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cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17
AIM (unofficial) on 68k Macs!

I really missed AIM on my old 68k Macs, which is one of the reasons I paid AOL monthly forever (at least until they converted their service, first to BYO broadband at a lower price, then finally to free).

So I looked at how supremeleader573, a new MG member, may have edited his OS 9 PPC version of AIM and I found a string in the STR# resource pointing to AOL's server w/ResEdit and modified it to point to Phoenix's AIM server. I uploaded the main program only here if anyone wants to try it out. The change allowed me to log in using the AIM username I registered here. I have no idea if it works since it takes two to tango; I'm hoping it does! The server's known to go down often due to their isp, so ymmv.

Very Important: I cannot stress enough when creating a password for any unofficial server like this AIM alternative, that everyone should please use a unique (think "disposable") password that you won't use for other important things like online banking, work/email logins, that kind of thing!

So if anyone wants to test it with me, I'd love to see if we can chat like it's 1999! Laughing out loud my username is Ck.

Quick instructions: once you register a username with the unofficial AIM server, install the last 68k version of AIM located here on your real 68k or Basilisk II Mac on Mac OS 7.5 and up, then unpack and run the modified version of the main application I tweaked w/ResEdit and uploaded. See below:

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Bolkonskij's picture
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Joined: 2009 Aug 3

I haven't been using AIM "back in the day", so I don't have any emotions attached to it. Still, this is very cool. I think, this is the only still working Instant Messaging server for 68k Macs at this point? You should definitely upload your hack to the Garden, ideally with a quick description of how you achieved the result *thumbs up*

I use the Mac Garden Jabber server to chat via Facebook / ICQ with my contacts. However, it doesn't support 68k Macs until someone compiles one of the Jabber clients for 68k and/or System 7. So this is your option for IMing on 68k Smile

Edit: I wonder what other old Instant Messengers could be brought back to live with a simple ResEdit hack. ICQ maybe?

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Oh, you totally missed our early nineties party, then! Party I feel like Robin Williams' 1992 genie telling Aladdin what he'd stumbled into, except in the past tense, of course: AOL was our lamp back then! "So why don't you just ruminate whilst I illuminate the possibilities."

AOL's Instant Messenger was not only part of their flagship software, it was one of their major draws and successes. It was the icing on their online cake! They eventually spinned-it off into its own separate platform, so with time you didn't even need an AOL account to use it. The IM program did it all: provided news feeds, the latest stocks trends and show you your email subject titles and even open your email program.

Part One: What made America Online (AOL) so special in the '90s

Most Americans (think teens, moms, execs, nerds, everybody who had a computer, or lived with someone who did) tried out AOL and then got hooked on it! America Online really helped propel the masses into the digital age via personal computing and the web's virtually unlimited offerings. They launched a finely-tuned ecosystem that allowed you to jump on your phone lines and easily connect with others, giving you not one, but up to five separate AOL accounts, with parental controls and kid-friendly areas for any of the four subaccounts, so the entire family, dorm, office, or what-have-you, could all enjoy their own cyberspace time sending emails, photos, reading the latest news, tabloids, fashion, finance, online shopping, chatting with family, co-workers and new online friends, enter chat rooms and talk about anything and everything, whatever turned you on, was available with your mouse, the whole kit and caboodle. They even had a full online encyclopedia, and a few adventurous souls would even dare to, gasp, share landline digits and talk directly!


It was truly America Online back then, simply brilliant marketing and execution, plus you couldn't escape their floppy disks and later on CD-ROMs with 1000 free minutes of dial-up Internet access! They mailed them to all of America, and freely distributed them everywhere like malls, grocery and convenience stores, gas stations, the sunday paper, magazines, and they were often bundled with free and shareware; which reminds me, I think we should look at some of their install CD-ROMs for more Mac software as well.

But outside of the social aspects of the online game, AOL served a productive role for (both) offices (and SOHOs) everywhere, allowing staff to telecommute for real, especially if they had a dedicated office landline and use either their personal/fax lines to get online. Some would call the office line to politely share that the fax line was busy as a way of asking folks to get off their dial-up connections so they could send a fax over!

Those of us who didn't want to dish out for second phone lines would use pagers to cue up our calls after we got off AOL. It was by design, since both AOL and phone companies made it cheaper to place calls and connect after business hours anyway. You can just imagine how most of weekends (and our money) were spent! And even though AOL had many local phone numbers, you needed to hop on early because so many folks would saturate their lines, even at their hourly rates (especially after-hours and weekends); it was truly a costly but most satisfying addiction!

But for the nerds in us, AOL fueled our online addictions further by opening up huge vaults filled with the latest freeware and shareware offerings for both Macs and PCs, all curated mostly from Usenet (which was unknown to average users), divided into neatly laid-out categories, archived in .hqx, .bin, .cpt and .sit (or .zip for PC folks) and most importantly, all 100% virus-free! Think of all the floppy disks we purchased and filled up (and endless hours spent) downloading hundreds of megabytes via dial-up! They covered wallpaper, utilities, free/shareware (some exclusively available on AOL), unlockable demos, and you didn't have to go hunting for any of it, you would just pick and choose what you wanted like online shopping for us now and hit download, which were resumable if the connection died midstream! They truly built their empire back in the day off the mistakes of their competitors like Prodigy, GEnie and Compuserve.

Part Two: Why I didn't just upload it to the Garden just yet

I love that I've been able to relive some of my heyday moments with others here in the Garden already, so with this resurrection of AIM, I'm hoping the AIM server operator shares our same spirit, desire and candor to "unbreak" the things of old. The MG has confirmed my trust in the goodness of people, so I definitely want to do what I can to make this wonderful, yet fledgling service stretch and grow and in doing so help us really connect via our older Macs again!

They state that older AIM clients all work with their servers as long as they're manually configured or by adding their IP to a hosts file and they've been transparent sharing their journey hasn't been trouble-free, citing that their ISP hasn't been reliable at all leading to service downtimes, making it very hard to operate well and apparently they're the only ones shelling for the bandwidth, too.

The program successfully connected once, but before officially "unofficially" releasing this puppy into the wild, I just want to know that it's still continues to work and how since I had tried to set-up a hosts file within TCP/IP right before it connected! I don't know if my failing connections are server, TCP/IP config or client-related, so I'd like to set-up and run another old stable AIM client to know when the server is online and then to see if my hacked AIM client can actually chat w/others online.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

I wonder what other old Instant Messengers could be brought back to live with a simple ResEdit hack. ICQ maybe?

As long as there're working servers that haven't broken any of the protocols used back in the 68k days, I'd imagine they should work, but should doesn't always mean will.

You should definitely upload your hack to the Garden

I'm ready now Smile but I need help deciding whether I should upload it as a download option under the same AIM version page, the Mac OS 9 AIM Phoenix page, its own separate AIM Phoenix (68k) page and/or some or just one of those three page options, or should I do all of them? I'll also provide the how-to lowdown for anyone curious on the process I followed and any adventurous hacking types to consider tinkering away on this and/or any other programs similar in nature.

I also remember removing the ads in a few of the AIM clients I used to use in both Mac and Windows, so I may attempt to tinker away at it little more, but any help is welcome, especially since I'm prone to break stuff more than fix it!

Bolkonskij's picture
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Joined: 2009 Aug 3

wow, interesting read, thank you! I briefly used AOL in around 1996 when they bombarded the country with their CDs and „10 free hours!“. Haha, I vaguely remember the dial-in „triptych“ graphics and the accompanying modem sound. But I had always wanted to go www because that seemed to be where the interesting stuff happened Smile

I also applaud your hacking endeavor. We need more of that spirit! I’d personally upload the 68k hacked version to the AIM page. I’d even add the phoenix server one there as well. If someone looks for AIM, this is the place to go. With too many pages, it will simply not be found anymore. But ultimately fogwraith is the personal to decide Smile

Anyway, as soon as I get my IIci online I'll have to give it a spin!

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

I never used AOL, but I was one of the first test users for the AOL-independent AIM client. I'd love to be able to use my old AIM handle again Smile

Also, I was 4015739 on ICQ. It'd be neat to get that 68k client working again too, and get back my old number Laughing out loud

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Go on and get your old handle, man! Smile

I've been putting way too much time polishing the new app page I made for it about a day or two ago. It's got all the links and overly-detailed instructions to get you going on there, as well as a working Classic Mac AIM client to boot!

Plus I need an AIM buddy to add to my buddy list, so just go enlist! Wink

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

Is the AIM name the username or the forum name or something else?

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Here's the registration page Smile enter the screen name you used to have, then enter a password for it and the captcha on the screen.

You'll get an email with a a verification link, click it and you've got yourself a new AIM Phoenix screen name to log-in with and use!

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

That's the page I was asking about... is the AIM name the user name or the forum name? There's fields for both.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Oh, now I see what you mean! Doh! Well, didn't I tell you I was blind in the post I asked about the PCE/Macplus builds?

I just remember putting my desired AIM name in both, I think? Oh boy, now I don't recall, and I only did it a few days ago… this is bad, I'm officially going senile! But I think the page will tell you if you mess up.

and why would it even ask for a forum name anyway; I don't remember ever needing to register a forum name for AIM (to be fair, I only used the AOL screen names I already had on AIM from when I first got AOL)

Bolkonskij's picture
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Joined: 2009 Aug 3

I just signed up. I put my nick in both. Forum name refers to the bulletin board on the Phoenix page. (see top-navigation) Registration went without a hitch.

As soon as I can get fogwraith to send me the network card, I'll join with my IIci. Looking forward to it Smile

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Cool beans! Couldn't you try it out on a PPC Mac? It should fire up fine, I did… on QEMU! Laughing out loud C'mon, live a little… staying indoors Wink

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

Thanks; I've signed up now too. AIM:EmAn0n back in service, and (I think) ICQ:4015739 as well. Can't figure out how to do the Yahoo Messenger one; on that, Adespoton should work, as I've had that Yahoo account since Y!M became a thing. Next step is to fire up my VM with my old accounts in it. Too bad my old friends list is unlikely to be of use anymore.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Sweet: two friends in one night! Cool Party

Adespoton should also be available on this new AIM, or is it more about the nostalgia of using it just like it used to be?

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

More of the nostaliga thing. Any idea what the oscar server address is? Is it iwarg.ddns.net? Because the official servers of course don't work.

[edit] Yup... iwarg.ddns.net works!

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Are you going to try using a Classic Mac OS client? I put one up in the Garden Wink