I’ve had my Aluminum Powerbook for about six months now. Solid performance all around with the exception of the monitor hinge. I understand that these things are difficult to make last in the harsh environment a laptop can be subject too but damn, I baby this thing and already the backbone of this device is starting to give.

Naturally I went to an Apple Genius, but he was way too busy to be bothered with the simple question like, “hey can you guys fix this here?” So I grabbed a sales person to smoke out and hunt Apple repair people for an answer to my question. The answer came back, “no” — the Powerbook would have to be sent to Cupertino where they would look it over. The problem is I don’t have days that it takes for Steve to repair, clean, and bless my Powerbook. Maybe if I was allowed to then go on a seven day cruise around the Norwegian fjords — but that’s not going to happen any time soon.

I still don’t get why this is attitude is acceptable for computer repair. These things can be done on a kitchen table, it’s not like they need a clean room to fix a monitor hinge. Hell, the Maytag or Dell guy will come to my house and do everything in front of me like a teppanyaki chef. Only they don’t toss screws for me to catch in my mouth.

Luckily most of the time a solution can be found by Googling the problem. I did and found myself at Radex, makers of the Aluminum Powerbook Chassis Enhancement Kitaka AlGlide. For $20 they would send me a fancy screwdriver, lubricant, and instructions for taking care of problematic Powerbook hinges.

After six to eight weeks my new Apple-Genius-O-Matic was in the palm of my hands. Now all I needed was pants four times my required size and a tool belt. Armed with a #00 Philips screw driver, some lube and a butt crack the size of San Andreas, I sat down to make a repair.

Any happiness or hint of DIY gratification quickly drained as I looked at the one page of instructions, with two very, very poorly drawn illustrations. Here is the single paragraph used to instruct me on how to get to and fix the squeaky hinge:

…use the supplied #00 Phillips driver to loosen the remaining Phillips chassis screws. These are located along the back plane, and bottom pan of the notebook. Slowly open the display fully, then close and latch. Tighten all chassis screws previously loosened starting with the hex-head screws. Finish by tightening the Phillips screws. This manuever correctly aligns the notebook’s internal frame.

Sweet mother of mercy, I thought to myself, I’ve just purchased snake oil. More words are spent on how to apply the liquid goo than there are for opening the Powerbook case. I still don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do. I mean I followed the instructions but my laptop looks nothing like the two gray blocks as seen in the instructions, and I don’t even seen these so-called ‘hinge pins’.

I don’t get it. The entire nation of Sweden was put together with a hex wrench and simple diagrams, so why must I suffer with these pitifully inadequate caveman drawings and a vignette on how to use lube?

I can’t say that I’m happy with Radex and their AlGlide product. I think it sucks big time ka-ka. My Powerbook still moans and groans like a 70 year old man with bad knees.

I’d demand a refund but it would end up costing me half of the purchase price in postage and wasted time on the phone with their customer service. I’m at the point where I’m thinking of going wild with a can of WD-40 or dipping the machine into some kind of 10W-40 petroleum bath.

No, I’m not really going to do that.

Maybe there is someone out there can help me. I could use either a better remedy (sending it to Apple doesn’t count as my livelihood is dependent on this machine) or a better explanation for how to use my #00 Philips screwdriver and this tube of lube.