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Is there a beige Power Mac that can make 800k disks?


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buying floppies at all seems like such a pain in the butt.

I bought a pile of 5.25"'s from flopydisk.com a while back and it wasn't that big of a deal. They charge $60 for 50 "new" 720ks, which one one hand might seems a little steep compared to how cheap disks got in the mid-90's, but it's actually cheaper than they were in the 80's, particularly if you factor in inflation. They also have guaranteed "recycled" disks for 50 cents each.

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as mentioned a bulk eraser may "revirginize"(is that a word?) a 1.44 well enough to at least let it work.

It's probably just black magic/coincidence, but I had several 1.44's that I was trying to format with my Mac 512k that failed in the initial attempts but worked after I took a high-power magnet off the fridge and waved it around in a circular pattern over the disks for about 30 seconds. (Didn't have a bulk eraser handy.) I haven't had many issues with them once you actually get a format to take, but then all I use them for is slapping games on. I reserve my small hoard of double density disks for important things like OS boot disks.

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$25 for that Ethernet card actually looks like a pretty darn good deal, especially considering it's brand new. Cards with an RJ-45 connector built-in sell at a premium compared to ones with Thinnet or AAUI connectors. Add that to your Performa and you'll have a perfectly good "bridge mac"; about the only thing you'll be missing out on relative to a beige-era floppy-equipped Power Mac is the ability to run slightly newer browsers and whatnot.

Anyway, really, personally I think your hobby money would be much better spent and it'd be more educational to cobble together a working Mac network than it would be on tracking down new floppy drives and other conversion parts to upgrade a perfectly good 800k SE to Superdrives. Alternatively, if you really don't care about networking, I'm guessing the total cost of upgrading your SE would be in the same ballpark as a SCSI2SD card which, likewise, would in most respects improve your experience with the machine far more than higher density floppies will. 800k floppies were basically the standard medium for distributing Mac software up until at least System 7 was well-established, so bluntly speaking anything that's going to run well on your SE is going to be fine with 800k floppies.

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I honestly didn't know that, I assumed everything released after SuperDrives came standard would be 1.44MB, like how OSes stopped coming out on floppy once CD drives became standard equipment.

 

Guess I'm not getting new drives after all.

 

I have System 7 on both 1.44 and 800K. I also have 7.5.5(1.44) on floppies, and I think it also came on CD. 7.5.5 is a big stack of disks-I think 14 or 15.

 

Apple has OCCASIONALLY conceded and offered an alternate medium for distribution, especially when the OS will officially run on computers that didn't ship with the standard distribution format. As an example, OS X Tiger was the first OS released on DVD, but there were a handful of supported computers that shipped with CD drives. If you bought the Tiger DVD, you could go into an Apple store or call Apple and they would exchange it for a 4 CD set.

 

Another one was the USB Snow Leopard installer for the early Macbook Airs since they didn't have built in disk drives. Granted, there are ways around this, but doing something like using disk sharing is SLOW(I think it took me about 3 hours to install SL on my first gen MBA with that method). Of course, now there is no physical distribution of OS X, although I have installers for everything since 10.7 saved on my computer and can make a USB installer pretty easily if I need to. Newer Macs also have Internet Recovery, which allows you to install the shipping OS over the internet if you have a hard drive failure or something like that. It's not the fastest either, which is why I make flash drives.

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Apple sold the Mac Plus, which of course couldn't have 1.44mb floppies, just as late as they sold the SE (the official discontinued date for both is the same, October 15th, 1990), and there were also a significant number of Mac 512ke/EDs kicking around in educational settings for quite a few years. It probably wasn't until the Classic and had been on sale for several years that the number of 68000 Macs equipped with SuperDrives outnumbered those not so, if that *ever* happened. So, yeah, 800k was the lowest common denominator for software distribution for quite a while.

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It's probably just black magic/coincidence, but I had several 1.44's that I was trying to format with my Mac 512k that failed in the initial attempts but worked after I took a high-power magnet off the fridge and waved it around in a circular pattern over the disks for about 30 seconds. (Didn't have a bulk eraser handy.) I haven't had many issues with them once you actually get a format to take, but then all I use them for is slapping games on. I reserve my small hoard of double density disks for important things like OS boot disks.

Please explain the theory and practice of magnet-waving as a means of making dead diskettes live again!

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*snirk* Well, first, you need to make a hat out of coathanger wire. Cut and bend into the shape of a pyramid and cover with tinfoil...

Really, all I did was take a particularly strong refrigerator magnet, held it, I dunno, a quarter inch or so above the disk, and spiraled it around a few dozen times, alternating directions once or twice. It genuinely seemed to work more than once but, again, could have been coincidence or the earth's ever-changing spatial relationship with the moon and Mars that really made the format take.

Edited by Gorgonops
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edited: I'm removing my own post because I think it strayed from the original question asked, despite offering solid advice.

 

Instead:

As has been answered, yes any beige mac, as well as PowerBook, that shipped with a floppy drive from Apple can make the 800k disks, including the Beige G3 (desktop/minitower/AIO) and Wallstreet G3, so long as they aren't booted to OS X.  9.2.2 and below will work fine.

Edited by just.in.time
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Hi,  to anyone else reading, previously my post had mentioned getting Ethernet cards in all Macs capable of it.  Hence itsvince's response.

 

Rare, kinda.  Expensive, depends on who is selling.  I picked mine up for a very fair price from a user here on the forums.  Also, I've seen some for the SE on eBay for reasonable prices.  That said, the Ethernet card for the SE/30 (which is a different card than used by the SE) does command quite the premium price.

 

That said, the card I got has the standard RJ-45 connector we know and love today, as well as coaxial and AAUI.  Not all cards have it, but it seems a decent number did have the modern RJ-45 connector.

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Arguably a solid alternative to an Ethernet card is an Ethernet/Local talk bridge, especially now that it's so trivial to set up Netatalk and MacIP services on a VM or Raspberry Pi. The performance will be inferior but a bridge and a pile of Phonenet adapters is a pretty cheap date compared to what Ethernet cards for some machines go for.

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That would also work!  I really want to try the DreamPi setup once I get my Portable back up and running.  It has the dialup modem, and no option of ethernet was ever available to it.  It would be a great candidate for that option.

 

Still, if the Performa 630 or whatever it was that was mentioned earlier is already up and running, I am thinking it would be a great idea to add Ethernet to it.  As has been mentioned, the cards for it are (assuming it takes the card I think it does) fairly affordable on eBay right now ($20-$30).  It would make it a great go between machine and could act as an FTP host to receive software from any modern computer, and can then LocalTalk and/or make 800k/1.4mb floppies.

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It looks like A2SERVER is installing MacIPGW these days by default, so I guess I need to pull out my Plus and see if I can install TCP/IP support on it. Said Plus currently only has 2.5MB of RAM and System 6, so I don't know how much of the way of software I'll be able to run on it. It *seems* to be working because I was able to activate MacIP in the Marinetti stack that comes with its distribution of GS/OS 6.0.3, but I didn't have any software handy that would fit in the remaining RAM that could prove whether it was working.

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Still, if the Performa 630 or whatever it was that was mentioned earlier is already up and running, I am thinking it would be a great idea to add Ethernet to it.  As has been mentioned, the cards for it are (assuming it takes the card I think it does) fairly affordable on eBay right now ($20-$30)...

 

And, yeah, I did notice in another thread that two other people have "made offers" on the same auction I dropped into this thread a page or two back and got them for even less than the $25 he's asking as a BIN, I think it's sort of a no-brainer. Fitting the Performa with said card would give you a whole pile of options for using it as a bridge mac for an SE. (You can use the Performa to generate floppy disks for the SE downloaded from the web/ftp or from a more modern Appletalk server, you can run a printer cable between the Performa and the SE and use personal file sharing to get software directly to the SE, you could run the software Appletalk bridge software on the Performa so the SE could hit a Netatalk server directly...)

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  • 1 month later...

I had to answer the original question myself last year when I landed a Mac Plus and then got a Power Mac G3 Beige to get software onto 800K floppies.

 

I found that:

a. Yes, you can write 800k floppies on the G3's superdrive

b. The floppies can even boot on the Mac Plus

c. But if you then wrote one or more files onto the floppy after the initial copy, the floppy is no longer bootable. I'll admit that when I discovered that, I was running 9.x

d. A number disk images that is popular for Mac emulators cannot be used to create bootable floppies. At least, if memory serves, the disk copy utilities didn't even recognize these as disk images...

 

I forgot about the Appletalk approach. Isn't there an incompatibility issue between ancient Macs and the newer ones (e.g. PowerPC vs 68K)? A long time ago, I had a Mac II running as an Appletalk server to a bunch of compacts and had to deal with that, but my memory is very fuzzy.

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