I recently eBayed a 300 MHz iBook G3 for a bit under $100 shipped as a "Classic replacement," and the experiment has, so far, gone proverbially swimmingly. The iBook was very clean, has 96 megs of RAM, and somehow I lucked out and seem to have gotten one with a relatively new battery, as it still keeps a six hour charge. Usually my eBayed laptops come with D-E-D dead batteries, and stay that way until I figure they're worth keeping. Battery prices mean that I haven't decided any of my laptops are worth keeping to date.

Overall, this is a neat machine. I now understand the allure of a handle and why people would spend insane amounts ($50) to add them to iceBooks. It's a hefty laptop, but feels solid enough, and is easier to carry sans case than any other loose laptop thanks to the handle. Add to that that I had an old Airport card sitting idle, and I've got a neat portable.

I might add that I'm purposefully not getting RAM and trying OS X. I used to run X on an iceBook 500 and that was pretty danged slow. Still, a coworker has another iBook 300, and we put 10.2 on it. If you can keep yourself to running Safari and Mail.app, you're in business. Unfortunately I can't resist going whole hog.

Most importantly for me, it keeps me (ignoring that I'm posting this with The Clam now) generally on task when I'm writing. There really isn't much you can do with OS 9 compared to the constant distractions of OS X. With the limited memory, clunky memory management, and lack of solid applications for many current day Internet tasks, I tend to do what I mean to in Word 98 productively.

Also important for me is that my old Quicktime Pro registration works here, eliminating my need for my StarMax almost completely. My only real complaint is that there's no way to print to my ImageWriter with The Clam.

In any event, it's a nice machine for writing, where the 800x600 resolution doesn't bother me. I can even install my Classic games, which is awfully nice now that my OS X machines no longer have Classic installed. Much better than an emulator, The Clam has a pretty good foothold in my weekly computer usage.

(But I do wish I'd shell out for more RAM just to do more more quickly in OS 9. There's always something.)