Recycled Computing

Pismo Pink Screen of Death: Time to Rethink Things

- 2010.09.30

The old Pismo screenis showing the signs of developing the dreaded pink screen. Soon itwill be a pink zone of discomfort, restricting the use of my ancient,well loved laptop.

It's time for the Pismo to make use of the little known super powerthat a number of Mac laptops possess: Closed Lid Mode. Alert low-end Mac usersalready know about this, and with my screen going pink and my batteriesgoing dead, it was obvious to me that I would have to extend thePismo's usefulness by turning it into a desktop computer.

Closed Lid Mode - that's what the Apple Mothership calls it- is also useable on a PowerBook G4, MacBook Pro, MacBook, or MacBookAir. 'Books with built-in Bluetooth can also use Bluetooth connectionsfor the keyboard and mouse.

On the Pismo, you have to use a USB keyboard with a power button onthe keyboard to turn on a powered-down the Pismo, since the lid has tobe closed in order for Closed Lid Mode to function.

Early Apple USB keyboards, like this one from an iMac, have a power button.
Early Apple USB keyboards, like this one from an iMac, have a powerbutton.

Pismo used in Closed Lid ModeAnother nice feature of the Pismo is the VGA video-out. Thismeans that almost any external monitor with a VGA fitting can be used.(The Pismo only supports resolutions up to 1152 x 870 on an externaldisplay - and only up to 1024 x 768 when mirroring the LCD.)

I may be old fashioned, but it would be nice if Apple would pick avideo-out connector for its notebooks and stick with it, since Appleseems to stimulating an adapters market all by itself.*

I know if I want to, I could try to lay my hands on another Pismowith a better screen, but I would also have to pick up two newbatteries as well. Maybe it's just time to give up on the old girl, asI am using a 12" PowerBook G4 for my daily computing. I'm also planningon moving up to an Intel box in the near future.

What does this old Pismo do for me?

I guess that it is an icon of permanence in the ever-changing worldof computers. And that isn't a bad thing.

I do admit that at some point I'd like to attend an Apple Keynoteaddress and, waving my Pismo at Steve Jobs, I'd like to ask why Appledoesn't make computers like this anymore.

Then Steve Jobs would have me arrested. ;-) LEM

* The PowerBook1400 (1997) was the first PowerBook to use VGA instead of Apple'sproprietary VID-14 connector, which had been introduced with thePowerBook 160 and 180 in 1992. Apple switched from VGA toDVI with the 2002TiBooks, including a DVI-to-VGA adapter with the 'Books. In 2009,Apple switched to its Mini DisplayPort, which requires separateadapters for DVI and VGA monitors.

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