The 'Book Review

'Books without Backup Batteries, Screen Protectors for New PowerBooks, Ultraportable USB Hub, Universal Laptop Power Adapter, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2003.01.31

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

Which 'Books Don't Have Backup Batteries?

Apple has posted a Knowledge Base article describing which portable Macintosh computers do not contain a backup battery and what this means.

Portable Macintosh Computers without a Backup Battery

  • iBook (every model ever made)
  • PowerBook G4 (12")

Because there is no backup battery in the computers listed in the section above, additional care should be taken ensure the AC adapter is plugged in.

When removing the main battery without the AC Adapter, the computer should be shut down since the contents of RAM are lost when no power is available. There is a small capacitor that maintains the system clock long enough to swap the main battery.

The PRAM is not affected by the long term removal of the main system battery.

JR Hill Announces New PB G4 12" and 17" Screen Protectors

JR Hill has announced Screen Protectors for the new 12" and 17" PowerBook G4s. Available in both full grain leather or durable vinyl, Screen Protectors protect the PowerBook G4's screen from the keyboard when closed. All Screen Protectors come with lifetime warranty and are available now.


  • for Apple PowerBook G4 17", $17.49
  • for Apple PowerBook G4 12", $12.49
  • for Apple PowerBook G4 15", $17.49
  • for Apple PowerBook G3, $12.49
  • for Apple iBook 12", $12.49
  • for Apple iBook 14", $12.49


  • for Apple PowerBook G4 17", $9.99
  • for Apple PowerBook G4 12", $6.99
  • for Apple PowerBook G4 15", $9.99
  • for Apple PowerBook G3, $6.99
  • for Apple iBook 12", $6.99
  • for Apple iBook 14", $6.99

The PowerBook G4 Sleeve is a form fitted, padded, full grain leather sleeve made for people who don't want a full sized notebook computer bag. The Sleeve can either be carried by itself or be placed into a briefcase or backpack. The Sleeve also features a zipper on all three sides, leather piping, and handles, along with a lifetime warranty.

  • The Sleeve for PowerBook G4, Leather, $99.99
  • The Sleeve for PowerBook G4, Nylon, $74.99

T3Hub Ultraportable USB-Hub

T3Hub is the first USB hub to pick up the design of the new generation of portables from Apple.T3Hub

Typically T3Hub will be used when the internal USB connections of the computer no longer satisfy the needs of a growing array of USB peripherals.

T3Hub is available in the colors Ice (iBook 2001), Titanium (G4 PowerBook), and also in the classical translucent Graphite.

T3Hub is equally useful when it comes to quick expansion of the number of USB ports on a desktop computer.

In either setup, T3Hub will expand a single USB port on the computer into three USB ports.

T3Hub plugs directly into the USB connector on the computer. An optional USB extension pigtail is provided to reduce strain on the built-in port.

Like all mobile USB hubs T3Hub cannot be connected to another non-powered hub such as the hub that is integrated into every USB keyboard for the Mac. As a result T3Hub is always connected directly to one of the computer's built-in USB ports.


  • T3Hub can be installed without turning your computer off.
  • T3Hub is compatible with all USB devices.
  • T3Hub is platform-independent, Mac OS (both 9 and X flavors), Win98/ME, Win2k, and Linux are fully supported.
  • T3Hub is a piece of art:
    • T3Hub Silver matches the white iBooks.
    • T3Hub Titanium matches the TiBook
    • T3Hub Graphite is an astounding addition beside just about any computer!
  • includes a separate USB extension cable to reduce strain on built-in USB ports.

Technical Features:

  • compliant with USB 1.1 specs
  • Plug-and-Play compatible
  • bus error recognition and correction
  • 12 and 1.5 Mbps transfer rate available on all 3 connectors.
  • 3 USB Type A Ports for USB-devices, active devices indicated via LED.

T3Hub sells for $33.95

Universal Laptop Power Adapter

Want to power several different notebooks without buying separate adapters for each one? Targus has an answer. Ultra-thin, ultra-light and ultra-portable, the Targus Universal AC Adapter is the perfect Targus Universal AC Adapterchoice when you need a convenient power source that won't weigh you down - or when you're replacing a broken, lost or stolen original adapter. This universal adapter features patented PowerTips technology that automatically controls the voltage to match your notebook's requirements. Please confirm compatibility with your notebook model from the chart below before ordering. Click on the Related Products link at the right for a selection of PowerTips for wireless phones, PDA's and portable printers.

Features and Benefits

  • Light and compact - only 8.5 ounces (240g) and 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) thick
  • unique, wall-hugging design
  • UL and CE approved
  • Includes 10" power cord
  • Built-in surge protection
  • Also works with cellular phones, PDA's, and portable printers*

Works with Apple iBook (presumably Clamshell only), PowerBook G3, PowerBook 3400, and a whole passel of PC laptops.

Price: $114.95 - PowerBook Parts, Installations, Repairs

PowerBookMedic offers parts, installations, and repairs for G3 & G4 Apple laptops and iBooks, as well as for older models.

Servicing all of the following PowerBook and iBook computer models: G4 Titanium, G3 Pismo, G3 Lombard, G3 Wallstreet, iBook (white), iBook Clamshell (pre-2001), and older models.

PowerBook Medic offers a working on arrival guarantee on all parts and repairs, as well as a 48 hour satisfaction guarantee.

TiBook Tote and TiltTiBook Tote and Tilt

The TiBook Tote and Tilt features:

  • Tote your PowerBook by a handle.
  • Tilt to allow for air circulation under your PowerBook, helps to increase battery life and performance
  • Easy access to rear data ports.
  • Installs in five minutes.
  • Does not void warranty.
  • 100% handmade in the USA.
  • All aluminum construction for lightness & sturdiness.
  • Color powder coated to complement the PowerBook.

Price: $44.95

iBook Tote and Tilt iBook Tote and Tilt

The iBook Tote and Tilt features:

  • Tote your iBook by a handle.
  • Tilt to allow air circulation under your iBook.
  • Installs in less than five minutes.
  • Does not void warranty.
    100% made in the USA.
  • Color matches iBook.
  • For 12.1" Display Only

iBook Tote and Tilt price: $39.95

Celestia 1.2.5 Space Planetarium Fly-thru/Simulation Software

Not a specifically portable computer item but cool, Celestia is a free real-time space simulation that lets you experience our universe in three dimensions. Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy. All travel in Celestia is seamless; the exponential zoom feature lets you explore space across a huge range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few meters across. A "point-and-goto" interface makes it simple to navigate through the universe to the object you want to visit.

Celestia 1.2.5 is now available for Mac OS X. In addition to supporting all of the new 1.2.5 features, the new build has a Cocoa interface. However, Celestia for Mac OS X should still be considered alpha software.

The new release includes a lot of bug fixes and some major new features. In 1.2.5, comet tails are rendered, so you can see striking views of Hale-Bopp in 1997 and other famous comet encounters. The accuracy of Celestia has improved dramatically. It's possible now to watch the moons of Jupiter eclipse each other, follow the Voyager spacecraft on their grand tours of the solar system, and see the eclipse of Xerxes in 479 B.C.E. 

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.1.2

Celestia is freeware.

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).

Models are specified with RAM/HD/media drive. RAM is in MB. Hard drive size is in GB unless noted as GB. RAM noted as 128+128 indicates additional RAM installed by dealer.


Wegener Media

  • PowerBook Pismo G3/500, 128/12/DVD-ROM, $1,099.99
  • Add a 30 GB hard drive, installed, $89.99
  • Add 1 GB of RAM, $119.99
  • Add 512 MB of RAM, $64.99
  • Add a Targus carrying bag, reconditioned, lifetime warranty, $9.99


Power Max

The new 12" PowerBook is in stock at Power Max and come with a free copy of QuickBooks Pro for OS X.

  • iBook 600 12", 128/20/CD-ROM, $799. Receive a free Epson C42UX Printer (after dual rebates).
  • refurbished iBook 800 12", 128/30/Combo, $1,188. eceive a free Epson C42UX Printer (after dual rebates).
  • refurbished iBook 800 14", 256/30/Combo, refurbished, $1,399. Receive a free Epson C42UX Printer (after dual rebates).

General Cybernetics Corporation

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

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