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Dumb AppleTalk Question: Networking Classic and SE


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Since my SE can only read/write to double-density disks and all my software is on high-density disks, I've been thinking of a temporary workaround to test out software on the SE until I get a FloppyEmu for my Classic and SE. I recently got my Classic up and running, and I had an idea to use AppleTalk as a way to move files (applications) to the SE for testing. The SE came with a serial cable that fits perfectly into the printer and modem slots.

 

I tried setting them up last night but had no luck whatsoever. On the Classic I go into Chooser and make AppleTalk active. However, on the SE, nothing shows up - even after making AppleTalk active on it through the Chooser, too. Both machines are connected to the printer port. The Classic is running 6.0.7 on the internal hard drive, the SE is running 6.0.8 on a double-density boot floppy. I believe the Classic was setup with an AppleTalk network by the previous owner.

 

The first time I made AppleTalk active before connecting the cable. Would that have possibly caused an issue? Over on one of the Facebook groups people kept mentioning AppleTalk and File Sharing control panels. However, those are not present on either machine - perhaps that didn't come along until System 7, or I'm missing some software?

 

It's not crucial I get AppleTalk working (after all, I plan on getting my hands on a FloppyEmu in a couple months) but it would be nice.

9D29C017-9A4F-4E28-A794-2EDA2265E38D.thumb.JPG.3468a214603da8d6beece266678dd858.JPG

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@Garrett

 

Keep an eye out on eBay for an ethernet card for the SE. I expect it will cost about $50-$75. Mine is from Shiva and cost $50-ish before postage.

I find that ethernet is one of the best way to transfer data to & from old macs. Sneakernet is also good.

It won't solve your immediate problem but will make life easier in the future.

 

LocalTalk works but is so very slow. I can send you some LocalTalk adaptors for the price of postage but you can probably get them cheaper locally.

It was slow back in 1989 but a minor miracle on the grounds that it was possible and easy.

 

 

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So I guess I am missing something... I knew it couldn't be as easy as plugging the serial cable into the two machines. :lol: I'm not going to lie, I'm getting slightly confused by all of the "xxxTalk" systems out there - AppleTalk, LocalTalk, etc. Either way, I'm guessing I would need to get an adapter. Since I plan on getting the FloppyEmu (which will eliminate most of the problems via SneakerNet) I'd rather just wait.

 

The ethernet card for the SE sounds interesting, especially with the possibility of connecting the computer to the internet. (I'm guessing that could happen, if I upgraded the memory and upgraded to System 7. Although I'm guessing the SE would be really slooooow on System 7.) As for transferring files, the FloppyEmu seems to be a decent option for me.

 

Thanks everyone for your input. I think I'm going to go to bed - it's 2:30 in the morning and I'm tired.

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The real issue you have you actually mentioned in your first post: System 6. It took me a while to realize as well, but System 6 has no built-in file sharing capability. You can only connect to a server, not host anything. System 7 and up has that capability. The other methods that these guys mentioned may work, but you will not be able to network two System 6 machines together without turning one into a dedicated server with software, and there's not really any reason to do that because it changes the system software entirely.

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There's a certain number of misconceptions being thrown around in this thread, and people are making it waaaaay more complicated than it needs to be.

 

First, the direct question:

 

4 hours ago, Garrett said:

Over on one of the Facebook groups people kept mentioning AppleTalk and File Sharing control panels. However, those are not present on either machine - perhaps that didn't come along until System 7, or I'm missing some software?

 

This is probably your problem.  Personal File Sharing didn't come along until System 7.  So for one computer to be able to share a folder to the other it either needs to be running AppleShare server software or it needs to be running System 7 or above.  They won't show up in the chooser until then; when you select a service in the chooser on the left hand side, only computers that actually offer that service appear in the right hand side.  It's not a list of all nodes on the network.  (edit: @LaPorta beat me to this!  We were obviously both writing our replies at the same time...)

 

Stick a smallish 7.0/7.1 installation on the Classic and you'll probably be fine (if you have enough RAM for it).  Don't worry about adapter boxes or anything complicated.  A "proper" Apple serial cable ought to work fine.

 

Other notes based on the thread as a whole:

 

4 hours ago, karrots said:

You mention a serial cable. I believe you actually need local talk adapters not just a serial cable between the two computers.

 

4 hours ago, ignatio said:

You can do it will a null modem cable and a terminal program like clarisworks communication. A regular serial cable won't work in this way.

You do not need LocalTalk boxes/cabling.  All those boxes contain is electrical isolation and bus termination, nothing clever at all.  Here's the circuit diagram from Inside Appletalk:

 

1149969604_ScreenShot2020-10-30at09_57_39.png.e412d6f05e7b9c10497ec4d9e696dd4a.png

 

All you actually need here is a serial cable with swapped Tx/Rx pins and, I believe, both the + and - pins for Tx and Rx wired through.  This means that, yes, you can have a serial cable that will work for some things that won't work for LocalTalk, either because some of the pins are missing and it will only do RS232, or because it's not crossed over, and you can't see the difference visually.  It's annoying.  Actual Apple serial cables usually work; some third-party ones do not.  I have a weird blue one that works perfectly that I use regularly.  No idea where it came from.

 

2 hours ago, Garrett said:

I'm not going to lie, I'm getting slightly confused by all of the "xxxTalk" systems out there - AppleTalk, LocalTalk, etc.

'Talk' was one of Apple's go-to generic words, and it's a bit annoying.  A summary here:

  • AppleTalk is the protocol that the computers speak.  This is the same level of protocol as IP; computers talk to each other using it using addresses, but they don't mind very much what actual wires they're talking AppleTalk over. 
  • LocalTalk and EtherTalk are the bits of software that allow you to talk AppleTalk over either RS422 cables or Ethernet, respectively.

There's some confusion here because before EtherTalk was a thing, AppleTalk referred indiscriminately to the protocol and the wiring, which was later called LocalTalk.  But it's best to just ignore that and go "AppleTalk is the protocol, Ether/LocalTalk are ways of getting it down actual wires"

 

Edited by cheesestraws
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On 10/30/2020 at 6:14 AM, cheesestraws said:

All you actually need here is a serial cable with swapped Tx/Rx pins and, I believe, both the + and - pins for Tx and Rx wired through.  This means that, yes, you can have a serial cable that will work for some things that won't work for LocalTalk, either because some of the pins are missing and it will only do RS232, or because it's not crossed over, and you can't see the difference visually.  It's annoying.  Actual Apple serial cables usually work; some third-party ones do not.  I have a weird blue one that works perfectly that I use regularly.  No idea where it came from.

 

Swapped RX/TX pins, a null modem cable like I mentioned. :P

67133d1465559196-8-pin-null-round-modem-

There is one for sale here:

https://www.opentip.com/Electronics/Iec-Apple-Mac-Mini-Din-Male-To-Male-Local-Talk-p-1575403.html

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25 minutes ago, ignatio said:

Swapped RX/TX pins, a null modem cable like I mentioned. :P

 

Yup, but you also talked about using ClarisWorks and xmodem and stuff, which is massive overkill, which was what I meant by a misconception in your post, not the type of cable.  If you have that cable you can just run LocalTalk over it and AppleShare.

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13 minutes ago, cheesestraws said:

 

Yup, but you also talked about using ClarisWorks and xmodem and stuff, which is massive overkill, which was what I meant by a misconception in your post, not the type of cable.  If you have that cable you can just run LocalTalk over it and AppleShare.

 

I see, my head was in the transfer files from mac to pc space.

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10 hours ago, Dog Cow said:

Is it an Apple-branded serial cable? The Apple StyleWriter cable will work to create a LocalTalk network between two Macintosh computers (or a Macintosh and a LaserWriter).

It appears to be an Apple-branded serial cable. Below is a photo of one end of the cable. Both ends plugged right in to the printer ports on both computers.

 

End also has "TWNPI3" and 590-0552-A molded in.

IMG_2515.thumb.JPG.f0f5efedf17b9c8369734f6cc60e28df.JPG

 

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I'll try again, but as previously mentioned both machines are running versions of System 6. (System 6.0.7 and 6.0.8 on the Classic and SE, respectively. The Classic is the "host.") Enabling AppleTalk on the Classic doesn't do anything, because when I turn on the SE it doesn't show up in the Chooser?

 

Perhaps I'm still missing something or I'm forgetting something. I usually plug the cable into both machines, power the Classic on, THEN power the SE on, then enable AppleTalk on the Classic. With that said, do I need to enable AppleTalk on the SE and restart it or something? There are no special AppleTalk or File Sharing menus in the Control Panel on either machine.

 

As previously mentioned, while it would be nice to get these two machines talking via AppleTalk, it's not the end of the world. I'm hoping to buy a FloppyEmu in the near future, eliminating the need for the AppleTalk. (Since my only use for the AppleTalk, at least at the moment, is to share apps from the Classic to the SE, since the SE can't read the high-density disks.)

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1 hour ago, Garrett said:

both machines are running versions of System 6

 

I think the lack of System 7 is probably the only reason it is not yet working. System 6 can connect to file servers on other computers just fine. What System 6 it cannot do out of the box is host its own server to be accessed by another computer. If you install System 7 on one or both of the computers, you would then be able to do either single or bi-directional file transfers with just a single cable. A fully loaded copy of System 7.5.5 might be a little overkill for these machines, but I think System 7.1 is fairly safe choice in terms of the trade-off between added features and slowdown.

Edited by davidg5678
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System 6 doesn’t have built-in file-sharing, though the Classic Mac Networking guide and vintageapple.org site list some System-6 compatible server software:

I don’t have experience with any of these options. AppleShare apparently requires a dedicated install, so while you could have two System 6 Folders, it might make more sense to have System 6/7 Folders, and use System 7’s built-in sharing.

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I think it's pretty clear that I won't be able to network these two computers together without additional software or upgrading one of them to System 7. And, since I don't have a floppy drive, FloppyEmu/SCSI-2-SD or anything of the sort, that's not going to happen. (Not to mention the FloppyEmu would essentially make AppleTalk and networking essentially useless, at least for what I want to do.)

 

I thought AppleTalk and file sharing was standard on pretty much all Macintosh models going back to the early models. I guess not...

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14 minutes ago, Garrett said:

I think it's pretty clear that I won't be able to network these two computers together without additional software or upgrading one of them to System 7. 

I thought AppleTalk and file sharing was standard on pretty much all Macintosh models going back to the early models. I guess not...

Once you've enabled AppleTalk on both computers and connected them with a cable, they're networked! That was the big innovation of AppleTalk in 1984 and 1985: it was the world's first zero-conf networking system. You are right in saying that AppleTalk is standard on all Macintosh models back to the Mac 128K. But file sharing has a more complicated history (because it's complicated to implement file sharing because of permissions, locking, etc), and AppleShare did not emerge until 1987, though third parties had file sharing and disk sharing systems before then.

 

Apple in 1984 also had plans for dedicated file server that was based on a stripped-down Mac 128K. This never made it past prototype stage.

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9 hours ago, Garrett said:

I thought AppleTalk and file sharing was standard on pretty much all Macintosh models going back to the early models. I guess not...

 

8 hours ago, Dog Cow said:

Once you've enabled AppleTalk on both computers and connected them with a cable, they're networked

 

Yup, this.  Or, to put it another way: there's a difference between being able to send messages from computer to computer and being able to share files between them, and the first has to happen before the second can.  And there is also a difference between being able to access shared content from a computer and be able to actually share that content without any extra software.  Perhaps as an analogy here, pretty much every modern OS comes with a web browser, but not all of them come with a web server.  "I can use shared volumes and file shares from very early machines" and "I can't share files until System 7" are not actually contradictory statements.

 

Perhaps tiresome detail:

 

This was especially true of the older Macs, where resources were sufficiently limited a lot of the time that you would almost always want to put aside a whole computer to do your file sharing server duties, especially given the lack of multitasking on the early Macs.  And as @Dog Cow mentioned, the original plan for this was to have a whole separate product for this use, which would just sit there and JFDI, kind of like a networked external hard disc.  In fact, if I remember correctly, for a while this was the approach Apple was going to take to hard disc storage.

 

After that plan, there was the early AppleShare server software, but this required a machine to be dedicated to it.  Again, think of the analogy with the web server here; the software was available quite early, but not bundled.  It wasn't until System 7 that being a file sharing server was bundled with the core OS.  And it isn't a coincidence that this came along at the same time that multitasking became non-negotiable.  File Sharing under System 7 is actually implemented as a background-only application that runs all the time.  And this in its turn is because Apple were only targeting Macs that had enough grunt (especially memory) to be able to actually multitask, which also by knock-on means they had enough memory and grunt to mostly share files.

 

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