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Tristan's picture
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Joined: 2014 Jun 21
Chat / Social site for retro users

Hello there,

I got my Performa 5200 out after a long time, I wondered what I could do with it.
I was wondering if there's a platform (either online or on a hotline server), where the retro mac users could share files (photos, videos, programs, documents), chat with each other and things like that (like a separate social media for us). This could be an application as well, that is designed especially for the retro macs.

Is anything similar to this out there, or has anybody got the lust to deal with such a thing?

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fogWraith's picture
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Joined: 2009 Oct 23

How retro are we talking here? Considering the 5200, that's up to OS 9.x so something that works well within the scope of System 7 and OS 9 with all the technology available within this period, with the off-chance that it is also supported in a more modern fashion?

I know there are several Hotline servers for instance, which are focused on different things depending on the operators interest. But maybe we're looking at a more broad, general place?

There are several projects in the works that essentially tie and connect in some manner. Bolkonskij works on things like Mac OS Today, Bolkonskij's Cheat Emporium and Cornica.

Knez has The Macintosh Garden IM gateway.

There's also a web & file hosting service that works well with AFP and FTP and serves both as personal storage and websites for members, and there is also an image hosting service that I believe works with classic machinery as well.

I don't think there is a pure "chat / social" platform for classics though, but I could be wrong. There was a pretty interesting project by a friend many years ago, I will look up the sources and see if this may be something of interest.

Tristan's picture
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Joined: 2014 Jun 21

Thanks for the sites mentioned above! Smile They are quite fascinating, but still not what I imagined. As I wrote in the original text, the site or software would be like a social media website.

fogWraith's picture
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Joined: 2009 Oct 23

I concluded from the first post that what you're looking for is what Facebook was in it's infancy / early stages.. or something like the digital gated communities we used to have / have in Sweden (small niche communities, some larger (skunk, lunarstorm))

But in a fashion that it renders on somewhat older hardware / software and contains features like you describe.

It would be an interesting project.

Europa's picture
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Joined: 2018 Nov 19

I agree! This would be an interesting project. Maybe some sort of public chat that can tie in with the #macgarden IRC too?

Tristan's picture
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Joined: 2014 Jun 21

Yeah!

Jatoba's picture
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Joined: 2018 Apr 16

Mac Garden IRC?? I never knew that existed. I should have checked that way back.

Good to learn of this.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Exactly, Europa Smile my vision is having some kind of doctored America Online Instant Messenger for classic Mac OS. Here are the programs I used in the past that I know work. They go all the way back to the 68k days:

  1. AOL's AIM was a very nice IM client. The Garden has versions 2.0.531 and 4.0.972 for 68k Macs. I loved how it had a menubar menu icon to open the IM window. It was highly addicting and sorely missed! PPC version.
  2. Quick Popup still sells a cross-platform LAN chatting solution that works on Classic, OS X, Win 95-10 and Linux! It not only does chat, but iirc, newer versions also support sending and receiving files between users! I remember this software being a lot like classic AIM, but worked more like iChat on OS X, except just for your LAN.

Here are other classic Mac web and LAN chat clients I haven't tried yet:

  1. Ircle is an old 68k IRC client. Here's a large collection of more Ircle Mac IRC clients.
  2. ICQ also has 68k and PPC versions for classic Macs.
  3. Timbuktu for 68k offers remote control, file transfer and chat between your own Macs, so it's more of a work from home solution. PPC and OS X versions. It'd be good for what's occurring in our world right now.
  4. Bugoff seems to have a simple LAN chat function as well.
  5. fogWraith also shared that Apple includes a Hypercard stack with LAN chat abilities called Apple Event Primer!

One can only dream of a new 68k/PPC mac chat client! Smile

Europa's picture
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Joined: 2018 Nov 19

I'd love a new chat client Smile

m68k's picture
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I can't find the download link to the event primer stack. Can you post it, plz?

cbone's picture
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That's because the event primer stack is part of the stacks included in the Hypercard 2.1 download, so it's included and ready to go once you install it.

m68k's picture
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Thx a lot!

cbone's picture
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To be honest, I was so late into the social media game that its almost shameful! Smile

The closest thing to it in recent times for me has been WhatsApp!

Jatoba's picture
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Joined: 2018 Apr 16

The web hosting you guys set up is so awesome! It's truly GeoCities revived, for the Mac. I feel compelled to creating something there, too. Smile

cbone's picture
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Hey Jatoba!

Do you mean Cornica? Just the fact that some of its videos even play 68k Macs alone shows just how far one can push technology Smile

Jatoba's picture
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Joined: 2018 Apr 16

I mean this wonderful thing here: http://home.macintosh.garden/index.html

It was fun to check some of the hosted pages, too. Smile

Europa's picture
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I have a page set up there! Laughing out loud

It's super fun to be able to do webpage design from my Power Mac and then upload it to a place where many people have done the same thing.

Jatoba's picture
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Joined: 2018 Apr 16

I saw it, I like the wallpapers you use and all that. Smile Plus the Mac machine names.

It inspired me to want to do something, too. For now I won't be making anything, but it seemed like a fun thing to set my sights on, for sometime later. If I was to make anything, I'd probably want it to be about Realmz, Diablo and PPC assembly programming. It'd also be a great excuse for me to poke at the ever-idolized BBEdit for something.

cbone's picture
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The full version of BBedit is definitely worth giving a spin, Jatoba: here are the versions for 68k, Mac OS 8.6 versions and Mac OS 9.1-9.2.2.

As a side note, my favorite tool back in the day was HomeSite 1.2, a Windows 95 freeware html editor with color html coding, directory list, tabbed pages and open with web browser plus many other buttons (I checked this online copy with VirusTotal). Just be careful if you source the program anywhere else online: many years ago, I downloaded a copy with malware! Oh, the good ol' days of Windows, lol.

Now, Chrome OS's Text app, which I use daily on my Chromebook, is also very simple but quite functional as a simple HTML editor, if you happen to be using a Chrome OS device. Its text tag code coloration is similar to BBedit and HomeSite.

Europa's picture
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Thanks Smile

I use DreamWeaver MX on my Power Mac to put everything together, it's really nice to use.

cbone's picture
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I still remember using Dreamweaver MX on Classic and it was one of my favorite WYSIWYG web editors on Classic, much more functional than Claris Home Page, Adobe GoLive and its predecesor, Adobe PageMill.

I also played around with both GIF and Flash animation creation for websites using Photoshop and ImageReady. I reverted to GIF animation design when Flash was deprecated on iOS websites, knowing its end was forced by Apple. Flash was sharper and smaller, but GIF animations have always worked everywhere and done carefully, the results are pretty decent, especially when outputting bigger file sizes.

I even remember testing Microsoft Word's web publishing powers, and while functional, it created rough code (I think this was because the files continued to be compatible with MS Word).

A much newer web editor I still have very fond memories of is iWeb, part of iLife '09. The code it outputs is not necessarily very clean, but the web sites it creates are very decent. It's outdated like the rest of these other tools, but it held its own during its heyday.

And although I didn't get a chance to use RapidWeaver much, it was also a very nice web editing program, and it's still being sold and updated.

Europa's picture
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Cool! I started out with PageMill but then switched to Dreamweaver because PageMill wasn't playing nice with the FTP upload site. PageMill made some bad code (like not providing back-up fonts automatically) that I'm still working on correcting >.>

Ideally I would have just redone the site in Dreamweaver, but I had already gotten the basic layout how I wanted it.

cbone's picture
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I think my biggest gripe with web editors generating voluminous code underneath pages is that then that makes it hard to edit the code manually after the fact. This is especially difficult whenever things need final tweaks to look or display right.

One of the things that made web development either more fun or more frustrating, depending on your perspective of fun, was that different browsers had different ways of displaying the same thing. Microsoft was high on that list, having its own set of rules of what worked on it and what didn't.

And being that most of the world was using Microsoft Windows with, drumroll please, Microsoft Internet Explorer at the time, you had to pay close attention at any html code IE broke due to its own browser exceptions. You would have to test elements of your web pages on multiple web browsers. This became more difficult to track and manage on older OSes on older computers, so most web developers mainly concentrated their testing on the latest web browsers, slowly breaking things on legacy browsers. As new browsers versions replaced older ones, the list of exceptions grew with each new version.

Such testing and html code fixing was very tedious on auto-generated html output that added code of no benefit to anyone except conceivably to the web design program itself. A number of WYSIWYG web design programs worked that way.

Europa's picture
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Yeah. I've read that they have a tendency to do that. I have to say that I enjoy seeing how different pages render on different browsers, which reminds me that I should try out my webspace page with IE on my iBook.

I hope I never have to manually edit my code, even though in all reality I most likely will.

cbone's picture
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Well, when you keep things simple, (note: keep things simple!) most things will work fine. Once you feel confident to venture out of your comfort zone and you start trying new things, that's when stuff starts coming undone.

I remember seeing so many sites that only worked right on Internet Explorer. There was even a time Microsoft forced all Macs to ship with IE! For a number of years, web developers that took the lazy route simply kept things compatible with Microsoft's web browser, not caring what would happen in other browsers. They would even add a disclaimer that the website was optimized for Internet Explorer. When a website was known to break in other browsers, web developers went as far as stating that their webpages required to be only viewed in IE!

Which reminds me, Microsoft also developed its own HTML editor called Microsoft Office FrontPage. It was part of the more expensive MS Office Suites. They developed several versions for Windows, ending with MS FrontPage 2003, part of MS Office 2003.

FrontPage had a single version made for the Mac which came out in 1998, Microsoft FrontPage 1.0.

Even though FrontPage was a Microsoft program, not everything designed in FP worked on IE! Web developers still had to test their FP-created web pages on IE to make sure they looked and worked okay. In the early days, web design was more of an art form!

In a related group, another early HTML editor I forgot to mention was AOLpress. America Online (AOL) had a very simple web browser that functioned mostly like Internet Explorer (I'm trying to recall if in some instances AOL web browser required Internet Explorer to be installed, but I'm almost sure that was the case for a period of time). The problem with AOL's built-in web browser was that it was too simple and many sites would look wonky on it.

But the same was not true with AOLpress at all! a very easy-to-use WYSIWYG HTML editor for simple web design, AOL Press had a word-processing tool layout akin to MS Word 5 and 6, which made it very intuitive to non-designers. It was freeware and one of my favorite early tools to design simple web pages. Sometimes I would use it to create and edit quick website proofs or templates, and depending scope on the project, it may all end up being developed in it! But more often, once I started a website in AOLpress, I would then continue editing it with other HTML editors to take my site development projects beyond the basics.

Europa's picture
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That's interesting! WYSIWYG editors seem to have all but died out sadly. I remember looking at FrontPage a few times, but never doing anything with it. That's funny how FP didn't ensure that pages were IE-compatible.

What sort of issues do you remember there being specifically (either with sites being compatible only with IE or compatible with nothing but IE)?

cbone's picture
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For one, government websites by and large adhered to IE standards, but the best way to describe it is to offer an example. One archived by the Wayback Machine shows how a government website looked like back on March 20th, 2010:

http://web.archive.org/web/20100320072355/http://finance.senate.gov/inde...

At the bottom of the right column, according to the website, it was optimized for IE 4. Coming out in 1997, Internet Explorer 4 was a browser upgrade for Windows 95, so this example website was built based on standards of a then already 13-year old web browser. That's how crazy web developers were back then!

It's just been so long, I can't recall specifics anymore Wink

Europa's picture
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Ooof... Why didn't they update sooner??? xD

And yeah, that's understandable.

Bolkonskij's picture
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That's because the government aims at offering services accessible for everyone. It's a different approach from what is common sense in a private enterprise.

Worked as a web dev in this field. We had to make sure sites would work with blind people and their screen readers back when nobody cared about it. We wrote conditional comments for IE 8 specific CSS until 2016.

You'd be surprised to see there were people actually still using this stuff. From callers we got to know they were often either surfing from their workplaces or elderly people who are not very tech-aware. Many of the latter were completly new to the concept of "updating software". It's good the government and its agencies try not to jump on the latest-and-greatest bandwagon. Because after all, what we need is information and interaction. That does not include full width background video ...

Europa's picture
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You make a great point Wink

It makes sense, I'm glad the NWS website is still viewable on Classilla. I enjoy being able to check the weather on my iBook. Smile

Jatoba's picture
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Joined: 2018 Apr 16

Yeah, stuff like that gave birth to frameworks such as JQuery, whose lowest compatibility goes as far back as IE 5.5 (after some 1.x version, minimum became IE6). Nowadays there is less and less need for such frameworks, since functionality-wise the browsers are getting more and more unified, even when they have different engines underneath.

I also must mention that, of course, the only reason I even know there was a version of JQuery that worked with IE as far back as IE 5.5 is because I dug up as much info as possible to see if I could use it on a Mac OS browser (highest IE for it is 5.1). Sadly, no JQuery on IE for Mac OS 9. Sad But I'm not sure how other Mac OS browsers would respond. But then again, it's all good, we don't want overly-big libraries to be loaded on older machines anyway. Gotta keep the browser-specific code on a "retro site" so it will be lighter!

cbone's picture
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It always helps to ask the right questions Smile

A friend who worked with a company that built very specialized web navigation solutions for the vision-impaired would often travel around the U.S. and Europe to teach their distributors how to run and maintain their visual enhancement and braille tools.

It never occurred to me that such tools would be optimized to run with older standards while its creators worked on compatibility with new operating systems and web browsers.

cbone's picture
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Oh yeah! Definitely a nostalgic walk to the past Smile

I'll likely jump in and work on something there too Laughing out loud but another Classic project has me occupied at the moment!