I wrote:

I’m leaving for São Paulo to pick up my new laptop, put up the old iBook for sale…

Well, I’m pleased to report that I’m back, and have the PowerBook up and running, after some initial hitches.

As usual with most of Apple’s products, it’s difficult to estimate size and beauty from photographs. I saw the recently introduced iSight camera, and it was much smaller than it appears on the photos. In contrast, the 17″ PowerBook is even larger than I thought. It’s thinner than my old iBook, though, and the weight increase isn’t apparent. The screen is larger and better, the loudspeakers sound much better, and of course the speed and storage increases are noticeable.

I had some difficulty in getting the built-in Airport Extreme (802.11g) card to interoperate with my SMC Barricade 7004AWBR wireless router. I tried several things – setting the MTU to 1492, changing from fixed IP to DHCP, downgrading the Airport software from 3.1 to 3.04, and trying out different WEP encryption options. I’ve had no time to regress some of these things to see which specific one was the culprit, but it’s working now. And I also now recommend xwepgen, a program that calculates the various hexadecimal WEP keys from a password – invaluable for using Airport with non-Apple base stations.

The built-in trackpad somehow doesn’t feel as good as the iBook’s; the surface is rougher and my fingertip keeps sticking. As I normally use a mouse, this isn’t an issue. The first days I kept hitting the wrong keys, since I had apparently been using the laptop’s edges for gauging key locations. Other than that I’ve no complaints… icon_wink.gif