Charles Moore's Mailbag

Why OS X 10.2 Is Best for Classic, Switching to Opera, Installing Tiger on a B&W G3, and More

Charles Moore - 2007.03.05 - Tip Jar

Why of OS X 10.2 Is Often Best for Classic

From Mike Richardson

Hi Charles,

Read your Miscellaneous Ramblings on Low End Mac.

It is my understanding that Mac OS X 10.3 double buffers the classic screen. You will notice if you drag an OS X window (with all of it's drop shadows and translucency) over a Classic window in 10.2 that the part of the OS X window over the Classic window will lose it's drop shadow and any other effects. This was corrected in 10.3 by double buffering the Classic windows so that they can get along. The side effect is that Classic is slower.

Hope that helps!

Mike Richardson

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the information. I wasn't aware of that particular distinction in Classic performance respective to different OS X versions.

For my own purposes, I find Classic works fine in both OS X 10.3 and OS 10.4, but I'm running only a few applications in Classic - none very demanding.


Thanks for Recommending Opera

From Otto Schlosser

Hiya, Charles.

I was a little skeptical about Opera - I have tried it several times since it was first ported to Mac OS but found it too quirky and incomplete to use on a regular basis. So I tried it again today after reading your article (see Opera the Best Browser for the Mac), and I am impressed with 9.1. It is just as fast as you claimed, and seems very stable and capable on 10.3.9. I had been moving away from Safari anyway, because there are too many sites that it doesn't handle well; I tried them on Opera and not one has hiccuped yet. Thanks!


Hi Otto,

Yes, I've played with Opera since about 1998, I think, and I never considered any version up to version 8 stable enough to use for regular browsing. However, the threshold was crossed around version 8.5, and I've never used a browser I liked well as Opera since that release. Version 9.1 is the best yet.

Once in a blue moon I will hit a site Opera can't handle, but it is an extremely rare phenomenon.


What about Firefox?

From Mike Cohen

What about Firefox? I always keep coming back to it after trying another browser for a few days. I find it to be the fastest and most stable, and I depend on several extensions. Since I use two different computers (an iMac Core Duo & MacBook Pro), I really like Google Browser Sync, which synchronizes open tabs, cookies, etc. as well as bookmarks. No other browser has anything like that. I also really like the extension, which makes it very easy to add bookmarks to

Hi Mike,

I usually have one of the browsers - Firefox, Camino, or SeaMonkey - up and running along with Opera, and I like them for certain types of tasks.

Certainly, if a particular feature appeals to you and is only available on one browser, all of the major OS X browsers are close enough in performance that favorite features can be the deciding factor.

However, in my experience (I'm on a dialup connection), Opera is the fastest of all the current browsers, supports OS X Services (Firefox doesn't, although Camino does), is very stable, and renders Web pages the way I like them.


Will Give Opera a Try

From Jeffrey Harris


Thanks for the article. I will have another go with Opera, based on your recommendation.

I find that Safari gets slower and crankier the longer a session lasts, and eventually I end up force quitting it. I do use it for video stuff, as Firefox sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. But most browsing I do with Firefox.

Keep up the good work


Hi Jeffrey,

Glad you found the article interesting.

Firefox is a good browser, and I use it a fair bit for workaday tasks, but for general browsing I much prefer Opera, which I always find myself coming back to.


Installing Tiger on a B&W G3

From Seth

Charles -

About Tiger on a B&W:

The B&W won't boot from any external drive over FireWire or USB or from another machine in target mode. The only way I know of to boot it from an external [drive] is via SCSI - assuming you have a [SCSI] card installed.

The most sensible way to install Tiger on one of these machines is to install a DVD drive of some sort. I used a Lite-On SOHC 5232K combo drive; works fine, boots fine, available online for about $30. That's a pretty rock-bottom price for moving up to Tiger.

Your correspondent can pick up a Pioneer DVR-110D or 111D for about $40 online and have the flexibility of DVD burning, too. The Lite-On requires an enabler available from LaCie to burn CDs from iTunes and from the Finder in Panther, as I recall, though maybe Tiger will support it without; I had it in place when I upgraded.

Some time back I corresponded with you about a hassle with a PowerLogix CPU upgrade for my B&W. Interestingly, I ultimately received a 1 GHz G3 ZIF in exchange for the 800 that failed. I got smart and installed a fan on this one, and it works like a champ. I've replaced the B&W with a Mac Pro as my mainline machine, took the blue wonder to my office, where the staff uses it for casual scanning, and I use it to run iTunes and a few other apps.

Sad to say, but the non-FW-bootable Macs are a problem in this day and age. I keep a second hard drive in that B&W with an OS and Disk Warrior on it but with its power disconnected - just sitting there in reserve against that day the picky B&W decides to ignore its primary boot drive again.

Seth Lewin

Hi Seth,

Thank you for the report and tips - very helpful for folks with these old machines who are confronted with this issue.

If one is determined, there is often a workaround - my daughter is running Tiger on an old Umax SuperMac S900 with a Sonnet 500 MHz G3 processor upgrade - with mixed success but it works.


From Seth Lewin

" daughter is running Tiger on an old Umax SuperMac S900 with a Sonnet 500 MHz G3 processor"

But it works - that's the important thing. I've also got Tiger running on a 400 MHz 384 MB iMac DV of summer 2000 vintage into which I put a slot-loading DVD-ROM salvaged from a later-version iMac I found in unrepairable condition at the town dump. That works quite well, too - surprisingly so. Mostly use it for PaperPort scanning in Classic, networked to the Mac Pro. Machines like this are available on Craigslist for $100 or so - so one could be running Tiger for, say, $100 plus the cost of Tiger and the cost of an external DVD of some sort, or the borrow of one.

Hi Seth,

Yes, my daughter, who enjoys a technical challenge, also had Tiger running on a 450 MHz iMac slot-loader with fairly decent performance, and (amazingly IMHO) also on an original 233 MHz Bondi Blue iMac, although it was really too much for the latter.


Installing Tiger on a B&W Power Mac with No DVD Drive

From William R. Walsh


I've just finished reading your exchange with Low End Mac reader John Morris on how to install Mac OS X Tiger on a Mac with no DVD drive and wanted to share some thoughts.

There's a very good chance the optical drive in the G5 will work in the B&W Power Mac. Both computers are equipped with parallel ATA buses, at least in the optical drive department. The only worry I'd have is removing the drive from the G5. I haven't ever tried it on mine, but it looks to be a little bit of an involved process.

I think Mr. Morris would have been fine with his first working test and restore installation attempt to the B&W from the G5. I recently built up an external FireWire drive with both Intel and PowerPC Mac OS X 10.4.8 installations. So far, as long as the computer meets the system requirements for Mac OS X 10.4.8, it will start up without issue. I have found no missing functionality across everything from the Summer 2001 iMac all the way up to the latest G5 systems. Nor have I seen any strange messages during a verbose boot or while using a system started from this drive.

Finally, Apple did once provide an exchange program for those with Macintosh computers not able to read DVDs. I don't know if Apple still does this, but it used to be that you could turn in your installation DVD for a set of 3 installation CDs. This option does cost a little bit of money to cover postage and handling.

If you'd like to pass this advice on, that's fine with me. Thanks for reading - and thanks for your great articles on Low End Mac!


Hi William,

Thanks for the comments and observations.

I also keep a copy of OS X installed on an external hard drive, and it will boot all three of my G3/G4 'Books. However, there is reportedly an issue with the B&W that prevents it from booting over FireWire (see above).

I think Apple has discontinued the CD exchange offer, which cost $19.95 and required the return of your Tiger install DVD when it was available.


Re: Installing Tiger on DVD-challenged Macs

From John Morris

Hi Charles,

Isn't it interesting how we all have different solutions to our problems. In my case, since this is not my main working machine, I don't feel comfortable spending any money on it. When the machine dies, if I can't get it running from parts I have on hand or can scrounge, it will be the end of the line for it.

On the other hand, I'm perfectly comfortable with spending as much time as necessary to get it working. The issue for me is that I enjoy the challenge, but I have other projects much more worthy of my hard-earned dollars. Spending time on it is one of the things I do as a break from my main work. Of course, this is all dependent on the machine being a toy rather than an important part of my work. If that changed, I might find myself taking the "more money less time" route to get it working.

Fortunately, as Mr. Walsh mentioned, the build from the G5 has been working perfectly. I was able to install two 40 GB drives I had kicking around and finally create a full backup of the G5 without using a huge number of CDs or DVDs.

By the way, I have had the optical drive out of the G5. It's a very easy process. That machine is almost as easy to work on as the B&W. At the time, I was trying to squeeze another parallel ATA drive into the machine, so I pulled the optical drive in the hopes of setting the other drive above it. (Un)fortunately, the space up there is just less than the height of a drive, so I ended up leaving it loose in the PCI compartment. It's just as well, because I would probably have overheated both the hard drive and the optical drive if I had done that.

Leaving the drive in the PCI compartment worked fine for several months, but it made me nervous, so I've gone back to using just one drive in the G5 until I can come up with either an SATA drive or long enough power and data cables for the parallel ATA drive. Again, since this is just playing, I wouldn't go out and buy the parts to make it happen.


Re: Installing Tiger on DVD-challenged Macs

From John Morris

Hi Charles,

It sounds like your daughter is pretty handy with her computer. I've long since given up on my Power Computing PowerTower Pro, although it served me well. The B&W was the replacement for that machine and has since been replaced by the G5. Thanks for passing on her thoughts. Now that I have that machine running Tiger, I'm trying to get rsync to run properly on my network of soon-to-be-Tigerized machines.

I've long been dissatisfied with the backup options for OS X and thought the solution was here with Tiger's patched rsync from Apple. I soon learned that the patch is broken, but have found another patch that seems to be working pretty well.


Hi John,

Much more handy than me at the technical end. ;-)


Modem Trouble with Pismo under OS X 10.4

From Jacek Socha


Refer to thread

concerning problems with modems in PowerBooks G3 Pismo 500 MHz under Mac OS X 10.4.8 Tiger.

I'm working on the same machine (PB Pismo 500 MHz, OS X 10.4.8), and I have made modem test on it. It has been connect without problem and it worked stably. I have placed results of my observation (include screen shots) on

Problem remains else only as: I don't know it is a big difference, but my PowerBook is originally G3 400 upgraded to G3 500 MHz.

Maybe this information will be useful for some Pismo users.

I salute
Jacek Socha

Thank you for the information, Jacek.

One of these days I must get around to reinstalling Tiger on my Pismo. It has worked very reliably for over a year since I "downgraded" from OS X 10.4.4 to 10.3.9, but I do miss Spotlight.


ADB + Apple Studio Display

From Robert Berthier

I am operating a MacBook and would like to use my Apple Studio Display monitor. I am wondering if an ADB adapter along with my mini DVI to VGA adapter will put me in business - I do a lot of photography and would like to use the display for more critical evaluation than the Book allows - otherwise I am wondering which monitor you would recommend me purchasing?

Thanks so much for any help you could give me


Hi Bob,

You didn't say which Apple Studio Display model you have, but if it has ADB ports, it must be fairly old. As you are no doubt aware, ADB is an input device interface for keyboards and pointing devices that Apple phased out in favor of USB in the late 90s, so ADB compatibility would not be a crucial factor for monitor connectivity.

However, I've found that my Griffin ADB adapter has worked perfectly with every device and computer combo I've tried it with.

Or perhaps you mean an ADC adapter. Apple makes - or at least used to make - the Apple DVI to ADC Adapter, which is a compact device that enables you to use Apple's all-digital, flat-panel displays with laptops that support DVI. You can find more info here:

According to Apple, all MacBook and MacBook Pro models connect to the current 23" Apple Cinema HD Display or 20" Apple Cinema Display, but you need a MacBook Pro with dual-link DVI support and up to 256 MB of graphics memory to support the 30" Apple Cinema HD Display.

As for which monitor to buy, I'm no authority on that. All of the Apple ones should be excellent, but you can find much cheaper solutions from third-party manufacturers.


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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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