Charles Moore's Mailbag

iTunes and Logic Board Replacement, Apple Laptop Quality, Battery Questions, and the PB 1400

Charles Moore - 2004.04.20 - Tip Jar

iBook Logic Board Replacement Program Warning

From L Michael Cianciola

Please update the article to include the advice to "deauthorize" the computer for iTunes. I have had my logic board replaced twice and had to have apple reset my iTunes account because I left the iBook authorized both times. Apple has said to me that they will only perform this deauthorization one time.

Mike Cianciola

Thanks for the valuable tip, Mike.


Apple Laptops?

iBookFrom Peter da Silva

Apple has always made superior laptops? How about the toilet-seat iBooks?

The current crop of Apple laptops are prettier, but they have poor keyboards, poorer video, and if it wasn't for the operating system I wouldn't even be considering replacing my rock solid and reliable ThinkPad with a PowerBook.

Apple is a software company, they just don't want to admit it.

Hi Peter,

I have to disagree. The original iBook was not to everyone's aesthetic taste, but it is a tough and reliable computer, and lots of folks are still getting excellent service from them. The final "Paris" series with FireWire are especially desirable.

The Mac OS is certainly one of Apple's biggest attractions, but they make superb laptops. It's the hardware, not the software, that attracts folks to run Linux distros on PowerBooks and iBooks.

Keyboards are something of an idiosyncratic preference. I love the keyboards on the G3 Series PowerBooks, and the 1400 has a nice keyboard as well. The keyboard on the aluminum PowerBooks has received generally rave reviews.


Editor's note: I have to agree that while the original iBooks looked a bit odd, they ran well and held up over time. And based on my son's 12" PowerBook G4, the aluminum PowerBooks may have the best keyboard in a portable since the no-compromise keyboard of the Macintosh Portable. dk

Nautical Pismo

From John R Helms

Hi Charles,

I know that you are nautically inclined and fond of the Pismo, so I thought that you'd find it interesting to know that my Pismo (with me in tow) recently logged three weeks onboard the research vessel R/V Endeavor. We travelled from Norfolk, VA to the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series station, which is one of the oldest continuously studied oceanographic sites (over 100 years of study).

We then headed south to the Biocomplexity station, which is in the tropical North Atlantic off the coast of South America. After that we headed north west and finally made land fall at Barbados. All told a trip of approximately 2400 mi. The Pismo was in almost constant use as a number cruncher for the chemical oceanography data that I was generating along the way. There is something strangely beautiful about a thin rime of sea salt beginning to encrust the rubber grip on the outside surface of the Pismo case.

It turns out that this is not the first sea voyage for this intrepid little laptop. The previous owner used this same laptop while writing a children's book manuscript during a cruise on board a 38 foot (I think) Nordhaven trawler from Connecticut to Key West, FL.

Happy Sailing
John Helms

Hi John,

Thanks for the interesting sea tale. Great to hear that the Pismo served you faithfully on your voyage.

In 1998, John Steele, who is the founder and president of the world-renowned Nova Scotia boat building firm Covey Island Boatworks, spent a year's sabbatical on a cruise with his family aboard their then 106 year old 50 foot Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Marguerite T. John is a PowerBook guy, and since he didn't want to entirely cut the umbilical to his office at CIB, he took his PowerBook 5300 on the voyage, coupled with a Motorola Wave Talk M-sat satellite telephone system for phone and email communications. The 5300 never missed a beat, and John continued to use it in the office after his return,


Question about Your Quest for a Pismo Battery

From Amy Langenhorst


I read your article about needing a new Pismo battery, and I am wondering if you were satisfied with the battery you got from Wegener Media. I need a replacement battery for my Lombard, and the price there seems good, which makes me worry about the quality.

Amy Langenhorst

Hi Amy,

Well, the battery is still working. Dave Wegener told me that is is a pull (i.e.: used) from a Pismo, and therefore I don't have extravagant expectations about its life expectancy, but so far, so good. However, had I known last fall that I would be upgrading my Pismo's processor and hard drive, I might have opted for a high-capacity unit from OWC.


Editor's note: Expect a review of the NewerTech battery (the one OWC sells) for the titanium PowerBook soon. Short and sweet, it gives me over 4 hours in my 400 MHz PowerBook G4. dk

PowerBook 1400

PowerBook 1400From Ken Payson

I am trying to erase my PB 1400 hard drive w/ NewerTech 250/G3 card and cannot get the startup disk to change to the CD - I've gotten an OS 9.2 disk to start up, but there is a error message 1010 and it won't start up.

My ultimate goal is to get a RoamAbout card (802.11b) to work with my D-Link wireless network.

This is very frustrating.

Do you know anything or can you direct me on this?

Ken Payson

Hi Ken,

PowerBook 1400s can be piggy about booting from CDs. You said you got an OS 9.2 disk to boot, so why not reinitialize your hard drive using the copy of Drive Setup on it?

Alternatively, you could install a copy of OS 9 on a Zip disk and boot from a SCSI Zip drive.

If you can connect to another Mac in SCSI Disk Mode, you could erase and reinitialize its HD from the other Mac.

An OS 8.1 Disk Tools floppy (the disk image is downloadable from Apple's software support site) will also boot and initialize your hard drive.

Good luck!


Related Links

Re: PowerBook 1400

From Ken Payson

Thanks for your reply.

I ended up erasing and then, after much tribulation, finding out that I had to reinitialize in the extended format.

I worked my way up from the original 7.5.3 CD through old CDs I had through 8.5.1. Then, online, I found Apples 8.6 updater, and there I stand.

I installed a RoamAbout 802.11b WLAN card, and after a bit more fiddling I can now use the old 1400 with our more up to date computers in a home wireless network.

What a thrill to have this out from under the desk back on top - the kids are already using it for AIM and email; tomorrow we'll try to print from it.

I knew there was a reason to keep this phenomenal computer.

After a day of messing around, I almost like it better than my G4 TiBook with Panther.



Hi Ken;


I love the 1400. (See PowerBook 1400 Revisited on Mac Opinion for more on the topic.)

I'll bet Apple would sell a gazillion of the 1400 form factor updated with a fast G3 or a G4 in it and modern connectivity, optical drives, etc.


Editor's note: A lot of people seem to agree. If the 14" iBook is the Son of Pismo, the 12" iBook and 12" PowerBook are sons of the 1400 - it has the same footprint, but the iBook is only 1.35" thick vs. 2.0" for the 1400, which has an expansion bay. dk

Li-Ion Batteries for PB 5300?

From Joe Smith

Charles, a question for you: I recently bought a "new" Apple Li-Ion battery on eBay that fits both 3400s and 5300s. I had read that some 5300s had recognition problems, but it was a low cost, and I was hoping for the good amp hours at a low price. Well, lo and behold, the 5300s that I own do not recognize the Li-Ion cell even though it fits like a glove. Any workaround on this, or am I doomed to live with NiMH forever?

P.S. All of my 5300s have been through the Apple reconditioning program, if that matters.

Hi Joe,

It's NiMH forever, I'm afraid.

While the 3400 LiIon battery is physically identical to the 5300 NiMH battery, it is not supported, and there are no workarounds that I'm aware of. However, 5300 batteries will work in the 3400.


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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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