Jaguar Vs Cognac

The two projects, which aimed to bring RISC technology to the Macintosh, had totally different approaches and resources. Here are some of the main points which put them at the antipodes.

Jaguar had dozens of engineers from the start and was a very ambitious project.
Cognac, at least initially, had a much smaller team. Work started as a stopgap solution to bridge 68k and RISC, later evolved into a “plan B” and then became the only way forward for the Macintosh.

Since the 88k architecture wasn’t compatible with the 68k one, Jaguar engineers chose to start with a clean slate, even tough this meant that there would be the need to recompile all previous software for the Macintosh. This was similar to the IA-64 debacle of Intel’s Itanium , which was humiliated by AMD’s evolutionary way to add 64-bit computing capabilities to the existing x86 architecture.
The Cognac team was much more pragmatic. (more…)

Wednesday 23 August 2017, 10:04 am
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Fringe and the wrong Macintosh

Filed under: Did you know that...

Science fiction TV series Fringe featured quite a few Macs during its five seasons.

Fringe - Astrid with an iMac

Its characters have used desktop Macs, iMacs and a lot MacBook Pros. But while matching models to recent events is pretty easy, things get a bit trickier when you try to go back in time… (more…)

Tuesday 07 June 2016, 3:00 pm
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The Mac IIfx: Apple enters the workstation market

Developed to quickly process data heavy tasks, run UNIX and… to satisfy a government contract.

Released in March 1990, the Mac IIfx at the time was the fastest and most responsive Mac ever built. While Apple dubbed it “Wicked fast”, users interpreted the “fx” as an acronym for “Fucking eXpensive”, since the computer cost an enormous amount of money: 10000 to 12000 USD, depending on configuration..
The IIfx was Apple’s first real workstation and was supposed to rival offerings by brands such as Sun, Hewlett Packard and Apollo.

Illustrazione Mac IIWhile externally identical to a Mac II, internally the IIfx was quite different. It was powered by a Motorola 68030 CPU running at 40 MHz (almost twice the clock of the fastest Mac previously available, the IIci) and its 32 KB Level 2 Cache wasn’t optional but built in.
(more…)

Tuesday 16 February 2016, 12:00 pm
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Must-have apps: TenFourFox

Filed under: Software

If you have an old Macintosh with a PowerPC CPU and you want to browse the modern world wide web, you have only one reasonable choice: 10.4Fx, better known as TenFourFox.

TenFourFox: A fork of Mozilla Firefox ESR 38 for the Power Macintosh and Mac OS X Tiger PowerPC

It’s an acclaimed and heroic port of Firefox written by Power Mac users and maintained by Power Mac users, “still out there keeping your Power Mac relevant in an Intel world”.
As I write this text the current version of TenFourFox incorporates “the latest bug fixes and security improvements plus all the powerful technology underlying Mozilla Firefox 38 ESR“.

But let’s take a step back. (more…)

Wednesday 11 November 2015, 2:00 pm
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The Lisa/Macintosh XL, one of the “most unforgettable old Macs”

Filed under: Hardware

This summer I noticed a question on Quora, asking “What are the most unforgettable old Mac computers?”

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While most of the answers (predictably) waxed poetic about mainstays such as original or the G4 iMac, the TAM (Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh), the Portable or some odd but cool looking model such as the Macintosh TV, I chose to go against the grain and listed the following choices:

-) Macintosh XL: Lisa born again as a Macintosh and a indespensable development tool in the early years
 
-) Macintosh SE/30: fast and powerful, but still compact as the first one
 
-) Macintosh Quadra 900/950: the biggest, heaviest, baddest Mac ever
 
-) PowerBook Duos: coupled with the DuoDock they were a groundbreaking concept
 
-) white iBooks/PowerBooks with IBM G3 processors: insanely great battery life for the time
 

Shrine Of Apple: Lisa Pascal Workshop 3.0

While the speed and power of the SE/30 or Quadras are a well-known fact and many have lauded the virtues of old PowerBooks (I am among those) I think I should expand a bit and offer more context on the first item, i.e. the importance of Lisa/Mac XL during the early years of the Macintosh’s life.

When in January 23 1985 Apple renamed the Lisa 2/10 to Macintosh XL, thanks to the addition of MacWorks XL, a Lisa program that allowed 64K Macintosh ROM emulation, it stressed the Lisa/XL had way more memory and storage space than the early 128K/512K Macs. (more…)

Tuesday 27 October 2015, 4:22 pm
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