the other two Twiggy Macs and backup the software. As each one had different versions of ROMs He is the only person who has the expert knowledge to help you with this Twiggy Mac.

Thanks, Triptech. I just emailed James.

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16 hours ago, stepleton said:

 

Mac Twiggy drives have a different connector altogether---20 pins as opposed to 26 or so. It's possible you could work up an adaptor, but I wouldn't volunteer to do it for you :lisa:.

 

Another possibility would be to swap the digital board (lower board) on the drive for a digital board from a Lisa Twiggy drive, then stick the resulting Frankenstein into the Lisa. Here too I would explore other options first.

 

There is a Twiggy expert in the UK who would be thrilled I think for the chance to learn about the Mac drive specifically. He's been studying Twiggy drives for a long time and is probably a good person to know in your quest to put the drive in working order (assuming it is not in working order already). I'll point him at this thread.

Indeed, the Twiggy drive in the Mac has a 20-pin connector.

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As someone mentioned, the ROM really needs to be preserved from this thing.  Do you know how to dump it?

 

Have ROMs from either of the other two Twiggy Macs been dumped?

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8 hours ago, tattar8 said:

As someone mentioned, the ROM really needs to be preserved from this thing.  Do you know how to dump it?

 

Have ROMs from either of the other two Twiggy Macs been dumped?

The ROMs of the other 2 were dumped. I just emailed the person who dumped them: James Macphail of Sigma Seven Systems in Vancouver BC. Hopefully I’ll hear from him soon.

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