This thread is a sort of hommage to the machine I'm using while I wait for the new MBP.
A while back my father broke the LCD so the machine was sitting in a closet ever since. Anyway, some time ago I decided to sell my PowerBook G4 12in while I could still get a good price for it and have been using frankenstein for about a year now.
Since I operate the computer on "closed-lid" mode, I was having trouble keeping the LCD closed because it didn't allow the heat to dissipate, so the fans where running constantly ... I removed it.
After it was gone, the computer would still think that it had an LCD attached. After a lot of Googling, I found on this helpful page that a magnet-operated sensor manages the 'open' or 'closed' status of the lid. The magnet was inside the lid, so I removed it and now its under the masking tape shown on Pic. 1. It has to be placed on that precise spot on top of the trackpad.
It didn't have USB2 so it was a pain to sync iPods or capture pictures from the camera, so I bought a two port DLink DUB-C2 USB 2.0 PCMCIA card that works out of-the-box with OS X.
Since the internal HDD was small and slow I bought a larger 250GB drive, hooked it via FireWire to a miniStack v2 case that has the virtue of regulating the fan speed depending on the temperature, so it runs quiet most of the time (plus it has both FW and USB hubs).
As for the display, I use a Dell 2407WFP 24 inch LCD. Excellent btw. It comes with a powered 4-port USB 2.0 hub so I attached it to the PCMCIA card and got 4 "free" ports. It also has a Flash Card Reader, a nice plus for frankenstein.
The mouse is a RF Microsoft Wireless Notebook Laser 6000, the RF dongle is attached to one of the USB 1.1 ports on the back of the PB.
The keyboard is the BT version of Apple's keyboards that interacts with a noname USB BlueTooth dongle that worked out-of-the-box with OS X. The BT dongle has to be attached to the PCMCIA card though or it would turn off every once in a while when it was attached directly to the PB. BT also allows iSync to work with my phone. I regularly backup the address book and calendar, plus Salling Clicker works flawlessly.
On the software side, it runs Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, quite well actually.
Firefox 3's lower memory footprint was welcome as it made everyday use much more bearable. Web pages that rely heavily on flash are somewhat painful, YouTube works fine though. Safari seems to run Flash faster so if it is your browser of choice you won't have such a hard time.
Office 2004 runs very well.
Lastly, audio. It's hooked to a 1980's Technics receiver I found in the storage room a couple of years back that still has 2 working inputs and sounds quite nice actually! Speakers are Paradigm Titans.
The mike works even under the table (just tweak the input level on System Preferences > Audio > Input), I use Skype regularly for long distance telephony.
So that's it. It works just fine for general purpose use: word processing, mail, (non-HD) movies, itunes and web browsing (as long as the page doesn't use a lot of Flash objects).
I can even do some gaming on it (provided that the game is old enough, Max Payne, CnC Generals, Ghost Recon, etc, not that I game too much these days anyway). Leopard was helpful in this area since it has a faster OpenGL implementation than Tiger.
It can also handle the occasional Photoshop touch up or iMovie job (that is, if the project is not too long, say 20 minutes or is in fact longer but with only a few effects/transitions/etc).
Since the machine is ... modular, I placed it under the desk (with the help of some Home Depot items). I wired the power adapters so I could easily take out the HDD whenever I need to move something large from another computer via USB.
All this leaves me with a very clean desk and an extremely silent computer that uses much less power than an average desktop PC (I'm affraid the LCD compensates for it though
Hope this inspires someone to give new use to 'old' Apple hardware that's still quite capable.
Pic. 1 - The Guts
Pic. 2 - Under The Desk
Pic. 3 - The End Result