The 'Book Review

12" iBook vs. PowerBook Benchmarks, Free WordPerfect 3.5e from Corel, New Laptop Service Options, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2003.02.07

Except as noted, prices are in U.S. dollars.

12" PowerBook G4 Manuals

Apple has posted a list of 12" PowerBook of manuals available in PDF format.

12" iBook vs. 12" PowerBook: One Set of Benchmark Results

Cube Zone reports that one of their forum moderators ran some benchmarks at the Des Peres (Missouri) Apple Store comparing several Macs with Xbench, in particular to check how much faster the new PowerBook 12" is than the iBooks. Turns out on the basis if these benchmarks that the iBook is, in some tests, faster than the PowerBook 12". To wit:

  • CPU: both 700 MHz and 800 MHz iBooks were faster than the 12" PowerBook (However, I've been informed that omne reason that the iBook seems faster than the 12" AlBook is that the iBook doesn't do the "AltiVec" test under the "CPU" category in Xbench).
  • Disk: The 12" PowerBook faster, but the 700 MHz iBook was faster than both of the 800 MHz units.
  • Memory: The 12" PowerBook trounced the G3s, as it did in the OpenGL and Quartz tests.

However, in the Xbench Thread test, all three iBooks beat the 12" PowerBook.

WordPerfect 3.x Info and Links Page

Die-hard WordPerfect fans might want to check out the Academic Computing and Media Corel WordPerfect Page, which notes:

"Corel stopped providing new versions of WordPerfect for Macintosh a couple of years ago. They have provided a final free version of WordPerfect - WordPerfect 3.5 enhanced. From this page you may download that file plus an update for OS 8/9. Note that WordPerfect 3.5 Enhanced does not contain the templates, and many other extras, associated with an installation of WordPerfect from a CD-ROM or floppy disks. The following URL provides access to some support files, including documentation, at the Corel Website:

The following URL provides access to the limited support information, still provided by Corel, for Macintosh WordPerfect users:

There are download links for:

  • Corel_WP_35e.sea.bin Application file size 24 MB
  • WP_OS8-9Updater.sea.bin Update file size 420 KB

PiXel Check 1.2 LCD Pixel Testing Utility

PiXel Check is a utility that allows you to easily turn on all or specific pixels on your LCD display, allowing you to check for bad or dead pixels. Click the mouse button or press any key to dismiss a test, or jump to the next color in the "Automatic" mode.

New in this version:

  • Multiple monitor support! There are no options to select; it just magically detects your extra display(s).
  • Help (English) is now available from within the application.
  • Added Italian localization, thanks to Max Rotunno.
  • Cleaned up more code and corrected a description faux pas relating to Black and White test modes.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.1 or higher

PiXel Check is freeware.

A Baked Apple (TiBook)

Oops, someone baked their PowerBook G4 at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. The machine still booted, video and all. Aaron Steele has posted photos.

High End Communications Launches Nationwide Apple Laptop Repair Service

High End Communications of West Nyack, NY, is offering a new Apple Laptop Repair service built for customers from around the U.S. who need 'Book repairs done quickly.

For a set price, High End Communications covers 3-way shipping (box to customer, laptop to office, and laptop to customer) and a diagnostic report within 24 hours.

High End Communications specializes in Apple Computer training and service and is an authorized Apple Reseller & Service Provider. The company was founded in 1996 by a small group of college students attempting to make some extra money to pay for the large bills that being a college student involves.

Offering top notch service around the country, the staff of High End Communications says they're here to show you what you should expect from any service provider you work with. Their staff of technicians have all met stringent guidelines that include but our not limited to ACTC & AASP (desktop and laptop) certifications.

PowerBookResQ Announces Canadian Repair Service

MacResQ has announced a new Canadian repair service as part of their PowerBookResQ repair program. The new service offers Canadian PowerBook and iBook owners an affordable source for service parts and labor with PowerBookResQ's famous quick turnaround and convenience.

PowerBookResQ addresses the difficulty that most users face when they encounter a technical problem with their PowerBook. Users of older PowerBooks face a tough challenge trying to find a local source for older parts and service. If a local repair center is available, costs are usually high, and turnaround time is unacceptable for users who rely on their PowerBooks on a daily basis. Users of newer PowerBooks and iBooks often have no choice but to send their systems back to the manufacturer for an expensive repair due to parts limitations and service policies.

The PowerBookResQ program solves these problems by offering fast, safe, and reasonably priced repairs for PowerBook and iBook owners. Customers start by visiting or calling the toll-free number, 1-866-Mac-Repair. After just a few questions, MacResQ dispatches a custom-designed "PowerBox" (built to insure safe transit for all PowerBooks) to the customer via express courier.

Upon receipt of the empty PowerBox, the customer simply slides the PowerBook into the container and attaches a preprinted shipping label. A quick, toll-free phone call brings a courier to the customer's location for express shipping back to MacResQ. A MacResQ technician conducts a thorough diagnosis and contacts the customer with a detailed repair estimate. The repair is usually completed within 24 hours and the PowerBook is returned to its owner via express service.

The cost of the new PowerBookResQ Canada service is CDN$179, accepted in U.S. or Canadian funds. This includes the 3-way express shipping, the initial diagnostic service, and the PowerBox, which the customer may keep for future use. PowerBookResQ service remains $99 for U.S. customers.

"PowerBookResQ is the only repair center offering nationwide service combined with 24-hour turnaround for PowerBook and iBook owners in the U.S.," said Shannon Jean, President of ResQ Systems, LLC. "We are thrilled to extend the service to our customers in Canada and, despite the increased shipping rates, to be able to offer the service for just US$12 more than our standard rate. PowerBook and iBook owners in Canada will now have an alternative to the high prices and unacceptable delays at their local repair shops."

For computer resellers and repair centers, PowerBookResQ offers discounted rates on products and services. Computer dealers can send overflow service work or seamlessly outsource their entire PowerBook repair operation. Volume discounts are available for schools, corporations and government agencies.

Mitre Laptop Sleeve by Tom Bihn

The Mitre laptop sleeve from Tom Bihn is designed to protect your laptop from scrapes & scratches. Mitro laptop sleeveSlide your computer inside and then put the whole affair into your briefcase or backpack. Velcro® closure & cool Titanium color. In sizes 4 (for the 15" PowerBook G4) and 1 (for the 17" PowerBook G4). Made in Montana.


  • 500/200 Denier Cordura®/Antron® outside with super-soft brushed nylon interior
  • 1/4" (8 mm) foam padding
  • Exterior dimensions: 12" x 15.75".
  • Fits smaller, thinner laptops such as the PowerBook G4 and the 12" Apple iBook.

Price (US$): $30

Approx. CDN Price: $47.50

Monolith Hardshell Laptop Case by Tom Bihn

The Monolith - now available for preorder in Size 1 for the Apple PowerBook G4 17" - provides all the Monlith casesuper-tough protection of Tom Bihn's Brain Cell, but in a vertical orientation. Designed specifically for use inside our newest daypack, the Smart Alec. If you already have a favorite backpack, chances are the Monolith will fit inside of it, too. Unlike its landscape cousin, the Brain Cell, the portrait Monolith has no shoulder strap attachments or pocket, so it is just useful as protection.


  • Hardshell case provides optimum protection
  • 500 Denier Cordura®. and #9 YKK zipper
  • Available in 2 sizes to fit a wide range of laptops

Please note: in order to get the most laptop protection from the Monolith, it must be carried in the Monlith casevertical (or "portrait") format. Therefore, it is best to use this bag with your favorite backpack. If you require a protective laptop case to use with a briefcase or shoulder bag, in a horizontal (or "landscape") format, please see Tom Bihn's Brain Cell.

  • Size 2 (larger laptops)
  • Size 4 (for the Mac G4)
  • Size 1 (for the 17" PowerBook) (Shipping late February)

Price (US$): $40

Approx. CDN Price: $63.50

Valence Selects MCE to Market N-Charge Power System for Apple PowerBook and iBook

Valence Technology, Inc., a specialist in the development and commercialization of Saphion technology and Lithium-ion polymer rechargeable batteries, has announced that it has selected MCE Technologies, LLC, a leading manufacturer and authorized reseller of innovative products for the Apple PowerBook and iBook, to distribute the N-Charge Power System.     

"MCE is the premier provider of solutions that support the Apple brand, and we are extremely pleased that MCE has chosen to add the N-Charge system to its Apple compatible product offering," stated Stephan Godevais, chairman and chief executive officer of Valence. "MCE's strong position in the Apple market makes it the partner of choice for us as we continue to expand our distribution network and target top tier channels such as Apple."     

Arnie Ramirez, president of MCE Technologies, LLC said, "We are always on the quest for emerging products and technology for the Apple PowerBook and iBook, and Valence's N-Charge system meets our needs perfectly. The N-Charge is a cutting edge solution that offers our Apple customers something they all need: complete mobility and extended power."     

The N-Charge system will be available beginning February 16, 2003.

FireWire Depot Introduces the SuperGuard3 FireWire Enclosure

With top secured DES 64-bit/40-bit key strength, the SuperGuard3 provides extra protection for your data. Even if the entire drive is stolen, no one can read your data. SuperGuard3 is a cutting edge technology product that offers military grade protection for your important data.

Unlike software passwords or smart cards, SuperGuard3 provides a silicon based real-time encryption/decryption solution capable of maneuvering 66MB/sec throughput without using any system resources.

SuperGuard3 is the top notch choice for banks, insurance provider, government agencies, health care, and intellectual property developers to protect their sensitive data.

With high-performance FireWire-1394 and USB 2.0/1.1 bridge adapter built-in, the SuperGuard3 can easily convert an IDE hard drive into a FireWire and USB 2.0/1.1 interfaced external device.

Features :

  • Convert IDE drive into IEEE 1394/USB 2.0 external drive
  • Real-time 64-bit/40-bit DES (Data Encryption Standard) encryption/decryption with throughput of 712 Mb/sec
  • External security key for for authentication
  • Device driver free, operating system independent
  • Microsoft Windows98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Mac OS compatible
  • Plug & Play and Hot-swapping capability
  • External 12V DC power adapter
  • Supports ATA 33, ATA 66, ATA 100, and ATA 133 hard drives

Operating System:

  • Windows 98 / SE
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Mac OS 9.04 or later

The SuperGuard is expected to be available Feb. 7, 2003. Retail price is $139.

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.

ExperCom (ExperCom)

For more information, visit:


Small Dog

PowerBook Guy

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

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