The 'Book Review

Virgin Bans 'Book Batteries, Sony to Take on MacBook, Glossy Screen Upgrades for G4 PowerBooks, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.09.22

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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

News & Opinion

Tech Tips and Info

Products and Services

Software

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

VirginAtlantic Travelers Must Remove Apple, Dell Laptop Batteries

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Virgin Atlantic has become the third airline to restrict the use of Apple and Dell laptop batteries on its flights. Passengers who want to take their Inspirons, Lattitudes, iBooks, PowerBooks, MacBooks or MacBook Pros onto the carrier's planes are asked to remove the battery first.

"Like Korean Air, which recently instituted its own battery ban, Virgin Atlantic isn't preventing such notebook owners from operating their laptops, but it is limiting them to seat-side power supplies. Flying coach or economy without an in-seat power supply? Then you can't use your Apple or Dell machine."

Sony to Take on Apple's MacBook

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Sony has rolled out its latest Core Duo-based consumer-friendly notebook, a compact unit with a footprint the size of an A4 sheet of paper, a 15.4in widescreen display and more than a hint of the Apple MacBook about it....

"Like the MacBook, the N10 ships in white, with a recessed, button-like keyboard. Put 'em side by side and you might almost think they'd been separated at birth."

MacBook Pro Fashionably Late to the Merom Party

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady says:

"Almost every PC notebook vendor and their brother is hawking Core 2 Duo powered notebooks these days and Mac-heads are starting to get a little miffed. Understandably so.

"Didn't Apple jumped into bed with Intel because they had a great chip pipeline and they could deliver the silicon - fast? Yes and yes. This time Apple can't blame their inability to ship on Intel, though. It's their own doing.

"I've previously posted that Apple will release a MacBook Pro based on the Intel Core 2 Duo (formerly 'Merom') processor in late October or early November and sources indicate that this is pretty close to the mark."

Intel Readies Low-voltage Core 2 Duos

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Intel will ship its first Core 2 Duo-derived Celeron M budget notebook processors in Q1 2007, Taiwanese industry sources have claimed. At the same time, the chip giant will offer low-voltage versions of its current 'Merom' line-up, they say."

New Battery Tech Still Years Away

Reuters' Franklin Paul says:

"Concerns over exploding computer batteries may be heating up, but alternative power sources for portable devices like laptops, music players and cellphones could still be up to 10 years away.

"Sony Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp., and MTI Micro Fuel Cells are among those racing to develop fuel cells, which produce electricity from an external supply of fuel as opposed to a battery's internal storage capacity....

"'There is nothing in the near term that can satisfy all the requirements that have to come from a battery, It has to be light, small, last a long time and relatively safe,' said NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker...."

White MacBook to Receive Signatures from Tech Stars

PR: Cambrian House Inc., a Calgary-based software company with a unique crowdsourcing business model, announced today the launch of their new fundraising campaign "Follow the White Laptop". The campaign kicked off by delivering a new white MacBook to Guy Kawasaki the former Apple evangelist, in hopes of him signing it and sending it off to another "technology rock star".

"The goal of the campaign is to get as many signatures from luminaries in the technology sector as possible and then auction it off on eBay early next year," says Michael Sikorsky, CEO of Cambrian House. "This is a great cause that all our employees are passionate about, and I feel it is important as a company to sometimes step back from our everyday operations and focus some energy to giving back to those who are less fortunate."

All proceeds of the auction will be donated to the Youth for Technology Foundation, an international nonprofit organization that seeks to bridge the digital canyon among disadvantaged communities in developing countries, starting with the continent of Africa.

The company is hoping the laptop gets passed onto a diverse range of technology entrepreneurs including people like Bill Gates (Microsoft), Kevin Rose (Digg.com), Steve Jobs (Apple), Ze Frank (zefrank.com), and Chris DeWolfe (MySpace). "We are very lucky to have Guy Kawasaki kick off our campaign, and we look forward to seeing who he sends it off to," says Sikorsky.

Tech Tips and Info

Wait for Your Apple Notebook to Fully Shut Down Before You Close It

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"If you decide to shut down your Apple portable computer rather than putting it to sleep, be sure you allow it to shut down completely before you close the display."

Products and Services

Glossy Screen Upgrade for 12", 15", and 17" PowerBooks

PR: TechRestore, Inc. have announced that they have begun offering an overnight Glossy Screen Upgrade for PowerBook G4 Systems.

PowerBook G4 owners that are scheduling an overnight screen replacement now have the option of selecting from the standard matte finish LCD screen or upgrading to a glossy display. TechRestore's Overnight LCD Screen Replacement service provides a fast and hassle-free repair method for Macintosh laptop owners that experience a screen failure due to mechanical issues or accidental damage. The LCD screen repair program has a 24-hour turnaround time and flat-rate pricing that includes parts and installation at prices starting at $449 for PowerBooks and $349 for iBooks.

"The new glossy displays offered on MacBook and MacBook Pro systems offer rich colors and darker blacks," says Shannon Jean, Founder and President of TechRestore. "We're thrilled to now offer existing PowerBook G4 owners the same glossy screen experience as current models when performing a screen repair."

The TechRestore flat-rate LCD repair service is a complete, door-to-door overnight service for customers in the continental U.S. Once a repair is scheduled, a RestoreBox is sent via overnight courier to the customers home, office or school where their system is picked up and brought back overnight to TechRestore. Within 24-hours of receipt, a new LCD screen is installed and the system is sent back to the customer's location via overnight courier. Customers outside the U.S. can use TechRestore's Self-Restore service to schedule a screen repair. The Glossy Screen upgrade option is $79 for PowerBook G4 12", 15", and 17" systems, and it is available immediately.

The Laptop Stand

Laptop StandPR: The Laptop Stand is attractive, built with strong materials, lightweight, and affordable.

As well as mounting to any standard camera or video camera tripod, it can be used on any flat surface. The Laptop Stand is fully adjustable for viewing your laptop - a safe surface on which to mount your laptop.

Laptop StandAvailable in 3 different models ( Widescreen, Standard, and Mini ) The Laptop Stand can be packed away with your laptop in your laptop case for portability and extra stability for your laptop. The Laptop Stand will support virtually all models of laptops from Mac to PC.

Laptop StandThe Laptop Stand is strong, lightweight, sleek, and totally adjustable. Now you can bring along The Laptop Stand wherever you go. The Laptop Stand attaches to any video or standard camera tripod securely and easily.

Great for business presentations, classrooms, audio video setups, and countless other applications. The Laptop Stand also works great for projectors, propping up books, as a writing surface in bed, or for use on a podium. Its attractive design makes it fit in with any decor. Bring your laptop virtually anywhere. It also attaches to your tripod in seconds for an instant work desk for your laptop. Use it at the airport, in the office for additional space, or even take it to the park.

The Laptop Stand can match you. Colors available are standard Clear, Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, Black, and White. Custom colors can also be ordered.

Laptop StandFeatures:

  • The Laptop Stand can be attached to any video or standard camera tripod for diverse applications.
  • The Laptop Stand is attractive, built with strong materials, lightweight, and affordable.
  • The Laptop Stand is built in the USA.
  • The Laptop Stand is fully adjustable for viewing your laptop.
  • The Laptop Stand is a safe surface to mount your laptop.
  • The Laptop Stand can be packed with your laptop in your laptop case for portability and extra stability for your laptop.
  • The Laptop Stand will support virtually all models of laptops from Mac to PC.

Add a tripod to your order to create a full kit.

  • The Laptop Stand (Standard), $34.95
  • The Laptop Stand (Mousepad Kit), $64.95
  • The Laptop Stand (Widescreen), $44.95
  • Tripod, $59.95

Kensington Releases Four New Notebook Mice

PR: Si750m Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse

Si750mUltramobile comfort plus laser precision

With a comfortable sculpted design, high-resolution laser tracking, and 2.4 GHz wireless technology, the Kensington Si750m provides the ultimate in mobility and precision on the road.

Features

  • Micro size and sculpted design ensure comfort and control
  • High-resolution laser tracking provides superior precision on almost any surface
  • 2.4 GHz wireless technology ensures high performance and secure connectivity without interference
  • Mini receiver tucks easily inside the mouse and automatically turns it off when stowed to preserve power
  • Battery indicator light blinks green to red as the battery level is used. Up to 6 months of battery life on 1 AA battery.

Specifications

  • Unit measures: 3.25"d x 2.0"w x 1.25"h
  • USB dongle measures: 1.75"d x 0.50"w x 0.25"h
  • Available USB Port; PC/Mac compatible
  • 2.4 GHz wireless technology
  • 5 Year Warranty

Dimensions: 3.0"L X 1.0"H X 1.75"W

Si750m Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse is backed by the Kensington 5-Year Warranty

Price: $49.99

Si650m Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse

Si650mDesigned to use at your desk or on the go

With a comfortable midsize shape, sculpted grips, Performance Optical tracking and 2.4 GHz wireless technology, the Kensington Si650m is the ideal mouse for your desktop or notebook.

Features

  • Midsize shape and sculpted grips ensure comfort and control at your desk or on the go
  • Performance Optical Technology 1000 dpi optical tracking provides superior precision and responsiveness
  • 4-way tilt-scroll wheel lets you navigate documents or Web sites easily
  • 2.4 GHz wireless technology minimizes interference
  • Mini receiver tucks easily inside the mouse and automatically turns it off when stowed
  • Battery indicator signal as battery is consumed. Life expectancy up to 9 months of life on 2 AA batteries. (Batteries included)

Specifications

  • Performance Optical Sensor for 1000 dpi tracking precision
  • 2.4 GHz wireless technology
  • Tilt-wheel scroll wheel & Rubberized Grips
  • USB receiver; PC/Mac compatible
  • 5 Year Warranty

Dimensions: 3.75"L X 1.5"H X 2.0"W

Si650m Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse is backed by the Kensington 5-Year Warranty and free technical support.

Price: $39.99

Ci65m Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse

Ci65mBetter performance for the office or the road.

With a flexible design and soft, comfortable grips, performance optical technology provides 1000 dpi tracking, the Kensington Ci65m is the perfect companion to your notebook computer.

Features

  • Flexible design and soft grips ensure comfort and control
  • Performance Optical Technology 1000 dpi optical tracking provides superior precision and responsiveness
  • 3 buttons plus a scroll wheel make it easy to navigate documents or Web sites
  • Snap-in Ultra Slim receiver stores easily inside the mouse and automatically turns it off when stowed
  • Battery level indicators signals when you at 40% usage left, then 10% giving you ample time to replace. Battery life expected up to 1 year of use on 2 AA batteries (batteries included)

Specifications

  • Unit Measures: 3.75"d x 2.5"w x 1.5"h
  • USB Measures: 2.5"d x 0.75"w x 0.25"h
  • USB Wireless Receiver; PC/Mac Compatible
  • 5 Year Warranty

Ci65m Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse is backed by the Kensington 5-Year

Price: $29.99

Ci25m Notebook Optical Mouse

Ci25mMobility, comfort, and convenience

With a flexible shape and soft, comfortable grips, diamond eye optical tracking, and a retractable cord, the Kensington Ci25m is perfect for all your travels.

Features

  • Flexible design is ideal for left or right-handed use
  • Absorbent rubber grips ensure comfort and control
  • DiamondEye® optical delivers better accuracy and responsiveness
  • 3 buttons make it easy to navigate documents or Web sites
  • Retractable cord eliminates tangles

Specifications

  • Retractable cord extends to 30"
  • DiamondEye Optical sensor
  • Comfort grips for hours of comfort
  • Available USB port ; PC/Mac compatible
  • DiamondEye optical

Dimensions: 3.5"L X 1.75"H X 2.25"W

Price: $19.99

Wrappers Textile and Fire Retardant MacBook Covers

PR: Fire Retardant Jumbocord Covers

JumbocordWrappers has launched a range of corduroy covers for Apple MacBooks . The contract quality sleeves can be personalised with your ID on the tag and are available now in five autumn colours.

Wrappers jumbocord covers for Apple's MacBook are made from contract quality corduroy. Contract quality means the fabric has passed a 100,000 wear and tear rub test. The fire retardant backing uses the latest graphite granule technology, which as well as a safety benefit, prevents the corduroy loosing its shape over time. Sleeves have a layer of cushioning for added protection and a chestnut coloured microfibre lining.

The autumn collection comes in five, natural fall colours: Raven, not jet but soft black for a good match with Apple's black MacBook; Tobacco, a muted, earthy brown; Terracotta, the strongest colour in the collection more natural brick than electric orange; classic Ivory and finally Taupe, a soft, subtle colour which is a slightly darker, cousin to Ivory.

corduroy sleeveWrappers' corduroy sleeves feature exclusive tailoring that avoids leaving one end of the MacBook exposed, without the need for zips or Velcro.

The new sleeves are tailored to fit Apple's MacBook 13 inch notebook. In stock now priced from £15.99

MacBook Lap & Laptop Protector

Wrappers has launched a heat resistant rubber sleeve for Apple's MacBook 13 inch. The cover doubles as an insulated mat that reduces the heat felt on your legs when using a notebook on your lap. Made from high quality, heat resistant rubber, the slimline mat is less than a centimetre thick but insulates against temperatures up to 250 degrees centigrade.

Cool Linen Sleeves for MacBooks

Wrappers has launched a range of peach skin linen sleeves that you can personalise with your initial.

Linen is a natural fibre, two to three times as strong as cotton, so a durable alternative to synthetic fibres

The new sleeves are available in five colours and are tailored to fit Apple's MacBook 13" notebook. In stock now priced from £15.99.

Urban Camo MacBook sleeve

Urban Camo MacBook sleeveWrappers has launched an Urban Camo sleeve tailored to fit Apple's MacBook 13 inch notebook. The monochrome sleeve looks equally good on matte black and shiny white MacBooks.

In stock now, priced £14.99

Denim MacBook sleeve

Denim MacBook sleevesWrappers has added three new lining colours to its denim MacBook cover. The padded blue denim sleeve is available with a choice of brilliant white, cherry red, navy blue, army green or orange lumo microfibre linings ( see picture above).

In stock now, priced £15.99

Canvas MacBook bag

Canvas MacBook bagWrappers has launched a heavy duty matte black utility canvas sleeve tailored to fit Apple's MacBook 13 inch notebook.

Priced £15.99

Buy two sleeves and save £5.00

Combine two sleeves including postage & packing for £35.98 and save £5.00

For a customised cover, Wrappers will add your ID to the tag on your bag. Personalised tags cost an additional £3.00.

Nova Media Unveils GlobeSurfer ICON Wireless Modem

PR: Nova Media has introduced GlobeSurfer ICON, a USB modem to establish mobile Internet connections with any Macintosh Computer running OS X 10.3.9 or higher. The ICON supports HSDPA and 3G UTMS speeds in Europe and Asia as well as EDGE and GPRS connections around the globe.

GlobeSurfer ICON"We are happy to offer a HSDPA solution for all Macs without a PC Card or ExpressCard slot!", states Jan Fuellemann, PR spokesperson at nova media. "GlobeSufer ICON is USB-powered and extremely handy. It is possible to connect an external antenna to boost the reception in areas with low signal quality."

GlobeSurfer ICON includes the Internet connect wizard launch2net which offers a one-click connection to the Internet without the need to enter cryptic connection details.

GlobeSurfer ICON is available today for €339 plus VAT at the company's website.

Software

Lab Tick Lets You Control Backlit Keyboard

PR: Lab Tick allows you to turn on your PowerBook, MacBook, or MacBook Pro's illuminated keyboard in the daylight.

Have you ever been annoyed by your PowerBook's (or MacBook Pro's) backlit keyboard? You can not control it; you simply have to deal with the behaviour dictated by the ambient light sensor, which sometimes does not work really well. The idea of a backlit keyboard is awesome, but the implementation in Mac OS X has its flaws. Lab Tick aims to fix them.

Changes in 0.6.1 (2006-09-02):

  • Fixed bug: adding the application to the login items did not work.

Changes in 0.6 (2006-08-28):

  • Changed the application to run as a menubar application without a Dock icon.
  • Added automated update checks with Sparkle.
  • Redesigned "About" window with updated credits.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, PowerBook or MacBook with a backlit keyboard.

System support: PPC/Intel

Free

Forget-Me-Not Remembers Window Size, Location

PR: Forget-Me-Not is a background application that keeps track of the positions and sizes of your windows. When you change the configuration of your screens

Users of portable Macs, how many times have you encountered this scenario? You've connected your laptop to a nice big monitor, you have your windows arranged for optimal creativity and productivity, then you realize that there's a meeting in 10 minutes and you need your Mac for a presentation. Suddenly, you break out into a cold sweat, knowing that the window arrangement you spent countless hours on will be lost! (Okay, maybe not hours, but still...)

Fear Not!

Thanks to Forget-Me-Not™, you need not worry! Forget-Me-Not® will remember your window positions for you! Forget-Me-Not© will save your window sizes! Forget-Me-Not/ will restore everything for you when you reconnect your monitor! A picture says a thousand words - take a look at this graphical representation:

  • Before the configuration changes, it saves the states (positions and sizes) of your windows.
  • After the configuration changes, it moves and resizes your windows to match the way they were laid out the last time you were in this configuration.

This way you can connect to low-resolution projectors with confidence, knowing that your windows will be restored to their current positions and sizes when you disconnect. If you work dual-head with a large external monitor but take your laptop home for the night, your windows will go back where you left them when you reconnect the next day.

Forget-Me-Not is free and open-source, licensed under the GNU Lesser GPL.

Some Details:

  • The current version of Forget-Me-Not is 1.0.2
  • Forget-Me-Not is a preference-pane-driven app that runs in the background.
  • It requires "access for assistive devices" to be enabled in the Universal Access preference pane.
  • It does work for X11 windows.
  • FMN has been developed and tested with OS X 10.4 Tiger, and should work with 10.3 Panther.
  • To get the FMN source, download and install the DARCS revision control system and do the following: darcs get http://www.n8gray.org/darcs/fmn

New in version 1.0.2:

Bug-fix release. Fixed all known memory leaks! Also excluded MS Word since it can't handle its windows being moved/resized.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

System support: PPC/Intel

Free

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.

PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.

Other World Computing

60-day warranty.

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 320/10/CD, Mac OS 9.2.2, Mac OS X 10.2.8, $199
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 320/10/CD, AirPort, Mac OS 9.2.2, OS X, $269
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 256/20/CD, Mac OS 9.2.2, $259
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 256/20/CD, AirPort, Mac OS 9, $329

Baucom Computers

  • PowerBook "Kanga" G3/250, 160/5/CD, floppy, $119
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $325 (add AirPort for $99)

TechRestore

TechRestore is offering a $25 discount to 'Book Review readers off any PowerBook or iBook in stock. Just enter the code CWM during checkout when ordering online. The coupon code is valid from now through 2007.12.31.

  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 128/40/Combo, $749.99
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, Bluetooth, $779.99
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 256/60/Combo, Bluetooth, $1,099.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/Combo, $1,249.99

Apple Store

  • refurb 13" 1.83 GHz MacBook, white, 512/60e/Combo, $949
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/, SuperDrive, APX, BT 2.0, $1,199
  • refurb 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1024/120/SuperDrive, $2,399

Wegener Media

Not a laptop, but a pretty enticing deal in a flat panel desktop, especially if you already have a mouse and keyboard.

  • 15" iMac G4/700, 256/40/CD-RW, 60 day warranty, $359.99
  • Upgrade to 16x SuperDrive (must be ordered at same time as system), $59.99
  • Upgrade to Combo drive (must be ordered at same time as system), $49.99
  • With Keyboard & optical mouse, add $19.99
  • RAM upgrade to 512 MB (must be ordered at same time as system), $29.99
  • RAM upgrade to 1 GB (must be ordered at same time as system), $139.50
  • Order an internal Airport card with iMac, free installation (offer good only with iMac purchase), $109.99

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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