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Updating your early iMac G3, part 1

Now that you've got a new hard drive in your iMac, it's time to address the Operating System installation. There is absolutely no reason not to run OS X on any recent iMac, certainly the 266 and 333 MHz iMac have no problems that we can find with the iMac's hardware or processors speed. While a 500 to 600 MHz G3 would run OS X faster, or a G4 will use OS X more optimally, you won't be that much handicapped with your stock processor, especially if your budget it tight.

As I had advised you earlier, the BIOS firmware on all Rev A through D requires that you install the primary boot OS within the first 8 GB of the hard drive, so install OS X first on partition 1 and then OS 9 on partition 2. Buy the absolute latest version of OS X, which will also include the latest version of OS 9. At the time of this writing that is OS X 10.1.5 and 9.2.2 for Classic mode. And please run the "Update Software" feature of both Mac OS X and OS 9 Classic often, set it to look daily for new versions and updates, Apple is doing a stellar job of optimizing both OS platforms and various other software components that Apple provides. OS 9.2.2 is amazingly faster than previous versions, splendidly compatible with OS X in Classic mode and extremely stabile on it's own legs.

One last important update before we close this Part 1 of the two Keeping an iMac Current series, and that is wireless networking. If you're like most Mac home or small office users, it's very unlikely that you've only got one Mac and networking them is most often the goal. Apple introduced the consumer world to WiFi 802.11b networking the easy way with the Airport Base Station and the internal Airport Card.

I don't quite recall the chronology accurately, but I believe that the 266 MHz and 333 MHz were being manufactured at the same time Apple had already released the Airport. So, I don't understand why these two extremely popular selling iMac's did not get the critical circuitry to use the Airport Card.

This has been a sore spot for many home and business owners of these perfectly useful early iMac's, wanting to implement an Airport and any 802.11b Wireless LAN network. Apple has essentially refused to offer any solution, despite receiving a lot

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of complaints and suggestion that Apple could have easily provided.

it's very unlikely that you've only got one Mac and networking them is most often the goal.
Fortunately Proxim (formerly Farallon), well known for it's wireless solutions for Mac and PC, came to the rescue. Announced earlier this year (2002), Proxim's Skyline 802.11b USB Adapter for desktop computers has finally hit the stores in only the past couple months and you can also buy it at Proxim's online store. Most that you will find do not have the Mac OS 9.x software included, but Proxim has included these on their web site. When I spoke with Proxim for this article, they said that OS X software would be available for download latter this summer 2002.

Installation for OS 9 was a breeze, the software even set up a TCP/IP Configuration for us. It's as seamless as Apple's Airport software, and set to DHCP it found our Airport Base Station and a PC 802.11b Access Point equally with ease. It can also be set for WEP encryption protection. I can't begin to tell you how impressed we were with the professionalism of this software! Proxim did an absolutely wonderful job; I can only hope that the OS X version will be an equal. The price of the Skyline USB Adapter is $149. The USB Skyline's signal range is just as good as an Airport card installed in an iBook. At last, that non-Airport compatible iMac in your home or office is part of your WiFi network.

back - part 2

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