Troubles with Lombard (and Wall Street)
Lombard/Wall Street woes
Troubles with Lombard (and Wall Street)
I’ve used the
since its debut in 1984, and s since their debut in 19xx. I’ve used a 170, 520c, 5300, Wall Street (1998; G3/266 MHz), and Lombard (1999; G3/400 MHz). I’m unabashedly in awe of being able to do my work where I choose, as opposed to being desk-bound for so many years (I started computing in 1978). I’m also extremely annoyed with some of the extremely poor design decisions that have remained in the PowerBook design, or have crept in over the years. Doesn’t anyone at Apple actually use these things for something other than a doorstop?
Give me a lever and I shall move the world
The stunningly poor way the AC cord is connected to the PowerBook never ceases to dismay me. At least with the 520 (project name “Blackbird”) series the connector was beefy, and there was a cowling in which it could be seated. But the 5300 (code name?), Wall Street, and Lombard all suffer from a thin connector which – when properly seated – still protrudes 1.xx inches (YY cm) from the rear of the computer. Apply even a small amount of pressure and the connector levers the internal AC plug from the motherboard, causing intermittent workings at first, then complete failure.
Is there nobody at Apple that actually puts a laptop on a lap? Could nobody envision tapping the protruding connector when placing the assembly on a desk, or bumping it with a knee if on a lap? If memory serves, this was one of big design issues that caused Apple to provide a seven-year warranty on the 5300s. Nobody learned, it seems. My Wall Street, only a few months old, is already on the way back to Apple.
That’s not my only issue with the AC mating. The force required to push the connector into the laptop seems itself almost enough to affect the internal workings over time.
Even that’s not all that’s wrong with this critical part. The AC wire – so thin it can’t be called a cable by any stretch of the imagination – is so flimsy that repeated movement of the “brick” causes the wire to part, again causing intermittent workings at first, then complete failure.
Suggestions? Redesign the connector so all that protrudes is a little handle. Either design a more robust mating system which has some sort of tolerance for forces involved and gives more of a floating feeling or go back to the beefy connector of the 5300s. Make the process of inserting the connector into the PowerBook a bit more gentle. Reinforce the thin AC wire that goes from the brick to the PowerBook.
I hear you knockin’ but you can’t come in
Oh, this one goes way back. In normal home use there are two wires leaving the PowerBook, the AC supply (with which we’ve just finished) and a phone cord. Placing the modem plug behind the main door is a dim thing to do because it all but guarantees that the door will break, especially if the computer is used on a lap. If memory serves, this classic poor design goes back to the original PowerBooks. Having the back door break was so prevalent that the 5300s had pop-in doors that could be easily replaced. Wall Street had a robust side port for the modem, a pleasant change from the evolution of the tear-away door, but with Lombard we went back the original stupid design.
Suggestion: either use the Wall Street design or leave the modem port out in the open and give us something to insert into the port (and give it to us on a leash) when there’s no phone cord attached. Above all, have someone at Apple write down a few pages about these engineering embarrassments and give it to the next group of engineers working on PowerBooks. (Or just print out this article… 🙂
I can see clearly now
But not without a bit of flannel. Almost as flexible as a tortilla. I went to a fabric shop and purchased a square of white flannel, 30 cm per side. I fold this in half and drape it over the keyboard before I close the cover. Does the trick that Apple engineering couldn’t. Sigh.
Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me . Thanks!
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