Charles Moore's Mailbag

A Low-End Digicam, Sleep of Death, GV Modem Software, 9.2.2 and 10.3 on WallStreet, and More

Charles Moore - 2004.07.26 - Tip Jar

Concord Digital Camera Review

From Russell

Thanks for the great review on Low End Mac of a low-end camera! I was pretty much set to add one to my budget ASAP until I came to the color cast concern. I'd rather not have to edit photos if I can avoid it.

Please keep the reviews of other low-end products up.

-Russell

Hi Russell,

Glad you found the review helpful.

As for the color cast issue, the examples I showed are probably close to worst-case given the overcast day and the actual color of the subject matter. In photos taken on a sunny day it is much less evident.

Even with film images scanned into digital files (I'm in the process of scanning 30+ years worth of slides into JPEG images), I rarely come across one that has ideal color balance without correction.

Charles

Concord vs. Digitrex

From Peter da Silva

I went to the store to get a cheap Concord and ended up with a 3.2 Mpix Digitrex for $70! It's insane how cheap these cameras have gotten.

Among other things, I've been taking pictures of clouds and making them my desktop, and it's amazing how relaxing that is. I think I'll try a screen saver yet.

Hi Peter,

I'm not familiar with the Digitrex. What pixel depth does it support?

Charles

Re: Concord vs. Digitrex

From: Peter da Silva

"I'm not familiar with the Digitrex. What pixel depth does it support?"

8 bit color, 24 bit per pixel, at least that's the depth of JPG it produces. I don't have the manual here.

Here's some reviews. The only annoyances I see with it are:

  1. No viewfinder.
  2. No AVI replay on the camera, which the Concord I got my son does have. It might work through the TV connector, I haven't tried.

I like it, and it's cheap enough I don't feel worried about it.

Peace of mind is worth a lot.

Charles

About the Sleep of Death Bug

From: Fish Jam

Hi Charles,

I had the same problem on my Power Mac G4/867 with OS 9.2.2 (Traditional Chinese ed.) installed and tried to search Apple's support knowledge base then found a document relate to this topic:

https://web.archive.org/web/20030314054803/http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=30894

I will try step 6, "Reset the Parameter RAM," tomorrow see if it works... :)

And there is another issue about USB sleep problem mentioned in the document above:

https://web.archive.org/web/20030314062715/http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58645

I will try to remove "InputSprocket Extension" - maybe it conflicted with my Quark Xpress 4.1* USB dongle... :)

(*) The last Ouark version of Traditional Chinese is 4.1

I wish these info. Can help you and others, have a good day...

Regard yours,
Fish

Hi Fish,

Thanks for the information.

Charles

G3 Power Mac Question, Please!

From Tony Bass

Hello Charles,

I know one day I will purchase a G5 or G6, whatever is on the market at that time, but I currently run a G3 blue & white 400 MHz Power Mac with 128 MB RAM. Being a pro-musician, I am looking to see how much productivity I can get out of this machine for music production or maybe using it as a soft synth using something like Reason 2.5 with a MIDI keyboard interface and/or MOTU 896HD.

I have a copy of Cubase VST installed but haven't really used it yet. Should I bother installing four 256 MB RAM chips for a whopping 1 GB?

Sincerely,
Tony Bass

Hi Tony,

It depends a lot on whether you are running OS X or OS 9. With X, I don't think it's possible to have too much RAM.

However, even with OS 9 I feel memory-constricted on a machine with only 128 MB. I find that 256 MB or 384 MB is a nice amount of RAM to have when running OS 9, but you probably wouldn't get a great deal of cost/benefit advantage in moving to 1 GB with 9.

Charles

Re: GV PC Card Modem Problem

From Don Kolstad

Charles:

Thank you so much for the rapid reply [see GV PC Card Modem Problem]. I will try the modem scripts that you suggest, and I will be ordering a new PC Card Modem today.

In real terms I should be looking at a new computer, as the 1400 is also showing its age (screen deterioration), but I like it so much despite the limitations of bus and processor speed. I have been using a 128 MB CF card as virtual RAM with excellent results. The card formats allowing 119 MB of useable RAM.

You have carved out a very useful niche that is appreciated by many Mac users. Thank you,

Don

Hi Don,

I share your affection for the PB 1400. My wife and daughter still use them as their main computers.

However, these old PowerBooks are getting long in the tooth and are very sloooooow for Web work.

Happily, the 12.1" dual USB iBooks share the same ideal laptop footprint (IMHO) and general form factor, and thus make an excellent step up from the 1400.

Charles

GV PC Card Modem Software

From Andrew Main

Charles,

GV modems, unlike others, require special software to work properly. This may be what this fellow thinks he might have lost. Fortunately, GV modem software is still available for download: http://www.globalvillage.com/support/softwarelocator.html

Andrew

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for this link.

Forwarded to Don.

Charles

9.1 vs. 9.2.2 on WallStreet II

From R. Hirschfeld

Hi Charles,

What's your current take on Mac OS 9.1 vs. 9.2.2 for a WallStreet PowerBook? I've just upgraded from 8.6 to 9.1 on mine (PDQ 300 MHz with 192 MB RAM), and I'm wondering whether to stop there or go all the way to 9.2.2. I'm confused by conflicting reports of better performance and stability on the one hand vs. wake from sleep and USB card issues on the other. Is there some sort of intermediate solution that provides the best of both worlds, e.g., sticking with 9.1 but updating CarbonLib?

I can't seem to find release notes anywhere with a complete list of differences between the versions.

Thanks for any advice,
Ray Hirschfeld

Hi Ray,

I am running OS 9.2.2 on my WallStreet II 233 MHz, which gets used about 2-3 hours most days. I last rebooted sometime in late May and am up to "Untitled 400" in Tex Edit Plus documents.

That is with TE+, Eudora, iCab, Mozilla, Color It!, and some utilities running throughout. This speaks profoundly to OS 9.2.2's stability. It also seems a little livelier in 9.2.2 compared with 9.1, but that's subtle.

I recommend running OS 9.2.2.

Charles

Patch for G3 233 Hz WallStreet and OS X10.3

From Bill Pistner

Hello Sir,

I was wondering if you knew of a patch that would allow me to run OS X 10.3 on my PowerBook WallStreet.

I did try to install 10.3, but it comes up 'not supported'. Found the information below on the net.

I would like to install OS X on the machine but they say that Apple did not support machines that did not ship w/USB.

If you read the system requirements in Apple's OS X 10.3 Panther announcement last week, you probably noticed that support for G3 Macs that didn't ship with USB ports has been quietly dropped. That means that the Beige G3 desktop Power Macs, and the G3 series WallStreet PowerBooks are no longer officially supported by OS X. OS X 10.2.8 Jaguar is the end of the line for these "Old World ROM" machines.

http://www.macopinion.com/columns/roadwarrior/03/10/13/

Thanks for any help.

- Bill

Hi Bill,

You need Ryan Rempel's XPostFacto hack.

XPostFacto is a utility which helps to install and boot Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, and Darwin on certain unsupported systems. When Mac OS X installs successfully, its stability on unsupported systems appears to be excellent.

System requirements:
  • Power Macintosh 7300 - 9600, equivalent clone, original PowerBook G3, PowerBook 2400 or 3400, Beige G3, or Wallstreet PowerBook
  • Mac OS 9 or higher
  • Mac OS X 10.x, or Darwin 6.x or 7.x, to be installed
XPostFacto is freeware

Charles

Re: Radeon Enabler

From Jeffrey Harris

Charles

On an iBook, Radeon Enabler does absolutely nothing. All that works is info on the video card.

The display spanning hack from Germany apparently does the right thing in terms of allowing higher res on external display. I tried it some time ago, though did not exercise the feature. But then my disk got corrupted, I had to reload everything (had backup), so I have not tried again.

cheers
JHH

Hi Jeffrey,

I came to the same conclusion about Radeon Enabler by deduction, and never did get around to installing it.

Thanks for the report.

Charles

Non-Dead iBook

re: Dead iBook

From Andrew Nagy

While, I was away, my dad called the support desk OSLT at the school where he works, and was told to hold down the power button for twenty seconds. Apparently that worked, after a few difficulties.

He suspects heat damage did it. I'll have to be careful not to leave it in the car like I did.

I didn't think about removing the RAM card. I'll try that when something worse happens.

New quick question: Can any of the clamshell iBooks boot from a USB flash drive? Maybe I should get one, to solve the problem of not being able to boot OS 9 from the HD.

Hi Andrew,

Glad to hear you revived your 'Book.

As for booting from a USB Flash Drive, I can't say for sure, but these resources don't indicate much promise:

 • http://fmi.compusa.com/attach/9115b97f-ba8e-44e8-b399-e27639c423f3.pdf
 • http://www.microbits.com.au/support/files/peripherals/stordrive/mobile-disk/mobile-disk-manual-v2.0r1.pdf
 • http://lists.debian.org/debian-powerpc/2004/02/msg00121.html

Charles

Cranky B&W G3

From Seth Lewin

Hello, Charles,

Since you invite email, I'd appreciate it if you'd indulge me. Perhaps this problem suggests something to you. I'm somewhat befuddled by it and am thinking of obtaining professional help (for the Mac, not for me).

Blue G3 Rev 1 (early production; early 1999) with PowerLogix G3/800, Radeon 7000, Acard ATA133 card, Adaptec 4300 FW card, Adaptec 2930 with nothing connected to it , 768 MB RAM, Zip, LiteOn 52x CD-ROM, three hard drives - a 27 gig Maxtor on the motherboard's IDE line, a 10 GB and a 200 GB on the Acard. None of this is recently changed or added. Running 10.3.4. ADB keyboard, USB mouse, LaCie FW CD-RW, Sony GDM F400 monitor. Firmware updated to 1.1f4.

Problem is sometimes the machine won't boot; it will start in response to the power on key of either an ADB or USB keyboard but will not chime and will not complete the boot sequence - no video, nothing. Sits there with drives spinning, fans running, but no further action.

Until recently, a simple command-control-power sequence would get it to restart chime and run, but that's becoming less and less frequently possible. I've gotten to the point where sometimes the only way to get it running is the pull the PRAM battery and disconnect the power for awhile, discharge the power supply by pushing the front panel reset switch, hold the CUDA switch awhile, and then try again. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Sometimes pushing the reset on the front panel a half dozen times will get it to chime and run.

I've taken the machine apart and stripped it down to its basics - literally pulled out every card, including video, and disconnected all drives including Zip and CD and all USB, FW, ethernet, etc. leaving just one RAM module (tried it with several different ones, in different slots) - same problem.

When it starts w/o chiming, I do notice that the two LEDs near the USB controller fail to light; when it starts correctly they eventually do. The power on LED and the one near the ATA connector do turn on in synchrony.

Sometimes the only way to try to restart it will be to use the restart switch on the motherboard itself; it sometimes ignores the power button on the box itself altogether. When it does chime and boot, it may stick part way thru loading Panther, either at the gray Apple screen (the gear icon freezes and that's it; then won't reboot without going thru the bit with the PRAM battery and whatnot) or sometimes further along in the process.

Once it gets running, it runs fine - until the next time I have to restart.

I don't have the old 400 MHz ZIF handy anymore; I put that in a beige G3 at work and am reluctant to shuffle it back, though perhaps that might be worth a try. PRAM battery is good: 3.61 volts. The front-panel restart and interrupt buttons sometimes do nothing when it is acting up; at other times they function.

The question is whether this is a bad logic board or something else. This situation came to a head following a freeze that occurred while surfing with Safari and has persisted ever since. I know I can get a Rev 2 logic board for maybe $200; but wonder if that's the way to go with this. I suppose I can buy another B&W for about $350 and upgrade that one with my components.

As of now, I've left the machine on for about ten or so days straight - it works fine; I'm writing this on it now.

Does this remind you of any common syndrome? Should I perhaps serially zap the PRAM three times and then boot into open firmware and try cleaning out the NVRAM that way - if it will boot at all?

I know this is an old machine, but when it's running with its various upgraded components it meets my needs completely.

Any insight anyone can offer or any advice would be very much appreciated. FWIW, this machine has been a little flaky in terms of reboots and reluctance to boot from CD since day one, leading me to suspect the logic board's failing now, but I'd like a little reassurance before blowing $200 on another one.

Regards,
Seth Lewin

Hi Seth,

These sorts of symptoms are tough to diagnose, even hands on.

You have covered all the usual troubleshooting bases and then some.

The behavior you describe sounds very similar to a malaise that afflicted my 604e Umax S900 tower. After a hair-tearing six month battle with it, the problem turned out to be a bad (new) Seagate Barracuda hard drive. I replaced the Seagate with a Quantum drive, and the boot issue disappeared, never to return.

One thing to consider. Did the problem start manifesting soon after you changed something, e.g., after you upgraded to OS 10.3.4 or added a piece of hardware or a peripheral?

Of course it could also be the mobo.

Charles

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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