The 'Book Review

Reinstall OS X on MacBook Air, Going from MacBook to Eee PC, High Capacity Batteries, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.02.15

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion

Apple Updates

Tech Trends

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

What Do You Want in the Next MacBook Pro?

My latest The 'Book Mystique column on PBCentral muses about the next MacBook Pro:

"By any measure, the MacBook Pro form factor is getting long in the tooth, essentially dating back to January, 2003 and September, 2003 respectively for the 17 into and 15-inch models, since Apple pretty much just rolled over the previous PowerBook G4 aluminum case designs with the switch to Intel chips. There are some small differences, notably to accommodate the iSight camera in the Macintel version, but the casual observer would be hard-pressed to detect the difference. Five years as is an epoch in computerdom.

"So, the Pro 'Books are overdue for a major revision, and now that the "Air" has been cleared, so to speak, as to Apple's subnotebook plans, the logical next candidate for attention in the notebook line is the MacBook Pro....

"Now, I know what I would like to see in the next generation Pro 'Books, and it doesn't include a thinner profile. In my estimation the current models are already thinner than they ought to be. My (fantasy) MacBook Pro wish list would include a return of the removable device expansion bay last seen in the 2000 PowerBook Pismo, and increased component modularity and ease of servicing, building and expanding on the MacBook's simple hard drive access. I would like more - not fewer -I/0 ports, for example a third USB port in the 15-inch model, and while I'm dreaming, cooler running, perhaps facilitated by a less cramped (i.e.: less thin) case would be nice. I'd like an internal modem too, but the chances of that are virtually zero, so that third USB port is the next best thing."

Are Extended Life Laptop Replacement Batteries Worth the Extra Cost?

In The Road Warrior on MacOpinion this week, I discuss extended life replacement batteries for laptops:

"I've had generally pretty good luck with Apple laptop batteries. The Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery in my PowerBook 5300 lasted through the machine's useful life span (six years, counting the three years my daughter used it in high school and college) and at 11 years plus now will still hold a bit of a charge. The original lithium-ion battery is also still in my 1998 WallStreet PowerBook, although it will only hold a charge for a few minutes work, but is still good enough to keep the memory alive for a day or so of sleep time. Not a problem for an old machine that stays mostly plugged in when it's used at all. The original battery in my 65 month old G3 iBook, now handed off to my wife, is still in fine fettle, still accepting a charge to an astonishing 97 percent of its original 4200 mAh capacity according to the Coconut Battery utility. Ditto for my 17" PowerBook G4, whose battery (manufactured in 2004) still shows 4,888 mAh of its original 5,400 mAh capacity (90 percent)

"The exception has been my Pismo PowerBook, whose original battery died around its 3rd anniversary in 2003....

"I'm very satisfied with the performance of . . . extended life batteries . . . You can find cheaper replacement batteries, but not all that much cheaper, and the extra capacity is the clincher. With two of the 7xxx mAh units, you should be able to go 10-12 hours or more unplugged from AC power. Pretty cool."

A Good Way to Reinstall the System on a MacBook Air

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"Given the limited size of the hard disks of MacBook Air, the majority of owners will certainly want to reinstall its system, so that unused languages and printers drivers can be purged.

"If you have bought the external DVD unit, it is very simple....

"If you did not get the DVD unit, you will have to do the installation using CD/DVD sharing....

"Another easy way is to use WiFi...."

MacBook Air Diary: Installing 10.5.2

ZD Net's Jason D. O'Grady says:

"I generally wait at least 72 hours before installing any operating system updates from Apple but yesterday's announcement of 10.5.2 made me throw caution to the wind. I figured that I had a solid backup (as Apple recommends) and I wanted to see if the new update from Cupertino would play nice with the MacBook Air."

MacBook Air's Multi-touch Is All Soft

Ars Technica's Chris Foresman says:

"Turns out all those fancy multi-touch gestures seen on the MacBook Air, by way of the iPhone, are all soft - software, that is. An Apple spokesperson told T3 - the article there has since been taken down, but not before being quoted by MacNN - that magic is actually entirely software-based, indicating that it could be added to other Macs pretty easily."

I Gave Up My MacBook for an Eee PC

Laptop Mag's Jeffrey L. Wilson says:

"So this is it, the final day of the grand experiment. Over the course of the 5 days that I'd abandoned my Apple MacBook for the Asus Eee PC 4G Surf, I learned how to repair the system's wonky Wi-Fi connection, create a more work-friendly typing experience, and tweak the Xandros operating system so that it would display in full desktop mode - with a little assistance from the helpful and passionate Eee User community. Much thanks to all involved."

Getting Testy with the MacBook Air

Macworld UK's Brian Chen reports:

"The words 'There's something in the air' at Macworld Expo made the MacBook Air sound like a paper-thin gift descending from Apple's heavens. And after testing several incremental upgrades to pre-existing Macs, I was looking forward to the Air - something brand new, a breath of fresh air, if you will. But, after spending some time testing the MacBook Air, the only thing in the air around the Macworld Lab were words one can't reprint in a family publication....

"...we most definitely learned one thing this week: the MacBook Air is a different kind of beast, and it's going to take a little while for us to learn all its idiosyncracies. (Right now would probably not be the best time to ask us if that's a good thing or not.)"

What the MacBook Air Gets Right (and What It Gets Wrong)

PC Magazine says:

"I've long been a fan of ultraportable computers, those lightweight laptops that are maybe a little less powerful than the big notebooks, but much easier to carry. So I've gotten a lot of questions about Apple's MacBook Air, which was first announced at MacWorld last month and is just now starting to ship. PC Magazine has a complete review here, but I've spent some time with the machine over the past few weeks and wanted to share some thoughts about the machine and how it stacks up to other lightweight machines.

"Like every designer of lightweight machine, Apple had some tradeoffs to make, and overall the company got a lot very right - and a few things very wrong - in designing the MacBook Air, its first ultraportable."

MacBook Air 'Compelling'

MacInTouch's Robert Mohns has posted a very thorough review of the MacBook Air:

"Stunningly thin and lighter than any Apple laptop ever made, yet missing ports and expandability expected of laptops, the MacBook Air has been a topic of intense discussion in the Mac community.

"The MacBook Air is not a traditional Apple pro model, lacking the requisite raw power and expandability. Yet, at $700 more than the basic MacBook (which is much faster), it's clearly not positioned as a consumer laptop, either....

"Apple says they designed the MacBook Air's 'form factor' - its shape and size - and then figured out how to fit a computer into it....

"Sleek elegance is the first impression of the MacBook Air, and touching it is pure pleasure. It's the most visually and tactilely compelling Mac laptop since the black PowerBook G3 series.

"And everything about the MacBook Air exudes precision. The screen opens more smoothly than any Apple laptop's in recent memory....

"The MacBook Air is remarkably sturdy, too....

'Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.'
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry, 1939, Terre des Hommes

"Apple appears to have taken the poet and aviator Antoine de Saint Exupéry to heart...."

LG: Laptop Batteries Won't Explode Under Normal Use

The position of Associated Press (AP) is that you may not quote more than 5 words from any of its copyrighted articles without paying $12.50 or more for a "quotation license". Rather than pay this fee or risk the wrath of AP, we are removing all AP quotes from the site along with links to those articles.

We regret any inconvenience to our readers, but we will never pay for what is considered Fair Use under copyright law. We consider brief quotations in our news roundups to be Fair Use and a benefit to the site that we quoted from and linked to. (We adhere to the Open Link policy, and our Fair Use policy specifically allows quoting up to 50% or 300 words of our original content, whichever is less.)

Apple Updates

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.5.2 Update

The 10.5.2 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Leopard and includes fixes and enhancements for Stacks, Time Machine, bundled iLife apps., and Safari, enhanced camera RAW support, Mail bugfixes, and general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac. For a more comprehensive list of changes, see below.

The updater file is a whopping 343 MB and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later. To update to Mac OS X 10.5.2, use Software Update or the standalone installer which can be downloaded from Apple.com

It is recommended that you back up your system prior to installing any updates.

Choose Software Update from the Apple menu to automatically check for the latest Apple software using the Internet, including this update. (Software Update might have linked you to this article to learn more about the update.) If your computer is not up-to-date, other software updates available for your computer may appear that you should install. Note that an update's size may vary from computer to computer when installed using Software Update. Also, some updates must be installed prior to others, so you should run Software Update more than once to make sure you have all available updates.

You can download the update installer and run it manually if you don't want to use Software Update. The standalone installer is a useful option when you need to update multiple computers but only want to download the update once. The Mac OS X 10.5.2 Update standalone installer is available from Apple Support Downloads.

  • Download page

    Leopard Graphics Update 1.0 for OS X 10.5.2

    Adding another 48.9 MB to the already humongous OS X 10.5.2 update is the somewhat mysterious Leopard Graphics Update, which Apple is recommending for all users and says improves the stability and compatibility of your Mac. This update requires Mac OS X 10.5.2 to be installed first, and wants a second reboot.

    Reportedly, the Leopard Graphics Update contains mainly graphics drivers it contains graphics drivers, including an AltivecDVDDriver, IntelGMA drivers, ATI drivers, GeForce and NVDANV drivers, and a new OpenGL framework.

    System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.2

    You can download the update from Apple.com.

    Apple Security Update 2008-001 for Mac OS X 10.4.11

    About Security Update 2008-001 (Universal)

    Security Update 2008-001 (Universal) is recommended for all users and improves the security of the following components:

    Security Update 2008-001 (Universal) SHA1 Digest:

    SecUpd2008-001Univ.dmg=

    f572a0e29df4b44e124a92d5601ba45772818e02

    For explanation of what a SHA1 digest is, visit this website:

    http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n75510

    File Size: 28.8 MB

    About Security Update 2008-001 (PPC)

    Security Update 2008-001 (PPC) is recommended for all users and improves the security of the following components:

    Security Update 2008-001 (PPC) SHA1 Digest:

    SecUpd2008-001PPC.dmg=

    bf3ebc69e094000d48d94e997a4d51f25c4824e0

    For explanation of what a SHA1 digest is, please visit this website:

    http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n75510

    File Size: 16.7 MB

  • Security Update 2008-001 for PowerPC
  • Tech Trends

    Windows XP for OLPC is Almost Here

    Desktop Linux's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols says:

    "It's not like anyone has asked for Windows XP to run on the Linux-powered One Laptop Per Child XO laptop, but Microsoft is getting ready to deliver it to us anyway.

    "In an eWEEK news story by Peter Galli, Orlando Ayala, senior vice president of Microsoft's Unlimited Potential Group, said Microsoft is conducting field trials to make sure that a modified XP Service Pack 2 will run well on the XO. According to Ayala, 'We are encouraged by what we have seen of Windows on the XO machine so far, and field trials started at the end of January involving about 200 XO machines running a customized version of Windows XP SP2 with a reduced footprint image.'"

    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.

    Apple Store

    Refurb 2.2 Ghz Santa Rosa 15" MacBook Pros are available again late in the week, in my estimation a better value than the older 2.16 GHz models for $200 less and 2.33 MHz Core 2 Duo models that are offered for $200 more. The higher-spec. 15-incher has never seemed to me to be much of a deal. cm

    • refurb 2.0 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $949
    • refurb 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, $1,049
    • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,249
    • refurb 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,099
    • refurb 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,299
    • refurb 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,499
    • refurb 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,699
    • refurb 15" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,899
    • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,099
    • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,299

    TechRestore

    • 15" PowerBook G4/400, 256/20/DVD, $499.99
    • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, $999.99

    Wegener Media - G3 iBooks - 15" MacBook Pro - 17" MacBook Pro

    • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/128mb RAM /CD, $169.99
    • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/15/128mb RAM/CD, $249.99
    • 12" iBook G3/700, 128/20/128RAM/Combo, $329.99
    • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/256mb RAM/Combo, $399.99
    • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,179.99
    • 15" 2 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,239.99
    • 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,399.99
    • 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,499.99
    • 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,529.99
    • 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/200/SD, $1,619.99

    Baucom Computers

    • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/30/Combo, $399
    • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/30/Combo, APX, $439
    • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $879
    • 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 G/160/SD, $1,259

    Power Max

    • MacBook 2.0 GHz Core 2, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $999
    • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, warranty started $1,199
    • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,229
    • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,379
    • MacBook 2.16 GHz Core 2, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,439
    • open box 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,899
    • open box 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,439
    • open box 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,599

    PowerBook Guy

    • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $199.95
    • 12" iBook G3/500, 256/10/Combo, $399.95
    • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/20/CD, $219.95
    • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $229.95
    • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/CD, $249.95
    • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/40/Combo, $479.95
    • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 768/40/Combo, $529.95
    • 14" iBook G3/800, 256/30/Combo, $349.95
    • 14" iBook G3/900, 256/40/Combo, $369.95

    Custom Macs

    • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, OS X 10.4, $589.99

    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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