This is a post about something I recently received, yes. But more than that it's a public acknowledgement and a heart-felt thanks to Douglas Compton of 10Marc fame, who gave me this really cool piece of Amiga hardware.
Thank you so much, Doug.
Doug knows that I'm a big fan of classic Macs, much to his chagrin. Ninety percent of my collection consists entirely of C64/128/Amiga hardware and software. And rightly so. But that other 10% is a very proud pre-OS X collection of machines and software. My high school had black and white Macintoshes, which I used for class. I also used more powerful (and to me, mysterious) beige Macintoshes in art school in the mid-90s. I later got my very own first Mac in 1999/2000 with the introduction of the beautifully colored iMacs. Since then I've never looked back... except for my retro hobbies, of course.
These days I have 3 old Macs to get my fix (not including the stacks of more recent Apple stuff, including the machine I'm typing on right now): an unbearably gorgeous Qudara 700 @ 40Mhz running System 7.5, an iMac "Ruby" (my original) running 9.2, and a fully maxed out G3 Powerbook "Pismo" also running 9.2. My eyes are always wandering but lack of space is sometimes a blessing. You know what I mean?
Anyway, Doug barely tolerated my posts with a raised eyebrow and a sigh. But since deep down he's actually an exceptionally kind and generous soul, he sent me a crown jewel from his collection (crown jewel to me): an Emplant card.
The Emplant was designed by Jim Drew and produced back in 1992 - a year after my Quadra 700 was born. It claimed to be the "world's first multi-platform emulation system."
It provides hardware emulation of Macintosh computers within the comfort of our Amiga machines. If you have ever groused over Adobe Photoshop never being released for the Amiga, this was a way to get around that sad fact.
Jim Drew, via the Emplant manual:
The Macintosh computer has revolutionized the computer industry with it’s strong points in user-friendliness and powerhouse software. With programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Aldus Freehand, Quark Express, Fractal Painter, and countless others, it proves that even though the Macintosh lacks the potential of the Amiga, it has some of the best software for it ever written, making it almost a requirement in the professional environment.
By now, Commodore must realize that these power-house applications will not be ‘ported’ to the Amiga platform. So, “if you can’t port ‘em, run ‘em”....and an emulation system was born.
In order to run this card, you need the following:
- Apple 256K MAC ll/llx/llcx/SE-30 ROMs. The ROMs come as four twenty-eight pin chips, or as a ROM-SIMM board.
- A Macintosh system disk.
- A 68020/68030/68040 CPU.
- At least 2MB of Fast RAM.
- A hard drive partition for the emulation module software to be stored on.
- Commodore’s v2.04 or higher operating system.
For the ROM chip I picked up the Mac "ROM-inator II Atom SIMM" from Big Mess o' Wires.
The Mac ROM-inator II Atom replaces the stock Macintosh ROM SIMM with a 2 MB custom flash memory module. Once installed, the flash ROM takes over the Macintosh, allowing for a bootable ROM disk and other new possibilities.
It's totally brand new, doesn't require me to try and plunder chips from an ancient Mac and the pre-programmed ROM image is compatible with the Macintosh SE/30, IIx, IIcx, IIci, IIfx, and IIsi. I mean, that hits ALL the buttons right there.
I mentioned to Jim that I'd gotten one of his boards and expressed my plans.
Well, my new Rominator doesn't have the Quadra ROMs, so I think I'll be going for the IIsi (if that's possible) or IIcx, since that was the most robust Mac mentioned in the manual. I mainly want to run System 7.5 like my Q700 and get those environments sort of similar. Should be a fun comparison if I can figure out how to do all of it.There are LOTs of different Mac ROMs available. You will definitely want to "locate" 1MB Quadra ROMs. Those are the best. You will also want to use FUSION instead of the EMPLANT's Mac emulation software. FUSION supports the EMPLANT board so you can plug in SCSI devices and use the dual serial ports for the Mac or Amiga sides.
I'm juggling so many projects right now I'm not sure when I'll get to this one. It's both awe inspiring and a bit intimidating. But I hope to get to it later this year and see if I can make the magic happen! I really need an extra work table.