The 'Book Review

Blue Chip G4 Price Drop, 1.1 GHz PowerPC 750GX, FlexUSB, NoSleep, Temperature Monitor, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2003.07.03

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

PowerLogix Reduces Prices on Blue Chip PowerBook Processor Upgrades

PowerLogix has announced lower pricing on its Blue Chip WS and LS (for PowerBook WallStreet and Lombard models, respectively): G4/500 formerly $399, now $379.

IBM Announces 1.1 GHz PowerPC 750GX Chip

This week, IBM announced its latest G3 750 family chip, the 750GX, code named "Gobi," and described as "offering world-class PowerPC 750gxperformance at very low power levels utilizing its leading-edge process technologies to meet these requirements."

Sampling for this new processor is scheduled for July 2003, with production targeted for December 2003. It would seem like a logical candidate to power the iBook, but no word from Apple on that yet.

Manufactured using IBM's advanced 0.13-micron copper process with Silicon-on-Insulator technology that are used in the current 750FX "Sahara" G3s, the 750GX will be offered at frequencies up to 1.1 GHz. The 750GX expands the capabilities of the IBM PowerPC 7xx processor family to support more performance-demanding and power-sensitive applications.

An even faster IBM 750 series chip of 1.4 GHz and up are reportedly in the works, code named "Mojave," and rumored to incorporate a vector processing engine (AltiVec-style). Since the most substantial difference between a G3 and a G4 is the vector engine, it is probable that iBooks (or even PowerBooks?) with the Mohave chip could be marketed as G4s, although that's just speculation at this point

FlexUSB - World's First Fully Adjustable USB Adapter

Are your USB connections flexible? Do your USB devices extend beyond your limited workspace? Are you USB ports difficult to access?

Ideative Product Ventures has another bright idea: FlexUSB, the world's first fully adjustable USB adapter. FlexUSB™ provides unparalleled access to all USB ports on notebook, Tablet PC, and desktop computers.

Flex USB
text

FlexUSB is a small, lightweight accessory that provides a means to position USB devices, allowing their use with notebook computers in even the most cramped environments.

FlexUSB is designed to work with all USB devices, including Hi-Speed.

There are thousands of existing USB devices available today and thousands more being introduced into:

  • Portable USB storage devices
  • CD/DVD Drives, MP3 Players
  • Wireless Devices
  • External input, mice etc.

However, notebook users experience unique challenges using USB devices:

  • Inconvenient location
  • Limited number ports
  • Awkward orientation
  • Restrictive notebook

Notebook work areas often have limited space - airline tray tables, small coffee shop tables, a person's lap - all of which limit the user's ability to effectively connect one or multiple USB devices.

FlexUSB is a patent-pending flexible adapter allowing USB devices to plug into notebooks

  • +/- 90° horizontal hinge
  • Single Port Adapter
  • +/- 90º vertical hinge
  • Ratcheting positions for stability

System requirements: FlexUSB is compatible with USB cables, hubs, and all other USB devices, including devices that use the new hi-speed USB 2.0 specification.

FlexUSB is the only product of its kind on the market - and it is available exclusively from Ideative Product Ventures website for $12.99 + shipping.

Cheaper PowerBook G4 Hinges

An anonymous reader writes:

Charles,

Saw your article on TiBook Hinge Repair Options and thought I'd show you where it is less than half that price!

http://www.dttservice.com/applepowerbook/pbg4.shtml

Never tried them, but nice to know such a cheaper price exists.

NoSleep 3.0 Lets PowerBooks/iBooks Run with a Closed Lid

NoSleep enables Apple PowerBooks and iBooks to run with the lid closed. It provides a menu extra to enabled and disable automatic sleep on lid close. NoSleep needs to patch the Mac OS X system. Your system is automatically detected, and a link to the patch is provided.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.2.6 or higher

NoSleep is freeware.

Temperature Monitor 1.2 Displays Current CPU Temperature

Temperature MonitorTemperature Monitor is a Mac OS X application that displays the current processor temperature with selected Macintosh computers. It will only work on hardware equipped with temperature sensors.

For example, it works with my PowerBook G3 Pismo (FireWire), and not with my iBook (Opaque 16 VRAM).

The temperature can be displayed in a variety of formats and styles, selectable by the user. You can choose between one or more of the following options:options

  • display in a standard window
  • display in the Dock
  • display in the system menu
  • display in a "floating" transparent window hovering on top of your applications
  • display in a history graph that shows measurements in a selectable time interval
  • talking thermometer that will speak the current value whenever the temperature changes
  • ASCII output, usable at the Terminal command line or in any script language supported by Mac OS X

Temperature Monitor supports the following units to display its values:

  • degrees Celsius
  • degrees Fahrenheit
  • Kelvin

You can download Temperature Monitor for free. However, redistribution is not permitted. The software is provided "as is," without any further warranties or support.

Supported Hardware

The following Macintosh models are definitely supported by Temperature Monitor, because they are equipped with dedicated temperature sensors:

  • Power Macintosh G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors)
  • Power Macintosh G4 (FW 800)
  • Xserve
  • Xserve (Slot loading)

For all other models, there is no easy answer: Analysis of over hundred Macintosh systems shows that there is no one-to-one-relationship between model name and support status possible. Apple appears to have shipped Macintosh product lines with same labels but different hardware inside. For example, in the product series known as "Power Macintosh G4 Cube", some systems are capable of providing temperature values and others are not. The computers known as "iBook (Late 2001)" may have a PowerPC 750cxe v 2.4, or a PowerPC 755 v3.1 inside, and so forth...

Unfortunately, this means it is impossible to predict if Temperature Monitor will run correctly on your hardware. Your only option is to let the software analyze your particular computer.

Unsupported Hardware Message

It is very likely that your hardware is capable of providing temperature values if your computer uses one of the following processors:

  • PowerPC 745 (G3)
  • PowerPC 750 (G3)
  • PowerPC 750cxe (G3)
  • PowerPC 755 (G3)
  • PowerPC 7400 (G4)

Your Macintosh system is very likely not capable of providing temperature values if it uses one of the following processors:

  • PowerPC 750fx (G3)
  • PowerPC 7410 (G4)
  • PowerPC 7450 (G4)
  • PowerPC 7455 (G4)

New in this version:

  • The shadow of the floating window can be switched off to improve readability.
  • Documentation has been updated.
  • The hardware survey was completed. Application development will now be frozen until Apple ships new hardware that makes changes necessary.

Temperature Monitor is freeware

High Speed Mac OS GlobeTrotter Edition GPRS

Wireless online with your PowerBook and GlobeTrotter GPRS Modem. To use GPRS wizard for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, you connect your GlobeTrotter, Vodafone Mobile Connect, or T-Mobile GlobeTrotter Data Card to the PowerBook, and the software will do the rest and completely set up a GPRS location. After pressing "connect" in the Internet Connect program or in Remote Access you are instantly online. No long searches for modem scripts, APN numbers, DNS, and GPRS settings any more!

Mobile High Speed for GlobeTrotter supports a variety of networks worldwide. GPRS is supported in more than 170 networks worldwide. This means you can not only use GPRS Roaming but travel to any country, take a SIM card there, and again do not have to worry about any phone or network settings.

If no GPRS connection is available, a GSM connection is always possible. Select GSM in the Mobile High Speed Software and use the settings of your existing ISP to go online.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS 10.1.5 or 10.2.6 and a PowerBook with PC Card Slot as well as a GlobeTrotter Modem or a Vodafone Mobile Connect Card
  • Mac OS 9.2.2 and a PowerBook with PC Card Slot as well as a GlobeTrotter Modem or a Vodafone Mobile Connect Card
  • A valid GSM-Data/GPRS subscription of a supported network provider

FriendlyNET AL5402-XG 802.11g Wireless Adapter Card

As your wireless networking demand grows, you'll need Asanté's AeroLAN-XG High-Speed Wireless CardBus Adapter to help you speed up transfers of digital pictures, video, music, and other data files wirelessly at speeds up to 5x faster than conventional 802.11b wireless connections.

By taking advantage of the new IEEE 802.11g wireless standard, you'll be moving data and digital multimedia files on your wireless networks at a blazing fast 54 Mbps. The AL5402-XG adapter is also backwards-compatible with the older IEEE 802.11b standard, which means that by using the AL5402-XG adapter, you will be able to connect to either wireless standard to give you greater versatility and flexibility.

To protect your valuable data and privacy, the AL5402-XG is equipped with the highest wireless security technology available. It supports both 64-bit and 128-bit WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption to safeguard all wireless.

You'll also be able to connect with any of the growing number of public wireless hotspots springing up in coffee shops, airport lounges, hotels, and convention centers. And as those hotspots upgrade to the new high-speed 802.11g standard, you'll be ready to take advantage of the increased speeds.

Features

  • Blazing fast wireless network connection up to 54 Mbps (IEEE 802.11g)
  • Interoperable with Apple AirPort and AirPort Extreme
  • High-gain 15.5 dBm design extends your wireless connection range
  • Share broadband and network resources from home, office, and public hotspots
  • Simplify wireless connections with built-in site manager

System Requirements: PowerBook G3 and G4 (with 15" screen) with available CardBus slot running Mac OS X 10.2.5 and AirPort 3.1 or later.

FireWire Depot Shipping New FireWire and USB Peripherals.

FireWire Depot has announced its latest FireWire/USB2 enclosure and various cable accessories.

The first product announced is the AMS MPD 2.5" 9.5mm FireWire/USB2 hard drive enclosure. Based on the best selling AMS 2.5 FireWire enclosure, the AMS mini drive enclosure is designed for convenience and ease of use.

It has a built-in rechargeable Li-Ion battery that will last 10+ hours before needing a recharge. This powerful feature is perfect for a Windows laptop with an iLink connector that does not pass bus power; USB connectors that do not provide enough power to spin a hard drive; laptops with a CardBus card that does not pass bus power; or a PowerBook/iBook without draining your laptop battery.

The enclosure kit includes a power supply to recharge the battery and supports all 9.5mm drives including the new IBM 80G Travelstar laptop hard disk drive.

AMS Rechargeable FireWire/USB 9.5 mm enclosure will be available July 8, 2003 with a SRP of $114.95.

FireWire Depot has also announced the immediate availability of the FireNEX 1394b Optical Repeater.

The world's first 1394b optical repeater is the FireNEX 1394b Optical Repeater. It is capable of sending IEEE1394 signals across an optical fiber cable up to 500 meters in length. It takes only minutes to setup, and there is no configuration necessary. The compact FireNEX800 is ideal for professional audio and video transmission applications such as broadcasting, scientific research, military, and medical monitoring systems where high-speed transfers over a long distance are of concern.

The FireNEX800 will work with 1394b and with 1394a, and it's now available for $888.95 for a pair of optical repeaters. Optical cable is also available.

FireWire Depot also announces the immediate availability of DB-35U 6in1, a 6-in-1 USB Flash Card Reader. The DB-35U 6in1 supports six different kinds of storage cards: CompactFlash, SmartMedia, IBM Microdrive, Memory Stick, MultiMedia, and Secure Digital.

DB-35U 6in1's key features include an advanced power management scheme, ability of hot swapping for all cards, auto-detection of card removal & insertion, support of inter-copying among all cards, and USB 1.1. Operating Systems support includes Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows 98, Mac OS, and Linux. The unit is available immediately at an inexpensive price of $49.

Granite Digital Ships SMART Hot-Swap Drive

Granite Digital has begun shipping its SMART Hot-Swap Backup IDE Drive Systems. The new Granite Hot-Swap Drive is the smart casemost versatile storage systems on the market. With the low cost of IDE hard drives, you can now affordably use hard drives to backup your computer, transport large amounts of data, dedicate drives for projects, and completely eliminate the need for tape drives and other archival systems. Its the ideal solution for your removable storage needs and it is faster than all other types of archival systems.

Combined with Granite Digital's SMART user interface - a unique LCD display built into every SMART Hot-Swap Drive bay - the S.M.A.R.T. technology gives users the unprecedented ability to monitor the performance and reliability of their hard disks.

"Our major benefits over tape are speed, affordability, reliability, and ease of restoring and sharing data." said Frank Gabrielli, President of Granite Digital. "You can even boot from these drives, it's so simple and easy."

S.M.A.R.T. is an industry standard for monitoring performance and reliability parameters in ATA hard disks. Granite Digital's FireVue 1394-IDE bridges - at the heart of every Granite Digital SMART Drive product - incorporate proprietary, patent-pending technology which allow the FireWire bridges to use S.M.A.R.T. to monitor hard disk reliability. The unique, built-in LCD display in each SMART Drive product allows the user to view performance and reliability data in real-time - without the need for any software on the host computer.

Granite Digital SMART Hot-Swap Drive check S.M.A.R.T. status periodically during periods of hard disk inactivity. Using the built-in LCD display users can manually view S.M.A.R.T. parameters and error logs and run S.M.A.R.T. self tests. Granite Digital SMART Hot-Swap Drive enclosures have been tested with hard disks from Maxtor, IBM, Seagate, and Western Digital; and SMART Drive products are compatible with Apple's OS X and OS 9 operating systems and Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

PlasmaDesign Expands Widescreen Desktop Wallpaper Collections

Five new, painstakingly rendered desktop wallpapers suitable for use on Apple Cinema Displays and PowerBooks have been added to the PlasmaDesign widescreen collections. Each image is available to members as 1920 x 1200 pixel and 1440 x 900 pixel wallpapers. You can view these superbly detailed images by visiting either the PlasmaDesign 'Abstract' or 'Landscape' widescreen galleries.

These stylish images are designed to look great on the new generation of widescreen LCD displays found in all Apple Flat Panel monitors, Titanium PowerBook 15", and the all new Aluminum PowerBook 17".

These wallpapers are available to members only. Lifetime membership costs only $5 and provides access to Rob David Randtouls' entire catalogue of artwork, past, present and future. This currently comprises of....

  • Instant access to the entire collection of standard ratio, 4:3 images (over 90 images at present and growing at the rate of one per week) rendered at a beautifully detailed 1600 x 1200 pixels.
  • Access to the new 'widescreen collection' suitable for use on Apple Cinema displays and PowerBooks. All images rendered at 1920 x 1200 and 1440 x 900.
  • Access to a growing collection of dual-monitor wallpapers all rendered at 3200 x 1200 pixels

Bargain 'Books

There are two different versions of WallStreet running at 233 MHz, the cacheless MainStreet version and the later Series II with a level 2 cache. It's not always possible to determine from the vendor's listing which is being offered, so we've included links within this paragraph to the two models. The same goes for the PowerBook G4/667 (Gigabit Ethernet/2001) and G4/667 (DVI).

Small Dog Electronics

MacResQ

ExperCom

Baucom Computers

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our Best PowerBook G4 Deals and Best iBook Deals.

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