The 'Book Review

200 GB Notebook Drive, Longer Life Battery for 12" PB, Hitachi's 100 GB Drive Reviewed, Scrolling Drivers for Older 'Books, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.04.29

This Week's PowerBook, iBook, and Notebook News

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion

Reviews

New Products

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

The (Im)Perfect Notebook

PC Magazine's Michael Miller says:

"People get attached to their notebooks in ways they don't to their desktop computers (gamers being the exception). The big differences among notebooks are not with the processor, memory, or graphics subsystem. Of course, if you're into gaming or video editing, you do need to pay attention to speeds and feeds. But those of us who use computers for Web browsing and office applications need to think beyond speed....

"I like convertible notebooks where the screen swivels to become a tablet. So kudos to Acer, Fujitsu, HP, and Toshiba. I also like the fingerprint readers for passwords on the Fujitsu, IBM, and MPC machines. And, of course, I need a reliable notebook. In our reader surveys, IBM and Apple come out on top."

A Custom Install on a New 12" PowerBook

The Bangkok Post's Graham K. Rogers writes:

"In March (and a little earlier than I had budgeted for) I collected a new 12-inch Apple PowerBook, delivered with two 15-inch PowerBooks and a PowerPC to the Mahidol University International College (MUIC) out at Salaya, Thailand. I walked across campus from the Engineering Faculty, partly to save a second delivery trip, but really because I could hardly wait to get my paws on it.

"Once home, I started it up, had a look and reached for the install disks. I would not expect anyone else to do this, but I am fanatical about the idea that the personal in PC means 'personal.' When I bought my last PC - a 386, no less - I had problems convincing the seller that I really did want 'just DOS.'

"With the PowerBook, I made a custom install: no un-needed languages; no IE; no trial version of MS Office; but I made sure X11 was installed so that I could run Unix software. The process took about 30 minutes, then came the user set-up."

Fujitsu Readies 200 GB Notebook Drive

PC World's Paul Kallender reports:

"Fujitsu is planning to sell 2.5-inch hard drives with a capacity of 200 GB in the first half of 2007, the company says.

"The drives, intended for use in notebook PCs, will consist of two disk platters that will store up to 100 GB each, for a total of up to 200 GB. The largest capacity 2.5-inch drives the company currently sells store 120 GB, according to Fred Hirose, a spokesperson for Fujitsu."

IBM ThinkPad Spot Klutz Proof, Not Apple Devotee Proof

Brand Republic's Daniel Farey-Jones says:

LONDON - "A television ad for an IBM laptop has been pulled after Apple geeks, notorious for their devotion to all things Apple, mobilised to complain that Big Blue was not the only company to offer 'Klutz proof wireless'.

"The Ogilvy & Mather-created ad for IBM's ThinkPad had run for almost a year, during which it was the only computer to feature drop protection technology, or "Klutz proof wireless".

"However, after Apple introduced the same technology in its PowerBooks at the end of January 2005 and the ad was aired in February, two viewers and Apple fans complained. They said the ad's strapline, 'Klutz Proof Wireless. Only on a ThinkPad', was misleading."

Reviews

Hitachi's 100 GB Laptop Drive: Fast, Massive, and Ready to Rumble

MacNETv2 reports:

"Here's something to think about; In January 2001 Apple announced an all-new, sleek Titanium PowerBook. This state-of-the-art-and-then-some PowerBook shipped with a 10 GB hard drive. Four years later Apple ships PowerBooks with 10 times that amount of storage. How's that for progress? Want YOUR PowerBook to sport a fast 100 GB hard drive? Read Sean Foushee's positive experience with the Hitachi 5K100." - Lisa Swanson

New Products

NewerTech Announces Battery for 12" PowerBooks

PR: Other World Computing (OWC) and Newer Technology, Inc. are offering the longest lasting batteries available for 12" PowerBooks.

NewerTech NuPower PowerBook and iBook batteries are designed, engineered, and assembled in the USA using only the best components. The result is a quality product that consistently outlasts the competition in terms of both operational runtime and useful longevity.

Longer runtime means more time spent unplugged between charges. Better longevity means a longer useable life span compared to other available batteries.

"The NewerTech NuPower design goes beyond just adding extra capacity," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "The extra runtime is great, and that along with the long useful life span of NuPower batteries is what sets them apart from any other."

NuPower's new 53.3 Watt Hour battery model is immediately available for $139.99, and provides more than 13% additional capacity over original Apple batteries and as much as 32.5% more capacity than other non-Apple after-market batteries.

"First introduced only two years ago, today people recognize NewerTech's NuPower batteries for the quality and longevity they provide," O'Connor said. "For a very long time customers have been asking when we'll have our 12" Aluminum PowerBook Battery available. We are pleased to announce that time is now, and we are sure customers will find it worth the wait!"

NewerTech's full line of NuPower high capacity battery replacements for Apple PowerBook G3 & G4, iBook G3 & G4, and iPod models can be purchased through OWC and other fine retailers.

LapBottom PowerBook Heat Absorbing Pad

LapBottomPR: Take your laptop to a new level of comfort.

The new LapBottom offers a sleeker profile, a more secure work surface, and gives you more options so that you choose the position that works best for you and the way you use your portable.

The LapBottom has a comfortably padded underside that grips your lap. We have made the underside thinner yet a bit more rigid and firmer with the same comfortable feel. This thinner profile makes the LapBottom more portable than ever before.

LapBottomThe top combines raised ridges and non-slip "feet" to provide air flow under your laptop while holding it in place. It is made of light weight and durable materials.

Measuring 12-1/4" x 9-1/2", it compresses to under an inch thick. The LapBottom now comes with three different size self adhesive "feet" which allow you to choose a variety of "tilts" or choose more or less air space under your laptop. The new polyurethane "feet" are more durable and hold your laptop more firmly in place.

This accessory provides:

  • A comfortable and ergonomic way to use your laptop where it was meant to be
  • Added stability at home or while traveling
  • The air flow your laptop needs to cool itself and last longer
  • Additional padding and protection when included in your carry case

Price:$24.95

Lapinator Laptop Desk

LapinatorPR: The Lapinator uses 3M's Type B Thinsulate insulation as the main barrier to the heat generated by laptop computers. The Lapinator employs Type B Thinsulate, typically used in footwear, which is pre-compressed and will never lose its ability to block the heat. The crosslinked molded foam bottom also acts as an insulator. We tested the Lapinator using a Dell Inspiron running on the Lapinator for an hour sitting on a wooden desk in a 70° room. The top of the Lapinator reached 125°, however, the temperature between the Lapinator's legs and the desk was a cool 73°! Only 3° of the extra 55° could make it past the Lapinator!

LapinatorAs proven by The-Gadgeteer.com, the Lapinator keeps your laptop computer cooler too! In fact, it reduces the CPU temperature 11 degrees more than the same laptop running on a wooden desk.

When a laptop runs on a desk, the wood or metal surface acts as a "heat sink." This is never more clearly evident than when using your laptop in your. It doesn't take long to realize that your legs also act as a heat sink. This heat conductivity creates a "hot spot" right under your laptop that makes it much more difficult for your laptop's cooling system to work efficiently.

LapinatorThe Lapinator's surface and core plastic layers are not heat conductors. This means that laptop heat dissipates. Your laptop is not sitting on a "hot spot" so it's cooling system works much more efficiently. Almost all of our competing products claim that resting your laptop on heat conductive materials is a good thing! It isn't.

Ventilation

The Lapinator provides two levels of ventilation. First, in addition to the insulation, the Lapinator delivers more airspace between it and your laptop than any other "in your lap" product. That space is created by two 3M self-adhesive bumpers that lift the back of your laptop 1/2 an inch off the Lapinator's surface. The combination of the non-conducting plastics and added air space maximizes heat dissipation.

This ventilation is especially critical for the many laptops whose fan vents heat directly through the bottom! One of our customer's bottom venting Hewlett Packard laptops would simply turn itself off when it go too hot! The Lapinator solved her problem.

The second level of ventilation is provided by the Lapinator's offset "legs" that lift the insulation up and off of your lap. This space created between your lap and the Lapinator permits body heat to dissipate keeping your lap extra cool!

The Lapinator's durable polyethylene top provides a nonskid surface that still allows for easy laptop position changes during use. For those laptops without their own rubber feet, or if an extra measure of stability is desired, please use the self-adhesive bumpers which prevent any movement. Though the Lapinator's surface may distort a little bit during use as it dissipates the heat, it's melting point is well over 200 degrees.

Another problem that frequently occurs during "in your lap" laptop use is the tendency for the unit to slide towards your body. This slippage results in a rather uncomfortable typing position. The bottom of the Lapinator consists of a flame-laminated colorfast pique cloth that will neither slide on nor snag your clothing. Its also comfortable when wearing shorts.

The laptop/Lapinator combination easily slides across across a desk or table when the need for space arises. Our customers pointed out that during a phone call or meeting they no longer had to stand, lift, and move their laptops.

For quick and portable storage the Lapinator's legs compress, allowing the Lapinator to easily slip into the outside pocket of your laptop bag. However, when weight is distributed across the Lapinator during use, the legs will not compress.

Velcro

Each Lapinator employs a 4 inch strip of One Wrap Velcro in the center of the back of the unit. This strip will neatly and securely contain the power, modem and network cords often attached to your laptop at home or in the office. Through the stress of normal use, laptop power connectors and cables can contribute to failure of the receptacle or be damaged themselves. The Velcro strip secures your cables and prevents this stress.

Price $24.95 plus $5 Priority Mail shipping anywhere in the United States. Only $10.50 Airmail shipping around the world

Buy two or more Lapinators and get 20% off your order.

iScroll2: Two-Finger-Scrolling for pre-2005 'Books

PR: iScroll2 is a modified trackpad driver that adds two-finger scrolling capabilities to supported pre-2005 PowerBooks and iBooks on OS X 10.3. Supported models include aluminum PowerBooks introduced from 2003 to 2004 as well as all G4 iBooks.

iSCroll2Please note that this is not just the driver for the 2005 models hacked to run older models - the new models use a completely different trackpad and driver. iScroll2 is based on Apple's AppleADBMouse-209.0.10 driver for the trackpads found on older models, which is available as part of the publicly released Darwin source code (and covered by the APSL). The code added for supporting two-finger scrolling was written from scratch.

The installer will tell you whether your machine is supported or not.

Note that both the driver and this check may not work if you have another alternative trackpad driver (such as SideTrack or FingaMIDI) installed.

As of version 0.20, iScroll2 includes preliminary Tiger support.

To enable scrolling mode, just place two fingers on your trackpad instead of one. Both fingers need to be placed next to each other horizontally (not vertically, the trackpad cannot detect that). Some people get better results with their finger spaced a little bit apart, while others prefer having the fingers right next to each other.

iScroll2 provides two scrolling modes: Linear and circular scrolling.

For linear scrolling, move the two fingers up/down or left/right in a straight line, respectively, to scroll in that direction.

Circular scrolling works in a way similar to the iPod's scroll wheel: Move the two fingers in a circle to scroll up or down, depending on whether you move in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

In addition to scrolling, iScroll2 also supports mapping the trackpad button and the tap gesture to a specific mouse button. The trackpad button can also be remapped dynamically depending on whether two fingers are on the trackpad. This can be configured in the included preference pane.

New in this version:

  • reduced overall scrolling speed
  • fixed bug that caused 'turn off linear scrolling' to be active even when circular scrolling is not enabled
  • fixed some kext version numbers
  • changed scroll speed / acceleration to use systemwide facilities
  • changed default settings to better suit the new speed / acceleration mechanism
  • moved back to using the two-finger scrolling controls in the keyboard & mouse pref pane
  • changed installer to work on systems that don't have the BSD subsystem installed
  • changed installer to allow installation on Tiger
  • Warning: iScroll2 has not yet been thoroughly tested on Tiger. If you encounter any issues, please provide feedback so I can work on resolving them.
  • changed permissions on StartupItem to fit the stricter requirements in Tiger
  • added uninstall button to pref pane
  • reverted to using the controls present in the Keyboard & Mouse pref pane.
  • Warning: As in version 0.18, this will cause problems on OS X versions prior to 10.3.8. If you are still using an older version, please consider upgrading or using iScroll2 0.19.
  • Warning: Because of changes in the pref pane, only its English version is included in this release. The other localizations will be re-added once they have been updated.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.3 or later

SideTrack 1.1.2 Advanced Trackpad Driver for 'Books

PR: SideTrack is a replacement driver for most PowerBook and iBook trackpads. With SideTrack installed your standard trackpad becomes a powerful multi-button scrolling mouse.

Leave your external mouse at home and take full control over your trackpad:

  • Vertical scrolling at left or right edge of pad.
  • Horizontal scrolling at top or bottom edge of pad.
  • Map hardware button to left or right click.
  • Map trackpad taps to no action, left click, left click drag (with or without drag lock), or right click.
  • Map trackpad corner taps to mouse buttons 1-6 or simulated keystrokes.
  • Extensive control over accidental input filtering.

SideTrack is multiuser aware and fully compatible with MacOS X fast user switching (FUS). Every user on your PowerBook can have different settings depending on their needs.

Extended control over the trackpad button and tap gestures. Use trackpad taps for left click, drag gestures, or right click. Complete scrollwheel mouse emulation with customizable scrolling speed. Place your scroll zones on either side of the pad, or both sides simultaneously.

Turn the corners of your trackpad into independent tap actions. Use the corner zones to emulate up to a 6 button mouse or generate custom keystrokes. Customize SideTrack's sensitivity and accuracy. Calibrate to your own trackpad style and adjust filtering to reduce accidental taps while typing. Choose from several mouse acceleration options.

System Requirements

  • PowerBook or iBook (for specific supported PowerBook models please see the FAQ)
  • Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), MacOS X 10.3 (Panther), or MacOS X 10.4 (Tiger)

SideTrack 1.1.2 does not support the new trackpad hardware found in the January 2005 PowerBooks. Support for the new trackpad will appear in the next major release of SideTrack.

SideTrack is shareware. Unregistered copies of SideTrack will periodically remind you to register. Registered users receive technical support and free upgrades.

SideTrack registration is $15 (US)

ThermoInDock 0.9 Shows CPU Junction Temperature in Dock

PR: ThermoInDock shows the CPU's junction temperature in the Dock. It also supports the modules to change the style of Dock icon.

The current version of ThermoInDock won't work on some models of Power Macs and PowerBooks due to lack of thermal sensor on their CPUs.

The following list shows the supported and unsupported models reported. The other models not listed here have not yet confirmed.

  • Supported model: PowerBook 400/500 (Pismo), PowerMac G4 500 Dual, PowerMac G4 Cube, Aluminum PowerBook G4s
  • Unsupported models: Any models that ThermoInDock quits immediately after the startup.

New in this version: Fixed a bug where ThermoInDock won't work on Mac OS X 10.4.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.0 or higher

ThermoInDock is freeware.

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

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 (VGA) and G4/667 (DVI), the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz, and 1.25 GHz to 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBooks.

Apple Store

Baucom Computers

Wegener Media

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 10/192/CD-ROM, $399.99
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 192/10/Combo, $499.99
  • Add an AirPort card, $79.50
  • Add an AirPort Base Station, $39.50
  • Add 256 MB RAM (total of 320 MB), $41
  • Add 512 MB RAM (total of 576 MB), $93

TechRestore

PowerBook Guy

Small Dog Electronics

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our Best PowerBook G4 Deals, Best iBook G4 Deals, Best PowerBook G3 Deals, and Best iBook G3 Deals.

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