Monday, January 25, 2010

Repowering the Powerbook: Chapter 1

If anyone reading this blog didn't know, I am a film maker. The way my film company, C1C2 Productions, writes our movies involves one main writer and an editor, which is me. He writes the first drafts, and then these are sent to me and the editing begins. This worked splendidly for our first two films, because our head writer was at college at had a private place to write. Our third film, Recoil, however, found him living at home, and his computer located in the central area of the house, which meant no privacy or quiet place for him to think.

To accomplish this, we rounded up every old, spare computer we each had, and tried to Frankenstein and working PC that he could use in his bedroom. When we were rounding up computers to use, our head writer, who will herein be referred to as Hollywood, brought out a destroyed, non-functioning Powerbook G4.

"Can you use this for anything?" Hollywood said.

I then went on to explain the mac vs PC file system differences, and the self-imposed hardware monopoly that Apple places on their hardware. Suffice to say, there wasn't much that I could use this laptop for, at least for our purposes. I took it anyway, in the hope that someday I would work with it enough to be able to recover the data that is stored on the hard drive. If I could do this, the machine would be mine.

Now is that time.

Upon first inspection, the future looks pretty grim for this machine. There are Torx screws missing, and the body is separating from itself,

Their are parts hanging out of the side,

and the screen is in such bad shape, I doubt it will even work.

So why bother?

3 reasons.

1. Mac machines are very expensive. I've been in the market for a macbook pro for a while, but seeing as how I'm a poor college student, the future looks pretty bleak on this. I figure I can play around with this machine once it's working to have a OS X based system that I can use to learn the ropes and have a better laptop that the one I'm currently running (rickety Acer Travelmate barely running Windows 7).

2. Data recovery. Hollywood is now strugging to become an audio engineer in LA, and a lot of his undergrad recording sessions are saved on this machine. Having these could help him get a job.

3. Challenge! I'm pretty good with computer repair, and I'd love to see what lengths it would take to fix this! Plus, I think it would be pretty neat to have a Mac machine running a Linux distro when all is said and done.

I'll be periodically updating this blog with the different milestones I reach in working on this. So far I've just purchased a power adapter off of ebay, which is kinda important when seeing what works and what doesn't on a computer. Once it arrives, I'll venture into the guts of this machine. Luckily, this is the Titanium DVI model, so I can DVI-Out on bootup in case the screen is totally blasted.

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