anyone utilizing early Macs to access the internet?

Tim McNerney mc at media.mit.edu
Tue Sep 30 22:53:38 CDT 2008


> I've been told using the compact Macs are an exercise in futility.  
> But what about the Mac II's? (original II, IIx, IIfx, IIcx).
>
>  I was just curious.


Right.  For a pre-Mac II (e.g. Mac Plus), even Appletalk network file  
sharing was an exercise in futility, let alone Ethernet.  Until the  
Quadras came along, an Ethernet interface was not built-in.  You had  
to buy a separate network card for you Mac II, and more likely than  
not, it used "thin ethernet" (coax) not 10-base-T.  I did use some 10- 
base-T SCSI Ethernet adapters for non-expandable Mac laptops around  
1975, but they were barely up-to-snuff.

While I was in grad school, from 1997 through 1999, I used a Quadra  
700 running IE for browsing the web.  It seemed unbearably slow even  
then, and I think I switched to Netscape because its rendering engine  
was more efficient (IE often had to redraw the whole web page twice-- 
e.g. to figure out how big the images were, and on a 68040 that was a  
noticeable delay).  Plus a lots of things have changed since then.  I  
don't think I even needed a Flash plugins at the time.  Not that you  
would even think of watching a YouTube video on a processor that  
slow.  For email I used GNU emacs RMAIL running on my group's Unix  
server.  I had to abandon it when MIME became the norm around 2000.

Bottom line:  For small values of "access the internet" the older  
Macs were serviceable.  By modern standards, the old browsers are  
curiosities at best.  But if you need to transfer some old files off  
your old Mac, the connectivity is there, and I have been grateful  
that FTP still works even today.

--Tim



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