Finding a suitable SCSI CD-ROM drive (with both read and write capabilities) is not going to be easy. It would probably be a better idea to move all files to a modern computer over a network, and then burn a CD. Your Power Macintosh 8100/80 AV should have an AAUI Ethernet port, requiring merely an external AAUI to RJ-45 adapter (such as the Apple Ethernet Twisted-Pair Transceiver M0437). The setup depends on the other computer, and the exact operating systems involved.
I'm with Jan on this one, as usual. Move the files to a newer computer. Otherwise, you will need some vintage hardware.
We started with a Yamaha internal IDE CD-ROM burner in a G3 desktop, then got an external Yamaha SCSI. The external was $400 new at the same store. We waited until it was $200 before we bought the external. The internal was $90 because it was IDE.
Find a recycler. There is a great one in Seattle. A G3 desktop should cost you $25. A used CD-ROM burner might cost you $10. The G3 will take an internal SCSI drive and an internal IDE drive. It will also allow you to use an internal Zip drive. USB was also a common option with the G3.
Upgrading just one generation in hardware will buy you the tools needed to make the transition to current hardware. Consider your options before spending too much on file recovery. Keep in mind that you must save files in text or RTF or SYLK, etc. or some other universal format that newer software will recognize.
Jan and Ji~m,
Thanks for your suggestions. I have to say that I'm not yet sure what to do. I don't want to buy hardware unless I have to, and both of you appear to agree on this point. I plan to give away or recycle the powermac when I get the files off it as I have no use or space for it. I don't need to move the files to a CD; I need to move them to a PC (where I can read them) so I can get rid of the powermac.
The 2,500 files on the powermac are mostly in MS Word, in the first version that was PC and Mac compatible, so I believe I can read them with no problem on my PC when I get them there. Is this a good assumption? Or am I going to run into a conversion problem like Ji~m mentions?
I can't use the 3.5(?) inch "floppy" disk drive in the powermac because it gets formatted to mac-compatible before I copy files to it, and then the PC can't read it.
So I thought of the CD solution I mentioned in my first post because I believe a physical CD reads and writes on both the mac and the PC without being re-formatted. Is this correct?
I like the idea of a cable like Jan mentioned. I googled "AAUI to RJ-45 adapter" and can't tell from the pictures I viewed if I have a matching "AAUI Ethernet port" on the powermac. It has MANY ports, but nearly all are unlabeled! How do I determine what port might be the AAUI that Jan mentions?
If I use the cable suggestion (which I like), can I plug the other end into a PC? That's all I have -- this old powermac (OS 8.6) and several PCs (Dell and HP) with several OS's (W - XP, Vista, 7, and maybe 8). (Jan mentioned moving the files over a network, but the only "network" I have is my in-house router connecting my PCs to the i-net.) So how would I follow your cable suggestion?
Many thanks for all your help!
Regarding file format compatibility, you could check whether the old format is listed under the Open dialogue in the new word processing program. This may not be the case if there is a major time span between versions. Otherwise, you would just have to carry out a test with a small number of files. As Jim indicated, saving in a different format (via the Save as dialogue) on the old computer may become necessary, but is not something one would want to do with thousands of files.
You should be able to use 1.44 MB HD diskettes for transfers of smaller files to a PC. Check whether a PC Exchange control panel is active on the 8100/80 AV. Use PC-formatted disks (or reformat Mac floppies to PC format).
Normally, the Ethernet (AAUI) port has an icon something like <...> (page 71 in the manual below).
Once the 8100/80 AV has been connected to the built-in Ethernet switch of a broadband router, you could access the Internet from this computer, too (providing that the TCP/IP settings are OK, and that you have a suitable web browser and/or email program installed). You should then be able to transfer files to another computer over the Internet.
Alternatively, you could set the 8100/80 AV up as a (local) web server (perhaps via Web Sharing in Mac OS 8.6). I described a similar method (for a computer that did not have an operating system with a built-in web sharing control panel) in the last post here:
Jan reminded me of yet another option. In 1989, I drove 100 miles to Redmond, WA to a company called Lap Link. They had just come out with a program called LapLinkMac. It was software for a PC that told the PC to look at a laptop hard drive through a com port, ie, LPT 1.
The process was to connect the cable they provided to the printer port on the Mac and a designated com port on the PC. The instructions said that the Mac printer port was always configured at the factory so if you had any trouble, it would be the fault of the PC because they are not uniformly configured. The file transfer rate was 157,000 bps. That was at a time when a 9,600 bps modem cost $1,000.00. The cable and software was $95 or so.
Take a look at software that will link a desktop computer to a laptop. That software automatically handles file updates and version comparisons.
The other approach is to find a user group. If you were in Spokane, we could easily put your hard drive in a G3 desktop computer, put a blank PC hard drive in the same machine, make a fast copy of the SCSI hard drive on the IDE/PC hard drive and then you have a PC compatible drive. One warning, unless you can find some magic bullet software for the PC, you might be better off doing the file transfers on a Mac. Macs have been easier to use since 1984.
It all boils down to what your files are worth and what your time is worth. There are some tasks we can do in minutes on older Macs that take hours or days on a PC. Thanks, Bill Gates, for such a good sales job on PCs.
Jan and Ji~m,
Thanks for your additional ideas. I like Jan's TransMac suggestion for resolving the Mac/Pc compatibility issue for the floppy disks. I found download sites for the utility, and I wouldn't have to buy any hardware or spend time trying to enable a network. I expect that the word files will read ok on the PC, but I'll know soon. The only hassle that I anticipate is the number of disks I'll need for all the copying!
I'll let you know how this works out.