Flying With A 17" PowerBook.

I'm sitting on my Continental flight from John Wayne Airport to Newark. I should rephrase that. I'm sitting in coach on this Continental flight. The guy in front of me has his seat fully leaned back. I've got the computer centered on the tray table in front of me. There's barely enough room on either side of the computer to place a pen next to the computer. I can get the screen open 90 degrees perpendicular. It's almost as side as the head rest in front of me. The front of the computer extends about 3″ beyond the front edge of the tray. There's about 4″ of room on the tray beyond the back of the computer. The front barely touches my stomach. Someone with a bit more (or a lot more) girth in the mid-drift would not be able to have the screen open to a perpendicular position.

I've heard a number of people comment about the position of the keyboard on this 17″ PowerBook. While visually it doesn't bother me, it does look like there's a lot of space in front of the keyboard. But sitting in an airline seat, this extra space is actually functional. Typing is actually somewhat comfortable. If the keyboard were any closer to the front of the computer, I'd have to be in kangaroo or teradactyl position in order work.

Perhaps the coolest feature is the automatic dimming of the screen and rear lighting of the letters on the keyboard. When I close the window shade and turn off the overhead light the computer transforms itself into night mode. Subtle but cool.

As for battery life, I've been working for under 45 minutes and the machine has been sleeping for a couple hours prior to that. The battery monitor currently indicates 2 hours and 4 minutes remaining. And I've got the energy savings set to maximum battery life. Needless to say, this isn't great. But powering a 17″ LCD, back lighted keyboard, DVD player (not currently in use) Bluetooth and 802.11 wireless I'm not sure I should expect more. But I'd like more. Fortunately, I did purchase a second batter because making the cross country trip in this coach seat without a laptop power source, I'm going to need it.