Interstellar impulse drive

When Mood Music
2005-07-17 02:47:00 content The Post War Dream-Pink Floyd-The Final Cut

This entry is as long as Voyager‘s journey home…

Well, a lot of stuff has happened since I last posted. I’ll wibble about most it later (like when I’ve slept) but I’m pretty pleased to have my Pismo up and running – mostly.

You may recall that I bought the Pismo at the beginning of the year for £200. This seemed a bargain because they tend to sell for over £300. However, the vendor posted it with a CD in the CD/DVD-ROM drive. This may well be the cause of this drive ceasing to function within an hour of receipt. Emails to the vendor proved fruitless and so I was stuck until gave me a suitable CD-ROM drive which at least allowed me to install OS9 and other software. I was also able to use an external CD-RW via a SCSI/PC card I’d bought ages ago in preparation for when I’d be able to obtain a Pismo.

I then bought a wireless card which turned out only to work under OSX (or Windows) and a new power cable because the cable that came with my Pismo was broken. I also bought a docking station on eBay and a second-hand 30GB hard disk, a bit more RAM and a second-hand CD/DVD-ROM drive from Powerbook Fanatic.

However a couple of misfortunes occurred: I couldn’t take the housing off the dead CD/DVD-ROM drive to fit it on the new one and something stopped the battery from charging. The new power lead was giving out the right voltage so I became quite concerned that I’d fried something when installing the RAM and hard disk. At this point my boiler died: arranging to borrow money, getting quotes and other related impedimenta took far longer than desirable.

One result of having to borrow an exact number of thousands of pounds meant I had a little spare to sort the Pismo. So I sent her off to Powerbook Fanatic. More delay because electronic funds transfer took a week rather than the day both of us expected. (The funds were transferred to his account but his bank wouldn’t let him access the cash!) The week before last he got hold of the cash and so was able to buy the needed bits… My Pismo rejected several CD/DVD-ROM drives before he found one that behaved. I also bought an 80GB 5200 RPM hard drive (so I could use the 30GB as a back-up), more RAM and a real Apple wireless card that would work under OS9 and OSX.

So last Friday my baby came back to me. The wireless card works as expected (I’m sat in bed typing this, unplugged from everything but a power socket), the gigabyte of RAM is very welcome and the 30GB backup disk works fine (if a little slowly through the Pismo’s USB 1.1 ports). However, the CD/DVD-ROM drive is not fixed! It plays DVDs (apart from Being John Malkovich) but doesn’t mount music, original data or burnt data CDs.

Then a few crashes under OS9 messed up the hard disk so that I had to format and reinstall from scratch. I found that installing any OS via the CD drive doesn’t install DVD software. I could install OS9 with DVD software via ethernet from my desktop Mac but the OSX installer CDs have to be run from the machine they’re installing.

I’ve copied the DVD software from my desktop Mac and it seems to work. However I can’t play CDs in the CD/DVD-ROM drive and OSX doesn’t support hot-swapping of drive modules. (OS9 does!) Instead swapping over the drives necessitates a shut-down. This is rather annoying so the drive is going back to Powerbook Fanatic for a final try. It behaved in his powerbooks so I suspect that either my Pismo or I are doing something wrong.

In the meantime, I can revel in the following:

as bought as of now
optical drive not working CD-ROM or DVD-ROM
RAM 128MB 1GB (1024MB)
hard drive second-hand 10 GB, 4400 RPM brand-new 80GB, 5400 RPM plus second-hand 30GB 4400 RPM in external USB enclosure
networking/internet ethernet and modem ethernet, modem and wireless
add-ons graphics tablet, docking station, SCSI card, wireless card that works under both MacOSes

Upgrade steps left:

  1. Get the CD/DVD-ROM drive repaired.
  2. If it can’t be repaired, replace it urgently with a brand-new CD/DVD-RW drive.
  3. If it can be repaired, the replacement will happen after 31st December 2005.
  4. Move up to OSX Tiger (MacOS 10.4)
  5. Upgrade the processor to 900MHz.
  6. Sell my desktop Mac to retro-fund some of this.

Even without these, my Pismo rocks: enough RAM and a big enough disk never to choke and I finally get to watch Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii in bed.

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