Well, I finally took the PowerBook in to the Apple Store at the Galleria this evening. The final prognosis was that the keyboard itself was damaged; they had noticed a crack in it, and it had seen so much use that the left and right “nubs” under the spacebar were worn down completely. They looked to see if they had a replacement from a broken PowerBook, to no avail. They wanted $120 for a brand new one, but the guy behind the counter suggested I check eBay. Lo and behold, I found a company is selling them for $23 there. I’ll probably order one in the next day or two.
I know the thought from some might be that I should replace the PowerBook, especially as it’s nearing four years old. The truth is, though, that I can’t justify buying a MacBook. The PowerBook is still working great for me, other than the keyboard issue. I figure replacing the keyboard for less than $30 and being able to use it for another year or two would make more sense right now than buying a MacBook for $1500 or more. This PowerBook is easily the best laptop I’ve ever owned, and I’m loath to give it up just yet. Ah, well… we’ll see where things go from here, but at least it looks like it’ll be an easy and inexpensive repair job.