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Mac the Knife (mameworld.info)
85 points by ingve 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 19 comments

" Al Kossow provided some SCSI bus snooping logs of a real Mac booting from a CD-ROM and I was able to modify our SCSI CD-ROM to comply with Apple’s specifications. As a result, most of our Macs now can both read and boot from CD-ROMs"

I love to see things like this. This hardware isn't going to last forever. While it lasts, you have people doing really low level things like this on actual hardware so it can live on in emulation. And this is one of the things a lot of people miss about MAME: it is much about documenting the hardware as emulating it.

This is awesome and hard work. As a side note, seeing the screenshots made me remember how much I miss my old Handspring Neo PDA and it's somewhat wonky 16 tone gray screen, and the old PalmOS.

Old computing has a certain charm to it. Is it limitations, aesthetic or the simplicity? I don't know.

Constraints breed elegant designs.

"The enemy of art is the absence of limitations" -Orson Welles

When I owned I PalmOS device I was at my most productive. One button access to my to-do list kept me focused and on track all day long.

Nothing on modern smart phones can compare to less than 1 second access to my todo list. Pull out of my pocket, press button, by the time my device was up to eye level the todo list was shown.

With a similar sentiment, I still keep a VM around with NextSTEP just because I still think Improv/Quantrix is such a charming portal to the past--and still amazing apps.

I wasn't aware of this project at all. Does anyone have more information about the background of the development? e.g is it a completely fresh code base or is there any relationship to previous efforts such as minivmac or basilisk2/sheepshaver?

MAME is an extremely long-running project to accurately document and emulate virtually every computer or gaming platform known to man (well, MAME was originally just for arcade machines and MESS was for everything else, but they've since merged).

Mac emulation in MESS/MAME has a very long history, totally independent AFAIK from any other emulators. It's also very different from most other Mac emulators, which tend towards using various hacks and high-level emulation techniques - MAME aims to be very low-level and accurate. This has perks - theoretically higher compatibility, most importantly - but also downsides that make it possibly not the best choice at the moment: worse performance, lower compatibility while the devs figure out the right way to do things, and fewer "modernizing" features that can be hacked in: instead of emulating hardware, Basilisk injects new drivers into the OS so that it can do things like give your classic Mac absurdly high resolutions or mount local directories from the host PC. MAME's flexibility - it emulates everything - also makes it notoriously difficult to configure.

Interesting, thanks

I was aware of MAME but not the separate history of MESS or that it included any classic mac emulation. I know first hand that nether Basillisk2 nor minivmac emulate ADB properly, and therefore various software that requires low level ADB access does not run. The article specifically mentions ADB so this could fill quite a gap, all thanks to the low level approach that is so important to emulating the quirks of this era of machines.

What is this about?

Emulation of several old Mac hardware in MAME, and how it's improved in the last year with better SCSI, SuperDrive and CD-ROM emulation. He (or they) also improved a lot of other low level hardware emulation quirks in the old drivers like ADB and peripheral buses.

I believe it is about drivers to allow MAME (https://www.mamedev.org/) to emulate a classic Macintosh computer.

I thought this article would be something interesting about the song "Mac the Knife."

Also, Mac kitchen knives are quite popular among professional cooks and chefs.

The title is a reference to Mack the Knife, a playable character in the arcade game Captain Commando developed by Capcom.

MAME is often used to play arcade games on PCs.

Debatable. The Bobby Darrin song is a cover of the Kurt Weill / Bertolt Brecht song, the Capcom character is a reference to the Bobby Darrin song, and this article is likely punning on all of the above.

And actually Mac the Knife was a very popular gossip column in MacWeek magazine in the 90s which was a reference to the song and probably not the video game. That column was most likely in mind as much as the song when this was written.

The Weill/Brecht opera featuring the Mac the Knife song was a heavily modified adaptation of an 18th century opera itself [0]!

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beggar%27s_Opera

Yeah, reading my response now, it kind of did sound as if I was implying that the video game character was original "Mac".

I wanted to mention the game as a possible inspiration because of who the author of the article is, and the website. Still doesn't rule out multiple references, as you said.

Actually I wasn't aware of the songs, so TIL, thanks!

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