Friday, 13 January 2006

Some Powerbook Keys Not Working

Oddest thing. I pulled the PowerBook out the laptop bag and a handful of keys stopped responding.

I’ve opened up the Keyboard Viewer to confirm. Here’s the list thus far:

  • return & enter (came back after restart)
  • Tilde
  • Caps Lock
  • F12 (initiates my Dashboard)
  • Disc eject
  • Left square bracket
  • Arrow up
  • Arrow right

I plugged in the USB keyboard from the eMac and that brought everything back. Weird.

Update 14 January 2006
Problem came back today – lost ‘Q’ through ‘P’. Seems to happen when waking from sleep. This time plugging in the external keyboard didn’t fix it, nor did restarting. Waiting did. Maybe 10 minutes and all the keys came back.

Update 15 January 2006
‘Q’ through ‘P’ is gone again. I’m typing this from the keyboard viewer. Annoying. Apple says I need to replace the keyboard. Blah.

Ok. After a couple hours sleeping. The top row is back, but and all those other keys are gone. Oddly, this is less annoying. Let’s see what happens on restart.

Everything was going great until I plugged the PowerBook in after running down the battery for 2 hours. Then, I lost the keys again. Not all at once. First delete and the arrows, then a couple minutes later – the top row.

Top row is back. Space, delete, and arrows are still gone.

Update 16 January 2006
Stopped by the Apple Store – Roseville this afternoon, got the keyboard diagnosis confirmed and put one on order. Thankfully, they can handle the repair locally.

Update 21 January 2006
Took in the PowerBook for the repair this afternoon. I got a call as soon as I left the Apple Store saying the keyboard’s connecting cable was loose. They firmly plugged it in and everything’s back to normal. No repair necessary. Definitely a downside of locking the PowerBook down so tightly – not even the Geniuses could correctly diagnose the problem.

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

The PowerBook is Back


After what felt like 7-to-10 days without my laptop, I picked it up from the Roseville Apple Store this afternoon.

It was a complete zoo there; line half-way to the door, people packed in the aisles, boxes of iPod Nano cases everywhere.


Anyway, the PowerBook is all shiny and clean, speakers work, mic works, modem is recognized, SuperDrive is burning a back-up as I write this. Yeah! Almost like it’s my birthday.

Oh, Sam – if you’re curious, PowerBooks go to Texas.

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

eMac Is a Poor Replacement for a 17 inch Powerbook

The laptop is in the shop this week. Nothing as serious as Sam’s iBook problem, just a handful irritations I wanted to eliminated before the new year.

That list:

  • SuperDrive not accepting discs.
    Just made me realize how infrequently I actually use CD or DVDs.
  • Internal speakers & microphone not working.
    This is a small irritant – especially when I’m podcasting, but I could just plug in a USB audio device and I’d be good.
  • Modem not recognized.
    I’ve never needed it for dial-up internet access, there are times when I need to fax. Not frequently – but enough to remind me to get it fixed.

Until the PowerBook returns, I’m working on an eMac. This particular eMac isn’t happy with the situation. My standard collection of persistently open apps; Mail, NeoOffice, Adium, MarsEdit, NetNewsWire, Safari, iTunes – is just too much for it.

Thursday, 4 August 2005

Backyard + Laptop + DVD = New Drive-in

It was such a gorgeous day here in Minneapolis, I moved my home office into the backyard. Aside from a curious squirrel it was very peaceful day.

This evening, I returned to the backyard and, as Jen and I have done so many evenings this week, turned on the Powerbook’s DVD player.

The drive-in’s of yesterday knew this – there’s very little better than watching a movie outside. No matter how small the screen.

It’s both fortunate and unfortunate we can do this in our own backyards. The community of a drive-in movie, like the St. Paul, Vali-Hi, is something magical.

Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Solving PowerBook Trackpad Dead Zones

For about a week, the half inch on the far left and far right of my Powerbook’s trackpad were completely dead. Basically, it turned my 17″ Powerbook trackpad down to a 12″ Powerbook trackpad. These dead zones caused extremely flakey and erratic cursor behavior not to mention my mental image of the trackpad’s size was all messed up.

I was using SideTrack to add trackpad scrolling and had grown accustomed to placing my finger on the far left border (I’m left-handed) of the trackpad to scroll. These dead zones rendered that action completely useless. Thinking it might be SideTrack freaking out, I installed iScroll2. I got scrolling back, but only when my fingers were in the exact center of the trackpad. Way to awkward to actually be useful.

James from the Foundation suggested I open up the Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences Pane and uncheck “Ignore accident trackpad input.” After un-checking, the entire trackpad became active again. Thanks James.

I think that option should be re-labeled “make trackpad smaller”.