The 'Book Review

New Messenger Bags, Power Adapters, Wireless Products, a USB IrDA Adapter, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2003.10.17

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

Chrome Messenger Bags

Chrome messenger bags have been crashed, smashed, and trashed by couriers worldwide for several simple reasons. Chrome messenger bags are constructed with the most rugged assembly of industrial materials and hardware available: military spec. seam binding, 1000d Cordura shell, 18 oz. PVC truck tarp liner, and nylon 69 thread.

It's like a bag within a bag. The independently suspended PVC liner freely floats within the outer shell eliminating seams exposed to the outside elements. Your cargo is safe from rain, snow, mud, and most anything else this cruel world can sling at you.

Chrome messenger bags are designed with an anatomically correct EVA foam padded shoulder strap and cross chest load stabilizer. The quick release seat-buckle closure allows for on-the-fly one-handed tightening and loosening of the shoulder strap.

Chrome Kremlin Messenger BagKremlin Messenger Bag

The ideal bag for heavy-duty messenger work. In addition to the cross-chest stabilizer strap, the Kremlin messenger bag also includes a waist strap attachment point. Extra features include a secret stash pocket and front utility buckles for external rain gear storage.

  • Dimensions: 28 x 17 x 8 (flat dimensions)
  • Volume: 3000 cu. in. (not based on flat dimensions)

A simple accessory Laptop Sleeve transports your laptop safely in any bag. Velcro closure and front slit pocket. Fits most wide format laptops including the 15" PowerBook.

Dimensions: 15" x 10" x 2.5"

The standard Kremlin is designed to be worn on the left shoulder. A limited number of colors are also available in a right shoulder version.

  • Kremlin sells for $130
  • Add Laptop Sleeve $15
  • Add Cell Phone Holster $16
  • Add Large Cell Phone Pouch $9
  • Add Radio Holster $12
Chrome Metropolis Messenger BagMetropolis Messenger Bag

Slightly smaller and nimbler than the Kremlin messenger, but still plenty big to carry a lot of what you really need. In addition to the cross-chest stabilizer strap, the Metropolis also includes a waist strap attachment point. Extra features include a secret stash pocket and front utility buckles for external rain gear storage.

  • Dimensions: 26 x 14 x 7 (flat dimensions)
  • Volume: 2000 cu. in. (not based on flat dimensions)

A simple accessory Laptop Sleeve transports your laptop safely in any bag. Velcro closure and front slit pocket. Fits most wide format laptops including the 15" PowerBook.

Dimensions: 15" x 10" x 2.5"

The standard Metropolis is designed to be worn on the left shoulder. A limited number of colors are also available in a right shoulder version.

  • Metropolis sells for $120
  • Add Laptop Sleeve $15
  • Add Cell Phone Holster $16
  • Add Large Cell Phone Pouch $9
  • Add Radio Holster $12

Generation Gap AC Adapter Adapter for Apple 'BooksGeneration Gap

MadsonLine's Generation Gap allows both MadsonLine Adapters and Apple AC Adapters for pre-2001 PowerBooks and iBooks to work with the PowerBook G4 and iBook (Dual USB). Unsupported product on other 3rd Party Adapters.

  • Tested on the following Apple AC Adapters: M7332, M4402, M4896, M4895
  • 30 day money back guarantee.

Generation Gap sells for $20

Compatibility Note Regarding PowerBook G4 15" (867 MHz, 1 GHz) & 17"

MadsonLine does not recommend using a 45W adapter ("Generation Gap") solution with the PowerBook G4 15" (867 MHz, 1 GHz) & 17". These PowerBooks will run off the adapter but may not charge the battery at the same time. During heavy usage, the PowerBook will draw from the battery while connected to the adapter. They will charge normally in a sleeping or shutdown state.

New 65W and Older 45W PowerBook AC Adapters Not Fully Interchangeable

As noted in the preceding item, users of the new aluminum PowerBooks are advised not to use older 45W power adapters. which may burn out from the higher power demand of the later machines. However, the new 65W power supplies will work fine with older PowerBooks and iBooks.

According to an Apple Developer Note:

The 15-inch PowerBook G4 is designed to use the 65 W Apple Portable Power Adapter which ships with it. A 45 W Apple portable power adapter works with the 15-inch PowerBook G4, but may provide insufficient power during some activities and power may be drawn temporarily from the battery. Therefore a 45 W power adapter is not recommended.

QuickerTek Offers PowerBook Wireless Antenna Upgrades and Accessories

QuickerTek Whip - Top-Performing Wireless PowerBook Antenna

Easy to install and use, the Whip antenna provides additional signal-grabbing power to reach out in wall-filled office environments. Also ideal when you are just out of the normal range of your AirPort network. Say good-bye to dropped links and to flaky connections when your PowerBook is equipped with the QuickerTek Whip wireless antenna. This external antenna connects with Velcro™, so there are no permanent modifications to your beautiful PowerBook case. And the antenna is easily repositioned to adapt to any wireless situation. Don't let its small size fool you, this little antenna offers amazing range.

Apple Titanium PowerBook G4 owners get up to double the wireless network range. Easy to install and to use.

Price: $89.95

QuickerTek Stub - Low -Priced Wireless PowerBook Antenna

This new antenna provides up to double the range of the standard Airport card and internal antenna(s) in the Apple PowerBook Pismo and Titanium G4s. By simply attaching the new antenna cable to the stock Apple Airport card and then connecting the external Stub antenna, you're ready for way-better reception, signal strength and reliability. The Stub antenna detaches for easy transport in your backpack or briefcase.

There's no additional configuration work you have to complete either. Just plug in and you're ready to go. With this new range, you could sit in the parking lot of your favorite wireless coffee shop and surf the web...

When you need the maximum wireless range possible, this Whip antenna delivers. Small yet powerful.

Price: $49.95

QuickerTek Base Station Upgrade For Airport Wireless Networking

Got signal? Does five times the normal Airport wireless network range sound good to you?

Complete your wireless network upgrade with an Airport Base Station upgrade. Now available as a user installable kit. Works with the Snow and with both versions of Extreme Base Stations.

An illustrated installation guide makes installation a breeze. The Antenna Kit even works on base stations that normally don't accept external antennas.

Price: $129

MacWireless Announces 802.11G Products announces a new line of 802.11g products.

802.11G Products

MacWireless now offers 802.11g CardBus and PCI solutions. Speed up your notebook or desktop computer and still talk to 802.11b networks. Supports AppleTalk, TCP/IP, and other network protocols. IEEE 802.11b/g WiFi Compliant. Works with Apple AirPort Base Stations, including Extreme as well as other 802.11b/g Access Points. Works with all PowerBook computers and machines with a PCI slot, running OS X 10.2.4 and higher, Windows 98 (SE) ME, 2000, and XP notebook systems. 54 Mbps max performance up to 150 feet.

MacWireless Antennas

MacWireless now offers a new line of antennas for the AirPort Extreme base stations and Classic (Snow or Graphite) base stations and 802.11b AirPort cards. 8 different styles to suit your needs. Choose either Omni or Directional and the range from 3.5 dBi to as high at 14 dBi. Extend the range of your AirPort card or base station with a simple antenna, no software required, no configuration.

Power over Ethernet (POE) Extreme and Classic

In addition to the domestic version, MacWireless now offers the POE Extreme for our International customers. This exciting new product allows mounting your AirPort Extreme base station where there may be no electric power outlet, up to 100 meters away. No software involved. If you've ever had a dropped connection or found yourself just outside of your AirPort coverage area, here's the solution for you.

Outdoor Solutions

MacWireless announces The Outdoor Box and The Complete Outdoor Solution.

The Outdoor Box is ideal for protecting your base station from the weather or indoors from dust. There are several configurations available to fit your network needs. The Complete Box makes it simple because it contains an 802.11g (54 Mbps) access point, a built-in 15 dBi directional antenna and the Power Over Ethernet (POE) circuitry.

MacWireless offers a full product line of 802.11b and 802.11g including PC Card,CardBus, PCI, and USB. Also, Bluetooth, POE (Power Over Ethernet), antennas, outdoor solutions, and wireless accessories. MacWireless products cover virtually all Macintosh models new or old. If you have an older PowerBook 190, 5300, 2400 or the newest Titanium, a desktop PCI system, or a machine with a USB port such as an iMac, MacWireless offers you a wireless network connection. What's more, all of our products are dual-platform, so our Mac users can use any of our products on their PCs as well.

15" Units Projected to Represent over Half of Global Laptop Market in Q4 2003

David Tzeng and Wen-Yu Lang of reports:

"Shipments of 15-inch notebooks may account for over half of the global market as early as the fourth quarter, after surpassing 14.1-inch shipments in the second quarter, according to estimates by Taiwanese notebook makers.

"Shipments of 15-inch notebooks are rising rapidly due to a reduced gap in 14.1 and 15-inch panel costs. The price gap has fallen to US$10-US$15 recently, and may further drop to below US$10 next year, according to industry sources."

MadsonLine USB IrDA AdapterUSB IrDA Adapter

Now you can connect you Desktop Mac or PowerBook/iBooks without built-in infrared ports to IrDA cellphones, PDAs, etc. Uses the built in drivers in OS X - no need to install driver software.


  • Compact design: 20 x 60 x 45 mm
  • Two USB cables; long and extra short (20") included.
  • System Requirements: Mac with USB ports running OS 10.1.2 or later
  • Windows PC with USB ports running Windows 98 or later

MadsonLine USB IrDA Adapter sells for $58

New Contour Show Case for iPodContour Show Case

Contour Design have announced their new Contour Showcase for iPod.

The Contour Showcase offers solid protection while letting users enjoy everything they love about their iPods - elegant design, slim dimensions, and ultimate portability. Through the skillful application of advanced dual-injection molding technology, Contour Design has created a case with a clean, trim, seamless look that highlights the pure beauty of the iPod. Contour believes that no other case on the market looks and feels so much like a natural extension of the iPod itself.


  • Impact resistant clear plastic protects the iPod display and body
  • Convenient openings in the front, top and bottom allow easy access to controls and ports
  • Fits all latest generation iPods (touch controls): 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40 GB versions
  • Seamless integration of shock-absorbing rubber and hard, clear plastic
  • Strong, removable, horizontally mounted belt clip

The Show case will be available directly from Contour Design, starting Monday October 20, 2003. It carries a suggested retail price of $39.95.

MacMice MateDeck Control Deck for Multiple PowerMates

MacMice has released its line of aluminum and acrylic control decks for holding multiple PowerMate USB controllers.MateDeck

With the release of its new beta software for the PowerMate, Griffin Technology has enabled users to attach up to five separate PowerMate USB controllers to their Mac. The MacMice MateDeck is a desktop holder system created to hold and organize multiple PowerMates, in arrays of from two to five units. The MateDeck is made from 5052 aluminum and Acrylite brand acrylic sheet and is available in a clear anodized or black anodized finish to match either of the available PowerMate finishes.

The MateDeck is fully described and available for purchase from the MacMice Workspace Products Co. web site, and is priced starting at $39.99.

Sharp Releases Laptop with 3D Screen

The Register reports that:

"Sharp has begun shipping its Mebius RD3D notebook in the US under the Actius brand name. The laptop, announced in September, incorporates two 15 in LCD panels, one mounted behind the other, to create a true 3D display system.

"Between the two 1024 x 768 screens sits what's called a 'parallax barrier', which essentially makes one display show an image for the left eye, and the other an image for the right. The two images are slightly different, but the observer's brain stitches them together into a single 3D image field. No special glasses are needed. The electronics controlling the parallax barrier can switch 3D mode off, allowing the screen to operate as a standard 2D monitor....

"Sharp has also included collection of 3D movie trailers. Apparently, you can buy the feature-length versions on DVD-ROM, offered in Dynamic Digital Depth's proprietary 2D Compatible 3D TriDef format. But don't expect any major-league titles - certainly Sharp nor DDD can list any.

"Available immediately, the Actius RD3D sells for around $3299."

Logitech QuickCam ZoomQuickCam Zoom

Bring your instant messages - and your drab desktop - to life with the stunning silver QuickCam Zoom. With just one click, you can add live video to your instant messages and share a smile with anyone, anywhere in the world. Thanks to the digital zoom and the automatic face-tracking technology, you can capture your special moments with more clarity and ease. You can also conduct video calls and conferences and say what's on your mind with live audio using the built-in microphone.

  • Add live video to MSN Messenger, now with fast video and large 320 x 240 image size
  • Works with video-enabled Yahoo! Messenger, and Windows Messenger
  • Let the automatic face-tracking technology follow your every move
  • Enjoy true 640 x 480 resolution
  • Turn on automatic zoom
  • Capture sound with the built-in microphone
  • Works with PC and Mac OS X

The QuickCam Zoom sells for $79.95.

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).

Baucom Computers

Wegener Media


PowerBook Guy

Small Dog Electronics

Apple Store Special Deals

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

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