hard drive installation kit
expansion bay modules
comes in colors just in case you need to lend your mouse to some poor
soul with an iBook.
I'm not going to mention
the sad saga of the Outbound Portable by the way, except to say that it's
a sad saga. Like the desktop clone manufacturers, they made a better computer
than Apple did, for a better price, until Apple drove them out of business.
This was in the BS years (Between Steve), but you can still find support
and spare parts for these poor beasts at a
site run by one of Outbound's original tech support guys, Cory Burton.
[page 2 of 5]
But I digress. On
to the addons.
know the old adage to buy all the RAM you can afford? Tim's RAM Rule is
to buy all the RAM you can afford, then double it. Sell blood if you have
to, but don't even think of cutting this corner. The latest laptops all
ship with OS 9, which, as of this writing, has some serious memory issues,
not the least of which is that it hogs up at least 50 MB of RAM just to
And don't think that
you'll be okay with the standard 128 if all you're going to do is a little
word processing. Consider 256 the absolute minimum amount of RAM to use
with a PowerBook. The 1999 model can hold up to 512although the
lower slot uses more expensive low-profile chipsand the 2000 models
up to a gig. Sound like too much RAM for your needs? Then buy an iBook,
Seriously, some of
this is an OS 9 issue: I consider 256 the minimum for functioning on any
computer running it. Microsoft Word in particular sucks up all the RAM
it possibly can and doesn't release it when you quit. Feel free to insert
your own Microsoft joke here: I got you started by using "Microsoft"
and "sucks" in the same sentence, but you can get creative with
the "taking what doesn't belong to it" theme.
on RAM prices: I've always bought the cheapest RAM I could find from anybody
who offered a lifetime warranty, and, in 16 years of Macintosh computing,
I've had precisely one chip go bad. I sent it back for prompt and cheerful
replacement. Some folks swear that brand name RAM is the only way to go
for your PowerBook, but I'm not persuaded. Still, I don't want to lead
anyone astrayat least not on this issueso caveat emptor.
MobilStor hard drives http://store.powerbook1.com/
When I bought my PowerBook,
the biggest internal drive available was 6 gigs. To paraphrase Roy Scheider's
Sheriff Brody, you're gonna need a bigger boat. The 2000 PowerBooks offered
the option of drives up to 18 gigs, and this, frankly, is where you'll
want to begin. The good news for those of us who didn't or couldn't buy
one that big at the time is that MCE (Mac Components Engineered) offers
this very thing ($349) and more: Their internal drives go up to 30 gigs
for only $549. They come with very clear installation instructionsit's
really very easy, just a few screws and a small ribbon cableand
all the tools necessary. In addition to space, they offer significant
performance improvements. I love these things.
VST Expansion Bay Zip Drive http://www.vsttech.com
The hot-swappable expansion bay is one of my favorite things about the
G3 PowerBooks, and my favorite expansion bay drive is the VST Zip. I've
loved these since I bought one for my flaming 5300: It was the only part
of that computer that ever worked right. I know some folks have had problems
with Iomega products over the years, but I've always had good experiences
with Zips. They're also as close as we have to floppies these days, especially
for transferring files from PCs. If you're buying a new PowerBook, shop
around. Many vendors will make you an awesome deal on this, and some even
throw it in free.
USB Floppy drive ($69)
I can't tell you how many times I've been able to save the day with a
floppy disk. There are times when nothing else will do. I'll give you
an example. I was on the road doing a demo of BorisFX, along with some
other vendors who also offered products for this particular PC-based video
editing system that sponsored our little dog and pony show. Somebody asked
a question to one of the other vendors about a kind of keying that this
particular product didn't handle so well, but which BorisFX does. So I
opened up Photoshop on my laptop, created a couple of quick sample files,
whipped up some cross-platform effects settings with Boris, popped them
on a floppy and opened my presentation with my answer to the fellow's
question, to much ooh-ing and aah-ing. VST and MacAlly are two of the
vendors who sell these, but buy one from whoever you want. They connect
via USB, which means they're dog slow, but they're best $70-ish I ever
spent on my computer.
Ethernet crossover cable ($5 and up; size matters)
The best $10-ish I ever spent on my computer. Every Macintosh for the
past few years has had built-in Ethernet, a fast networking protocol,
but one which typically requires an outboard hardware hub to make the
network run. They aren't expensive, but many folks, especially those with
only one computer, haven't gotten around to buying one. A crossover cable
allows two Macs with Ethernet to connect via File Sharing, and it's very
often the fastest and easiest way to transfer files between two Macs.
Especially two PowerBooks. It's different from a regular Ethernet cable,
so be sure to specify a crossover cable when you go to buy one. I've used
one of these to save the day at least as often as a floppy, and it gets
bonus points for being much cooler. Mine's 12' long to provide plenty
of room for connecting to desktop Macs that might not be easily moved.
MacAlly iSweetNet three-button scrolling mouse
Yes, the PowerBook comes with a nifty trackpad, but you will truly come
to know the meaning of the word "pain" if you try to use it
for any amount of serious work, which is, after all, why you bought the
PowerBook. The pain starts in your thumb, moves to your wrist, starts
throbbing in your shoulder and is screaming madly by the time it reaches
your hindmost quarters. MacAlly's iSweetNet, despite the godawful name,
still kicks the aforementioned hindquarters of Apple's fancy-schmantzy
new optical mouse. It has two buttons and a scrolling wheel that can be
programmed as a third button and is a joy to use. MacAlly has already
announced an optical successorthe equally horrendously named iOptiNetbut
for the same list price as Apple's mouse, puh-leeze. I keep my new Apple
mouse on the shelf as a pretty tchotchke, which is all its good for.
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