The 'Book Review

G5 'Books Coming Soon?, Mac mini Take Apart, mini Auto Installation, TuneJuice for iPods, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.01.21

The week's portable Mac and iPod news - now covering the Mac mini

'Book News

Mac mini News

iPod News

Bargain 'Books

'Book News

PowerBook G5 "the Mother of All Thermal Challenges"

NEWS: The Mac Observer's Misha Sakellaropoulo reports:

"When Rob Steerum of Fulcrum Global Partners asked Tim Cook, Apple's VP of Worldwide Sales and Operations, about the chances of a G5-based PowerBook anytime soon, Mr. Cook admitted Wednesday such a project 'would be the mother of all thermal challenges.'

"When asked if he meant there will never be a G5-powered PowerBook, Mr. Cook said, 'I don't want to go further in the comment.'

"The comments came during Apple's conference call . . . discussing its first quarter fiscal earnings with analysts."

PowerBook "End of Life" at the FNAC

NEWS: Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"We have just been informed that PowerBooks as well as eMac SuperDrive have been declared "End of Life" at the FNAC (largest multimedia consumer shop in France).

"PS: this is not a rumor, simply a fact. We let you draw your own conclusions."

Mac mini, iPod shuffle, and G5 'Book Production

NEWS: Digitimes' David Tzeng and Steve Shen report:

"Foxconn Electronics (the registered trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry) is the contract manufacturer for Apple's newly launched Mac mini computers, while Asustek Computer is making the iPod shuffle for the vendor, according to sources close to the deals. The Chinese-language Commercial Times reported yesterday that Asustek had secured the orders for both the items....

"Foxconn is expected to ship at least 100,000 Mac mini computers per month to Apple, the sources noted....

"Shipments of the iPod shuffle from Asustek, which currently also produces iBook notebooks for Apple, are expected to reach 400,000 to 500,000 units a month...."

Now, here's the bombshell:

"In addition, Asustek will also start shipping iBook G5 notebooks to Apple in the second quarter of this year."

And "PowerBook G5, Quanta Computer, 30k-50k/month, 2Q 2005."

I'm skeptical. I don't think a PowerBook G5 is that close to production, let along an iBook G5. A typo perhaps? Or has there been a breakthrough in cooling the G5 for laptop use that Apple and IBM haven't been letting on?

iLap Laptop Stand

PR: iLap is a versatile stand that keeps your laptop cool and lets you work comfortably on your lap as well as your desk. Designed to match Apple's PowerBooks, the iLap laptop stand is made of aluminum with sandblasted and silver anodized finish. iLap is also suitable for other laptops. iLap comes in five sizes: 12", 14", 15", 15" widescreen and 17" widescreen versions.

iLap
iLap

iLap keeps your laptop cool by using light weight aluminum as a cool sink, allowing it to to run more efficiently and last longer. The iLap's all aluminium thermal conductivity is 13 times more than stainless steel, and thus the more surface that it has in contact with the notebook, the more heat that it draws away (in the same conceptual way that heat sink works on the CPU).

Aluminum is chosen for its light weight, elegance and higher heat conductivity (compared to steel and plastic), although the cost of aluminum is 4 times more than plastic and 2 times more than steel. In addition, luxury velvet is chosen to give comfort and style.

iLap raises your laptop to keep your lap cool, and is padded with cushions for extra comfort. The front cushion is detachable for switching between lap work and desk work, but the back cushion should remain for either use.

iLap is ergonomically designed to suit both lap and desk works, so you stay cool even on prolonged use, raising your laptop screen higher to reduce strain on your neck and shoulders.

Unlike some tall laptop stands that are designed for desk use only and require an external keyboard, the iLap is catered for lap use as well - with the convenience of typing directly on the laptop keyboard.

Rain Design provides a one year warranty against manufacturer's defect and workmanship.

Pricing:

  • 12 inch, $49.90
  • 14 inch, $59.90
  • 15 inch, $59.90
  • 15 inch W (widescreen), $59.90
  • 17 inch W (widescreen), $69.90

SideTrack 1.1 Advanced Trackpad Driver for PowerBook/iBook

PR: SideTrack is a replacement driver for the 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 Mac OS X 10.3 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 (G3 or G4 processor)
  • Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) or 10.3 (Panther)

SideTrack 1.1 does not support prerelease builds of Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). Tiger compatibility will appear in a future release of SideTrack.

SideTrack is $15 shareware.

Mac mini
Mac mini News

Taking Apart the Mac mini Disassembly Video

NEWS: Ben Guild says:

"Somebody leaked me this video . . . it demonstrates how to crack-open the Mac mini's casing, which makes all parts available to the user via further disassembly screws. I'm not sure if it's legal for me to post this or not, but here it is! (until I hear differently, this will remain available here.)

"Requires QuickTime to view. it's free....)

"I am not responsible for any damage to your Mac mini. This is purely for instruction ONLY.

"Apple states that as long as you do not BREAK your Mac mini while working on the inside, it is still covered under warranty."

How to Upgrade a Mac mini

NEWS: creationrobot.com says:

"People have asked me a lot of questions about the Mac mini. The number one question they ask is: Can I upgrade it? My assumed answer has always been the memory will be upgradable, nothing else.

"That's inaccurate: you can upgrade the hard disk, too. Apple states that as long as you don't break the mini when you open it the warranty is still OK.

"The video above shows how to open the case with a putty knife, anything similar will do. Just slide the knife carefully down into the gap at the sides of the case and the mini sucker pops open."

smash's world 6.7b: taking-apart the Mac mini (how-to disassembly video) _ the official homepage of Ben Guild (smash) http://www.smashsworld.com/2005/01/taking-apart-mac-mini-how-to.php

Also, hop over to http://www.mini-itx.com/news/13909018/ for more mainboard shots.

Mac mini: Memory Specifications and Upgrades

NEWS: Apple has released memory info for the Mac Mini

Mac mini computers have a single memory slot. This slot accepts a standard PC2700 or PC3200 184-pin DIMM with the following specifications:

  • PC2700 or PC3200 Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM)
  • 2.5 volt
  • 8-byte
  • non-parity
  • 64-bit wide
  • 184-pin module
  • maximum of 16 memory devices on the DIMM
  • unbuffered - do not use registered or buffered SDRAM
  • maximum height of 50 mm

Using PC3200 memory does not provide additional speed benefits. Although the Mac mini supports PC3200 DIMMs, the PC3200 RAM will operate at PC2700 (333 MHz) speeds.

The Mac mini has a 256 MB base memory configuration, which can be expanded up to a maximum of 1 GB. The Mac mini can be configured to order (CTO) with 512 MB or 1 GB of SDRAM. Additional memory should be installed by an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

Video memory: The Mac mini has 32 MB DDR of soldered SDRAM dedicated for video. Video memory cannot be upgraded.

Tom Bihn eM2 Case - Mobility for the mini

PR: The eM 2 was designed specifically for the Mac mini, Apple's new computer. Though technically a desktop computer, at only 6.5" x 6.5" x 2" it's a natural for Mac mini owners to transport the computer from home to the office and back, to friends' houses, on business trips, to school, and maybe even on vacation (if your vacations are like ours).

Tom Bihn eM2 CaseJust like a laptop, the Mac mini must be protected from scrapes, scratches, dings and drops and that is why we designed the eM 2. At only 7.5" x 7.5" x 2.75" (200mm x 200mm x 80mm) and weighing 6.7 ounce (190 gr.) , the eM 2 does not add significant bulk to the slender computer but does add the protection of a .25" thick layer of padding.

The eM2 features a splash-resistant zipper and simple webbing handles for easy carrying. One side has a stretch mesh pocket that will accommodate a cable or two, or a couple of jewel cases. It fits nicely fit inside the Tom Bihn ID messenger bag, Smart Alec backpack, Brain Bag backpack, Empire Builder briefcase, Buzz sling bag, and even the Large and Medium Café bags. Of course it fits into just about any daypack, briefcase, or messenger bag you may have. Makes a sporty, albeit expensive, Bento Box as well.

Features:

  • 500 denier Geosung Musora exterior
  • .25" / 6mm closed cell foam padding
  • #8 YKK Uretek "splash-proof" zipper
  • Designed specifically for Mac mini
  • Overall dimensions: 7.5" x 7.5" x 2.75" / 200mm x 200mm x 80mm
  • Weight: 6.7 oz./ 190 grams
  • Made in Port Angeles, Washington, USA
  • Colors: deep blue, crimson, steel, solid black
  • Price: $40

In-car Mac mini Plans Emerge

NEWS: Macworld UK's Jonny Evans reports:

"The automobile industry isn't just considering iPod/vehicle integration - the new Mac mini's attracting interest, too.

"For around the price of mounting an iPod in your car, you get a whole Macintosh computer," said Melvin Benzaquen, president of Classic Restorations in Sloatsburg.

"He observes that the Mac mini could easily fit into a car stereo compartment, creating a powerful 'brain'? for any car, he said. He's convinced the new Mac mini could be 'one of the hottest innovations the car enthusiast market has seen in years.'"

Mobile Computing: Custom Mac mini Auto Installation

NEWS: Geekzone reports:

"Classic Restorations believes that the newly introduced Apple Mac Mini (2 x 6.5 inches) could easily fit into a car stereo compartment

"'We had been completing the design and prototypes of our modified iBook and PowerBook car installs when rumors of the Mac Mini began to circulate earlier this month,' said Benzaquen. 'We immediately began working on a new design and plan for car conversions on the new Mac Mini platform. We are pleased to be the first to offer the exciting Mac Mini conversion at a price far more accessible than any mobile PC alternative.'

""Classic Restorations' design provides either a touch screen or conventional LCD display options. Although the the Apple Mac mini mounts in a single-DIN slot in dash, Classic Restorations can customize installation to fit under the seat, in the glove box or any other location in the car."

Mini-box Releases Smart Power Supply for Car PCs

PR: Not mini-specific, but mini-related - Mini-box.com, a subsidiary of Ituner Networks Corp., has solved one of the most difficult problems in building automotive PCs by creating a stable, noiseless, intelligent power supply that eliminates battery drain and prevents damage from power surges. Mini-box's just released M1-ATX is the lowest cost, intelligent Mini-ITX power supply available for vehicles. The M1-ATX is designed to power VIA Technologies Inc.'s small form factor native x86 Mini-ITX mainboard, which is increasingly being adopted for entertainment systems in automobiles and boats as well as in the home.

The M1-ATX protects vehicle PCs from over-voltage and under-voltage conditions and power surges from engine cranks that can damage or destroy vehicle-based PCs. The M1-ATX can operate as low as 5.7V and as high as 30V while providing strict regulation, input voltage clamping and reverse protection.

Computers consume anywhere from a few milliwatts to several watts when they are turned off, which can quickly run down a car battery. The M1-ATX manages downtime battery use by using intelligent schemes for cutting off various functions at predetermined times and shutting the computer down completely when the car battery drops below 11 volts.

The M1-ATX has an 'anti-thump' control that will keep amplifiers turned off while the PC starts, eliminating annoying thumps and pops.

The M1-ATX is a fanless power supply unit, providing ultra-quiet power for the entire range of VIA mini-ITX mainboards.

"Car PCs have always been a dream that has been fraught with a multitude of power problems," says Andrei Bulucea, president of Mini-box.com. "Our M1-ATX has solved those issues in one, mass produced, low cost package."

Macminicolo.net Mac mini-based Colocation Service

PR: Patrick Dayton of Underwriters Technologies says:

"When we saw the press release for the mini, we thought of a use for it that no one else seems to have considered. It's incredibly small, with reasonable power, and at this point the only solution for collocation for Mac users is either ripping apart a perfectly good iMac and putting it into Marathon Rack Mounted case or spending the money on an Xserve.

"We have been doing this sort of thing since 1999. Now with the release of the Mac mini we have a new solution that can provide hi-end collocation for small to medium size businesses. Even though the Mac mini is slightly taller than a typical 1u in a cabinet, the ability to place several in a 2u space creates a more efficient use of space in a single cabinet. We see the potential to allow customers to collocate at a fraction of the cost of traditional collocation and with a suit of tools that allows the customer to access and monitor their mini from remote locations."

macminicolo.net is a data center based, colocation service. We provide you with a menu of services including multiple redundant very high speed Internet connections, remote control electrical power, a highly secure location to house your Mac mini, remote monitoring and remote human hands. You can then control your server via any remote protocol you like.

All the infrastructure is ready to go. macminicolo.net just need minis. If you have one they will colocate it now. As soon as they get their hands on a few mini's they will start selling/ renting them.

To control the Mac mini there are a variety of remote control tools available such as Timbuktu and Apple Remote Desktop.

Yes. Each Mac mini colocated at macminicolo.net has a unique, routable IP address. In addition to a static, routable IP address, each Mac mini is given a unique host name like: yourchoice.macminicolo.net

The company have been working with colocating Macs since 1999. At that point in time, the only thing you could do was rip apart a perfectly good iMac and mount it in a Marathon rack mount case. They also managed to use old ATA power supplies to get Blue and White G3s crammed into 2U cases (Most of these are still in service!)

Along the way they built lots of tools to take care of their non standard collocated Macs. These tools are perfectly applicable to the Mac mini. Many of these are deployed as part of macminicolo.net.

These days they do complex Mac-based hosting for a number of large corporate entities. Current projects include Underwriters Technologies and Pure Static.

"The mini is the first product in a long time to make us really exited," they say. "The fun is back!"

macminicolo.net is housed in the Data Foundry facility in Austin Texas. Their focus on both physical and network security, combined with ready accessibility for our key people made their selection an ideal one. While many data centers are little more than warehouses with wires, this facility is extremely clean and well managed.

This facility is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by a group of dedicated network engineers. These individuals monitor the condition of the networks, the physical plant, and even the local weather and news; watching for events which could disrupt service. Your equipment is rack mounted roughly fifteen feet from the Network Operation Center.

Built inside what used to be a bank vault, security is first rate. Once you enter the foyer all individuals must be identified by the network administrators before passing through a second set of doors to reach the racked equipment inside.

All traffic flowing to macminicolo.nets sites passes through this array of cutting edge routers. Multiple independent fiber channels bring the network to the building. Bandwidth is provided by three OC12 circuits.

iPod News

TuneJuice Battery Backup for iPod and iPod mini

PR: Ever run out of iPod battery without a power source in sight? TuneJuice is perfect for extending the play time of your iPod for those times when you just gotta have more than what your iPod battery can give you.

TuneJuiceTuneJuice works with any dockable iPod or iPod mini. If your iPod has some charge, the TuneJuice will provide up to 8 hours of additional play; a completely drained iPod will get up to 4 hours. Pop a standard 9-Volt battery into the TuneJuice and keep rocking.

It's the perfect carryon for airplanes, road trips and ski trips. Anytime you need some serious play time and don't have access to charge your 'Pod, TuneJuice is a lifesaver.

Griffin Technology recommends the use of rechargeable batteries to help reduce waste.

Price: $19

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.

MegaMacs

Wegener Media

  • iBook G3/300, 96/6/CD-ROM, blueberry/tangerine, $279.99
  • Order with AirPort Card installed, add $89.99
  • Upgrade to 320 MB RAM, add $39.50

Small Dog Electronics

TechRestore

Apple Store

Free shipping.

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

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