Tag Archives: PowerBook

Culprit Identified

The problem with the PowerBook has been confirmed to be the RAM upgrade I put in back in 2004. It hummed along fine for 3½ years, but I guess it finally went bad with the laptop getting so much more use the last few weeks.

Better something modular and easy to get at (well, except for the one stripped screw) than something intrinsic to the machine. Under the circumstances, I’m just having the shop replace it.

Though I guess I should’ve known better than to trust this guy:

Sheep with a laser attached to its face.  Caption: O hai! I upgraded your RAM!
moar humorous pics

(Check out the original lolcat post if you don’t recognize the phrasing.)

Assuming the box continues to pass diagnostics with the new memory, I should be able to pick it up at lunch on Monday.

Update: Success! The computer is back, and working again!


After nearly 4 years of faithful service, our G4 PowerBook has crashed. This machine has been rock-solid through 2 OS upgrades, a RAM upgrade, and a battery recall. On Sunday, the hard disk finally gave out.

We only lost a few recent files. I had a chance to grab them on Saturday, but unfortunately I misread the signs and thought it was a software problem. Hey, you install a bunch of stuff including a system update, and the machine freezes, you figure it’s a software problem. Until it happens again, and this time it won’t come back up. 😡

After doing all the diagnostics & resets I could possibly come up with, I set up an appointment at the local Apple Store’s “Genius Bar” during my lunch break today. They confirmed it was the drive, and since it’s long out of warranty, they pointed me to a local repair shop. (They were willing to do the job, but can only order parts directly from Apple, so it would’ve been insanely expensive just for the drive.)

Fortunately, as far as laptop hardware failures go, a hardware drive is relatively easy to fix. If the case were simpler, I’d be willing to do it myself, but as the Apple tech joked, “It takes 36 screws just to get the case open.” At least, I think he was joking.

So instead of having to replace the entire computer, or send it in and wait several weeks, we’re looking at ~$200 and 3–5 days. And while I was at it, I sprang for double the capacity.

I can live with that.

Update: It turned out to be the RAM upgrade, not the disk, which makes it considerably simpler to resolve. Finally got it back the following Monday.

Leaped to Leopard

Mac OS X LeopardThe new Mac OS X disc arrived in today’s mail. I opened it up to make sure everything was there, and was surprised to see that Apple has really cut down on packaging. Instead of the ~8×10″ box with folds to keep the disc and manual in place, they’ve gone to a small box the size of a cardboard CD case. Just enough room for the DVD and the “manual” (which is mainly a “Look what’s new!” booklet).

“So,” I said. “I have to ask myself. Do I feel lucky?”
“Well,” Katie replied. “Do you? Punk?”
“What the heck.”

I’d done some research on application compatibility earlier this week, and the PowerBook looked ready. Katie’s desktop is going to need further study. The Mac Classic environment will no longer run under Leopard, and she’s still got a couple of Classic apps she pulls out occasionally. Also, Photoshop 7 is reported not to run under Leopard, and Adobe isn’t testing or updating anything older than CS3.

But the laptop? No critical data to back up (it’s all duplicated from the desktops), and everything we actually use on it has been tested on at least a pre-release.

So I fired up Netscape 4 for old times’ sake (and discovered that this theme is completely unreadable in it; then I switched the CSS around so that Netscape 4 won’t even try). Then I popped in the disc, selected some options, and let it install during Pushing Daisies.

No problems so far. Disk space is running low, but it’s a 3-year old laptop (so the drive is small) and I did an Archive and Install, so it has a backup of the old OS. Once it’s clear that everything works, I can free up ~6GB right there. It may also be time to wipe the Yellow Dog Linux partition. I haven’t used it in over a year.

Some highlights: I really like finally having virtual desktops (what Apple calls “Spaces”). The new search highlighting, previously seen in the Safari 3 beta, appears in other apps as well. Heck, Safari 3 is a big jump itself. (Hey, Apple, where are the Windows and Tiger releases?)

Assault via Battery?

Received the replacement battery for the PowerBook yesterday. It was shipped out via DHL, with a prepaid return label for shipping the old battery back via regular mail.

Last night I drained the old battery, plugged the new one in, and packaged up the recalled one in the box. At lunch today I went to the post office to send it off.

As I was walking up the steps, I remembered the “Does this package contain anything liquid, explosive, or otherwise hazardous?” question that postal clerks are required to ask. If you’re mailing a defective battery that could theoretically burst into flames, how exactly are you supposed to answer?

I figured it would be best not to joke about it.

As it was, I just said it was a laptop battery straight out, so the question didn’t come up.

Fedora Core 5—and Airport Extreme on Linux?

Fedora Core 5 was released today. I started downloading it this morning, and it should be done this afternoon. I’ll probably start updating the Fedora boxes at work later this week, though for my home system I may wait until RPMForge catches up.

Meanwhile, I’m reading the release notes, and found one item particularly interesting:

There are new experimental drivers that provide support for the widely-used Broadcom 43xx wireless chipsets (http://bcm43xx.berlios.de/).

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