Seeking System 0.97

Lately, I have been dabbling with retro-computing (actually as part of co-adivsing a student group).  One of the old machines in my collection is an original Macintosh from 1984. For the sake of authenticity, I have been looking for the version of system software that shipped on release day – Jan 24, 1984.

That early in the Macintosh era, there were no official version numbers on the system disks, but the System and Finder files each had their own version number.  Various accounts indicate that I’m looking for System 0.97/Finder 1.0.  After a lot of searching I’ve turned up several candidate disk images, but each seems to have been modified over time.  Here’s one very common version:

sys097There are several problems with this version.  Most obviously, the version of the System font (Chicago-12) used here is quite different from the version seen in other system versions.  This includes the versions seen in pre-release publicity photos.  All of those other versions  used a more familiar looking variant.  Furthermore, the version of Chicago-10 included does match the more traditional version.  Other, more obvious problems exist. The SysVersion program is actually from 1986, and contemporary accounts indicate that Font Mover was included on the second disk, not the main system disk.  I believe this disk was created at a later date and does not represent what shipped with the first Macs.

The obvious thing to do it to go to the source.  Unfortunately, Apple no longer makes those early versions of the System software available on their website.  But various developer CDs have included System Software over the years.  One of the earliest was, Phil and Dave’s Excellent CD.

P&D filesJackpot! This developer disk lists versions of the System Software all the way back to v0.1.  Sadly, booting up the 0.1 System Tools image reveals that it’s really System 1.1/Finder 1.1g.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 11.33.15 AMIn fact, looking at each version in turn, we get:

File Actual Version
0.1 System Tools System 1.1/Finder 1.1g
0.3 System Tools System 2.0/Finder 4.1
0.5 System Disk System 2.0/Finder 4.1
0.7 System Tools System 3.0/Finder 5.1 (800k image)
1.0 System Tools 512 & 128 System 3.2/Finder 5.3

I didn’t bother checking the rest of the disk images, since they were clearly >400K disks.  For the record, I’ve also checked the Apple Legacy Software CD and the September 1994 Service Software Restoration CD with similar results.

The hunt for a valid copy of System 0.97 continues…

New Laptop: Asus Zenbook Prime

I hadn’t really thought about the long-term ramifications of teaching a Malware course, but it appears that I will be teaching it annually for the foreseeable future.  Since I don’t think it’s the wisest idea to mess with live malware on my day-to-day system, I bought a “new” laptop last week.  It’s actually a used laptop from eBay, an Asus Zenbook Prime.  While similar laptops are occasionally available from as refurbs, careful auction hunting  netted it for less.

Here’s the exact specs:

Asus Zenbook UX31A-DH51

Asus Zenbook Prime

  • 13.3″ 1920×1080 IPS LCD screen
  • Intel Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 128 GB Solid-State Disk
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000


Since I wanted a computer that could be setup as an example for the students, I didn’t buy another Apple Macintosh.  The Asus is pretty comparable to a mid-level Macbook Air, and this used one cost me about 33% as much.  The new laptop has a ding or two, and didn’t come with all the accessories, but it works and fits my needs.  The speed at which Windows-compatibles lose their market-value is surprising to a long-time Mac owner (and a topic for another post).

I immediately blew away Windows 8, and replaced it with Elementary OS (Luna).  All things considered, installation went pretty smoothly.

Software Engineering Class Projects

I’m still debating the best project for this semester’s class project. We’re probably going to have 10-12 people per team, with two competing teams.

Some of my current thoughts:

  • Cross-Platform Synchronizing Chore management system
  • Software Tool/Environment for teaching children to program

The chore management system is needed around our house, and we have a group of external customers (my family). We have used ChoreMonster in the past, but they started charging subscription fees, and I think that’s completely ridiculous for the functionality.

A tool for teaching programming would be more widely used, but is a much harder, less tractable problem. On the other hand, a campus renown for its teaching program might be just the place for such a project (not that the last semester’s class used those resources).

Spring 2014 Courses

This semester’s schedule is going to be interesting:

  • ITEC 325 – System Administration
  • COSC 412 – Software Engineering
  • COSC 485/670 – Reverse Engineering / Malware Analysis

The reverse engineering class is a new one, and I’ll be dusting off some old-school skills to pass along to a new generation. This is either going to be lots of fun, or really painful.

Cape Cod: Pairpoint Glass

Chakra ballAfter a couple of failed attempts at taking the kids to watch glassblowing, we stopped off at Pairpoint glassworks on our way off Cape Cod. Pretty cool stuff. While the kids only got to watch from windows located above the glassmaking area, visitors who scheduled a “Design your own witch ball” session were treated to close-up tour of glassblowing from the craftsmen. We did buy a “Chakra Ball”, as a souvenir though, our isn’t quite as pretty as this photo, but it’s still lovely.

Next time we might have to book a witch ball session, or maybe we should check out the Sandwich Glass Museum.

Cape Cod: Kite Flying

At the end of July, the whole family spent 4 days on Cape Cod. I managed to squeeze in a bit of kite flying with one of our daughters. She’s flying her Uncle Christopher’s shark kite, and I’m flying a brand new parafoil 5. You might not be able to tell, but she got it out to the end of the line 🙂

Kite Flying

And yes, I have a scratched lens on my iPhone.

BasicTeX 2013

Well that didn’t take long. Only 1 month after the release of BasicTeX 2013, I find myself in need of a new package. The TeXLive repository has already deprecated all of the 2012 pacakges, so I’m off and running installing BasicTeX 2013.

This year the steps are mostly the same, with the addition of more packages as I’m continuing my use of LaTeX apace.

  1. tlmgr uninstall
  2. download and install the current BasicTeX package from
  3. update PATH environment variable to include the current install location: /usr/local/texlive/2013basic/bin/universal-darwin
  4. tlmgr update --self
  5. tlmgr update --all
  6. tlmgr install collection-fontsrecommended
  7. tlmgr install subfigure
  8. tlmgr install exam
  9. tlmgr install algorithms
  10. tlmgr install lastpage
  11. tlmgr install paralist
  12. tlmgr install enumitem

You can find the documentation for algorithms, lastpage, and paralist on CTAN.