The Low End Mac Mailbag

Performa 475 Modem, PB 5300 Power Connector, Internet Sharing Issues, Small Dog, and More

Dan Knight - 2003.04.24 - Tip Jar

Questions about Performa 476

Richard Howes writes:

I am looking for a modem for the Performa 476 for a friend. Do you know if any Mac modem will work on the Performa 476? Is there a specific one I can use that is available on the market or used? Is there a way to install a network card instead of a modem? Cost is an issue for my friend so I'm sure she would rather use a modem.

Now there's a low-end question. :-) The Performa 475/476 was a hot consumer machine ten years ago - and a lot of them remain in use.

As far as I know, there was never an internal modem made for the LC PDS in this and several other low-end Macs, but any external modem designed for the old Mac serial port (1986-1998) should work. Because the serial port on this model is only designed to support throughput up to 57.6 kbps, you may not be able to take full advantage of the capabilities of a v.90 modem, so you may find a 33.6 kbps modem provides comparable throughput. (Not that this is any reason to avoid a 56k modem if you can find a good deal on one.)

I don't know how easy it is to find external Mac modems these days. One brand I had great luck with in the old days was

You can find ethernet cards for the LC PDS in your Performa, probably for no more than US$10-15 on the used market. There's no reason you couldn't have both a network card and a modem.

PowerBook 5300 power connector info

Your great site has a bad link, sadly, and I wondered if you could point me to similar information - I've looked everywhere.

The bad link is at which was pointed at "DV's PowerBook 5300 Info Page. Includes tips on repairing the power connector on the PB 5300 and PB 190."

One of the great frustrations of the World Wide Web is that pages move or disappear. As best as I can determine, DV's PowerBook 5300 Info Page began on GeoCities, then moved to Apple's server back when iTools was free, and then vanished without a trace when DV let his account lapse rather than ante up for .mac.

It happened to a lot of good Mac pages. Thank you very much, Apple Computer.

Thankfully there's the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. It's not perfect, but more often than not you can find an old copy of a page that's been modified, moved, or vanished into the ether. Better yet, they have DV's page archived - and I'm updating links on LEM to point to the archive.

And if anyone knows how to get ahold of Dave (a.k.a. DV), I'd like to offer him free hosting for this and any other Mac-related pages on LowEndMac.Net....

Internet sharing in OS X

After reading Internet Sharing a Breeze in OS X, Mike Schramm writes:

I'd been wondering about that for awhile. And it prompted me to do a little searching about sharing an Internet connection over AirPort, something else I had been pondering for a bit. Keep up the good work.

The AirPort base station already supports that, but you should have no trouble setting up a Mac with an Internet connection and an AirPort card to share the connection with other 802.11b equipped computers.

We only have one AirPort card here, so I haven't been able to test it.

Small Dog, Searches, and the Low End

After reading our history in Low End Mac: Six Years on the Web, Craig O'Donnell comments:

Nice editorial. It was through you we got hooked up with Small Dog, and I buy as often as possible from 'em. LEM is one of the sites I visit most anymore, in fact it's usually my first stop for anything Mac-related.

I'm in sympathy with the LEM approach - the Cheap Pages is really a LEM for small boats, with a little other stuff tossed in. One of these days I'm going to work on some stuff about Low End Digital Audio. Stuff that sufficed to do albums and soundtracks in 1993 is now trash can fodder.

I still use Claris Home Page 3 - did it simply vanish from the face of the planet? I know FileMaker Corp gave it the boot, but there are almost no legacy-ware websites dealing with CHP; possibly none.

Final disconnected thought: I've been harassing the folks at the Maryland State Archives to improve their searching via Google. They basically link you to Google Advanced Search and tell you to type in as the sole domain - tacky.

I whomped up for them a better button using a Java script which seems to work (see

I was wondering if your Perl script for searching Google would be helpful to them (if you'd part with it). I can't write Perl, and for that matter can only hack up preexisting Java scripts.

Thanks for the kind words. Small Dog is definitely a think different company, and we've always appreciated their support (as well as that of our other sponsors). After reading how MacMall had dropped us from their affiliate program "due to customer complaints of posted messages," Small Dog was one of two advertisers to email words of support. Definitely a class act.

(For the record, increased volume through other affiliate programs has made up for what we lost through the MacMall affiliate program - and then some. So while MacMall has lost an account that sent $5,000 of sales per month their way, we haven't lost out at all.)

Home Page 3 is history. If anyone ever creates something like it that's as fast and easy to use but somewhat more standards compliant, I'll definitely give it a try. It's good enough to get the job done, but not good enough to produce modern HTML code.

Our search engine in remarkably simple, and I must admit that I had nothing to do with it - other than ask my second oldest son for help. Here's the code to create the search box:

<form action="/google.php" method="post">
<h5 align="right">Search <input type="text" name="q" value="" 
size="18"><input type="submit" name="submit" value="Go"></h5>

This passes the search words to a tiny PHP script in our root directory:


All you need is PHP support for your website. Feel free to adapt this to your needs. No trade secrets here.

Oh, one more thing - here's a free plug for OmegaPets, the virtual pet site that two of my sons run. For all the PHP support these teenage boys give me, a reciprocal link is the least I can offer.

Michigan Mac Users

Luke Rademacher writes:

Dan, I love your site. LEM is one of best sources of Mac info anywhere. Also, I am a fellow Michigan Mac person. I live in Novi, MI, and have been messing with Macs since my Mac IIci. In fact, I also got a 6100, 7100, PowerCurve, 7600, B&W G3, and a dual 800 G4. Also, since I am a brand new OS X switcher, your site has proved extra value when I am looking for OS X tips and such.

Keep up the good work.

The Web may be worldwide, but most sites (at least the smaller ones) have a place to call home. For us, it's Grand Rapids, MI, a place where the weather changes so much that we really appreciate sunny warm days.

We're here for the long haul. I and the others who write for LEM (and they are spread all over the world) will continue offering advice and insights based on our own Macintosh experiences.

One Year Visiting Low End Mac

Ronnie Kwok writes:

Compare to the 6 years you have spent on Low End Mac, my single year of visit doesn't really count much.

Indeed, I would like to send you my appreciation on this lovely website you have maintained. Honestly, if I didn't locate your website, I will not have started my enjoyment in using a "low end Mac". And I will not start looking for secondhand Mac and try to make the most uses out of it. This bring me so much fun!

Mr. Knight, please keep up the good job, and I am looking forward to whatever plans you have ahead.


(A happy owner of a PM 7300, iMac 233, PowerBook 1400, iBook Dual USB 500, G4 Quicksilver 933)

My long-term plans include a warm island in the Caribbean and long range wireless networking. Shorter term, just keep Low End Mac going until we have enough reserves that I can take a week's vacation.

Thanks for the kind words about Low End Mac. Although it grew into a business, the initial goal of helping people better understand their Macs so they can get the most out of them (and know when they've outgrown them) remains.

Disk Tools Floppy

Christopher Townsend says:

About Low End Mac: Thanks for all the great work you've done to help folks with aging computers. I found very little lacking there. One thing I had needed that I could not find was a way to start up a Umax SuperMac clone that had a corrupt System Folder. I got myself out of this bind, and I'd like to help anyone who may find themselves in the same situation. Attached to this email is a compressed disk image, one that will allow the computer to start up and load a file sharing server. There's no disk tools per se, but it should help anyway.

In a pinch, truly old Macs - those that run System 7.5.5 and earlier - can boot from a floppy. The Disk Tools floppy can be a real lifesaver when you're having hard drive problems, especially if you have a Mac that can't boot from CD or don't have a system CD handy.

Due to copyright issues, I can't make your disk image available to others. I've looked over the Apple site for Disk Tools disk images but come up empty, and Google hasn't been any more helpful.

For those who have old Macs like these, even if you never use floppies, it's a very good idea to keep a Disk Tools floppy on hand just in case.

One Danger of OS X Internet Sharing

Having seen a problem from using Internet sharing in OS X, Steven Hunter writes:

If I may add a word of caution here:

In certain network configurations you may inadvertently start answering DHCP requests to other people on your cable/DSL line. This will probably make your ISP very unhappy. This has happens to us here at work when people bring in their PowerBooks w/o switching this option off. Other users start getting invalid IP addresses, and we have to track down who the culprit is.

(Actually, now that I think about it, DSL probably wouldn't have that problem.)

Back in the System 7.x era, Apple came up with a really clever hack to the operating system that let a computer determine at startup whether it was on a network or not. If it was, it would load one set of extensions and control panels via Extensions Manager. If no, it would load another set.

Although the ability to create locations in the Network system preferences panel is nice, it would be even nicer if 'Books could determine what network they are on and change locations accordingly. (It would also be nice if Energy Saver could switch modes based on the presence or absence of a power plug, but that's another issue.)

Thanks for the tip. It should help a lot of people diagnose weird DHCP assignments when 'Books running OS X are present.

Compact Flash as Virtual Memory

Eric L. Strobel writes:

In ages not too far past, you've written on this topic. I've finally gotten around to getting a CF card (320 MB) to use for virtual memory. However, it mounts as a DOS disk and can't be erased. Therefore, the Memory control panel won't allow VM to go there. I'm wondering if there's something obvious I'm missing. (I'm using OS 8.6.)

I'm getting closer and closer to writing a tutorial on this subject. I keep learning more. To format a CF card as a Mac drive, you have to disable File Exchange. But since this requires restarting the computer, it's just as easy to restart and hold down the shift key, which prevents all the extensions from loading.

Once you've restarted, you can run Drive Setup and format your Compact Flash card as a Macintosh volume.

Then reboot as normal, open your Memory control panel, and you should be able to select the CF card as your virtual memory swap space.

Low End PC

Gareth writes:

I was reading your article on LEM about 6 years on the Web and noticed the commnents about LEPC [Low End PC]. I agree there doesn't seem to be much new on a regular basis.

I think that could change - mostly because a PII/350 MHz system running "ME" or "W2k" can do pretty much all you need to have, and most do not want to wade through endless hardware tomes to find out good useful stuff.

The "Annoyances" site is better than most.

I build/refurbish a lot of old PCs as a hobby business. Some I give away through my Parish church; others I sell. I have just brought my baseline up to a PII/233. I'm not prepared to work on anything lower than that because it's too time consuming to have to set up drive overlay software or drive cards to put a 10 gig IDE HD in an old Pentium 75-233(MMX) The other reason is I got a Gateway PII/300 from a dealer I know in New York City for $40!

I was thinking of writing some for the LEPC website and wondered what you thought of that?

Anyway, I know you're busy, and again I wanted to thank you for LEM. It's been a real help since I got handed like 20 old Macs several months ago! They include 2 Rev. B iMac's, 2 G3/266s, 14 4400/200s, 3 7100s, 1 7500, 1 7200/90, 1 6116CD, 1 5260, 2 6300(stripped for parts!) + about 22 monitors (a 20", 2x17"AV's 3x15"AV, a couple 14"AV, 3x14" regular Apple displays and about 15 Viewsonic 15" monitors) plus a license for 8.6 that would cover all, including AW6 and MS-Office 98!

I'm a PC LAN Analyst - well, I was until taking the last two years off to do mostly church computer support - and I've really enjoyed working on the Mac's.

Pax Christi,

Thanks for writing, although some would probably consider it sacrilege for a Mac geek to run a PC website. Tough, I was a computer geek long before IBM PCs came out and a DOS user long before I got into Macs. Old PCs don't have the same kind of mystique as old Macs, but I hate to see good old hardware put out on the curb or left to gather dust in a closet.

Until I find the time and resources to get the DOS card working in one of my old LC 630 DOS Compatibles, this is the only site I run where I'm not actually involved with the site's subject matter. That's probably one reason I haven't spent too much time developing the site.

I would love new content from you or anyone else who can share good advice on keeping those old computers in some kind of service - although I have to agree that sometimes the time invested in setting up an old PC (or an old Quadra 630) is hard to justify.

OS Internet Sharing

Chuck Scheffreen writes

Thanks for publishing the article on Internet Sharing - and for Low End Mac. I visit your website on a regular basis.

I have noticed that OS X 10.2.x has a way of forgetting that Internet Sharing has been turned on. I have seen this happen on several occasions, including my own system. I use a router, but when this (very nice) feature showed up in 10.2.0, I checked it out. It did/does work, but I have seen it forget to turn or turn itself off on two other occasions with clients not using routers.

Has it ever happened to you? Any sense why?

The only flaw I see in Interhet Sharing is that it is automatically disabled when the host's Internet connection is inactive. Hang up your modem, and your Mac forgets it's supposed to be sharing your Internet connection. You have to manually enable it after you create a new Internet connection.

Help with a Mac SE

Ramiro sent this from Barcelona:

Hi, I am a big fan of low end Macs. I have recently found your site (amazing) with great surprise and admiration.

I haven't found though the way to post questions or a technician section.

There are a few things I would like to find out about my SE.

Please let me know if there is an address where I can solve all or some of these questions. I wouldn't want to bother anyone.

I have found unmatching information on RAM upgrade between your technical data and my SE, like a missing R36 resistor? Or copyright dates, mine reads 1986 instead of 1987.

Congratulations on your site....

If you can't find the information on our site or through the links on our site, your best bet is probably to join the Compact Macs email list, where you will find hundreds of people familiar with your computer and other Macs like it.

I am catching up on the backlog. More tomorrow.

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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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