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nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 01:06 PM
It's time to get a laptop. The conflict between being family chauffeur and family breadwinner has left me no choice. I'm spending too much time waiting in my car instead of working in my car . . .

Here's what I need:

- The best wireless connection I can get - both for speed and to be able to access remote signals.

- As much screen acreage as I can get - I generally work with two documents side-by-side at the same time. The bigger they are, the better.

- Enough functionality to run Microsoft Word, Safari, and Adobe Reader at the same time without any of them crashing.

- A browser that refreshes quickly enough that I can keep an eye on an eBay auction if I need to.

So, in a nutshell, nothing fancy. I'll be using it in the relative discomfort of my car, often in subfreezing temperatures. If I want to do something exciting - I'll be doing it at home, not in my car!

But I don't have any easy way of doing a hands-on camparison of different laptops. So I'm wondering what difference there is between the displays on the different models (other than size) - are some better than others? What about the angle between keyboard and screen - is that ever adjustable? Is any of them just more user-friendly in layout and design?

I'd welcome any thoughts you have . . .



Fezzasus
Feb 5, 2008, 01:12 PM
While I assume you will be buying second hand because powerbooks and ibooks haven't been made for a good two years, I would suggest looking at getting a widescreen. It makes working with two documents much easier due to their respective sizes. Don't be fooled into thinking the 14" iBook can offer you a better screen, it's larger but has the same resolution as the 12".

Plastic cases offer the best wireless reception. That means the iBook/macbook

For the rest of the functions the two computers are on par.

Obviously, you open the screen, so the angle between screen and keyboard are adjustable.

KingYaba
Feb 5, 2008, 01:30 PM
I would look for a 1st generation Macbook.

# Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
# Storage temperature: -13° to 113° F (-24° to 45° C)

http://www.apple.com/macbook/specs.html

I don't know if those have changed since the first and latest Macbooks but you said you were going to do some computing in "sub freezing" temperatures...

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 01:47 PM
Well, I will be working in a heated car . . . but it still won't be the most pleasant of circumstances when it's mid-winter! So the computer will be used on an as-needed basis - and not just for fun.

To recap what's been said already - the screen on the powerbook will be both larger and better resolution than anything I can get in an ibook? But wireless reception will be better with an ibook? Hmmm . . . is there anything I can do to improve the wireless reception in the powerbook?

Is there any significant difference in keyboard layout/accessibility in the two different machines? Or anything that's just a royal pain-in-the-a$$ in either one or the other?

Thanks for your responses!

heatmiser
Feb 5, 2008, 01:58 PM
Yeah, I'd get a Macbook. Faster performance than any Powerbook, good resolution for the size, and as good as you can get w.r.t. wireless, being plastic.

mkrishnan
Feb 5, 2008, 02:01 PM
To recap what's been said already - the screen on the powerbook will be both larger and better resolution than anything I can get in an ibook? But wireless reception will be better with an ibook? Hmmm . . . is there anything I can do to improve the wireless reception in the powerbook?

The iBook came in two screen sizes -- 12" and 14", but as mentioned above, they had the SAME resolution (1024x768). Powerbooks came in 12", 15", and 17". It sounds like you really would benefit from a 15" or 17"... they both came in different resolutions over the course of the Powerbook model life. You can look at http://www.apple-history.com for more information.

Wireless reception... there are things you can do, but if you have to ask what they are, then honestly they're probably out of your league (things like modding the Powerbook with an external antenna or more/better internal antennas to compensate for the metal enclosure's issues). The PB wireless reception isn't awful -- rather the iBook is one of the best notebooks of that era in terms of reception. I guess in principle you could get a PC-card slot 802.11n card for the 15" or 17" powerbooks....

Keyboard -- when people have opinions, most say that the powerbook keyboard is slightly to moderately better than the iBook keyboar/d. The shape and layouts are similar but the keys are physically different (metal vs. plastic). The feel on the PBs is more solid and consistent from key to key.

The other suggestion I have is that you actually look at pricing for 15" or 17" powerbooks... you're not going to be too happy. They hold their value quite well, and they were originally quite expensive -- significantly more than an iBook 12". So you're going to pay a lot of them. Most likely more than for a Macbook.

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 02:19 PM
Thanks for the input!

Macbook is definitely out of my price range, and so (in all likelihood) is the 17" PB. A 15" PB, particularly a Titanium, is definitely do-able, and I think would be adequate to the limited tasks I'd need to do with it.

A 12" PB is also a possibility. It's obviously smaller than the 15", but if the screen resolution is better than the ibook, it might be worth the extra money.

I hadn't know there was a difference in the keys between the PB and the ibook - that's useful to know.

Still, it looks like a 15" PB is probably the best option. I could take to someone to have the wireless capability upgraded . . . Also, if I'm so far out in the middle of nowhere that I can't get a signal, maybe having the ibook wouldn't make any difference!

mkrishnan
Feb 5, 2008, 02:27 PM
Hmmm, okay, that's older than I thought you were going. Some things to consider if you're considering a Titanium powerbook...

- The last generation of Tibooks was made more than five years ago. They're old, and they're slow -- the very fastest Tibooks are about as fast as the original iBook G4. You almost certainly do not want Leopard on them. Tiger will work as long as you have 1GB of memory -- it may be a bit dicey if you have less than 1GB.

- They have big screens but they do not have very high resolutions... The last gen Tibook has a resolution (1280x854) that is only very slightly higher than the Macbook (1280x800). I think earlier ones were even lower than that.

- The wifi card in them is an 802.11b card -- no 802.11g.

- The hinges on them broke relatively easily (compared particularly to the iBook and Aluminum Powerbook, on which this failure type was basically unheard of), so be careful when you shop to find out about the hinges.

You never really mentioned your country or price range. If you live in the US, it sounds like you're looking to spend $350-500? Does that sound right? That's probably a reasonable expectation range for what you're describing. You're correct in surmising that the MBP, MB, 15" and 17" powerbooks, most 12" powerbooks, and later iteration iBook G4s are all out of this price range.

I personally would probably get the best iBook I could get in that budget, over buying a TiBook. One, it's plastic, and you want to use it in the cold, so it might be slightly more pleasant. It's a much more durable design than the TiBook. And aside from screensize, everything else is generally better about it. Faster, better wifi, etc.

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 03:00 PM
Okay, wait a sec (wheels turning ever so slowly here . . . .), you mean the PBs are actually METAL and the ibooks are made of PLASTIC. (Yes, I know this was mentioned earlier, but I'm an older model also . . . and not always as quick as I'd like to be.) So, of course, manipulating a PB (in New Hampshire) in January/February might NOT be so much fun! I hadn't thought of that!

Okay, that changes things. (I rather had my heart set on a nice 15" PB . . . . ) So, if I'm looking at ibooks, is there anything to look for or to avoid? Are there any that have a better screen resolution? And if I'm going this route, getting the 14" be a step in the right direction, I assume?

So there's probably minimal advantage to getting a 12" aluminum PB over an ibook - other than maybe the better keyboard? With the ibook, I can get a larger screen and better connectivity for less money - right?

I haven't even looked at specs for ibooks (or priced them on eBay), so I've got some research to do!

You were correct about my price range, although I'd prefer to get something in the $300 to $400 (or $450) range if I can.

Fezzasus
Feb 5, 2008, 03:02 PM
I personally would probably get the best iBook I could get in that budget, over buying a TiBook. One, it's plastic, and you want to use it in the cold, so it might be slightly more pleasant. It's a much more durable design than the TiBook. And aside from screensize, everything else is generally better about it. Faster, better wifi, etc.

I agree. I'd take a 1.2 Ghz or 1.33 GHz 12" iBook. I was using one up until december and it was a fine computer, very capable and is still being most day, every day by my younger brother.

As I said, while the 14" iBook screen is larger. it is the same resolution - so you can't fit anything more on it. The keyboards on the iBook are fine. Really the only reason to look at getting a powerbook over them is a more powerful graphics card and small extras. In terms of functionality, they both do a great job.

dan7592
Feb 5, 2008, 03:11 PM
You sure you wouldn't be better off with a windows PC instead of getting outdated tech?

mkrishnan
Feb 5, 2008, 03:20 PM
You sure you wouldn't be better off with a windows PC instead of getting outdated tech?

That is something to consider... I would say...

Pros:
- Windows notebooks generally have lower resale value, so you'll get a newer one.

- Even year for year, around the middle of the iBook G4 era, Windows notebooks were generally faster than Apple ones, particularly considering how old Windows XP already was. Of course, I would probably take a Mac running Panther generally over XP, but....

Cons:
- A lot of Windows notebooks, esp the brands that have less resale value like Dell and HP, don't have great long term durability. The really rock-solid ones like Thinkpads and Toshibas have good resale value, so you're kind of screwed either way.

- Windows, obviously.

I am not 100% sure if it's feasible, but if you can find a Windows notebook that has a Core Solo or Core Duo processor in it (not C2D but the original Core Duo), a lot of those began retailing around $800, you might be able to get one used in your price range. And larger screens are much more common in Windows notebooks.

(And yes, all iBooks are made of plastic -- polycarbonate, I think -- and Powerbooks made in the last eight or so years are metal... Titanium for the ones that are 5-8 years old and Aluminum since 2003 or so.)

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 03:20 PM
No, I definitely wouldn't want a PC. Part of what I'd be doing every time I use this is transferring files back and forth between my office computer and the laptop. Easier to do if they're the same platform. Switching between Word for Macs and Word for Windows is also a pain if I have to do it on a regular basis.

About screen size . . . can you please explain to me why a 14" ibook wouldn't be larger than a 12"? I don't get it . . .

Fezzasus
Feb 5, 2008, 03:25 PM
About screen size . . . can you please explain to me why a 14" ibook wouldn't be larger than a 12"? I don't get it . . .

It is larger, but it wont display any more than the 12" screen because they are the same resolution.

For example, if an image takes up 80% of the screen on the 12" ibook, it will take up 80% of the screen on the 14" ibook. - it's simply scaled up rather than offering more space to use.

The only reason to go for the larger iBook is if you have poor eye sight. The keyboards are the same size, the batteries have a similar capacity, they have a similar performance and if you want to keep it in your car, a smaller laptop would be better.

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 03:47 PM
Okay, so if I need the fonts I'm working with to be a particular size on the screen - because that's what I can see - I would get more text on the screen using the 14" than if I used the 12".

Or, alternatively, if I kept the underlying font size the same, it would look bigger on the 14" screen.

If I've got it right, either of those would be a good result. Also going from the 17" screen I've got at home to a 12" screen would probably not be pleasant.

Is the 14" ibook simply wider than the 12", or is it deeper (front to back) also?

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 04:14 PM
Should I consider a GS ibook also?

mkrishnan
Feb 5, 2008, 04:40 PM
The 14" iBook is deeper and wider than the 12" one. I don't really understand your point about fonts and text... I think you're making it more complicated than it is. Imagine you took a magnifying glass and held it in front of the smaller LCD on the iBook 12". That's what you get. Same thing, bigger pixels.

There is no iBook G5. The iBook came with the G3 and G4 processors. You should really only consider the G4. There is also no Powerbook G5. The G5 processor line was only in desktops (specifically the PowerMac and the iMac -- it was also never in the eMac or Mac Mini). The notebooks went from G4 to Core Duo. The Macbook (Core Duo and later Core 2 Duo) replaced the iBook G4; the Macbook Pro and I guess ultimately Macbook Air replaced the Powerbook G4 line (also initially with Core Duos and later with C2D's).

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 04:41 PM
Sorry, meant to write G3 . . .

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 05:00 PM
I appreciate your time. I'm going to take a look at eBay and see where prices are. Then I'll check out craigslist also.

I'll stay away from G3's and look for newer G4's.

Thanks for all your help!!!

heatmiser
Feb 5, 2008, 05:05 PM
Some resources for G4s:

http://stores.channeladvisor.com/BetaMacs/Laptops/ibook/ibook%20G4/

http://www.powerbookguy.com/xcart/catalog/Systems-price0-p-1-c-123.html

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 08:19 PM
Uhhh . . . oops!

After everyone's good advice, a deal came up on eBay that I just couldn't pass up . . . so I ignored most (but not all!!!) of the advice and took a chance.

I am now the proud owner of a 12" Aluminum Powerbook with a 1.0 GHz processor, 512 MB ram, a 60 GB HD, newly installed superdrive, and two nearly new batteries. Starting & ending bid = $425. And it's just down the road from here, so I'll be able to pick it up from the seller in person.

You can see it here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190195857068&_trksid=p2759.l1259

Just tell me I didn't make a mistake. It's not the size screen that I wanted, it'll be a bit chilly to use during the winter (I'll wear gloves!), and it won't get the best wireless reception (and doesn't have a PC card slot!) . . . . but it's such a good deal!!! (And I did manage to stay away from the dreaded Titaniums!)

I can see the mistakes in the auction listing, and I'm guessing I know why no one else bid . . . . but I still can't believe I got it!

I've gotta go make dinner for the starving hordes. I did good, though, didn't I?

Thanks!

Judith

Designer1
Feb 5, 2008, 10:05 PM
Looks good to me! The price is very good as well (slightly more than I paid for my 867). Mine has the same "imperfections" in the front. Having taken it apart myself, I know it is from trying to pry that part of the case open. The top casing comes apart pretty easily but tends to 'stick' in that spot.

I love my little PB..I think you'll enjoy yours as well... :D

Edit: I just noticed you live near Boston as well. I have been using mine in my car a lot this winter and it has been fine. I even leave it in the cold car for short stretches of time- no more than a couple of hours though.

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 10:14 PM
Thanks, designer . . .

Now that things have quieted down a bit, I'm starting to second guess myself - but I think the two fresh batteries pretty much guaranty I didn't do too badly. The seller is disappointed he didn't do better . . . but he was expecting to make TWICE that much! That wasn't likely to happen . . .

I get to pick it up tomorrow!

noodle654
Feb 5, 2008, 10:20 PM
Thanks, designer . . .

Now that things have quieted down a bit, I'm starting to second guess myself - but I think the two fresh batteries pretty much guaranty I didn't do too badly. The seller is disappointed he didn't do better . . . but he was expecting to make TWICE that much! That wasn't likely to happen . . .

I get to pick it up tomorrow!

Nice buy there. A little old, but hey, you will be happy with it. 12" PB are great machines, quite light too! Buy some RAM for that you are set.

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 10:26 PM
Hey, noodle, I'm a little old, too . . . so it works!

SkyBell
Feb 5, 2008, 10:42 PM
I'm surprised you were able to get a 12" PB at that price; that's extremely cheap.

Although I would have recommended a 900 MHz iBook G3 or 1 GHz iBook G4, it looks like you are happy with what you bought. :)

Designer1
Feb 5, 2008, 10:42 PM
Don't worry... If for some strange reason you don't like it you can always resell it for at least that much. I can tell you that it really is a great size for resting on your lap in a car. I should know...I have a Miata and there is definitely not much leg room going on.....;)

nhcowboy1
Feb 5, 2008, 10:50 PM
Thanks for the feedback! Honestly, I wouldn't even have looked at it if ANYONE else was bidding . . . but they weren't! Sheesh, even during the Super Bowl I couldn't get a good deal on a laptop. Someone must have been looking out for me tonight!

My only concern now is connectivity . . . I'm just hoping it will work out in the middle of nowhere! (New Hampshire = mountainous nowhere land)

mkrishnan
Feb 6, 2008, 08:46 AM
My only concern now is connectivity . . . I'm just hoping it will work out in the middle of nowhere! (New Hampshire = mountainous nowhere land)

The price that you mentioned $425 -- is EXCELLENT for that computer. Probably up to about $500 is reasonable. I wouldn't go north of that.

I ... I apologize for not asking this a long time ago, but you said things like this several times and I let them slide, and I should've asked you about them before you bid on a computer. You've mentioned repeatedly that you're worried about the quality of the Wifi on the PB vs other Macs, since it has mildly lower range than, say, iBooks or Macbooks that have plastic casing.

To what are you planning on connecting? I'm sorry to ask a stupid question, but you understand at a basic level what Wifi is, right? Wifi is a short range wireless networking system. It only works over a couple hundred feet, and you really can only use networks to which you have access. So... if what you're talking about is, say, that you have a T-mobile hotspot account, a Macbook vs. a Powerbook might be the difference between accessing it in the parking lot vs. having to be inside the Starbucks.

A good notebook can access our home network from the street in front of the house, whereas a bad one would need to be in the yard closer to the house, right? But in any event, Wifi is generally a system that you use indoors.... so the mountains outside don't really have any impact on your Wifi connection, as far as I know.

But it isn't like you can just drive around and get wifi in the middle of nowhere -- it isn't broadcast from cell towers or anything. You're not confusing Wifi with cellular data services (EDGE, HSDPA, EVDO, etc), are you? Those are the services "smartphones" use (iPhone, Blackberry, Treo, Q, etc). All those services are provided by cellular companies -- T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.

Those services are broadcast using the cellular system of towers and satellites. No Mac notebook to date has built-in cellular data services. You can add a card to any one that has a PC Card slot (PB 15/17") or an ExpressCard slot (Macbook Pro), or you can use an external USB one on any recent Mac. Depending on your cell phone and service provider, you can also use your phone as a modem (tethering, either via a USB cable or via Bluetooth, which is built in on most Mac notebooks, including all Powerbooks, later iBooks, and all current notebooks).

But just to be clear, without one of those solutions, you won't have access to the internet when you're in some random place or on the highway or anything.

nhcowboy1
Feb 6, 2008, 10:49 PM
Sorry for my delay in replying - was down in Boston a good part of the day picking up the computer. This is the first chance I've had to sit down all day . . .

Okay, so what I meant about getting a signal out in the middle of nowhere . . . was that I am hoping there will be a wifi network I can pick up on WITHOUT having to drive my car into someone's front yard (which would be rude, and I'd probably get stuck in the snow).

The two locations I know of that I will need to use the laptop are (1) a college town, where I expect to have no problem, and (2) a small town where I have absolutely no clue what I will find. I am hoping that someone will have a signal I can use . . . but I also know there's no guarantee.

I'll be at location #1 on Friday, and location # 2 on Saturday . . . so I'll see what I can find!

As for natural rock formations interfering with a wifi signal - I don't know. But I do know that my brick hearth (around my woodstove . . . not something you need to worry about in Florida!) played absolute havoc with the signal in my house 'til I figured out what was going on and moved the base station.

BTW, I'm glad to hear you think I got a good deal on the 12". It was more than I'd expected to spend, so that's encouraging. Meanwhile, I haven't even unpacked it yet. I guess I should take it out of the bag and introduce myself . . .

mkrishnan
Feb 7, 2008, 03:24 PM
Yes, most definitely you should! ;)

I'm originally from Michigan; I'm familiar with stoves... sorry, what I had meant is that rock formations outside your house do not impact your wifi functioning inside your house much. Rock formations that are inside your house are obviously a different story. :p

Also, you're certainly welcome to ultimately do as you please, but do be aware that driving around looking for and using networks, even open networks, with which you are not affiliated / haven't been invited to use... is almost certainly illegal where you live. Just sayin'....

harrymohan
Feb 7, 2008, 04:26 PM
Cant say much abt iBook but my Powerbook G4 17" has a best networking card :D Airport extreme though 2003-04 model it has better wireless card than contemporary wireless cards offered by other companies such as Dell, HP, Sony.

Download usually is at 900-1000 Kbps:eek::eek:

noodle654
Feb 7, 2008, 04:41 PM
Hey, noodle, I'm a little old, too . . . so it works!

Hahahaha....post some pics when you get it. Love to see that thing!

nhcowboy1
Feb 7, 2008, 06:30 PM
Also, you're certainly welcome to ultimately do as you please, but do be aware that driving around looking for and using networks, even open networks, with which you are not affiliated / haven't been invited to use... is almost certainly illegal where you live. Just sayin'....

Hmmm . . . about this breaking the law thing. That's not good.

In location #1 (the college town), there are several cafes that have wifi reception, as does the local Mac dealer. And my understanding was that there was an open network on the campus itself. I assumed these were all open for anybody to use . . . but I've already spoken to the Mac dealer, so I know I can go to their shop and get access if I need to.

And, as for location #2 - problem solved! It's not the handiest thing in the world, but about 10 minutes out of town is a ski resort with wireless access. So our season pass (purchased for the kid who broke two bones two weeks into the season!) is finally going to pay off!!!

Now, about making friends with this computer . . . I'll see what I can do. So far, it seems to have some problems that were not readily apparent when I picked it up. Keyboard not being level, case not closing properly, wireless card not being recognized (!) . . . I need to plug it in and take a closer look.

BTW, I was surprised to discover how much of a difference the metal casing actually makes. We were out for a few hours yesterday evening, and when I got home and started looking at the laptop, it was COLD compared to the plastic keyboard that was sitting right next to it. The keyboard has never felt cold, no matter how cold the house gets . . . (I'm going to remember that the next time I see "The Graduate" and scoff at Benjamin's possible future in the plastics industry!)

I'll post again after I take a closer look at the system spec's.

nhcowboy1
Feb 8, 2008, 02:44 AM
Friends we will not be.

The case is indeed not closing properly. It's misaligned and there's a noticeable gap all the way around. It latches most, but not all, of the time. (And remains partially open even when latched.)

The keyboard is either bent or not installed properly. It sticks up on the left, which makes the gap between top and bottom case on that side even more pronounced than elsewhere.

And, last, but not least, the airport card. I have verified that it is, physically, there. And it is not, physically, metaphysically or otherwise, working. Whether it's a problem with the card, the antenna connection or something else, I don't know. But it is NOT showing up on the system profiler.

Aw, heck, working is overrated anyway. I didn't really NEED the laptop today . . . oh no, wait, I needed to work to pay for the laptop. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.

mkrishnan
Feb 8, 2008, 09:05 AM
Wow... that's quite a bit of unfortunate information the buyer happened to leave out...

Regarding the gap... your Powerbook's lid should have rubber bumpers at the upper left and right corners (on the inside, that is, to the left and right of the top of the display). The bumpers rest on the casing to the left and right of the trackpad. By design, there should be a uniform gap -- it's small, I think about 1-2 mm -- all the way around, between the lid and the lower casing.

The keyboard has two sets of tabs at the top under the function keys...see the guide below. The keyboard may just not be seated properly -- the tabs pop out every once in a blue moon.

http://www.faqintosh.com/risorse/en/guides/hw/pbook/pb12g4keyb/

It's not quite as easy as on an iBook (this would take eleven seconds flat on an iBook), but you can follow the outlined procedure to make sure the keyboard is properly locked in place. With any luck, that's all it is, and you can have that fixed right away.

The Airport card... hmm.... it should have two physical connections to the computer -- the main PC Card interface and the single antenna cable harness. You might try removing it and re-installing it.

You might also try "zapping the PRAM," which means resetting all the programmable memory (sort of like BIOS settings). You do this by holding command-option-p-r immediately after starting the computer and until you hear the startup chime twice (I think).

P.S. glad that you're talking about using wifi systems to which you have permissions...that's good. :)

nhcowboy1
Feb 8, 2008, 09:57 AM
Wow... that's quite a bit of unfortunate information the buyer happened to leave out...

Indeed!

Glad to hear from you this am . . . especially when you seem to be the source of so much good news.

Rubber bumpers on the inside corners of the case . . . seem to be missing. That would explain part of the problem. (And rubber bumpers, along with missing rubber feet, should not be a big deal to replace.)

The fact that it is supposed to have a gap all the way around explains an even larger part of the problem!

I am rather apprehensive about taking the keyboard out - it does seem rather a complex procedure . . . . but if that's quite possibly the only thing standing between where I am now and the case actually closing properly (other than rubber bumpers) - that's VERY good news!

So, that leaves the wifi problem . . . It's interesting that you suggest the memory, because the seller swears up and down and sideways that the wifi WAS working before he erased the HD the night before delivering it to me. He's insisting it must be a software problem. (By the way, someone on the peripherals board pointed me to Apple's step-by step instructions for replacing an airport card on a PB, and I did remove and re-install the card at about 3 am this morning. Very easy to do . . . . and had absolutely no effect whatsoever.)

So, I'd like to try that "zapping the pram" thing. Can you be a bit more specific about what I need to do? Hold down all four keys at once (command-option-p-r) on restart, and then release them WHEN exactly? When I hear the startup chime TWICE? Then what - do I just go ahead and see if airport has reappeared in the system profiler? Or do I need to re-install the startup disc first?

All in all, though, this is excellent news. The situation's not looking quite so dire as it was earlier.

The seller, by the way, upon getting my rather angry email this morning, very politely offered to give me a small partial refund for the missing rubber feet!

mkrishnan
Feb 8, 2008, 10:11 AM
Regarding the rubber bumpers... I just google imaged this picture (hopefully you can access it from this link)... as a random example of a high-res picture of a PB12" ... you can see what the bumpers are supposed to look like.

http://www.maths.ed.ac.uk/~s0455137/ApertureOn12PB.JPG

Regarding PRAM reset...

http://guides.macrumors.com/Zapping_The_PRAM

Yes, you hold all four keys down from right after you press the power button (what you can do is hold cmd and option down first, I guess, then hit power and use that hand to hold P and R... it's not that crucial that you do it in 50ms, but you have to do it reasonably quickly) until the second chime. If there's no second chime, and it continues booting after the first chime, you didn't do it correctly.

I'm not sure it'll solve anything, but it should force an autodetect of hardware, so if it works, the airport card should be immediately available when it boots without additional work.

nhcowboy1
Feb 8, 2008, 10:56 AM
Sorry for my delay in replying - I've been taking apart the keyboard. I'm not quite done, but getting there.

It appears that I do have two very small rubber feet on the inside. They are so tiny I hadn't noticed them before.

So, I'll let you know when I'm done with the keyboard . . . then I'll go on to the PRAM.

Thanks!

Jiddick ExRex
Feb 8, 2008, 11:41 AM
While you are reseating the keyboard, you might as well open her up and even out the latch thing and possibly take a look at the wifi card. It may be just a loose cable or something.

www.ifixit.com/guides

nhcowboy1
Feb 8, 2008, 12:16 PM
While you are reseating the keyboard, you might as well open her up and even out the latch thing and possibly take a look at the wifi card. It may be just a loose cable or something.

God mening, jiddick, men noget for sent. Jeg så jeres email ikke indtil den var al sluttet oppe igen!

The keyboard is seated much better now - one of the obvious problems was that one of the two screws holding it in place was missing! I "borrowed" one from the external memory door - which I'll have to replace later.

Got it all put back together, removed and re-installed the airport card yet again, did the "PRAM zap" and . . . . no change. It still can't see the airport card.

When I go into town this afternoon, I'll stop by the Mac dealer and borrow a used, but known to be good, airport card. Then I'll have a better idea what's going on.

It still isn't closing quite right - the bacl left corner seems bent up a bit, but having the keyboard back where it belongs definitely helps!

So, thank you all for your time and your ideas. Og tusend takket till mig hjalp fra Roskilde! I'll check back later and let you know what's going on.

Judith

nhcowboy1
Feb 9, 2008, 08:28 AM
Well . . . . it works!

Took it in to a local Mac dealer yesterday and borrowed a known-to-be-good airport card. Put it in - and it worked! (So at least we know there's nothing catastrophic going on, and I can afford a new wireless card if I have to get one . . . .)

Then put the original card back in, and that worked, too!!!

The tech gave me a couple of extra screws to make up for the ones that were missing - and it's good to go!

The only thing I know for sure is that I probably didn't push the card in far enough when I was re-installing it at home. When I did it at the shop, the tech looked at it, frowned, and then gave it another shove. But that does NOT explain why it didn't work in the first place - unless the seller removed it for some reason before I picked it up, and then put it back in incorrectly himself.

As for the gap when the case closes, the tech said that's supposed to be there - at least a very small gap all the way around. And now that I've got the keyboard seated properly (thank you all for your help with that!!!), it's pretty close to that. The gap's still larger at the back left corner, but not too dramatically, and it latches pretty easily now. (The tech said that the irregularity is the way they were shipped from Apple. Anyone heard of this before?)

So, I have to run my son to a class today and I'll finally have a chance to try it!

Then I have to get back to the seller about the scathing email I wrote him yesterday morning . . . . Anyone want to volunteer to write that one for me?

Jiddick ExRex
Feb 9, 2008, 08:33 AM
You better write it yourself seeing as you are the one he 'harmed' in the first place. :D

How did you write that Danish gibberish? I understood the meaning but it was all grammatically and semantically screwed :P

Anyways, you got your gap and the airport fixed. Did it cost you anything more than labour?

If not you're now the proud owner of an awesome portable machine. The PowerBook 12" is really a fine piece of equipment.

nhcowboy1
Feb 9, 2008, 09:58 AM
No charge for labor! I'd already fixed the keyboard myself, and all the tech did was loan me an airport card and then give me a little help when I didn't get it in far enough. And she didn't charge me for the two screws she gave me. :-)

mkrishnan
Feb 9, 2008, 10:38 AM
(The tech said that the irregularity is the way they were shipped from Apple. Anyone heard of this before?)

Wow, you're making excellent progress! :) As far as the irregularity...hmm... it's fairly common that, on the BOTTOM of the Powerbooks and iBooks, the battery does not sit completely 100% flush with the bottom. In my experience this means you can see a gap on the median side of the battery, but it doesn't affect the notebook's balance or the level of the top or anything. Not familiar with / never observed a problem that would affect the hinge where you're describing.

It sounds like it might be something you can let slide. Besides the cold issue, one thing you'll have to live with on Powerbooks is that there will be some minor denting and/or warping of the casing over time, which may lead to some mild cosmetic misfits. Just keep it carefully, though, and it'll be a trooper for years. I know my iBook was like new when I got rid of it after four years ago. Apple notebooks tend to be very sturdy overall.

P.S. The seller still deserved the scathing e-mail, I guess. These problems should've been disclosed.

nhcowboy1
Feb 9, 2008, 06:50 PM
Regarding the scathing letter to the seller . . .

I agree that the improperly installed keyboard (which in turn kept the case from closing properly) was an obvious enough defect that even someone who described himself as NOT being computer savvy should have both recognized and disclosed it.

As for the airport problem . . . I don't know. I still don't know why it wasn't working in the first place - and that makes a difference. The seller swore up and down and sideways that it worked the night before I picked it up, and he had used it to check his email. Given that it works now, I tend to believe him. Don't know what went wrong afterwards. Yes, it was quite troublesome, but I no longer believe that he intended to deceive me.

If I'd had to pay to get it fixed, I'd expect him to cover that. But I didn't - so we both got off easy. It was a pain in the a$$, and I think a small refund to cover my time and trouble would probably be appropriate, but that's something that can be negotiated. (Frankly, discovering that I could take apart and fix the keyboard myself was payment in itself - I am still quite pleased about that!)

Besides which, life would be so boring if things always went as planned . . . .

Judith

nhcowboy1
Feb 28, 2008, 06:31 PM
Well, it's been a few weeks since I first joined MR and posted my inquiry regarding powerbooks vs. ibooks. I wanted to get back to all of you who posted replies and thank you for your input, and update you on what I ended up deciding.

First, you may remember that one of the reasons I came here looking for help was that I had no easy way of doing a hands-on comparison of the different laptops. Well, as it turned out, I found a solution to that problem. Read on . . . .

First, I bought the 12" PB that I told everyone about - and which then manifested several rather disconcerting problems. Before those problems were solved (which they all ultimately were), I came across another good deal and figured - since I was expecting at that point to have to return the PB - that I'd better jump on it while I had the chance. I thus became the proud owner of a 14" 1.33 MHz iBook!

24 hours later, of course, the PB's problems were solved and I was now the owner of two laptops.

And then, two days later, as I was still trying to figure out what to do with two of them, I got an email from someone I had contacted several days before, who'd had a very inexpensive Tibook for sale. Because of both the screen size and the price, it had been my first choice - but he had another buyer, so that was the end of that. Until he got back to me. Apparently the other sale had fallen through and did I now want the Tibook?

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound - and I got that one too! The only saving grace was knowing that the mortgage payment wasn't due for a few weeks yet and I'd probably be able to sell them off again before then.

The result of all this was that I did, indeed, get the chance to try all three of them - which, even though expensive, was quite useful.

The Tibook was, by far, the most aesthetically pleasing of the three - I just loved the look and feel of it!

The 12" aluminum was, once I got the bugs worked out, quite a nice little workhorse - and very handy for carrying around.

The 14" iBook, however, beat them both - it wasn't even a contest! The wireless reception and the plastic (rather than metal) casing made all the difference. With the PBs, I had to go into the noisy, crowded cafes to do the work I needed to do. With the iBook, I could relax in the peaceful solitude of my car . . . . get my work done faster, and then go into the cafe when I was done for coffee or dessert.

As for the temperature difference in handling a PB vs. and ibook . . . I was amazed how much of a difference that plastic casing made. Just leaving one of the PBs in my house for a few hours with the heat off, I'd find it absolutely icy to the touch when I came home! Honestly, the next time I see "The Graduate," I will have a much better appreciation of Benjamin's potential future career in plastics . . . As I am just now realizing, plastic is pretty neat stuff!

So, as much as I'm enjoying the variety, the house is getting crowded and the PBs will soon be moving on to new homes - and the iBook is here to stay, at least for the time being. Not at all the outcome I'd expected - but certainly very much in keeping with all the advice you gave me!!!

Well, that's where I ended up. Thank you all again for your advice, suggestions & encouragement!!!