Charles Moore's Mailbag

Dead WallStreet, Faster iBook Drives, Portector Missing in Action, MyRealBox, and More

Charles Moore - 2002.08.19 - Tip Jar

What made them die?

From B.J. Major


So sorry to hear of the death of your G3 WallStreet. Since I own two of these babies myself, I am most anxious to know/learn the cause of complete death for yours.

Any details you can provide would be helpful. It seems to me a 1998 computer should last way longer than my old 1996 1400.


Hi BJ,

So far, my best guess is that the Power Manager Unit failed, although when I took the motherboard out, I also discovered that the heat sink contact had come unsoldered from the CPU.

I suspect that heat is the culprit, although the fan only came on four times in 3-1/2 years, and Gauge Pro never recorded internal temperatures higher than 150°.

I agree that a computer should last more than 3-1/2 years, but I also deduce that the admirable longevity of the older PowerBooks was substantially attributable to their relatively tepid internal running temperatures.


5400 RPM drive for iBook?

From Lee Kilpatrick

I remember recently that you had an article about faster hard drives for your laptops. (I think it was on Low End Mac, though it may have been one of the articles linked in from another site.) Anyway, I was wondering if you know if you can get a 5400 RPM hard drive in a new iBook from the Apple Store. If you do a build-to-order option, you can get a 40 GB drive in an iBook, and I was hoping that this one was a 5400 RPM model. Do you (or anyone who owns one) happen to know the speed of this drive?


Hi Lee,

The new IBM and Toshiba 5400 RPM 2.5" drives are both 9.5 mm units, so either should fit in your iBook.

However, as far as I can fathom from Apple's specs, all of the BTO drives offered by Apple for the iBook are 4200 RPM units, including the 40 GB unit.


9.2 for Mac Clone?

From Dan Rose

Dear Mr. Moore:

I am trying to find out whether I can upgrade to 9.2.2 on my Mac clone, a PowerCenter Pro 210 (presently running 9.0.4) without incurring problems . . . but there doesn't seem to be any info on that in . . . any thoughts on that?

Dan Rose

Hi Dan,

To the best of my recollection, the pre-G3 PowerMacs, including your Power Computing machine and my Umax, are not supported by OS 9.2. I believe there have been some hacks that will make OS 9.2.2 run on these machines, but I'm not sure what they are.

I'm quite satisfied with the performance of OS 9.1 on the Umax, and indeed I am using OS 9.1 on this Pismo PowerBook right now, even though it supports OS 9.2.


ATA 100

From Allan Dresner


Just a quick note, because I think a lot of people are being mislead. While the new Toshiba drive that you and many other Apple sites mention is ATA100 compatible, the IDE controller on even the newest of PowerBooks is ATA66. While the drive will be backward compatible, the IDE controller is not forward compatible. This, as a possible PC convert, has prevented me from switching to the PowerBook.

Thank you,

Allan Dresner

Hi Allan,

Nevertheless, the Toshiba drive, even with the ATA66 controller, will provide decent performance on the PowerBook.

OTOH, perhaps the controller issue is the reason why the Toshiba drive with its 16 MB buffer was trounced by an IBM drive with an 8 MB buffer in this shootout:


Editor's notes: ATA100 drives are backward compatible with ATA66 controllers; albeit at a slower maximum speed.

The shootout on Bare Feats was conducted using an external FireWire enclosure, so the results may not apply with the same drives used inside a computer.


From George Slusher


I read about the "Portector" on your website ( and others. However, I can't find the company or any source. I tried the URL given elsewhere for the company's website,, but got an error message that access was forbidden. I tried the email link on your page (, but the email instantly bounced. Do you or any of your writers know if the product is still available and, if so, how I can get hold of someone who sells it?

Thanks and keep up the great work at and Applelinks.

George Slusher

Hi George,

I'm getting the same response you did. I can only guess that they have shut down the website.


Where can I download the old, free ThinkFree Office?

From Alvin Chan

Hi. do you know where I can download the old, free ThinkFree Office before it became commercial?

Thank you in advance.

God bless,

Hi Alvin,

I don't recall there ever having been a version of TFO, at least for the Mac, that was not commercial, unless there was a public beta. Given the nature of the program, I'm doubtful that an earlier version would be available for download anywhere.


Myrealbox? Reliable...?

From Terry Horton

Google "insubject:myrealbox" for the latest on lost mail. They are down constantly, far more than their About section implies.

Btw, the above address doesn't forward through myrealbox, as they've again been inaccessible throughout today.

Hi Terry,

I have found MyRealBox to be quite reliable for the past couple of years. Recently they have been installing new servers or something (they gave users a heads-up), and reliability has fallen off for the past couple of weeks or so.


I have found the best browser today: Netscape 7 PR and best email client: Eudora

From Alvin Chan

Thank you for your time. I'd like to share this discovery. This is on OS 9.2.2 with 128 MB iMac 350. Bear with me here:

I have been to:

  • Netscape 4 then to
  • IE 5 then to
  • Netscape 6 then to
  • IE 5 again then
  • Netscape 7 then
  • iCab then
  • Netscape 7 again then
  • IE 5 then
  • Netscape 7

and this will be for a long time from now on.

It doesn't really matter if it is PR or beta or alpha as long as it works, it's just a name. the best is when you test a product anyway and with time it will tell you if it is a good product/service.

Why is it the best?

If you switch it to the Classic theme, turn off My Sidebar (slows things down) and turn off open Side bar in the Internet Search in preferences, it becomes lean, focused on Internet navigation only; the most basic use of the browser. It becomes a minimal but more powerful (fastest browser and renders better than IE 5.1.5 - another reason why I switched back again). With the Classic theme it responds faster. This is with the latest version of Shockwave 6 and Flash 6 (found Netscape 7 and installed without problems).

The memory sizes are:

  • Minimum 20480
  • Preferred 28807 - Shockwave adjusted the preferred size

Why not iCab or IE 5.1.5 or IE 5 compared to Netscape 7 with Classic theme?

iCab is slower, the plug-ins don't install well, and you need Netscape or IE anyway to plug-in important ones like Shockwave and Flash. It doesn't look good, but most importantly its slower to render pages than Netscape 7 and doesn't render pages like well.

IE is slower and doesn't render pages properly, pages that are more important. Although Netscape 7 doesn't properly render some pages too, these pages are less important than what IE doesn't render properly because of the pictures involved. Though IE look better when it come to GUI, the Classic theme of Netscape is not significantly bad looking - it has a wholesome, friendly, but clean interface to it. Though, it needs to be Aquafied soon, but then again the theme is changeable.

Email client

Eudora is the best, faster then Outlook or Messenger, and is the most compatible if address book and copy-pasting contents on the clipboard are concerned. It is also more secure than Outlook and is most user-friendly, as it doesn't have too many buttons around it and you just drag and drop files to be attached and drag and drop files you have received to the Finder/Desktop. Though, it needs to improve on its looks.

I hope this helps =)

Take care and God bless,

Hi Alvin,

I pretty much agree with you. Netscape 7.0 rocks, especially the OS X version. In OS 9, I can't decide whether I like NS 7.0 or Mozilla 1.1 better. I think Mozilla is faster in OS 9.

I'm a Eudora fan too.


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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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