Charles Moore's Mailbag

PC Card WiFi for OS X PowerBooks, Installing Classic for OS X, Gmail Problem with Shiira, and More

Charles Moore - 2007.01.15 - Tip Jar

WiFi Card for OS X PowerBooks with PC Card Slots

From Elizabeth:

Happy New Year Charles,

I have a G3 Lombard that has a Daystar processor upgrade, 512 MB of RAM, and 20 gig hard drive. What card do I use to use the Internet wirelessly?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Elizabeth

Hi Elizabeth,

Try the Netgear WG511T PCMCIA 802.11g Extreme & Super-G PCMCIA Card, which offers full 10bT networking capabilities, full compatibility with AirPort base stations, and the entire 802.11 network system.

Its 108 Mbps transfer rate is claimed to be 10x faster than standard AirPort, 2x faster than AirPort Extreme; fully compatible with AirPort web surfing, encryption software (WEP), and firmware; and compatible with PowerBooks G3 WallStreet, Lombard, or Pismo and G4 Titanium, G4 Aluminum 15 & 17"

You can check it out at: http://www.netgear.com/Products/Adapters/SuperGWirelessAdapters/WG511T.aspx

Available for $49.95 from Wegener Media.

Charles

Editor's note: The Netgear WG511T is fully compatible with Mac OS X but is not supported under Mac OS 9.x or earlier. dk

Easily Installing Classic Mac OS with OS X

From Ronald Evry after reading Problem Installing Classic Mac OS with OS X 10.4.6:

As always, the simplest, easiest way to put Classic on any drive with any version of OS X is to simply mount another drive with an OS 9 System folder on it and drag the System Folder to the OS X drive.

OS 9 has no invisible files that won't copy (except maybe the Desktop, which is no big deal). Once it is copied, run the Classic Preference Pane, tell it where the System Folder is, and run Classic.

This won't work on Intel Macs, of course, but there are some third party programs that will enable Classic use on an Intel machine. I understand that OS 9.1 is as far as these go, so dragging a 9.2 folder won't work.

Ron

Hi Ron,

Yup, that's the way I usually do it.

When I got my new iBook G3 in January, 1994, I dragged a pristine copy of the OS 9.2.2 System Folder onto my backup drive, and I use it as a reference for refreshes.

Charles

Unable to Install Classic on a Pismo with OS X 10.4.6

Charles!

Your latest Miscellaneous Ramblings column on Low End Mac alerted me to a problem I hadn't directly encountered as yet, for which many thanks!

I recently wrote you about a jewel of a Pismo PowerBook which I'd gotten with OS X 10.4.6 preinstalled. First an update about that: I haven't had any problems at all with modem function with the OS; in fact, it is as smooth as polished glass when it comes to that.

I upgraded RAM from 384 to 768 MB (not for the faint of heart), and the Pismo is doing just fine with Tiger. In fact, for Internet use, it seems to load pages noticeably faster with Camino than my Power Mac dual-processor G4 does, which I find amazing. This put me in mind of another "little dark horse" that would not be outrun by the bigger, stronger competition, and the hard drive now bears the name "Seabiscuit"!

Now for the 10.4.6/9.2 installation issue: I recently tried to load OS 9.2.1 with an install disk, and while the disk was recognized, I was informed that it could not be installed on the Tiger system unless I wiped the disk and installed 9.2.1, then Tiger. Since I don't have 10.4.6 disks, only the system on the hard drive, this isn't an option, so if I want OS 9 programs to run on the computer, my only option is to install 9 and then 10.3.9 Panther, saying good-bye to 10.4.6 until such time as I get the installation disks.

This isn't necessarily an unacceptable option, as Panther has always done well for me, and would probably be a little zippier anyway, along with providing me access to OS 9 programs I cannot use now. Much as I like 10.4.6, it's not such a big deal without OS 9 functionality.

The biggest thing here is how much I like the Pismo. Granting its age, which it does not show in any significant way, it makes me think of upgrading it rather than getting a later-model machine when circumstances demand more speed. Your articles on the various upgrades available have been a big help to me when researching this issue.

Thanks for the great work from me and Seabiscuit!

God Bless, Tom Gabriel

Hi Tom,

I'm thinking that whoever installed OS X 10.4 on your Pismo didn't check the "Install OS 9 Drivers" box in Disk Utility when they formatted the drive. If that's the case, the only way to install the drivers would be to erase and reformat the drive.

I'm still running OS X 10.3.9 on my Pismo, even though I have OS X 10.4 install disks and updaters to 10.4.8. I like the speed, and it's rock-solid stable, but I do miss Spotlight.

The 550 MHz G4 upgrade certainly extended the useful life of my Pismo, and it's still in daily use. The 1.33 GHz 17" PowerBook is faster, of course, but for most of what I do, I really don't find the Pismo a slug. Indeed, I would consider buying another Pismo to have in reserve, as I anticipate that it will remain a very useful machine for some time to come, and the flexibility of the expansion bay and ability to boot OS 9 are not qualities I am in any hurry to say good-bye to.

I'm doubtful that the Pismo will support Leopard, though.

Charles

Re: OS 10.4.6 and Installing Classic on a Pismo

From Tom Gabriel

Charles,

Something you wrote in your reply to me set me to thinking:

I went into System Profiler to look at the hard drive, and it indicates that OS 9 drivers are installed on the hard drive. This makes me wonder if the only reason OS 9 cannot be installed with 10.4.6 already on the hard drive could be that Tiger will not allow its installation after Tiger itself is installed, but only before. If this is true, there might possibly be a workaround:

I have Drive Genius 1.2, which has a repartitioning utility, allowing the creation of partitions on the hard drive without wiping the drive beforehand. My prospective plan is to create two partitions on the drive, one with OS 10.4.6 and its associated programs, then attempt to install OS 9.2.2 and its programs on the other. I could then have OS 9 functionality, even (according to some sources) having it come up as Classic in OS 10.4.6.

What do you think of this possibility? Any chance of success? Thanks for your help!

God Bless,
Tom Gabriel

Hi Tom,

So much for that theory. I think you're probably right. OS X needs OS 9 to be installed first if you have a single partition.

One reason I haven't encountered this issue firsthand is that on all of my computers, I keep OS 9 and associated software on a separate partition. However, one thing you could try is dragging an OS 9 System Folder from another hard drive. Could be the easiest solution.

However, I think chances of success in repartitioning with Drive Genius are excellent (but with a qualification in your case - read on), because I've done it on my iBook. I was actually resizing existing partitions, but the process would be similar and somewhat less complicated just partitioning an unpartitioned drive.

The first step was to defragment the partition so that its contents would be all the tidily clumped together. Once the volume integrity is successfully verified, the defrag process begins.

Drive Genius gives you a running readout of what is happening as the defragmentation proceeds. It is not a quick process. In this case it took about half an hour.

The entire operation went smoothly, and I encountered no problems. You have to boot from a different volume. Drive Genius comes on a bootable CDs, but I detest setting up from CDs, and instead installed Drive Genius on my external FireWire hard drive, which has a bootable OS X 10.3.4 system on it, and booted from that. It worked perfectly.

Since I had moved all of the files on two partitions, I decided it would be wise to run Disk Warrior and check for directory damage. Sure enough, Disk Warrior found some problems on the OS X partition, but they were easily repaired.

One final note: Here's the qualification: Repartition on the version of Drive Genius I used was designed to work with OS X partitions. Using it on an OS 9 volume may remove the ability to start up OS  9 from that partition, assumedly because the OS 9 disk drivers may be eliminated in the process. It does not affect the data on OS 9 volumes. I can, however, still boot from the OS 9 System Folder on my third partition. I'm not sure whether this issue has been resolved on subsequent versions of Drive Genius. Cutting to the chase, you may have to reinstall OS X on the newly created partition (which will not have OS 9 disk drivers, and then put OS 9 on the unrepartitoned section of the drive.

I would try dragging a system folder from elsewhere first.

Charles

Problems Using Shiira 1.2.2 with Gmail

From Dan Ashley in response to Shiira 2.0b2 Browser: Neat Features, but Not Ready for Prime Time:

My biggest complaint with version 1.2.2 (the current stable version of Shiira) is that it doesn't play well with Google's Gmail.

By default, when Gmail figures out that user agent is Shiira, Gmail thrusts you over to "unsupported browser" mode, meaning a bare bones interface with few features. I presume that, since it has the same underpinnings as Safari, it ought to be able to play nice with Gmail, if only Gmail knew Shiira was a nice playmate.

Changing the preferences in Shiira make it pretend that it is actually Safari, is to no avail. Somehow Google's gurus have figured out when they are being lied to.

Sigh....

- Dan Ashley

Hi Dan,

Yeah, my wife has a similar problem on her WallStreet PowerBook running OS 9.2.2. As far as I know, there is no Classic Mac OS browser supported by Gmail. Netscape 7 works reasonably well with Gmail, but she does get those "unsupported browser" dialogs.

It's a puzzlement that Google doesn't add Gmail support for at least the stable version of Shiira, since I doubt that there would be any major technical impediment.

Charles

Simulating a USB Flash Drive on a Pre-USB PowerBook

From David Lye in response to Simulating a Flash Drive on a PowerBook 5300:

Hello Charles,

After you gave me your opinion that what I was thinking of should probably work, I bought some bits, and indeed it does work beautifully.

The 5300 is running System 7.5.5, and it recognised the flash card in the adapter with no trouble at all, I copied files from the 5300 hard drive (1.1 GB) to the card (which is one-quarter of the size of the hard drive!) and then was able to read them on another machine via USB.

I think this could be very convenient for some other people with pre-USB Macs. I have essentially simulated a USB flash drive. I'm sure others must have done this before me; I just wasn't aware of it.

The PCMCIA card adapter that I bought says that it can only handle up to 256 MB in card capacity; I have now seen a MacAlly one online, which says it can handle 512, at a similar low price. I will test mine with a larger card if I get the chance.

256 MB cards are somewhat outdated now, of course, so it may be a good time to pick up a few. Some of your readers may wish to know about this. These somewhat outdated components may not be easily available for ever.

best regards
David Lye

Notes:

  • PCMCIA to Compact Flash adapter was $12
  • 256 MB Compact Flash card was $21
  • USB Compact Flash adapter was $13

All at TigerDirect.com online.

Hi David,

Thanks for the report and links, and I'm delighted to hear that my speculative evaluation of the chances of success were confirmed in real-world practise.

I agree that this workaround could be a great boon to folks who have older PowerBooks and need to transfer files to other computers. Inexpensive too.

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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