Midnight Macintosh Adventures: Fun with Fonts

The FloppyEmu’s pre-installed System 6.0.8 volume allows you to use the FloppyEmu as an external hard drive emulator right out of the box. However, its copy of System 6.0.8 is missing some things. And, of course, adding those things don’t go without a hitch.

Lately, I’ve been using the 1988 Macintosh SE as my go-to vintage computer – for some strange reason. The System 6.0.8 volume I’ve dedicated to the Macintosh SE (which lacks an internal hard drive) has made it extremely easy to transfer files between my modern computer without having to deal with restarting the machine to change into the “Floppy Emulation” mode. Besides, the Macintosh SE is a nice computer to use for using Word 4.0 to type documents like this very blog entry.

However, one thing has held the SE back – the lack of fonts. The aforementioned System 6.0.8 volume only came with three of the standard system fonts – Chicago, Geneva, and Monaco. There was no Helvetica, Times, Palatino, or even some of the early Macintosh fonts like Athens and San Francisco.

I decided to change that.

I used the Font/DA Mover – a special application for copying fonts or desk accessories from a file to the computer and vice-versa – to transfer fonts from the Mini vMac virtual machine to a file. However, this file only contained some of the fonts I wanted. Larger versions of fonts, such as Helvetica 18 pt. – which I use as document titles, were missing. This lead to blocky, pixelated type that was unappealing. However, my 1991 Macintosh Classic had the full collection of fonts.

(Note: I had to actually use the Font/DA Mover included with ConcertWare since the standalone Font/DA Mover on Macintosh Garden was “locked” – therefore, Mini vMac wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t try it on the SE or Classic as I knew they probably wouldn’t be happy with it, either.)

After moving to the Classic, I was able to repeat the action and copy all of the Classic’s fonts into a font suitcase – something that took about 10 minutes to complete. One problem immediately arose: since the font suitcase is on the ConcertWare disk image in the FloppyEmu, how could I copy it over to the SE HD-20 volume? The FloppyEmu doesn’t support mounting multiple disk images at one time.

It’s times like this where having a blank floppy disk around is helpful. I didn’t have a blank 800k floppy handy, which would allow me to directly transfer the font suitcase using the SE. However, a blank high-density disk allowed me to copy the font suitcase to the SE volume after restarting the Classic, with the FloppyEmu now in HD-20 emulation mode.

After another round of swapping cables around to the SE, I was able to copy some of those fonts over. Then I hit a snag. Font/DA Mover wasn’t happy about something.

The 100 MB HD-20 volume was already full.

“No problem,” I thought – thinking the solution was easy as downloading a blank disk image and copying all of the files from the old SE volume to the new one. I was somewhat shocked that I had already filled the 100 MB volume – but the volume already had a lot of software installed, and I installed more software. (More games like Lemmings, The Even More Incredible Machine, CricketDraw, Aldus PageMaker 3, and PageMaker 4.)

I downloaded a blank 224 MB HFS volume from gryphel.com, imported it into Mini vMac, and proceeded to copy all of the files from the old volume to the new volume. It should work, right?

Nope. In fact, something strange happened.

Something strange happened after booting the SE with the new 224 MB volume.

Instead of copying all of the files – including System 6.0.8 – it had other ideas. Instead, it booted into System Version 1.1, taking my 1988 Macintosh SE back to a version that debuted with the original 128k Macintosh in January 1984. In addition to that, it mounted the volume as two floppies (probably because System 1 doesn’t like hard drives, large volumes, and HFS?) and wouldn’t allow you to shut down the software.

Thankfully, my original SE volume seemed to be intact – System 6.0.8 booted just fine. However, this doesn’t solve the problem of low storage – and definitely doesn’t allow me to install all of the fonts.

A quick loop around to fonts: it appears the SE doesn’t like 18 pt. Helvetica. When trying to use it in Microsoft Word 4.0 – it adds weird garbage on the screen.

As I finish writing this, it’s 2:30 a.m. – clearly time to shut down the SE and go to bed. Stay tuned to see if the volume issue gets sorted, and see if I can finish installing all of the beautiful fonts.