2021 68k and PowerPC Challenge Mac-Yak team – what we did.

The Challenge, as we like to call it, gives us all an opportunity to put some time into using the machines that we stream / repair / collect and or, ahem, hoard. (I’m not singling you out Steve, but I am singling you out – Ed.)

No one used an Apple ][, ///, or Lisa. Come on guys, we’re not trying hard enough.

Dana Did Stuff!

Inspecting my Radius 81/110 Mac clone from 1994 for use in the Mac Yak 2021 68k/PowerPC Challenge!

Steve ‘Mac84’ used a Dot Matrix Printer

Steve put in a huge effort for the challenge, and while he gets his blog post ready for publishing, here’s a link to his first video in a series of three, preparing his mighty Quadra 800.

Bruce Rayne didn’t participate in any way, shape or form.

Here’s a video of Bruce Rayne not participating in any way, shape, or form.

Madeleine blew up a 128k by using it for two weeks.

Well, it all started innocently enough.

I’ll do the 2021 68k MacYak challenge on the first Macintosh, what was once my favourite, the 128k. Bruce repaired this machine, and it’s disk drive about 12 months ago, and I hadn’t used it since. I mean, what could I do with it? Write a poem? Draw a squiggle?

After much soul searching, I hit upon the idea of creating a Guerrilla Marketing Campaign. 1984 style. With only what was available to me with a 128k purchase, the sealed Picasso accessories box I have had squirrelled away since, well, 1984.

This ill-conceived concept all started with the desire to recreate a Radius Advertisement I’d seen in a Byte magazine in the 80s. At some point, I’ll likely make a few videos or blog posts about recreating iconic marketing illustrations like this one.

MacPaint 1.4 was revolutionary for the day, and visually appealing to anyone that had lived through the text based applications of the Apple ][ and /// era. Actually stunning, but in practice, having only 128k of RAM and a limited development timeframe made it much more toy, a lot less tool. Keyboard shortcuts are thin on the ground, requiring repetitive mouse movements. There are no arrow keys for precise movements.

The illustration literally took approx. 20 hours in MacPaint 1.4 given limitations

With most drawing taking place in FatBits … the very best tool under ‘Goodies’ MacPaint 1.4 has to offer. And you can use a modifier key to change the pen tool into the grab-hand slider, which makes navigating around the image a breeze. Sort of.

The shift modifier key, to constrain movements to precise directions like left, right, up or down, only works if you PRESS IT FIRST, which is nothing like modern applications, and something I never got used to. Thankfully the pen tool can turn pixels on and off, which saved a great deal of time.

The most difficult thing of all, is the RSI inducing mouse movements. Precise movements of elements of this type of illustration require holding the mouse teetering between a few pixels, and when your work requires precision, this becomes incredibly tiresome.

I wrote the whimsical ad copy in MacWrite, which to be honest, just should have never been released in this form, in my opinion. It’s like these developers sat in a back office somewhere and came up with software that just falls so far short of anything useful in a real office environment. It’s like a computer-based version of an IBM Seletric Typewriter, which let’s face it, it probably is.

No multiple columns. Only global left/centre/right justify commands. Like, hang on a minute, I can’t centre my headline and then left justify my copy? What? And only global tab stops. Even the sample memo supplied on the distributed MacWrite disk looks like crap! This was just too rushed, guys.

So, the flyer I wanted to produce should have looked like the above.

And here’s the flyer that could have been produced by the 128k, with some manual paste up and a photocopier …

And here they are, in the wild.

I put 5 of each of these up around my home town over the course of a few days, and went back to photograph them today. Turns out they all garnered some attention. 7 out of 10 people thought the story was awesome. 3 out of 10 people might just email me and buy something​.

But it won’t be this 128k. Even given it’s shortcomings, I love this machine, noisy keyboard and all. My god offices used to be noisy places. Something I had forgotten in 2021.

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