With a new steady job and the vacation money I got from my previous job we have a little extra money now. A good amount is getting plowed back into the house and we also need to buy a car soon as well (more on those later), but I got the go-ahead to get some Powerbook upgrades: a new battery and additional memory.
One of the few disappointing features of my Powerbook is the battery life. When I first got the machine it would go ~3 hours doing my typical work (xemacs, mail, browsing, some utils). This isn't terrible but it's not great either, especially when all I heard about Mac notebooks was that the battery life was so great because the Power PC wasn't as wasteful as Intel chips. Even worse, Mark would get ~5 hours on his Centrino-based Dell D600 (or whatever it is), and he probably typically eats up CPU cycles playing videos of gnomes riding motorcycles at 200 mph through the British countryside.
So that is what it is. But even worse is that my battery capacity diminished steadily, and quickly, over time. Originally it was ~4.5 Ah, it's now down to 2.7. That blows. I don't know if I have charged it improperly (lots of little cycles vs. letting it drain), if I got a bad battery or if this is typical for a Powerbook. We'll see. I looked at a few alternatives but wound up going through the Apple Store, getting a $13 discount from Barb's educational discount.
With the memory: I currently have two 256 MB sticks so I'll have to replace one rather than add it. (Getting a single 512 would have added a few weeks to my order, and I was too eager to get the machine at the time.) I went ahead with a Kingmax 1GB SODIMM from newegg -- it's a little risky but I heard good things in multiple places about it.