i have a mac again. i bought a converted G4 “yosemite” (converted from a G3 by the clever use of a sonnet processor card) off of ebay, and it arrived today. i immediately put in the extra 500m of ram from the dead mac, reformatted the 20g hard disk that it came with (which is called “cumquat” now), installed the 6g hard disk from the dead mac, “cucumber”, and, voila, it worked with no further difficulties. i still have no way of getting the stuff off of the former secondary hard disk (“pumpkin”) but theoretically, i can install OsX and use the disk tools that come with it to mount the dead disk, but at this point, i can function again.