Things fall apart, it’s scientific

ted | computer,junk | Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

My late 2002 vintage iBook is probably dead.

It has finally succumbed to the very common logic board GPU solder failure common to the dual-USB G3 iBooks. Oh, and not only is the charger plug all bent to hell and back, the charging cord is almost worn completely through – so much so that it started arcing a bit.

Yes, G3. I’ve been using a 700 MHz G3 iBook for over 5 years now. For what I “need” a laptop for, this is plenty of muscle. After I graduated, my computing needs at home have been limited mostly to browsing the intertubes, listening to musics, deleting ads for boner pills and sshing into my linux machines. I have simple needs, but a 5 year old iBook without the ability to display video or charge does not fulfill any of them.

I “need” a new laptop. I don’t care about that widely-used OS from Redmond – we already have a wintendo around the house. I’m also sufficiently tired of Apple’s douchebaggery and excessive asshole tax to opt for something else. Lixnu should fit my needs well and has fairly recently become good enough for most Real People to use as their only OS.

I got a couple options. Option zero, which doesn’t solve any problems, really, but might be kinda fun, is to “resolder” the failing solder joints on the logic board with a votive candle and some white gas. This doesn’t solve the sparky charger and most certainly doesn’t solve the 5 year old laptop problem. Lil’ sparky could be replaced for about $20 on fleabay. So for a cool Jackson plus some flammable fun I could have a functioning iBook again… but for how long?

Option one is to see if work would sell me my 4 year old Dell Latitude D400, which I am budgeted to get replaced next year. I might be able to score it from the fine folks in the IT department at work for a couple hundred bucks – they’ve been going on fleabay for about $2-300. Aside from the buzzy little hard drive and paltry half gig of RAM, it’s in good shape and of the 12.1″ screen variety I prefer in a laptop. Drop in a 100+ GB drive and a full gig of RAM and it should be in pretty good shape. However, this hinges on being able to buy it for cheap. Upgrading to a gig of RAM and a big hard drive would tack on another $200 or so to whatever I paid for it and then I’ve still got a 4 year old machine. I’ve also read that the included Broadcom wireless sucks to make work in linux.

Option two is an Asus Eee PC, which would not only be stylish in black, but energy efficient, silent, compact, lightweight, almost entirely open source (by now, or very soon). Low storage capacity and horsepower, true, but I have plenty of storage capacity on other machines around the house and it would be faster than the machine it replaces. Not to mention purchasing said machine from Costco would afford me 90 days to return it should it not work out and a full two year warranty on it.

So,  given a low budget  and low demands, what would you do?

Of course, there’s always option three: use my evenings to practice the banjo, ride my bicycle, cook a delicious meal, enjoy refreshing time with my lady or pet my cats/dogs rather than be on a computer by default.

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