River City ARCS weekly SSTV Net 8/30/17 9pm

This was my second time joining the weekly River City ARCS SSTV net and it had been a few weeks since the first time, so I had to go back and work out how I setup MMSSTV again. Since MMSSTV is a Windows app, on my Mac I booted WIndows 10 in Parallels and ran it from there. Unfortunately the combination of MMSSTV’s flaky soundcard settings and sharing a USB soundcard device with Windows in a Virtual Machine is probably not the best combination, but for future reference here’s the steps I used that finally worked:

  • Plug in the USB Rigblaster before starting Windows 10
  • From Mac System Preferences, Sound, set in and out to default mic and speakers, make sure Rigblaster not selected for either
  • Boot Windows 10 then from Parallels menu, Devices, Sound, select Rigblaster for both input and output
  • Start MMSSTV, go to Options, Setup MMSSTV, Misc tab, select Default for In and Out – this is shown in screenshot below:

The above steps seemed to work fine. Plugging in the Rigblaster after booting Windows 10 and then assigning it to the Windows 10 running VM when prompted by Parallels didn’t seem to work for me (although probably makes more sense), despite seeing the Rigblaster showup in the MMSSTV soundcard settings. No idea why this didn’t work.

Here’s a selection of the pictures received on the net this week:

Between each of these I was trying different settings and trying to get the Rigblaster selected in MMSSTV. By the time of the last couple of pictures sent on the net, I’d got the setting setup just right.

The River City Amateur Radio SSTV net is held weekly at 9pm, on the clubs 440Mhz repeater (which has coverage of Sacramento, CA and surrounding area). Details are on the club website here.


Parallels 12 changing the boot order for a guest VM (settings list display issue)

Parallels 12 on MacOS has a curiously misleading UI issue on the VM configuration dialog, where the items in the left list are actually a scrollable list, but there’s no visual indication that tells you this:

If you click in the list to highlight an item, you can scroll the list up and down to reveal other items – in this case I was looking for the Boot Order setting, but it was displayed at the top of the list and I needed to scroll the list up to see it:

Apple’s product design and attention to detail (the 1st gen Mac Pro)

There’s no mistaking Apple is second to none when it comes to product design. Their attention to detail can be seen throughout the design of their products, both inside and out. Sir Jony Ive was knighted for his service to the design industry in 2012.

Some details are surprising when you see them first hand, and the lengths that Apple goes to. Take for example the unique design of the case for the Power Mac G5 and first generation Mac Pro. It’s uniquely recognizable and even could be described as iconic. The design of the perforated ‘cheese grater’ grill is more than just aesthetics, it provides an essential purpose in the design of the cooling of the machine, allowing air to be pulled through the front grill in a number of distinctly controllable cooling zones through the case and allowing exhaust to exit the rear of the case.

At the rear is something interesting though, and maybe even overlooked. Power cords commonly called ‘kettle cords’ have been used to supply power to PC desktop cases for years, but what’s interesting about the power cord for the Mac Pro is that the plastic is molded with a flange that allows it to fit flush to the back of the case when inserted. A minor detail, but a perfect example of the lengths Apple goes to.

Here’s the cord/plug,

showing the surrounding flange at the back of the plug molding:





The plug inserted,

fitting flush to the back of the case:

Simple details, but details like this leave a lasting impression.



Installing Windows 98 on Virtualbox on MacOS

My attempt to install Windows 95 on Virtualbox on my Mac Pro didn’t turn out too well as by the time the installation completed it refused to boot with the error:

"While initializing device IOS. Windows Protection Error"

What on earth Windows 98 was doing back then initializing iOS devices is interesting, but beside the point 🙂 This error is described in this KB article but I’m not sure updating the BIOS in my Quantum hard disk is really applicable in this case. More likely the issue is related to VT-x virtualization  (I can’t find the option to turn off VT-x support on my VirtualBox install), or other posts suggest this is most likely to do with host CPUs faster than 2.1GHz, and my Mac Pro has dual 2.8 Xeons.

Moving on then, next up, installing Windows 98. There’s a great post here that describes VM specific settings compatible for installing 98 – I went with 1GB RAM and a virtual 10GB disk and followed the other suggested settings.

I booted the VM from a floppy disk image (the same I downloaded for my 95 installation attempt, from here), partitioned and formatted the virtual disk, and then ran ‘setup’ from the CD:

Welcome to Windows 98 Setup: “the software that makes your computer more powerful, reliable, manageable, and entertaining”.

I’m glad 98 made my computer “more entertaining”.


“Sit back and relax” …





“Windows 98 supports new, cutting edge technologies” …





I remember using this ‘active desktop’ feature in 98, where you could have web content pinned to your desktop. An interesting IE feature that was discontinued from Vista onwards.





























It’s alive! Welcome to Windows 98. Given that VirtualBox does not have any supported/provided Guest Additions for WIndows 98 (or 95 for that matter), running under VirtualBox is incredibly slow and sluggish. However for nostalgia’s sake, if there’s something you want to play around with to re-live just how awesome Windows 98 was (?), then it’s definitely doable in VirtualBox, but not a great experience.