#MARCHintosh ¾.1 Update

I realised soon after posting yesterday’s overview of GlobalTalk that I had left out a few things which I really feel I need to include.

This is going to be like an Oscars speech – self-centred (as in from my perspective), probably overly long (no band to push me along, and I’d probably choose Jethro Tull playing Thick as a Brick, anyway), full of hyperbole (hey, I’m excited!), and I’m going to forget or not be aware of people I should be giving a shout-out to (hence the generic shout-out at the end).

For all of these, I blame my eminent fallibility and declining cognitive functions and beg everyone’s forgiveness!

Firstly, a shout-out to dan and Paul Rickards for setting this up in the first place. A simple “let’s try and connect across the Atlantic” experiment has become so, so much more, and I know has given dozens a geeks a fun, challenging, and interesting project for 2024.

I’d also like to acknowledge the Apple hardware and software engineers – they have designed and released a system which quite literally works across the decades and around the world. A lot of this stuff really does “just work”, and most of my challenges have been related to trying to connect via emulation or trying to use modern hardware. And some of what’s lacking in modern systems is more policy (no more AFP in macOS) than technical (netatalk fills the AFP gap).

Next, my fellow GlobalTalk Admins! You all rock! The willingness to jump right in, the regular visits between sites, the resources you’ve made available and times you’ve shared, and the simple camaraderie of a shared retro technical goal has made this, my first , an absolute blast!

74 Admins have placed their network details in the coordinating spreadsheet (a few are yet to reach that stage), and I suspect we may get a few stragglers in the last week of March.

I’d like to particularly shout-out Paul Rickards and Steve (Mac84) for administering the coordinating spreadsheet (otherwise known as “herding the cats” [and yes, there are lots of cats on GlobalTalk – furry felines and cat printers both]). Any gig like that can get fractious and be a time sink, so thanks for helping to give this “rag tag fugitive fleet” a place to keep the house in order.

Overall, the creativity and sheer genius of some solutions Admins have used to get equipment and resources online has left me in awe.

Speaking of creativity and genius, some admins have gone above and beyond, creating new programs or solutions to help out their fellow admins, or give users a more interesting experience.

This following list is where I know I will forget people – but know: if you’ve created a program, if you’ve created tutorials or configuration files to help people get onto GlobalTalk, if you’ve resurrected old file archives with interesting stuff or created new one, if you’ve done even one small thing like create new artwork to print to available printers or leave as calling cards, you’ve all made this one for the ages!

  • Karl Baron has created several programs/HyperCard stacks for GlobalTalk, including GlobalTalk Chat (a HyperCard chat system for people on AppleTalk networks), ZoneWatcher (sort of a log of AppleTalk zones which have been visible on the network), AIRConfig (which greatly simplifies keeping the list of Apple Internet Router Host IDs up to date), and KalleBoos AppleWideWeb (sort of a HyperCard World Wide Web/wiki which allows linking between stacks on different GlobalTalk hosts)
  • Sam Johnson has released GlobalTalk Updater, which periodically grabs the list of Host IDs from the coordinating spreadsheet and creates a text file compatible with AIRConfig for importing into AIR
  • Vlado Vince has set up a Spectre multi-player system and tracking page (so you can see who’s playing and who’s in the waiting room) – he also hosts a lot of files related to early Yugoslavian/central European networking systems.
  • LikesOldMacs has set up an open access System 7.5.3 folder for participants to play with/modify, and will be booting it at the end of to see what “treasures” it holds – can’t wait to see the denouement on that one!
  • Josh is creating jrouter, a homemade AIR-equivalent router package for modern systems written in Go. While I enjoy the retro feel of doing this the “original” way, I am also trying to keep this online in the long term and emulation may end up being too crashy and/or just a resource drain I might avoid with a solution like this…or just by getting an SE/30!
  • Rairii has put a Windows NT4 server online with a file share and “Print-to-PostScript File” printer.
  • Byte Knight is hosting a GlobalTalk server on a IIci which also hosts a 6-node BBS (Captain’s Quarters II)
  • Andy Diller has set up an Apple IP Gateway server to allow GlobalTalk clients (especially those using LocalTalk) to connect to the wider internet. Oh, and as The Three Golden Rules of Computing (1. Backup 2. BACKUP 3. BACKUP!) still apply, Andy runs a Retrospect (old Mac backup software) server to backup your GlobalTalk clients to!
  • As an extension of getting their Lisa clone online, DosFox ran AppleShare 2.0.1, which effectively hijacks the whole OS to share files from
  • vga256 recreated the website of the creator of the popular Simpsons icons from “back in the day” (and has done other such recreations). That creator unfortunately has passed away, so these sorts of preservation efforts are vital to remembering our digital past. I love digital archaeology/preservation stories like this, so much is being lost to bitrot and link-death
  • nulleric (the creator of the BlueSCSI, see below) has released a TashTalk (see below) compatible version of mini vMac (I’ve yet to try this out)
  • Eric’s Edge made a network tic-tac-toe game, Tic Tac For Two
  • While less active recently, Sinclair-System 7.5 had some entertaining posts on Mastodon earlier this month in relation to purposefully infecting emulated systems with old school Mac viruses – all I can say is “Ouch!”

Because of the way Fediverse message propagation works, I may not have captured all the GlobalTalk hashtag goodness – please reply to this post with anything you think worthy of being on this list.

To the developers of hardware and software like NeitherNet, BlueSCSI, SEthernet/30, PiSCSI, FloppyEmu, modern Lisa clones, TashTalk, TashRouter, AirTalk, netatalk, QEMU, Basilisk II, mini vMac, and many others, and the communities which have built up around those projects, thank you for helping this all work in new and interesting ways on both modern and retro hardware/emulations.

Lastly, for this update, here are some of my hints and tips for being on GlobalTalk:

  • Network Discovery: Who’s There (available on the Elsie file server in the billgoats zone, and mirrored on WOzFest HQ file server in GlobalTalk share in the Networking folder) is a great Chooser extension for seeing information about devices in zones, and Trawl does something similar graphically (available in the BlackBird Public share on Blackbird in BaroNet zone, and WOzFest HQ in same folder as Who’s There)
  • Printing: The AppleTalk MacPalette II driver (available on the Elsie file server in the billgoats zone) gives vastly superior results on AppleTalk printers, especially in colour. If compatible, LaserWriter 8 allows the selection of a PPD (PostScript Printer Description) file to allow the setting of printer model-specific options – I have placed 103 Brother PPDs into the appropriately named folder in the GlobalTalk share on the netatalk file and print server in the WOzFest HQ zone (there also a folder for the two printers in that zone, my Brother MFC-L3770CDW colour laser printer, and the CUPS-PDF “Print to PDF” printer).
  • Coordination Spreadsheet: protect your own cells, make cells like Status easier to update, and reduce clutter by using Google Sheets’ Comment feature if you want to leave a message for someone (even works on protected cells)
  • Practising : Make sure you have Disinfectant 3.7.1 or Virex installed to avoid any embarrassing infections – these are both widely available on GlobalTalk file server (Disinfectant 3.7.1 is in WOzFest HQ’s GlobalTalk share, along with a few other goodies). Don’t forget to install any protection extensions/INITs to avoid infections moving forwards, too

Please, if I’ve not covered something worth giving a shout-out to (even if it’s on other [unmentionable] social networks!) that you have done or are aware of because I’ve overlooked it or am not aware of it, reach out and I will include details here – I love you all, and appreciate everyone’s hard work on this stuff!

I was hoping today I would have already started working on some of my outstanding (as in left over, not fantastic [although they may well be both]) projects, but I thought it worth taking the time to celebrate those I’ve mentioned above, and, of course, acknowledge there are likely many more who deserve recognition.

As I receive info, I’ll update the above, and I’ll hopefully finish my weekend with an update on my outstanding projects (although I have a Stranger Things Season 4 finale to watch, as well [yes, I know I’m late to that party!]).

If possible, I’ll also post a list of GlobalTalk relevant blog posts, tutorials, etc. as an independent update.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a great weekend!