Where great old Macs live again!

James and John discuss eBay finds: Apple ski sweater, knit hat, and Mission Impossible jacket.  James and John check out Bill's BBS, and news includes a look back at the 12" PowerBook, Apple II floppy emulation, and a Silicon Beach ad.

Direct download of this episode: Episode 360

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DB19 to IDC20 Floppy Disk Adapter

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Hello James and John,

Oh me oh my! You fellows even named your episode after my PC-ANSI alien graphic. I hope folks can appreciate my quirky humor with that graphic, and the inclusion of Steve Jobs at the very end of it. :)

I should be in bed now, but I just had to log on here and make a few comments. Let me tell you why.

You see, just a short while ago, one of your listeners logged on to my BBS as a new user. He is not the first person to do so, so thank you guys for that. :)

As you may recall from your own initial log on, one of the questions I ask is where the person heard about the Armageddon BBS. I actually have three related questions:

1. Where did you hear about the Armageddon BBS?
2. What kind of computer do you use?
3. Which app do you use to log on to the Armageddon BBS?

As you can no doubt tell, the purpose of these three questions is to form a basic picture of what kind of user base I am getting on the board. While Windows users are naturally in the majority, I have been surprised -- as well as delighted -- by the number of Mac users who have been joining the BBS as well; particularly because being a Macintosh-based and Macintosh-oriented BBS, it is primarily geared towards them anyway.

At any rate, after seeing his comment, I broke into chat with this fellow, and he informed me that he had heard about the board on a podcast, and that it was in fact one of your podcasts.

So, after we finished our chat, I got curious and came to visit your website. That is when I discovered "Episode 360: Alert and Beware!", and I thought to myself, "No, they couldn't have!"; but yes indeed you did anyway. :)

Well, I just sat here and listened to the entire segment, a bit surprised that you went ahead without me. And yes, now I am feeling a bit guilty, and am having second thoughts. :)

Anyway, I do want to thank you for the exposure, and for drawing attention to what I am trying to accomplish here. While things are moving along slowly, I am nevertheless encouraged. As of this moment, we have 70 registered users, I am in contact with eight people via email, and private chats are becoming a daily affair. In fact, today was a rather "historic" day, because we had three people in chat simultaneously. To my recollection, that has never happened before, in all the years that I have run the Armageddon BBS. In fact, I didn't even know that it was possible. I assumed that chat was just one-on-one.

I should also mention the fact that I am likewise encouraged because one sentiment which I have been hearing often lately, is that folks are really appreciative of the fact that I put the board back online again, after being down for a number of years. There does seem to be a lot of nostalgia out there.

I am a writer, so please forgive my verbosity here, but I am not quite done yet. I wanted to comment on a few things that you mentioned in the podcast.

First, before today, there were two issues on the board which I was aware of, but which I didn't know how to fix. I wasn't sure if the problems were on my end, or on the user end. The first of these two problems was that the "C" command -- for the public chatroom -- was not working for everyone. Second, the "G" command -- for the Online Library where all of my BBS tutorials are located -- was likewise not working for everyone.

However, I am happy to announce that after chatting with a few users today, and testing things a bit, both problems appear to be fully resolved now; so I am happy about that.

Regarding BBS latency -- or lag -- please keep in mind that we are separated by about 7,000 miles; assuming, that is, that you are in Florida. That is a lot of hops to make. The same holds true for me from here. I know that my fastest connections will be to California, and that the further east I am trying to go, the more latency there will be, so that by the time I reach the East Coast, it can sometimes be really bad.

Concerning the appearance of the BBS to each visitor, one thing I have learned from observing and talking to my BBS members, is that the same settings do not necessarily work for everyone, using the same PC-ANSI font -- or code page 437 font -- likewise does not work for everyone, even if we are both on iMacs, and even if we are both using the OS X Terminal app. I don't quite understand why that is, but that is the way that it is.

For example, one fellow today told me that he was seeing everything just fine on my BBS using the Andale Mono 12-point font. I was very surprised to hear this, because in all of my web searching, I found only three CP437 fonts; that is, those fonts which have the high ASCII character set, which is necessary for properly viewing PC-ANSI graphics on BBSes. In fact, out of curiosity, while we were chatting on the BBS, I switched from the ASCII.ttf 24-point font in my Terminal, to the Andale Mono 12-point font like he was using, and immediately everything looked really bad, and the high ASCII characters were not being displayed at all. You can see an example of what I am talking about here:

What I saw when I switched to the font that he is using, can be seen in the second image on the page.

So what I can tell you is that by using the ASCII.ttf font -- which is available on the Armageddon BBS, as well as on the Armageddon BBS website -- and making all of the adjustments that I describe in detail in my tutorial -- which is available at -- the BBS screens that I see in the OS X Terminal app look exactly like the ones that you see displayed on the Armageddon BBS website. Those are in fact screen captures of the OS X Terminal window without any enhancements made to the images whatsoever.

I encourage you, and all of your website visitors and podcast listeners to carefully read over my tutorial, point-by-point, and see if it helps to improve your experience with my BBS.

Let me also mention here that we need to realize that we are dealing with some very old technology -- the Hermes II software is about thirty years old -- and mixing it with substantially newer technology. I have had Macintosh users, Windows users, Linux users and others visit the board. What kind of machine they use, what terminal emulator they use, what kind of settings they are using, how much knowledge they have regarding using a BBS; all of these things will affect their user experience on the Armageddon BBS.

Add to that the fact that I am running the BBS in an emulated Mac Classic environment using SheepShaver, on an iMac that actually runs Yosemite, plus using some technological "magic" to make networking work between the virtual machine -- meaning SheepShaver -- the real machine -- meaning my iMac -- and my wi-fi router and cable modem, and it is amazing that we can do this at all. In fact, getting the ethernet bridge and tap device working between Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 in SheepShaver was beyond my personal level of knowledge and experience. So we can thank the nice guys over at for helping me to resolve those issues. It was very challenging, very difficult and very frustrating to do so. However, now everything is working quite smoothly, and I am surprised that it is so.

Anyway, again, I apologize for my verbosity. That is just me. But I did want to address some of the issues that you discussed in your podcast.

Again, thank you for the exposure. That was very kind of you both, and I truly appreciate it. And, by the way, yes, your podcast came across as being very laid back. :)

Oh, by the way, I forgot to add that since you last visited my BBS, I have done some major work on it. There are more screens in different places, there is a pile of tutorials in the Online Library -- hit "g" at the Main Menu -- as well as on the website, there are a few keyboard fixes, and there are now over 2,500 to choose from for download.

For those of you who may be a bit rusty concerning downloading files from a BBS, or who never did it at all, here is a link to the web version of my downloading tutorial:


I just joined the bbs under "zimwhatzim". Great to see other bbs's are out there and alive! These systems were before my time...I started using the Internet in 1998. There's just something about using a bbs that is truly awesome, so thanks for maintaining it!

You are welcome, Chris, and thanks for stopping by the board. Oh, and BTW, we are now up to 100 members on the BBS, so a little at a time, as I expected it would be. :)

What network settings are you using in sheepshaver? I'm attempting to get a web page running. TCP/IP in system 7 is reporting a 10 dot IP, but I can't get to it from any other system. 

Chris, as I discovered early on in my own personal crusade to set up my BBS and Hotline server again, figuring out networking when using SheepShaver or Basilisk II can be a very tricky and frustrating issue.

As I explained in a previous comment, this is because you are basically running a virtual machine -- meaning SheepShaver -- inside of a real, physical machine -- meaning your actual Mac computer.

Furthermore, you are running a virtual OS -- meaning OS 7 -- inside of a real OS -- meaning whatever OS you are running on your real machine.

Because of these points, you must use a separate and unique internal IP address -- or NAT/LAN address -- from the actual internal IP address of your physical machine.

That is where the 10.x.x.x IP address comes into the picture.

Thus, if I open the "Network" prefs pane in the System Preferences app on my Yosemite machine, it will show one internal IP address in the ethernet section. However, if I open the TCP/IP control panel in SheepShaver, it will show a different internal IP address.

This is as it should be, because as I said, they each need to have a separate internal IP address. This is even more so in my case, because in addition to running my Hermes II BBS and Hotline server in SheepShaver, I also run my own web server with a variety of domain names and web services on this same machine.

But that is not all.

If you are trying to run a web page from within SheepShaver, then you ALSO need to make sure that in your router setup, you map port 80 to whatever internal IP address is being used by SheepShaver, and NOT to the IP address that is being used by your actual physical machine.

But there is more.

I don't know your setup there, but in my case, I am using a wi-fi network, as well as an ethernet cable from my router to my physical Mac, in order to make this all work.

This required that I install Tuntap, and that I use a virtual ethernet bridge and tap device in order for communication to occur between SheepShaver's networking setup, and my outside Internet connection.

If you visit the Armageddon BBS web site and look at the links on the lower portion of the page, you will find links to things and sites which can help you to get set up properly.

In fact, as I had to do, you may have to install a special flavor of SheepShaver in order to get networking working properly. I think I may include a link for it on the Armageddon BBS website. In fact, it is also downloadable from both the Armageddon BBS, and from my Hotline server.

I hope this helps.

Persevere, my friend. You will eventually figure it out, as I did, with some help. :)

I'm familiar with virtual machines and mapping ports to those IP addresses. My Mac Pro has several virtual machines, each with their own unique IP address and associated mappings at the router level. What is confusing me is why I cannot specify a unique 192. address (the range I use on my LAN) within Sheepshaver. 10. does me no good. In the TCP/IP settings in System 7 I've tried to fill in the networking information as I would have to manually in rare circumstances. Generally I can just use the MAC address and then assign a static IP within my DHCP settings at the router, not so in this case. The router doesn't even show the Sheepshaver virtual machine as being connected to the network. The official documentation for Sheepshaver does not properly address the networking situation. To give you more information, I'm running this on an older 1U rack mounted server that is running Windows XP. Networking concepts are the same regardless of OS, TCP/IP is a standard after all, so I cannot imagine that the setup would be any different on a Windows machine versus a Macintosh (save for where the settings are). 

"This required that I install Tuntap, and that I use a virtual ethernet bridge and tap device in order for communication to occur between SheepShaver's networking setup, and my outside Internet connection"

I'm frustrated that Sheepshaver can't handle this itself. Virtualbox handles this aspect internally very well. 

Chris, I encountered a similar problem when I realized that my SheepShaver setup was totally invisible to my wi-fi router, as well as to Little Snitch. It was as if the network I had created within SheepShaver did not even exist.

That is why I had to manually set some network settings, and install TunTap, which I believe I mention in some of those docs that are on the Armageddon BBS website. Tuntap -- along with the right flavor of SheepShaver -- work together to create the necessary ethernet bridge and tap device that you need in order to get networking working properly.

Furthermore, if everything is set up properly in your "Network" preference pane on the Mac Pro side, and in SheepShaver's TCP/IP control panel, you should be able to manually set an internal IP address in TCP/IP, which is simply a different node number from what you have in the "Network" preferences pane.

For example, if you are using in the "Network" preference pane on the Mac Pro side, you should be able to type in -- or a similar unused node number -- in the TCP/IP control panel in SheepShaver.

I am wondering if you may have created some kind of network conflict where you are using the DHCP server in some places, while setting some internal IP's manually elsewhere on your network. That could cause confusion.

In my case, I use the DHCP server in my "Network" preferences pane on the Yosemite side of things, and manual in the TCP/IP control panel on the SheepShaver side.

Also, while you probably already know this, both the "Network" preferences pane and the TCP/IP control panel should both show the same router address, which in my case is the address of my wi-fi router.

One other comment, and this may possibly be something that you are overlooking, and which is important.

If you have installed Tuntap -- it is real quick and easy -- then in SheepShaver's preferences, in the "ethernet interface" field on the "Miscellaneous" tab, you should have "tap0" -- that is a zero -- and not "slirp". That is because slirp will not work in this situation, because you are using Tuntap to create an ethernet bridge and tap device between your SheepShaver network and your regular wi-fi network or physical network.

Again, I urge you to read the stuff on my website. If you are still stuck after doing so, visit the forums at They will be glad to help you out. Cat_7, Ronald and the gang are nice, helpful guys who assisted me greatly with these same kinds of issues.

GRRRrrr . . .

I added some new information to my previous message, but it was not saved properly. There is some serious lag between where I am located, and where the server is located. :(

Some of the things I added were these:

1. Visit this page, and in particular, pay attention to the section regarding Mountain Lion, and using a shell script to start SheepShaver, instead of double-clicking the app, or using the dock icon. The shell script will set up the ethernet bridge and tap device each time that you start up SheepShaver. If there are any problems during SheepShaver's startup, you will see the errors in the Terminal when you use the shell script:

You will also have to use this command frequently in the Terminal if you start and stop SheepShaver on a regular basis:

sudo ifconfig bridge0 destroy

The above command assumes that your bridge is assigned 0, and not 1, 2 or something else. If your ethernet bridge breaks in some way, and you fail to use that command to destroy what is left of it, you will lose your Internet connectivity within SheepShaver.

In other words, SheepShaver will still run like normal, but you won't have Internet connectivity, because there is no ethernet bridge or tap device running. Using that command, and then running the aforementioned shell script -- you will find it on that page that I gave you -- will restore everything to normal.

Also, sometimes the absolute paths in your SheepShaver prefs file are lost and revert to relative paths. If this happens, SheepShaver won't even start up properly for you, because it won't be able to find your disk image or ROM file. In such a case, you need to either use the SheepShaver Preferences app to fix the paths -- there are four paths that often become corrupted -- or use nano in the Terminal with this command:

nano open .sheepshaver_prefs

As I said, those four paths need to be absolute, and should begin with something like:


. . . or wherever you have SheepShaver and its associated disk images and files stored on your hard drive.

I hope the above added info helps. I know how frustrating it can be, but you will eventually figure it out. I did, and I am really not a techie.




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