In the process of exorcising the demons from my Powerbook, I tried a clean install of the MacOS.Wiped the hard drive and installed fresh. This worked, sort of, for about all of 5 minutes. Then my Powerbook seemed to be in agonizing spasms of death. I woke up early enough this morning to make it down to the Apple Store and get my name on the queue for the Genius Bar. The initial diagnosis was that the RAM was bad -- they were going to exchange my RAM fo new RAM, but when they went to swap it out, it was discovered that it was the logic board that was bad.
A faulty Logic Board has always been the bane of any Mac's life. When I worked at UC Berkeley, my Computing Center had the latest PCs and Macs (Pentium I - 166s and PowerMac 6200s to give some sense of how long ago it was) there wasn't a week that wouldn't go by without a Mac at one of the residence halls that wouldn't need to have their logic board replaced. Sometimes it was the same ones, other times it was new ones. Either way, I've know for a long time that the logic board was the one piece in Apple's hardware that was likely to die. That was why when I bought my Powerbook a few years ago, I shelled out the money for AppleCare. I figured that if the screen died after a few years, or (god forbid) the logic board died a year after owning the laptop, I could get it replaced for free, which seems to be exactly what happened to my poor Powerbook.
So, at this moment, my Powerbook is on it's way to the Apple Powerbook surgeon, who will replace the logic board with a new one, as well as replace the plastic on the middle part of the case. (The paint is bubbling away). They will look at the DVD ROM drive too. The whole process should take little more than a week.
For the time being, I am on a Pentium II-266 mhz PC with 192 Megs of RAM. It's good enough to be used temporarily, but I had forgotten what bricks these computers used to be.
A had a look at the new iMac G5s. The design isn't better in person. The long chin looks absurd on the 17" iMac, and almost tolerable on the 20" iMac. The thickness from the side looks better in the pictures, and it uses a touch sensitive controls on the side.