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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > My Incredibly Narcissistic Powerbook Saga

My Incredibly Narcissistic Powerbook Saga
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blythe
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Oct 23, 2003, 01:30 AM
 
To those who don't want to wade through a cathartic morass of pent up excitement, disappointment, and anticipation, skip this thread. To those experiencing continual frustration due to their Powerbooks still being on order and looking for some empathy, read on.

I'm writing this from a Dual 1.25 GHz PPC with 2 GB of RAM and two 120 MB hard drives. This computer is connected to a gorgeous 19" NEC 1920NX LCD and a 21" Sony GDM-500PS CRT, and I've got to say that it's the best computer that I've ever owned. I'm so satisfied with this computer that despite the initial intense lusting after the Dual 2 GHz G5s, I have no plans to upgrade until the G5s are well beyond the 3+ GHz range. I have, however, decided to buy a new Powerbook. First, some background information.

I work as a software engineer and I attend graduate school at night. I spend most of my day at work using Windows 2000 and Solaris. One of the main perks of the company is that we do a lot of UNIX work. The graduate school specializes in catering to the hoards of young working professionals laboring in the many corporate parks in the area. The school feels more like a corporate training center rather than an academic institution, and primarily uses and teaches with Microsoft products.

To make a long story marginally shorter, the only reason I started school was to move up the corporate ladder like all the other lemmings. Needless to say, I absolutely despise my classes. I have absolutely no motivation or incentive to study or pay attention, as my company pays for the tuition and the fact that one has to be a total moron to get anything less than a B in a class. Yet I am constantly tormented by being forced to show up for class to listen to boring lectures and to participate in endless group projects designed to teach us "real world experience" by working in teams. The last thing that I want to do after a long 8 - 10+ hour day of slaving away is to go home and write a research paper or work on some other inane project.

A good number of the students bring their notebooks to class in order to take notes and to work on their projects after class. After running out of sufficiently interesting daydream material after the first year of the program, I was suddenly inspired to buy a Powerbook. I decided to break down and spend my meager savings by buying a Powerbook for the express purpose of doing the following activities DURING class in order to keep me from going insane: read previously downloaded newsgroups and websites, read downloaded PDFs of various interesting topics, play games, improve coding skills and study APIs, improve typing skills, work on class papers and projects, watch movies with subtitles, and use the powerbook to give class presentations.

I thought about trying to do some of these diverting activities on my Palm, but found that to be impracticable. I then decided to purchase a 15" Powerbook. On 10/8, I ordered a 15" Powerbook with 1.5 GB of RAM, the 5400 rpm hard drive, and a combo drive. Due to the lack of availability of 1 GB RAM sticks, the estimated delivery date was a heart crushing 11/21. On 10/15, I went to the nearby Apple store to play with the Powerbooks there and to dream about mine for which I would have to agonizingly wait. When I got there, I first noticed that the 15" screen was slightly dimmer than the 17", a minor annoyance. I was also playing around configuring the 17" on the online Apple Store, and found that the estimating shipping date was 3 - 5 days for a configuration similar to the 15" that I ordered. Additionally, I also realized that day that I was eligible for the educational discount (I still hardly consider myself a "student" for the reasons mentioned above) of $383. The educational discount and all the negative reports of screen problems on the 15" clinched the deal for me. That day, I cancelled the 15" and ordered the 17" and some accessories.


Ordered on 10/15 with estimated delivery on 10/22 for $3441 for the PB

1.33 GHz 17" Powerbook
1.5 GB of RAM (I need to run VPC(XP) heavily, so I need the extra RAM and the additional speed from less paging)
80 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive (again, I need as much speed boost as I can get)
Superdrive (I'd rather have gotten the combo drive but it isn't offered as an option)

17" Brenthaven Pro Shoulder Case
Extra Battery (classes are 3 hours long, and I may need the extra battery if I can't sit next to an outlet)

Well, 10/22 came and went, and I got an email stating that due to an unexpected delay, my order will not ship until 10/28. More endless longing is in store. Withdrawal from a moderate crack addiction would be easier to tolerate. In any case, more posts to follow detailing this saga.
blythe
     
C-Bear
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Oct 23, 2003, 02:45 AM
 
Well written saga
I too wait, most impatient
Time, it wounds all heals



When the wine is bitter, become the
wine
     
jetta_gt
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Oct 23, 2003, 03:30 AM
 
Absolutely hilarious.

I am also a graduate student, 3 hours a night, 4 nights a week, and the classes are nothing short of coma inducing.

Without my laptop + wifi, I would have dropped out months ago.

Instead, I three hours everynight of great work time, the alternative is listening to grad level drivel!
     
Podolsky
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Oct 23, 2003, 09:52 AM
 
Great stuff. I was heading towards the 15 to but came to the same exact conclusion you did - that the ram config of the 17 made the investment more attractive. Now that I have it, it is BIG and that is somewhat of a downer but, it is so much more than the 15 in some many wonderful ways that it more than compensates for the lower mobility. Heck, I only move mine a few times a day....the screen is more, the cpu is more, the heat dissipation is more, the sound is less, the speakers are better, the keyboard is nicer, the battery life is better, and if you really look at the price - it isn't much more than the 15. Resale should be better too. But it isn't as mobile.

I used to teach and it must suck to be in boring classes. But education is a 2-way dialogue. Terrible to waste money and time on this. Isn't there anything you can do to upgrade this experience - a class project that lets you perhaps learn from other students or a speacial research project? What is the actual area of expertise of your teachers? I would try to find that out and engage them on that stuff in some way so you can get more of their good stuff...
     
The Placid Casual
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Oct 23, 2003, 10:02 AM
 
Originally posted by blythe:
To those who don't want to wade through a cathartic morass of pent up excitement, disappointment, and anticipation, skip this thread.

Well, 10/22 came and went, and I got an email stating that due to an unexpected delay, my order will not ship until 10/28. More endless longing is in store. Withdrawal from a moderate crack addiction would be easier to tolerate. In any case, more posts to follow detailing this saga.
Ordering from Apple direct can be really, really annoying, especially with BTO models...

Extra delays due to lack of graphics cards etc have caught me out so many times... I have also been in a position where items have reached the stores before I my pre order arrived!! These days i just go to a store and then do my upgrades afterwards regardless of the inconvenience!

Hope it turns up soon!

Peace,

Marc

P.S. As an aside, in future I would be tempted to avoid buying RAM direct from Apple... I don't know how much you have paid for it, but sometimes, depending on configuration, it can be a real rip off...

Things have got marginally better in recent times, but it may be worth looking at 3rd parties like Crucial.com and seeing how much the 'Apple premium' is over their prices (The RAM is identical and Crucial often supply apple!). It may even be worth taking it out of your order, which would speed things up, and buying the RAM from elsewhere...
     
Macbear
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Oct 23, 2003, 10:19 AM
 
While I feel your pain, others have been waiting much longer. Some I've chatted with ordered their Powerbooks in September and still don't have them. Mine (a 12" with SD) was ordered on October 3, and I still don't even have an estimated ship date.

I really think Apple is going through some serious quality control issues with the latest breed of Powerbook. I imagine all the white spots and other problems have caused them to take a second look at their manufacturing process.

I guess it will all be worth it if my Powerbook ships without any flaws.
Macbear
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Podolsky
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Oct 23, 2003, 10:41 AM
 
My 17 was a BTO because I added the 5400 drive. But, the ram upgrade I did myself and bought another 512 from OWC for $114. I don't think you will need 1.5 but if you can afford it, I guess go for it. I paid little enought for my ram that If 1gig sticks drop in price, I can add that later. Honestly, I have not seen any boost in speed, number of app running when I went from 512 to 1. But, it is nice to know it is in there....Anyway, you can have a pretty tricked-out 17 faster than a 15 and most importantly, avoid the Rev 1 issues that are clearly there with some 15s
     
nobitacu
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Oct 23, 2003, 04:51 PM
 
Blah, you can never have enough ram in my book.

Ming
A Proud Mac User Since: 03/24/03
Apple Computer: MacBook 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 3 GB Memory, 120 GB HD
     
danbrew
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Oct 23, 2003, 05:18 PM
 
Wow - Powerbook discussion aside, I've got to wonder why in the hell you (or anyone) would sit still in a class that isn't challenging and offers little motivation. Undergrad is kind of understandable - everybody has to do it. But grad school sucking? ****, why are you wasting your time? If the course of study sucks so bad that you aren't interested and can actually get away with ****ing off throughout the entire course, then the paper isn't really worth having because everyone knows it's a degree mill.

And don't get me started on all the folks that proudly say they have an MBA but can't demonstrate critical thinking skills.
     
jetta_gt
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Oct 23, 2003, 05:44 PM
 
Originally posted by danbrew:
Wow - Powerbook discussion aside, I've got to wonder why in the hell you (or anyone) would sit still in a class that isn't challenging and offers little motivation. Undergrad is kind of understandable - everybody has to do it. But grad school sucking? ****, why are you wasting your time? If the course of study sucks so bad that you aren't interested and can actually get away with ****ing off throughout the entire course, then the paper isn't really worth having because everyone knows it's a degree mill.

And don't get me started on all the folks that proudly say they have an MBA but can't demonstrate critical thinking skills.
Fair enough questions....

1. I have an assistantship, I get PAID a fair amount to go to school. My assistantship position is a research position, i get paid to sit around and play with new Apple hardware, and come up with cool ways of using it.

2. A masters degree instantly raises your salary in almost any position.

3. I plain on getting my pHD, and becoming a GOOD professor, i may be a little naive in that thinking, but we'll see.

4. The job market sucks now, i am trying to start my own business and this is a great environment to do it, tons of contacts and opportunities.

5. I don't mind sitting through the classes, because like I said, it's work time for me. And to be fair, every so often we have a really good debate, and at that point the iBook gets closed and i'm enthralled, but those times are few and far between.

Other than the classes, my graduate experience has been great!
     
bigben1024
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Oct 23, 2003, 10:29 PM
 
to make you feel better...


my graduate school experience so far at NCSU (NC State) has been a nightmare. I did undergrad at a different school, so the classes were not as challenging, thus, they expect more from me than I have. This means I had it relatively easy in undergrad, but now I'm having to work my ash off. I was taking 3 courses, but I had to drop one of them. I'm struggling in the other two. This is my first semester, so I'm hoping that I will get the hang of it. I can't afford to take two classes a semester, and I would prefer to get it done before getting a full time job.

Even though I don't have many classes, I spend most of my time studying and working on this stuff. One class is plain old hard, another is boring and hard. I would kill to have a boring easy course now!

You may be wondering how it is possible to have a boring yet hard class. The reasoning is that my proffessor talks a mile a minute and stands in front of the board while and after he writes something there, so I can't copy it until he is a mile ahead. This turns me from a student eager to learn into a frantic copy machine. Agghhh.

I was a tutor in undergrad, and offered an paid assistantship at a less quality university than the one I chose. It is hard to go from feeling like a champion swimmer to struggling not to drown.

Maybe when I get my new powerbook on saturday, things will start to turn around. Atleast in my mind.
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