Charles Moore's Mailbag

500 MHz iBook Keeps Going, iBook Video Repair, a WiFi Card That Costs Less than AirPort, and More

Charles Moore - 2009.05.13 -Tip Jar

Dual USB iBook Keeps Going and Going

From Scott:

My 500 MHz iBookbelonged to a Wycliffe Bibletranslator who traveled all over the world with it. I don't knowwhat languages it worked on, but I do know a few of the places it went.It was given to me when I worked at Wycliffe in 2006. I've used itevery day since then, including today. It's kinda beat and scratched upon the outside, and the letters are starting to wear off the keyboardnow.

I notice, compared to my niece's almost brand new 600 MHz iBook, my well worn 500MHz iBook has a slight pink hue to the screen. I guess that's normalfor the bulbs to change color with age? I suspect my old 500 MHz iBookcould actually wear out or go completely obsolete before it dies ofvideo card failure. I don't think that would be likely with one of thenewer iBooks though.


Hi Scott,

Wycliffe Bible Translators, eh? Good on you.

A tough old iBook you have there. I think the problemstended to affect some units and not others, and atypically, in the caseof dual USB iBooks, it seems that the Revision A (500 MHz) models werethe least troublesome.

The "pink screen" is an indication that the CCFLbacklight tube is getting tired. One of my Pismos has been like that forthe past four years or so. I have a good screen assembly I could use toreplace it with no need to resort to soldering, but I never seem to getaround to it.


From Scott

I wasn't a Bible translator myself. I was in charge of energyconservation controls systems for the heating and air conditioning onthe Dallas campus. I was also briefly under contract with the Orlandocampus to produce a new radio show, which never happened unfortunately.I haven't been overseas or in the mission field. I have absolutely nolanguage translation ability! (laugh)

I'm not worried about the pinkish screen. I never noticed it until Ihad this practically unused 600 MHz iBook sitting right beside my wellworn 500 MHz iBook. I noticed the firmware on the 600 MHz iBook isdifferent from the 500 MHz iBook. The 500 MHz iBook will go to sleepand power down my Macally FireWire hard drive, but the 600 MHz iBookleaves that same hard drive powered up when it goes to sleep. That'skinda weird. (puzzled look)


Hi Scott,

Those who control energy conservation also serve.

Odd that the 600 MHz machine leaves the external harddrive powered up. Not sure what would cause that.

The pink screen thing will gradually get worse, but inmy experience it's a slow deterioration.


Dell Has the Best Replacement for the 12"PowerBook

From André in response to 12", 4 Pound Averatech N2700Exactly What Apple Should Be Building:


I read your article on LEM. It was a good article, but in my opinionthat notebook is more like "the netbook Apple should be buying".

Guys who bought 12" iBooks and PowerBooks paid high prices when new,so a good "what Apple should be building" (to replace the 12'PowerBooks) was this Dell e4200.

Not only by the price tag, but the building quality, the hardware,everything.

Sorry for my bad English.

Greetings from Portugal,
André (happy iBook G3 user )

Hi André,

Your English is fine - a lot better than myPortuguese!

I'm glad you are getting good service from your G3iBook. I liked mine.

The Averatech N2700 is, strictly speaking, not anetbook, because it has a Core 2 Duo processor, a bigger hard drivethan most netbooks, comes with the non-netbook version of Windows, andfew, if any, netbooks are available with 4 GB of RAM.

Thanks for your comment.


Wegener Media's iBook Video Repair Service

From Geoff:

I'm wondering if anyone else has had experience with Wegener Media's repairservice for the G3 iBook video issues. Mine is a 700 MHz 16 MB VRAM model andsuddenly developed what I think is the legendary video chip issue. Thecomputer powers on fine, looks to be booting, and then locks up aboutthe time it hits the login window. The screen turns black, and themachine is completely locked. That is the video problem, right?

Right now I'm trying to decide between repairing the G3, buying aDell Mini 9 and hoping for the best with an OS X conversion, orshooting for a used G4 iBook/early MacBook. I'd rather just stick withthe G3, and if anyone has a success story or advice for a repair optionI'd love to hear it.

What a machine that iBook is/was! I found it in absolutely mintcondition on eBay about a year ago with a brand new spare battery. Maxed RAM anda nice pirate flag on the lid made it quite the mobile machine. I hadhoped that it had already been through the Apple repair program earlierin its life, but now I suspect that its brand new condition meant thatthe previous owner hadn't used it enough to aggravate the videocard.

I've been investigating my options online and am sure I have nobusiness opening the iBook. I know Wegener is reputable, but I'd rathernot spend $150 on an old laptop unless the repair is really worth it. Aword of advice from the LEM community would be much appreciated.

Thank you!


Hi Geoff,

Hard to diagnose whether it's the video issue fromafar, but it's a likely guess given the symptoms you describe and thatmodel's history of video troubles.

Personally, I would not recommend spending seriousmoney on repairing a G3 iBook. My advice if you like these machineswould be to pick up a refurbished one from Wegeners or elsewhere forvery little more than $150 and use your old one as a parts mule.

Wegeners has 500 MHz G3 models starting at $169.99.

I'd definitely prefer one of those to a Dell Mini 9,although I would suggest you give a refurbished MacBook seriousconsideration.

The trouble with iBook repairs, over and above thecost versus the relative value of the machine, is that there's no wayof knowing whether it will last or not. I have heard from or of severaliBook owners who went through three or four successive iBook logicboard replacements, done by Apple.

Just my 2 cents.


Cheaper Than AirPort WiFi for Many PowerBooks

From Douglas:


I don't know if you ever covered this about the older G3 PowerBooks,but if anyone out there is looking for a really cheap PCMCIAwireless card, all they need to do is get an old Apple AirPort basestation, open it up, and take the PCMCIA card out of it. The BaseStations are nothing more than a "docking bay" for the PCMCIA card, soyou take it apart, unplug the PCMCIA card, and stick it into yourPowerBook G3. Works like a champ, is obviously AirPort compatible(duh), and the old base stations are super cheap (I paid $5 formine).


Hi Douglas.

Indeed! Super tip.



Editor's note: The Graphite AirPort Base Station hasthe Orinocco Silver PC Card. The White AirPort Base Station uses anApple AirPort Card. dk

More Thoughts on WiFi Hotspot Insecurity

From Andrew:


Your article links a column by David Pogue, "How Secure Is YourWi-Fi Connection?" FYI, here's another, shorter URL that displaysthearticle including reader comments, which may also be ofinterest.


Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the link!


Thanks from a Eudora Fan

From Roland:

Thanks for the Eudora info. I've been using it (7) since 1997 tooand have 210 folders and maybe 100 subfolders and close to 1000mailboxes plus 150 filters.

That adds up to 37,440 files and 4.3G.

Sometimes I think it wasn't meant to be ridden like this and I'mgoing to break it.

When I go to Eudora 8, I may start from scratch. Kind like when youhouse burns down and months later you realize you didn't need 80% ofwhat's gone.

Any good spam filter recommendations?

Hi Roland,

My pleasure.

My Eudora Folder is a more modest 522 MB with 1,522items - the accumulation of a dozen years - also since 1997 - but I'msemi-obsessive about keeping things weeded out.

However, my Thunderbird/Eudora 8 profile folder, afteronly a couple of months, is already 431.1 MB for 383 items.

I just imported my Eudora Mailboxes into Thunderbird(currently version The Thunderbird folder is also used byEudora 8.

The only spam filters I use are the ones applied by myvarious email services. I find that very little gets past Gmail'sfilters, and GMX and Yahoo! are good too, but Yahoo! has no free POP 3support.


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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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