The 'Book Review

Radeon Enabler Unlocks Video Features, Walla Challenges Gmail, New Laptop Accessories, and Bargain 'Books

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2004.07.09

This week's PowerBook, iBook, and iPod headlines

Radeon Enabler 1.1.1 for OEM and Onboard ATI Radeon Graphics

Have you ever wondered why the ATI graphics that came with your Mac, PowerBook, or iBook doesn't have the same features available on the retail graphics cards? For years ATI has bundled software with their retail cards that adds features and extra capabilities. This software, known as "ATI Displays," is designed to only recognize and function with the retail versions of their video cards. These additional capabilities are withheld from OEM and onboard ATI graphics owners, even though the chipsets are nearly identical in most cases.

Radeon Enabler patches the ATI Displays application to allow it to recognize most OEM and onboard ATI graphics chipsets. Once recognized, additional features are unlocked and will function as if you have a retail card.

Please note that hardware dependent features such as "Versavision" and "TV-Out" will not function for OEM or onboard chipsets. They lack the hardware support needed for these functions.

The following video chipsets are supported by this release :

  • OEM Radeon 9800 XT
  • OEM Radeon 9800 Pro
  • OEM Radeon 9700 Pro
  • OEM Radeon 9600 XT
  • OEM Radeon 9600 Pro
  • OEM Radeon 9000 Pro
  • OEM Radeon 8500
  • OEM Radeon 7500
  • OEM Radeon AGP (7200)
  • eMac Radeon 9200 graphics
  • eMac Radeon 7500 graphics
  • Radeon 9700 Mobility (PowerBook)
  • Radeon 9600 Mobility (PowerBook)
  • Radeon 9200 Mobility (iBook)
  • Radeon 9000 Mobility (PowerBook)
  • Radeon 7500 Mobility (PowerBook/iBook)
  • Radeon Mobility (PowerBook)

New in this version:

  • Added support for the OEM Radeon 9600 XT/9800 XT shipping in the new G5s
  • Improved detection of missing or corrupted localization resources
  • Enhanced the support file generation to include more detailed information from the System Profiler

This version does not add any additional functionality for previously supported cards. If you have already used Radeon Enabler successfully for your chipset, there is no need to update to this latest version.

If you have already used a previous version of Radeon Enabler, you must reinstall the ATI Radeon Displays package before you can use a newer version of Radeon Enabler. Radeon Enabler will only recognize an original, unpatched installation.

System requirements:

  • Supported ATI graphics chipset
  • Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later

Radeon Enabler is freeware

Keynamics Solves Two Problems with Laptops on the Desk

With the new laptop stand from Keynamics, users can not only raise their screens, but also lower their keyboards.

No other product can wheel a laptop out of the way, when it is not being used. Greg Bright conceived the ability to functionally separate the screen and keyboard and move the laptop around the desk in the usual place, his garage. Greg has one patent approved and two others pending on his invention.

According to Greg, "You will not find pictures of people operating a laptop on a desk, be it in a magazine or on a website." Why show someone hunching over a keyboard with an unnatural posture for their back and their hands? It is no way to sell laptops! Yet, most of us buy laptops for this very reason - to use on a desk, at least part of the time.

The solution to the "hunch" lies in the Keynamics stand. There are likely solutions to many other ergonomic injuries in the Keynamics stand. And no other product on the market allows a laptop to just be wheeled out the way, when not in use. With the other products on the market, the laptop needs to be picked up and moved.

The Keynamics stand is made of ten pounds of steel and engineered ABS plastic resin. It has the weight necessary to provide a stable, reliable stand for a laptop.

Keynamics

The big question with stands is whether they will hold laptops in place with a real assurance that they will not fall. Keynamics has tested its stand to a weight load of twenty pounds, more than the weight of any laptop sold today. It built this security for a laptop by incorporating a support lip on its stand.

More importantly, it uses a "landing strip" of a 70 durometer rubber material that is made by 3M. The back of the laptop rests on inverted levelers to ensure that the laptop, whatever its design, will fit to the stand. These levelers have the sure grip of the 70 durometer 3M material, as well.

KeynamicsThe stand is also engineered to produce an angle that allows the laptop to be cantilevered off the front edge of a desk to where the user can straighten the wrists and recline the body, just as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor (OSHA) recommends, to prevent possible injuries in the workplace.

Indeed, the design of the stand aligns in every respect with recommendations from OSHA.

Despite its weight, the stand and laptop can be effortlessly wheeled out of the way when it is necessary to work by hand at a desk. True to Greg's garage background, the stand uses skateboard wheels to provide the slickest movement across the desk possible. These wheels are complemented by hex head axle bolts and ABEC ball bearings.

The Keynamics retail price is $79.99.

Foofbags: New Handmade Bags for iBooks & PowerBooks

foofbagfoofbags are cozy sleeves that protect your laptop from dust and scratches when used inside a backpack or ugly computer bag.

  • AfterImage, Convergence & DaisyChain are colourful fleece (subtly fluffy)
  • WellSpotted is short pile faux fur (the fabric has differing fur directions)
  • Connemara is classic high quality Irish Tweed (Rustic Herringbone) containing 7% silk, 93% wool.

All foofbag insides are made with a black quilted inner lining and are doubled stitched throughout.

foofbagA foofbag will not protect your laptop if you intend on dropping, throwing, standing, or hurling it (through the air from a speeding vehicle).

"Being heavy laptop users ourselves, we know that most people have their backpack or computer carry bag sorted out for their storage needs. Some people dislike zippers and Velcro, as they wear out, break or lose grip. We have also found out that people with certain disabilities have much difficulty with fasteners and zippers, so we've elected to avoid complexity by offering simplicity and beauty.

"We are Apple users. We have iBooks and PowerBooks available to test the snug fit of foofbags. Anything else is an unknown quantity. If you think your PC laptop will fit, then go ahead and order."

Outlandish 12" foofbags sell for $29.

Connemara foofbags sell for $39.

Prices include postage for the time being - unless you live on the International Space Station.

iCover2 17" PowerBook Display Sleeve

iCover2Introducing the iCover2 with design improvements to improve ease of sliding on and off. One size fits both the titanium and the new aluminum 15" PowerBook models.

The PowerBook and iBook iCovers are designed to protect your laptop's display from oil and dirt that is transferred from the keyboard when the machine is closed. Additionally, our wrap-around design also provides additional protection to the outer case.

A special (non-leather) micro suede feels great and is three times stronger than leather, washable, and water & stain repellent. Yet it is still thin enough to close the unit without putting undue pressure on the hinge. The new iCover II also incorporates mesh side panels that allows the iCover to slide on and off even easier.

Additionally, the iCover is soft enough to use as a cleaning cloth on the display.

Constructed entirely in the United States.

Warranted for 90 days.

Materials: Amaretta Suede - machine or hand wash or dry clean

Price: $24.99

Shoulder Bags by STM from RadTech

New from RadTech:

CurveCurve

It's got curves, pockets and style in all the right places, offering the ultimate in stylish notebook protection.

The Curve a shoulder bag with a removable notebook sleeve, suitable for machines with displays measuring up to 15.5". The Curve's clean lines hide a multitude of pockets and pouches, guaranteed to help you organise your life. All fabrics are water resistant, providing protection from the elements. There's also a cleverly hidden, easy-access organizer pocket on the outside of the bag, and loads of space for books, folders, peripherals, etc.

Features

  • Removable notebook sleeve
  • High-density foam padding
  • Padded pockets for protection
  • Removable and rugged key clip
  • Hidden organizer pocket
  • Adjustable shoulder strap
  • Comfortable shoulder pad
  • Stabilizer strap for long treks
  • Contoured rubber handle
  • Spacious 25 liter capacity

Price: $74.95

BrinkBrink

The Large Brink is a minimalist shoulder bag with finely detailed features. With it's 28 x 42 x 5 cm dimensions, it's the perfect fit for Apple 17" PowerBooks. The Brink has a snug-fitting notebook section with high-density padding and an organizer pocket on the front for all your essentials. A slim and comfortable rubber handle allows the Brink to be carried as a briefcase, while the removable strap converts it into a shoulder bag!

For those who desire style and need portability for your 12". notebook, a compact Brink., based on the 17". Brink features a padded notebook cell, pockets for cables and adaptors, as well as a slim pocket for documents. Favoring style over space, this bag is the perfect fit for Apple 12". PowerBooks and iBooks, as well as other 12". notebooks.

Features

  • Contoured rubber handle
  • Lightweight construction

Large Brink customized for 17" PowerBook

Small Brink customized for 12" PowerBook

Price: $44.95-49.95

AlleyAlley

You want a bag that protects your notebook, but doesn't look like a computer bag? You need something that has space for cables, documents, mobile etc., but doesn't look bulky and cluttered? The answer is the Alley.

The Alley is a multifunctional shoulder bag, available in two sizes to fit most notebooks. Featuring a heavily padded notebook section, which can also be used for video and game consoles (large size). There's also a full-sized file section for documents and books, as well as a mesh pocket for cables and adaptors!

Alley General Features

  • Removable padded shoulder strap
  • Contoured rubber handle
  • Made from 600D rip-stop polyester
  • secure Velcro closure system
  • Pockets for cables, documents, etc.

Large Alley: 36 x 31 x 10 cm (15.5". displays)

Small Alley: 33 x 25 x 10 cm (12". displays)

Price: $39.95-44.95

TikiMac Ships All-Aluminum Kuna External Drive for Macintosh

Kuna driveTikiMac has announced the immediate availability of its new Kuna series of external hard drives for Macintosh and PC-compatibles. With its good looks, cool-running all-aluminum case sporting two FireWire ports and a high-speed USB interface, the Kuna was developed from the ground up to deliver the highest consumer engineering standards ever seen in a hard drive.

With true plug and play convenience, the Kuna external hard drive is hot pluggable for easy file transfers without interruptions and data sharing between machines.

Using a unique interlocking design, users can stack multiple Kuna External Hard Drives horizontally or place the drive vertically with its sturdy, upright stand. Non-slip rubber feet on the drive and stand ensure the drive can be arranged in many convenient ways and will not slide around or slip off a desk

The Kuna External Hard Drive is constructed from an all-aluminum alloy, allowing it to run much cooler than other external drives, and it's designed to dissipate heat in any configuration - vertical or stacked.

The Kuna comes in a variety of capacities, ranging from 120 GB to 400 GB and is bundled with a three year limited warranty plus TikiMac's lifetime technical support so that users can call for friendly technical advice for the whole long life of the drive.

Consumer-friendly features:

  • The best drive mechanisms - Kuna only uses drives from Hitachi, Seagate or Maxtor. All HDs run at 7200 RPM and have 8 MB buffer caches.
  • Versatile - Supports connections through a single USB 2.0 and dual-FireWire interfaces from Macintosh and PC-compatibles
  • Glowing Personalities - Kuna drives are available with either standard FireWire and USB cables or TikiMac's "LavaWire" and "Lava USB" versions.
  • Variety of sizes - Available in 120 GB, 160 GB, 250 GB, and 400 GB capacities
  • Looks cool, stays cool - Designed to dissipate heat from your hard drive. Runs much cooler than other external hard drives.
  • On/off switch - No more concerns that your hard drive hasn't been shut down safely. Better data security, for always-on Internet connections.
  • Hot-swappable - Connect and disconnect without turning off your computer.
  • Stackable - Unique interlocking design lets you expand your storage securely.
  • Position vertically or horizontally, with upright stand and non-slip rubber feet.
  • The best in support - Kuna drives with a 30 day complete satisfaction guarantee, a three year limited warranty and lifetime technical support

The Kuna external hard drive is available now through TikiMac authorized resellers, specialist stores and its online store, with a suggested retail price starting at $169. The drives ship with a FireWire 400 cable (6:6-pin), USB 2.0/1.1 cable (A-B male-to-male connectors) and an A/C adapter.

New Email Service Aims to Wallop Gmail

IDG News Service's Scarlet Pruitt reports:

"The e-mail storage stampede continued its charge on Wednesday with yet another Internet company taking on Google Inc.'s Gmail offering with its own free 1GB e-mail service.

"Israeli Web portal provider Walla Communications Ltd. has launched WallaMail, a new service offering users tools such as in-box search, an e-mail filtering system, an antivirus application and, of course, a lot of space. It offers enough space, in fact, to archive 40,000 e-mails, 2,000 pictures and 50 one-minute video clips, the company said....

"Walla has been offering a free e-mail service for three years and the company has moved users of that service to the new WallaMail, said Erez Philosoph, deputy chief executive officer of Walla Communications....

"WallaMail is currently signing up users at http://www.walla.com....

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) and the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz.

Wegener Media

  • PowerBook Pismo 400, 128/10/DVD, $499.99
  • PowerBook Pismo 400, 256/40/DVD, $649.99
  • Add a PCMCIA wireless card for $10
  • Add an AirPort card for $54.50
  • G4/550 MHz upgrade card, $229
  • Targus laptop bag in excellent condition, lifetime warranty from Targus, $.01
  • One year extended service guarantee, $99.99

Baucom Computers

Power Max

PowerBook Guy

Small Dog Electronics

  • refurb 12" iBook G4/800, 512/30/Combo, Simon and Schuster Britannica 2003 Deluxe, $919
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, built-in AirPort, MacMice The Mouse Aluminum, Apple AirPort Extreme Base station without modem, $2759

Apple Store

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

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