Well, after 5 solid years of use, and now 4 months of hard travel through Southeast Asia, our Titanium Powerbook has finally bit the bullet. It may be the PMU, it may be the internal battery, or it may simply be a bad power adapter, but the computer will no longer take a charge. It sits lifeless.
We bought the laptop in college at San Francisco State University in 2001, where it served us well through numerous note taking sessions and papers. After college, it became an administrative workhorse computer for Crux Studio, the design firm I helped found. Before leaving on our trip, Julie’s cousin Trevor—a mac guru of the finest sort—generously reinvigorated the computer, essentially swapping the brains into a new shell and giving it an all-around tune-up. The computer is admittedly slow—being a first generation Titanium Powerbook it clocks in at only 400mhz. However, Julie and I have both been through a lot with the computer, and there’s definitely a sentimental attachment.
Needless to say, the computer has proved extremely important on our trip as well. With it, we are able to easily download photos, catalog them, back them up, and generally manage the now over 5,000 images taken thus far. Second, the computer is essential in our ability to maintain and update this website. We write all our posts, process the images for each post, perform updates to the site, etc., on the laptop. Doing all this work on public computers just isn’t feasible. As such, updates on the blog will be considerably shorter – and with far fewer photos – until we have figured out a solution.
We are still in Semporna (more on that later, but suffice to say the diving has been incredible), and will be flying to Johor Bahru on Monday, July 24. From Johor Bahru, we’ll take a quick bus ride down to Singapore, where we figure we have the best chance of getting the computer fixed. We’re trying to remain optimistic, ignoring how implausible it may be to to find the parts needed to repair a 5 year old Apple laptop in this part of the world. Best case scenario would be that battery charger has simply gone out and we can purchase a new one. Worst case scenario is that some of the internals will need to be replaced. If such is the case, we may have to scrap the computer all together. Getting parts shipped here takes a good while, which would mean having to stay in a place like Singapore or Kuala Lumpur upwards of a month waiting for the parts to arrive.
If we’re unable to get the computer fixed, we will take a look into getting a new laptop—most likely the new Apple Macbook. There are two problems, however, with purchasing a new computer. First, it’s expensive. As we’re living on a pretty fixed income, purchasing a new computer will put a serious dent in our budget for this trip and knock off a few of the countries we wanted to see. Second, the Macbooks—the first generation of Apple computers to use Intel chips—require new versions of software to accomodate the change. This would require us purchasing all new versions of the software we use, which is nearly as expensive as purchasing the computer itself. It gets worse. Many smaller companies have already updated their software to run on the new chips, however, larger companies such as Adobe have yet to do so, as their product development cycles are considerably longer. Of primary concern for us is Adobe, and specifically, Adobe Photoshop, which we use to perform all our image editing. Adobe has publically stated that they won’t be supporting the new Intel chips until October 2006 at the earliest. This basically means no Photoshop until then. There is a feature in the new Macbooks called Rosetta, which allows previous generation software to run on the new machines. We’ll have to do some more research, but early reports seem to indicate that performance is severely limited.
We’ll keep you updated.