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My Mac

By SoupIsGood Food, (, June 18, 2002

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I’m writing this, as we speak, from a PowerBook G3 FireWire, better known to the PowerBook Army as the “Pismo.” 15" screen, 400MHz G3 processor, 6GB IDE disk. The paint is rubbing off the letters e, t, i, o, a, s, h, b, n and m. The display hinge makes an atrocious creaking and no longer sticks at just the right viewing angle, flopping a millimeter forward or back of it. It was dropped more than a few times, and I have to make sure that the battery is really, really seated after I swap it out, or it will slide out as I’m slipping the machine into the case. The Pismo actually looks worse for wear than its utterly indestructible Kensington SaddleBag ... this case has seen daily use for four years, covering two PowerBooks, thousands of frequent flier miles, wild parties and wilderness excursions, and still looks like a champ. I shoulda got it in grey, because the brown’s kinda dorky. Who knew it’d last this long? My previous cases lasted all of six months before self-destructing.

The last time I dropped my deck, it landed right on the power-in port, ripping it free of the circuit board. Suffering from acute Internet withdrawal symptoms, I took the beastie apart and removed the power/sound board. I took it, and the power socket, to my immensely talented and just-a-bit-nuts father, an old-school electronics engineer his co-workers call “Sparky” because of the often cataclysmic results of his projects gone awry. Dad took one look at the fragile and teensy board components and the delicate and intricate circuitry traces, then took a vintage Radio Shack soldering iron to it, with gusto. Now my power port dangles outside the back of my Pismo on three wires he swiped from the guts of an old 8-track player ’cuz he ran out of the stuff on the spools. The wires and the port are electrical-taped together, and then the whole shebang is further duct-taped to the side of the system. I bear it as a badge of pride, even though I could just pony up the $129 for a new power circuitboard from

I use my machine daily, sometimes for twenty hours at a go when I’m in the thick of a project. Rarely a day goes by where it doesn’t see at least two hours use as a Net surfing implement, and more often than not, I’ll drain both batteries in a seven-hour marathon stretch. My deck goes where I go, without exception ... I use it at work, I use it at home. It sits on a desk hooked up to an external monitor so I can have two screens worth of windows open. It sits on my lap as I lounge in my recliner, thinking of things to write or reading CodeBitch’s latest. It’s been propped on top of 15-year-old mainframe tape drives, and has seen use in seven states. I have used it to write columns for MacEdition, to administrate $120,000 Sun servers, to connect to a $120 Handspring, to create intranets, to configure Web servers, firewalls, chat servers, mail relays and terabyte SANs. I’ve played Starcraft and Go and Chess on it, and used it to chat with distinguished colleagues on AIM and kinky girls on IRC, and sent flames to famous columnists, programmers and poker players.

I’m honestly thinking about changing platforms.

Next: the stunning conclusion! (It’s not what you think.)

For now, post some of your own war stories. Apple gear can take it, and I’m certain many of you have put that to the test.

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