Step-Mom and iBook help--being cheated?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by vsp, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. vsp macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2004
    Chico, Ca
    Ok, the information is a bit sketchy but I'm hoping someone can fill in a few gaps here:
    My step-mother is a computer-phobe and knows nothing about them. Not too long ago she got a G3 iBook so she could do some writing and email and maybe, eventually, some photo work (not too important). She lives in a different country so we've only been able to help out over the phone.

    Just got off the phone with her and there's a problem. A Mac "expert" in her community that she hired to help her out has started to upgrade her OS, and charging her for it, without asking. The iBook has 96 MB of RAM, 366 MHz, and used to have OS 9.2 on it. He appears to be upgrading it to 10.2 (somehow he stopped in the middle of the upgrade, I'm not too sure what's going on with that) and is charging her $150.00 for it (not including labor), all the while claiming it's the lastest system.

    Disregarding the apparent lying going on, can an iBook with 96 MB of RAM handle 10.2? I know Apple recommends more RAM than that for 10.3.

    Also, whenever she boots the computer it asks for installation disk 2. Is there a way to revert an installation upgrade before it's finished? My other option is to just let him finish the install and move on (she's already paid him $150, so that may be lost). I'm also worried because I don't feel entirely comfortable that he'll hand over the installation disks. Beside the potential of unknowingly having a pirated OS on her system, would there be a problem with trying to register the system with Apple or downloading the 10.2.8 update?

    I'm trying to get her disentangled from this guy but since she doesn't fully understand what's happening with her computer and it's impossible for me to be there and help out it's a bit frustrating. I'm open to any suggestions and/or pointers. I'm half tempted to just have her ship it to me and staighten out whatever I can but I'd prefer to avoid that.

    As I said, I'm open to any and all suggestions. Jokes, too. Jokes are always good when you're frustrated.

  2. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    As far as I know, Apple doesn't require a registration to update. Still, she should be getting 10.3. And OSX's minimum reqs are 128MB of RAM. OSX will not install otherwise. It'll run with that, but not beautifully. I recommend maxing it out. Otherwise your mom might be "unsatisfied" with the OS9>OSX speedwise.
  3. vsp thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2004
    Chico, Ca
    thanks for the reply. I'm a bit confused on one element. Apple requires 128 mb or RAM for OS X and, as you say, it won't install otherwise. But he appears to have started the install of 10.2 even though she only has 96 MB?

    If I have all this correct, she'd have to update her RAM before even thinking of installing 10.2. So this guy is not only trying to sell her an older operating system as new but an older OS that won't even run on her computer?

    Again, I'll my info is over the phone from someone who knows nothing about computers, so I'm trying to piece all this together. Regardless, I think she's being screwed.

    Thanks again
  4. Blackheart macrumors 6502a


    Mar 13, 2004
    I'd recommend NOT running the computer in OS X; especially 10.3. First of all, there was no reason to upgrade her. I guess that jackass just wanted to scam her. If she was fine with OS 9, then there was no need in upgrading. If she understands it and it works for her then it's fine. Also, for him to even THINK about installing OS X on a computer that old is absurd. I have a Powerbook G4 400 with 384mb RAM and I recognize it's sluggishness a lot. My dad has an iBook G3 600 with 128mb RAM and it's REALLY slow: I can't stand using his computer. It's so frustrating trying to open apps or files... I don't know how he does it.
  5. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Unless he reformatted the drive (highly likely considering all the other things he's done wrong), OS 9 and all her stuff should still be there. When she boots, have her hold the option key and see if she's give the option to boot from OS 9. Flashing the PRAM (hold command, option, p, r while booting and let it chime 3 times) will also get it to stop booting to OS X.

    I agree with what's been said about OS X on that computer. It shouldn't even install on 96MB so I don't know why it's asking for disk 2.

    The guy is full of crap, as you've figured out already. She shouldn't have paid him anything. She should demand her money back and break his legs if he doesn't give it back. No exaggeration.

    What's the bit about him doing this without permission? That sounds like vandalism.
  6. 5300cs macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Well, I booted and ran OS X 10.2 on my 500Mhz iBook on 64mb RAM once (by accident) and it will run, but it's not at all pretty and not for everyday use at all. If it's a 366Mhz, it sounds like it's an old colored iBook. They only do up to 800x600 screen resolution (iBook owners, confirm this?) which ain't roomy, and don't have the VRAM to handle Quartz Extreme. This means it'll be real slow.

    She's better off in OS 9.2, in my opinion. If you can get her to boot sucessfully into OS 9, try to erase the partial OS X install.

    Then find that guy again and boot him in the nuts for trying to scam her :mad:
  7. mikepctp macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2003
    just north of Toronto, Canada
    Sad, there is always an "expert" ("X" being the unknown quantity and "spurt" being a drip under pressure) and they always make it tough for people to trust others in areas they don't know themselves.

    OSX will run on a 366 but you need to max the RAM...$... I ran OSX on a 300 but with 468 Mb of RAM. It worked "ok".

    If you can walk her through a startup to 9 as many good folks here have suggested; do it. Dump 10 and have her call 3 close friends to pay the expert a visit... she may not get the money back but some RAM (as a gesture) would be good. Failing that, there's enough of them there to do some pain infliction... or simply call the police to report fraud if he doesn't provide the Apple OSX discs.
  8. niallerc macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2003
    Dublin, Ireland

    All of the above info is good, but if she's a computerphobe the cost of trying to talk her through all of the above on the phone it would be more cost effective to fly over and do it yourself.

    Anyway my point being what country is it, and if anyone on the forum can point to a reputable dealer that she could check out in that country (verifying it yourself of course before passing on the info) that might help.

    I've run jag on a 300mhz PBG3 with 192mb ram so with 96 I'd imagine it sucks big time, ram is relatively cheap at the moment but getting more expensive by the week so she should act quickly and bump it up. I'd recommend an upgrade to X purely for ease of use to the new user (i've put friends and family through it).
  9. vsp thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2004
    Chico, Ca
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. It helps.

    My guess is that he did format the drive, so she may be stuck with using 10.2 on this machine (I'll know more later tonight after I talk with her again). She apparently no longer has the OS 9 system disks (or never received them when she bought the machine), so we may be stuck for the moment.

    She's on a small island in the Virgin Islands (technically not another country but I continually make that slip of the tongue), a very, very nice place but not with a wide variety of services. So there is some temptation to fly over and help personally.

    My concern with buying more RAM for the machine is two-fold: one, she has a low income and the $150 she just gave this guy is about all she can afford at the moment, and two, she's had nothing but trouble with her computer since she got it. The trouble actually seems to be with the few people she's enlisted to help her out locally; I think the machine itself is in good shape. But I don't feel comfortable with her having someone else install the RAM. If we go the more RAM route I may just have her ship it to me and take care of it all from here.

    Thanks again for all the help. My goal right now is, if possible, get her back on 9.2 and find a way of getting her reliable help.

    Thanks everyone.
  10. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    This is probably not a good idea, but just a potential suggestion: Installing RAM in a clamshell iBook like the one she has is VERY easy. If you can make sure she's got the right stuff (say, buy it, look at it, and mail it to her), you might be able to walk her through sticking the RAM in the slot on the phone, if she's the type who doesn't know anything but isn't afraid to follow instructions. Better yet, if she knows someone with even a little bit of technical experience, you could walk them through it.

    This is only if you/she is feeling a brave, and you yourself know your way around the inside of an iBook, but considering that it's never taken me more than a minute and a half to install RAM in one of those I'm pretty sure it's possible to methodically walk someone who doesn't know anything through the process in a few minutes for less than the cost and risk of shipping an iBook across an ocean.

    Do get her back on 9.2, though--10.anything is miserably slow with even 128MB of RAM, and it's bad enough on a 333MHz iMac with a faster hard drive.
  11. leftbanke7 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 4, 2004
    West Valley City, Utah
    It is monitarily feasable for her to ship you the iBook, have you fix all the screwup, even parhaps slap in a new RAM stick and then ship it back?

    Edit: I guess I should clarify some. If it feasable for you to pay for the shipping as opposed to paying for a plane ticket.
  12. whocares macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    They *should* have come with the computer! :eek:

    Does she have any CDs that came with the iBook? Like 'Software Restore' or 'iBook Restore'?

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