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X-Rays Of A TiBook's Interior 234

A reader writes: "A fine application of expensive medical equipment: producing neat desktop pictures by taking an x-ray of the guts of a PowerBook G4. Guy Mullins has the details." The actual photos are on a separate site.
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X-Rays Of A TiBook's Interior

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  • by YIAAL ( 129110 )
    Well, this is really cool, though I'm not sure I actually learned anything from the pictures. Except that it would be fun to have the use of a really good medical x-ray machine, along with a few household objects. But I already knew that. And you did, too, didn't you?
  • Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clevershark ( 130296 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @10:41PM (#2244447) Homepage

    Out of curiosity, are laptop batteries always made up of a large number of linked, smaller, cylindrical batteries?

    • Re:Interesting... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I've had a couple of assembled battery packs apart because off the shelf was not available and each time it was an assembly of standard batteries soldered together.

      OTOH I'm sure there are some custom batteries out there.
    • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bryan Andersen ( 16514 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @11:03PM (#2244497) Homepage
      Generally yes, though some are using prizmatic cell shapes but they are more costly than the good ol' cylindrical cell. If you go with a non standard cell size or shape it costs more per unit due to lack of volume. The standard cell sizes are also available from many different manufacturers. That means you have second and third sources available in case your manufacturer of choice fails to meet your demand for some reason.
    • Re:Interesting... (Score:2, Informative)

      by beable ( 170564 )
      Out of curiosity, are laptop batteries always made up of a large number of linked, smaller, cylindrical batteries?
      All batteries are made up of a number of cells. What people commonly call a "battery" (like an AA, a C, a D, or an AAA), is actually a cell. If you look at your car battery, you might be able to see that it is made up of six cells. Each one has its own compartment, and its own plug on top for adding more water if it gets low.

      The reason for this is that a cell puts out about 2 volts. To get a higher voltage, you have to connect several cells in series to make a battery. For a car, you need six cells to make twelve volts. For a telephone exchange, you need 24 cells to make about 50 volts. You can also connect several batteries together in parallel to get more current or more power.
      • And of course a 9V battery is also just 6 cells underneath the outer covering. Your car battery is 6 cells but it is a lead-acid battery which produces ~2V per cell whereas normal batteries (AAA, AA, C, D) use a dry cell which produces ~1.5V. NiCad cells are ~1.2V.
    • I once had to obtain a new battery for P75 laptop and that battery could not be had from anywhere. However, the cells were in Batteries Plus' catalog and they were able to rebuild the battery for me.

      I used to work as a technician for a firm that rented environmental instrumentation and we recelled batteries all of the time. It is a common practice for more than just laptops.

      • I've been trying to get my 5.25" cdrom sized battery pack from my old Omnibook 5500CT apart, looks like they desigend it so even if you take the screws out, it still doesn't come apart. Frustrating to say the least.. Not that i expect to find lithium batteries that are rechargable anyways =)
    • I've heard (from a former employee) that at least some APC uninteruptable power supplies are little more than a metal case full of standard D cell batteries -- lots and lots of D batteries.

      I'm not sure if this is the case for the big ones that would power a rack of servers or whatever, but apparently it's true for the ones you'd put under your desk for personal use.

      Assuming that's true, I don't see why laptop power supplies should be any different....

  • XRay.... (Score:2, Informative)

    Don't xrays wipe drives? I think I can see the hard drive in the xray - in the middle at the bottom - the CD drive is on the left, and the batteries are on the right I reckon.

    Anyone know what effects XRays have on magnetic media? I always used to post floppies with a 'magnetic media, do not xray' sticker on em?

    Fantastic images tho.
    • Re:XRay.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Saturday September 01, 2001 @10:48PM (#2244468) Journal
      >Don't xrays wipe drives?

      Nope, but they can ruin your photo film.

      Of course, if your hard drives were subjected to a really *powerful* x-ray source, they'd melt. ;-)

    • Don't xrays wipe drives?

      Considering the number of people who have their laptops xrayed when bring them on to airplanes, I think it would be safe.

      • Are the xray machines used by airports the same as medical imaging xray units?

        The one they used was a medical imager...

        Just curious if they are the same strength....
        • Re:XRay.... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by t ( 8386 )
          I have no real knowledge other than common sense, and since this is /., I would guess the medical imager is weaker since the purpose is to scan people. Whereas the airport is not worried about radiating people, just seeing through laptops and such.Normal bomb/gun/knife stuff.
          • That would seem logical - but you don't see the guys at airports stood behind lead screens.

            Last time I was in hospital (I'm fatally allergic to wasp stings), the X-ray machine is operated by a nurse like 20 feet away behind a lead screen.

            Also, there is a maximum number of medical xrays you can have before you get 'your dose'.

            But those nutty security guards stand there all day scanning underwear for a living.

            Which tends to make me think the medical ones are a wee bit more powerful.
            • Re:XRay.... (Score:1, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward
              The luggage ones are entirely enclosed in a large metal box. The entrance and exit have those plastic coverings which probably are lead filled. The medical ones do not have nearly the same type of protection so stray x-rays will radiate the nurse if they're not behind the shield.
            • by t ( 8386 )
              The hospital people stand far away cause they do that many times a day and the cumulative exposure would be a bad thing. The airport one however doesn't require lead aprons because the machine itself is probably lead lined.


              • Or perhaps the medical staffers stand farther away because they *know* how dangerous the X-rays can be, unlike the security drones...
              • Re:XRay.... (Score:1, Interesting)

                by Anonymous Coward
                I read somewhere online once about a company that was testing their hard drives versus luggage x-ray machines. They tried various positions in and around the machine (including sending the units through dozens of times).

                The most amazing was the one they duct taped to the top of the machine for something like three months. At the end, no problems.

                Indeed, a quick search with Google to find the article in question brought up a Samsung laptop user manual that said you should always send your Samsung laptop through the X-ray machine, as the medal detectors might corrupt data.
            • Re:XRay.... (Score:3, Informative)

              by Mike Buddha ( 10734 )
              Which tends to make me think the medical ones are a wee bit more powerful.

              It's not the power, per se, it's that a medical imager is capable of dispersing X-rays over a much wider range of area, some of which are going to irradiate the operator.

              The X-ray machines in an airport are shielded (ever notice the heavy looking rubber skirts that your bags go through on either end?), and the x-rays are directed at a very narrow section of the conveyor belt.

            • A guy I went to school with is a radiographer. He was talking about some of the super-neato imaging things they can do with extremely high levels of X-Rays and things - levels which are normally far too high for a person to take. The resulting images are of extremely high detail, can be mapped in to 3D models of internal systems, and things like that.

              As such, these techniques are only used on people with advanced stages of cancer, say, who are in a bad state already.

              Someone who knows what i'm trying to talk about might be able to post some links to details or images of such stuff.

          • your common sense is extremely wrong. your luggage gets exposed to less than 1 milliRoentgen of radiation. medical x-rays start at 10 and go up from there. 300 or so milliRoentgens for those plates the dentist took, 5000 if you need a full CT scan...

            Use your common sense to tell you, which is going to be harder for x-rays to penetrate, large amounts of muscle and fat, or ten layers of cotton?

            • by t ( 8386 )
              Well let's see, the start of all this was about an xray of a powerbook which happens to have a Ti shell, so I wasn't thinking ten layers of cotton. I was thinking layers of metal. Let's put it this way, we know that the image of the Ti Pb was from a medical xray machine, do you honestly think the xray machines at the airport can't see it also? If it can then it has at least the same level of power. o.w. they'd see a black mass which they'd ask you to open up. And I've watched the screen as my stuff has gone through, they can see everything.

              PS throwing numbers around is meaningless without backing them up.


              • Re:XRay.... (Score:4, Informative)

                by mosch ( 204 ) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @11:53AM (#2245466) Homepage
                This article [] is a nationwide study on the x-ray dose levels that patients are exposed to during various medical procedures. You'll see that it confirms the numbers I stated above.

                Further inspection reveals that airports actually use two different strength scanners. Checked luggage goes through a high-intensity scanner, such as an Invision Technologies CTX [] baggage scanner. This scanner starts with a low power beam, but can send a focused beam (1cm containing 100-300 milliRoentgens) on suspicious areas if closer analysis is required. The focused beam is actually a Computed Tomography scan, of the type that takes 5000milliRoentgens to do to one's head, so it's still less powerful than the medical version.

                According to FAA Regulation 108.17 []

                If the X-ray system exposes any carry-on or checked articles to more than
                1 milliroentgen during the inspection, the certificate holder shall post a sign which advises passengers to remove film of all kinds from their articles before inspection.
                But you'll note that airports all tell you it's safe to let your film and camera go through the carry-on luggage x-ray. That's because they expose your luggage to less than 1 milliRoentgen. If they can't see what they need, they still have Explosive and Narcotic Detection Systems, and manual searches available.

                So you see, I wasn't throwing numbers around. I was making factual statements, you useless troll.

        • Are the xray machines used by airports the same as medical imaging xray units?

          The security xray machines vary from locale to locale, but generally they are more powerful than their medical counterparts; the reason being, of course, that there are strict health + safety regulations concerning xray dosages given to humans, while no such regulations exist for luggage. (Another good reason why you shouldn't try to smuggle illegal immigrants inside your luggage!)
        • No, in the United States, regulations require that x-ray inspection be conducted only with low-output devices, less than 1 milliroentgen per exposure.

          Medical x-rays vary widely, depending on the procedure. On the low-end, a chest x-ray exposes the patient to between 9-16 milliRoentgen's, while a procedure such as a CT Scan of the head exposes the patient to a dose of approximately 5000 milliRoentgens.

    • No, they don't. Have you never taken a laptop on a plane before?

    • Re:XRay.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by clifyt ( 11768 ) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @01:04AM (#2244716)
      Actually its an urban legend that air port xrays will do this. Its the conveyor belts that these things run on that does the demagnitization. Nothing to do with the xray.

      These things use electric motors to pull them, which create electromagnets (errr...the electromagnets create the motor). Even so, you'd have to have media almost directly on the belt over top the motor for a while before it came close to damaging anything. A laptop is going to be more isolated because of the casing (yeah yeah, I know most of them are plastic anymore). And still, its been several years since airports had any of these where the strength was strong enough to damage anything.

      For the most part, they let folks go with these because of this urban legend to keep the lines moving. Until I got the real scoop on these things, I'd have my powerbook waiting ready to go so I could show them its running and they let me go. Fuck, what if I had molded symtex (or however you spell it) into the second battery port. I'm paranoid as it is...I WANT these guys to stop everyone and run the sucker through the xrays - though in their defense, the xrays also do bomb material sniffing and occasionally they will not only ask to see your machine running, but they will ask for a wipe - they take an alcohol wipe and run a gas chromatography on it right there in seconds. Good job security dudes!
      • ...I was stopped at JFK airport because they couldn't figure out what I was carrying. They could only see two almost empty boxes except for a very dark area on the X-Ray machine, and some wires coming out of it. They probably thought "someone set up us the bomb" (TM), but it actually was a pair of Labtec computer speakers. Very fine speakers, I use them since 95 without problems. But It really got me confused to explain to them what I was carrying. (english is not my native language). I also had a HD with me, but at my pocket not my backpack, so it didn 't go through the monitor, only the metal detector. Not any problem with it also, I still use it.
    • No no. You've got it all wrong. I can speak from experience - when you subject an Apple product to X radiation, it will turn into a giant monster and eat Tokyo.

      No really. It will - don't try it.

  • What format is that TiXray.orig picture in? (The 9.8MB one).
    • Well, it's busy downloading for me right now, but I'd guess it's a higher res of the .pict file, which is (understandably) a Mac image format, which is viewable by Quicktime on Windows machines, and possibly the Gimp on Linux? Unfortunately, the site has been /.ed now, so it will take some time to finish the download and LILO my way into the fun partition and verify.

      And I need to reboot Windows anyway before viewing the pict file, because (a)I had to upgrade Quicktime, and (b)Windows is stupid and makes me reboot after every install/patch/upgrade/2 hours of productivity.

    • Since this appears to have been scanned with a Lumisys LS135 desktop scanner, I believe the 9.8 one ('TiXray.orig') is DICOM-compliant.

      The viewer I use for DICOMs is MRIcro [] at 24 bpp. Your mileage may vary.

    • It is a DICOM 3.0 image.

      This is a format used by medical imaging systems, which includes such interesting information as the name, sex, and age of the patient, how the image was obtained, the size and format of the image, etc. etc.

      It is pretty easy to extract the raw pixel data, if that is what you want to do.
      • ImageJ [] is a Java app that will handle the file without a problem and being in Java it is x-platform. Oh, and the source code is available on the download page.
    • I'd wager GraphicConverter for OS X [] could handle it(since it handles like everything). Try taking out the .orig extension and drop it on GC and see what happens(I haven't tried it yet myself)

  • Cool! (Score:1, Redundant)

    by jcr ( 53032 )
    Now, *that's* a great desktop pattern for a tiBook.

  • iXRAY (Score:2, Funny)

    by Firebaal ( 516386 )
    September 1,2001-Apple Computers(APLE) have come out with a new piece of software called iXRAY, which will, X-ray your computer for bugs. We got ahold of Steve Jobs, here is what he has to say: "While creating our latest program, iMovie we where flabergasted by the error messages that said 'bug #93827239' So we have come out with iXRAY witch will find the bug for you in your computer!" UPDATE:"It seems hours after the release there have been numerous bugs in the program which actually X-RAY your brain and get all your memmorys, it seems that a program called GATOR has put a small add-on (virus?) into the iXRAY please use caution when using iXRAY
    • It's AAPL not APLE. Don't ask me why, as APLE isn't taken, but AAPL is the symbol they are traded under.
  • It appears this gentleman has a fetish for Nerf darts and has somehow tapped them as an energy source... Perhaps he got pointers from the Spud server?
  • I don't know about you.... but I have to place a big lead sheet over my body when I get an xray. This guy might need to rebuild his desktop file or something ;).
  • Wouldn't the X-Rays damage some parts of the computer such as the hard drives, batteries, etc. etc.? I'd like to know if this computer was still usable without any odd problems after this X-Ray was taken.
    • by CMiYC ( 6473 )
      No. X-Rays are just light. If it caused a problem, you wouldn't be able to take your computer on a plane. Nothing in a computer is affected by x-rays.
    • by sinster ( 518986 ) <> on Sunday September 02, 2001 @01:33AM (#2244750) Homepage
      Most parts of a computer are "immune" to xrays. Meaning that the computer doesn't get damaged by them.

      However, CMOS EEPROM cells that are designed using buried gate transistors (which is the most common type of EEPROM these days) can be damaged by xrays. If an xray passes through the buried gate to the channel, it'll ionize a bit of the silicon dioxide insulator between the buried gate and the channel. This makes the charge leak out of the buried gate somewhat faster. The more xrays that pass through that area, the more ionization and the faster the charge leaks out. This ionization is irreversable, and causes permanent damage.

      Whether the damage actually causes the bit in question to revert to a 1 depends on the strength of the xray source and how long (total across all the sessions) your computer has been bathed. An airline xray machine is unlikely to erase a bit if your machine passes through once. But if you travel a lot, then its almost certain that you'll suffer at least a one-bit error.

      In short: don't let the airport security goons xray your laptops, palm pilots, digital cameras, or anything else that has CMOS EEPROM memory.

      Every airport security checkpoint in the US has alternate procedures for electronics (generally involving a swab and a "portable" gas chromatograph to search for nitrogen compounds). The goons will argue with you, but it's worth the annoyance.

      I've done this in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, San Jose, Seattle, Denver, Sioux City, Minneapolis, and New Orleans. Those airports pretty much run the gamut of size from little podunk warts to huge transport hubs.

      The FAA's assertion that airport x-ray machines dont damage electronics is a bald-faced lie.
  • Poor Guy... (Score:5, Funny)

    by __aaahtg7394 ( 307602 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @11:02PM (#2244496)
    I feel bad for whoever's TiBook this is... he didn't get the AirPort card! that means he has to actually leave the internet behind when he goes to the can!

    (I just got my TiBook, and the airport range is less than spectacular anyway... sigh.)
    • I just got my TiBook, and the airport range is less than spectacular anyway... sigh.

      Have you tried other base stations or alternate base station antennas? (Just curious)

      • Have you tried other base stations or alternate base station antennas? (Just curious)

        The problem is not the basestation but the fact that the case of the Pb TI is made of .... titanium.
        And a titanium case is a very good in keeping radiosignals in or out.
        So, Apple had a problem with putting an antenna in the Pb TI.
        Their solution is the best they could find.
        They put a ceramic antenna on the left side and made some holes in the case.
        This does work but it isn't as good as the antenna in for instance the iBook.
        That's the drawback of using a titanium case.
    • Yeah, I've discovered that being able to read /. from the Throne Room (or the patio) alone is worth the cost of the AirPort stuff. And the range on the dual-USB iBook is great.

  • by Firebaal ( 516386 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @11:04PM (#2244500)
    CAUTION!!!!! XRaying Windows machines WILL cause your X-Raying machine to crash!
  • by Bob(TM) ( 104510 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @11:07PM (#2244507)
    By suggesting the use of an X-Ray machine to examine the interior of this computer, you are describing a method by which one can determine the layout of the circuit board (which is protected by copyright).

    Since the case is secured by a means to prevent access (screws) except as authorized by the copyright holder, you have, in effect, transported a method to bypass said method of "encryption." As such, you have potentially violated rights under the DMCA.

    Please remove the description of the x-ray methodology and all links from your site. Failure to do so may make you potentially liable for copyright violation and subject to civil penalties.

    DMCA - the Peter Principle of Legislation
  • Mirror (Score:4, Informative)

    by Night0wl ( 251522 ) <.iandow. .at.> on Saturday September 01, 2001 @11:08PM (#2244509) Homepage Journal
    TiGutz in Blue []
    TiGutz plain []

    The 3m and 9m files will half to wait for later ;p
    Sexy stuff.
  • 4 circles (Score:2, Funny)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 )
    What are the 4 circles on the bottom right?

    Kinda cool, see the firewire and usb ports, and the dual speakers. Even the 802.11b antenna. The battery doesnt look very hi-tech. lol
    • PRAM batteries. They keep some juice going to keep stuff like the clock and startup volume set properly. Didn't know there were 4 of them, though...
      • They're not PRAM batteries.. the PBG4 doesn't even have one, let alone 4; just a small capacitor that lasts for a little while.

        They're belt pulleys for the DVD drive('s suck-loading mechanism, I think).
  • Could the X-raying of electronics be a violation of DMCA? Seems like there might be a lot of copyrighted work in there, right down to the patterning of PCBs. And an X-Ray machine certainly could be used to circumvent a factory sealed case... Should have gone to L-school

    • Could the X-raying of electronics be a violation of DMCA? Seems like there might be a lot of copyrighted work in there, right down to the patterning of PCBs.

      Of course. But not outside the US.
      And second, who does give a shit about the DMCA?
      The US is vastly becoming a second world country compared with Europe and the rest of the world.
      And the DMCA will only makes this worse.
      That happens when you let corporations rule your country instead of your government.
      You lose and the corporations win.
      • Sadly though, many countries around the world are following the US' lead and implementing similar laws (see this article [] (btw Canadians, there is only 2 weeks left to send in your comments on the proposed copyright reforms)). Don't laugh at the DMCA because soon a similar law may affect you.
  • Mmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by satanist ( 518857 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @11:14PM (#2244522)
    Yes, see that shadow spot in the top left? Yes, it looks serious. Looks like a mycrosoftius tumor. Probably malignant. We'll have have to remove several ASICs, the hard drive, and a few capacitors. You may even have to subscribe to Office XP. It doesn't look good. Please tell your family and have your credit card limit increased.
  • by Firebaal ( 516386 )
    "Welcome to APPLE COMPUTER customer service, how may I help you on this beutiful day? My name is Mike" "Ahhh, yes I seemed to accidently X-Ray my brand new Powerbook G4 to get slashdotted but all my files seemed to get erased! What should I do?" *customer service guy faints* "Hello?" "......" "HELLO?!"
  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @11:17PM (#2244526)
    I just know that one day some sick bastard will bring his ti-book to an x-ray technician who'll be started to find a gerbil shoved up his PCMCIA slot.
  • OMG (Score:2, Funny)

    by UnclePaeng ( 261017 )
    That thing runs off 8 AA batteries!
  • I noticed many people mentioning the fact that this pic makes a great desktop image. I'm just curious: How many of us have even seen our desktops lately. I almost always have at least one if not more windows maximized. The most I see of my background image is when it flashes by when I flip to a new virtual desktop.
    • Pseudotransparent Eterms []

      Okay, didn't pass the lameness filter. Back in my day, we didn't.. bah. Anyway, that's an old screenshot.
    • While I browse the web just as much as the next person, I spend a lot of my time using typing at the command line terminal. Specifically, I use aterm [], which I set to be translucent (a randomly chosen hue). Images like that x-ray which are monochromatic look especially cool tinted, and because it's fairly dark, white text will look good superimposed on top. In fact, I just added it now. Thanx, Guy, you're one cool d00d!
  • by Crusty Oldman ( 249835 ) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @12:07AM (#2244617)
    How'd they get that in somebody's mouth to take the picture?

  • Mirror (Score:1, Redundant)

    by mosch ( 204 )
    That guy is slashdotted. Nab it here instead!
  • I'm holding out for the MRI.
  • These images make great new desktop backgrounds... :)
  • by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <mdinsmore@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Sunday September 02, 2001 @01:59AM (#2244798) Homepage Journal

    Oh, so that's where the AirPort card slot is in these.

    For the humor impaired--yes, I do know where the AirPort card goes. I do believe that the TiBook Engineering team's meeting with Steve Jobs went something like this, however:

    Jobs: Wow! That's thin, and sexy! We're going to sell a billion of these! Raises and stock options for everyone! By the way, how do you put the AirPort card in?

    TiBook Team: Um, AirPort card?

    Jobs: AirPort--and it's Absolutely Vital that the home user be able to install this card by themselves, without fucking anything up--as simple to install as RAM. You've got that in there, right? Otherwise, you're going to be shitting Titanium bricks really soon...

    Titanium Team [palming screwdriver]: Oh, right! AirPort! Hahaha, we were just fooling. Of course we have that built in! Too bad we didn't bring a screwdriver to this meeting, we'll show you how to put an AirPort card in at the next meeting! You don't really need two PCMCIA slots, right?
  • by Phroggy ( 441 )
    The TiXray.orig file is in DICOM format, and I imported it into GraphicConverter. If anyone's interested, this is what GraphicConverter put in the comments:

    Image Type: ORIGINAL\PRIMARYStudy Date: 20010424Acquisition Date: 20010424Image Date: 20010424Study Time: 154340Acquisition Time: 154532Image Time: 154531Accession Number: TiModality: CRManufacturer: Lumisys Institution Name: Institution Address: Referring Physician's Name: Referring Physician's Telephone Numbers: Station Name: OPACS_SENDERStudy Description: Name of Physician(s) Reading Study: Operator's Name: Administrator Admitting Diagnoses Description: Manufacturer's Model Name: Lumisys LS135 Patient's Name: PowerBook^TitaniumPatient ID: Apple Patient's Birth Date: 20010101Patient's Sex: O Other Patient IDs: Ethnic Group: Additional Patient History: Body Part Examined: Device Serial Number: clt35403.datCassette Orientation: PORTRAITCassette Size: 35CMX43CM Relative X-ray Exposure: 1713View Position: Study ID: c0a865080gq5m8Series Number: 1 Image Number: 1 Photometric Interpretation: MONOCHROME2 Pixel Spacing: 0.172\0.172 Study Priority ID: MED Requesting Physician:

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel