If the Amish used computers...
April 28, 2009 12:58 PM   Subscribe

How do I get files from my modern PC onto an ancient Macintosh?

I have come into some ancient MIDI gear, and I would like to put it to work. I have a vintage 68K Mac SE running System 7, loaded with all the MIDI stuff (OMS, Mirage), hooked up to all the necessary external doodads. All that's missing is an actual MIDI sequencing program like Opcode Vision or MOTU Performer or whatever.

Aside from constantly scouring eBay, the only way to get such software is to download it. Sounds easy enough (I've found it), except that the Mac has its original 800KB floppy drive. Fun.

Question: How do I get the files from my PC (Windows XP; floppy drive: yes) onto a disk that can be read by the Mac? I'd rather not upgrade the drive (it requires upgrading the motherboard), and I'd rather not curb the SE for a sexy young SE FDHD. I just want to get the files from A to B in the simplest way possible (is it possible?) given what I have.

Any help greatly appreciated.

P.S. I don't need to be told how stupid and unnecessary this is. Really.
posted by Sys Rq to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Mirage Galaxy
posted by Sys Rq at 1:01 PM on April 28, 2009

I hope this helps.

What you're trying to do sounds like fun, though!
posted by General Malaise at 1:10 PM on April 28, 2009

System 7 can mount 720K PC floppies with the PC Exchange control panel, I think. You should be able to format an HD floppy as DD by taping over the extra hole for HD if Windows can't handle that otherwise.

Transmac may allow you to create an HFS disk on your Windows machine.

Can you find a working external SCSI CD-ROM drive? Obviously that doesn't have a free 15-day trial.
posted by mkb at 1:12 PM on April 28, 2009

General Malaise's link seems to indicate that your 800K drive is a deal killer for using floppies. Looks like the nullmodem or CDROM transfers are your only choices.
posted by mkb at 1:15 PM on April 28, 2009

PC MACLAN might help you exchange files over AppleTalk networking.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:22 PM on April 28, 2009

Since you're probably going to want to do this more than once — you'll need to get your compositions off of the Mac eventually, right? — I'd spend the effort now getting the old Mac networked.

I think the thing you'll need is a LocalTalk to Ethernet bridge, such as an AsanteTalk box. These go on eBay for around $30 or so. If you do this, then you'll have reduced it to a software and networking issue instead of a hardware problem.

From there, there are two routes you could take; one would be to run an AppleTalk file server either using another Mac (I think current versions of MacOS still support it), or using netatalk on Linux, elsewhere on your network. That file server becomes your common ground for both old and new machines.

Alternately, you could try to install MacIP on the old machine and try to get it to do TCP/IP. Since really all you need it to do is move files — it's not like you're going to try to browse the web on it — I'd go for the former route, and not fuss around trying to get a modern networking stack running on the old machine.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:39 PM on April 28, 2009

Wiki on LocalTalk to Ethernet bridges.

A fairly good article on various methods of bridging LocalTalk to Ethernet; the AsanteTalk is only one option.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:42 PM on April 28, 2009

TCP/IP is actually pretty good on System 7. I'd lean toward getting that up and running if at all possible. Then just run an ftp server somewhere for the transfer.
posted by advicepig at 1:47 PM on April 28, 2009

serial connection and file transfer software?
posted by zippy at 1:53 PM on April 28, 2009

Why not just use the MIDI gear with your PC? A USB MIDI dongle will cost you $40 at Newegg.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 2:43 PM on April 28, 2009

TCP/IP is going to be your best bet. You should also have old school SCSI on that SE somewhere which you might be able to use. That floppy won't do you much good. The mac's 800K (and 400K) format used a multispeed drive motor and was incompatible with PC's. When the 1.4M floppies came around, the mac started using the same mechanism but by then it became increasingly irrelevant.
posted by chairface at 4:02 PM on April 28, 2009

Not that I think this will help, but you can run Mac-on-Stick. That's OS7 on a USB drive on pretty much any modern computer.
posted by MesoFilter at 9:45 PM on April 28, 2009

The reason to not just use the PC as a host is that the ancient MIDI gear may not have an editor program for Windows. I had this problem with Mac OS X and my sampler (AKAI S2K) and my Yamaha FS1r (until recently).
posted by mkb at 7:46 AM on April 29, 2009

Not that I think this will help, but you can run Mac-on-Stick. That's OS7 on a USB drive on pretty much any modern computer.

How would he communicate with the MIDI gear?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:31 AM on April 29, 2009

Response by poster: Of course I can just use the PC (duh); I don't want to, is all.

Networking does seem like the best option. Keep 'em coming while I check that out, though.

posted by Sys Rq at 10:39 AM on April 29, 2009

I would get a Zip drive for each machine. I would think you can get those for next to nothing now.
posted by O9scar at 8:50 PM on April 29, 2009

O9scar's Zip drive solution is a very good one. Probably easier than networking, and finding a SCSI Zip and a USB Zip will probably be easier than a LocalTalk converter. I'd probably go that route to start.

(In fact if you can't find one locally, I may have a SCSI Zip around; feel free to message me.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:23 PM on April 29, 2009

Have you searched for mac emulator to run on the newer machine?
posted by RobGF at 5:20 AM on April 30, 2009

Response by poster: So anyway... I went ahead bought a copy of Trax, aka, "Wow, even the name is significantly more streamlined and efficient than the later versions." Problem solved-ish!! It feels like a cop-out, but whatever.

This was all very enlightening. Thanks!
posted by Sys Rq at 2:57 PM on August 21, 2009

« Older CSS positioning problem in IE.   |   Tell me about Club Stories. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.