Charles Moore's Mailbag

WPA for Original AirPort, Stainless Browser, Multiple Input Bug Persists in Snow Leopard, and More

Charles Moore - 2010.03.11 -Tip Jar

WPA Support for Original AirPort Card

From Ben:

Hi Charles,

Thanks for the article onShiira! That's just what I needed to help the browsing experienceon my old Macs. While Safari 4 was certainly quite faster than anythingelse on my old Ti G4(550 MHz w/ 1 GB of RAM and an upgraded 5400 rpm hard drive),Shiira is just . . . amazing. I was consistently impressedfor the 20 minutes I used it last night on how even with Flash enabled,it loaded pages faster than Safari 4 - where I have Flash disabled.

My question now comes - and this is the one nagging thing about theTiBook that may make a MacBook Pro happen - is there any way to swap adifferent internal AirPort card in a TiBook? Mine has the original "B"AirPort, which is just fine but one glaring problem - it doesn'tsupport WPA. Any suggestions???



Hi Ben,

Yes, Shiira is amazingly speedy on the old PPCs.

Re: your TiBook question, it appears that your onlyrecourse is to go with a third party CardBus adapter.

More info on these forums:


Editor's note: Last year we published How About an 802.11g Card forthe Original AirPort Card Slot? One reason we proposed this wasspeed; the other was for WPA support. It turns out that the firmware inApple's original 802.11b AirPort Card can be updated to support WPA.You must be running Mac OS X 10.3.3 or later and use AirPortSoftware 3.3 or later to update the firmware. Even after that, theoriginal AirPort Card cannot support the newer, more secure WPA2encryption. dk

Stainless Browser

From Art:

Have you tried this browser yet:


Hi Art,

Yes, and I like it a lot, especially the littlebookmarks bar on the left, but unfortunately, Stainless doesn't supportOS X 10.4 Tiger, whichmakes it unusable on my Pismo PowerBooks. Shiira stillsupports Tiger.


Pismo Upgrades: G3 vs. G4

From David,


Thanks so much for getting back to me. I appreciate your comments. When it comes to Mac, I'mbasically only using OS 9 now. It's mostly for legacyhardware/software use - and because I really like the Classicinterface. I can also get most of the parts for cheap on eBay and local shops.

I'm a native PC user and find OS X just too far off the beaten pathfor me. That and trying to keep up with the continuous Apple-imposedupgrade treadmill is expensive and bothersome. On the other hand,Windows XP came out in 2001 and still works with 99% of the PC softwareout there. I gave an honest attempt at making OS X work for merecently with haxies and helper apps. No offense to Mac users, but it'sjust too strange for a guy who grew up with Windows :-)

But I have another question for you. If you were just using OS 9 onthe Pismo, would you go the G4 or G3 upgrade route? I don't know ifOS 9 can even take advantage of the G4 processor. Appreciate yourinsight.

I do wish USB 2.0 was a reality for the older machines, but timedoes march on, eh? I'll have to save that feature for my PC laptop whenI get one. Meanwhile, the older Macs are a lot of fun, and I've learneda lot.

Have a great day,

Hi David,

Mac OS 9 is so fast on a stock Pismo (at least with adecent amount of RAM installed) that, were I not interested in runningOS X, I would find it hard to justify the expense of a processorupgrade.

I'm sure that when using software that likes a lot ofprocessing power (e.g.: Photoshop or dictation software) you wouldnotice better performance with a G4 processor, but otherwise, the stockG3 is really no slouch running the classic OS.



I think you're right for the most part that OS 9 runs quick on thePismo, but I forgot to mention that I'm also trying to play some MPEGvideo files, and I'm finding the 400 MHz Pismo just a little too slowto keep up. It's not able to play all the frames and stuttering quite abit. So I'm wondering if QuickTime would work better with an upgradedG4 or G3. What do you think?

Thanks again,

Hello David,

While a G4 processor upgrade would probably help some,the real video bottleneck in the Pismo is unfortunately the Rage 128Mobility graphics processing unit with its puny 8 MB of video RAM,which, alas, is not upgradable and is arguably the Pismo's Achilles'heel.

On the other hand, since your Pismo is one of the 400MHz units, you would enjoy a more substantial increase in generalperformance in areas where AltiVec optimization doesn't enter into theequation than I have with my Pismos, which were 500 MHz models.


17" PowerBook Still Does All I Need

From Eric:

You wrote:

"Your humble servant bought one of these second generation 17"PowerBooks, an Apple Certified Refurbished unit, in February 2006.It hasn't missed a beat in more than 30 months of intensive use as mynumber one production machine at this writing and has to rank as one ofthe very best computers I've ever owned."

Gotta agree with that. I bought the same unit (new). Upgraded thememory and hard drive. My wife keeps saying I need a newer computer,but it still does everything I need, quickly and reliably.


Hi Eric,

And as long as it keeps doing the job for you, whyupgrade?

I waited more than three years after the Apple Intelswitch to move to a Macintel. The performance increase is exponentialfor some things, but it really depends on what you need to do withcomputers.

I'm still blown away by how well my old G4-upgradedPismos perform the tasks I require of them, which includes scanning andsome light-to-medium duty image work.

On the other hand, if one is dependent to a degree ondictation software, as I am, MacSpeech Dictate (Intel only) is in a completely differentdimension from their older PPC-supporting iListen.

My wife is loving the 17" PowerBook.


You wrote:

"MacSpeech Dictate (Intel only) is in a completelydifferent dimension from their older PPC-supporting iListen."

I was one of the founders of MacSpeech. For $100, you got a T-shirtand a license.

As far as the MacBooks go, they are much faster at anythingDVD-related (ripping/burning), but most other tasks (even Apertureprocessing) are handled fine by the AlBook.


Hi Eric,

Thanks and good on you for your contributions to theMacSpeech project.

Ironically, I still do my burning and ripping (I don'tdo a lot) on my Pismo PowerBook, which has a 8x dual-layer DVD burningexpansion bay module.


Multiple Inputs with Snow Leopard

From David:

Hi Charles,

I ran across your mouse input device problem with Leopard on the Macin your article Multiple InputDevice Bug in Mac OS X 10.5.8.

I was very interested in this, because I have the same issuesthat you have (mine is chronic RSI to my hands), and I also need themultiple input devices to work as well. I use a trackpad on the floorand use my left foot to do my clicking and dragging, while using atrackball on my desktop to move my cursor.

I was interested to know if you ever found a solution to thisproblem or a workaround?


Hi David,

Unfortunately, I have not found or heard of anysolution to this problem in Leopard, and the latest report I have fromSnow Leopard users is that it persists in that version of the Mac OS aswell.

The best I've been able to come up with is to use amouse with light pressure action and hold it down in the conventionalway when I need to click and drag.

Fortunately, for some functions, such as submenuselections, one can simply click and then move the mouse to the desiredpoint, then click again to execute.

If you ever do come across a more satisfactoryworkaround, please let me know.


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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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