Charles Moore's Mailbag

Firefox 4 Compiled for Tiger and PPC Macs, the Intel/PowerPC Gap, Robot Car Safety, and More

Charles Moore - 2010.10.28 - Tip Jar

Firefox 4 Beta 7 Running in Tiger on a PowerPC Mac

From Cameron:


With respect to support for PPC and Tiger in Firefox 4: When you want something done, do it yourself.

Success! Firefox 4.0b7pre on a Power Mac G5 running OS X Tiger.

A public test binary for people to play with will be out soon, followed by optimized builds for G3/G4/G5.

"the Classilla guy"

Firefox 4 Beta 7 on a G5 running OS X 10.4 Tiger
Firefox 4 Beta 7 on a G5 running OS X 10.4 Tiger.

Hi Cameron.

Good work!

Is there any download URL for your Tiger-compatible Firefox 4 version?



Classic Eudora 6.2 and Mac OS X

From Rod:

Hello Charles:

I'm emailing you using my Eudora 6.2 software, with a blind cc to Entourage in case overconfidence punishes me.

Through trial and error, I succeeded in moving my PowerBook G4 Eudora 5.2 In and Out Boxes to my new iMac. Remarkably, they are now intact with each opening of Eudora 6.2.

My current issue is finding a way to open and launch 6.2 more easily.

Currently, each time I now open the application, I am greeted by completely empty In and Out Boxes and Preference Files. I then see a couple of messages asking about importing files. I cancel both, go to my Eudora Folder, and click on Eudora Settings. This function:

  • immediately checks email;
  • provides all my settings;
  • opens an updated, intact In Box. (The "former" Out Box is also retained.)

Have you found an easier way to open the Eudora application with settings and mail boxes, etc. intact?

Rod Landgraff

Hi Rod,

Eudora 6.2.4 continues to start up and access my many years of archived mailboxes just fine on my Core 2 Duo MacBook running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Sending and receiving mail can be a bit flaky, and I've long since terminated using classic Eudora for that on the Intel machine in favor of Eudora 8 OSE, which is not as congenial an application as the old Eudora but had the advantage of a development future and a large user base, thanks to being a clone of Mozilla Thunderbird.

I admire the dedication and perseverance of those seeking workarounds to permit continuing use of Eudora 6.x with post-Tiger versions of OS X, but I anticipate that Carbon app support could well be a goner with OS X 10.7 Lion, or almost certainly the OS X version that follows it, so I've resigned myself to making my peace with Eudora OSE, which has the facility to import your Eudora Classic message archives and settings.

For simple access to the content in a pinch, a text editor can open classic Eudora mailbox files.

I continue to happily use Eudora 6.2.4 on my Pismo PowerBooks running OS X 10.4.11 Tiger.


Bridging the Gap Between PowerPC and Intel

From Bill:

Dear Charles,

It's been ages since my last post (May of '05), and I hope this finds you well !

In the interim, I've finally relegated (Dad's and) my Pismos to back-up status and moved us on to the final 1 GHz TiBook that will still boot natively in OS 9, which I've found possible even without the machine-specific version of the system software. More commonly, "Classic" suffices, which is part of the reason I've also doggedly held to Tiger (Leopard is caged in a separate partition where I play occasionally).

Your recent article [Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Increasingly Left Behind by Browser Updates] on the PPC platform vs. browsers (what's with Shiira 2.3?) gave cause for consternation, so I'd like to hear your thoughts on three issues:

  1. Which, if any, hardware might best bridge the abyss between PPC and Intel? (Although most all my work is currently on the above-referenced TiBook, a Performa 6360 remains on my desk for TV [analog converter!] and infrequent use of an old Agfa SCSI scanner [file transfer via AFP].) My wife receives a generous allotment for personal computers every few years that can be applied to new or used equipment, and we'd like to move toward state-of-the art without fully abandoning ties to the past.
  2. Over the years, I've been puzzled by your emphatic devotion to Eudora and actually procured registration codes just before Qualcomm quit. Other than the ability to "Send Later", I've never quite understood why you like it so well? (After an early stint with Apple Mail, I've been getting by with Entourage for some time now.)
  3. Finally, I've remained a devotee of NUDC (Now Up-to-Date & Contact) since 1995 (now at 5.3.2) and have begun using the extremely convenient scripts (supplied only w/5.3.1) to dial out on either Skype or Vonage. If it weren't for the unreliability of reminders, I'd still be pretty pleased with the programs (I've actually modified my use of "Events" to emulate a GTD [Getting Things Done] system fairly well). Perhaps you're familiar with the comparative review at In any case, I'm curious about your preferred method for keeping things on track.

Thanks so much for your time and consideration!

All the Best,

P.S. Good to hear the positive trends in speech recognition (I still feel that ViaVoice did admirably prior to OS X...)

Hi Bill,

Good to hear from you again.

My two Pismos in active service (I spend three to four hours on them most days) both still have OS 9.2 installed and are capable of booting directly into it, but I expect that it's been well over a year since I did that, although I keep Classic Mode up and running all the time in OS X 10.4 Tiger and still employ some Classic applications for production work.

On to your questions.

  1. The ideal transition machine from PPC to Intel would be an early Intel model that can support OS X 10.4. Finding Intel compatible drivers for the old SCSI scanner could be a challenge. Of course, Tiger itself is getting well behind the curve.
  2. Eudora aficionado-dom is probably one of those "if I have to explain it, you'll never understand" matters. The application just struck a resonant chord with me, as it does with many others evidently. I like its robustness, flexibility, immense custom configurability and facilitation of manual control over most everything, its fast search engine and graceful, no-hassle handling of multiple accounts. I like the fact that you can open Eudora mailboxes and access their content with a basic text editor. I like the multiple window user interface. I've now gotten used to using Thunderbird-based Eudora OSE, but I've never found an email client I like as well as classic Eudora (Infinity Data Systems' MailForge shows promise that is as yet unrealized).
  3. I've never even dipped a proverbial toe in the waters of NUDC, GTD software, or Internet telephony, so any comment I could make would be purely speculative. My preferred method of keeping things on track is semi-organized chaos, if that's not a complete oxymoron. ;-)

If you liked ViaVoice, you should live Dragon Dictate. It's amazingly good,


Editor's note: Ed Eubanks Jr. surveyed the GTD landscape in 2006, reporting on 12 Task Management Solutions for Mac Users and 9 Online Task Management Solutions. These might be good starting points if you want to research GTD options, although the landscape has undoubtedly changed in the past four years. dk

That 'Self-driving Car' Article

From Chris:

Re: that "self-driving car" article with auto enthusiasts clamoring for manual control

This struck a chord with me. It reminds me of the usual debates about the merits of Macs. The enthusiasts don't like them, because they feel that Apple has too much control over them and that there aren't enough parts options. OS X seems capable enough, given the Mach/BSD underpinnings and the Terminal, but perhaps it's more of a hardware thing in this case.

The enthusiasts want more power - and more overall options - than what Apple offers with even the Mac Pro. I'm talking about the sort of people who generally custom-build their PCs, some of them even going so far that they won't just get top-shelf parts, but liquid-cool them (if they're not going for phase-change or outright liquid nitrogen) and overclock them to obscene levels. For the software side of things, they'd probably be more insistent on some variety of Linux or BSD, though those types probably aren't as likely to go all-out on the hardware as mentioned earlier (most of those types run Windows, because that's where the games are).

If we're staying with cars . . . well, is it just American drivers that are losing or not developing driving skills? Is it actually happening all around the world? Should they be needed?

Some people don't care about how something works so long as it works; that's an incentive on the computer side of things to buy Macs, right?

I'm just thinking about what the auto enthusiasts expect out of their fellow drivers. Heel-and-toe shifting requires me to contort my foot unnaturally, and it just doesn't feel good; I would've preferred if the clutch were a pressure-sensitive paddle on the left side of the wheel or something along those lines so that I can dedicate my feet to gas and brake. Better yet, I'd rather have a sequential paddle shifting system like many of the European exotics, Formula One cars, and rally cars use. They may argue that it defeats the purpose of having a manual transmission, since shifting beyond first gear no longer requires a depression of the clutch pedal and there's no gated stick shift, but I'd still be in control of what gears are used and when it shifts, which is more than can be said for the typical automatic transmission. It makes me think about what things computer enthusiasts have come to expect out of anyone else who uses a computer.

That's enough musing for now. Good luck with the Pismo.


Hi Chris,

I think you've correctly identified a large element in the typical PC-oriented computer tinkerers objection to the Mac. Apple hardware is never likely to become a popular platform with hot rodders.

I can almost field strip a Pismo in my sleep, and I can upgrade and repair my machines when they require it, but I've never found messing around with electronics a pastime that I would ever cultivate for pleasure, unlike messing around with cars, which I've had little time for in recent years, but which I used to enjoy immensely. Probably less so now that the cars are so heavily computerized.

One of the marquee appeals of the Mac for me is consequently the typical "it just works" factor. In 20 months on my Unibody MacBook, the only attention it's required was when I upgraded the RAM to 4 GB. Other than that, it's just run like a well-oiled watch with no attention other than incremental system version upgrades and the occasional maintenance software run. It was the same with my previous 17" PowerBook, 12" iBook, and even on the 10-year-old Pismos - downtime and opening up have been mainly limited to specification upgrades. My recent replacement of the video inverter and display screen and my oldest Pismo (a half-hour job) are the notable exception.

I'm quite happy to live in the Macintosh GUI the vast majority of time, although it's reassuring to have the option of being able to dip into the command line with the terminal if there's some compelling reason to do so, which I find there usually isn't.

I don't think that in a global context, American (or Canadian) drivers have ever been particularly skilled. Our wide-open spaces, superhighways, and penchant for automatic transmissions - to say nothing of cruise control, combined with our snail's pace speed limits even on our excellent wide, straight highways - all conspire against development of the real serious driving skills that are necessary in most of the world.

Automobile Magazine editor Joe DeMatio recently did a tour through several European countries in a 556 hp 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe (available with a manual transmission - good on General Motors!), ending up in Germany, where he was able to cruise legally on the autobahn in the potent Caddy at 150 mph with bursts up to 165 mph, and found himself trailing a local in an Audi.

Most Germans I know are automobile enthusiasts and excellent drivers, and statistics prove that driving at those speeds can be no more dangerous, in terms of accident frequency, than slower speeds in other European countries on limited access highways. The key is requiring a higher level of driving skill in order to become licensed. Memorizing the traffic code rules and knowing how to parallel park, which is about all it takes to get a license in North America, just wouldn't fly in Europe.

With the new dual-clutch computer-controlled "manual" transmissions, you can get your wish for paddle shifting (or full automatic, for that matter) with no performance penalty. However, I prefer the foot clutch and never found the hand clutch/foot shifter on motorcycles especially intuitive. I also never warmed to the standard mode of heel and toe shifting with toe on the brakes and heel on the gas, but learned to do it "backwards" with pressing the brake with my heel and blipping the throttle with my toe, something I do instinctively now when downshifting manual transmissions even if they have good synchromesh.


Editor's note: See Macs, PCs, and Power Users, which I wrote in 2001, for my perspective on PC power users and Macs. dk

Cars, Hot Rodding, and Computers

From Steve:


Hot rodding is still alive, but now it's a fusion of mechanical, electronic, and computer skills. Making a car faster in a straight line is essentially improving airflow through the engine, getting the right amount of fuel at the right time, and getting power to the ground. In previous years, before electronic controls were common, intake porting and polishing, new manifolds, larger and/or more carburetors, and bigger valves got the air in, and low restriction exhaust systems got the air out. Jetting, adjusting secondaries, and power valves got the fuel mixture correct. Getting power to ground was a challenge of gearing and tires.

Most hot rodding really has not changed. Porting, polishing, manifolds, and changes to the intake air path are still the hot rodders' tools. Low restriction exhaust systems, especially "cat back" exhaust retrofits, are common. Gearing and tires are still in play.

What is new is getting fuel to the engine and optimizing mechanical modes of operation (e.g. shifting). Fuel injection is vastly more flexible and precise to meter fuel to the engine. What was once a strictly mechanical process is now dominated by electronics. The new hot-rodder understands the sensors on his engine, the information they provide, and how the information is used by the powertrain controller. The new hot rodder might modify the sensors on his vehicle (maybe adding a resistor to the circuit, maybe relocating the sensor) to alter the information. The new hot rodder will connect a computer to his powertrain controller and modify engine control algorithms (the programming) and/or look up tables to adjust the engine "mapping". Transmission shift control and traction control optimize getting power to the ground and can also be varied by powertrain control modification.

I joke that the closest thing to a computer on my 1966 Corvairs is the fuel gage. My 1986 Corvette utilizes first/second generation powertrain controls. My 1997 Saturn utilizes third/fourth generation powertrain controls. The bottom line is that they can all be tinkered with to improve performance; the difference is that I apply computer and electronic skills to the Corvette and Saturn.

By the way, the Powerglide used on many high performance drag cars is not your "grandmother's" Powerglide. In many cases, the power draining torque converter is replaced by a clutch and the automatic shift provisions are eliminated. Essentially, all that remains of the Powerglide is the two speed planetary gear train.

Finally, I'd vote (if reader input is invited) to keep the automatic in the Imperial. 727 Torqueflites are rugged beasts and can give some pretty impressive performance, especially in a car that could be "grandma's" car.


Hi Steve,

Good points all. My daughter is a 21st Century hotrodder in the sense that she understands and can manipulate the electronics in today's computermobiles but still appreciates the traditions of the sport/pastime/obsession. She's made her living variously in computer tech support and auto mechanics. Her latest acquisition is a '51 Mercury with a flathead V-8 - one of my all-time favorite mills, and about as contra today's computer-modulated wonders as you can get. My only flatty was in a '53 Ford F-200 3/4 ton truck, but it was a honey. Astonishingly smooth, quiet, and torque-y. Oddly, the overhead cam 4.6 liter V-8 in my 2000 Mercury reminds me of the old flathead, thanks to those same characteristics, plus the fact that it's almost the same displacement, albeit putting out twice the horespower.

I had a '66 Corvair Monza two-door hardtop - black with a white interior. Mixed memories. Loved the styling and the handling, not so much the Corvair version of the Powerglide.

Yes, the A727 Torqueflite is usually a tough and good-performing transmission. I've owned several cars and trucks with Torqueflites, and I've never had one fail on me (although the one in my '77 Dodge Royal Sportsman van slipped on the 2-3 shift), but I'm still partial to manual gearboxes, and I guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree with that preference. The '68 Imperial is a hotrod, with front and rear subframe sections and suspension from a '78 New Yorker grafted in, a 440 with a ThermoQuad, exhaust headers, and 3" pipes all the way to the back, and a non-stock interior, so preserving authenticity is not an issue.


Robot Cars Will Be Safer

From Kevin:

Considering the incredible number of car accident injuries and fatalities every year, even when drivers are sober, responsible adults, it won't take much in the future to convince me that it is human drivers who should be prohibited from driving.

Robot cars would, literally, have to kill more than 260,000 children per year to be more dangerous than human drivers.


Hi Kevin,

It's difficult to refute your logic, so I won't even try. You're almost certainly right on the point.

All I can say is that if a world is coming where we abdicate all responsibility for complex tasks and pastimes to the cold precision and efficiency of machine control, I'm exceedingly thankful that I grew up and experienced young adulthood in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s when life was so much more human-oriented, free, and fun, albeit concededly more dangerous.

No seatbelts. No airbags. Motorcycle helmets were rare, and bicycle helmets unheard of. As kids, we rode around in the cargo beds of open pickup trucks and station wagons with the rear window down.

Do I advocate reversion to those circumstances? No. I buckle up these days and wear a helmet when I ride my bike. My big Mercury Grand Marquis with its airbags, seatbelts, and antilock brakes is indubitably safer than the cars I drove back in the '60s, to say nothing of its computer-controlled fuel injection and spark advance making it superbly reliable and capable of fuel mileage that wouldn't have been possible with a small economy car forty-odd years ago.

To throw the dynamic into another context, it's without question safer and vastly more efficient to cross an ocean in a modern, mostly computer-flown Boeing or Airbus in a few hours that it would be to make the crossing in a small sail yacht over several weeks or even months, but not nearly as satisfying to the human soul (I'm a former avid sailor, and hope to get back to it someday).


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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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