It’s been a long evening.
A few days ago, the trackpad on my PowerBook started going crazy. When I touched it to move the pointer around, nothing happened. When I took my fingers off and left it alone, the pointer jumped around the screen like an over-excited flea.
It turns out I’m not the first to see this behavior. A quick trawl around Macintouch reveals a lengthy page of similar experiences, with several possible explanations for the cause.
One is a build-up of static electricity, which has got me wondering. Just this week we completed a major building project in our home, which included a lot of electrical work. The house is now better earthed than it has been for years, and we have a fresh layer of statically-charged laminate flooring too. Consequently I’ve been getting little static shocks from all sorts of surfaces, including the kitchen sink.
Aside from suggesting that perhaps I should consult my electrician, it’s also got me wondering about the dodgy trackpad. Did it get over-staticked, and go into crazy mode? Hard to say. My long evening was spent cloning the PowerBook to my Mac mini test machine, wiping and re-installing OS X on the PowerBook, then restoring all my data from the Mac mini again. So far, things seem to be slightly improved - the jumping pointer has only made one brief appearance since the reinstall. I’m now downloading the 10.4.5 update and I shall have to wait and see if that makes any difference, good or bad.