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we have five minutes

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turtle ninja sneaky doodoo

this turtle is a ninja with his sneaky doodoo  (snickerdoodle)

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shish kabobs

Digitized using NewTek DigiView Gold

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Bars and Pipes with Command Performance

Just a note to myself that when I use the Command Performance tool in Bars and Pipes to talk to another Amiga program via ARexx, I need to make sure the "ARexx Port" in the tool is entirely capitalized.  Otherwise, it will silently fail to communicate with the target.

In my screenshot, Command Performance will tell Sample Wrench to play the sample in the 'default editor' (the last editor window I clicked on), which is editor 0, with no transposing.

Also worth mentioning is one process for doing ARexx debugging:  run a Rexx script which opens its own ARexx port and responds to commands.  An example is given at  Also make sure to run TCO, the ARexx console output utility. When done, you can close that console using TCC

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Installing Adobe Illustrator 5 on an Amiga 1200

10 min read

On a sunny and windy Sunday, January 1st, 2017, I was walking around the area of San Francisco north of the panhandle, and found this copy of Adobe Illustrator 5 for the Mac sticking out of a garbage can.  What luck!  It was complete, and had all installer disks, manuals, and a serial number.   Perfect way to spend the holiday -- installing Illustrator on my Amiga 1200!


For those wondering how Mac software would run on an Amiga, please allow me to explain.  The traditional Amiga runs using the same central processing unit as the original Macintosh line: the venerable Motorola 680x0 series, or 68k for short.   Because the Mac and Amiga used the same central processor, it takes just a layer of emulation of certain Mac hardware features to get Classic Mac OS (6.x/7.x/8.x) to run on the Amiga.   Enterprising engineers over the Amiga's lifetime made this possible, originally by combining hardware and software, and later by using software only.  Since no processor virtualization is necessary, Mac programs can often run just as fast.

(My Amiga 1200 has a 68030 inside, and it runs at roughly 50 megahertz.  My Amiga's 68030 has an MMU (memory management unit), so it can map the Mac's operating system ROMs [firmware] into memory. Earlier or weaker Amigas with 68000, 68010, or 68020 processors required add-on cards, like an Emplant, to house the Mac's ROM chips.  These add-on cards also had other niceties, like Mac-native floppy controllers and serial ports, which are difficult or impossible to duplicate using stock Amiga hardware.)

ShapeShifter on Workbench

Two Amiga programs which can emulate the Mac OS with no additional hardware are FUSION and ShapeShifter.  ShapeShifter is a direct descendent of a currently vogue Mac emulator, SheepShaver, which began its life on BeOS[1].  It was released as freeware.

disks and mouse

Software being on floppy disks might be seen by some people as an obstacle.  Even to those initiates who still have floppy-based equipment, accessing the data still is not always straightforward.  I recalled while pulling this box from the garbage can that the  Mac-formatted, 800k double-density 3.5" disks inside cannot be read natively by the Amiga, even in spite of its reputably flexible floppy controller.  This 800k Mac floppy format notoriously requires the floppy drive to change its motor's rotation speed as it accesses different portions of the surface area of the magnetic storage medium inside the disk.  (For those interested -- commonplace modern USB floppy drives can rarely even read bog-standard 720k MS-DOS-formatted double-density floppy disks, let alone these 800k Mac disks.)

Lacking an Emplant board or similarly wacky floppy-reading hardware, I broke out my PowerBook G3 Series "WallStreet" with fully Apple-stock built-in floppy[2], to use Apple's Disk Copy to grab disk images.  I'd then transfer the disk images from the G3 to the Amiga by using my PCMCIA -> CompactFlash -> SD Card adapter.  Compact Flash storage is supported natively in Mac OS 8.6 and higher (possibly earlier, too), and is supported on the Amiga 1200 via its PCMCIA slot and additional software available via Aminet. (Do note that not all SD cards or Compact Flash cards are compatible -- generally older, smaller, slower cards are the ones which will work.)

Amiga 1200 with PCMCIA Compact Flash SD card adapter

My initial go at creating disk images using Disk Copy were not compatible with Disk Copy 6.1.3 on my Amiga ShapeShifter's System 7.5.5.  I'd transfer the images over, use ResEdit to set the type and creator codes properly, and then after mounting the disk images I'd meet with disappointment:  in some cases, the images would mount, but operations to copy files off of the mounted images would fail.  I'd go back and try a different compression option, or a different Disk Copy version, and after transferring and again setting type/creator code in ResEdit, the images would not mount at all, and would fail seemingly in the checksumming phase.

At this point, crestfallen, left wondering if there was a hardware problem afoot, and unsure if there were problems with my (otherwise seemingly fine) emulation environment, I went to bed and decided to tackle this another day.  That other day happened to be the very next morning, when I remembered 'DART' -- Apple's ancient, super-secret, disk archiving and retrieval tool.

DART icon

DART had been my go-to tool for quickly, safely, and reliably archiving double-density (and even single-density, if I recall) disks from my Atari ST, various MS-DOS formats, and even my Roland MC-50 MIDI sequencer.   The images created by DART are mountable by Disk Copy versions above 6.x.

DART interface

DART not only sports a beautiful interface -- it also is clearly optimized for batch-level, powerful, scripted and/or automated floppy disk capturing, requiring only a few keystrokes and no mousing.  It also comes with a HyperCard stack for automation, if you're really a martyr power user.  And it also worked -- DART saved the day.

DART about

After capturing the disk images via DART, transferring them over, and properly setting the type/creator codes -- oh!  I am nearly missing two special details about this operation!  Let me introduce ShapeShifter's MacHandler and the Amiga's multitasking.

MacHandler is a filesystem which mounts your ShapeShifter emulated hard drive as a virtual disk on your Amiga Workbench, allowing you to read and write files there while the emulation is alive and running (!). 

Amiga OS, in all of its multitasking glory, just runs Mac OS as another task in a window or on its own screen.  This lets you continue to use Amiga programs in the background or foreground while you wait for single-tasking Mac OS to single-taskingly complete some single task

In additional engineering beauty, ShapeShifter's MacHandler also allows you to:  (1) toggle betw