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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Melbourne
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    Hi all, I've decided that I'm going to get myself a 15-inch Powerbook, (combodrive) for Uni this year. First off, I have a few questions:

    1. My course is 5 years long. Would the current g4 Powerbook be able to last for 5 years, in terms of Uni work (typing up assignments, researching, taking notes, etc.) ? This is kind of a stupid question, but what I mean to say is in 5 years time, could I hold out and not upgrade until I finish my degree?

    2. I plan to have a Wireless Internet connection at home with Airport. The Airport base station will be downstairs in the study, and I want to know whether my Powerbook will be able to receive a signal upstairs from my room, which is on the other side of the house. My house isn't big, but my room and the study are a floor apart and on other sides of the house.

    3. I know nothing about networks and the like. How easy/hard is it going to be to set up Internet sharing at home? I'll be using the Speedtouch 530 Modem, which supports simultaneous Ethernet and USB connection. Can I then have a USB connection to the PC in the study, and then an Ethernet cable from the modem to the AP base station? Would this be hard to set up, as there is a PC and a Mac connected to the one modem?

    4. Does anyone know by any chance whether Universities give you free OS upgrades? When Tiger comes out will I be able to get it for free (I'm a cheap and poor student now lol) ? If not, how much will the Tiger Upgrade thing be, with the Edu discount?

    Thanks all in advance.

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi Koman,

    1) Yes it will. The powerbook has a long life on it. I know wrtiers and uni students still using their 400 and 500mhz Powerbooks to this day, and they would not give it up for the world.

    2) Yes, as long as the network is "G" you will get a good singal, sure it will drop down a couple of bars, but its still just as good. For the record my base station is up stairs and half the time I am down stairs with my powerbook

    3) It could possibly work, but IMHO, don't do this, buy a switch and run all of them off Ethernet. The amount of problems we've had with USB at work is amazing

    4) There is no free upgrade program, however if you jump in early, you can usually secure a copy really cheap. I got OS X.1 for like $100 after I bought my iMac G4 800.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Canberra ACT
    Posts
    3,171

    Default

    Originally posted by Koman@Feb 6 2005, 02:06 PM
    2. I plan to have a Wireless Internet connection at home with Airport. The Airport base station will be downstairs in the study, and I want to know whether my Powerbook will be able to receive a signal upstairs from my room, which is on the other side of the house. My house isn't big, but my room and the study are a floor apart and on other sides of the house.

    4. Does anyone know by any chance whether Universities give you free OS upgrades? When Tiger comes out will I be able to get it for free (I'm a cheap and poor student now lol) ? If not, how much will the Tiger Upgrade thing be, with the Edu discount?

    Thanks all in advance.
    Hopefully!
    The PB's WiFi range has been reported in numerous forums and thread as not being the best.
    Has something to do with the case I believe.
    Be careful
    I have a 17PB which I love - and would not give up - but I am only in a two bedroom apartment - and sitting in the same room as my Airport Express I often only have two bars of signal strength!
    Occasionally even only one bar!

    I've tried to use my PB in my bedroom which is approximately only 15m away - but can't! No signal strength! I'm thinking I might have to upgrade my modem / router to a WiFi one in order to get signal strength in my bedroom.

    Uni's don't have free upgrades... but as Apple release free updates and patches - often Uni's will have those on their servers to save you having to download them off the net.
    mulitple iOS devices - iPhone, iPad Air, and iPod nano
    Mac OS X
    - 13 MacBook Pro with Retina, Mac mini for media server, and a Mac Book Air here somewhere still too

  4. #4

    Default

    Originally posted by DJY@Feb 7 2005, 06:18 AM
    I have a 17PB which I love - and would not give up - but I am only in a two bedroom apartment - and sitting in the same room as my Airport Express I often only have two bars of signal strength!
    Occasionally even only one bar!
    Do you have a "G" wireless router? if not, that's why you are getting bad signal. I'd say upgrade man, you will be happy for it. I can sit at the end of my driveway with my 12" and get two bars!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    1,156

    Default

    Originally posted by hawker@Feb 7 2005, 06:54 AM
    Do you have a "G" wireless router? if not, that's why you are getting bad signal. I'd say upgrade man, you will be happy for it. I can sit at the end of my driveway with my 12" and get two bars!
    also if you have a cordless phone then look at that. even if you did have a 'b' base station the signal should be a lot better than that.
    ________________________________________________

    There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.

    www.macmate.com.au

    Leader of: Apple General, Help! & iPods, iTMS & Accessories

  6. #6

    Default

    Good point macmate

    I shoulda thought of that too, especailly cosidering we had that problem at work recently... LOL

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Behind you
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    One thing I'd look at with those with really bad reception... I also had this issue with my current iBook. And when I took the keyboard off to have a look see. I found that the antenna plug was not fitted properly into the airport Exteme card. Giving it a good push, it clicked in and my signal went up to 100% instantly.

    Cordless phones cause alot of issues, also Microwaves as well. My cordless sits right next to my Wifi router and I get no issues whether the phone is in use or not. So I think its just random.

    But at the same time, I've heard that Powerbooks are just plain bad when it comes to reception cause of their metal casing.

    pipsqeek
    WTF is Harmonytech? | The iBook Saga. | Successful Trades: Currawong, Byrd, xedos, Decryption, Greenie, Mivory
    sudo chmod 327 /etc/car/subaru

  8. #8

    Default

    At home I use WiFi with my powerbook with no problems anywhere around my house. The powerbooks have their antennas on the the edges of the the lcd and shouldn't really be effected by the casing.
    What am I supposed to put in here?

    A joke maybe?

    I would love to be a wombat.
    All I would do is eat root and leaves.

  9. #9

    Default

    My wireless is fine in our house... router upstairs, me downstairs in my room or outside with the chooks. It can be a little slow at times, but still no big problem. As king89 says, the antennae are around the screen, and there are two places near the top of the screen where there is a patch og grey plastic instead of Aluminium, to allow better reception.

    And i use my pBook all the time at Uni, no problems. I definantly recommend them, and it will still work great in 5 years.
    1.0Ghz 15" TiBook, MBP 13" 2.4/4/256, MBA 13" 2013 1.7/8/128 SSD, 1st Gen 5GB iPod (mint condition), 2nd Gen 10GB iPod, iPod video, nano and shuffle, iPhone 3GS 32GB, iPhone 5 32GB

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Sydney
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    143

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    I think that I recall the first generation Aluminium Powerbooks having notoriously bad wireless/airport reception.

    This problem was addressed in subsequent generations.

    My 15" Powerbook is a second generation model and it works fine in a wireless network both here in the office and around my house.

    Steve C.
    15" MacBook Pro 2.4

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
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    Default

    Originally posted by pipsqeek@Feb 7 2005, 08:55 AM
    One thing I'd look at with those with really bad reception... I also had this issue with my current iBook. And when I took the keyboard off to have a look see. I found that the antenna plug was not fitted properly into the airport Exteme card. Giving it a good push, it clicked in and my signal went up to 100% instantly.

    Cordless phones cause alot of issues, also Microwaves as well. My cordless sits right next to my Wifi router and I get no issues whether the phone is in use or not. So I think its just random.

    But at the same time, I've heard that Powerbooks are just plain bad when it comes to reception cause of their metal casing.

    pipsqeek
    true is some cases. the Ti books were bad. the Al books were a lot better and the latest ones are great as they have dual antennas like the IBM thinkpads.
    ________________________________________________

    There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.

    www.macmate.com.au

    Leader of: Apple General, Help! & iPods, iTMS & Accessories

  12. #12

    Default

    Originally posted by Koman@Feb 6 2005, 02:06 PM
    Hi all, I've decided that I'm going to get myself a 15-inch Powerbook, (combodrive) for Uni this year. First off, I have a few questions:

    1. My course is 5 years long. Would the current g4 Powerbook be able to last for 5 years, in terms of Uni work (typing up assignments, researching, taking notes, etc.) ? This is kind of a stupid question, but what I mean to say is in 5 years time, could I hold out and not upgrade until I finish my degree?

    2. I plan to have a Wireless Internet connection at home with Airport. The Airport base station will be downstairs in the study, and I want to know whether my Powerbook will be able to receive a signal upstairs from my room, which is on the other side of the house. My house isn't big, but my room and the study are a floor apart and on other sides of the house.

    3. I know nothing about networks and the like. How easy/hard is it going to be to set up Internet sharing at home? I'll be using the Speedtouch 530 Modem, which supports simultaneous Ethernet and USB connection. Can I then have a USB connection to the PC in the study, and then an Ethernet cable from the modem to the AP base station? Would this be hard to set up, as there is a PC and a Mac connected to the one modem?

    4. Does anyone know by any chance whether Universities give you free OS upgrades? When Tiger comes out will I be able to get it for free (I'm a cheap and poor student now lol) ? If not, how much will the Tiger Upgrade thing be, with the Edu discount?

    Thanks all in advance.
    1- most computers will last you 5 years if all you're doing is word processing. it's just a matter of worst-come-to-worst you don't upgrade and keep using the stuff that comes out today so that your computer remains the same speed.

    2- A lot of people here seem to have probs with reception. I use mine through the house (it sits underneath the house in my "server room") and I can get reception to out my driveway and a little bit down the road. I'd be able to get the whole street but my house is sunken below street level.
    If I take a short drive I can pickup about 50-100 access points throughout my neighbourhood from the street with a normal card without an external antenna so I don't see why you'd have reception problems. I use 802.11g dlink gear.

    3- Sharing tends to be pretty easy, it's just a matter of how hardcore do you want to go. I would suggest to you to pickup a $50 4 port hub, connect all your pcs to that then in your main pc install 2 network cards. Put the cable/adsl into one, then plug the hub into the other. Then plug your wireless into the hub.
    Alternatively you can purchase an off the shelf router/hub thingy where you just plug the cable/adsl into and then plug everything else into it... OR you can purchase an off the shelf thingy that IS a wireless access point and you plug in your other pcs and cable/adsl into that..
    I'd recommend the last bit of gear if you don't know much about it.
    On the other end of the spectrum I have a cable modem into a firewall box, router with a few pcs and a wireless plugged in. Next upgrade will be a firewall between my wireless and everything else and possibly a tunnel - keep those wardrivers out


    One thing about sharing whatever computer you have online all the time you should patch and close all ports and such you won't be needing, and be aware when using wireless even though most of the 802.11 authentication standards can be exploited you're better off turning them on in the hopes any malicious wireless users pick an easier (and unsecured) target.

    4- I don't think they do

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Canberra ACT
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    Default

    Originally posted by hawker@Feb 7 2005, 06:54 AM
    Do you have a "G" wireless router? if not, that's why you are getting bad signal.
    I am using an Airport Express for my WiFi as well as iTunes through my home theatre system and printing.

    Airport Express uses G doesn't it?
    My modem / router is only the barebones that my ISP made me get when I signed on with them... and one of the few they supported. (Don't hit me... its a Netcomm 1300+4). I thought the Aipport Express was able to be used for wireless connections (up to 50 users).

    I have read of people who noticed loose connection with the antennae or the airport extreme card not being fitted correctly -but as I only got my 3G 17" 1.5GHz PB mid last year - I don't know to open it up - or where to look - or if that will void my warranty.

    In order to get better reception though I am tempted to upgrade my modem / router... but that's why I bought the Airport Express... wireless music and printing but the real benefit was wireless with my PB!

    even sitting here on the couch... less than 5m from my Airport Express (and I can even see it) I only average two bars... is currently on two bars... often drops to one - and occasionally up the three... and thats in the same room?!
    mulitple iOS devices - iPhone, iPad Air, and iPod nano
    Mac OS X
    - 13 MacBook Pro with Retina, Mac mini for media server, and a Mac Book Air here somewhere still too

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
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    Default

    Hey, thanks everyone, your replies have been great.

    I still am slightly apprehensive about sharing our net connection - I realise the problems with USB and PC's but to be honest, the PC will be mainly used by my Mum, who is only on net only for eBay, general browsing, and the occasional email. So in that case, drop-outs aren't too much of a problem right? (The PC does not have a Ethernet port).

    All I need is to share the internet connection. I don't need to share files or whatever.

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    9,050

    Default

    PCI ethernet cards cost < &#036;20. Seriously, for sanity purposes, I recommend it.
    The discussion has continued at AppleTalk Australia.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Brisbane
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    Looks like your questions have been pretty much all answered, but for what it&#39;s worth I&#39;ll add my two cents...

    I have a 15-inch G4 PowerBook with Superdrive. Use it with Airport Express and get consistent 2/3 bars on the signal strength indicator from anywhere in the house. I mainly work upstairs and the A&#39;Express is downstairs... Quite big house, i&#39;d be 20m away from airport now, and upstairs - 3 bar signal strength. A few closed doors in between as well ( don&#39;t think this really matters, but for what it&#39;s worth...) In the Airport instructions it mentions a few things to consider for mounting it, such as try and have it an open space if poss, try and keep away from other electrical devices as much as possible etc etc... So in my experience, with an ideal setup there is no reason why it shouldn&#39;t give good reception throughout a "standard" 5 bedroom house. I also use an Netcomm NB1300 + 4, and it seems to work very well for me - no problems so far&#33;

    As someone else mentioned, the G4 PowerBook has the antenna around the outside of the screen, so no worries about an antenna perhaps not being connected properley.

    I&#39;ve been really pleased with the Airport - very easy to get setup, and am running it to two macs. It can run to pc and mac simultaniously of course.

    Cheers

    Gerard
    Pain is temporary. Quiting lasts forever.

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Wollongong, NSW
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    Default

    USB Broadband routers are usually OK on Windows XP (if it doesn&#39;t work, change USB ports - that works regularly on PCs).

    USB to Ethernet adapters are exactly the same.



    But Ethernet is always best if you have the space to use, or an onboard NIC.

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Penrith, NSW
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    Default

    Sorry to hijack the thread, but i too am a relatively poor uni student with some apprehensions about getting a new 12" Powerbook. I was recently playing around with a friend&#39;s new Powerbook, and it seemed to my untrained eye that the case isn&#39;t exactly made of metal, or if it was, it still felt like plastic. Seriously, it felt like if i touched it too much it might break. Now i am worried - is the case Aluminium or coloured plastic, and what are the chances of me breaking it in a bump or small drop (compared to an iBook anyways)?

    Cheers,

    tommelbourne
    My gut is telling me no... but my gut is also very hungry...

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Perth
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    Default

    Originally posted by tommelbourne@Feb 8 2005, 07:43 AM
    Sorry to hijack the thread, but i too am a relatively poor uni student with some apprehensions about getting a new 12" Powerbook. I was recently playing around with a friend&#39;s new Powerbook, and it seemed to my untrained eye that the case isn&#39;t exactly made of metal, or if it was, it still felt like plastic. Seriously, it felt like if i touched it too much it might break. Now i am worried - is the case Aluminium or coloured plastic, and what are the chances of me breaking it in a bump or small drop (compared to an iBook anyways)?

    Cheers,

    tommelbourne
    It&#39;s aluminium
    The 12" is more robust than an ibook, but if you think it&#39;s likely you&#39;ll drop it get insurance.
    It&#39;s better
    It&#39;s excellent value after the new revision/price drop
    Get one&#33;

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
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    3,215

    Exclamation

    My 6 month old, 15" PowerBook; combined with OSX and the day-to-day software I use like Office:Mac, iLife 04, and all the music software available on the Mac; is the best laptop or computer I have ever used.

    And with the recent revisions, I think that both Koman and tommelbourne should definitely go out get a new 15" and 12" PowerBook respectively straight away..

    That&#39;s my input.. Get one&#33;

    It was valid opinions based on personal experience that helped me make the decision to switch 6 months ago - and it was a thread just like this on this site that did it..

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