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February 2, 2006

Making do

Filed under: powerbook repair,Technology — chuck goolsbee @ 11:48 pm

OK, I’m beyond a full week now without my PowerBook.

You know the last time I had a powerbook repaired was back in the “bad old days” of a “beleaguered Apple” (remember those?) This was during the rampant fiasco that was the PowerBook 5300. No, I never used one of those, I was a Duo/2400c kind of guy, but I managed a fleet of laptops at my then employer… mostly PowerBooks, but also Toshibas and IBM ThinkPads. The 5300 was Apple’s best sales tool for selling Toshibas and ThinkPads… gawd it was awful. I think I saw more users switch to Windows 95 due to the 5300 than any other cause. Apple, to its credit did have several repair programs in place for that model though. Based on that experience, the current one is horrible… it is making me yearn for the “bad old days! of 1996!

How? Well back then Apple didn’t have retail stores. You didn’t have to schedule yourself to see the “genius”, or wait for days or even weeks to get your laptop fixed. You called an 800 number, the next day a shipping box would arrive, all ready for your laptop. You would drop your powerbook into the foam container, seal the box and hand it back to the FedEx guy. Literally no more than THREE days later, you had your PowerBook 5300 back. Mind you, it was still a PowerBook 5300, which means it still sucked, but at least you had it back!

I’m now 8 days into my life without my laptop and there is no end in sight.

In the meantime, I’m living with the wheezing old TiBook, which clings to life by the skin of its titanium, um… skin. As I said before, it really can’t be called a laptop anymore since it refuses to run on battery power. It also sits on the verge of meltdown due to badly overheating. I have removed the keyboard from it in an attempt to keep it cool (and running!) Yesterday I found a big heat sink off an Intel server and greased it onto the CPU.

Above: My battered, wheezing, old TiBook, sporting a server-sized heat sink. Resting on it you can see my “Genius Bar Work Authorization.”

Today I am experimenting with using the parts scavenged from my old XK engine rebuild as heat sinks. The camshafts are too heavy, but the valves are doing an excellent job of maintaining CPU temps below 115° F. Plus they look cool. Maybe I’ll shoot a pic for a future entry.

If this were 1996, I’d have had my PowerBook back at least 4 days ago. As it is 10 years later, It looks like it could be another week.

Above: My repair status page at Apple.com. “On Hold, part on Order.

Let’s hope the TiBook doesn’t spontaneously combust before its replacement gets back. It damn well better get back before mid-February when I go on vacation! I would rather not bring a wheezing, overheated TiBook and external firewire drive with me. Not to mention a few pounds of metal to act as heat sinks. 😛

2 Comments

  1. You tried a Podium Coolpad under the TiBook Chuck to help with air circulation? I always use them at work and at home. Hope Apple comes through with the repairs soon…

    Comment by gondwana — February 3, 2006 @ 2:52 am

  2. I have a case from an Xserve DIMM under it to allow air to circulate. I always do that while any powerbook is on my desk. Not as high tech as the cool pad, but does the job. The TiBook would overheat with anything under it, except an icepack perhaps… which is what I did when I still used the TiBook every day.

    –chuck

    Comment by cg — February 3, 2006 @ 8:54 am

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