Revised with new information October 28,
|| I still love my
(scroll down to see the list of software and versions I
As of 2008, it was no longer my primary computer, but even then, I still
LOVE my "old" lime iBook (clamshell). I was as excited about the
performance of this computer as I was with the very first Mac I owned,
back in 1990 (a Mac Classic II, still the best computer I've ever had). I
wonder if I'll ever feel that way again about a Mac...
My lime green clamshell iBook, bought in December 2000, came loaded with
just about everything I needed for work and for fun, certainly more than
Macs come loaded with now. Unlike today's Apple
laptops, I knew how to use it immediately, as well as how to make
the desktop look exactly the way I wanted. I was able to navigate my
documents and applications exactly the way I wanted to. And it was LIME
GREEN. People came up to me in airports and hotel lobbies to ask me about
it. The guy at the Macintosh store in Cologne, Germany was in love with it
on first sight when I brought it in seeking additional memory. For more
than seven years, it was my primary computer: reliable and powerful, and
it has never stopped having SASS, even today. I don't know how to say in
techno-jargon why this computer is so great. I just know that it is.
Because of the changes in most web sites (NONE of which improve content
delivery for users - it just makes it possible to send out more
advertising and eat up bandwidth) which prohibit many old browsers from
accessing such, and because of some VoIP
technologies that aren't accessible, I finally had to buy a
new computer (yes, it's a Mac) - and a few
years later, another. But I've kept up this page that details my setup for
my lime iBook clamshell, which I hope will help other OS 9x users and
other clamshell users. The information includes a list of related web
sites focused on using "vintage" machines.
WHAT MY iBOOK DOES
Through December 2007, before I upgraded to a new computer, I used my
Some of those things you can still do with an iBook running OS 9 - but most
of the things I can't, because I cannot get the computer on the Internet
anymore, either wirelessly or plugged in directly to the Internet. I would
LOVE to be able to remedy this, not to surf the web, because I know that's
impossible because of modern web sites (except for maybe mobile-ready web
sites), but just to listen to online radio / live streaming. If you have any
specific advice on getting this iBook on the Internet - or if you have
managed to do so - please contact
- maintain my contacts database of a few thousand business contacts
that tracks my interactions with them and "action needed" items, as well
as oh-so-much-more information; maintain my project management database
of my many activities; and maintain a billing database, all created by
yours truly on FileMaker Pro 5.0.
- design and manage various publications, from newsletters to
guidebooks to web sites
- manage my email (you don't even want to know how much email I get in
even just one day)
- work on my own web
- surf the web, and access newsgroups (yes, those still exist) and
various web-based discussion groups
(and still a few email-based ones as well).
- organize my many, many external web links and my own web pages
offline into my own simple intranet (sometimes, I turn these pages into
new pages on my web site, if I think others
might be interested in what I've compiled)
- interact with other students at Open
University via its First Class Client
- chat live with friends all over the world (via text-based chat)
- watch DVDs, either via the laptop or hooking my computer up to my TV
in Germany (yes, even though it's a European TV system, I could do that
with my American-bought computer)
- download and watch short videos (mostly movie trailers -I love movie
trailers- and silly commercials from friends).
- work on word-processing files, spreadsheets, and databases from other
organizations, developed in various different programs and on various
different machines (it's easy to share files among
others without specialized software).
- listen to the radio via the Internet; my favorite stations back in
the day were Hober Thinking Radio, AirAmerica
Radio, and KUT Austin (Texas). I
also listened to some radio stations via iTunes (bookliquor.com
is my favorite).
- organize, edit and alter photos from my digital camera (which is also
old; bought in 2001)
- create and alter graphics
- work from anywhere: home, someone else's home, someone else's office,
airport waiting area, etc.
- work wirelessly, and at home with my Airport, so did my then beau
(now husband) via his 586, which was then running Windows 98, with a
D-link device connected from his computer to my now-vintage Airport.
- practico mi Espaņol con CD-ROM (the brand "Instant Immersion" is my
- splice together short videos I take with my digital camera, bought in
2001, and add my own voice overs and music as well as some text, to make
short Quicktime movies for my family and friends back in the USA (via
iMovie 2.0.1, which came already-loaded on my iBook when I bought it).
- record short audio files, including my own podcast.
- download songs from emusic.com
and organize these, along with songs from my CD collection, into various
playlists on iTunes
2.0.4 (took me forever to track down this last version of iTunes
for Mac OS 9). Alternatives to iTunes for Mac OS 9 include: Audion
2.5, MusicMatch 2.0, Cabrio 1.1 and Macast 1.0
- monitor various news outlets, online discussion groups and blogs via
RSS, as well as to monitor newswires automatically per certain
keywords, via My.Yahoo (however,
please note that Yahoo is about to discontinue support for Mac OS 9
users; if you have OS 9 and use an RSS reader, please let
me know what that is!)
- talk with other people via live audio chat, using iVisit
(it works SO much better than Skype).
- play a few simple computer games. I'm not much of a video gamer,
What do I use my iBook for now? To:
- watch DVDs, either via the laptop screen or hooking my computer up to
- listen to MP3 files and CDs while working on my MacBook (as of 2012,
my MacBook was so overwhelmed with bandwidth-hungry programs and web
sites that I had to upgrade AGAIN)
- create and alter graphics (sometimes easier to do than with what I
have on my Macbook)
- splice together short videos I take with my digital camera, bought in
2001, and add my own voice overs and music as well as some text, to make
short Quicktime movies (via iMovie 2.0.1, which came already-loaded on
my iBook when I bought it) - it's easier to do this on my iBook than my
A WORD ABOUT HARDWARE ACCESSORIES
I have an Airport that both I and my then beau, now husband (an
IBM/Clone user with an old version of Windows) used to access the Internet
via wireless network (and we can host dozens of more users, so when you
visit, bring your laptop!). In August 2005, I bought a LaCie d2 Hard Drive
Extreme with Triple Interface (USB 2.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800,
160GB), so that my data could stay here while I took my laptop on the road
more often -- and I saw a marked improvement in my iBook performance
because I moved so much data to the external hard drive. The LaCie hard
drive also makes backups a breeze. In addition, I installed (okay, a
friend installed) a 256 internal memory upgrade from ramjet.com,
and that made the iBook oh-so-much faster and more powerful. Total cost of
the hard drive and the memory upgrade: around $250. HOWEVER, now that my
MacBook also accesses the LaCie, my iBook takes several minutes to connect
Could I use an iPod with my lime iBook? According to what I've read
online, only if it's a 1st or 2nd generation, and NOT anything later and
NOT a mini. Also, you need for the iPod to be loaded with all of its
original software and settings. Anything else
will NOT work with such a computer, because Apple has put in all
sorts of blocks on later iPods to prevent non-OSX users from using the
tools (and I've yet to read about anyone hacking such for OS9).
I could use a webcam with my iBook -- but I never bothered to buy one,
as none of my friends or family had such then, and few of my professional
associates used them when this was my primary computer.
What software am I running? It's all "old," and I share this list to
help others who are also running old machines (as far as I know, this is
the latest versions of all of the following that will work on a computer
such as mine):
complete inventory of software I use on the iBook, and what is comparable
on the Macbook
- Operating system: 9.2.2, the last version of OS 9 released by Apple
- For email: when I downloaded mail, I used Eudora 6.1.1 Classic
(freeware). I haven't had time to check to see what online platforms
work with OS 9 web browers (YahooMail does NOT, for sure)
- For web browsing: Netscape 7.02, Mozilla 1.2.1 (freeware), Opera 6.03
(freeware), iCab 3.03 (freeware),
Classilla (freeware) and Internet Explorer 5 - they are all loaded on my
iBook. I think I am using the most recent versions of each of these that
is available for OS 9.2.2, but if I'm not, please let
me know. I'm not satisfied with any of them, by the way -- all
have major weaknesses. The one I use most? Opera.
- For PDF, Adobe Acrobat 5.0 (freeware)
- For live chats: Yahoo! Messenger 2.5.3 (freeware) - though I no
longer chat using this computer, so I have no idea if this still works
- For uploading pages to my web site: Fetch 3.0.1 (freeware)
- For creating web pages: BBEdit 5.1
- For database development: FileMaker Pro 5
- For word processing: AppleWorks 6 (ClarisWorks came with the iBook,
and free upgrades have been provided online) and Microsoft Office 2001
- For creating and altering graphics and photos: AppleWorks 6
- For watching DVDs: Apple DVD Player 2.2 (freeware, came with the
- To view short online videos: Quicktime 6.0.3 (freeware, last version
compatible with 9.2.2), Real Player 8 Basic (freeware), Windows Media
Player 7.1 (freeware)
- For creating my own movies, iMovie 2.0.1 (version released in 2000,
came with my iBook), with MoviePlayer 2.3.7 (version released in 1997);
the version of iMovie is supposed to be a demo version, but with the old
MoviePlayer application, I get full functionality.
- For making audio files: for short files, I use Simple Sound version
1.1 (from 1995; moved from an older Mac I owned previously); for longer
files or podcasts, I use Audacity 1.0.0 (came with my iMic, version
released in 2000; I bought the iMic so I could use a headset)
- For playing my favorite songs from my own CDs and listening to online
radio stations, iTunes
2.0.4 (freeware) or Audion 3.0.2a 9 (freeware, version released in
- For listening to radio stations, either Real Player 8 Basic
(freeware), or iTunes
2.0.4 (sadly, I have yet to find an online radio station or
podcast that can be accessed by these old versions now)
- To access the Open University intranet, to interact with other
students, First Class Client (freeware).
NOTE: Open University doesn't use this anymore. HUGE shame - it was
Note : In 2006, when I tried to empty my trash on my iBook, I got a
-127 error message. The trash
showed a jpeg file that was more than 130 GB -- impossible on my little lime
iBook with just over 9 GB of disk space. The date and time also reset
itself, twice, to January 1, 1901. Zapping the pram or rebuilding the
desktop with TechTool did nothing, nor did using Disk FirstAid. Someone on
University Mac Users Forum recommended DiskWarrior,
and since nothing else would work and I couldn't find any other advice for
this problem, I ordered it. It arrived, I used it, and the -127 error was
gone and my computer trash was empty! I'm not the brightest bulb in the box
when it comes to technology tools (and cannot understand why anyone would
ever confuse me for a techie), but had no problems using DiskWarrior at all,
straight out of the box. And it was awesome to find a product that works
with OS 9x (let me say it again: not all of us have the funds to upgrade our
systems to OSX and all of our software to work with such). DiskWarrior not
only fixed my problem, it also cleaned up my iBook's "directory structure,"
(which it turns out it very much needed). An added bonus: DiskWarrior has an
internal diagnostic that can let you know if a drive is in danger of
physical malfunction, so you can back up your data before the drive fails
(something I'm always afraid of).
Why am I telling you all this? Because I want to:
- help you to NOT be blackmailed by computer and software manufacturers
into upgrading your software and operating system whenever they
tell you to; before you upgrade anything, find out YOURSELF how such an
upgrade is going to affect all of your other software, particularly if
you are being pressured to upgrade your operating system. You can do
this by finding an online information source that speaks in a language
you can understand -- it may be an online magazine, it may be an online
discussion group, but there is at least one out there for you, if you
look, and once you find it, check in regularly.
- remind you that there are millions of people who are NOT using an IBM
Clone PC, who are NOT using Microsoft as an operating system, who are
using software OTHER THAN that made by Microsoft, and who are NOT
upgrading hardware and software every time manufacturers or IT
consultants say to -- so don't leave the millions of us out when
you design or upgrade computer resources.
- counter the arguments of people who say that donations of used
hardware and software are "useless" and even "condescending" to those to
receive such. I get as much out of my "lower end"
machine and "old" resources as most people do with the latest and
greatest toys, and others can too.
- show that it's easy to interact with a Windows and PC-based
environment via a Mac, even an old one.
MY TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY/PHILOSOPHY
It is wasteful and silly to get rid of a computer and software just
because a new model or an upgrade has come out. I'm the same way about
vehicles. If I can still use it, and it does everything I need it to, why
upgrade? It's bad for the environment, I can't afford it, and even
when I can afford it, I'd rather spend my money on other things.
I used DOS-based computers in the work place (just for word-processing
and some basic database management) until 1990, when I worked at a place
that had Mac Classics and Mac SEs. And I fell in love with those
machines... So easy to use. Everything seemed intuitive. They worked the
way I think. No need to have a computer manual by my side. The desktop
publishing capabilities were awesome, particularly for a non-designer...
Later, I was thrilled with my very own Mac
Classic II -- what a work horse!
In 1996, I upgraded to a Macintosh Performa 6300. I wasn't thrilled with
it the first two years -- the hard drive failed, the mother board had to
be replaced, and the monitor had to be repaired twice. However, Apple
replaced or repaired all of these things for free, and once they were
fixed, the machine worked well at long last. It did everything I wanted it
to do -- surfed the Web, played Quicktime movies, designed brochures, and,
ofcourse, e-mail, e-mail, e-mail. And it made no difference that my work
place for a while was an IBM/Cloned environment -- it was easy-as-pie to
bring things home and work on them on the Mac.
But five years later, I was moving to Germany to work with the United
Nations Volunteers program, and I decided I did, indeed, need a new,
more powerful and more mobile machine to do everything I needed to do
online and off. I had intended to buy a PowerBook. The salesperson at UT
Campus Computer Center listened to how I used my computer currently, how I
intended to use a new computer in the future, and why I liked Macs so
much. She said that, based on my information, the less-expensive, more
durable iBook would be a much better choice. She demonstrated a model for
me, and I was impressed. There was no cherry/red choice, so I went for the
lime (it had more personality than the blue or cobalt).
It arrived a week later. And I still love it. For seven years,
it did everything I needed it to. It made me a reborn Mac disciple. This
is how a computer should work! All I needed was a power adapter for
European electrical outlets, once I moved to Germany (available in many
large grocery stores and Woolworth's), and I was all set... I use a zip
drive or a memory stick to take care of file-transfer issues that can't be
resolved via e-mail.
Why am I not running OSX on the iBook? If a lime iBook user upgrades its
internal memory, as I have, he or she can run OS 10.2, but according to
most of what I've read, nothing higher than that. An unaltered lime iBook
cannot run OSX. As noted earlier, I have, indeed, upgraded my iBook's
internal memory... but I have not upgraded the OS. I don't see a reason
to, as I will lose almost all of my software if I do, because most of it
will no longer function on OSX. It will cost thousands of dollars to
replace all the software that will not work with OS X -- it would be more
economical to just buy an entire new computer.
SO WHY UPGRADE AT ALL?
Because companies are purposefully and unnecessarily shutting out
certain computers and software when releasing new versions of web sites
and what not ("This paragraph can't be read because your software is
out-of-date..."). More and more web sites that worked for me even five
years ago no longer do, only because of the choices the web designer
has made (not because of any enhancements for the user).
Also, because computers do wear out, especially newer computers.
I'm not getting rid of this lime iBook, because I have no doubt there
are all sorts of things I do on this iBook I won't be able to on the new
RECYCLING & APPROPRIATE DISPOSAL
I'm sad to say that, according to Greenpeace's Guide to Greener
Electronics, Apple ranks near the bottom in getting toxic chemicals out of
its products and adopting a first class recycling policy. The toxic
chemicals Apple uses in its products end up in scrap yards in Asia where
they contaminate child laborers and the environment. Apple's voluntary
'recycling' program is weak and non-existent outside the U.S. unless
required by local governments (I've certainly never heard of it, and I
visit the Apple web site frequently). In addition, Apple continues to
oppose the adoption of strong recycling programs in the U.S. Please tell
Apple to go green. I have!
iBook and other vintage Mac Resources
When you are ready to get rid of your old technology, be sure you recycle
or dispose of the technology properly, so that you do not contribute
to toxins poisoning our land and water.
Apple support site for older software
- Official Apple
support site for OS9
- Another official
Apple support site for OS9
- Official apple product
discussions, which includes a section for OS 9. WARNING: some of
these people are very rude, rather than being helpful; if you can't
understand their advice and say so, expect a very condescending reply.
also, the advice is often "upgrade to a new Mac" which, ofcourse, is
- mac.oldapps.com, a database of
older versions of various Macintosh software.
Clamshell Parts, a good site to find replacement parts for your
- os9forever provides some
helpful utilities and information
X Mac Troubleshooting site.
- Resources For Users of Older Computers
Even in the new millennium, you CAN get a lot out of such older computer
systems -- you can surf the Internet, send and receive e-mail, create
databases, do desktop publishing, etc. This tip sheet will show you that
a lot can be done with just a little technology, and where to find
resources for your older computer. LOTS of links to other resources as
- Low End Mac offers a tremendous
amount of resources for both older and new macs, including several
e-mail discussion groups for different brands of vintage Macs. Lots of
info on how to get cutting edge functionality out of trailing edge (or
any!) Mac hardware and software.
- everymac.com is another
outstanding commercial site that offers better information about older
Macs than the Apple web site itself. The "Upgrade Cards" section is
particularly helpful. I'm particularly fond of the EveryMac.com's
- Keep Your Computer Humming:
Basic Vintage Computer Maintenance and Problem Solving
General tips for all computers, and specific information for both
Macintosh and IBM/Clone PC maintenance and problem-solving, basic
printer problem-solving, and things to do before you call technical
Other Helpful Resources
You can read more about My
tech: the networked technology tools I use (and have used over the
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