Charles Moore's Mailbag

Maximum MacBook RAM, Booting PowerPC Macs from USB, Eudora 8 'Different', and More

Charles Moore - 2008.03.12 -Tip Jar

Maximum MacBook & MacBook Pro RAM

From Jackie:

Hi, Charles. I have a MacBook Pro 1.83 and aMacBook fromApril 2007.

One vendor told me that the MacBook took 3 GB of RAM. The Apple sitesaid 2 GB. I now have 512 MB x 2. I wanted to upgrade to the max. Applespecs say 2 GB; can it take an extra 1 GB? Seems like I did that withmy old Pismo.

I replaced the 512 x 2 with the 2 GB and 1 GB that the vendor sent.However, this evening, less than 24 hours after installing it, it had akernel panic. I shut it down and tried several times to reboot. Itwouldn't fully boot. I'm not sure if it's because of the extra memoryor defective memory.

I was wishing I could upgrade my MBP with an additional 1 GB too.But after this I guess I had better hold off.


Hi Jackie,

It hasn't always been necessary to take Apple'sofficial RAM support specs as gospel. For example, the PowerBook Pismoonly officially supports up to 512 MB of RAM, but they work just finewith up to 1 GB.

However, it seems that the limit for Core Duo MacBooksand MacBook Pros like yours really is 2 GB.

According to Other World Computing, who I have foundgenerally reliable on minimum system requirement specs,you need a Core 2Duo unit to support 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM

You can check it out at <>and <>.


USB Booting for PowerPC Macs

From Chris:

Hello, there.

I was just reading the latest mailbag and ran across TigerInstalling woes.

Where you said that PowerPC Macs cannot boot from USB, I have todiffer.

My 7-year-old iBook has a shot internal CD drive, and it boots justfine of my external USB 2.0 DVD writer. (Which is a La Cie, if I recallcorrectly.) But it only does that with Tiger (10.4.6 possibly, becausethat's my version.) It refuses point blank with Jaguar and kernelpanics with Panther; I thought I would let you know.

Speaking of Tiger CDs and install woes, my own set of Tiger CDs arebehaving strangely. The first disc of my set is actually degrading.

There is an unreadable sector on the CD, which is almost flawless;it has no scratches or apparent damages, no blemishes. No nothing, andyet each time I try to reinstall Tiger using it, I get a error duringverification of the install disc and get a 'failed install pleasereboot.' message at the end of disc 1.

I had to copy the contents to my hard drive and copy it to a CD tomake it usable. First I thought this was just my PowerPC G5 iMac,because my iBook installs from it just fine .

Yet my Intel iMac balks at it as well. (A recent copy failed toverify, and indeed the PPC G5 iMac refused to install that, or theoriginal for that matter completely. I had to use the earlier back upto bail myself out.)

Any ideas what this could be?


Hi Chris,

I spoke too conclusively about the USB booting issue.While it's not as dependable as booting from FireWire drives and oftenrequires some tweaking, it is possible according to various reports,although not something I would want to say can be counted on towork.

For more discussion of this topic, see:

If your Tiger install disk(s) (guess you have theoptional CD set) are deteriorating, that would likely be your problemin getting installs to work. My Tiger install DVD was still in greatshape the last time I used it, but that was nearly a year ago.



An Intel based Mac will only let you install OS X on aGUID-partitioned drive, but that can then be cloned to anAPM-partitioned drive.

Chris K.

Thanks for the info, Chris.


Eudora 8 Seems to Be Different

From John:

Hi Charles,

I came across your blog/page and wonder if you experienced the issueI am dealing with.

I've used Eudora for years on my PC (last version used was mode) and really liked it. The other day I just downloaded Eudora(8.0.0b3) for my new Mac (iMac 24" running MacOS X version 10.5).

There seem to be some differences, but most perplexing is that thereare no alert sounds for new mail or anything else in Eudora. I do hearsound from my Mac, so sound seems "on".

Did you experience this and do you have any ideas?


Hi John,

"There seem to be some differences" - that is arip-roaring understatement!

Eudora 8 is not really Eudora, but's Open Source email client Thunderbird with a Eudora-like(sort of) interface pasted on. I hope it will improve, but I dislikeThunderbird and am not optimistic.

However, for the Eudora experience you know and love,you can still download Eudora 6.2.4 for Mac, which was the last Macrelease, although it is no longer supported by Qualcomm.

However Qualcomm has posted a compatibility note forthe no-longer-being-developed Eudora email client and Mac OS X10.5.2 Leopard. Note that this applies only to Eudora 6, and not"Eudora" 8.

In order for Macintosh Eudora to work well underOS X 10.5.x 'Leopard', you need to turn off the use of specific soundsin Eudora. These are the sounds Eudora plays when you get new mail orEudora needs your attention, or are played by Filters. The sounds thatare problematic are the ones that contain 'Eudora' in their name asthey were created using a sound synthesizer that Leopard does notsupport. To disable or change the sounds used in Eudora, do thefollowing:

Turn off or change the 'New Mail' and "Attention"sounds:

  • Open Eudora->Preferences and select the 'Getting Attention'panel
  • In the 'Sounds' section, for both 'New mail sound' and 'Attentionsound', select a sound OTHER than one that has 'Eudora' in its name(i.e. NOT 'Eudora Attention', 'Eudora New Mail' nor 'Eudora ShortWarning')
  • Click OK to the close the Preferences

Turn off sounds triggered by filters:

  • Open Window->Filters
  • Look through all your filters for filters that have a 'Play Sound'action.
  • Select a sound that does NOT have 'Eudora' in its name, or disablesounds all together by selecting 'None' from the action popupmenu.

I've done this, and it does seem to improve Eudoraperformance in Leopard somewhat.

You can check it out at <>.

Looking ahead, I think a new email client projectannounced by Infinity Data Systems called Odysseusmay hold more promise as a real Eudora successor that will betruer to the Eudora tradition and experience than nominal Eudora 8.

Infinity Data Systems says: "We have always felt thatEudora was a best-of-breed email application for both platforms, MacOS X and Windows. Easily one of the oldest email applications, itstill offers features either not found in competing applications or, iffound, not implemented as elegantly."

You can look in at this forum forupdates. In the meantime, try Eudora 6.2.4.


Time to Replace My 1.33 GHz PowerBook?

From Allen:

Hi Charles,

I just read yourarticle comparing Pixelmator and Photoshop Elements. I'm stillusing Elements 3.0; it's probably time for an upgrade.

What caught my eye was the fact you are using a 1.33 GHz PowerBook. That'swhat I'm using. I've read about the rumored new crop of MacBook Pros inJune with the new Intel chips. That's got me thinking about what to dowith my current PowerBook. Are you retiring yours anytime soon? I'mstill running Tiger on it with 768 MB of RAM. I'm concerned the harddrive will take a plunge, although it hasn't made any unusual noisesyet.


Hi Allen,

Elements 3 is still a great program, although I foundthe enhanced Lighting & Shadows correcting capability in version 4well worth that upgrade. Elements 6 is even better.

Since the MacBook Pro received a major upgrade toPenryn CPUs two weeks ago, I'm exceedingly doubtful that we'll seeanother upgrade in June. My guess would be October or November, whichis a customary time for attention to the portable lineup. Lookingfarther forward, there are new Intel mobile CPUs coming, but I thinkwe'll be with Penryn for most of the rest of this year at least.

Eventually, there will have to be a major form factorchange for the Pros, and I'm expecting thinner, a la the MacBook Air only (hopefully) notthat extreme.

I'm planning to get an Intel 'Book as soon as I canscrape up the funds - probably an entry level MacBook the way things aregoing, but I don't intend on retiring this 1.33 GHz PowerBook 17"anytime soon. I really don't find that it cramps my style in terms ofpower. The only problem is that I need to be able to review softwarethat is beginning to be released as Macintel only.

In my experience, hard drives are pretty reliable.I've been on the Mac for 16 years and have had just two hard drivefailures - both on brand new drives with only a few hours on them -obviously manufacturing defects on those particular units.

The drive in my PowerBook (80 GB) is getting full, butit's still quiet and seems in fine fettle.


Re: Tiger Install Woes

From Meg following up on TigerInstall Woes:

Thanks so much for getting back to me. Too late. Decided to get theinternal SuperDrive replaced. Already had the drive, had just beenhesitant about doing it. So when this problem started and I was gettingnowhere, I found a repair person. He came installed the internal drive,and 4 hours later we didn't have a bootable machine. It would get tothe initial screen with the Apple logo and hang.

He took it back to his shop, and when he brought it back, it woulddo nothing. So today I'm off to a certified Apple repair shop andpaying $60 to have the machine diagnosed. Have a hunch the motherboardis blown and I've lost my machine. Thank you for the tips, may needthem another time. I really appreciate you contacting me.


Didn't get this mailed 2 days ago, update - my logic board is toast.End of problem.

Hi Meg,

Sorry to hear about the mobo meltdown. Serioushardware issues are always the wild card with these sorts ofmalfunctions. I happens, although thankfully not a lot (except for rarebad designs like the G3 iBook's mobo). Even then, my (now my wife's) G3iBook is in its sixth year with nary a hiccup of trouble.

In such instances, your cheapest remedy is to replacewith another machine of the same type, and use the oldie for a partsmule.

Wegener Media has 800 MHzG4 iMacs for $379, and BaucomComputers has iMac G4 1 GHz 15" with SuperDrive for $475.


Newer iPods Incompatible with Panther?

From David:

Hi Charles,

Longtime reader, rare corresponder.

I have a question I've never seen addressed on Low End Mac. I'lladmit to not having seen everything.

Many of the newer iPods state in their specifications that they needTiger or newer, i.e. 10.4.x.

Is that an unbendable rule? I mean, the new color version of theiPod shuffle states the Tiger requirement, so apparently the oldercolors that state Panther minimum requirements have had more than theircolor changed.

I can see that there might indeed be internal changes made to thenew classic and nano iPods that would make them possibly require anewer OS than my Video 5G and my nano 2G.

But even then, have any of your readers out there had luck synchingthese newer iPods to Panther, provided the latest iTunes and QuickTimeare onboard?


Hi David,

I haven't had any personal experience with this issue.Perhaps some of our readers will be able to shed some light.

Just speculating, but I don't imagine that it wouldhurt to try connecting a recent iPod to a Panther machine to seewhether there is some major incompatibility, or if it's just thatcertain features requiring Tiger or better are not supported.


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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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