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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Macintosh Classic word processing?


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wyattb123

 
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Hi all,

I just bought a Macintosh Plus from the mid 80s with an external floppy and am wondering if anybody knows the best way to use it for word processing. Do I buy a separate floppy disk with a program with Microsoft Word on it and insert it in the computer before booting up, then do I save files to the external drive? I hardly know how to use the thing; any input is much appreciated. Thank you!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyattb123 View Post
I just bought a Macintosh Plus from the mid 80s with an external floppy and am wondering if anybody knows the best way to use it for word processing.
My first question would be...Why would you want to use a Macintosh Plus from the mid-80's to do word processing on?

- Do you have OS disks for the computer?
- Do you have a printer that will work with a Mac Plus??
- Do you have 3.5" floppy disks? Etc. etc.
- Also...you do realize that you won't be able to get onto the internet (at least not in any way most of expect the internet to be).

Quote:
Originally Posted by wyattb123 View Post
Do I buy a separate floppy disk with a program with Microsoft Word on it and insert it in the computer before booting up, then do I save files to the external drive? I hardly know how to use the thing; any input is much appreciated. Thank you!
Obviously commercial software is no longer going to be available from the developer for a computer from the mid-1980's. Your best bet is e-Bay (MS Word on floppy disk).

As far as your other questions. Rather than messing around with a bunch of floppy disks...you would want to get an external hard drive for the Mac Plus. But again...these are no longer available commercially...so you would have to shop on e-Bay for some ancient external hard drive for a Mac Plus.

You're also going to need an Operating System to run the computer (whether you do it from a floppy disk or an external hard drive)...again...not easy to find.

I think that you're going to find that trying to do ANYTHING on a 28 year-old Mac computer to be VERY VERY difficult...possibly expensive...very limiting!

- Nick

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Algus

 
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Nice pickup. Mac Plus can run up to System 7 IIRC, which is the OS I like to emulate in Basilisk II when I'm doing classic computing. It used to include MacWrite which was always pretty mediocre but should be adequate as a basic word processor. Generating usable files from the system will be a nuisance since it can only use up to 800k diskettes. Most people emulate classic Mac stuff so it doesn't have as much support out there as other classic computers like the Atari.

Have a look at the website Macintosh Garden which ought to be able to supply you with the software you need for the system (err no link, I am noob and do not know if it is against this site's TOS?). I dunno the best way to get it from a modern computer to an 800k diskette though.

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@Algus:

You can post a link to the site. We prohibit links that advertise or spam but posting a link to a site to help someone as in your reply is OK.
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Have a look on eBay etc for an original version of Claris Works.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyattb123 View Post
Hi all,

I just bought a Macintosh Plus from the mid 80s with an external floppy and am wondering if anybody knows the best way to use it for word processing..........
Hello and welcome to the forum! Like Nick, I'm also wondering why you want to do word processing on a 'historic' computer? BUT, your post was really nostalgic for me - our first computer was an Apple II+ purchased in 1980 - once I added an extra floppy (pre-HD days, so needed program & data 5 1/4" floppies - believe 1.4K capacity), plus a $500 Hayes modem, the total price was about $3,000 (just did an inflation check - today, that's $8,500 - WOW!).

Well my wife did not understand why we spent that much money on this 'toy' - after I added a dot matrix Epson printer and found a program called Peachy Writer and showed her how to do 'primitive' word processing (did not even do word wrap-around), the typewriter was relegated to a corner closet. When we switched to ScreenWriter w/ word wrap-around, she was completely sold! Thanks for the memories - Dave
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Algus

 
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Nice thing about Mac OS is that since it is a full GUI, some of the basic tasks were nailed by the mid 80s as opposed to something like the 8-bit Atari where word processing was still a real bear without necessarily having mouse support or improved editing functions. We're talking little better than a type writer that you can delete mistakes instead of having to use white out.

Mac Plus shipped with System 3
Download Macintosh System 3.x - Macintosh Garden

MacWrite
Download MacWrite - Macintosh Garden

If your model doesn't include the hard drive, you'll have to load from floppies (including the OS) which will be annoying. You may need images of the original System 3 disks to boot that way (i.e. the download I linked may be useless) Again, you'll have to find a source for the 400k and 800k diskettes that these machines used. eBay might be able to hook you up.

MacWrite is lacking in modern features but should be more than robust enough for the average college student.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Algus View Post
If your model doesn't include the hard drive, you'll have to load from floppies (including the OS) which will be annoying. You may need images of the original System 3 disks to boot that way (i.e. the download I linked may be useless) Again, you'll have to find a source for the 400k and 800k diskettes that these machines used. eBay might be able to hook you up.
As you probably know...this can be a very complex process. Getting files downloaded from the internet...onto 800k floppies that a Mac Plus can work with. An ideal computer for this is a "Biege" Powermac G3. It is new enough to be able to get on the internet (barely)...and still has an internal floppy drive.

I would recommend a version of OS 6 or OS 7 for a Mac Plus.

But then again...if I'm giving recommendations...I would recommend that the OP do their word processing on a MUCH newer and more capable Mac computer.

- Nick

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wyattb123

 
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first, thanks to everybody for your replies and input. all is much appreciated as i really have no clue what i'm dealing with.

to answer the "why questions - though i've got new systems that are way easier and more efficient, the original mac really made sense to me as a distraction-free device (no internet is good). also, because it was conceived by steve as a machine of "insane beauty" and "truth," it has this bizarre history as a piece of art. some writers use old-fashioned typewriters or write by hand, but i can't think of anything more suited to my own creative process than the original mac. i know it might not make sense, but i am certain the machine is perfect... if only i can figure out how to use it!

here is a link to the item itself:
Apple Macintosh Plus Computer with Kayboard Mouse External Drive | eBay

anyway, i can't even figure out how to get the OS going on it. i have floppies for "system tools" and "macintosh utilities" but no idea what i'm supposed to do with them. i don't think it has internal storage. the standard MacWrite program would probably be perfect but i have no clue where to find it. and, by the time i get text documents working, i assume i have to save them to a floppy on the external drive? does anybody know how to make sense of any of this?

again, thanks for your input!
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If it helps here is a list of archived software for download. The problem with, say OS 6 and updates, is getting them to older floppies. The updates include the various downloads for one complete floppy, such as marked 1...2...3 etc.


AppleCare Support - Older Software Downloads

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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I had a peak through Google on this for you because I was not to sure of the answer myself. Like I said, the big challenge will be getting any files you generate from the computer to a newer system where you could email it or print it or whatever.

Floppy Drive Observations: A Compleat Guide to Mac Floppy Drives and Disk Formats | Low End Mac

hardware recommendation - Which USB floppy drives can read HFS-formatted 400K & 800K floppies? - Ask Different

You might need an early 90s computer to work as a sort of middle manager which can handle the older formats as well as some of the newer ones. You'd possibly be able to move the data via LAN

To answer your other questions the SYSTEM TOOLS diskette should be the one you need to boot the OS. Insert into drive, power on, good to go (or power on, insert into drive, to be honest I've not used anything older than a Mac Classic in the real world)

A Power Mac G3 might serve as a good middle manager. There was also an external SuperDrive so you might be able to get that going with an iMac G3 or something. You ~might~ be able to get it to mount with SheepShaver or Basilisk II on a modern Mac as well

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyattb123 View Post
anyway, i can't even figure out how to get the OS going on it. i have floppies for "system tools" and "macintosh utilities" but no idea what i'm supposed to do with them. i don't think it has internal storage.
Here's the deal. Mac Plus's only had a single internal floppy drive (no hard drive). Externally you could have an external HD, an external floppy, or both.

You said that you had the Mac Plus...and an external floppy...which helps.

Now here's how things work. With this setup (a floppy only setup)...you usually have a:

- boot floppy
- application floppy
- data floppy

The boot floppy has your "System Folder" on it. The "Application" floppy has your application on it (could be MacWrite or MS Word). And your "Data" floppy has your saved files/work on it.

If you only had the single internal floppy drive...you would constantly be playing "floppy swap"...between the Boot disk, Application disk, and data disk. You will see what I mean if you ever get things going.

Having that external floppy drive will save you a LOT of floppy swapping!

The one problem with old floppy disks & floppy drives is...the floppy disks can degrade over time...and become corrupted...thus unreadable. So if you were to find original copies of the OS software, or application software (MacWrite or MS Word)...they may or may not be good.

With the floppy drives..the read/write mechanism can slowly overtime become worn or misaligned...thus not be able to read inserted floppies (even if the floppies are good).

The bottom line is...getting one of these old beasts working with floppy media & floppy drives can be very difficult...and full of pitfalls. So even if you can find the OS disks (or downloaded onto floppy disks) and original application programs (MacWrite or MS Word)...the floppy drives may not be able to read them.

Lastly. The CRT based display in a Mac Plus is VERY prone to wearing out (especially on an approx. 28 year-old computer). The more hours it has seen...the more likely the CRT display may be suffering from age. The signs are...a high pitched hum coming from the computer, illuminated display area not filling the entire 9" diagonal screen, or the horizontal or vertical dimension of the display not being correct.

Good luck.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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