I recently flogged a couple of Apple PowerBook 5300ces on eBay. Their only problem was that the batteries were dead. A replacement costs around £90, about 3x the value of the entire laptop… I had a spare battery, so I took it apart (it’s all glued, so needs a bit of force). inside are 12 NiMH solder-tagged cells all a little larger than standard AAs, a thermal cutout wired inline, and a little 2-wire serial number chip attached to a couple of the extra contacts on the casing. The battery is rated at 1900mAH, which considering the size of the cells is not great. I checked for sizing, and you can easily get two 6-AA battery holders in. Wiring up the thermal trip is easy enough, and you can leave the serial chip in place. This could get you 2500mAH (with current top-end AAs) at a fraction of the cost of a replacement while also saving quite a bit of weight. I didn’t actually do it as was selling the laptops in their battery-less state, but it was an interesting exercise nonetheless.
I ran into a little config problem with serendipity and the use of WebDAV for accessing files on my server. Serendipity’s RewriteRule directives screw up the ability access files via WebDAV. Because they are held in a .htaccess file and not in the virtual host definition, they are applied to any access regardless of which host it is accessed under. To limit this I already had ‘AllowOverride none’ for my webdav host, but I also needed to add ‘RewriteEngine off’ for it to actually prevent the rewrites from working. I now have both rewriting and WebDAV access working on the same set of files.