Charles Moore's Mailbag

The Power of Older Macs, Why Vista Only Sees 3 GB of RAM, Wangwriter Supplies, and More

Charles Moore - 2008.10.08 - Tip Jar

The Power of Older Macs

From Brian G. Reilly:

Hey Charles,

I'm a regular reader of Low End Mac. I just started up a blog, of which I think I might be posting entries that are relevant to the readers of LEM. I think this one in particular: would be of interest. In the article, I cover why upgrading RAM and hard drives are important, and I have three videos posted demonstrating the speed of my low-end Mac, a dual 1.8 Ghz G5 from 2004.

Thanks for taking the time to check it out.


Hi Brian,

Thanks for the link.

Good article. I do notice that the 5400 RPM hard drive in one of my Pismo PowerBooks does give significantly better performance than the 4200 RPM drive in my other Pismo, even though the latter has slightly more RAM installed.


Why 32-bit Vista Only Sees 3.12 GB of RAM

From Matthew in response to 4 GB of RAM 'Mostly Wasted' with Vista:


It is true that a 32-bit processor can directly address 4 gigabytes, but Windows was designed with the lower 2 gigabytes available for application programs and the upper 2 gigabytes reserved for the operating system. It shares this approach with VMS, which Dave Cutler also designed.

When computers started to push the 2 gigabyte boundary, Microsoft partially addressed this problem with the /3GB and the /PAE startup switches. This article explains why Vista says 3.12 gigabytes is free rather than the expected 4 gigabytes:

64-bit Windows doesn't suffer from this problem. A 64-bit processor can directly address up to 16 exabytes, so I don't imagine this problem with Windows will be repeated anytime soon.

It makes the memory handling of OS X look pretty good by comparison, doesn't it?

Matthew Reed

Hi Matthew,

It does indeed. Thanks for the comment.


Windows System Profile Software

From John in response to PC System Profiler:


Actually all Belarc Advisor does is it gathers its information from the local Windows installation. A better solution would be the program Everest Home Edition by Lavalys.


Thanks for the tip, John.


MIT HyperArchive - End of an Era

From Dan:

I'd just like to alert everyone to an obscure but important event today.

After over a decade serving the Mac community, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's HyperArchive was shut down today as part of the ongoing process of consolidating the many scattered Info-Mac mirrors to just one. The MIT HyperArchive was the first searchable mirror of the Info-Mac Archive of Mac shareware and freeware, and since 1997 has been an invaluable resource for us Mac users, both new and old alike. Links to files in the MIT mirror will now be automatically redirected to the same files in the Info-Mac Archive.

Persons wishing to search and download from the Info-Mac Archive are encouraged to use the official, database-driven version at from now on.

Dan Palka

Wangwriter Supplies

From Don Morse:

I happened across the postings about the Wangwriter and JB Royal. I worked on that project, and in the process of clearing out my house I have found a stash of ribbons of all types and a large assortment of printwheels. There is enough material there to keep one going for another lifetime. I got my daughter a surpluss Wangwriter for collage and it may even be around some where. If there is any interest in this WangWriter material please contact me before it hits the dumpster.

Best regards,
Don Morse

Note: If anyone in interested in Don's WangWriter stuff, drop me a note here at Low End Mac, and I'll forward it to him. cm

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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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