Charles Moore's Mailbag

Praise for Opera, Low Cost iBook Mobo Replacement, IrDA and IRtalk, WaMCom Recommended, and More

Charles Moore - 2008.06.18 -Tip Jar

Opera Better than Ever

From Leif:

Great Opera 9.5 review! I translate another of your favourites -iCab - to Norwegian, so I should be objective when I say that I thinkthat Opera 9.5 is really really slick. The user interface is betterthan before. Less confusing . . . and finally it is possibleto set up a logical Tab behaviour in the preferences. (Before, I neverknew which Tab I would land inside once I closed the current one -however, you may have become used to that? Now one can set up alogical/Firefox/Safari alike behaviour in the prefs. There are stillsome glitches there, though.)

Yeah, and I like its email program also. And its all-in-onethingyness. It has many "hidden" features. But they are hidden in veryelegant ways. Once you open them/enable them, they become a full partof the app - and not merely something extra which you have to dosomething extra in order to use.


Hi Leif,

Thanks. Glad you like the review. I'm already gettingused to the new interface, and I'm pretty happy with it, although Inever found the old one particularly confusing.

Yes, the tab behavior is improved (iCab had tabconfiguration nailed nicely years ago).

I've experimented a bit with Opera's email module butnever used it for serious work. If they don't get Odysseus working withreasonable dispatch I may give it more consideration as an alternativeto Eudora. I like it better than Thunderbird or OS X Mail.


Glitch in Opera?

From Lukasz:


I read your article about the latest release of Opera, and it was soconvincing that I decided to try it, especially since I have issueswith the performance of Firefox and Safari. I really like Opera so far,but there is one small thing about it that bothers me, and I don't knowhow to change it, and I was hoping you could help. When entering anaddress in the address field, or clicking on a favorite in the personalbar, the page will not start loading right away. I have to hit enteragain in the address bar or click on the favorite again in order forthe webpage to load. Is there anyway to change this so I the page willload the first time? I sought help through the Opera chat rooms and wastold that this is a common problem on the Mac, but I couldn't get anyinfo about how to fix it, or if it was possible to fix it. I've alsobrowsed the knowledge base and tutorials, but there is nothing aboutthis issue.

I'm sure you're quite busy and have plenty of other emails to read,but your help and/or advice would be really appreciated. Thanks!


Hi Lucasz,

Glad you like Opera. It takes a bit of getting used towhen you're coming from other browsers, but it grows on you as youbecome more accustomed to the way it works.

Unfortunately, I'm not able to be much help with youaddress double-pump issue. The only thing I can think of to try isexperimenting with the redraw configuration in the Advanced >Browsing panel of the Preferences. I'm not surer whether thatwould help or not.

Perhaps someone in the mailbag audience will be ableto address this.


Opera 'Way Ahead of the Pack'

From Doug:

Opera has been way ahead of the pack since at least version 7 and myfavorite browser by far. The focus on security over compatibility wasand is still unmatched.

I usually have Firefox and Safari open and running on my machinealong with Opera.

If a site isn't working and isn't asking for credit card info, I usea more "compatible" browser.

If I am entering credit card info, I use Opera period. It hasflagged some of Apple's own https sites that tried to embed externalURLs into a secure page, a big time security faux pas that theother two browsers merrily accepted at the time.

And Opera has revealed more than once that the "Hacker Safe -verified daily" is marketing more than substance. That is the one timeI have had my credit card info pilfered, when I decided to trust"Hacker Safe - verified" instead of Opera while ordering an air filterand some spark plugs online to ship to my home in Missouri.

Opera flagged the site, the page had the Hacker Safe logoprominently displayed, I entered my number, and three days later a toolwholesaler in Arizona was calling to see if I really had ordered threehammer drills to be shipped to Miami!

Opera startup in 9.5 is remarkably faster, but stability hassuffered in this latest incarnation for me.

Twice in the last week, Opera has taken my MacBook Pro up over 75%CPU, this with just 8 tabs open in one window. When I save the sessionand shut down Opera, I notice mdfind momentarily jump to the top of theCPU utilization, so probably something Spotlight is doing with someOpera files.

The CPU hogging issue can be caused in Safari and Firefox by pagestrying to load certain JavaScripts. Opera formerly was immune to thistype of problem. When I save the session and reload the exact samesession back into Opera, the problem does not immediately recur, likeit would when reloading the other browsers back onto a URL with problemJavaScript.

The Opera 9.5 interface is growing on me, I saw a setting somewhereto switch it from Mac to Opera styles. I set it to the Opera style.

I really don't mind being in the upper 2% of browser aficionados.Somebody at Google must have liked the way Opera's email works, sincetheir Gmail works basically the same way with searches and filteringand such.

Keep up your great work. Don't expect anyone who hasn't tried it to"get" Opera. Compatibility is apparently 98% of the battle forcapturing the mindset of everyday users.

Hi Doug,

Thanks for your comments.

I haven't encountered any serious stability issues yet- no crashes or CPU hogging. The spinning beachball of death appearedfor about 15-20 seconds last evening, but the browser regained itscomposure and life went on.

Your notes on security are interesting.

I too usually have Firefox (or iCab) and Safari openand running on my machine along with Opera, but I use Opera more thanthe other three combined.



From David Keith Evans, Sr.:

Regarding 'compleat' - I believe that there is famous old bookcalled The Compleat Angler, and ever since it was published,comprehensive guides have adopted that spelling as a hat tip. So thetitle of you articles is not only appropriate and accurate, it isintelligent.

Grace and peace,

Hi David,

Yes indeed. That would be The Compleat Anglerby Izaak Walton (1593-1683), which was first published in 1653 and hasmany subsequent printings.

However, I was introduced to the "compleat" spellingusage on the pages of Road & Track magazine under theeditorship of the late John R. Bond, owner and R&T from 1949 to1972. Mr. Bond's objective was to produce a magazine for literate carnuts, patterned loosely on The New Yorker's motif.


Inexpensive iBook Logic Board Replacement

From Walt


Regarding Matthew's logic board problem (iBook G4 Keeps Putting Itself to Sleep)and the economics of repair: I recently had the same dilemma with mydaughter's iBook G3800. I opted for the repair. I found a business through the AppleDiscussion Boards, DT&TComputer Services in California. They did a quick, professional jobof replacing the logic board for $200, 6 month warranty included. The'Book is as good as new. Since I had recently replaced the battery, itwas worth it to repair the unit.

If you would care to pass this info along to Matthew, it might helphim with his decision to replace or repair.

Keep up the good work on LEM!


Hi Walt,

That's an excellent price for a logic board repair.Thanks for the tip and link!

I've forwarded your note to Matthew.


Booting an Old Power Mac from CD

From Roy Wiseman following up on Mac OS and Linux for Power MacintoshONE/225:

That's fantastic, Charles, thanks for all the help! I reckon I'llpretty much do what you suggest as a first step, as I think you knowlots about these older systems and I know nothing :o) So, asyou suggested, I think I will get a Mac OS 8.6 CD or set offloppies.

I'm curious about something on these old Mac's though. If I turn iton, I think it's expecting a boot floppy from the grey screen with theMac icon in the middle. Is there some key combo that I have to press toget it to boot from CD if I have a distro on CD like Mac OS 8.6 or aDebian installation or whatever ? Assuming this is a 225 MHz system,what kind of Intel equivalent is that ? Is it equivalent to a 200 MHzPentium, or is it more powerful than that ?


Hi Roy,

My pleasure.

To boot from a CD, just insert the disk and hold downthe "C" key when you boot up. I've found that on some machines you haveto hit the power button first, then insert the disk (while holding the"C" key down). Others will just happily boot from a CD in the drive ifthey don't find a bootable system on the hard drive.

It's been a long time since I booted from a floppy,but as I recall, any floppy in a Mac's drive gets boot priorityautomatically.


IrDA and IRtalk

From Bruce:

Hi Charles!

I noticed in the articleabove you didn't know of a way to help Elliot w/ the recycled PB1400 get his files off via the IR from the PowerBook to his iMac, sincethe 1400 uses the old IRtalk(Apple only "standard") and the iMac uses IrDA. Unless I'm greatlymistaken, he should be able to open his IR control panel on the iMac& tell it to use IRtalk instead of IrDA; I seem to recall stumblingacross this option lately when rehabbing a dead WallStreet to put it up oneBay. Completely "oh, that was nice of Apple" at the time, w/ noexpectation of ever needing to use it, but maybe now it will help outanother LEM'er... :-)


Hi Bruce,

Thanks for the tip. I've forwarded it to Eliot.

There is certainly a lot I don't know about using IRinterfaces. We used to do it between two WallStreets in this house, butthat pretty much sums up my IR experience.

Editor's note: According to Apple's article MacintoshInfrared: Is It IrDA Compatible?, the only Macs to support bothIrDA and IRtalk are the PowerBook2400, 3400, Kanga, and WallStreet. dk

From Bruce

My love for outdated computers extends to the Palm Vx, which Iregrettably never got to experiment with the IR synching w/ a computer[at the time I had it, I had not laptop w/ IR, only a desktop. Now I'vegot the laptop, but the Vx died! lol],

Keep up the good work on LEM!


From Elliot in response to Bruce's email:

Thanks for the tip there! Unfortunately, my iMacliterally just died. I picked up a Compact Flash adapter for it and usemy digital camera to transfer files now, so in the end it stillworks.

WaMCom a Good Alternative to Netscape 7.0.2

From Paul:


I identified immediately with your 6-11-08 post about Netscape 7.0.2crashing after a fresh download and install. This happened to melast week on a TiBook 800MHz with OS 9.2.2.

I haven't tried to troubleshoot it (and don't intend to), as I amhappy with an alternative: WaMCom 1.3.1, a modified Mozilla that works on OS 8.6 - OS 9.x. (DownloadWaMCom here.)

Thanks for your Mailbag Ramblings,

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the comment.

I've found Netscape 7.x to be stable and pretty muchtrouble-free on our old WallStreet, but it seems to be cranky on somesetups.

The WaMCom version of Mozilla is definitely a goodalternative.


New 1.8" 160 GB Toshiba Drive Won't Fit MacBookAir

From Toby Glyn:

Current MacBook Airrequires 5mm height PATA hard drives, and both the 160 and the 80 GBversion of the new Toshiba are 8mm high SATA.

"Editor's note: It will be interesting to see if thesingle-platter 80 GB unit will fit in the MacBook Air. The twin-platterdrive will almost certainly not, alas. cm"

Hi Toby,

Thanks for clearing up that point.


PowerPC Support and Snow Leopard

From Leif:

I am very happy that Snow Tiger will support PPC. ;-)

PS: Odysseus has not impressed me so far ....


Hi Leif,

You might want to keep the champagne corked for awhile yet. It's looking less and less likely that Snow Leopard willsupport PPC. All we know for sure at this point is that the developerrelease seeded this week does not support PowerPC. For more on thatsubject see Snow Leopard PPC Bye Bye and More on Applelinks.

I was pretty happy with the Odysseus preview for it'sintended purpose, which was to give an indication of what's to come.I'm looking forward to the next beta release.


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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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