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Charles Moore's Mailbag

Women in IT, G3 PowerBooks, Mac OS X, Lots More

Charles Moore - 2002.07.09 - Tip Jar

Women in IT

From Lorraine

Dear Mr. Moore,

I am a woman who has been working in IT for twenty years, and agree with Teri Pittman's point of view and experiences. There is definitely discrimination against females in IT departments, unless the department head is also a female (which doesn't happen too often). The discrimination is both in terms of advancement and training opportunities, and in terms of respect for her knowledge and abilities. Without that respect, her ideas for innovation or reform are not taken seriously, and she will not be asked to participate in projects such as a workstation upgrade strategy or network migration - not unless there is no male available (not even one less qualified). In my twenty years I have worked for two female department heads, and the opportunities available to me in those two departments have been like night and day compared to the other firms.

Within IT, it is true that many female workers tend to choose software development and customer service-oriented careers rather than pursue such specialties as hardware engineer and technician, and systems operations. My opinion as to the reason for this is that in the earlier days of Data Processing, before the advent of the microcomputer about twenty years ago, hardware design, installation, and repair involved a lot of heavy manual labor. Computer systems took up long walls in raised-floor computer rooms. Components such as disk drives weighed hundreds of pounds. Equipment used by field service technicians was heavy and bulky, such as the oscilloscopes used to align the heads in removable-pack disk drives, and had to be carried around all day. Many females lacked the physical strength to install and service that equipment, and those who did have the strength often did not want to do it anyway. Why? Because the pay was lower, the hours were longer, often night shifts were involved, and sometimes there was

These days we are no longer struggling to lift and carry a 300 MB disk pack using only one hand (because the other hand has to open and close doors and the drive) - a 40 GB hard drive weighs just ounces and can be held in the palm of a hand. Hours tend to be more regular these days, with fewer night shifts involved (depending on the industry). But the pay is still lower than on the software side; and there is still the perception that it's dirty, manual labor best left for the men.

There is still some heavy lifting (35 pound MPUs, 65 pound monitors) and some dirty work (getting down on the floor to run cables, hands and shirt dirty from working inside a dusty MPU). It's not a line of work for younger women who are planning to have one or more pregnancies. It's not a good career choice for women who are concerned about their appearance and would like to have a manicure, and wear nice suits and dresses with leather pumps to the office. It's not a good job for a middle-aged woman who is becoming arthritic and has trouble getting up and down from the floor. So, why am I (still) in this field?

Well, I started out training to be a programmer. But twenty years ago those jobs were becoming hard to get without a 4-year degree. I had to start out in operations. As I began to have some opportunities to program I discovered that, although I could do it, the level of concentration needed was difficult for me to sustain and that I was happier doing operations and technical work. So that's where I've stayed for most of these twenty years. But if I had it to do over again, I would not go into IT. Nope.


PowerBook G3

From: Herb Goodfriend

I recently decided to buy a portable computer because I started teaching a Mac beginners course at the local adult education program, and it was useful to bring in my own computer. Dragging in my 38-pound (or should I say 17.3 kg) iMac was no fun, even with the nifty GrabPac carrier.

I decided to get a portable that would serve this purpose and also replace the PowerBook Duo 2300c with dock that I use in my office for writing letters and accessing the Internet.

Your articles on the G3 series PowerBooks was invaluable to my search, and I have just ordered a used Lombard with upgraded RAM and hard disk at a reasonable price.

Herb Goodfriend

Hi Herb,

Pounds are fine with me. I'm an Imperial measure holdout. ;-)

Delighted to hear that my scribblings about PowerBooks have been helpful. My son's Lombard has been an excellent machine - tough and dependable.


WallStreet OS X problem

From Azrul

Hi Charles,

Enjoy reading some of your material. I'm a local Mac columnist in Malaysia. I used to have a column in a local daily, The Sun. Did you ever get down to the mystery of not being able to install OS X on the WallStreet?

I used a WallStreet for ages (the same 233 model) and recently installed 10.1 on it with no glitches. I sold it off to a fellow journalist after replacing the 2 GB drive with a 10 GB one. Well, X does behave in a rather sluggish fashion on the old WallStreet, though OS 9.1 was quite okay. I actually used 8.6 on it for most of the life of the machine and only upgraded it a week before selling it off.

Meanwhile, I've moved back to using 9.2.2 after a month on OS X. The lack of driver support and some other annoying glitches made me sick of it. On the WallStreet, OS X didn't support the PCMCIA slot, so the 3Com modem didn't work (now fixed, I believe, by the latest 10.1.5 update).

Technically, OS X still gives little support to the PCMCIA slot and no support to Orinoco cards. There is an open source driver out there which works okay, but not being able to remove the card means I have trouble putting my machine into a bag when I have to pack it away in sleep mode.

Meanwhile, OS X does exhibit many inconsistencies too numerous to mention. It hasn't reached a maturity like OS 9 has (except in stability, where OS X is king). OS X has only crashed on me three times. OS X's greatest forte still remains in it's networking capability. Meanwhile, I just use the Location Manager in OS 9 to get similar functionality.

As for OS X, I would give it a miss on the WallStreet, since it's way too slow for comfort.

Azrul Kevin Abdullah

Hi Azrul,

No, I never did solve the mystery. However, the only build of OS X we ever tried to install on the WallStreet was the public beta. A later build might have worked, but I deduced that X would just be too slow for satisfactory performance on the WS anyway, and I never pursued it. The hard drive is too full now for an experimental reattempt.

Still love the old WS, though. It's still my favorite computer I've ever owned.

Glad to hear that there's Mac Journalism in Malaysia! Keep up the good work.


S900 CD-ROM troubles

From Chris Wissmann


I put OS 8.6 on my S900 and now the CD-ROM won't work. Is there a driver update somewhere or a licensing extension I can install to fix the problem?

Chris Wissmann,


Hi Chris,

Not sure what's going on. I've used every Mac OS version from 8.0 through 9.1 on my S900 and had no problems with the CD-ROM drive, although it's an Apple 8x, which may not be what you have. I have a vague recollection of some issue with some CD drives that shipped with S900s, but can't remember the details.

If it's a 2x or 4x drive, it might be worth a shot picking up an Apple branded replacement drive for a few bucks on eBay or somewhere and trying that.

Sorry not to be more help.


Publisher's note: The Umax SuperMac models didn't ship with Apple ROM CD-ROM drives, so they generally needed a third-party driver. My solution was to find 4x or 8x SCSI Sony drives - sometimes for as little as $29 - and use them instead, since they are fast enough, inexpensive, and work with Apple's drivers.

PowerBook 1400

From Will Rance


Nice article about the PowerBook 1400 you bought for your daughter. Sorry to bother you with a question but I was curious about where you bought the PowerBook. That price seems like a really good deal, while the prices I've seen on the Internet have beer a bit more than what you paid. I'm currently trying to find an affordable PowerBook, and any information from you would be great.

Thank you for any help.

Hi Will,

Actually, we bought it from a coworker of my son's. Part of the reason for the low-ball price was that it needs a new battery.

This deal on a 1400 might interest you:

PowerBook 1400c/133, 11.3" active matrix, G3 upgradeable, 16 MB RAM, 1 gig HD, floppy drive, new carrying case included, 30 day warranty, $275. Get an internal CD-ROM drive with the 1400c for $55 extra (total $330).

For more information, visit:


Source for WordPerfect 3.5e?

From Dan Kaseda


I saw a "Miscellaneous Ramblings" from 2/18 where you talked about downloading WordPerfect (since it's not available directly from Corel anymore). Anyway, your link doesn't work anymore, either :-(.

Any other places that you know of?


Dan Kaseda

Hi Dan,

Try here:


or here:


This place:


still has it, but you need a student password to initiate the download.


Re: 190/5300 repair extension expired?

From John

Just thought you'd like an update on this situation. I called Apple back armed with everything I found on the Web. It's too much of a story to write here, but it was a real uphill battle. Everyone I talked to would clam up until I read Apple's own info, word-for-word. Even then, they said the program was no longer valid, and they referred to a tech document that doesn't seem to be available outside the company. Another person came off sounding like a used car salesman: "It may look like the REA still exists, but my reading of it says it doesn't." The last person I spoke with mentioned several dates that I'm not sure are possible in relation to what we were talking about. They also wouldn't admit what repairs were covered until I directed them to Apple's own site.

The (maybe) final word is that the REA is long over, no PowerBook is covered, but they are mysteriously obligated to repair everything wrong with my 5300c at their cost. Whatever crazy things are going on over there, I got my return box 18 hours after hanging up.

I feel that what I went through reflects rather poorly on the company. I'll most likely be writing a letter in regard to what happened. The total time I spent on the phone was around 1.5 hours.


To just go where right is

From Alvin Chan

Thank you for your time. A good strategy here...

What really matters is we shouldn't mind them at all and instead just focus on who is doing the right thing, it could be Apple now or Microsoft later. To just concentrate on the best, which is evidently Apple today. Focus on objective truths rather than opinions and rather than wasting energy trying to convince those who will no longer hear. Instead we should all focus on trying to make the best even better. It is obvious that Apple is the best around, significantly. The best in price, design, service, spiritually/morally, and strategy wise. Of course it goes without saying that the best means in general what Apple's fruits are the best - some, of course, are not, for it's not perfect because it's man-made.

It is the true leader, the best which gives service first before profit - this is what ideal an company should be. It is business but that is second priority, service through giving us the best is first priority.

I urge all Mac writers to stop trying to convince people and answering back endlessly and just focus on Apple and it's products for it will give it's best in general (there will always be some lemons but the most important are the good fruits). In this way all Mac writers will be focused on Apple and related products which is what we all really want for that is what we are all writing about, not to divert to another person or another company - let them review those and let them and ourselves review Apple or whoever become the best (could be any company, Linux, Corel, Microsoft) but I believe there is only one best in IT for it's spirit is with God, for service first, profit next... Apple will continue to be the best. I hope this encourages all Mac writers/evangelist to refocus energy on Apple and it's relations to companies (who are really people)

To answer someone like Dvorak is good only when ears are open, but it's as hard for them to convince us as it for us - energy is really wasted doing so. I have emailed other Mac writers with this. Sadly, ears are closed, but no matter what we believe objective truth always prevails. We may say PCs are good, but it will still plagued with more viruses and harder to use apps (why is it harder to use - because it has to compromise design as Apple is ahead of it, for legal reasons, one can't copy the good designs be it GUI or Industrial Design, Apple and it's partners have made it first). Let's have our peace, if they don't want to get convinced then they will just suffer- that is the objective truth. It's like not believing you will fall if you jump 1000 miles but still you will because objective truth doesn't care - so will the viruses and hard to use GUIs and hardware conflicts, etc.

Take care and God bless,

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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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