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Friday May 13, 2005 5:40 am

Apple’s Amazing Invincible Powerbook

Posted by Kristin Wenzel Categories: PC / Laptop

Invincible Powerbook

Most people do not even want to imagine exposing their sensitive electronics to liquid, but when I spilled wine into my powerbook last Autumn, I thought it was done for.  Not to be - the powerbook survived completely intact, no repairs necessary.  What a testament to either Apple’s craftsmanship or my luck - or both.

In an unfortunate fit of clumsiness, I drenched my then two week old powerbook with wine (not just the display but also the internals), drained it, let it dry and it booted up like nothing had ever happened.  I jest, I often call this my “Switch Story” but it really is not, since my involvement with Apple has been more or less lifelong, no real switch involved 😉

The full story is much longer and involved, and looking back, I think it’s funny - though at the time, it was anything but.

What would you do if you spilled liquid into your computer?  Swear?  Cry?  Hyperventilate?  Commit ritual suicide?  Trust me, I contemplated all of these and more, and said a lot of cuss words that would make a sailor blush, or my mother faint, when the accident that is every geek’s nightmare ACTUALLY befell me last Autumn.  But what happened afterwards is the part nobody (not even me) expected.

It was supposed to be a relaxing evening at home.  I’d just moved into a new apartment, and we hadn’t even brought in the furniture yet.  The place was clean, empty, and quiet.  My roommate was gone with friends for the night and I looked forward to laying in the wide-open living room, listening to iTunes Radio and playing with my then 2-week-old Apple Powerbook G4.  But that was not meant to be.

Being the girly-girl that I am, after painting my toenails, giving myself one of those embarassing green facial masks, and soaking in the bathtub, I got down to the serious business of spending quality time with my Mac.  I set myself up comfortably with some snacks, and went to the kitchen for a glass of wine.  Since I know how clumsy I can be, I decided against using the stemware and opted, instead, for a wide-based waterglass.  I figured that while I felt bad for drinking wine from a waterglass, it would provide double safety, in that I would be less likely to knock over a waterglass and since i could pour more into the glass and keep from having to get up.  Armed with around fourteen ounces of chardonnay, I sank into my beanbag chair and opened Safari to see whether the Internet was interesting that night.

You probably see where this is going.  Oh, you are so right.

I have tendonitis fairly badly in both my wrists.  And as I leaned on my right arm to support myself to reach my safely-out-of-the-way glass of wine with my left hand, my world went into slow motion as, to my horror, my right wrist gave out and I knocked the wine out of my own hand.  The sound I made was bloodcurdling, I’m sure, as my beloved Powerbook was literally drenched with about twelve of the fourteen ounces of wine I had yet to even sample.  I think I gained mutant powers of speed in that moment, because I had my powerbook shut down and the power adapter unplugged before the glass even had time to stop moving, it seemed.  And then the hysterics started.

I truly don’t remember calling my roommate but he says he couldn’t even decypher what I was trying to convey, but was sure that it had to do with my computer and god knows what else.  He raced home and after removing the battery we emptied about half a cup of liquid from the internal workings of my poor, drowned powerbook, and watched yet more wine drip out of the LCD bezel.  I thought about ritual suicide but found it more productive to turn my blowdryer on “cold” and blow the monitor dry.  Then, after much urging, I drank some wine and fell asleep, praying for the best, as my powerbook stood on end to drain dry on the dish rack

The next morning, all seemed quiet on the Powerbook front.  It was dry, if a little sticky, and with a prayer and a hope I plugged it in, booted it up… and heard the most beautiful sound in the world - the Mac startup sound.  And then… the screen lit up.  There were waterspots on the bottom right corner of the monitor - but that was all.

Welcome to Macintosh.

I sit here, six months later, writing this article from that very Powerbook.  I can tell you now, that absolutely nothing is wrong with it except for a tiny bit of damage to the screen.  After draining 12-14 ounces of sticky wine out of it, blowdrying the screen, and leaving it to dry in the kitchen, it works like it did the day I got it.  Some may call it a miracle, but I call it a testament to Apple’s superior construction.  I’ve had smaller spills destroy keyboards, and my Powerbook survived a waterglass full of Chardonnay, and then my rough attempts at rescue, without even a blink or a flicker.

I’ve been an Apple user all my life, I took a break to use a PC for 4 years, but I can tell you now, that after this I will never, ever go back.

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