Charles Moore's Mailbag

Serial MIDI on a WallStreet with 10.3, SCSI-to-Ethernet Adapters, WallStreet Hinge Repair, and More

Charles Moore - 2004.08.04 - Tip Jar

Built-in Serial Port under Jaguar

From Daniel Prieto García

Hello, Charles!

I'm an assiduous reader of your column. It has been very helpful in many ways.

I have a PowerBook G3 (WallStreet 2 or PDQ model) with Jaguar installed. I use Max-MSP, and it works well in this computer, but it can't use any MIDI, because Mac OS X doesn't recognise any MIDI device connected to the serial port - only modems and LocalTalk connections.

I know the hardware is okay, since Mac OS 9 and even 8 recognise it and can be configured for MIDI and printing.

Do you know about a driver (or something like that) that enables the built-in serial port for MIDI operation?

Thank you
Daniel Prieto
Bogotá, Colombia

Hi Daniel,

Thank you for reading.

These devices may help:

Stealth MIDI plug-in for Mac OS X

This plug-in enables most serial MIDI devices to operate with Apple's Core MIDI software and the Stealth Serial Port under OS X 10.2.3 or later. This version is public beta 1.

  • Quit all MIDI and audio-related applications.
  • Install StealthMIDIDriver.plugin into /Library/Audio/MIDI Drivers. You may need administrator privileges to do this.
  • Copy the Stealth MIDI Setup application to a convenient location.

You must use the Stealth MIDI Setup application to give the driver permission to use the serial port for MIDI. Find your serial port in the Serial Port column. In the MIDI Driver column, choose "StealthMIDIDriver" from the popup menu. (If you later wish to disable MIDI on this serial port, choose "(none)" from the menu). Make sure the serial port is highlighted (click on its name if necessary). Click the Configure... button.

Choose the communication speed your interface is set to use. Most MIDI interfaces support 1 MHz; use this if you don't know. Some interfaces support "Fast" mode. If your interface has multiple individually addressable output ports (such as a Mark of the Unicorn MIDI Time Piece, Emagic Unitor8, or Opcode Studio 4), enter the number of ports the device has. The driver will then attempt to use the MIDI Time Piece multi-cable protocol to address messages to the individual output ports. Enter just 1 port if your device only has one port or does not support the MIDI Time Piece protocol. Open Audio MIDI Setup (found in the Utilities subfolder of Applications) so you can see the results of your work. You should see a "Standard Interface" with as many ports as you entered in the configuration dialog.

gPort Serial Adapter Software from Griffin Technology


SCSI-to-Ethernet Converter?

From Philip Croff

Howdy Mr. Moore.

I enjoy reading your 'Book Review columns on Low End Mac and have been for quite a while. I have a question.

I have an old Duo 2300c, which I would like to use at school. I'd like to use the school network, but bringing my Dock would be challenging (although since I'm on the newspaper staff, I probably could set it up).

I do have a Minidock, but the blasted thing doesn't have an AAUI connector (I'm sure you know all of this already, so I'll stop).

Would a SCSI-to-Ethernet converter work? I've heard of these, but I haven't seen one, and they're more of an urban legend to my OS X using self. Do you know of a source for them, besides maybe eBay?

Thank you,
Philip Croff

Howdy Mr. Croff,

I've never seen one, either, but they do (or did) exist.

This site (Cambridge University's IT site no less, which should be fairly authoritative) notes:

"If the old Mac does not have an expansion slot to take an Ethernet card (e.g., early PowerBooks and PowerBook Duos), then you should use a SCSI-to-Ethernet converter. This converter is discontinued so very hard to source. If you find a converter, you will also need an Ethernet (crossover) cable."

eBay may indeed be your only hope.


WallStreet Hinges

From Carlos Bragatto

Hello Charles!

Greetings from Brazil!

I bought a still expensive (here) PowerBook G3/266 (Series II) that I upgraded with a 20 GB hard drive and added 512 MB of RAM (from RAM Direct). It turned to be a quite decent OS X performer, and I'm quite satisfied with it's performance.

But what really makes me angry is the screen flexing, which denotes that the hinges are quite loose and can't hold the screen at some angle.

I found the hinges quite expensive for my 3rd-world pocket (US$120 for both - this is a 14" screen machine), but I heard that this problem can go away by only replacing the left hinge. Is there any truth to this?

Also I'm afraid of replacing them both and start having the problem later, so what can be done to prevent the problem? Is there any way to fix a loose hinge?

Please keep in mind that the screen opens and closes and the hinges are perfect, they can't only hold the screen at an angle.

Sorry for my bad English (feel free to correct it in case you publish it on LEM).


Carlos Bragatto

Hi Carlos,

Your English is fine. A lot better than my Portuguese!

Sounds like it's the screen hinge clutches that are bad on your WallStreet.

You can find out quite a lot of useful and helpful information about WallStreet hinge repair at these websites:

Several suppliers offer replacement WallStreet screen hinges.

PBParts: WallStreet 14" Screen Support (Right), $69; WallStreet 14" Screen Support (Left), $69; 13.3"/12.1" WallStreet Hinge, $69

Wegener Media: Hinge set for 12.1" WallStreet, $49. Hinge set for 13.3" WallStreet, $49. Hinge set for 14.1" WallStreet, $119.99.

PowerBook Guy:

  • Screen Hinge Set for PowerBook G3 WallStreet, 14.1" (new), $119.95
  • Screen Hinge Left, for PowerBook G3 WallStreet, 14.1" (new; infrared port side), $69.95
  • Screen Hinge Right, for PowerBook G3 WallStreet, 14.1" (new; ac jack side), $69.95
  • Screen Hinge Set, for PowerBook G3 WallStreet, 13.3" or 12.1" (used), $109.95
  • Screen Hinge for PowerBook G3 WallStreet, 13.3" or 12.1" (used; Left or Right), $59.95

I hope this helps.


Re: Cranky B&W G3

From Seth Lewin

Hi Charles,

Thanks for responding. It didn't seem to happen after installing anything though there seems to have been some temporal relation between the machine having frozen while accessing one or another website and the onset of this business - at least that's when I first really needed to reboot and couldn't. The problem persisting with all drives and cards removed seems suggestive of motherboard issues to me.

Oddly, though, I've left the Mac running for a month, and it will reboot upon request - i.e.: when selecting restart from the Apple menu and will happily alternate between rebooting from a Panther installer CD and its main internal drive as need be. Haven't tried shutting it down, though.

With the monitor off and the disks spun down, how much power can it draw? Not the price of a motherboard's worth. I don't plan to provoke it unnecessarily at this point. Think I'll let it run till it's time to buy a different machine and migrate my work and apps to that one, and then I'll play with it.


Hi Seth,

Still sounds a lot like my S900 when it had the cranky hard drive. It would run fine once you got it booted, but after a shutdown it was a major project to persuade it to boot again.


Re: Cranky B&W

From Seth

Hi Charles,

But how would that explain its unwillingness to boot with all the drives disconnected? You'd think it would still start up from the CD. Odd. However, it's still running along so I let it.


Hi Seth,

I haven't a clue as to why, but it was cranky starting up from anything with that hard drive installed. It could usually be coaxed to start from a CD, though, and if your rig is still behaving that way with drives disconnected, then it's another problem. See below.


Cranky B&W G3: Corrupt System?

From Jukka Talari


I was reading through your column, and this piece about Cranky B&W G3 got my attention.

The symptoms remind me about problems I had, which were most likely caused by the "OEA"-problem (OverlappedExtentAllocation) - and cured by making a copy of the system partition with CarbonCopyCloner to an another partition.

Anyway, it sounds to me as the problem the is experiencing would be caused by problems with the system (files) rather then hardware. BTW, rev. 1 B&Ws are known to corrupt files on the MotherBoard IDE-controller, especially if the HD has been changed to a faster one. I would recommend building a new system to a HD connected to the Acard, and moving the 10 GB HD back to the MoBo:s IDE-connector (I assume that it is the HD the machine originally came with).

Best Regards from Helsinki, Finland

Jukka Talari

B&W G3 Battery

From Marsha Jackson

Seth mentions "PRAM battery is good: 3.61 volts."

I had a friend's iBook that had power-up problems, too, and the voltage on the PRAM seemed fine, but since it continued to lose settings, I replaced it anyway. It's worked great since.


Hi Jukka and Marsha,

Thanks for the interesting and potentially helpful information.


Re: Radeon Enabler

From Jeffrey Harris


Display Spanner is important to investigate/develop.

You see, it allows higher resolutions than 1024 x 768 on external monitor on an iBook.

If it is truly reliable, it eliminates a major difference between iBook and PowerBook--and becomes a factor in a comparative review, like the ones you have prepared.

BTW, even though my lab can certainly pay for a PowerBook for me, I use an iBook for basic frugality reasons, battery life, and ruggedness. Pretty much the sort of thinking you yourself do.


Best regards

Hi Jeffrey,

See this page for more info on that issue:

Here's a list of supported machines (i.e.: supported by the spanning hack:

Essentially, all iBooks with Radeon video accelerators are supported.


Re: Radeon Enabler

From Jeffrey Harris

HI Charles

Yes, I have seen that page. I installed it once but ended up with wiped disk and had to reinstall everything. It gave me a push to install Panther, which does many things better than Jaguar, so all's well that ends well.

I am waiting for the next version.


Hi Jeffrey,

Ouch! As long as you had the important stuff backed up.


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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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