Charles Moore's Mailbag

Gmail with Old Browsers, Mozilla 1.3.1 on OS 9, Intel Core CPUs 'Really Open Up' with RAM, and More

Charles Moore - 2007.04.23 - Tip Jar

Mozilla 1.3.1 a Good OS 9 Browser

From Carl Jensen

I read your ramblings (state of OS 9). I have 2 friends that keep using 233 iMacs, and the browser was a problem especially with online banking.

I found them a version of Mozilla for OS 9, and their whining for help has ended for awhile.

Hi Carl,

Thanks for the link.

Yes, online banking could be a sticking point. Glad to hear that Mozilla 1.3.1 has it covered for now.


Gmail Works Well with Older Browsers

From: Dan Palka

I would definitely recommend Gmail for anybody using older Macs. It works perfectly fine even in Netscape 4.8 under Mac OS 7.6.1!

Gmail running on Netscape 4.8 and Mac OS 7.6.1

Thanks, Dan,

My wife gets along great in Gmail with Netscape 7 and OS 9.2.2


Software Development for Mac OS 9

From Carl MacDonald


Stumbled on your article about the state of OS 9 software. Keep up the faith; some of us still develop software for OS 9 along with our other offerings. (My wife hates OS X and insists on using OS 9 is a big reason I keep developing for it too.)

Do you have any information as to how many people in the world still use OS 9? Call me crazy, but seems like it should be possible to port Firefox back to OS 9 if there are enough folks out there that would want it.

Carl MacDonald (aka Scotsman)
MadWolf Software

Hi Carl,

I don't know of any such stats offhand. I suspect it's gradually shrinking and will continue to do so, especially now that the Macintels can't even boot OS X Classic Mode.

A port of Firefox would be popular with the remaining OS 9 cohort, but I'm not sure there are enough to justify the effort.


Intel Core CPUs 'Really Open Up' with 1 GB per Core

From William Reese

I have been doing research on the Intel Core Duo and Core 2 Duo processors, and I have found that the computers really open up when they gave 1 Gigabyte of memory per core. I noticed this myself on my MacBook Pro 17", and I am hoping to see a difference in my Mac Pro when I make that upgrade next fall. So if this is the case, does an 8-core machine need 8 Gigabytes of memory to really open up, and wouldn't you need that to run a fair test of the speed difference between the computers.

William Reese

Hi William,

You may be right. Gets expensive up there in the stratosphere....


Stinky iBook

From Dwayne Perry

Mr. Moore,

I am at my wits end! But I am hoping you can help me out. I recently picked up a used G3 iBook (500 MHz/256 MB/10 GB/AirPort) from a local free classifieds add. It was a little scuffed up but otherwise a great working computer. But the first use at home I noticed something odd and quite repulsive! The keyboard of the computer smelled almost exactly like body odor!

I of course jumped to the conclusion that one of the book's former owners had less than stellar hygiene . . . but after a moment I remembered a story on Low End Mac from Hardy Menagh "A Stinky Old iBook that Smells Like Sweat" about this very problem! I searched the Net and found the only permanent solution for the problem is to replace the keyboard, which is fine, except for the fact that this is a low-end machine and the idea was to keep the cost to a minimum.

After a couple days of the smell, I am now ready to make the plunge and get another keyboard. But here is another problem. I have heard stories of replacement keyboards (from eBay and resellers) arriving with the same odor - or becoming rancid after a few weeks/months. So this long winded story comes to a close with a question: Can the newer G4 iBook keyboards be used on the older G3s? If not, is there a specific model number of the G3 keyboard that would be new enough to not have the stinky problem?

Other than the smell this has been a rock solid laptop, and I would like to get a little more use out of, but with the situation the way it is I am embarrassed to take it out of the house.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to your reply.

Dwayne Perry

Hi Dwayne,

I've heard of this problem many times but have never personally encountered it. I think it has to do with adhesive from a label under some of the earlier keyboards.

According to the Wegener Media iBook parts page, replacement keyboards will fit "dual USB" machines from 500-800 MHz. I am not sure what the cutoff point was for the smell hazard, but it does not afflict my 4+ year old 700 MHz machine.


Clamshell iBook Unable to Read Some CD-Rs

From Thierry Raoul

I found interesting the feedback about "Beige G3 Unable to Read CD-R". In fact, I am facing similar symptoms using my iBook Clamshell 366 MHz. Some CD-R work; most don't (same message as in your site).

I suspect that using the 700 MB CD-R is a concern. At the time the Clamshell was out, there were only 650 MB CD-Rs.

Nowadays it's almost impossible to find 650 MB CD-R; one can only find 700 MB CD-R , therefore I can't validate my assumption.

My assumption comes from the fact that I've been burning an 800 MB CD-R using Dragon Burn with the "enable spanning" option, with a max of 74' (650 MB) on each part - and this time the resulting CD-R was readable, whereas all my previous attempts to burn small ISO failed.

Do you have any cue about this ?

Thierry Raoul

Hi Thierry,

Yes, CD-ROM drives from that era could be picky about burnable disks. The drive in my WallStreet, which is a little older than the early iBooks, refuses to read some CD-Rs and all CD-RWs.

You may be on to something with the point about 650 MB vs. 700/800 MB capacity being the tipping point.

Perhaps swapping in another drive from a later iBook would be the solution.


Re: Clamshell unable to read some CD-R

From Thierry Raoul

Hello Charles,

Many thanks for your advice. I ordered a spin of 74'/650 MB CD-R yesterday. I shall let you know if I get some results.

Best Regards,

Choppy Video with iTunes, QuickTime

From Paul Douglas

Hi Charles,

I read in Miscellaneous Ramblings about Chris Norbury's choppy iTunes video playback, and I'd like to report that the issue is also present on PC. I'm using a Dell Dimension 5150 with 1 GB of RAM, a 256 MB HyperMemory ATI RADEON X600 graphics card, and an Dual-core Intel Pentium 4 with HT Technology, and iTunes videos (since I went 7) have played back with issues.

Since there are no videos worth buying over here in the UK, my videos are all converted from other formats to iPod format (with the latest, 640 by 480 resolution). At first they would playback choppily no matter what, but after a couple of updates, I do not get choppy playback if I keep the videos at or below encoded resolution. This means I cannot stretch the video to make better use of my 19" monitor. Further, audio is almost always out of sync to varying degrees.

I had also been subscribed to the MacBreak video podcast in preparation for finally getting my first Mac, but eventually gave up on it because of the substandard playback in iTunes.

I had, at first, assumed that I was the only one with substandard video playback in iTunes (one of innumerable reasons I wish to buy an iPod with video), but after reading about Mr. Norbury's I am wondering how widespread the problem is and what causes it.

Just thought I'd throw in some more info,

Paul Douglas

Thanks Paul,


Modem Tip

From David Crane

Hello Brother,

I read your Tiger modem blues. The trick I found was to put 3 commas after my dialup number.


Hey, bro,

Thanks for the tip. How in the world did you ever stumble upon that idea?


From David Crane

Hi Charles

Wow, I am very happy the post helped someone else. I checked the logs and whois. etc. I found the problem was on my end. No help from my ISP.

I saw the connection was timing out, so I figured a few commas might delay the timeout 'til the connection took place. Works great for me on all my OS X Macs.

Funny, I didn't have the issue w/ OS 9 machines.

Thanks for the response - really made my day!

WiFi PC Card for OS X Lombard

From Travis Jay Patocka

Mr. Moore,

Once again I have some questions to ask that are related to a recent response that you gave to one of your readers. As usual, your expertise is always appreciated.

You had mentioned recently that Netgear makes a WiFi card that is compatible with the Lombard G3. I went to the Netgear link but couldn't find any information that says the card is compatible with OS X. Is there a particular version that I need to be running in order to use this card? Also, is there a driver that would need to be downloaded in order to use the card, or is it included on the install CD that comes with it?

Thanks again!

Hi Travis,

I think at the time Wegener Media was selling Netgear cards with a special Mac driver. They are not listing that card any more, but have a limited stock of Buffalo G54 802.11g cards available now. This card offers full 10base-T networking capabilities, full compatibility with AirPort base stations, and the entire 802.11 network system.

It works with:

  • PowerBooks G3 WallStreet
  • G3 Lombard
  • G3 Pismo
  • G3 Titanium

OS X compatible. No drivers needed. Fully interoperable using your AirPort menu on the screen. $39.99


Re: Netgear questions

From Travis Jay Patocka

Awesome! I appreciate your time and I will get the Buffalo G54 ASAP!

Once again I am able to convince myself that I just don't need that G4 12" PowerBook!


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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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