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An important message from System 7 Today founder Dan Palka
 Topic: Get "Macintosh Basics" running in OSX? (Page 1 of 1)
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  roystonlodge (Profile)
  4 MB
Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:57 pm
Good afternoon folks,

I remember WAY back in the early days that there were really good basic tutorial programs that game with your new macintosh to teach you the basics. If my memory is correct, I THINK my favourite was the earliest one, "Mouse Basics". All I remember is that, as a kid, the first tutorial I had on a Mac was this silly little fun game to teach how to use a mouse, how to click, how to drag, etc. I vaguely remember a fishbowl was involved somehow, and there was another part where you dragged a piece of paper from a desk into a garbage can.

Heck, I think there may have been one for the pre-Mac Apples that was also really good, and there were also "Guided tour of your new mac" disks that came with the 128k, the 512k, the SE, and the SE/30.

Today, I have two uses for these programs, and I want to figure out how to get them to work on modern hardware.

1) My dad, believing the hype about OSX being the "easiest computer in the world to use" went and bought himself a really expensive iMac, thinking it would do EVERYTHING for him. Remember the scene from Star Trek IV where Scotty sits in front of the Mac Plus and says, "computer," into the mouse. That's pretty much the mindspace where my dad's coming from. Plus, my mom's even worse, and is having a really hard time grasping the concept of using a mouse. They want me get Skype working on their computer, but when I tried to help them out I discovered just how much they need to learn before they get CLOSE to the point where they can use Skype comfortably.

But, because all this stuff is so automatic for me, because I've been using computers since around 1986 when I got my first C=64, I cannot figure out how to verbalize these concepts into words in a way they can understand. Trying to explain to them the concept of the "desktop" as a metaphor is really hard. To them, a computer is a machine that does something FOR you, like a toaster. To me a computer is a virtual "space" that I "enter" in order to do things for myself.

For example, they might ask something like, "how do I get the computer to do x?" And I would answer, "this is how YOU do x." Or, to put it another way, they might unconsciously think to themselves, "I want the computer to give me the information I ask for," while I would unconsciously think ,"I want to go into the file system and find the information that's stored there." That's why it's called the "Finder" after all, right? It's a philosophical paradigm shift they just can't seem to make. So, they don't want me to teach them how to use Skype. They want me to teach Skype how to work for them! Somehow I cannot explain to them that an iMac is not a HAL 9000...

So, I want to use these very old basic tutorial programs on OSX as a way to get my parents some practice on the very very very basic skills needed to use a computer. How to click. How to drag. The concept of the "desktop". Etc.

Anybody have any simple tricks I can try? I suppose I could download QEMU for OSX and then install System 7 on their iMac, but it seems to me that there MUST be a simpler solution.

2) I'm trying to develop a remastered Damn Small Linux livecd for my very young nieces and nephews to help introduce them to computers. The idea is to prevent my silly siblings from wasting their money on those stupid pink plastic "laptops" you can buy at Toys R Us. Instead, they'd simply take their old laptop that they don't use anymore and just boot it up with the DSL livecd. On the cd will be all sorts of age-appropriate games, educational software, and a kid-oriented internet browser (I'm trying to get zacbrowser to run under WINE, so far without any luck.)

There would be two users built-in to the livecd. If you boot it without using a password you get "kid mode" with a really friendly desktop with large cartoony icons with all the programs for the kid. If you boot it with the preconfigured password you'd get "parent mode" allowing access to preferences, utilities, and the myDSL package installation system.

Along with giving new life to my brother-in-laws' old laptops, they could also take the livecd with them when they're visiting other folk. Instead of dumping the kids in front of the tv, they can just pop the livecd in the family's computer and the kids can plug away without the ability to touch anything stored on the harddrive.

Think of it as SugarOS for really old hardware.

As you've probably guessed by now, I want to include these old Mac tutorials with the CD, and again I'm trying to figure out the best way to get them to run under Linux. Again, I could try running System 7 under QEMU, but I'd really like to find a better way. Is there such a thing as "WINE for classic macs"?

In the unlikely event that anybody has a way to modify these old programs to run natively under OSX or Linux, that would be AWESOME!!!

Or, if there's a modern alternative to the old Mac Basics tutorials, that would also be cool - but not NEARLY as cool as finding a way to run the original classics. I just really liked the way those programs did the job.

Thanks in advance!
  rlawson (Profile)
  64 MB
Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:37 pm
One suggestion - try mini-vmac on the linux side. It emulates a Mac Plus and would be a lot smaller/faster than QEMU I think.

I'll check my old diskette box and see if I have the Mouse tutorial anywhere and will message you if I do.
  sierraredd (Profile)
  128 MB
Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:11 pm
I totally understand where you are coming from. It took me years to get my mother comfortable enough to use one. She wanted it to do things for her as well. I finally got to the point where I mocked her a bit to get my point across by going to the oven and asking her to have it make a pie. I asked her where the pie setting was. (I cook and bake daily at my job) And just went on, she got so frustrated with me, that was when I explained how I see her wanting a computer to be. So slowly we got through the basics. The one thing I love about os x is the accounts. She was so scared about messing something up she was afraid to touch anything. So she has no admin acess and it took awhile for her to understand that it's not her fault when something goes wrong. She can't screw it up. 3 yrs and counting without an issue.
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