The Low End Mac Mailbag

Unpartitioned FireWire iBook, Mac IIfx SIMMs, Compact Flash in a PowerBook 1400, and More

Dan Knight - 2008.01.04 - Tip Jar

iBook SE 466 without Partitions

From Mike Stenzel:

Hi Dan,

I noticed the comments regarding partitioning and the Graphite iBook SE 466. My wife has been using one I picked up from a storeroom at a CompUSA I used to work at. It had a bad keyboard and a PMU issue, but since I was the first owner (at $100), Apple honored the warranty and fixed it right up. The machine had the stock 10 GB hard drive and required no partitioning. With a 14" 1 GHz iBook G4 now in my wife's hands, I was planning on throwing a 20 GB drive in the iBook and sending it off to my mother. I guess I'll see if it requires partitioning with the larger drive, but I doubt it. I also recall putting a 15 GB drive in a friends 366 Indigo iBook and no partitioning was needed or required there either....



I don't have hands-on experience with the 466 MHz clamshell iBook, but my ex had a 366 MHz FireWire iBook, and we never partitioned her 10 GB drive for OS X either. Kinda frustrating when Apple says one thing and real world reports indicate otherwise.


Mac IIfx SIMMs

From Tim Conroy:

G'day Dan,

Just had my daily read... ;-)

Where is Scott with the Kanga?

My WallStreet suffered a slight buhmpp, as Insp Cloiseau might say, and I'd like to get something better than my PB 1400 (I notice that 1400 stalwart Ch. Moore has never mentioned cracks at the hinges: both mine have gone (badly)).

I also found a Focusrite (?) ethernet card for it, but the software floppy doesn't install what it says on the tin. And I can't configure it. And f'rite are no more AFAIK.

Now for a little help and assistance, I will send you a bunch of IIfx SIMMs I've had kicking around unemployed for the last five years or so. Dunno if they'll work in your IIfx - some of them are from a IINTX LaserWriter. Any surplus, please send to (duh was it) Seann? Send me your snail mail address.

Also what's the availability of dongles to use a Nimitz keyboard through USB? I've got one of the new Alu thinggyies, but you can't attack it (I am an old-fashioned inky-fingered hack used to pounding Royal tripewriters back in the mists) like you can the Extended!

BTW, are you still interested in a Black 5400 + black ADB mouse + black keyboard? The PAL TV will be no use to you?

Keep up the good work: Wonderful to hear via Charles M. about iCab 4!

Early days yet, but it is very slow here using one of these HuaWei SIMM/USB 'modems' [into an AV G4 with 1.2 Gig RAM running 10.4.11 at 466 MHz dammit, but with 3 hard drives in four partitions and a Pioneer 111d SuperDrive...

Every good wish for LEM and yourself in 2008,
Long-time reader - Tim (in London W11)


Thanks for writing. I don't know where Scott is located, but 75% of our readers are in the States, so that's the most likely. As for the IIfx SIMMs, it was Cory Tobin who was looking for some. I'll let him know after I've had a chance to test them in my IIfxes.

The Griffin iMate is the only ADB-to-USB adapter I know of. It's not cheap at US$39, but it lets you use that wonderful old keyboard.


It would be neat to have a black 5400 for my collection, but I can't imagine it would be worth the cost of shipping - although a slow boat would be good enough.

I've been using iCab 4 for a couple days now and really like it. It's fast, compatible, and renders pages at least as well as Camino, which has been my browser of choice for some time.


CompactFlash in PowerBook 1400

From Thorsten Megow:

hi Dan,

I read your review Silence Is Golden: Running Your Existing Notebook Using Flash Memory at Low End Mac.

I tried this early myself with a 128 MB card. My approach was to first test the card in a CF adapter in the PCMCIA slot and then place it into the 'Book itself. All my cards worked instantly. My CF/IDE adapter is an el-cheapo I got via eBay from Hong Kong.

My conclusion is that boot speed is not the issue, but apps open much faster (shorter access times compared to HDD), and CF is therefore also great for use as RAM extension. And: Look mom, no noise!

Right now my 8-year-old daughter uses the 1400 for gaming. Beside the 1400, I've also a stock 540c and a Colour Classic running on a 5500/225 mainboard.

Old Macs are sooo coool!

Have a nice day!
- Thorsten Megow

Leopard on G4 533 MHz Digital Audio

From Paul Lewis:

Hey Dan,

I thought I'd let you know about my experience with Leopard so far. I have a G4 533 Digital Audio with 512 MB of RAM and a GeForce 2 MX 32 MB video card. Using the .txt file on [a Mac Elite forum], I was up and running in no time. I have to admit I was skeptical after reading some Low End Mac readers' experiences, but I couldn't be happier. It feels faster than Tiger, and every thing works great! DVD, Front Row . . . I couldn't believe it! I don't get anymore spinning beach balls than I did with Tiger! Another success story!

By the way, keep the site coming! It has been an invaluable tool!

Thanks, Paul Lewis


Thanks for the feedback. Our goal has always been to help people get the most out of their Macs, whether that means getting Mac OS 8 to run on a Mac IIfx or Leopard running on unsupported G4 Macs.


iPhone Terms of Service

Greetings Mr. Knight

This email is in reference to the article titled "Why I Won't Be Getting an iPhone This Year" by Ed Eubanks Jr dated 2007.05.21.

I don't know if an update was done on this article, but I felt the need to clarify some things. Before I do so though, I just want to mention that I work for a company that AT&T outsourced their Business End-User Care call center operations to. Hence I cannot exactly disclose my identity but I do talk to customers every day in a supervising role.

Here are the basic facts:

All AT&T subscribers are eligible to upgrade to the iPhone at any time. They do not have to be at a set point in their preexisting contracts with the carrier in order to get the iPhone.

The 8 gig device is currently selling at $399.00 for a two year contract agreement.

The customer has 14 days to return the iPhone if they do not like it, and they will have to pay a 10% restocking fee if the phone was taken out of it's packaging.

This phone is not eligible for insurance. Customers are encouraged to go through their home insurance provider if they want some type of coverage for physical damage, loss or theft.

The iPhone can only be activated through the iTunes website, so no store agent will really be able to assist in that process.

For customers who receive discounts through their employer for having services with AT&T, will loose any and all incentives that were made available previously. In addition, once the cellular telephone number is linked with the iPhone it can never receive discounts again. This is true even if the customer had the device connected to their account for less than 14 days.

If the customer wants to get discounts back with us again, they will have to start a new line of service with a new phone number. In exchange AT&T will cancel the previous iPhone contract and waive any early contract termination and account set up fees.

I know that this really probably doesn't mean much but I saw the article and felt a need to respond. Also, these are not "secrets" these are just terms and conditions the customer agrees to if they read the small print on the contract. These T's & C's and are available for the public to read at &


Thanks for writing and sharing this information. The article hasn't been updated, because those were Ed's thoughts on the situation last May.

It's good to know that AT&T users can upgrade to the iPhone at any time in their existing contract, but they still have to sign a two-year contract going forward. That part's not unusual.

AT&T has certainly shown that a tiger doesn't change its stripes - a 10% restocking fee if you use your iPhone and decide it's not for you, but no restocking fee if you've never taken it out of the box (which is the only way to decide if it works for you). We'll continue to recommend anyone unsure they'll like the iPhone buy it from Apple, as they have a full refund policy.

An as the company that inspired the line, "We're the phone company, we don't care, we don't have to", I guess nobody should be surprised that those activating an iPhone lose any prior discounts. After all, AT&T has to make their monthly offerings to Apple, so the end user be damned. (Sorry for the rant, but that kickback to Apple really sticks in my craw.)

Apple has come up with a wonderful device in the iPhone, and between Apple and AT&T they have created a draconian, user-hostile environment for those who wish to use the iPhone. No more discounts for existing customers. A restocking fee at AT&T stores if you took it out of the box and changed your mind. And a death grip of exclusivity, which keeps 2/3 of the US mobile phone market from being able to buy and use an iPhone (without hacks) with their carrier of choice for the first five years. (That also hurts Apple, who could be selling twice as many iPhones if they worked with Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, T-Mobile, and the rest of the industry.)


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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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