Charles Moore's Mailbag

Replacement 'Book Batteries, Classic Install Tip, Mac SE on Net with DSL, and More

Charles Moore - 2004.12.20 - Tip Jar

Editor's note: This is the last Miscellaneous Ramblings column of the year. Low End Mac will be closed next week, and new content will resume on January 3, 2005. dk

PowerBook Batteries

From Rick Black

Hello there. I read your article on Low End Mac about batteries. My 1999 G3 Lombard is finally showing signs of needing a new battery - a full charge registers only 50 minutes in the control strip indicator, but it won't even last 45 minutes.

I'm intrigued with the newer batteries with higher capacity (5400 amps) but am concerned that they might hurt the computer. Any thoughts?

I understand that you were going to get a used battery. Did you, and is it working out okay?

One final question, if I may ask. The PowerBook battery has indicator lights which will light up if you push the button. Is there any documentation as to what this means and how one should perform the battery test?

Rick Black

Hi Rick,

Other World Computing actually now has a Newer Technology NuPower 'MaxCapacity' 7200mAh battery for the Lombard and Pismo. The higher capacity only pertains to how long you can run between charges, so I'm 99% sure there's no danger of harming the computer.

The used battery I got worked fine for a few months but then crapped out. It will run the computer for about five minutes now. I'll buy new when I replace it again - probably one of the OWC units.

My inference has always been that the LEDs on PowerBook G3 Series batteries just indicated the level of charge.


PowerBook 145 Troubles

From Patty Shannon

Dear Charles,

I came up with your cool site when I searched for "powerbook 145". Last week I let my husband use my PowerBook 145. He only had it for 5 minutes but managed to mess up the screen. He said something came up on it, and he clicked OK on it. He didn't read it. I have no idea what he did, but now the screen is wild. It blinks yellow and gray, is just not readable. I can still see it enough, occasionally, to see that everything is still there, just can't see it.

Can you help me find a site that will help, or do you have any ideas. I got the PowerBook from my son, when he upgraded, and he has now moved out of state, so I hate to tell him that it is messed up.

Anything you can tell me will be appreciated.

Thank You,
Patty Shannon

Hi Patty,

Whoa! A PowerBook 145. As you're probably aware, that's one of the oldest PowerBook models from waaaaaaay back in 1992. It's nice to know that somebody is still getting useful service from these old machines.

Your husband may just have had the bad luck to be using the computer when the fault developed. I can't offhand think of anything he might have done in normal use to induce the sort of symptoms you describe.

On a machine that old, it could very well be a hardware problem, in which case it would almost certainly be advisable to not spend any money on it. A PowerBook 145 in good working condition is worth about 50 bucks.

I assume you've tried shutting the machine down and restarting it.

You should definitely try resetting the Power Manager Unit. On the PowerBook 145, proceed as follows:
  1. Remove the AC Adapter plug and the battery.
  2. Let the PowerBook sit without power connected for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Using two paper clips, simultaneously press and hold the reset and interrupt buttons (Both recessed buttons (commonly known as the reset and interrupt buttons) are located next to the power button on the back panel of the PowerBook) for 5 to 10 seconds.
  4. Reinstall the battery and, if necessary, reconnect the AC adapter.
Restart the PowerBook.

If that doesn't cure the problem, It would be a good idea to try booting from a Disk Tools floppy disk if you have one. If the machine boots normally from the Disk Tools Floppy and the screen looks okay, then the problem would likely be with your Operating System, which probably needs reinstalling.

However, based on what you've described, it sounds most likely that it's a hardware issue.

Hope these suggestions are of some help.


Re: PowerBook 145

From Patty Shannon

Hello Charles,

Sorry it took me so long to get back, but I have good news. I did as you suggested, and my little PowerBook 145 was lots better. Still a little cranky, but lots, lots better. My grandson came over (he's 14 and has a Mac of his own), and he used the boot disk on it, and it came back just like it was supposed to.

Thank you so much for your help. I also sent a thank you to the helpful Mac owner that offered to let me have his PowerBook 170.

Mac owners are just the best.

Thanks again,

Patty from Missouri

Hi Patty,

Delighted to hear your PowerBook is computing again.

Sounds like you have a Mac family. :-)


Classic on OS X Restore Disk

From Fred Goff

I just read your Mac OS 9 compatibility column on Low End Mac and thought I'd shoot a tip your way on getting OS 9 onto an OS X machine.

You don't have to use the restore feature. Just do the following instead.

  1. Pop in the first install disk for you OS X machine.
  2. Make sure the Finder window for the disk is open and in the front.
  3. Choose Go to Folder from the Go menu.
  4. Type .images (the period is important) in the field and press Enter.

A new Finder window will open showing gobs of disk images. One of the will be called OS9General.dmg. Open this image and drag the System Folder to your hard drive. Voilà, you've just installed Classic.

Be aware that this is a System Folder designed to be used as a Classic environment in OS X. If you use this as a startup System Folder on a machine to boot that machine into OS 9, you'll get limited functionality and may get unpredictable behavior. You have been warned.

Hi Fred,

Thanks for the mini-tutorial.


Gmail, Eudora, and Outlook Express

From Daniel Claessens

I was interested by your article, so I downloaded every version of Eudora from 5.1 to 6.2.

I have concluded that 6.2 is the only version of Eudora that works with Gmail.

Furthermore, I believe this is a limitation of Eudora and not the OS. I tried to connect to Gmail using M$ Outlook Express Mac edition 5.0.6.

I can report that Outlook Express worked perfectly with Gmail, and that the Read Me files says that it is compatible with OS 8.1.

On caveat of Outlook Express requires the Dictionaries from Office 98 to do spell check.

You can find them here: <> [Editor's note: We can't get this link to work.]

Put this in the Outlook Express folder. I also suggest putting the identities folder there as well.

and Outlook Express here: <>

Now I am not one who usually recommends software from the dark side, but if your wife can part with Eudora she can Get POP access with Outlook Express.

Below you will find my notes on Eudora and Gmail.

Eudora 5.1.0 does not support SSL
Gmail does not work
Eudora 5.1.1 Does support SSL
Will not connect to gmail
Eudora 5.2.0 Supports SSL
requires Mac OS 8.6 with carbon support 1.6
Will connect to Gmail. But the mail does not download or send
Eudora 5.2.1 Supports SSL
Will not connect to gmail
Eudora 6.0 Supports SSL
Requirs Mac OS 9.0 and Carbonlib 1.6
Will not connect to gmail
Eudora 6.0.1 Supports SSL
Requirs Mac OS 9.0 and Carbonlib 1.6
Will not connect to gmail
Eudora 6.0.2 Supports SSL Requirs Mac OS 9.0 and Carbonlib 1.6 Will not connect to gmail ____
Eudora 6.1.1 Supports SSL Requirs Mac OS 9.0 and Carbonlib 1.6 Will not connect to gmail ____ Eudora 6.2 Supports SSL Requirs Mac OS X connect to gmail
Hi Daniel,

I'm overwhelmed by the scope of your research. Thanks a bunch. You saved me a lot of wasted time. I agree that it's a Eudora limitation and not a MacOS issue. POP Gmail works great with Eudora 6.2 on my OS X Macs.

Oy; Outlook Express :-( . However, it sounds like the workaround.

Thanks again.


Gmail Notifier Beta

From Mads Gorm Larsen

Hi Charles

An extra note, on my win machine I have installed gmail notifier, a small thing that tells you if you have mail, it often gives me this error "cannot find DNS server", but only on first call, if I click it again I have contact.


Hi Mads,

Yes; the beta designation is there for a reason.


Re: Rolleiflex TLRs and Digital

From Darryl

Hi Charles,

I was amused to find our discussion about Rolleiflexes and digital cameras on your website. I ended up buying the Rollei Magnar zoom lens from the store in London, and I used it a bit while travelling. It's surprisingly light but requires a tripod to use as you need to move the Magnar to the taking lens after focusing etc.

The quality is impressive if you stop down to f16 or f22, but you have to do long exposures +1 sec even in sunlight as the Magnar cuts the light coming into the camera quite significantly. This also makes it hard to see what you are doing on the focusing screen - the things we do to use medium format. Still cheaper than most new 35mm zoom lenses though, and better quality! Built before WW2 when things were made to last or get blown up.


Hi Darryl,

It's great fun to hear about people doing interesting things with antiquated equipment - especially Rolleis.

There was a quality to stuff from that era that basically doesn't exist any more, at least in consumer products.


G3 Pismo Upgrade

From Philippe Helman


Check my works: <>



I did. Great tutorial.

Thanks for the link.


Recalcitrant B&W

From Douglas

I picked up a used B&W G3 at the local university. No RAM, no HD, but it is a rev 2, and it was $15.

However, I'm having a problem. I pulled the drive and RAM from my beige, and the B&W won't boot. It goes to the happy face screen, then I get the flashing "?" over a folder. Does the B&W require HFS+? Since the HD, RAM, and battery work in my beige, could it be something else I'm missing?


Hi Douglas,

The B&W should work fine with HFS standard formatted drives. However, it would be worth a shot to try another hard drive or to see if it will boot from a CD or an external drive.

I'm wondering if a bad PRAM battery could cause this sort of symptom.

Of course there is the possibility that there are motherboard problems.

Trial and error.


Editor's note: Two other possibilities. The RAM may not be fast enough for the B&W G3 (it uses PC100 RAM vs. PC66 on the beige), or you may be trying to use a version of the Mac OS (anything earlier than 8.5) that won't work on the B&W. dk

SE on DSL with Ethernet Card

From Mark Looper


On X-Day (24 March 2001), I posted a webpage, A Macintosh SE that Uses DSL?, that discusses how to get a very old Mac, in my case an SE dual 800k machine, on the Internet via DSL. It was in response to a Macworld article that talked about how to set up old Macs for DSL, as I recall, but not ones as old as my SE. I connected my SE to a router using a 10Base-T card in its PDS slot, which I obtained at closeout from Asante; you may still be able to find 'em on eBay.

Mark Looper

Thanks Mark,

Nice tutorial.


Splitting Files for Burning to CD

From Peter da Silva

On OS X at least a script could do the job. The problem is that the Unix tools don't know about resource forks, and Apple's command line tools are written by people for whom Unix is a foreign country, so they require some careful hand holding.

You can use "lsmac -fboth" to get the size of all the files in a directory, but the output is 'user friendly' and computer hostile:

--- 2.8 MB powell-stern-2004-10-26.mp3 --- 2 items - Public/ --- 160.0 KB robertson-2004-10-20.mp3 --- 3 items - Sites/

So let's start out with something to get the total file size for a directory:

find . -type d -print0 |
xargs -0 lsmac -fboth |
awk '$5 == "MB" { total += $4*1024*1024}
$5=="KB" {total += $4*1024}
$5=="B" {total += $4}
END {printf "%d\n", total}'

That gets you the total bytes, but your CD is likely to be in ISO9660 (2k blocks) or HFS (4k or 8k blocks), so we need to add up the total by blocks, so let's get the number of kilobytes for 8k blocks:

find . -type d -print0 |
xargs -0 lsmac -fboth |
awk '$5 == "MB" { total += $4*1024}
$5=="KB" {total += ($4+7)/8}
$5=="B" {total += 8}
END {printf "%d\n", total}'

OK, now let's say you've got all the folders you want to archive in one directory. You want to get the first 650 MB of that (

#!/bin/sh # Function to get kb of a directory tree, including resource forks, for 8k # allocation units.
kb() {
find "$1" -type d -print0 |
xargs -0 lsmac -fboth |
awk '$5 == "MB" { total += $4*1024}
$5=="KB" {total += ($4+7)/8}
$5=="B" {total += 8}
END {printf "%d\n", total}'
} # 639.8 * 1024, size of a CD in kilobytes max=655155 total=0 # Now, print directory names until you're out of space... for i do
ls "$i" | while read dir
kb=`kb "$i/$dir"`
total=`expr $total + $kb`
if [ $total -ge $max ]
then exit
echo "$i/$dir"

Play with that, it'll list all the subdirs you can fit into the first CD.

Of course, you don't just want to print them, you want to make CD images of them. So let's change the last few lines, starting right after "total":

volume=1 # Now, create vol1.txt, vol2.txt, and so on, containing the names of the directories # to dump... touch vol$volume.txt
for i
ls "$i" | while read dir
kb=`kb "$i/$dir"`
total=`expr $total + $kb`
if [ $total -ge $max ]
volume=`expr $volume + 1`
touch vol$volume.txt
echo "$i/$dir" >> vol$volume.txt

Now you have the text files containing the playlists, how do you burn them? Well, you can create DMG files containing them... using this script (

#!/bin/sh for file in vol*.txt
vol=`basename $file .txt`
hdiutil create \
-size 650m \
-layout NONE \
-fs HFS+ \
-type SPARSE \
-volname "$vol" \
info="`hdid $vol.sparseimage`"
dev=`echo $info | awk '{print $1}'`
mnt=`echo $info | awk '{print $2}'`
while read dir
ditto -rsrcFork "$dir" "/volumes/$vol/$dir"
done < $file
hdiutil eject $dev
echo "Can't mount $vol.sparseimage - exiting"
echo "Can't create $vol.sparseimage - exiting"

Once you're done, you'll have a bunch of "vol*.sparseimage" files ready to burn with Disk Util.


cd /wherever/the/stuff/is directory-containing-gigabyes-of-whatever # optionally edit the vol*.txt files here, maybe skip a subdir or two you know # you don't want...

Thanks Peter.


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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 and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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