Recycled Computing

A Very Pismo Christmas in April

- 2008.04.30

It was Christmas in April

Well it was to me. An alert reader of Low End Mac had an oldPismo with some bitsand parts that they felt needed a good home. After a flurry of emailsand an exchange of cash took place, I found myself with a parts Pismoto supplement my old Pismo.

If you're maintaining and older vintage retro laptop like I am, Icannot recommend enough that you purchase a "parts" duplicate computer.It's a bit like maintaining a classic car; you have to have a partsdonor, because they just don't make 'em anymore.

I quickly unpacked all the original boxes and looked over all thegoodies. I have been having issues with my Pismo's DVD drive. The laserlens is just off enough to play discs sometimes and sometimes not. Thiswhimsical nature was enough to put a kink into Movie Time at theHatchett Hacienda. The DVD drive from the parts Pismo had no suchissues, and it's time to break out the popcorn. (I use the Pismo as aDVD drive attached to an old TV and stereo system so my wife and I canwatch a movie while the kids destroy brain cells watching what passesfor modern culture on the downstairs TV.)

While thinking that the price was worth it just to get a working DVDdrive, I discovered a 256 MB RAM memory stick. Holy upgrade, Batman!The Pismo is easy to upgrade the RAM in, and before you could say "5screws and a heat sink", I had the new chip in and went from 384 MB to512 MB. The Pismo booted faster, and I saw fewer of the infamousspinning Beach Balls of Death. Eventually I hope to put in a fullgigabyte of RAM, but 512 MB does make a difference.

As my boss says, more RAM is like Geritol to old computers.

I have a classic Pismo issue: My screen has the dreaded KeyboardMarks of Doom. The KMD occurs when the oils from your fingertipsaccumulate on the keyboard, so when the cover is closed it transfers toyour screen. Once there, it cannot be removed. Even a SupremeCourt decision will not make it budge. The "new" screen from the partscomputer had no such marks. All I had to do was swap displays.

I started with the donor computer, since I figured that I wasn't outmuch if I mangled it. Fortunately for all us ham-handed handyman, has wonderful picturesfor taking apart your Pismo. (It even has the instructions for removinga clamshell iBook's harddrive. I don't recommend this to anyone who has an ounce of sanity. I'mfeeling a little faint. Microsoft is neither micro nor soft. Discussamongst yourselves.)

There, I'm back. The display on the Pismo turns out to be a snap toremove. In no time at all, I had the displays switched and was happilyadmiring Tiger start up. (Quicker this time.) New screen, more memory,a better DVD drive, and another battery that works for 2 hours.

What's not to like? LEM

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