so, one of my questions is, is "programmer mode" another way of saying "open firmware"???
Basically, yes, sort of, but not directly...
UPDATE THE FIRMWARE. I downloaded the firmware update from Apple, read the instructions, and followed them carefully. The only tricky part here was that the firmware updater asked me to perform a maneuver I'd never performed before: holding down the programmer's button on the side of the iMac while powering the machine back on and then waiting for a long alert sound (more of a toot than a beep) before letting go.
Mount the .smi by double clicking on it, then open About G4 Firmware Update for complete instructions...
About the Power Mac G4 Firmware Update 4.2.8
The Power Mac G4 Firmware Update 4.2.8 will run only on Power Mac G4 and Macintosh Server G4 models with AGP graphics running Mac OS 9.1 or later from a local hard disk. If you are using Mac OS X on your Power Mac G4 or Macintosh Server G4, you must start up from a local Mac OS 9.1 or later writeable partition (not a CD or network disk) before following the update instructions.
Firmware Update 4.1.9 is available for Power Mac G4 Cube models and iMac computers with slot-loading CD or DVD drives.
Firmware Update 4.2.8 includes improvements to starting up Mac OS X from the local hard disk, FireWire target disk mode, network startup, gigabit networking (on systems with gigabit hardware), and system stability. This update also adds support for additional security options that allow the Open Firmware to be password-protected.
Before you install the Power Mac G4 Firmware Update 4.2.8, read the instructions below. You may want to print them for reference.
Note: After you install this update, the parameter RAM (PRAM) is reset. This may reset some of your control panels to their default settings. See Mac Help, available in the Help menu, for more information on changing your control panel settings.
1. Double-click the Power Mac G4 Firmware Updater icon.
Note: If a message says your firmware is up-to-date with version 4.2.8 of the Power Mac G4 Firmware Update, or that this version of the Power Mac G4 Firmware Updater will not run on this computer, then you do not need this update. If a message says you need to install Mac OS 9.1 or later, the Firmware Updater will not run until you do so.
2. Follow the onscreen instructions. When prompted, click Shut Down in the dialog box to shut down your Power Mac G4.
3. Locate the programmer's button on the front of the Power Mac G4, to the right of the reset button. Press and hold in the programmer's button. You may need to use a pen or a straightened paper clip.Picture showing Programmers Button.
4. While you hold in the programmer's button, press the Power button to start up your Power Mac G4.
5. Continue to hold in the programmer's button until you hear a long tone. Release the programmer's button when you hear the tone. The update starts automatically.
A status bar shows the progress of the update. When a message says your computer's firmware has been successfully updated to version 4.2.8, you are finished.
Note: If a message says the update was not completed successfully, review the instructions and begin the update process again.
For more information, see www.apple.com/support
October 9, 2001
© 2001 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved.
Apple, the Apple logo, FireWire, Mac, and Macintosh are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iMac and Power Mac are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.