This is the celebrated journal of Mr. Simon Collison A.K.A Colly

Review: The Apple Powerbook iDecay

16th February 2005

Customized by a combination of backpack, heat, hard work and prolonged use, Apple’s limited edition Powerbook iDecay model was only available in Nottingham back in 2001.

my powerbook

The machine was - and still is - incredible, but on delivery the casing was disappointingly shiny and new. Thankfully, and with only minor wear, tear and abuse, my Powerbook iDecay is now deteriorating nicely. Read on for more detail and exclusive pictures…

The much sought-after “eczema” effect

At last, the port flap is now bent and losing paint. I’m delighted that the paint on the top is now being held on by a collage of stickers. Around the edges, I’ve finally got the “eczema” effect that is so desirable these days, with large chunks of paint falling off regularly. Most importantly, I have the perfect laptop for important meetings with clients where that “who the hell are these people?” stare is always welcoming.


And repair paint makes things even worse!

Brilliantly, the TI Paint I ordered ages ago does indeed enhance the decay nicely. A light application of the paint creates a wonderful yellowing mould effect, but sadly this needs re-doing regularly as the paint has all the permanence of a cloud.


So, I thought I’d share my delight at the way in which my Powerbook has aged of late. Thanks to Apple, you may be able to achieve the look and feel of the Powerbook iDecay yourself, without sifting eBay for an original model. Simply do nothing to your machine during normal use, and with a bit of luck, your Powerbook will also end up looking like a pig’s arse in no time.

Have you got an iDecay?

Wow! If so, post a picture of it here using standard image code (with “alt” tags, kids), for all to see. Alternatively, I’ll customize one for you. Just send me your Powerbook and in four years time I’ll send it back as knackered as mine.


# Kenzie responded on 17th February 2005 with...

I highly recommend you upgrade to the horizontal lines fritzing screen. I’ve been testing this new feature for several months now — and luckily my warranty expired just in time for it to be permanent!

# Simon Snorkeller responded on 17th February 2005 with...

Comes from working in the Sneinton office, wink-wink…! I reckon you should get Mr Burgerking Burgerman to attack it with a permanent marker too.

# Simon Collison responded on 17th February 2005 with...

I reckon you should get Mr Burgerking Burgerman to attack it with a permanent marker too.

Now, that is a good idea. I’ll ask him when I’ve finished his nearly-ready new website.

# Jesse responded on 17th February 2005 with...

That is so cool! How is the battery life? Does it last 5, 10, or 15 min? Since Apple just recently disco’d the Tibook batteries life in my office has been pleasant…

# Jon Hicks responded on 17th February 2005 with...

I’ve bunged my image up on Flickr here.

I don’t have the extra decorating lid option, but I had mine with several screws removed (no excess weight = more portable), although that does mean the bottom falls off. The CD drive doesn’t like giving up CD’s because its casing is bent, and the screen is looser than post-curry bowels. I wish I had your stickers though!

# Simon Collison responded on 17th February 2005 with...

Jon: That’s a fine example. Bit unfortunate that the bottom falls off. I’ll get some stickers off Burgerman for you. Email me to remind me.

Jesse: Ah, lucky I got a brand new battery a few months back. I get a good 3 or 4 hours out of it.

Simon: Burgerman has agreed to customize the Powerbook with pens and paint when he gets back from the big Apple. Hooray.

# Steve Keyworth responded on 17th February 2005 with...

Nice to see some waffly chaff on here again sunshine.
With regard to the iDecay and further customisation, Giffer Technologies do a nice cheeseboard peripheral with a firecheesewire connection. Cheese is well known as a ‘brain food’, Vintage poacher especially. Bring out the bloody branston.

# Andrea responded on 17th February 2005 with...

Alt tags, like in <img href=“blabla” <alt>your alt element content here</alt></img>?

Just kidding, but I wonder how I could possibly be the first to comment on that, a full day after the crime…

# Richard Rutter responded on 17th February 2005 with...

Dude, I thought you were busier than a bee who’s just taken on extra responsibilities, and yet you’ve got time to macro photograph your hardware? Was it one of those stressed out, anything but work moments?

Incidentally is iDecay available for iBooks? Mine came back missing a foot following its seven week stay at Her Majesty’s AppleCare’s pleasure.

# Simon Collison responded on 18th February 2005 with...

Richard: I’m busier than that, even. It was very much a “let’s do something for me” moment, and I’d already taken the photos a while back. I’ve been following your iBook nighmare for a while now. I’m sure if you continue to use it mormally it will deteriorate even further. (I can’t believe we’re all bashing Apple here).

Andrea: That’s interesting code structure you’re using there.

“Steve”: I like the sound of “firecheesewire”. Fast and tasty, eh?

# Paul responded on 3rd May 2005 with...

My TiBook was vigorously developing this same form of decay, but about a year ago, when I sent it in to AppleCare for unrelated problems that I no longer remember, but they included a missing rubber foot, and I happened to mention my dismay at the bad paint job, the laptop came back with a complete new edge and upper surface, or whatever you call it. And it hasn’t chipped since.

I didn’t know that my battery is no longer replaceable; this explains why it suddenly, in the last three weeks, went from lasting—I don’t know, maybe an hour and a half on a charge to around fifteen minutes.

# Adam responded on 3rd May 2005 with...

LetĂs not leave out my special uni-hinge model iDecay TiBook Apple had put out. After slightly adjusting the display, one day, the optional second hinge cracked in half leaving a sheared piece of metal in its place. Lucky for me I bought my TiBook with that second hinge option.

# nikolaus heger responded on 3rd May 2005 with...

Yes. Look at my pix here. I bet i can top you: iDecay

# Will responded on 4th May 2005 with...

My wife noticed that the extended warranty on my PowerBook was down to 90 days, so I decided to send it in to get the accumulated damage repaired. Both USB ports & the FireWire port had gone all flaky, LCD doing the solarized color trick whenever I move it, so unless I wanted to start transferrring files via GMail, it was time to pry myself away from “Mrs. Peel” for a while.

All pure mechanical wear & tear of course, but the good folks at Apple Repair ruled that the organic root beer I had spilled into the works three years ago voided the warranty. I asked them to send it back unrepaired, but then I got rather lucky.

When I went to pick it up at the local Apple store, the backlight had somehow been completely killed. Useless. Gone.

The attending Apple Genius (and so he was) responded to my wild cries and despairing attempts to resuscitate Mrs. Peel by offering to *override* the repair center. Mrs. Peel will soon be back with a guaranteed motherboard replacement, LCD repair, and incidentally, a new case—unless, of course, they decide to just give me a newer refurb to save costs.

# Nicolas S. responded on 5th May 2005 with...

My TiBook was evolving nicely as my own iDecay model (workhorse that it is), but developed a case of screenitis when it flew out of my backpack as I flung it over my shoulder—forgetting to zip up the pack. The screenitis was so severe I could only make out half the it’s little LCD, so alas I took it into the AppleCare doctors. They fixed the screenitis with an all new replacement, but my iDecay doesn’t look so “rugged” anymore. Some even think it’s a AiBook, because it’s so bright and chipper. *sigh*

# Perry responded on 5th May 2005 with...

My fave TiBook was rev. A 400 MHz unit that was held together with transparent duct tape and white glue. It had suffered numerous drops from the hands of its previous owner. Sans tape and glue it was just a jumble of jagged bits. The screen was perfect though, and it ran reliably.

I used to bring it to tradeshows as a personal rig (it was never on display). At one particular show, while my partner was demoing software on the booth PC, I whipped together a looping keynote presentation and got it running on the TiBook. When opened and facing you, it was impossible to see its poor run-down condition. That TiBook, and the keynote it was running, caught the eye of a passer-by who later became one of the biggest clients (i.e. sale) in my company’s history. I literally would never have got the deal if not for the TiBook (the person was in a rush to get to a session and would have raced right by me).

Sadly, it disintegrated shortly after. My current TiBook, a 800 MHz DVI, while pristine in appearance is comparatively devoid of character.

# Fritz Veschelmann responded on 25th May 2005 with...

Hey, I noted this discussion, while looking for a solution to the problem with my old TiBook. There’s a company called Vix Inc (See URL above). I tried their front strip, and liked it.
I just ordered the top cover and wrist pads, as well. Will let you know how I like them.

# Fritz Veschelmann responded on 25th May 2005 with...

doh - just noted that url doesn’t appear, so, it’s
also, as aside - they shipped to me in Austria and it didn’t take too long

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