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are you sure about this? apple even recommends you completely discharge your battery.
it depends on the battery type. NiCads (nickel-cadmium rechargables) of certain types develop a memory. therefore, it's best to fully discharge them. other types may not have this flaw. i'd have to RFTA again to see what type Eugenia was dealing with.
anyway, on the article, nice job Eugenia as always. looks like you gave it thorough workout. i could have sworn i had AC97 in my last laptop; and both FreeBSD and Linux plus ALSA had no issues. on my desktop i just use ALSA, cdcd, and rexima.
i'm suprised they had modem support. most, if not all, laptop-modems have limited or expensive support via 3rd party drivers. i prefer using a USR external plugged into the lappy, although it's not too portable.
i plan to get one of those ECS barebones laptops with as much memory and hard drive as i can possibly afford. the ECS generally have an external battery pack, so you can buy two or three and have super-long-lasting energy. i dunno how linux support is one the ECS though.