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#1 2014-12-22 07:41:05

iMic
Administrator
From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 889
Website

ThinkClassic Retrospective (2014)

Hi Everyone,


As another year comes to a close, I would like to take a few moments to reflect on what we have achieved here in the ThinkClassic community in only seven short months. It has been a remarkable year for our community as we continue to make the ever so gradual transition from a small startup to a serious contributor in the greater Vintage Apple scene.

Together we've broken new ground in developing new solutions for older Macintosh computers and shared our knowledge with others, encouraging them to do the same. We've saved machine after machine from electronic waste as we repair, restore and customise these machines to serve a purpose once again.



Software

We started this community in May, and within three days we had our first community challenge to see who had the oldest internet connected Macintosh that could connect and post to the forums. As soon as I thought that we had a winner, someone would come forward with an even older machine and surprise us.

bbraun introduced ThinkClassic natively to System 7 with an application that browses the forums on older machines. We've attempted to keep our site updates consistent, something we haven't always been able to accomplish (sorry Rob!). It's a fantastic piece of software, showing what can be done on older Macs with some effort and programming knowledge.

Classilla continued its reign as the champion of Classic browsers as ClassicHasClass delivered the new Classilla 9.3.3 in October, introducing support for sites with newer standards of SSL encryption.

Mk.558 completed version 3.2 of the Classic Mac Networking Guide, a comprehensive guide to making our Macs communicate with each other. This guide, which took over twelve months to complete, is possibly the most complete set of documentation on Macintosh networking I've ever seen, and I recommend you check it out some time.

Our partnership with the Mac OS 9 Lives discussion forum produced an incredible result, as extensive research by iMic and the introduction of the Generic 10.2.1 Mac OS ROM allowed Mac OS 9 to successfully boot on an unsupported machine for the first time, marking a significant step forward for the efforts by Classic Mac OS enthusiasts spanning several decades. The research conducted during these efforts would also result in the production of a utility named IdentityTool, aimed at making a dual boot between OS 9 and OS X easier on an unsupported machine.



Hardware

Switching our focus to hardware, one can't overlook the efforts of Techknight, who showed significant skill and knowledge in reviving Macintosh Portable boards that were thought to be beyond repair using some creative and ingenious methods.

Uniserver showed us how to solve a common issue with our Quantum ProDrive hard disks, using a few drops of acetone and some rubber to free those stuck head assemblies once and for all.

What started as a thread seeking information about the MacGusto Upgrade Board turned into an insightful thread on Macintosh hardware development as David Denowh (ddenowh), one of the creators of the MacGusto board, stopped in to share the stories of the creation of the board and some hardware engineering wisdom.

bbraun was on a roll with new developments in Macintosh hardware this year. The Plus ROM adapter kit allows for the installation of a 1MB ROM in a Macintosh Plus, making it possible to do some really cool stuff with the Plus hardware, like booting the system from ROM. He showed us some examples of using 3D printing to recreate case components and accessories for our old machines, and then to top it all off, created a method of playing snake and displaying information across several early Macs simultaneously.

Producing a more powerful, more capable Compact Mac is a common dream for many a vintage Macintosh collector, and jt's Project30 takes modifying a Macintosh to a whole new level. It's a little outside of the scope of my knowledge, so it blows my mind every time I see the amount of fabrication, trial and error involved. Incredible stuff.

iMic solved a long standing issue with the heatsink clamps in the Power Mac G5, discovering that the CPU retaining bolts worked nicely as stronger replacements for the less-than-spectacular plastic retaining pins on the U3 northbridge heatsink.

Some Apple hardware was notorious for brittle plastics, and as our machines are well used, it's increasingly likely that they have or will develop those telltale signs of wear. MJ313 would have none of it, showing us some creative methods for repairing and restoring those case plastics to a near new finish.

LCGuy's search for more performance and the ability to run newer operating systems led to some extensive modifications to his MacBook. The Santa Rosa board was removed, new board mounts were JB Welded into place, and a newer Montevina powerplant was fitted after much trial and error.

Although many of the developments took place over on his own website, it wouldn't feel fitting to have a rundown of hardware developments and not include bigmessowires' Floppy Emu somewhere. The groundbreaking device gained support for HD20 emulation this year, creating some real excitement in the community. Almost everyone I know with an older Mac wants one of these, and it isn't difficult to see why.



Community

Almost as soon as we launched the community, members were already planning meet ups and social events. The discussions surrounding community meets suggest there is some real interest in the idea, and we'll certainly continue to encourage the idea well into the new year. Hopefully we can make something happen soon.

Topaz Design in Portland, Oregon was the venue for a prototype Apple exhibit in early October, and our reporter on the ground Mk.558 was there to capture the magic for those of us that couldn't make it.

We introduced several revisions to the site this year, including a major rewrite in the middle of the year and a second major revision earlier this month, intended to set up our community in preparation for the new year. At the request of our users, we also implemented Secure Sockets Layer support on our server while still retaining compatibility with our older machines, and I would like to extend gratitude to techknight for the idea, and all of mcdermd's hard work to implement it that made all of this possible.

Turning the attention to the forums themselves, our members-only exclusive Front Bar played host to some of the most unusual, interesting, informative and even controversial topics of the year. However Happy Hour never seemed to end, as everyone remained civil and had a great time.

Despite the relatively small size of our community, our members-only Buy, Sell & Trade forum saw some decent activity. We didn't expect to see this forum become active until well after the member base was established and the community numbers reached higher levels, so to see it in action so early is an excellent start.

One forum that wasn't originally planned for would eventually become one of our most popular. The Hacks & Modifications forum served as the home base for almost all of our new projects and developments in vintage computing, and I wouldn't consider running the community without it now. We can thank bigmessowires for the idea.



These examples are only scratching the surface of what our community achieved this year, and certainly if there are examples that I have missed - and there will be some - that deserve to be on there, the community will soon let me know and share them in the comments to follow.



I remember a conversation I had almost twelve months ago with another collector. We had arranged to meet so I could supply some replacement components for a Macintosh 512Ke, but a mutual interest of classic computers soon had us discussing every machine from the Altair 8800 to the Lisa.

One standout moment of that conversation was our brief discussion about the sense of community in the classic computing scene. If one attribute overshadows our dedication to the machines we maintain, it's that we have a willingness to share knowledge about those same machines with others. We aren't that different from other enthusiast communities. We encourage new projects, we share ideas and we have a sense of community within our member base. Those community ideals are ones that we'll be actively encouraging and hope to continue to see more of in 2015.

Our earliest community manifesto, written before the site launched in January, captures this spirit rather nicely.

ThinkClassic specialises in the computers that time left behind. We find new uses for old technology. We repair, restore and revive broken and damaged machines. We’re collectors, hobbyists and technicians from every corner of the planet. We service and maintain Macintosh computers, peripherals and accessories, both new and old.

Collectively, we make one of the newest destinations for information and support for some of the oldest Macs.



In closing, the administration team would like to extend our best wishes to everyone over the holiday season, and we look forward to working with the community and seeing what exciting projects it has to offer in 2015.



Kind Regards,

iMic,
- The ThinkClassic Admin Team.


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#2 2014-12-22 17:11:59

bigmessowires
Member
Registered: 2014-05-15
Posts: 183

Re: ThinkClassic Retrospective (2014)

iMic and the admin team, thanks for putting ThinkClassic together, and for fostering a community where intelligent and positive discussions can thrive.

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#3 2014-12-22 17:31:24

jt
Member
From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,407

Re: ThinkClassic Retrospective (2014)

Amen.

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#4 2014-12-22 19:34:27

uniserver
Member
From: Sf, Mi
Registered: 2014-05-15
Posts: 956
Website

Re: ThinkClassic Retrospective (2014)

lots of cool stuff in the pipeline that is for sure...   Great stuff by great people.
You guys are super smart and the community is lucky to have people that are so knowledgeable, and we all share the same passion for vintage computing!


#I Re-Cap √Mac √NeTX √Amiga Boards - A/B - PSU# (MacCaps.com)  Modern SCSI HD's - For Old Macs - Pre Cfg'd - 10k RPM! 73gb!! $50 + free shipping  -- Mac 128K Re-Ram kits (16 Chips) $35 + shipping, Floppy Issues?-> Bourns Filter Solution 128k - SE/30, $16 + shipping

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#5 2014-12-23 01:52:28

LCGuy
Administrator
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-13
Posts: 818

Re: ThinkClassic Retrospective (2014)

And thanks to all our members, for...well....being our members and being awesome. smile 2015 is going to be a great year, bring it on smile

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#6 2014-12-26 23:02:18

blemk
Member
Registered: 2014-11-09
Posts: 16

Re: ThinkClassic Retrospective (2014)

Only got a few months in before the end of the year here, but so happy I found this site and people with interest in "Classic" Mac. I look forward to the coming year, maybe to bring about collecting even some older yet (than OS 9) Mac hardware I once got to see when it was brand new.

So good to see people holding on to old Mac OS (pre-X) versions like can be seen in Dos/Windows versions around the web.

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ThinkClassic specialises in the maintenance, repair, restoration and modification of Vintage Apple and Macintosh computers. Ask questions and find answers about classic Apple desktops, laptops, accessories and peripherals.