Retro terminal on macOS

In the February 2017 issue of Linux Magazine (in the Linux Voice section), there was mention of Cool-Retro-Term. It gives you a terminal emulator that tries to duplicate the experience of using an old cathode ray tube monitor. But I also noticed that it comes with a dmg for installing on macOS.

And since I like a bit of retro technology, I couldn't resist trying it out. So I went a put a copy on my MacBook Pro. It really is quite cool looking, and visually reproduces an ancient monitor quite well. It even has the bend at the edge of the screen. Personally, I've turned off the glow line feature because I found it distracting. I have also made the font smaller, so that I can get more text on the screen - that's probably cheating - but it made the terminal more usable. Currently, I'm using the Apple II font from 1977.

Here I am using it to mess about with streaming radio from Madplay on one of my routers running OpenWrt:

It was really simple to install on macOS, and it really does faithfully reproduce the monitors from the old days. It's good nostalgic fun.

H2D2 … now on Mac OS X

OK, first of all, I've bought a new laptop, and it's a Mac - a 13" MacBook Pro to be precise, the one with the Intel Core i7 processor, 8Gb of RAM and 750Gb hard disk. After having great success with running things as VMs at home, I've decided to do the same on my laptop. But the old Toshiba T130 was just not powerful enough to do that (it seemed like quite a powerful laptop when I bought it, but that was over 4 years ago I think). Besides, the Toshiba was feeling quite slow anyway.

But I came to realise that if I was going to run all my stuff as a VM, then I didn't need Windows as the host OS. And getting a new shiny Apple piece of kit seemed like a pretty good choice. I've virtualised the old (Windows) laptop and now it's running happily as a VM in VirtualBox on my new MacBook. Pretty seamless really.

But, I then went and downloaded Xcode (Apple's IDE) and quickly realised that it will happily support plain old C programs. So I copied the H2D2 codebase from Pelles C on Windows into Xcode on the Mac. It compiled and ran first time - even I was surprised. But that is what is supposed to happen when you write portable C code - you can run it natively on just about any platform.

So, I'm going to carry on developing H2D2 in Xcode for a while and see how that goes. My initial impression is good, I'm still learning the keyboard shortcuts … but then I'm still getting used to the new Mac keyboard as well. I was surprised to realise that there is no hash (#) key, at least not on the UK Mac keyboard. Maybe twitter isn't as popular amongst Apple users as I had thought. Or maybe that's just because I think of Steven Fry when I think of a typical Mac user :-)

Anyway, I'm still finding my way round the IDE at the moment. It's probably too soon to draw any final conclusions. Maybe I should buy a book on Xcode...