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FireMac: Help


What do .sit, .hqx and .sea mean?

Those files are archives. An archive is a single file which acts like a container, holding one or more files or folders. Usually the files in an archive are compressed, so they take up less room on a diskette or hard drive, and take less time to transmit over networks and modems. Unless the archive is "self-extracting" (.sea), you need a separate utility to access the files in an archive.

There are different types of archives. The most important are listed below.
Self Extracting Archive.seaNo decoder needed
Compact Pro.cpt 
Zip.zipNearly standard on PC's

To make things difficult, the extension .sit can refer to any of over fifteen (!) completely different compression schemes (from StuffIt 1.5.1 to 6)

Another extension you will see is .sea (Self-Extracting Archive). This type of file is a double-clickable application that will automatically uncompress itself when launched. The advantage is that you don't need a utility or decompressor to use it, but it can aid in virus transmission. When you're downloading you're mac files via a PC, this won't work.

On very rare occasion, you may run across a .pit (PackIt) file. These archives were pioneers in Macintosh file compression and archiving, but today they're completely obsolete. StuffIt 1.5.1 and PackIt 3.0 will both uncompress .pit files, but PackIt is no longer supported, so it's unlikely that you'll see one.

It goes like this: If you have a file called

Then what you do is start from the right side of the name and work your way left. In other words, you want to get the file "foo". On the right you see the suffix .hqx, so you know that you have an ASCII-encoded BinHex format file. The first thing you need to do is get it into a binary file for further processing, so you can fire up your favorite archiving program (StuffIt or Compact Pro) and unbinhex it.

For Self-Extracting Archives, all you need to do is double click on the file, and it will extract itself. So if you have a file named

You would first unbinhex it, and then double click on the file to extract it.

Where can I get a decoder?

To open or decode these archive files you need a decoder first. A very good decoder is StuffIt Expander (freeware), made by Aladdin Systems. Where to get a decoder:

  • It comes with Netscape and other modern browsers.
  • On modern Macs, you'll find a version of Expander on the system disks.
  • Get a copy on a disc from a friend.
  • Get a copy on a disc from your local usergroup.
  • Order one on a disc from Aladdin Systems, the makers of StuffIt.

How to get a decoder using a PC?

If you cannot download files directly to a Macintosh but you instead must transfer them through another computer (such as an IBM compatible, for example), you're stuck. Once you get a working copy of BinHex 4.0 (or Compact Pro, or StuffIt) installed on your Mac, you're all set, but getting that copy is hard. But there is a way to do it. (I used it myself)

You need a PC [Windows 95/98/Me] with a CD-rom drive and a 3.5" drive. Your Mac needs a 3.5" drive [1.44 Mb] and System 7 with the controlpanel PC Exchange.

  • Buy a copy of MacWorld (or another Mac magazine) including CD-rom.
  • Download TransMac from and install it on the PC.
  • TransMac allows you to read and write Mac floppy disks or cd-roms.
  • Insert your MacWorld cd-rom into CD-rom player.
  • Use TransMac to navigate on the CD-rom.
  • Find Stuffit Expander.
  • Select the file and copy it to your hard drive. A window pops up for you to set the Copy Settings. You can select Binhex, MacBinary, Resource Fork, Data Fork and Text.
  • Select Resource fork.
  • TransMac copies the file to your hard drive.
  • Than copy the file again, but now select Data Fork in the Copy settings.
  • Now you got two files on your HD. They should have names like this: "Expander" and "Expander.res"
  • Now insert an empty 1.44Mb Mac formatted disk.
  • Select the 1.44Mb disk as Mac Drive in TransMac
  • Select the file "Expander" and copy it to your Mac drive selecting Data fork in the copy settings
  • Select the file "Expander.res" and copy it to your Mac drive selecting Resource Fork in the copy settings.
  • Use TransMac to give "Expander.res" this creator and type codes.
  • type = APPL
  • creator = EXPA
  • Eject the floppy from the PC and quit TransMac
  • Now start up your Mac
  • Insert the floppy into your Mac
  • Copy the complete floppy to your Macintosh Hard Disk
  • Eject the floppy out of your Mac
  • Insert a new DOS-formatted floppy into your Mac. Create 2 folders on it.
  • One folder is called "d", the other is called "r".
  • Copy the Expander.res file to the folder r
  • Copy the Expander file to the folder d
  • Rename the file Expander.res to Expander (in the folder r)
  • Eject the DOS-floppy.
  • Go back to your PC
  • Insert the DOS-floppy into the PC
  • Go to your floppy drive.
  • Make sure you can see all files (including the hidden files)
  • Now you should see several files on that floppy: the 2 folders and the file "Finder.dat" and maybe more files.
  • Go to the folder r
  • In the folder r there should be the file expander and the hidden folder resource.frk.
  • Check if the file expander is 0 bytes big.
  • If so, delete the file expander
  • Now go to the folder d
  • Take the file expander. Copy this file to the folder r
  • Paste the file into the folder r.
  • Eject the DOS floppy.
  • Go to your Mac again
  • Insert the DOS-floppy and copy it to your Hard Disk
  • Say a last pray that it all may work.
  • Just go to the folder r and double click on Expander and there is Aladdin Expander Installer....

Recently, I found a nice Mac FAQ on the Web, and it included the same question. Elliotte Rusty Harold, the maintainer of that FAQ said this:

Paul Thomson's shareware DOS utility Macette can transfer MacBinary files like the ones stored at from a DOS file system onto a Macintosh high density diskette, translating from MacBinary into a standard two-fork executable Macintosh file in the process. It can even format the diskette for you. Thus once you've gotten StuffIt Expander from


you can use macette to move it from the PC to your Mac. I've made macette available at my ftp site. See


Note that this FAQ dates back to 1996, so I'm not sure about the URL's.

What's the difference between 68K and PowerMacs?

When the Mac was introduced, the CPU's type was 68000. Macs became faster and faster, but the CPU's where still made by the same manufacturer. Also the 68020, 68030, 68040 and 68040LC processor were built. This group of CPU's are called 68K (k stands for kilo stands for 1000). The Macs with a 68K processor in it are so called 68K Macs. Apple started together with IBM and Motorola the development of a new CPU, the PowerPC. PowerPC's are fast, much faster than 68K's. All new Macs got that PowerPC. Because of a complete difference between that PowerPC and the 68K new software was developed for the PowerPC, so called "native software". The native software that was developed for PowerPC and couldn't run on 68K Macs. The introduction of PowerPC is over 5 years ago. Nowadays lots of software (not all) is PowerPC-only. At FireMac you can find software for the 68K Mac. By the way, PowerPC's can run 68K software.

My Mac doesn't read PC floppies. What can I do?

To enable your Mac to read PC floppies, you need the controlpanel PC Exchange. Try to get it somewhere (a friend, your user group.). If you can't get it, look if someone has DOS mounter. That's a tool which was used before Apple introduced PC Exchange.

You can also use your Mac (1.44 mb) floppies. Download TransMac from (Acute Systems) and install it on your PeeCee. With that software you can use your PeeCee to write PeeCee files onto Mac formatted floppies.

If you don't like TransMac (it's to easy or what :-) ), hfsutils is a collection of tools for accessing Macintosh HFS-formatted volumes. HFS is the Hierarchical File System used on modern Macintosh computers. The utilities were originally part of the hfsutils package for UNIX systems. This port uses the emx programming environment. There are binary versions for OS/2 and Windows 95/NT. Both versions also run under DOS. Check for more info

I'm having trouble with BunchTyper. It doesn't react on dragging files on it.

I suffered the same problem. Try rebuilding your desktop. How? Restart your Mac and press the command and the option key when your Mac is starting up. The Mac will ask whether you're sure about rebuilding the desktop. Say yes. The desktop will be rebuilded than. Be patient, it takes a while. After that it should all work.

My Tetris high scores are not saved. What do I do about it.

You probably locked the application, so it can not be changed. If it can not be changed it also cannot save your high scores. Unlock it by asking the info on it and click on the locked-button.

If there are more questions, ask them!

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