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Sayonara to My TiBook

Editorial - Sayonara to My TiBook

by , 4:45 PM EST, November 6th, 2008

For the last, gasp, 90 months, my trusty PowerBook G4 Titanium has served me well. And it it's not done yet. In it's new life, it'll be used by my church for presentations. That so-called "TiBook" has been an amazing computer.

What was once a state of the art Apple Titanium notebook computer has survived from day one with only a battery replacement. Coconut Battery told me in 2007 that the original battery was on its last gasps. Other than that, the magnificent little computer has worked perfectly from day one.

TiBook and companion

What did it in was the 802.11b Wi-Fi and only 8 MB of VRAM. The slow Wi-Fi kept it from being a useful "living room" computer that I'd use on my lap to write or time-share with TV viewing. When there was an amusing YouTube video or Apple commercial to look at, the humble TiBook just couldn't deliver video without stuttering due to the slower 802.11b. The 8 MB of VRAM kept it from being able to successfully go beyond iTunes 6 -- even though Apple's Software Update continued to invite me to upgrade to iTunes 7 .. then 8. Also, Tiger was all the TiBook could swallow. No Leopard for that computer.

Here are the (sobering) specs:

  • CPU: PowerPC G4, 500 MHz
  • Hard disk: 20 GB
  • Screen resolution: 1152 x 768
  • RAM: 768 MB SDRAM
  • VRAM: 8 MB
  • Front Side Bus: 100 MHz
  • Video: Rage Mobility 128
  • Video out: VGA and S-video
  • Two USB 1.1 ports
  • 100Base-T Ethernet
  • And a modem!

More details are available at Low End Mac. The TiBook was the first to offer the "lid closed mode" which allowed it to be used with an external display and the lid closed. (Mirroring was all that was available with that chipset.)

After a series of black plastic, PowerBook G3s, the TiBook became a truly "drool worthy" notebook computer, just like the transition from plastic to aluminum has inspired the current generation of MacBooks. And I'm betting that I'm not the last person on the planet to have a working TiBook. For many users, or their kids or parents who inherited one, it's still a great computer for writing, most surfing and e-mail.

Now the computer will go off to lead a second life in its extreme old age -- in a new home. How long it will last is anyone's guess now. Maybe forever on battery power.

I've never gotten so much use out of a Macintosh, and 90 months is probably 5-sigma for flawless operation since the day it came out of the box.

At $23 per month, it was one of the best investments I've ever made. Thanks Apple.


John Martellaro is the Senior Editor, Analysis & Reviews for The Mac Observer and a freelance writer. He is a former U.S. Air Force officer and has worked for NASA, White Sands Missile Range, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Apple Computer, where he worked as a Senior Marketing Manager for Science and Technology, Federal Account Executive, and High Performance Computing Manager. His interests, in addition to all things Apple, include alpine skiing, science fiction, astronomy and Perl. John lives in Denver, Colorado.

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