The 'Book Review

Can a MacBook Replace a 12" PowerBook?, Safe Wakeup for MacBooks, Battery Tips, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.04.10

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

Reviews

Tech Trends

Products

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Can a MacBook Replace a 12" PowerBook?

Macworld's Derik DeLong asks and answers a question many fans of the late, lamented 12" aluminum PowerBook have been asking for the past three years, noting:

"About a month ago, I finally had to let go of an old friend. After a couple years of propping him up, it was time to retire my 12-inch PowerBook. No, you didn't read that wrong: I was still using a G4-powered Mac....

"However, after replacing the screen and the hard drive, the battery decided to give out while I was at Macworld Expo. I limped by [but a] virtual gun was put to my head when I had to head to Hawaii for several weeks....

"I bit the (again, virtual) bullet and bought a MacBook (a very fine 2 GHz unibody model that I promptly outfitted with 4 GB of RAM). Overall, I'm thrilled with my purchase, but a few things took me by surprise...."

How I Came to Get a PC and Not a Mac

eWeek's Joe Wilcox says:

"Microsoft's 'Laptop Hunters' commercials have generated lots of Mac vs. Windows PC debate. Surely there can't be enough, so I'd like to generate even more. Quite unexpectedly, I'm a PC.

"I don't buy new computers very often, and for a long time I slightly favored Macs over Windows PCs. So no one perhaps is more surprised than me that my now four-month old laptop is a Sony and not an Apple....

"I was willing to spend as much as $2,000 on a new laptop, which largely eliminated the price premium typically associated with Macs as an eliminating factor. My choice came down to priorities that the Sony laptop met that no Mac in the price range could meet....

"I've been using Windows as my primary operating system. Windows 7 is the reason....

"I'm a PC, and I just can't believe it."

Safely Waking Your MacBook from Sleep

ZD Net's David Morgenstern says:

"When we put our MacBooks to sleep, we hope that they will wake. Please! And we when we want them to go to sleep, we hope that they will slumber. But it always doesn't work that way.

"When running under Mac OS X Tiger (10.4), I occasionally encountered problems getting my MacBook Pro to wake from sleep. I found the following procedure helps...."

Tips for Great Battery Life

MacFixIt says:

"As the world of personal electronics grows increasingly mobile, issues surrounding battery life, lifespan, and consumption are becoming hot topics for users and manufacturers alike. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are the standard power source for many of our favorite Apple products: portable notebooks, iPods, and iPhones. Although at some point all rechargeable lithium ion batteries will fail, there are some tips and practices that can help extend the life of one of the most valuable components of your mobile experience."

The article has sections of tips for prolonging battery life with iPods, iPhones, and notebooks.

The Case of the Missing MacBook Pro Keyboard and Trackpad

The Apple Blog's Clayton Lai says:

"About three weeks ago, the keyboard and trackpad on my MacBook Pro (from mid-2007) began failing randomly for no apparent reason. I would turn it on only to find its keyboard and trackpad unresponsive to any input. Rebooting sometimes helped, but many times it did not. Without a reproducible pattern I could determine, it was impossible to know if the problem was caused by failing hardware, a software conflict, or both...."

Jumpy and Erratic MacBook Trackpads

MacFixIt reports:

"Apple has gone through great lengths to be at the cutting edge in terms of input devices, particularly with its laptops. With the MacBook, Apple introduced and evolved the multitouch capabilities and has invested heavily in research and development to ensure the feel and functionality are as flawless as possible. For the majority of people, this effort has paid off; however, for some, there reports or erratic trackpad behavior...."

When Your MacBooks Die, Be Sure to Have a Backup Plan

Macworld UK's Andy Ihnatko says:

"How do you people get through the day?

"The little Inspector panel here in my word processor reports that this question is only 63% rhetorical (good God, is there anything that Scrivener can't do?). I have a good half-dozen working computers in my office and there are times when bringing you a column is like getting a sack of mail from Plum Creek, Nebraska to Sacramento, California. I ride one computer until it collapses or shies up lame. Then I jump off, grab my mochilla from my exhausted mount, and jump onto the computer that ll carry me for the next ten miles or so.

"Generally I keep this up until my work is done, or I run out of working computers. Some days, I get to go to the movies at one in the afternoon.

"So honestly, I have no idea how you folks manage with just the one computer . . . If I only had two, I d keep the second one mounted on the wall under a pane of glass and would only break it out in case of a zombie attack or something...."

How to Make the Apple Logo on a MacBook Into an LCD Screen

coolest-gadgets.com says:

"You have to admire the people who make laptops. Every time you use one, you prominently display the logo of the laptop maker every time you use it. So every time I am using my laptop at a coffee shop or library, I am a sitting advertisement for Toshiba!

"MacBooks may not have the word 'Apple' written on them, but that picture of the fruit with a bite taken out of it is probably better than any company name. In today's society, images are more powerful than words.

"Designer Eddie Zarick has found a way to put that Apple logo on the front of a MacBook to good use by figuring out how to make the logo into an LCD screen. This is a total DIY project, but he has posted instructions for any DIYer on his Ed's Junk site...."

Snow White bites into an Apple MacBook Snow White and Her Apple (MacBook)

Cnet's John Chan says:

"In what could possibly be the coolest MacBook cover ever, Flickr user LubeckerJung put a picture of Snow White holding the Apple logo. For those not familiar with this fairy tale, Snow White bites into a poisoned apple and falls into a coma, awakened only by some prince later on. The one thing that would make this mod even better was if she was standing on the right, so the bite would be on the correct side...."

Reviews

17" MacBook Pro: Remarkable Screen

IT Pro's Mike Jennings reports:

"Apple has finally updated its flagship 17in model with its unibody design. It's a looker alright but how does it fare for performance and value?

"Apple's products are some of the most divisive and compelling in the industry, so it's no surprise that the 15.4in MacBook Pro prompted plenty of debate. The good looks, solid design and build were offset by a number of niggles: some disliked the scrabble-tile keyboard, others baulked at the non-removable battery, and plenty didn't approve of the unusual button-free trackpad.

"For all the fuss back then about aluminium construction and button-less trackpads, though, the most striking feature of the new 17in MacBook Pro is more traditional: the screen. It's not an RGB LED panel, but traditional white LED technology. No matter: the screen is remarkable, with fantastic colour range, accuracy and clarity....

"The latest MacBook Pro comes with a considerable list of pros and cons. The stunning, high-resolution screen, powerful hardware and superb build quality will endear the 17in Apple to those keen on image and video editing, or simply those just looking for a luxurious desktop replacement. Conversely, the keyboard and trackpad are a mite disappointing and the specification isn't as versatile as rival machines...."

Tech Trends

Was Wireless USB Worth the Wait?

Computerworld's Brian Nadel says:

"As the Universal Serial Bus (USB) approaches its 13th birthday, like other adolescents it's eager to start thinking and acting independently. For the USB, this means chucking the cable and connecting to a wide variety of printers, keyboards, hard drives and other office peripherals without wires.

"The idea behind Wireless USB (WUSB) is simple and seductive. Instead of connecting directly to a computer, WUSB uses ultrawide band (UWB) technology to wirelessly connect a USB peripheral to the system....

"On paper, WUSB matches the USB 2.0 limit of 480Mbit/sec. of throughput, but don't expect this level of performance from most real-life setups....

"Currently, there are about a dozen notebooks available with WUSB built in, but they are nearly all special-order items that are hard to actually get....

"To see what's possible with WUSB, I collected several currently available WUSB devices: hubs by D-Link and IOGear; the Cables Unlimited Wireless USB Adapter Set; and two video kits: Imation's Wireless Projection Link and IOGear's Wireless USB to VGA kit. I tried them out using a Dell Vostro 1510 notebook..."

Editor's note: We'd love to see Apple embrace Wireless USB and had hoped to see it in the MacBook Air. Wireless USB has been around since 2005 and runs at full speed with devices up to 10' (3m) away, and at one-quarter that speed over a 33'/10m range. Wireless USB has more range, greater speed, and better security than Bluetooth, but to date nobody has made it a standard feature, as Apple did with USB on the original iMac and 802.11b WiFi on the original iBook. dk

Products

New Overnight Screen Repair Program for MacBook Unibody

PR: TechRestore is now offering the only "Factory-Fit" flat-rate overnight LCD screen replacement service for aluminum Unibody MacBook 13" systems that have a cracked LCD screen.

Unibody MacBookThe new service is available immediately with repairs arriving daily to the TechRestore secure repair facility in Concord, California. The flat-rate overnight LCD screen replacement service for aluminum Unibody MacBook 13" systems is performed by TechRestore certified technicians that have made it their mission to provide the fastest repair turnaround time with unmatched customer service to all Mac owners throughout the United States. Once an Aluminum MacBook arrives to TechRestore, a repair professional inspects the system and alerts the customer to the fact that their Aluminum MacBook has arrived safely to our repair center. The LCD screen is then replaced within 24-hours of receipt, using a proprietary removal and bonding process to insure a true Factory-Fit screen replacement that is not possible at other repair centers. The flat-rate price of $399 includes a brand new LCD screen, professional installation, a 1-year warranty and free shipping vs. the $800 standard charge for a similar repair from Apple.

TechRestore technicians are uniquely qualified to perform LCD screen replacements on the Aluminum MacBook Unibody systems due to their engineering knowledge that was developed for the TechRestore Matte Finish Screen replacement service for all Unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro systems. This service was awarded a Macworld Expo 2009 Best of Show award and has been reviewed and featured in publications throughout the world. The MacBook and MacBook Pro Unibody systems require removal of a sealed glass covering prior to replacing of the LCD screen. TechRestore's exclusive method and proprietary equipment insure a Factory-Fit LCD screen replacement.

TechRestore offers an award-winning combination that brings Aluminum MacBook owners the best solution for their LCD screen repair:

Highlights:

  • Overnight turnaround time
  • Free shipping
  • Exclusive Factory-Fit Installation process
  • Award Winning Service

TechRestore offers free shipping on all approved repairs and we perform overnight service on MacBook, MacBook Pro, PowerBook and iBook computers. In addition, our consumer electronics division performs overnight repair on iPod Classic, iPod Touch, iPod Video, iPod Nano, iPhone, Sony PSP and other gaming systems. Their network of over 2000 local pickup locations often offers convenient pick up of your product in your neighborhood. TechRestore is certified by and follows the strict guidelines of the Bureau of Electronics Repair and all TechRestore certified technicians are professionally trained and many carry advanced electronics degrees.

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

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

Apple Store

Some early 2008 MacBook Pro's back this week, plus a full slate of refurb. unibodies save for the 17-incher.

  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $999
  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,199
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,099
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,299
  • refurb 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, $849
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/160/SD $949
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD $1,049
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,299
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/128 SSD/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,349
  • refurb 15" 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,499
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,699
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250 GB/SD, $1,799
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200 GB @ 7200 rpm/SD, $1,899

  • Axiotron Modbook - Value Priced Preconfigured Modbook Systems - $1,699
  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $949

MacMall

  • 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,099.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,209.99
  • 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,484.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,799.99
  • 15" 2.53 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 B/320/SD, $2,179.99
  • 17" 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD,- $1,949.99

Wegener Media - G3 iBooks - 15" Titanium PowerBook - 15" Aluminum PowerBook - MacBook - 15" MacBook Pro

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $169.99
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/15/CD, $249.99
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 128/20/Combo, $329.99
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/Combo, $399.99
  • 12" iBook G3/900, 256/40/Combo, $489.99
  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $594.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $659.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, black, 512/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $719.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $769.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/120/SD, 60 day warranty, $799.99
  • 15" Titanium PowerBook G4/867 MHz, 256/30/Combo, $549.99
  • 15" Titanium PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $699.99
  • 15" Aluminum PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" Aluminum PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $639.99
  • 15" Aluminum PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $679.99
  • 15" Aluminum PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, APX, $729.99
  • 15" hi-res Aluminum PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, $799.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, 90 day warranty, $899.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD 90 day warranty, $979.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/100/SD 90 day warranty, $1,099.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, 90 day warranty, $1,179.99

ExperCom

  • 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 1.25 GB/40/Combo, $449
  • 1.83 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/60 GB/Combo, $599
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/60/SD, $679
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 2 GB/80/SD, $749
  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/80/SD, $849
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/80/SD, $899
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, scratched, $649
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD $799

Baucom Computers

  • 1.83 GHz MacBook, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $600
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $609
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1.5 GB/100/SD, $719
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, APX, $969

For more deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our MacBook, MacBook Air, 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 iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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