Getting classic Mac Basics tutorials running in OSX/Linux?

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Getting classic Mac Basics tutorials running in OSX/Linux?

Post by roystonlodge » July 22nd, 2008, 4:35 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.

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 anybody knows of any free modern software alternatives, that would also be cool, but not nearly as cool as a way to get these classic programs to work.

Thanks in advance!
Lichen Software
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Re: Getting classic Mac Basics tutorials running in OSX/Linux?

Post by Lichen Software » January 28th, 2009, 9:55 pm

For tutorials

One of the problems you are having is you can teach them all you like, but you can't learn them ...Learning they have to do themselves.

At the most basic level, tell them what to do, but make them run the mouse. They will learn with their hands. If you have to point at the screen to show them things, one of those laser pointers is good because you never get in their way.

IF you are a little more ambition, look around for a program that will make quick time screen movies. Ambrosia Software makes a really good one, but it is not free. There are some free ones out there.

The absolute best set of tutorials I ever had were a series done on floppy disk and audio tape. The disks had example files and the tape told you what to do. You would essentially reproduce this method using quick time movies and an attached file set.

They start the movie and it shows dragging an object over the screen. Then you say on the movie to pause the movie and do this with the demo file. They do it. Then they start up the movie and go on to the next task.

The tutorials I had were for Photoshop and FileMaker Pro. They got me up and running in two days on each of these programs.

Good luck.
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