IRTalk, IrDA, and the Mac

In the 1990s, several Macs included infrared networking support, a legacy short range point-to-point technology often forgotten nowadays. It can be used to transfer files between Macs, to mobile phones, and to print to IrDA compliant printers, among other things. This article provides an overview of infrared networking on Macs and the models with built-in IrDA […]

SCSI History

SCSI isn’t the black art it sometimes seems to be, but the various terms different people use for the same thing makes it tough to sort out. I hope the following lessens the confusion.

CPUs: PowerPC G4

First available in the Power Mac G4 in late 1999, the G4 processor is to the G3 as the 604 was to the 603 – and then some! Like the 604, and unlike the G3, G4 is designed for multiprocessor operation. It also runs about 25% faster for basic floating point math calculations and has a built-in […]

CPUs: PowerPC G3

Arthur, legendary King of England, became the code-name for the third generation PowerPC (PPC) processor, eventually named the 740 and 750. The successor of the 603e, these third-generation CPUs were optimized to run real software, not for some theoretical ideal.

CPUs: PowerPC 604 and 604e

The “power user” second generation PowerPC (PPC) CPU was the 604, unveiled in December 1994 along with the 603. Containing 3.6 million transistors, drawing twice the power of the 601, and with a dual L1 cache (16 KB for instructions, 16 KB for data), this workhorse could deal with four instructions per cycle. The 604 […]

CPUs: PowerPC 603 and 603e

The second generation split the PowerPC (PPC) line into entry level 603 and power user 604 chips. The 603 has only 1.6 million transistors, draws about half as much power as the 601, has two smaller caches (8 KB for instructions, 8 KB for data vs. a 32 KB unified cache in the 601), and […]

CPUs: PowerPC 601

The biggest change in the Apple product line prior to 2006 was the transition from Motorola 680×0 CPUs to the PowerPC (PPC) family of CPUs. Designed by a consortium of Apple, IBM, and Motorola (a.k.a. the AIM Alliance) and based on IBM’s POWER architecture, PowerPC became the most widely used RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) processor with […]

CPUs: Motorola 68040

The Quadra 700 and 900 introduced the 68040 in 1991. In great part due to a much larger L1 cache (4 KB for data and 4 KB for instructions vs. 256 bytes in the 68030) and parts of the CPU running at twice clock speed, the 68040 provides 2.5-3 times the performance of the 68030 at […]

CPUs: Motorola 68030

Apple introduced the Mac IIx, which has a 16 MHz 68030 CPU, in September 1988. The 68030 incorporates the memory management unit (MMU), which was a separate chip for the 68020, giving the ‘030 the ability to use virtual memory (VM) with third-party software, although Apple didn’t include VM as part of the Mac OS until System 7 in […]

CPUs: Motorola 68020

Apple took a big step when it introduced the 68020-based Mac II in March 1987. The new computer was modular, not an all-in-one design like the first four Macs. In addition to 6 expansion slots, a huge power supply, color support, and room for two floppy drives and an internal hard drive, the Mac II runs its […]

CPUs: Motorola 68000

The earliest personal computers used 8-bitCPUs (central processing units). Apple, Commodore, Rockwell, and Atari designed their computers around the MOS Tech 6502; Radio Shack’s Color Computer used the Motorola 6809; and most others, including the Radio ShackTRS-80 and all CP/M computers, used the Zilog Z-80 or Intel 8080. All ran in the 1-4 MHz range and […]

Networking 101

Way back in the 1970s and early 1980s, it was rare enough to have a personal computer in the home, classroom, or office. Today it’s common to have several computers, tablets, and/or smartphones in the workplace, school, or home.

Maximum Hard Drive Size

Hard drive capacity is limited not only by how densely bits can be packed on a magnetic platter, but also by the number of sectors and tracks and drive surfaces in the drive itself and the number the computer’s operating system is designed to handle.

Apple and the ‘goto fail’ Bug

Late last week, Apple delivered iOS 7.0.6 and iOS 6.1.6 to address the “goto fail” bug in iOS and Apple TV OS 6.0.2 as well. This week it released OS X 10.9.2, Security Update 2014-001 for OS X 10.7 and newer, Safari 6.1.2 and 7.0.2 so everyone running OS X 10.7 Lion and newer will […]

Inside the Original Macintosh

This article was originally published on 2001.05.29 and is adapted from a series of articles and sidebars in the February 1984 issue of Byte magazine. Although some of the details included in this article are specific to the original Mac, many also apply to other compact Macs, such as the Plus, SE, SE/30, Classic, and Classic II.

Low End Mac’s Safe Sleep FAQ

Apple introduced a new feature, Safe Sleep, with Mac OS X 10.3 Panther in 2003. When enabled, Safe Sleep writes the contents of your Mac’s memory to a file named sleepimage on its hard drive before putting the computer to sleep (this works like the Hibernate command in Windows). In case the Mac loses power […]