I was recently given a PowerBook 3400c/200 by one of my clients. As it was from one of my clients, I've had a long history with this PowerBook (I replaced the hard drive a few years ago, the track button a little over a year ago and recently the keyboard), so I was actually very happy to accept it into our family of systems.

Of course, the one thing I absolutely wanted to do was try to install a version of Rhapsody on it. So within hours of getting it, I set out to install Rhapsody 5.6 (Mac OS X Server 1.2).

Well... it was easy. Very straight forward.

So, once installed I set out to see how it ran.

For the most part, it ran great. The PowerBook has 80 MB of RAM and a 10 GB hard drive, which was more than enough room for most tasks, and all my Rhapsody apps ran very nicely.

The one thing that didn't run was Blue Box.

It would attempt to start up, and then crash. At first I thought it might be the system having problems unarchiving the Mac OS 8.6 disk image, but taking elements from my other Rhapsody systems to skip that part didn't help.

In the end I resigned myself to the fact that, while Rhapsody may run nicely on PowerPC 603e processors... Blue Box doesn't.

Do I need a 3400c running Rhapsody?
By all accounts, I am a Rhapsody fanatic. I'm known around the world as that nut who actually still uses Rhapsody as a daily operating environment.

So, it should go without saying that I would love to have a Rhapsody based 3400c... right?

Well... no, actually.

My main Rhapsody system is a Power Macintosh 8600/300, which has two nice 17" displays attached (both running at 1024x768). My old desktop Rhapsody system, a Power Macintosh 7500 with a PowerPC 604e/225 upgrade, is acting as a server on my network (who would have thought that I would ever use a Mac OS X Server system as a server?). And my current mobile Rhapsody system is my old ThinkPad 760 ED (with a 12" display at 1024x768).

It is the ThinkPad that the 3400c would be replacing. And the ThinkPad was replaced once before when I was running Rhapsody on my PowerBook Wallstreet. But this time it wasn't as straight forward as before.

What I found while playing with the 3400c was that it's display (12" at 800x600) was hard to get used to. Rhapsody really needs a minimum of 1024x768 to be a nice productive environment.

Add to that the fact that the 3400c was also supposed to replace (for many tasks) my PowerBook Duo 2300c... which it couldn't because it could not run Blue Box. My 2300c (running Mac OS 8.6) is mainly a school system for running Mathematica and Theorist. The 3400c (running Rhapsody) would have needed to run those in Blue Box to take the place of the 2300c.

So, while the 3400c was quite a bit faster than the ThinkPad, and was able to run a newer version of Rhapsody with newer versions of my favorite apps, I was still more productive on the ThinkPad thanks to the 1024x768 display. And, again, while faster than my 2300c (running at 100 MHz), without Blue Box to run my math apps I was still using the 2300c for school work at the library (I mainly use the 8600 at home for those same apps).

Thus, less than a week after installing Rhapsody on it, I reformated the drive and installed Mac OS 8.6 on the 3400c (I don't really care for Mac OS 9 if anyone was wondering).

While I still use the 2300c from time to time (at 4.5 pounds, it is hardly noticeable in my backpack when packed with books), the 3400c has become my main school system. And the ThinkPad remains my primary work system that goes on calls with me when I see my clients.

At least I can now say that I have actually had a PowerBook 3400c running Rhapsody... even if it was for less than a week.

Stone Design's Create(tm)
2006-02-10 02:02:47 -0600