Charles Moore's Mailbag

iBook G3 Quality, 802.11g for Older PowerBooks, Installing Tiger on a CD-ROM eMac, and More

Charles Moore - 2007.10.29 -Tip Jar

iBook G3 Quality

From Christoph Trusch:

Hello Charles,

I completely agree with your findings on iBook quality. I've workedfor years with a 12" G3 800 MHz model(semi translucent keyboard), and have been completely satisfied. Noproblems at all. It's still my secondary computer, and I will keep itfor booting into OS 9 since I know that I'll have to move to 10.5on my primary Mac one day and lose Classic. I recently typed on afriend's G4 model and was pretty shocked about the keyboard quality andthe overall build quality in comparison to the G3. Sad.

Best regards,
Christoph Trusch

Hi Cristoph,

Of course you could install up to OS X 10.4.10 (or 11)Tiger on the iBook and still have Classic Mode support.

I have occasionally booted the iBook from OS 9, butnever used Classic boots for work on that machine.


iBook G3 Keeps on Going

From Charles:

Hi Charles,

I bought my iBook 700 in 2002around the same time as you. Had one major repair under warranty (Ithink it was the motherboard or the optical drive). It now sits on myseventh-grader's desk, running Tiger. I hope to get several more yearsof service out of it as a kid machine. You are spot on about fit andfinish. The clear plastic over white gave it a great look. Muchclassier than the solid white case that replaced it. In fact, I hadbeen dreaming about buying a 1969 BMW 2002 sedan - the one with theround taillights. The round speakers on the iBook actually cured me ofthat.


Hi Brian,

Actually it sounds like your 700 MHz iBook is of theprevious generation to mine, which was the first iteration of the"opaque white" finish as opposed to the clear over white of the earliermachines. Still, I like the look, and it has a lot nicer finish than mydaughter's G4 iBook.

Ah yes; the legendary BMW 2002 - a ride I've dreamedabout as well. What do you think of the new BMW 100 series being thecontemporary reincarnation of the 2002?


802.11g WiFi for PowerBook G3

From John Johnson:

Dear Charles

I have a couple of Lombards usingBuffalo 802.11G wireless cards. Both the Buffalo WLI - CB-G54A andWLI-CB-AG54 work natively with OS X 10.3.9 and show up as Broadcomcards. Range isn't all that good, but the G54A comes with an antennasocket. Can't vouch for 10.2.x, as I haven't tried it, but apparentlyAirPort 3.1 is the earliest version supported.

The WLI-CB-G54 doesn't work, so you have to be very careful aboutexactly which Buffalo card you get. I think both the Buffalo cards arenow out of production, but probably still obtainable via eBay.

802.11g wireless certainly helps get a bit more life out of thesemachines.

John Johnson

Hi John,

I now have a Buffalo AirStation WLI-CB-G54 card that Igot from WegenerMedia, and it works just great with my Pismo and whatever versionof AirPort that is in OS X 10.4.9.

I can't really speak to range, but the throughput isgreat. :-)


Problems Installing OS X 10.4 on a DVD-lesseMac

From Brian Cohen:

Good morning Charles.

I read your article on Low End Mac about installing OS X Tiger onMacs equipped only with CD drives. I've got a CD-only eMac and haveobtained a copy of the eMac install disk for OS X Tiger that Iwould like to install.

I do have an old G3 iMac thathas a DVD drive and am attempting to install the Tiger DVD on the eMacusing the iMac in FireWire Target Mode.

Here's what I've done...

  • Connect the two computers via FireWire;
  • Start up the eMac;
  • Start up the iMac with the T key held down, which puts it intoFireWire target mode.

Everything goes fine - both computers start up, and I can see thehard drive from the G3 iMac on the eMac desktop. The problem is thatwhen I insert the Tiger Install DVD in the iMac, it does not show up onthe eMac desktop, so I cannot perform the install.

I know the DVD drive in the iMac works, and I know that the installDVD can be read by it.

Any tips on what I may be doing wrong, or how I could somehow getthe eMac to access the iMac DVD drive when the iMac is in FireWiretarget mode?

Thanks very much for your help,
Brian Cohen

Hi Brian,

These unsupported installations seem to beidiosyncratic, and what works with one pair of machines may not workwith others, so it's not likely a matter of doing something"wrong".

The way I did it was to mount the destination machine(my G3 iBook) as an external drive in Target Disk Mode, inserted theinstall DVD in the machine equipped with a DVD drive (my Pismo PowerBook), and selected the iBook's harddrive as the volume for the install to go. You can read a detailedaccount of how things proceeded in Installing OS X 10.4 'Tiger' on DVD-ChallengedMacs Using FireWire Target Disk Mode.

This worked very well. There was a bit of confusionwhen the installer went to restart the computer. After the installerdisplays its "Installation of Software Successfully Completed" dialog,it wants to reboot into the new system it has just installed. Idiscovered no way to defeat this, so the Pismo rebooted from theiBook's hard drive, which was interesting. No problems wereencountered, though.

At that point I shut down both computers, disconnectedthe FireWire cable, and restarted each computers from its respectiveboot system.

That install is still going strong, upgraded to OS10.4.9 currently.


FireWire Camera?

From Bruce T. Brodnax in response to OS X Unstable with Video Compression:

"By the way, where do you find a FireWire digitalcamera these days??? Nobody seems to make them any more. They're allUSB 2.0, and that won't work with a Classic system as far as Iknow."

The only video cameras I've seen with FireWire were Sony products,as Sony Vaios were the only other laptops besides Macs that came withFireWire [Sony's label is different, "iLink" or something; don't havemy Vaio handy to check it] to my (admittedly limited & imperfect)knowledge.

I have no knowledge of actual video cam model numbers, but given thevintage, they're all probably Digital8 Handycams or something equallyantiquated by now [but ironically, possessed of superior Nightshotcapabilities than the present models]. As I am far to penurious toactually buy a digital video cam, this is all just stuff Idredged up from memory that I happened to learn in the course ofinvestigating other matters sometime in the past. Accordingly, YMMV,caveat emptor, etc., etc.

Thanks for all the great LEM content; I've been reading a lot of itthe last few days, as I'm trying to clean out my closet & unloadsome of my old junk on eBay. Much to my chagrin, I've come to therealization that if I'd just gotten on the stick a year or two ago Icould have still rec'd. something for it, whereas now I'll likely haveto pay someone else to haul it off! ;-p

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for the info and comment.

The world has definitely gone to USB, although I stillmuch prefer FireWire when large amounts of data must be transferred,and, of course, FireWire is bootable and USB 2.0 isn't on PowerPCMacs.

As for obsolete stuff, I have a bunch. Can't bringmyself to throw much of it out, at least yet, but I suppose the daymust come.


Mac OS X 10.5 on Upgraded G4 Power Macs

From Trevor J. Mahan:


I saw your recent write-up about OS X 10.5 not being able to installon machines with less than a G4/867 MHz.

Y'all quoted:

"What the OS X installer does isn't check how fastyour processor is running; it looks at the model number of your Mac andcompares it to a list of 'bad' machines that are officially rated astoo slow. So if you've got an upgraded CPU and your box is actuallyfast enough, well, it won't work....

Well, okay, this makes sense say for the non-CPU upgradeable G4iMacs and PowerBooks, but this seems illogical for the G4 desktops.After all, the Quicksilver firstcame out with 700 MHz, 867 MHz, or dual 800 MHz CPUs. The motherboardis exactly the same, and I can swap CPU cards around easily in thatmodel. But if I have a 700 MHz CPU in that machine, the OS XLeopard installer will stop again, why? If it isn't checking the CPUspeeds, then it is checking the model. And several Quicksilver modelsof both generations are supported at one CPU speed but not the other?So if I have a Quicksilver originally at 700 MHz and have it upgradedwith a NewerTech 7448 at 1.8 GHz, it won't work. But if I have aQuicksilver originally at 867 MHz and have it upgraded with the sameNewerTech 1.8 GHz CPU, it will work?

I suppose the only formal answer will be known after the release ofLeopard later this month. I have a Quicksilver 700 MHz upgraded machineas described with the NewerTech CPU plus a Gigabit dual 500 MHzoriginal machine upgraded with a Gigadesigns 1.4 GHz CPU. Both runTiger beautifully with maxed out ram, a SATA PCI card, and SATA drives.Both have great video cards - Nvidia 6200's at 256 MB VRAM. I run thesein a work environment and will very frustrated if I can't upgrade toLeopard just because the 'original' CPU speed was not 867 MHz.

Thanks for the continued reporting on this. I have been a dailyreader of LEM since y'all first appeared on the scene years ago.

Trevor J. Mahan

Hi Trevor,

I am slow in replying because I hoped some new lightwould be shed on this issue before the Leopard release, butunfortunately none emerged.

Perhaps by now you've had an opportunity to try aLeopard install on your Quicksilver.


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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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