Revamping a PowerBook G3

From time to time, I’m tempted to purchase a new portable Mac. My current one is still an aged PowerBook G3/400 ‘Pismo’, with the original 10GB hard drive, and the maximum 512MB RAM installed. Tiger runs really fine on it.

This is my perfect typewriter: a pleasant and reasonably accurate keyboard with the old, trusty Italian layout, a long-life Newer Extended Battery, a big screen for my weak eyes, FrameMaker running with much less hassles than on any modern Mac, Scrivener perfectly at home on it.

Yes, NeoOffice runs unacceptably slow, but I learnt to replace it with Nisus Writer Pro, when the office sends me some Word document. Also, running PC applications can be done on the smallish EeePc, that will let me get rid of the old, clumsy notebook PC taking so much space on my secondary desk.

My only problem with it, is that the internal hard drive is really noisy. An annoyance I can minimize with any other application, by turning the hard drive off after one minute idle with the following command:

sudo pmset -a spindown 1

But it cannot be done when working with Scrivener (my main app on the Pismo), since ti continuously saves to disk. So, enter the solution: the IDE-to-Compact Flash adapter made by Addonics: … midecf.asp

An 8GB CF card will be enough, and adding a second one later will extended my memory at will. Long lives my Pismo, with Scrivener on it.


I still have a Pismo G3 PowerBook (actually my partner’s) that has been upgraded to a G4 500MHz processor, 40 GB hard drive and a new battery. All work done by yours truly for the fraction of the price of a new MacBook Pro.

Having said all that, it doesn’t get much use these days (it still gets a bit) as my partner and I are normally fighting over the Core2Duo MacBook.