The MicroMac →

Matt Evans’ most recent project gave me more “wow, computers have gotten fast!” vibes than I’ve felt in a long, long time. Here is Evans:

This all started from a conversation about the RP2040 MCU, and building a simple desktop/GUI for it. I’d made a comment along the lines of “or, just run some old OS”, and it got me thinking about the original Macintosh.

The original Macintosh was released 40.5 years before this post, and is a pretty cool machine especially considering that the hardware is very simple. Insanely Great and are fun reads, and give a glimpse into the Macintosh’s development. Memory was a squeeze; the original 128KB version was underpowered and only sold for a few months before being replaced by the Macintosh 512K, arguably a more appropriate amount of memory.

But, the 128 still runs some real applications and, though it pre-dates MultiFinder/actual multitasking, I found it pretty charming. As a tourist. In 1984 the Mac cost roughly 1/3 as much as a VW Golf and, as someone who’s into old computers and old cars, it’s hard to decide which is more frustrating to use.

So back to this £3.80 RPi Pico microcontroller board: The RP2040’s 264KB of RAM gives a lot to play with after carving out the Mac’s 128KB – how cool would it be to do a quick hack, and play with a Mac on it?

I mean, just look at this thing: