Charles Moore's Mailbag

PowerPC Viability, Migration Assistant Rocks, Importing Mail to Eudora, and More

Charles Moore - 2009.03.25 - Tip Jar

PowerPC Technology Doesn't Show Its Age Most of the Time

From Christoph:

Hello Charles,

First, sorry to hear about your iBook. These little computers are like certain people - great companions until they leave.

Regarding the MacBook transition - you mentioned that you're not blown away by its speed.

If you're used to a 1.33 GHz PowerBook with all native PowerPC applications, you won't notice much of a difference in daily work: OS X's user interface is pretty usable even on a 400 MHz machine, and lots of applications are heavily optimized for AltiVec, so the PowerPC technology doesn't show its age most of the time. Also, a single-core 1.33 GHz isn't too shabby by itself, if you consider that most of its cycles are idle anyway when you're just typing emails.

Once you start encoding video or music, though, or playing Full-HD trailers or games, you will notice a difference on the Intel Mac! I think Apple didn't go the Intel road because pulldown menus might draw a tiny bit faster. They did it because the PowerPC is choking on all the multimedia stuff which is on Apple's own roadmap. Think of what you can buy in the iTunes Store. Think of iMovie or Garage Band. The world is going HD - there was just no way to put a quad-core G5 needed for that stuff into a laptop.

Best regards,

Hi Christoph,

Thanks for your iBook condolences.

I agree with your analysis. I did mention in the article, I think, that I haven't done much of the sort of work that will make the Core 2 Duo stand out from the old PowerPC. I expect that when I install MacSpeech Dictate (which is about the most processor intensive software I use for production), I'll see a significant improvement over running iListen on the PowerPCs.

Certainly, even my old 550 GHz G4-upgraded Pismo offers very decent Finder performance running Tiger.


Running Tiger on a Blue & White G3

From Lee, following up on WD MyBook Home External Hard Drive Causing Kernel Panic:

Hi Charles

Well, I finally got a definitive answer from Western Digital re: 500 GB home external hard drive, sort of.

After innumerable emails, and finally one hour on telephone, going through three levels of tech support, ending with Jeremy from California, thank goodness for the US of A (sic).

He stated "should not have gone out with 10.3 on the box". He would like to exchange the drive I have for one that would work, but they are not currently shipping anything that will work for me. Have not since 2007.

I am so tired of built in obsolesce. Seems that if one buys a new Macintosh, one can expect to be buying another one in eighteen months?

Why no backward compatibility ?

I am driving a 22-year-old car. It gets eighteen miles to the gallon. Why would I pay $30,000 for a new something that really won't do much better. Understand a new Mazda van only gets 18 MPG in real world driving. It's only a tool and my tool can be fixed at a corner garage! Which is good because there is no one in the dealership that has worked on anything of this age. Carburetor, what's that ?

Yosemite designQuestion: Can I successfully use 10.4.8 on a Blue and White G3/400. Seems to be some who say one can and others who can't. I am aware that I don't have enough video RAM to run Quartz, but other than that will it run? I only need something that the system can run faster than I can type! Only use it to surf medical sites (CFIDS) and do email. Software should be reasonably cheap by now ?

Really don't want to buy something newer until this packs up.

I recall that you went back to 10.3.9 on your G4 Pismo. Where are you with that now?

Would just return the drive, but it was really inexpensive, and I don't know if they will take it back anyway.

Thanks much

Hi Lee,

I understand. My car is 19 years old, and my truck 15. Both get tolerably good (or better) gas mileage in their class.

You can run Tiger on your Blue & White, but I don't expect it will be very lively. OTOH, come to think of it, Tiger ran quite decently on one of my Pismos when it was still a 500 MHz G3, and the B&W's faster hard drive and system bus should give it at least as good performance.

I switched back to Tiger on the Pismos after OS X 10.4.6 was released, and it's been solid and very satisfactory. I am currently using 10.4.11 on both.


Editor's note: We spotted a $20 400 MHz G4 upgrade for the Power Mac G3 this week. See our Best Power Mac G3 and PCI Video Card Deals for more information on this and other CPU upgrades. dk

In Praise of the Migration Assistant

From Eric:


I'm happy to report that I am typing this message from my new refurb iMac! Wonderful machine. I really liked my previous one, but the widely-reported foibles of G5 vintage models finally caught up with me. This 2.4 GHz Intel iMac is a pleasure to use and a beautiful piece of machinery. Dare I say, work of art? Oh yeah, and it is virtually quiet. The sound of silence was almost stunning when I powered down the old G5 iMac. I think I'm in love. :)

Migration Assistant was a godsend, but I had a few bumps along the way. All the problems stemmed from my G5 model though, not the software. I tried using a FireWire connection between iMacs, but the G5's fans began blasting about 1/10th of the way through. I stopped everything and tried the other FireWire port on the G5. Same thing. Switched to using ethernet, but about halfway through the G5 locked up with the fans running full force.

Then I remembered you can utilize Migration Assistant with an external drive, so I rebooted the G5 and ran SuperDuper one last time, switched the FireWire drive to the Intel iMac, and started the migration process once again. It worked perfectly, taking a little over an hour to move 97.2 GB of files. Much to my delight, all my previous settings (seem) to have been carried over.

Not the smoothest introduction to Migration Assistant, but I'd use it again without hesitation. Very slick software and something Apple deserves praise for. All my settings carried over, and I've yet to run across any hiccups. It's like I've picked up right where I left off on my G5.

As I write this, I'm performing a second massive software update via, well, Software Update. There were numerous candidates, largest of which is the combo updater for Leopard (OS X 10.5.6). Ran Software Update again, and there were still more. Simultaneous to these updates, my first Time Machine backup is in progress. I hope that won't cause problems. I figure the reboot for QuickTime and Leopard can wait until Time Machine is done.

By the way, I was impressed with how much Leopard encourages you to backup. The FireWire drive I used to migrate my old files is actually not the drive I intend to use for backups on the new machine, but before I could disconnect it, Leopard asked if I wanted to use it with Time Machine. As soon as I had the FireWire drive connected that I planned on using for backups, it queried me again. It also recognized there were two partitions and wondered which I preferred using. I previously split the drive in half and plan using one partition for SuperDuper and the other for Time Machine. Now the Time Machine partition has a new desktop icon to distinguish it from all others. Very cool.

I'm really enjoying the keyboard. It feels great! Much better than the keyboard that came with my old iMac, which I think was fairly decent. Sadly, there's no longer an Apple on the command key. Just "command" and the clover leaf. A sign of the times, I guess. Sigh. Oh well, I really have no complaints. It's very smooth and I find myself typing faster than with my old iMac's stock keyboard.

I'm getting reacquainted with the Mighty Mouse again and generally like it. It too came with my G5, and I initially liked it very much, but then the scroll ball seemed to get gummed up after a while, and I switched to a MacAlly iLaser, which has a conventional scroll wheel. I think I'll give the Mighty Mouse a second chance though.

By the way, was it Apple's intention to use a power cord with a white plug on an iMac that is black on the back? No big deal, but it seems strange to me given Apple's design ethos.

That's about it for now. I'll be going through my apps folder over the weekend to make sure everything is in order (verifying each is up to date, ensuring the licenses carried over, etc.). Along the way, I'll continue to use the new machine exclusively. I'll let you know how it goes.

~ Eric

Hi Eric,

Thanks for the interesting and detailed account of your orientation and migration.

I think my new MacBook is a work of art too. It's a pleasure to look at and touch - quiet too.

My experience with Migration Assistant was rocky, and after a couple of failures, I threw in the towel and just dragged stuff over manually in the Finder. Slower than it would have been with FireWire. Sigh. Lack of FireWire is turning into the thing I like least about this machine. USB is not a satisfactory substitute.

My MacBook power cord is all white.


Maxed MacBook Memory?

From Bill:

Hi Charles,

Just curious whether you've maxed out your MacBook's memory or not? If you did increase the standard 2 GB has that helped noticeably in performance?

Enjoyed the article pros and cons.

Bill H.

Hi Bill,

I'm planning to go with 4 GB or even the full 6 GB, but haven't done the upgrade yet and am getting along quite comfortably so far with the stock 2 GB.

Glad you enjoyed the article.


Problems with Eudora - Solved

From Felix:

Dear Mr. Moore,

Since I am sure you know everything there is to know about Eudora, or close enough, perhaps you could help me in my current predicament.

Being a freelancer, I have a setup consisting of several Macs - desktops and laptops alike - that I considered somewhat convoluted until I learned recently about yours . . . ;-) I receive and store my email in an eMac running Leopard, and using Mail, a program that I agree is pretty rustic, but that serves my simple needs well enough, except for its lack of Hotmail support - or is it the other way around?

Recently, my backup drive (one of those WD MyBook Studio affairs I now strongly advise everybody not to buy) died suddenly and unexpectedly on me after less than a year of light use. So I decided to use one of my Pismos, which enjoys a 250 GB hard drive, courtesy of the Intech Hi-Cap software, to temporarily backup my email until I find a suitable replacement for the defunct MyBook. I copied the Mail folder from the eMac system library to the Pismo's (running 10.4.11), and there Mail imported all my settings, mailboxes, rules, and messages in a matter of minutes and was up and about without a single hiccup - despite the fact that it was downgrading from Leopard to Tiger, mind you.

After a couple of days, and having read your numerous columns deploring the demise or near demise of Eudora, I decided to give the ol' girl a try. I downloaded the last operating version of the original Eudora, and upon opening it asked me if I wanted to import my mail and settings from Mail. I said yes . . . and then got a message that Eudora couldn't read the files. I have tried several times, even tried to import accounts and/or mailboxes one at a time, always with the same negative result. It's nonplussing.

Have you ever run into a similar problem, or do you have any idea about what could be causing it?


Hi Felix,

It would be a massive overstatement to say I know everything there is to know about Eudora. I'm a fairly experienced longtime user, so I've picked up a bit of knowledge, but I'm no expert.

I've never tried importing Mail files into Eudora, so that's one of the (many) things I don't know about the program. Importing from Mail was one of the last features added to Eudora for Mac, but there may be something about Leopard or the PowerPC-Intel transition that is causing the issue you mention. I had no luck dragging my Eudora Setting from the PowerBook to the MacBook. Eudora opens and can access and search my email files satisfactorily, but it refuses to talk to SMTP servers via the external modem and my slow dialup service, even with a clean install of the program and a new, from scratch Settings file.

One thing you might try is importing your Mail files to Thunderbird, and if that proves successful you could then check if Eudora has better luck importing Thunderbird mail and settings.

Eudora 6.2.4 runs beautifully on both my Pismos under OS X 10.4.11 and has no difficulty connecting to SMTP servers over my dialup connection with them, so it should work well for you if you can get the mail import accomplished.

Sorry I can't be of more help with your specific issue.


Dear Mr. Moore,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my letter in such detail.

Nobody knows everything there's to know about anything - that's one of the reasons we are so many, and so different, I think. But I digress. You do know a lot about Eudora - and it was actually your knowledge what gave me the key to my problem.

When you said "Eudora 6.2.4"" it occurred to me to double-check the version I had. It turned out to be 6.2.3, for some reason - why I downloaded the next-to-last build is a question I'll be asking myself for a while.

I trashed the old Eudora, downloaded 6.2.4, and before you can say Jack Robinson it transferred everything from Mail, just like I remembered having read somewhere. It connects well to the server, gets new mail, the works! And, despite of what you thought, I actually have you to thank for that.

The interface, though, does not seem very intuitive. I used Outlook Express for many years before switching from the Dark Side (and I use "dark" here in the sense of "obscure" and "difficult"; I highly doubt Apple can give anybody lessons in morality or unselfishness). I have been using Mail ever since, and a browser to manage my Hotmail account, and all of my email when I'm away from home.

Eudora's interface is somewhat baffling to me. I'm used to see all my custom mailboxes at once and switch from one to the other, and as far as I can tell the process with Eudora is not the same. They all open in different windows when I look for them in the dropdown menu. The documentation and the help aren't very helpful, to say the least.

Could I abuse once more your kindness and ask you to point out some resources I could use for a better understanding of Eudora's works?

Thanks again for your knowledge and patience. And keep up the good work... :-)

Best regards,

Hi Felix,

I'm delighted to hear that my reply was of some help, however inadvertent.

As for Eudora's interface, I suppose it's at least partly a matter of taste, but the "non-interface interface" is one of the thinks I really love about Eudora Classic. I even keep the toolbar turned off, and I find working from the menu bar more intuitive and slicker, and the conventional three-box interface of Thunderbird, which I what I'm using now on my Intel Mac, clumsy and frustrating. Different strokes, I guess.

Qualcomm offers online Eudora tutorials. You can find a similar resource in Using Eudora: A Quick Guide from the Academic Computing and Communications Center at UIC.

If a book format resource appeals to you, check out Using Eudora by Dee-Ann Leblanc.


Running SETI@Home on a MacBook

From Eric:

Hi Charles. Just a quick note to Rich, whose email was posted today. He wrote:

"The new MacBook doesn't seem to offer that option, and so it apparently runs full-tilt all the time. Running the SETI program generates enough of a load (apparently) that the fans run most of the time - increasing noise and power consumption. Are you aware of a solution to this, or have I maybe over looked a system setting somewhere?"

I use SETI@Home, as well as many other @Home projects, 24/7 . My MBP's fans were spinning a lot as well, but there's a fix within the BOINC client. In the Menu Bar, go to Advanced > Preferences. At the bottom, there is a place for the user to input the percentage of CPU they want to use for their @Home projects. I set it to 50%, and the fans no longer spin. He can play around and see what percentage is optimal for him, but this may be a fix he's looking for. (At least for @Home projects.)

HI Eric,

Thanks for the tip which sounds (of silence) like a perfect solution.


Running Windows on Pre-Intel Macs

From Ted:

Hi Charles:

This query was posted on another list - I was wondering if you could help?


I do some volunteer work helping a charity with their 5 Macintoshes from the late 1990s and early 2000s. All have the older Motorola chips, not the newer Intel chips.

They need to install a Windows program to run an office program developed by their US headquarters. I installed a Windows emulation program on a iMac for my friend Anne-Marie about 10 years ago, but I can't remember the name of it any more, only that it was bought out by Microsoft. I seem to recall that there was another Windows emulation program, too, before the Intel chips.

Can someone tell me the names of these (I suppose) legacy programs, and most important, where we can find one, purchase it, etc.

Hi Ted,

The program referenced is Virtual PC. For more information on the program, see <>.


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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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