Charles Moore's Mailbag

WiFi Options for Lombard, Installing Tiger on a DVD-less eMac, 3D Home Design Software, and More

Charles Moore - 2007.10.01 - Tip Jar

WiFi Options for a Lombard PowerBook

From Andreas Kleinke:

Hi Charles,

I just read your recommendation of a Netgear PCMCIA WiFi card to a lady with a Lombard PowerBook, and I was wondering: would you happen to know if this card runs with the standard AirPort drivers? Or would you need to install special software, ie. are there OS X drivers included from Netgear?

I would be most grateful if you had an answer to this question.

Best regards, keep up the great work,

Hi Andy,

The version of the Netgear card sold by Wegener Media for $50 comes with Mac OS X drivers, so I presume they are necessary.

Wegeners also sell the Buffalo G54 802.11g card ($40), for which they say no additional drivers are needed.

Both cards require at least OS X 10.2 or better. (They are not OS 9 compatible)

Hope this helps.


Installing OS X 10.4 on a DVD-Challenged eMac

From George Papini:

Mr. Moore

I came across your article for installing OS X 10.4 on DVD Challenged Macs. I am trying to install 10.4 from the disk that came with an Intel-based Mac mini to an eMac. All was going well until the point of installation where a message to the effect of 'OS X cannot be installed on (the eMac volume). This volume cannot start up from this disk' (I should have written down exactly what it said). I suspect that it has something to do with the OS for the mini being for Intel-based machines but cannot find any information to confirm that. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance,
George P.

Hi George,

The Intel and PowerPC versions of Mac OS X are different and not interchangable.

However, even if you had had an install disk from a PowerPC Mac mini, it in all likelihood wouldn't have worked successfully with the eMac, as Apple puts a block in software restore disks that ship with computers to limit install support to that particular model.

BTW, when you do get a generic install DVD, while the method I described in the column worked for me, a better mode is to mount the computer with the DVD drive from the destination computer in Target Disk Mode and then install the disk from the DVD drive in that manner. (See Using FireWire Target Disk Mode to Install OS X on Macs without DVD Drives.)



Thanks so much for your reply. After I had sent the message to you I did come across this on the Apple site <> and thought I was home free. I just spent the better part of this afternoon attempting the install to end up at the same conclusion. I was able to install the OS on the eMac (ultimately by selecting the 'GUID Partition Table' option' " start up an Intel based Mac computer", so I kind of suspected what I was in for) but cannot start up from it. I can use it as a start up disk from the mini, which of course is not what the goal was.

I will probably reinstall 10.3 on the eMac until I can get the generic 10.4 DVD as you suggested.

Thanks again for your prompt reply - on a Sunday no less.


Hi George,

My pleasure.

Yes, and Leopard will be out in a month or so. You didn't say which model eMac you have, so Leopard may or may not be a viable proposition. The support cutoff is rumored to be an 800 MHz G4.

There should be some deals on remaindered Tiger install DVDs once Leopard pounces.


Alternatives to Live Interior 3D

From Michael Emery:

Greetings, Charles.

Your Applelinks story on BeLight's Live Interior 3D v1.1 provides more incentive for me to get it for my own design project - a new house for me and my wife! Still, I'd be delighted to hear your thoughts about the similar products Sweet Home 3D and Interiors, the competition.

Michael Emery

Hi Michael,

I've downloaded Sweet Home and have been trying to find the time to check it out for a review.

It looks intriguing, especially for Open Source software, but it is Java based, so my expectations are not high for speedy performance on my middling slow G4 PowerBook.

Interiors looks interesting, and I'm guessing it's a powerful program, but at $116/$129 it's substantially more expensive than Live Interior 3D.


Greetings, Charles.

I did download Sweet Home 3D and trialed it on my Dual USB 500 MHz iBook. It works fine with easy-to-grok controls, yet appears to be limited to drafting one-floor models only, which seems to cramp my style. (I aspire for two floors, including a loft.) One cannot go wrong at the price: free.

(Besides the cute, little iBook, I have a 1 GHz Quicksilver on my desktop at work, and a 20-inch G5 iMac at home. All of these machine work very well, running OS X 10.4.10!)

Interiors is some $40 more expensive than Live Interior 3D, which might be a justifiable difference if the product delivers more than the competition. I, too, suspect that it is the most powerful tool of them all, and seems to have a powerful learning curve to go with it. My ancient brain is can no longer fluently master new apps and things. Ease of use is a priority for me. It's a good thing that OS X is almost as easy as OS 9; otherwise my new house stands to resemble an abacus.

I value your opinions and look forward to every one of them.

Michael Emery

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the report on SweetHome 3D. If it runs satisfactorily on a 500 MHz iBook, you can't complain.

Live Interior 3D shares the one-story shortcoming. No staircase support in the graphics and no provision for multi-story exterior elevations. I'd be interested in knowing if Interiors supports multi-story designs. Of course, with interior design, you can just do separate floorplans for the individual stories.


Old Versions of Mac Apps for Download

From Eric Matthieu

Hi Charles,

I just discovered this site, and wondered if you knew about it: <>

Maybe something especially good for LEM?


Hi Eric,

I do now. ;-)

Thanks; looks like a useful resource.


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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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