Charles Moore's Mailbag

Another WallStreet Tale, Free WordPerfect for Mac, Dictation Software, and More

Charles Moore - 2003.12.08 - Tip Jar


From: Jason Walsh

Dear Charles,

Given that you're the PowerBook guy, I thought I'd ask a question which, if you can answer it, may be of interest to other LEM people.

I bought a Wallstreet 292 MHz in a secondhand shop last April. At the time I had a bad feeling - it just seemed a bit flaky overall - but I bought it anyway, as second hand Macs are rare in Ireland; PowerBooks doubly so. It cost all of Euro 700.

Anyhow, I took it home and bought a copy of Mac OS X 10.1, which ran just fine (or as fine as it ever ran on any G3 machine). However, the battery was very nearly dead - no big deal I thought, "I'll just buy another." It was not to be.

About a week later it started behaving badly. The startup got weird on it, and finally it just wouldn't start at all, so now it sits across from me inert and useless - a Euro 700 paperweight.

I was told by someone in the know that the problem was either the sound board (?) or PMU. Can you elaborate?

All the best,

P.S. Quick non-PowerBook question. Do you know what I need to connect a Silicon Graphics 20" GDM CRT monitor (Sony tube) to my Blue & White G3 (or Wallstreet PB if it'll ever get resurrected)? It's a fixed-sync screen and is 'sync-on-green' with a 13w3 connector.

Hi Jason,

Sorry to hear of your WallStreet blues. These things are difficult to diagnose with the machine in hand, let alone at a distance, but your advisors could be correct in their surmise. The WallStreet, early examples like your 292 MHz unit especially, were prone to PMU and sound board failures.

On the other hand, while that was what I initially suspected when my own WallStreet suddenly died. The culprit turned out to be a fried CPU. After some diagnostic explorations by my tech-savvy son which included giving the processor a cold soak in a freezer, it was determined that it had failed. I replaced the processor daughtercard, and the old WS runs like new again.

Your best guess plus trial and error are likely the best approach. Used WS components are available from

Wegener Media
The PowerBook Guy

to name three sources.

I'll have to pass on your monitor hookup question due to ignorance, but perhaps someone in readerland will have a suggestion.


Wacom Tablets

From Nancy Ferguson

Hi Mr. Moore,

I just read your review of Wacom tablets on Low End Mac that was published earlier this year. I live in Nova Scotia as well, and I'm looking to purchase one of these tablets as a Christmas gift for a graphic designer. The only place that seems to carry them is the Future Shop, who are all sold out and indicate XP only compatibility. (The person I am buying for is a Mac user.) Could you suggest any other local, or even Canadian, retailers? Thanks so much for your help!

Best regards,
Nancy Ferguson

Hi Nancy,

You could try Atlantis in the Brewery Mall on Hollis St. in Halifax or Quality Cameras in Sydney (I don't know where in NS you live).

Wacom products are also available from MacWarehouse Canada: 1-800-268-7805 or online at

The current Wacom Graphire 3 lists for CAN$159.99.


WordPerfect Freeload

From James Spears

I recently converted to Mac after a long absence and my fave WordPerfect is gone from the scene. Your site, like some others, mentions the free download but alas Corel does not provide it any more. Since it is free, does anyone have a copy?

Hi James,

Try one of these: still has it, but you need a student password to initiate the download.



From Eamon Hoffman

I stumbled across your article [eMac Musings] on the Internet the other day. You write about eMacs and the analog sound-in port and its usefulness in dictation. I'm wondering what you mean by dictation. Do you speak and have a program that types for you. I own an eMac and am very happy with it.

Thank you

Hi Eamon,

Your question concisely defines dictation software: you speak and the program types for you. There are two dictation applications available for Mac OS X:

iListen -


ViaVoice -

Glad to hear that you like your eMac. Incidentally, Dan Knight manages Low End Mac with a 700 MHz eMac.


PowerBook Petition

From David Doyle


I checked out the petition site, though not a TiBook owner, and I saw nothing to give me the impression that much was going on there or possible problems with that particular model (though I'm sure they may exist). Seems like Dual USB iBook owners have more to complain about with mobo problems, etc., and should start their own forum. Fortunately my Pismo has given me good service and as long as it's up to it I keep using it.

Dave Doyle

Hi Dave,

Petitions are petitions.

For the record, my dual-USB iBook has given me 11+ months of flawless service so far, and my Pismo is now a couple of months into its fourth year, likewise except for a failed battery a couple of months ago.


Wireless Network and Used P'Books

From Patrick O'Grady

Hi Charles,

Thanks for your advice on the wireless/networking thing. Obviously, I'm far from an expert (we use SneakerNet around here), and the only pal I've got who's gone cable-free is a PC guy and a technogeek beyond description who barely speaks English anymore.

The project has been relatively trouble-free so far, thanks in part to my discovering that I didn't need a base station or access point - all our ActionTec Wireless-Ready DSL Gateway requires to go wireless is an ActionTec PCMCIA card slipped into the upper PC-card slot on the left-hand side of the modem. A wireless light atop the ADSL modem glows green, as does another on the PC card, and shazam: you're good to go.

For simplicity's sake, we bought a second ActionTec card, clicked it into the PC-card slot in my wife's Dell Latitude, ran the installer - and subsequently spent about a half-hour on the phone with technical support trying to figure out why the bugger wouldn't work (I'll spare you the details; it's working fine now). As for her iBook 2001, I bought an AirPort card, installed it, opened the AirPort Setup Assistant, and was surfing wirelessly in all of five minutes.

Now I have another question for you. The basement office gets a little dreary in winter, and I'm shopping for another laptop so I can work upstairs, wirelessly, in the sunshine from time to time. I don't need a new one, but I do need a little power and speed (I'm a freelance journalist who writes in Word, edits photos and cartoons in Photoshop, and updates a website using IE5). So I've been looking at Pismos, Lombards, and 3400s, all of which are available from MacResQ and Wegener Media. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks in advance.

Patrick O'Grady

Hi Patrick,

Since you are using Photoshop and mentioned speed, my recommendation among the machines you mentioned would be a Pismo (with or without a processor upgrade) or a Lombard (likely with a processor upgrade). The 3400 is just too slow for your purposes.

A WallStreet would be an option, and it is also processor upgradable, but it doesn't support OS X 10.3 (Panther). In the price range you're considering, you might also check out refurbished Dual-USB iBooks.

I have a 500 MHz Pismo and a 700 MHz iBook and love them both (but I love my WallStreet too!)


Question: G5 Optical Drives

From Nicolas Hebting

Hello CW

I just wondered why the new G5 has not two optical drives (e.g. a SuperDrive and a CD-RW drive) just like the Quicksilver g4.

I got a 1.6 G5, and I wish I'd had bought the best G4 that provides in my view much more performance.

Thank you for your help.

Nicolas H

Hi Nicholas,

I'm not privy to Apple's marketing decisions, but I'm guessing that this one had to do with cost.

Apple was perhaps able to be more lavish with equipping the G4 towers because they stuck with the same basic design so long that development costs were well-amortized.


Replacing a Performa 5320CD

From Paulo

Hello Charles,

I want to upgrade my Mac Performa 5320CD. I like that nice all-in-one design. Actually it's working fine with Mac OS 8.5.1 and 64 MB RAM, but I need USB capabilities (to my digital camera) and ethernet (to my ADSL). What to do?

Your soon response would be greatly appreciated.

Paulo N. Lama

Hi Paulo,

Your 5320 has a comm slot that can accept an ethernet adapter, but there's not an easy way to add USB support. There are, I think, SCSI to USB adapters that might work. You would have to upgrade your system to at least OS 8.6 for USB support (go for OS 9)

However, my strong recommendation would be to upgrade your system to at least a used iMac or G3 Power Mac. The old 5320 is really not up to what you want to do with it.


A MisFox Alternative

From David Deckert


Not sure if you've covered this already, but More Internet is a freeware standalone solution that works well:


Hi David,

Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.


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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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