The Big Think

November 9, 2003

PowerBook Dead?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 6:14 pm

This past week I took the PB up to Waco for Pigskin and tried to turn it on. Nada. The Big Zip. It wouldn’t start. After messing with it for awhile I decided it was almost certainly a hardware issue. Big *gulp*. Even a new iBook costs around a grand and I have to have one for work. I had upgraded the laptop drive to an IBM TravelStar about a year ago and added 512Mb of RAM (total upgrade about $200) so I wasn’t too keen on replacing the computer. IMHO, a computer that spends 99% of its time on the table unmoved and well taken care of should last longer than 3.5 years!
Turns out I may have found the problem. As reported here:

Apparently the IBM Travelstar creates an unusually high magnetic field for a 4200 RPM hard drive, which interferes with the PowerBook’s “sleep switch” located inside the lower body housing adjacent to the Delete key and right above to the hard drive. When you close the PowerBook cover while the PowerBook is on, it will not awaken from sleep mode, if you close it after shutting down, it will not start up. You will hear an “electronic clicking” sound when you press the power button. There has been a lot of discussion on this subject on various tech sites. People have also reported that a small weak “refrigerator magnet” placed for a second on the case next to the delete key “resets” the sleep switch, something I don’t think an owner should have to do!

Now, I have the TravelStar 5400RPM drive, and this note specifically concerns the WallStreet PowerBooks (the generation before mine), but this is the exact behavior my machine was displaying. I got a magnet off the fridge, took a deep breath, and ran it over the power switch for a second or so. Hit the button and *BING*. It started right up. I haven’t had the guts to power down and up again yet, so I don’t know if it’s a permanent fix. Fingers crossed…

*UPDATE*
I put the computer to sleep by closing the lid and it woke right back up when opened! I then went through several shut-down/startup cycles and didn’t have a single glitch. I even changed the startup disk several times. Not a single issue. Keep your fingers crossed, but it looks like the fridge magnet did the trick!

Reading List

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 3:31 pm

Currently Reading “Revelation Space” by Alistair Reynolds. It’s his first book (or was when he wrote it a few years ago. He’s gone on to write 2 more). I’ve got to hand it to the guy, he weaves a good tale. He’s got 3 different threads for the first half of the book that all come together by the end. Very entertaining.
Speaking of reading, my friend and Sing drummer Scott Amman and I spent the last week together up in Waco. That nut read 8 books in 8 days (9 in 9 if he manages to finish one on the plane this afternoon). We figured out he reads roughly 3.5 times faster than I do. The lout.

Total Eclipse

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 3:23 pm

I missed the total lunar eclipse last night. Bummer. It’s been raining on and off for the last week.

Back from Pigskin

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:55 am

Yup, I’m back. The show went great but it’s been a long day. I’ll post tomorrow after some much deserved rest.
Thanks for keeping up.

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