Received the replacement battery for the PowerBook yesterday. It was shipped out via DHL, with a prepaid return label for shipping the old battery back via regular mail.

Last night I drained the old battery, plugged the new one in, and packaged up the recalled one in the box. At lunch today I went to the post office to send it off.

As I was walking up the steps, I remembered the “Does this package contain anything liquid, explosive, or otherwise hazardous?” question that postal clerks are required to ask. If you’re mailing a defective battery that could theoretically burst into flames, how exactly are you supposed to answer?

I figured it would be best not to joke about it.

As it was, I just said it was a laptop battery straight out, so the question didn’t come up.

Fedora Core 5 was released today. I started downloading it this morning, and it should be done this afternoon. I’ll probably start updating the Fedora boxes at work later this week, though for my home system I may wait until RPMForge catches up.

Meanwhile, I’m reading the release notes, and found one item particularly interesting:

There are new experimental drivers that provide support for the widely-used Broadcom 43xx wireless chipsets (

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One of the reasons our Powerbook stays in Mac OS most of the time (aside from the fact that It Just Works™) is that Yellow Dog Linux 3.0 didn’t have drivers for Airport Extreme, so it can’t connect to the wireless network. I had hoped that YDL 4 (just released) would resolve this — perhaps the driver was only available for the 2.6 kernel, or something.

I finally started looking, and that’s not the case. It seems that the Airport Extreme chipset manufacturer, Broadcom, refuses to release Linux drivers or to release specs to allow anyone else to write Linux drivers.

I don’t expect it to do any good, but I signed my first online petition.

Ah, well, I can do almost everything under Mac OS, and for those occasions that I actually need Linux, I can always go solo or plug in a cable, though it does limit where I can hook it up.

I’ve been thinking about adding memory to the PowerBook for a while now, and for various other reasons we ended up at Fry’s last night. I figured, we’re here anyway, why not at least price the RAM?

Well, here’s a big fragging “Why Not:” I couldn’t remember the exact specs required. There was, however, a chart listing various laptop models, and the employees could look up requirements by model in the computer. The problem there was that I knew it as “the new 12″ PowerBook G4,” not as “Model A1010,” so they ended up (as near as I can tell) pulling up the specs for last year’s PowerBook (the 1 GHz instead of the 1.33 GHz). Naturally, the two models use different kinds of RAM.

When we got home last night, I cracked open the manual to compare the specs. Tonight, I waded through the Fry’s return line, and this time I brought the manual along — as I’d intended to do in the first place.

Everything went smoothly except for one glitch. The memory slot is covered by a panel with four size #0 Phillips head screws. I do have a size #0 screwdriver, and three of the screws came out easily. One of them refused to move, and the head ended up getting stripped somewhat. Eventually I was able to get it.

So, now the laptop has gone from having the smallest amount of memory at 256 MB (barring the ancient Mac clone in the closet) to having the most memory of all our computers at 1.25 GB.

A few weeks ago I noticed that our network hub was getting disturbingly hot, so I started turning off the power strip when we weren’t home. After returning from San Diego, the first time we turned the computers back on, the hub started buzzing. However, it stopped after a few seconds.

So I should have thought of the hub immediately when the network started acting up today.

I had been on and off the computer and the net all morning with no noticeable problems, and Katie had been on for just a few minutes when it stopped loading websites. Continue reading