The Low End Mac Mailbag

Maybe No to MacBook Air Drive Upgrade, MS Customer Support, and Leopard on an eMac

Dan Knight - 2008.01.25 - Tip Jar

MacBook Air Hard Drive Upgrade: Maybe Not

From Timothy Sipples:


Gizmodo has now posted a video and photos showing how easy it is to open the MBA's case in order to swap the battery. The same photos show that the hard disk is swappable. That's the good news.

The bad news is that it might indeed be a 5mm rather than 8mm part. In my previous search, I missed Samsung's HS082HB, a 5mm 1.8 inch 80 GB hard disk spinning at 4200 rpm. It appears to be the one inside the MBA. Nobody else currently makes a higher capacity hard drive in that form factor at any rpm speed.

At the Consumer Electronics Show this month, Samsung showed a 128 GB SSD in this form factor and says they'll start shipping it in the first half of this year. I would expect an initial price for this part somewhere in the stratosphere, but a few MBA owners might have the cash.

Another, more affordable option for an enterprising third party is to manufacture a 120 GB or 160 GB hard disk upgrade kit that includes the 8 mm part along with a redesigned bottom cover with a slight "bulge" or ridge. Some people might be interested in adding 3 mm and just an ounce or two in exchange for twice the gigabytes and perhaps (optionally) some more battery capacity. The new bulge cover could also include the Kensington-style computer lock slot that Apple forgot. Is there a MacBook Bulge in our future? :-)

Timothy Sipples


Thanks for the follow-up. Alas, Gizmodo has taken down the pictures and video - with a promise to repost them once they have their own MacBook Air. We'll know a lot more about drive space when the MBA starts reaching end users.


Microsoft Customer Support

From Dan Wilson:


Re: the complaint about Microsoft's email regarding Office 2008.

Microsoft, like all ecommerce vendors, has to send letters like that to customers. If a product won't ship in thirty days, an ecommerce site must give a customer the choice to wait for the order or to cancel. just sent a delayed ship email to me a week ago.

Granted, Microsoft could have established that no response would be an agreement to wait for the order to ship and worded the email as such. And the first email does state that no response is required to continue to wait for the order. Microsoft could have worded the email more clearly, but the law requires them to send the email if an order will be delayed.


Thanks for the info. Microsoft could learn to make things easier for its customers. I've forwarded your note to Todd Neely.


Microsoft Will Only Cancel Office: 2008 Upgrade if You Tell It To

From Ed Hurtley:

One thing that Mr. Neely doesn't mention is that the email isn't when you purchase Office: 2008 at full retail price. It's when you took advantage of the "Buy Office: 2004 now, get Office: 2008 free" promotion last year.

If you don't recall the promotion, it was Microsoft's attempt to continue selling Office '04 in the face of the upcoming Office '08. You could buy any edition of Office '04, and for only the cost of shipping and handling ($6.95) they would send you Office '08 "Special Media Edition" (the highest-end version) free upon its release.

Well, in December, I found Office Student and Teacher '04 for $145, with a $100 rebate, so I figured that for an after-rebate outlay of $51.95, I would be getting Office Special Media Edition '08 when it came out, I jumped.

I, too, got the email and essentially dismissed it, because it was expected that Office '08 would be coming out well before the expected ship date in the email. Indeed, it did, at the Macworld Expo. On reading Mr. Neely's letter, though, I decided to double check my status.

Three days ago, I had checked, and my status was listed as 'Back Order', with an estimated ship date of late March! Upon checking today, I see a status still as 'Back Order', but an estimated ship date of today. I decided to call Microsoft at the number given on the website (506-694-4328) to find out what is going on. The representative assured me that in spite of the generic email, none of the fulfillment orders would be canceled automatically. For normal paid orders, that is the standard procedure, but for this promotion, they are going to ship them when they ship them, unless people responded to the email specifically canceling the order. He said that yes, it is still on Back Order, and no, I will almost assuredly not have my order sent out today. But even if it does take until late March, my order will be sent out, even if I ignore the 'respond or your order will be canceled' email.

Ed Hurtley


Thanks for the info. I'll pass it along to Todd Neely.


MBA SuperDrive Only for MacBook Air

From Daniel Decker regarding MBA SuperDrive and MacBooks:


The MBA SuperDrive will not work with other Macs. Apple is on record having said that they are pushing more power through the MBA USB port specifically to power the add-on drive. Too bad too, 'cuz at $99 that thing is a steal. The price reflects the fact that in order to use one, Apple already has your money on the likely high margin Air.

As always, thanks for LEM

Daniel Decker


Thanks for writing. This bit of information only came to widespread knowledge on Thursday, and I didn't learn it until after we had posted yesterday's Mailbag. We've already updated the MacBook Air profile to note that the MBA SuperDrive requires a high power USB port and is only compatible with the MBA.


Successfully Installed Leopard on 700 eMac

From Ronnie Lam:


Successfully clean install 10.5 on 700 [MHz] eMac (1 GB RAM, 40 GB hard drive) using Leopard Assist and boot from OS X DVD. Time Machine can start to back up but have not tried to retrieve back old files. Other applications work fine. Only found the Firefox browser has some error and delay in media file which might not be OS X's issue. AirPort sign and connection seems to have issue from time to time. Weaker wireless sign and have to unplug router vs. Panther. I hope this help.

Any person tried to install on PowerBook G4/667 titanium with 256 MB RAM?

Ronnie Lam


Thanks for sharing your findings. We have three user reports of Leopard running on 667 MHz G4 PowerBooks, but none of them mention having less than 512 MB installed.


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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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