I mentioned last week that my MacBook was going in for a new LCD. Well, it went as expected: I got to the Apple Store, they looked at it, and sent it off.
“How long?” I asked, already getting the shakes (it was an hour past lunch time and my sugar was crashing).
“Worst case, five to seven business days,” said the Genius. “We’ll ship it back.”
So my beloved Lapdancer went on to Memphis, and I went to get some lunch and tried to figure out how I was going to spend the next howmanyever days without a laptop. I decided it wasn’t like losing a limb… more like spraining an ankle; really painful, but it would be better in a week. I had some White Pickups stuff on Google Docs, and it worked with Mrs. Fetched’s G4 dualie, but it whined about the outdated Firefox. Then it hit me: I have a beige G3 in the room where DoubleRed sleeps, except that she’s been at her dad’s place for a while, and it has an old Linux on it — maybe I could update that to something more recent. I then wouldn’t have to worry about waiting for Mrs. Fetched to get stuff done, and The Boy and Snippet could use it to access Facebook and not have to bump me off my own laptop. Turned out the last time it had been used much was when Daughter Dearest’s pal from Norway came and wanted a Linux box so he could connect to the cluster under his bed back home… nearly a year and a half ago.
Looking at some of the options, I settled on Xubuntu as it combined at least “community” support for beige Macs and I found a how-to for getting it going. I burned a “live” CD Monday night, knowing it only worked on non-beige boxes, and the G4 dualie did a fine job of booting and displaying. Just for grins, I tried it in the beige box and it got as far as loading the RAMdisk and couldn’t find the CD. I downloaded and burned the “alternate” CD, which doesn’t try to do fancy stuff with graphics until after you have it installed, and found that the G3 wouldn’t even recognize it. I threw up my hands and went to bed.
Yesterday, I suddenly remembered that Daughter Dearest’s G4 PowerBook was laying around waiting for a new hard drive. I thought, why not just boot the live CD on that and use it? FAIL… I got it to boot after several attempts, but couldn’t get it to start the wireless interface. Not much use in having a laptop without wireless, especially when the place you’re using it doesn’t have easy Ethernet connectivity.
Then I remembered… Xubuntu is a Debian derivative, and I net-installed Debian on an ancient NEC laptop many years ago. Why not just net-install the G3? So I went hunting, found some directions, and soon had the beige box chugging away at the DSL and pulling down its packages. I decided to allocate a couple of existing Linux partitions to it, saving my old home directory, and let ’er rip. It ran on past 1 a.m., but that’s when I figured I could finish my end of it in the morning and went to bed.
And that’s exactly what I did. I had to copy the kernel and RAMdisk from the /boot directory back to the Mac partition, but that was fairly easy and I soon had it cleanly switching over to Linux. Firefox 3 is rather slow on this computer, mostly for typing, but I can type into a text editor and paste as needed. Snippet used it to check out her Facebook stuff and it did a fine job of pulling down and displaying pictures from her friends. “It’s a little slow,” she said, “but not that bad.” Considering this computer was new in 1998… not bad at all.
With the beige box now providing a reasonable backup for keeping up with my blog-buddies and getting some writing done, I decided to check the repair status of my MacBook. Lo and behold, they got it Monday, fixed it Tuesday, and put it on the plane for Wednesday delivery! It arrived back at the manor around 5 p.m. Apple replaced the LCD (still looked a little fuzzy, but it got better after a couple hours), the top cover, and cleaned the keyboard… it looks (and smells) like a new computer now, even being nearly three years old.
Now to get the PowerBook fixed.