Powerbook surgery…

So the Powerbook has been acting up lately. It’s normally such a well-behaved young lady that I rarely have anything to say about it except “I love my Mac.” However, time is starting to take a toll on the old girl. How do I know this? Well, just a few days ago, the Airport card crapped out.
Now normally this isn’t a big deal. Airport Extreme cards are what, $60USD? Most 802.11G wireless cards are about that price, or cheaper. One might imagine that an old Apple 802.11B card would be *super* cheap. Yeah, not so much. This would be the first time I’ve ever seen hardware *increase* in value. $170USD for a replacement card. That’s right, almost $200 for an old “B” card. I’m thinking… no.


Luckily Sonnet makes a card, the Aria Extreme that works as a direct replacement. It’s an external card (meaning it sits in that PCMCIA/CardBus slot that nobody ever uses), but it’s supposed to be recognized by your aging mac as a perfectly natural, perfectly Apple card. Even better, it’s a “G” card, so now I can finally use wireless networks up to their fullest potential. I’m excited. An elegant, inexpensive solution.
Next on the my-Mac-is-falling-apart list is the keyboard. I’ve managed to go through two keyboards already, and was (until this afternoon) considering a third. Laptop keyboards aren’t the sturdiest things in the world, but the Powerbook keys have put up with a lot of abuse. The duty cycle on this thing is 8 hours a day (minimum) every single day, for a little over 4.5 years. Yep, my little Powerbook is *that* old. And the sweet thing is that it’s still going strong. But I digress.
The keyboard suddenly decided that the ‘h’ key (a very important key) was only going to work if pushed down on a precise vertical axis, and all the way down. This slows me down *and* creates a lot more typos. Unacceptable. The solution? A new keyboard, of course!
My last keyboard, however, was in my drawer, and suffered from a simple broken “delete” key. The scissors were fine, but the actual keycap itself was broken. So I thought maybe I could snap in the “delete” key from the new into the old, and voila! Back to the original, sturdy keyboard. A little bit of tweaking and playing, and the keycap slid on perfectly with a snap.
So, sure, there are workarounds and solutions, but the ageing process is beginning to take its toll. She’s been a good, hard worker, and will continue to be for a while (I’m not about to run out another laptop right now, when it’s not absolutely necessary), so I’ll have to work with what I’ve got. I’m just worried that software will soon begin to get unbearable sluggish, especially with this move to Universal Binaries. Ugh. The inexorable advance of technology!

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