Charles Moore's Mailbag

Newer iPods Not Compatible with Panther, iCab Great with OS 9, and Backing Up to Eudora 6.2.4

Charles Moore - 2008.03.19 -Tip Jar

Newer iPods Incompatible with Panther

Two emails in response to NeweriPods Incompatible with Panther?

From Mike:

Just read the question from a reader today concerning whether iPodswith Tiger requirements will work with Panther . . . Mybrother received an iPod classic for Christmas, which we found out (thehard way) would not work with Panther, even if the newest iTunes andQuickTime are present. I don't know why they shouldn't work withPanther under these conditions, but plugging the iPod in will yield amessage to the effect that Tiger or better is required. I'm not sure ifthere are any workarounds for this or not (I wasn't able to find any atthe time).

Hope this helps,

From Mark:

Hi Charles,

I can confirm this problem. I bought a new 160 GB iPod classic, andit is not synchable with my G5 Tower running the latest of Panther(10.3.9?). I'm not in front of the machine right now, but I think youget an incompatibility warning in iTunes.

Why they shut out pre-Tiger machines is ridiculous to me. I don'twant to upgrade my OS, as Logic Audio 6.3.1 works just fine for me onthis hardware.


Hi Mike and Mark,

Thanks for the info. It clarifies that this is notjust an isolated glitch.

Panther is no longer supported by more and moreupdated and new software. Fortunately, most Macs than can run Panthercan also handle Tiger, at least with a bit of help from XPostFacto.

In the case of iPod synching, I would guess that it'sprobably more a technical issue than a deliberate block-out, but Ican't say for sure.

In my own experience with a 500 MHz Pismo G3 and 700 MHz iBook G3, Tiger isas good as - if not better performing - on these machines thanPanther.

As for Mark's Logic Audio 6.3.1, if it runs inPanther, I would be very surprised if Tiger did not support it nicelyas well.

Had a reader tell me how he installed OS X 10.4.11Tiger on his WallStreetPowerBook the other day, with very good success.


iPod Support in Panther, Maximum RAM, and HardDrive Failure

From John:

Re: iPods and Panther, Intel RAM

Yes, the newer iPods are incompatible with Panther. Specifically,they're incompatible with OS X 10.4.10 and lower. You need 10.4.11with the latest version of iTunes, 7.6 or higher. 7.6 will not run onany earlier version of OS X. It does occur that some people updateiTunes on Tiger without having all the Tiger updates; then they cannotrun iTunes 7.6 until updating to 10.4.11!

Re: MacBooks and RAM maximums

All Intel based Macs have accurate and very real specs from Apple ontheir maximum RAM capacities. The ones that hold 3 GB of RAM willallow you to put in 4 GB but will only recognize 2 GB of addressspace. These are hard limits.

Re: Hard Drives and failures

Hard drives fail. Most are engineered for 5 years of life. There isalways some degree of variation in manufacturing. The actual life ofthe drive depends on what happens to it as well. Sometimes even aseemingly minor bump can cause the head on the spindle to bounce("crash") into a platter. The resulting damage can take a long time tomanifest as a problem, but may eventually lead to volume damage thatrequires Erase & Install, or, outright HD replacement.

Other damage, such as the bearings going out, or other mechanical orchemical failures, are inevitable and unpredictable. Hard drives arestill one of the most, if not the most, sensitive components. Mostproblems these days with any system are HD related. Almost every othercomponent will outlast the HD. The other components that will faileventually are anything mechanical: keyboard keys, optical drives,mouse/trackpads, I/O ports, etc. The display backlight is anothercomponent that will fail eventually. The motherboard and its componentswill likely last until the capacitors go bad. This generally takes 10years or more. When capacitors go bad, electronics are paperweights.

In summary, this is why Leopard has included Time Machine and theindustry is quickly moving to solid state drives. A good comparison isvacuum tubes to solid state for power/signal amplification. It's taken50 some odd years for solid state to be truly competitive at the highend of this for things like radar and high-power amplificationcircuitry.

Hard drives will eventually be replaced by storage that does notmove. Expect that to signal an end to optical disks as well. Cheapflash media will be the eventual successor. One area you'll see this inis printable circuits. Particularly, the inkjet printable variety.However, cheap flash memory and the proliferation of it, as well asproliferation and ubiquity of WiFi connections will close the digitalmedia distribution chain. Eventually, other media will exist but attimes as novelty items sold in Japan.


Hi John,

Thanks for the info and commentary. That clears up theconfusion about iPod support and RAM in Intel machines.

I've been lucky with hard drives, I guess. I stillhave every Mac I've ever owned in running condition, and the only harddrive failures I've ever experienced have been in new units with only afew hours on them, although some of the laptop units are prettynoisy.

I run my production machines 8-10 hours a day. I agreethat solid state is the future, but it has a way to go yet to matcheither price or reliability of the conventional HD:


Mac OS 9 Browsers: iCab

From Thomas:

Hi Charles,

I just came across your remarks on Mac OS 9 browsers, incidentallyjust after installing iCab 3.0.5 on aPowerBook Pismo running OS 9.2.2

I don't know if there is still an earlier version without a nagsplash available (it was until 3.0.3 I think), but the iCab is the bestbrowser for old Macs that I know - there is even a decent version for68Ks available.

You might want to try it.

All the best

Thanks Thomas,

I'm an iCab fan, and I really like the latest iCab 4.1for OS X.

However, I'm still partial to Netscape 7 for use withOS 9. iCab 3 would be my second choice, and good on iCab for continuingto support the Classic OS, and as you say still even offering a 68kversion, although it's no longer being developed for 68k.


Migrating Back to Eudora 6.2.4

From John:

Thank you, Charles,

I will try to download 6.2.4. Hopefully it will successfully andautomatically replace 8.0.0b3 without problems (can an older versionoverwrite a "newer" one? We shall see!)


Hi John,

Good luck. I'm skeptical about being able to importarchives and contact info back from Eudora 8.0 to 6.2.4, but it ispossible to drag Eudora mailboxes manually into the Mail Folder in theEudora Folder between Classic Eudora versions. I'm not sure whetherEudora 8.0 modifies the mailbox files in any way that would render themunreadable for Eudora Classic.

Let me know how you make out.


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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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