9 Replies Latest reply: Oct 1, 2014 10:12 AM by tronky
Blake Clements Level 1 (0 points)

I am interested in knowing how many people still use their older Macintosh computers on an every day basis.  I currently use my PowerBook G3 (upgraded to a G4 550mhz) with 1GB of RAM installed.  I am running 10.5.8 on it.  I hooked it up FTDM with a machine supported by 10.5.  Installed beautifully right onto the drive of my Powerbook Pismo (128GB HD). Of course, it is not lightning fast but it definitely does a fantastic job handeling the system. Load times are fairly quick for a computer that is over 12+ years old.  Collector's must be out there because the Pismo's go for a great price on eBay with the right features.  I consider myself to be a collector and I would vote the Pismo to be my favorite older Apple laptop.  I have owned Clamshell iBooks, Mac 2ci, G5's, 540c, Wallstreet, many Macs.  I love my retina MacBook Pro 15" but I love the swappable bays on the Pismo.  MS Word is a joy to use on the Pismo.  I use Office 2004.  Maybe it's just nostalgia but i always enjoy using this machine for small tasks.  Net surfing, email, they all work well.  Some people may wonder what in the world you're doing with a Pismo in a coffee shop...but I think it's pretty neat.


A few interesting points if anyone is interested in this topic is that Apple discontinued support for Pismo after 10.4.  10.5 runs beautifully except the battery is not recognized when it is in the right bay.  It is recognized in the right bay.  No big deal since you have the lights to help you gauge how much juice you have left.  The battery still works normally even though there is an X through it at the top of the screen when it is in the left bay.  I have a PCMI 2.0 USB adapter to help speed things up if I want to use USB.  It allows you to flawlessly connect via airport to WEP networks.  Other versions of OS X wouldn't connect to newer router technology.


Youtube videos are not recommended.  The video card is just too slow and we will not get any kind of upgrade from a third party manufacturfer.  So what do I do with this machine?  I love the keyboard.  It has a great feel to it.  It makes Office more fun to use.  It runs 10.5 and I don't run in to much trouble with any compatibility issues.  Obviously you run older PowerPC versions of programs (like Transmission) but they work just fine.  If i run out of battery I can just pull out another one and pop it in.  If anything ever went wrong with it (and it hasn't after all this time!) the parts and repair are fairly simple.  I can watch DVDs on it and I don't have to worry about it getting scratched up.  I didn't have to buy a case and the palm protectors like I did with the new retina Macbook.  I have worked on many Mac machines and this is one of my favorite ones to take apart.  It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the new Mac laptops but it has held the test of time.  I am sure many posters here remember Nanosaur and Bugdom.  Nanosaur use to be one of my favorite games.  Or how about the ad with the PowerBook screen displaying a fierce shark.  In my opinion, the Pismo, in regards to its expansiblity, ugradability, and user friendly body it is one of the most thought out, planned, and sleek machines Apple has put out.  It's still a great looking computer.  JMO

Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • dalstott Level 4 (2,625 points)

    I bought a Pismo in 2000 just when they were introduced mainly because of the the Airport option which I thought would be quite useful. I kept it till 2012 when it quit due to some internal electronics failure. Through RetroMacCast   http://retromaccast.ning.com/     I found a person who was trying to get his Pismo up and running so as to provide his mother with a computer. I gave it to him and he combined parts from the two defective Pismos and created a working example.


    I  had just about every expansion bay module available. I also had both OS 9.2.2 and OS X 10.4.11 on separate drive partitions. This gave me a link to the past and all the older files I had created in the 12 years before the Pismo purchase. I was able to use either native 9.2.2 or start Classic Environment while in 10.4.11.


    As I missed the ability to run Classic OS and programs I bought a used 2004 G4 iBook 12' in order to use the Classic Environment. I had kept a compact flash card clone of the Pismo OS 9.2.2 partition. All I needed to do to enable Classic on the iBook was to drag copy the 9.2.2 system folder to the ibook hard drive. With the 1.2GHz ppcG4 and 1.25GB ram it runs programs more quickly than the Pismo despite the emulation layer. In a way the heart of my Pismo lives on.  I still miss the expansion bay modules.

  • Allan Jones Level 7 (33,942 points)

    I maintained three 1998 G3 Wallstreets for a friend until he finally upgraded to a pair of MacBook Pros last year. He did all his computer work from them.


    He bought the first new in 1998; it was a 300mHz version. Later he bought a used 266 before I met him. After I started helping him keep them running, a PowerBook service guy getting out of the G3 end of the business gave us a 233 for parts. When it arrived it proved to show the lightest use of the lot so we did not part it out but rather upgraded it.


    What I've done with those:


    <>Maxed RAM in two of them to 512MB; bumped the third one to 384MB RAM.

    <>Put 40-60GB WD Scorpio drives in all three.

    <>Installed 300mHz processor cards in the 233 and 266 so all are now 300mhz (bumping the 266 to 300 was not my recommendation but it made my friend happy)

    <>Used XPostFacto 3.1 to install OS 10.3.9 on all three. They run incredibly better with Panther than Jaguar OS.

    <>Replaced PRAM batteries in all three.

    <> Minor internal repairs and cosmetic fixes, plus cleaning (these were very dusty when I tool over their support).


    Any piece of tech that serves from 1998 to 2013 has proved its worth, IHMO.


    By the way, my friend has plenty of money to buy newer computers; he preferred the Wallstreets until there were web-based functions to which he needed access that the Wallstreets could not render.

  • Blake Clements Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi @dalstott.  I also like the expansion modules.  Do you remember having to make sure they were both in? Otherwise the laptop would tip!  Hah!  They were a great addition for someone on the go at the time.  2 batteries, Zip drive, Floppy, many options!  I am glad that your Pismo lives on.  For me, I like to boot up my Pismo to type on it or play one of the older games I mentioned.


    I enjoy talking to people about older Apple products.  I got my first IIci when I was 7 years old and had it for years.  I admired those Bondi blue iMacs like nothing I had ever seen before.  Finally, I got a 400mhz Blueberry iMac in 1999.  It came with the pixar DVD It's a Bugs Life.  Just like the ad said it was Up and going on the internet in 10 minutes.  Began working on Macs a few years later.


    Anyway, I enjoyed Allan's story as well.  1998-2013 is incredible.  IMHO these were some of Apple's best looking and well-built computers.  Times have changed so much.  My retina MacBook didn't have a Superdrive built in. Obviously, I knew this before I bought it but I find myself missing the built-in cd drive.  I have a lot of cd's and you can call me old fashioned if you want.  Great battery life and undeniabely fast...but no expandable bays! One day that built in Retina battery is going to need to be replaced.  Hopefully, I will have sold it before that happens. However, the Pismo will remain

  • DesertSage Level 2 (150 points)

    I too am still using my Powerbook G4 1.5GHz, iBook G4 1.42 GHz, Powerbook G3 Wallstreet and iMac G5. I am presently having problems with the Wallstreet and the iMac but the other machines are working well.


    I did have a few Pismo projects that I bought and sold over the years, but at present only a big box of parts remain. I may try to buid another one in the future.


    I just discovered the browser TenFourFox, designed for PowerPC Macs. If you install it, be sure to follow the directions carefully, getting the correct version installed for your particular computer. It's been working great on my G4s and I am actually able to watch videos again. Flash is not supported, so those videos are not viewable.


    Good Luck,



  • Network 23 Level 6 (11,900 points)

    I still have my Pismo, but not in daily use. I keep it around to run PowerPC software. For a while I left it running as a music server and FTP server. It needs a new PRAM battery (again). Another reason I keep it around is that I think the matte black curved shell is one of the classiest laptop designs Apple or anyone ever made.

  • Blake Clements Level 1 (0 points)

    @Network 23 I remember admiring how sleek the Pismo's casing was 14 years ago.  I put my Retina MacBook and my Pismo side by side and asked an older friend which they liked better (they know nothing about computers). They actually said the black Pismo.  Hah! 


    I think the Retina MacBook is a sharp looking laptop.  It's not user friendly when it comes to interchangeability but, I suppose the average consumer is not looking for that.  I don't have to have a case on the Pismo or worry about it getting scratched because it is durable.  Incredibly, 14 years later the Pismo still holds its own.  The 550mhz G4 upgrade that I put in was awesome.  That was a long time ago and I'm not sure if they still make them.  It sped up OS 10.4 and it ran very well.  Sadly, the vram is stuck at 8mb so you can forget about the graphics department.


    Working Pismo's have always gone pretty well on eBay.  I have seen good condition upgraded Pismo's go for $150+.  Not so much without upgraded ram, HD, working battery, etc.  Another item I am interested in owning is an Apple Newton .  Maybe one day...

  • Robert Shapiro1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Its so nice to see that there are other slightly fanitical souls like me out there that stil use their pismos. For me its not everyday, but often enough. Mine is a g4 550 1gb 40gb hd and runs office 2004 and claris draw, which requires I keep the os at 10.4.11.  Plays well with my home network and adminstrates all my 4 old airport's used for audio,  that my current, (but aiging) late 2008 macbook pro running 10.9 suprising will not.


    Long live the pismo. 

  • Blake Clements Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your story!  Amazing these laptops are still working 14 years later.  It was so well built and so far ahead of it's time.  Quality.

  • tronky Level 1 (0 points)

    I have three Pismos all bought for peanuts and they are probably my favourite notebooks. If you have Panther 10.3.3 installed or better, you only need to install Airport Update 4.2 and you can log onto WPA networks even with the original Airport 802.11b card. The Airport Update is the key and it is not rolled into the Panther 10.3.9 Combo Update.


    Tiger 10.4.11 should have WPA enabled already. If not, just find the latest Airport Update your OS will handle and install that, then try again.