Yesterday was a Good Day

What a day yesterday was! Made a couple of super-hot items for the Internet Archive Macintosh emulator and then launched a Patreon for!

First, the emulator items; The Manhole, a HyperCard-based game by Myst creators the Miller brothers, and the first 100 HyperCard issues of TidBITS.


The Manhole at the Internet Archive

All seemed to have gone swimmingly, with both items tested as working, so I shared my work with Jason Scott, lead emulation dude at the Archive, and his subsequent Tweeted out link to The Manhole got a great reception, with lots of likes and lots of retweets. All going good guns, right? Wrong. A very helpful user Tweeted that system sound was set to zero and needed to be turned up in the Sound control panel. This set alarm bells ringing in my head, as I was sure that I’d set volume up when creating the boot volume (a 25MB disk image containing System 7.5.3). I fired up my home OS9 Mac to have a look and all looked well, sound was set to middle volume, so I maxed it, saved the image, reuploaded, et voila, right? Wrong. I woke at 4am, which I often do, and opened Twitter on my phone for a browse and saw another Tweet with this horrifying image attached:

Error message from The Manhole Internet Archive emulated item

Well, that’s no fun, and it hadn’t happened the first time I uploaded the disk images. It was clearly a HyperCard-related error, but having very minimal HyperCard experience I didn’t know what it meant. I got out of bed, opened my laptop and ran the emulated item to see the error for myself. For some reason, when launching the game HyperCard stack, it was now asking “Where is Home” and asking to select a folder, presumably with the stacks in, which did launch the game but then this error happens whilst it’s on the title screen. Anyway, long story short, I swapped boot images around; no fix. I amended the boot image on my home OS9 machine; no fix. I created a new boot image altogether; no fix. I kinda surmised from a frantic Google that this error may relate to there being multiple instances of HyperCard installed on the system, and that’s when the penny started to drop. Whilst amending the sound level on the boot image, I had added HyperCard 2.4 to the image, which already had HyperCard Player on it. So, I came into my office, booted the G4 iMac I originally made the Manhole images on yesterday, reuploaded them to the Archive, et voila!, fixed. Kinda. Sound is still set to zero… I’ll investigate that shortly, but for now users are able to change the volume level in the Sound control panel before running the game.

Onto TidBITS. I’ve been looking for these early issues, in the original HyperCard stack format that Adam and Tonya Engst published in, for *ages* but without any luck. I reached out to Adam and Tonya via Twitter but they couldn’t help. Trawling Google turned up nothing, asking in vintage Mac user groups on Facebook didn’t help, I even trawled through a couple of rickety old Hotline servers (more on that in a later post!) but came up empty. I did, though, have a sudden brainwave yesterday; maybe they’re on the Eagle’s Nest! A while ago, Jason shared via Twitter a link to a fantastic Archive item, a back up of the Eagle’s Nest BBS. Turns out they were on there, and the first hundred issues were packaged up nicely in two HyperCard stacks, ready for cramming into the emulator. TidBITS is a long running (27 years and counting) Macintosh ezine, and there’s a wealth of info and history in these issues, so go and read them and soak it up!

Now you’re up to date with my archiving activities, let’s talk money! I launched a Patreon for yesterday! I’d been toying with the idea for a while, not really ever expecting to get much of anything from it but rather more as an experiment, a curiosity if you will. I’ve been pledging to my favourite wrestling podcast, The Lapsed Fan, for a while and that positive experience of giving to creators that I really enjoy convinced me that, if there is anybody out there that appreciates what I’m doing with this site and my Mac hobby, then it’d be neat to give them the opportunity to express that. I mentioned this to Jason whilst chatting about the two new Archive items and, a short while later, he very kindly tweeted it out to his followers.

Jason Scott tweet regarding Patreon

This is awesome! I’m incredibly grateful to Jason for doing me a good turn there and giving my project some big exposure. And, I’m thrilled to report, it worked!

Patreon screengrab

So far, seven people have been generous enough to pledge money each month to me. That is just so very humbling. I am very grateful, thank you one and all! That folk see enough value in what I’m doing here to put their hands in their pockets, well, that’s very motivating. 🙂

Like I said, yesterday was a Good Day!

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