I haven’t been writing much around here the last couple of weeks, sorry…it’s been very busy here at Idiot Central. Everyone have a safe and healthy New Year, and I’ll promise to write more in 2007.

Date posted: December 31, 2006 | Filed under general | Comments Off on Happy Holidays

History of the Canon BX Print Engine, for all those folks out there still rocking a Xante B/W Accel-A-Writer. Related: a do-it-yourself Apple LaserWriter 630 exit jam repair kit.

Date posted: December 28, 2006 | Filed under design, shortlinks | Comments Off on History of the Canon BX Print Engine


Three of the Democratic front-runners.

Date posted: December 27, 2006 | Filed under art/design | Comments Off on Democrats ’08

16 Digital Photography Tips for Christmas. Lots of good stuff in here, from people shots to atmospheric hints.

Date posted: December 23, 2006 | Filed under photo, shortlinks | Comments Off on Christmas Digital Photography Tips

Everything with the new MacBook Pro has been going swimmingly, up until this afternoon when I ran headlong into a brick wall. You see, I’ve got this one little utility which was written in 1991 or so which takes Mac fonts and converts them into PC versions so that I can transfer files back and forth, enabling my PC programs to edit Mac-authored files, and vice versa. Now that I’m on the Intel Mac, I can’t run OS 9 in the background under emulation like I used to on my iBook. So, I booted up the trusty old G3 tower under my desk to use the application there. Because I’ve hooked my second monitor to the MacBook, I don’t have a monitor on the G3—no problem, I’ll just use Remote Desktop, right? Wrong. Remote Desktop 2.X is incompatible with Intel Macs, so I have to upgrade to 3.0, which costs $300. Argh! Now my iTunes server, downstairs on the porch, is cut off from remote administration. Double Argh!

I found a website which points to a little application called SheepShaver, which purports to run OS 9 on Intel hardware, but apparently one must have the boot ROMs handy to be able to get the thing hooked up—something I don’t have time to fool with right now. When I get a moment to get it sorted out, I’ll write about it here. But for now, I have to dive under the desk to swap the monitor cables. Again.

Update: After a bunch of false starts and failed attempts, I found this article, which is a lot more detailed than the first. Knowing which ROM to use, which install CD to use, and the correct keyboard file helps out a lot. Still no success, though.

Update 12.27: I got Basilisk working with a copy of a Quadra 650 ROM linked from the second article above. SheepShaver just didn’t seem to like the ROM I pulled from the OS9 disk; whatever. Basilisk is running OS8 with no problems, and that’s all I need.

Update 1.1: I’m going to run through this so that folks can benefit from my experience:

Download Basilisk. Uncompress the Basilisk file.

Download the Quadra 650 ROM found here (and good luck if it’s not still available.) Drop it in the Basilisk folder.

Open Disk Utility (found in Applications->Utilities.) Click on New Image, and make a disk image at the size you’d like (my image was 500MB, and after installing OS8, I had 350MB of free space left.) name it what you like-I called mine “OS 8 Disk”. Drop that in the Basilisk folder as well.

Start up the “BasiliskGUI” application. Cringe at the UNIX-tastic UI goodness!


Under the “Volumes” tab, click Add and browse to the image you just created (in my case, the “OS 8 Disk” volume.) Inside this volume, you’ll install the operating system.


Under the “Keyboard” tab, click browse and navigate to the BasiliskII_keycodes file in the Basilisk folder. This way you’ll be able to use the keyboard under emulation.


Under the “Serial/Network” tab, select slirp in the Ethernet Interface pulldown. This allows the OS 8 emulator to use the ethernet interface.


Under the “Memory/Misc” tab, bump the RAM size up to 128MB or so. I have the Mac Model ID set to Quadra 900 and CPU Type set to 68040. For ROM File, click Browse and navigate to the quadra650.rom. This is how Basilisk gets to the point where installation can start.


Additionally, under “Graphics/Sound”, I changed the refresh to 15mhz and width/height to 800/600.

I used an OS 8 install disk for my installation. Put it in the machine and click the “Start” button. This should bring up a window with the happy mac and start booting off the install CD.

Install OS 8 with whatever options you like. Restart the emulation; it should bring up the installed OS. From here, you should be able to get online, bring up a web browser, and use OS 8.

If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be running OSX, Windows XP and OS8 on the same machine concurrently, I would have laughed at you.

Update 3.19.07: I was able to get the shared folder working with Basilisk, finally, and it’s much easier to use than mounting and unmounting the disk image.

Date posted: December 21, 2006 | Filed under geek | Comments Off on OS 9 on an Intel Mac

This little gadget plugs into a wall socket and displays just how much power any appliance or electrical device pulls when turned on. I’d buy this for the sheer geekery of it. (via)

Date posted: December 21, 2006 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Comments Off on Kill-A-Watt

Here’s a link to a series of vintage (post WW2) pictures from speed trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats. There is something absolutely classic, timeless, and beautiful about the design of cars towards the end of the entry.

Date posted: December 20, 2006 | Filed under design, shortlinks | Comments Off on Vintage Hot Rods

Seatguru, a site providing information about seating on commercial airlines. Does your assigned seat have a power jack? Is it near the lavatory?

Date posted: December 20, 2006 | Filed under shortlinks, travel | Comments Off on Seatguru

iTunes Power Tips, from Lifehacker. Of special interest: this link to tips on managing multiple libraries, which is, unfortunately, Windows-oriented.

Date posted: December 20, 2006 | Filed under apple, shortlinks | Comments Off on iTunes Power Tips.

Paint attempt one

We moved furniture back into the living room on Saturday night after everything got final coats of paint. The area above the mantel is supposed to be darker than the wall, but it’s not dark enough for us yet. It’s great to have everything coming back to normal again, and even better to look at the base of the walls and see crisp white paint on clean new baseboard going around the length of the room. For your amusement (and my indulgence), here are some before and after shots. I don’t have any good shots of the room in original condition, unfortunately.

right wall-original
6.4.05 This is the day I tore the nasty wood paneling off the wall. (note the shitty floor, pre-sanded.)

right wall-woodwork down
6.4.05 After the paneling came down, before I patched the wall (note the chimney.)

Right wall-after
This afternoon.

Date posted: December 18, 2006 | Filed under house, living room | 1 Comment »