Ok, I've been fiddling about for about a day and a half now, and as far as I can tell at the mo, my iBook has entered the world of the mentally retarded.
The light's on but nobody's home.
I have been "politly" told on the mac support forums, when I posted to a thread where a guy had pretty much exactly the same symptoms as me, to start a new thread for mine, as it may not be exactly the same thing and it would get confusing dealing with two different people. I didn't ask directly for help I merely explained my symptoms and said I was gonna watch the thread. Dickhead. in answer to the question.. No, this answer was not helpful.
Sometimes people online are wankers.
Anyway, as I've been fretting over my iBook and wanting to get a shitload of important stuff off (who the hell backs up their entire system regularly anyway?), I tried slamming it into Target Disk mode.
What Target Disk mode is, is a nifty way of turning my ibook into what is in essence a rather chunky and expensive 30Gb firewire drive.
Bloody useful, this confirmed for me that my HDD isn't dead and I can drag all my files onto my PowerMac, cheers.
But wait a minute...so anyone with their own Mac, basic knowledge of boot keystrokes and a 6-6 FW400 lead can do the same thing?!?
That seems a bit daft now.
As I don't currently have FileVault enabled on there, I don't know if this would make a difference and at the mo, I can't be arsed to read up on it. Also I did see on the instructions that it is possible to disable TD mode, however again, this seems a bit cack handed as it may provide the required security, but I'd be buggered for getting my shit copied.
And Mike..not giving up on it just yet, but certainly tempted to go for the insurance and then a new MacBook ;)