The Low End Mac Mailbag

Problem with Leopard on a MDD, the Road Apple Label, Bubble Ads, and More

Dan Knight - 2007.11.20

Problem with Leopard on an Upgraded MDD

From Ted Irving:

Here is what I did: I installed Leopard on my MacBook Pro, and it booted perfectly. I did the upgrade option so I wouldn't use my editing and graphics software.

I decided to upgrade my Dual 867 MDD, which has a Sonnet Tech 1.67 GHz processor for Mirrored Drive Door Macs. This is where the hell has come in.

For the first attempt, I installed the upgrade on the system drive with was only an 80 gig drive with 14 gigs left. After I came back in from letting the install go overnight, my computer monitor only showed a blue screen and the mouse arrow. I can move the mouse arrow around, which is a good sign. I got frustrated and then took out the 80 gig system drive and replaced it with Carbon Copy backup drive of 10.4.11. This replacement drive is a 120 gig 7200 rpm PATA drive.

I then installed Leopard on that drive, got the success checkmark at the end, and rebooted. Again, the blue screen came back with a functional arrow. My only guess is that the low-end ATI card (the original that came with the Dual 867's) is somehow flipped or reversed, preventing me from accessing the Dock and system functions. I don't know of a keystroke that will flip them.

Why would the mouse be functional and nothing else? The card has an HDMI port, albeit one of the older ones that is rounded and not square. At this point, I'm stuck on blue screen with roving mouse. Any suggestions?

Ted A. Irving
Final Cut Pro 5 Certified/Avid Media Composer


According to my records, the normal video card for the dual 867 MHz MDD Power Mac was the Nvidia GeForce 4 MX. The ATI Radeon 9000 was standard on the 1.0 and 1.25 GHz models - and a build-to-order option for the 867, so I'm guessing that's what you have.

The Radeon 9000 does support dual displays via a DVI port and an ADC port (I just checked mine to verify this). I don't know what kind of monitor you have or which connection your using, so I'm speculating that something in Leopard activated dual display mode and made the port you're using secondary, which is why you're not seeing the Dock or desktop icons - but the cursor does show up.

If there is a keystroke to swap primary and secondary monitors, I don't know of it. I can't find one in any of my OS X books or online with Google.

Odds are you can't switch your display between the two ports to verify that. Your best bet is to find a local Mac owner who has a display that will connect to the other port (not easy if it's ADC, as that's obsolete technology - Mac of All Trades has 17" flat panel ADC screen in stock for $100), borrow it, connect it, and see if it displays the desktop. If it does (which I suspect it will), you should be able to make your existing display primary simply by dragging the menu bar from the other monitor to yours.

Keep me posted!


Mac mini and the Road Apple Label

From David Cohen:


I have been reading your site as long as I have been into Apple Macs, and I have come to rely on it as a useful and informative viewpoint on the whole of Apple's Macintosh history.

However, I find myself wincing as I watch the site and yourself get all wrapped up in knots over the whole Mac mini/Road Apple debate.

Firstly, you published a series of articles condemning every model of Mac mini from day one as a Road Apple. Then you tried to soften the resulting ire of your readers by renaming the Road Apple category for just the Mac mini into something less upsetting. Despite the fact that the Road Apple term has served the site for some time. Now the feed is busy with updates to those Mac mini articles.

Are you sure you can't just hold up your hands and say that perhaps you got this one wrong? The performance compromises you have identified were not made as pure SKU differentiators or cost cutting measures (except for the Core Solo), as has been the case with Road Apples of the past. They were conscious decisions by the Apple design team for the mini. You also barely allude to the impact the mini has had in getting more overall Macs sold due to the low price point, and many of your bad performance arguments would apply to the MacBook as well - which doesn't warrant Road Apple status, I see.

I think we could all live with the Core Solo on the list - that was a dumb move by Apple. But the rest? Are you absolutely sure?



Over the past few years, we've received a lot of negative feedback for applying the Road Apple label to what a really pretty decent Macs, just a bit limited or compromised. This was true for the Cube, the 350 MHz iMac, and the Mac mini - the most recent additions to the list. The writers weren't complaining about our coverage, which they pretty much agreed was even handed, but with the label itself, which implies something fairly bad. I took that into consideration, and last Friday I removed the Road Apple label from the 1-2 apple Macs, and Monday morning I renamed that entire section Second Class Macs. Models with 3-4 apples will still be called Road Apples, but a lot more models than the Mac mini are effected by this change - I revised 10 of the oldest Road Apple profiles this morning.

I have no idea how much the Mac mini has impacted Mac sales, as Apple doesn't break down sales figures beyond the desktop/notebook split. Apple has been remarkably mum about that, and there has been widespread speculation that iMac unit sales have fallen far behind projections - that would be one explanation for Apple taking 11 months to revise the line: too many Mac minis in the warehouse.

The MacBook will get a Road Apple rating, at least the first version with Core Duo heat and Intel GMA 950 graphics. Ditto for the iMacs with Intel graphics. And probably the original 15" MacBook Pro as well, as that had no end of problems. The G4 Mac mini was the newest Mac to get a Road Apple rating when I posted that article last week, and the Core Duo and Core Solo articles kind of rolled off that one. We'll add more as time permits.



Thanks for the feedback and a personal reply - I appreciate you are a busy man, so such a comprehensive response is very gratifying to me.

You really are on the warpath! I suppose it comes down to one's experience and overall tolerance of issues. I have actually owned a G4 mini, original MacBook Pro, and currently use a first generation MacBook, and despite admittedly some problems (resolved under warranty) I find myself a fairly satisfied owner.

Nevertheless I respect your opinion, and remain an avid reader of LEM. I am sure there will be much debate on these matters in the future!

Thanks again,

Problems with SCSI/PC Card/Compact Flash

Good day Mr. Knight,

I read your article "Compact Flash with SCSI Macs" in the Low End Mac Mailbag (2006.06.16). I found it very interesting. So I decided to acquire a "New Spyrus model# MS-MCDISK-D-3S/SPYRUS-MCDISK-C-3" from Go Surplus and a 4 GB CF card with the proper PCMCIA/CF adapter. After hooking it up to my 7100/80 Power Mac, I tried to initialize it with patched versions of HDSC Setup and Drive setup, without success (Unsupported Drive error).

I can see the drive with the "SCSI Probe 5.2" application from Adaptec


I downloaded the "MC Formatter for Macintosh" from; this piece of software does not do much.

I tried formatting the CF card on my "new" G4 Mac mini with the "newfs_hfs -h" command . . . that did not improve things much either!

What should I do now? I am running out of ideas. Have you got any feedback from readers who tried the experience? I am not a power user, so any suggestion will be very appreciated.

Philippe Thibault


I haven't heard from anyone else who has actually tried this setup. I'll post your email in the Mailbag in hopes someone who has attempted this may have some suggestions.


More on Bubble Ads

From Shannon Hendrix in response to Bubble Ads:

On Nov 16, 2007, at 2:43 PM, Dan Knight wrote:

I'm not a big fan of those ads myself, but despite our best traffic levels ever, site income has been on the decline this year. We're hoping the ContentLink ads will help there, and we've limited the number of them that appear on our pages. I should know by the end of the month whether it's bringing in enough income to offset the frustration.

It sucks to see you guys not bring in income, because I would hate to see you go away.

It's just that these are really annoying. They are popping up everywhere, the only solution seems to block ads completely, which obviously is drastic.

I run my own DNS server, so I can put servers that create these ads in without affecting others, but sometimes when I do that it blocks all ads, even those which are useful and unobtrusive.

I have noticed that ContentLink is now popping up Flash ads, not just text ads, and I've asked them how we can prevent that so only text ads show.

I hope we won't lose you as a visitor.

No, but if people who visit end up installing ad blockers that remove all ads, it will hurt your income even more.

From what I've read, there is serious backlash against these ad systems.

Good luck anyway. Hopefully you'll find another way or things will just pick up in general.

Average Daily Site Traffic at Low End Mac, April 1997 to present.


We've contacted Kontera, the company that puts the ContentLink ads on our site, and they've turned off the Flash ads, as well as the keyword "RAM", which never seemed to link to computer memory. I hope this will be enough to eliminate the scrolling problems, as these are the ads that don't close automatically - you have to click the close box. I hope this will make Low End Mac a bit easier to use.

Ad rates have their ups and downs, as does site traffic. We had pretty steady growth from our start in 1997 through March 2002, when things leveled of through October 2005. We've had eight months where average daily traffic exceeded 50,000 pages - four from March through June 2007 and four in the Dec. 2005 through April 2006 period (anticipation of the Intel transition and the first Intel-based Macs coming to market), and we may hit that level again this month, thanks to the recent release of Leopard.) The months between the peak periods were at a much higher level than the average from 2002-2005, and we anticipate continued growth in the coming year.

As for ad rates, they total a fraction of a penny per page view from all the ads displayed and fluctuate a bit from month to month. We've been running behind budget since August, and we're hoping the ContentLink ads can help boost income back to budget levels, as we have no reserves.


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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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