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Powerbook deconstruction

So yesterday I gutted my laptop.

This is actually the second time I’ve done this: A few months ago, I upgraded the hard drive, then yesterday I replaced a faulty optical drive. Both times I bought my parts through iFixit, which sells you Powerbook parts along with extensive step-by-step instructions telling you how to install them.

Don’t think that I do this ‘cause I’m some sort of DIY-Nazi. I’m quite happy to pay people to solve my problems for me. But my local Mac shop told me they’d need about two weeks to swap out my optical drive. Two weeks without my laptop—what the hell am I supposed to do with myself in the meantime? Do I look like the sort of person with a healthy social life?

iFixit’s instructions are pretty thorough, but opening up your laptop isn’t quite for newbies. Yesterday’s operation took about four hours, and all that time bent over my desk, fiddling with tiny screws and wires, left me pretty worn out afterwards. The first time I did it, I lost some screws and badly stripped a few others.

But as a nice side effect I get to disarm the Apple design halo, if only for a few hours. Apple products offer the promise of a smooth, seamless, uncomplicated life. But open up a Powerbook, and inside it’s just another pile of earthbound, mechanical crap, like a carburetor or a toaster or (gasp) a Windows box. If you go slowly and make sure to tape the screws to a piece of paper as you go, it’s not hard to take it apart and put it back together again. My Powerbook’s working fine now, missing screws and all.

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