Back to Debian

My time with Mandrake was short, and I’m now back to Debian on the old beige G3, and this time X11 worked! We’re now looking at KDE!

It’s all so very exciting. All I need now is the time to actually use the damn thing.

I’ve come to learn that the old saying “Linux is only free if you’re time has no value” is not exactly true, but can be somewhat close. I wasted a lot of time download disk images, and burning them, and not having them always work. Some of that is my own fault, as I didn’t always check the md5sum, but I can see the value in purchasing ready-to-run CD‘s that actually work. I can’t imagine doing a Linux install without a working computer sitting nearby with access to the net and all it’s resources. In some cases it took 8 or more hours to download disk images, which is still probably faster that waiting for shipping, but could be longer than going to a store to buy them. (Insert something about BitTorrent here…)

I’m not through with Debian, I still have an old PowerBook with Debian installed, but X11 not working. I’d like to see what can be done there, and I really need to look into running Linux from a CD using a USB thumbdrive as a /home…

Ah, the challenges of Linux never end…


Lynx on deb is OK

I’ve been attempting to load Debian onto an old PowerBook, and success is a ladder with many steps, and by that I mean that I ‘sort of’ got things working. I mean, I can log in, access the net, and all that stuff, I just can’t use a GUI. Yes, no X11 for me yet… So, I browsed the web for almost an hour last night using Lynx, and you know what? It worked pretty well. Most of the sites I read were weblog-type sites, so chances are they adhere to accessbility standards more than your average site, but I had no real problems reading what I wanted to read.

In fact, I probably got more reading done faster since I wasn’t distracted by images, or scroll bars, or browser chrome, or a mouse.

Hmmm, maybe I should think twice before installing X11…


DIY PowerBook Repairs

As PowerBook (and iBook) users know all to well, those damn power adapters can go bad. Well, mine finally got to the point of not working. So for the last few weeks or so I’ve been without the use of pbox, our lovely old PowerBook G3 Wallstreet.

I looked on ebay and at some of the 3rd party suppliers of power adapters, but because I’m what you might call frugal, and a hacker, I took matters into my own hands, and in my own hands I put some tools. Pliers, utility knife, wire cutters, and some duct tape. Ah, there’s always room for duct tape…

So now the power adapter works again. I did managed to lose a tiny resistor in the hackery of it all, but as the saying goes “We got power!” I mean, what could that little resistor be doing anyway? Sure, there is a chance I might get an electrical shock when checking email, or launching Firebird, I mean FireFox, might cause it to burst into flames. Oh well, such is the price you pay for attempting to keep up with the fast pace of technology on a limited budget…

Flaming PowerBook warning label


My Kingdom for a Torx 8!

When repairing a PowerBook G3 (Wallstreet) you’ll need two Torx screwdrivers, a size 8 and a size 6. If you’re lucky, you’ll find these at your local hardware store. If you’re unlucky – or cheap – this might be more difficult.

I managed to get the Torx 6 at the local hardware store, no problem. They also had a Torx 8 bit, with the security hole in it, which makes it cost more, and allows you to remove Torx screws of the size 8 variety with a small pin in the hole on the top. Yeah, so anyway, I bought that one. The bit worked OK until I had to remove some screws that are way inside, that require you use a Torx 8 with long skinny shaft – which means the damn bit would not fit. This halted repairs a bit.

So I happen to be at Home Depot, they have a Torx set but it’s $20, which for someone who is cheap, is quite the deterrent. I ended up calling another hardware store, they had nothing, I then called Radio Shack, and they did have a tool with fold out Torx bits, but they said it was $16, and it sounded cheap and I wasn’t sure it would work, plus I figured if I was gonna spend that much I’d spend $20 for a nice set.

So at this point I continue to hope I’ll find a single Torx 8 screwdriver, and if I don’t I’ll end up spending $20 for the nice set, even though I’ve already spent $7 for the bit and the Torx 6.

This demonstrate the frustration of everyday life I must endure…

(I’ll leave it up to you to determine if that last statement was sarcasm or not…)


TO DO: Fix Wallstreet

Looks like I’ll need to read the Powerbook G3 Wallstreet take-apart instructions. As far as I can tell the power connector broke loose in my Wallstreet…

I fear having to use the soldering iron, as it’s been years since I’ve done any serious soldering…