The 'Book Review

10 Tips for MacBook Users, MacBook Air Knockoff Reviewed, New Dual-GPU Tech from Nvidia, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.02.12

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Tech Trends

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

10 Tips for MacBook Users on the Go

MacGroup's Terry White has posted ten tips are for MacBook (including Pro and Air) users:

  1. Secure it with a password
  2. Put your name on it
  3. Dim the display, turn off the keyboard light and Bluetooth while on battery
  4. Create an "On the Plane" location
  5. Tap the trackpad
  6. Get AppleCare
  7. Use your longer cord
  8. Get a USB or MiFi data card
  9. Back it up before you leave
  10. Take a bootable backup with you

Bonus Tip - Get a TSA friendly bag so that you don't have to take your laptop out of it at the airport when going through security.

Link: 10 MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air Tips

Core i7 MacBook Pro Surfaces in Benchmark Logs

AppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports:

"A benchmark report for an unreleased Apple MacBook Pro sporting Intel's upcoming dual-core 2.66 GHz Core i7 mobile processor was published online this week, suggesting a refresh to the professional notebook line may be imminent...."

Link: Unannounced Core i7 Apple MacBook Pro Surfaces in Benchmarks Logs

Will Next MacBook Pros Have 3G?

Computerworld's Seth Weintraub says:

"Ever since the MacBook Air, a machine made for 3G wireless access, was released without built-in ability to connect to mobile wireless, I've been waiting for Apple to put 3G access in their laptops.

"Will my wait be over soon?

"A couple of things have happened in the last month that give me a bit of hope."

Link: Will Apple's New Core i5 and i7 MacBook Pros Have 3G?

Modbook Maker Not Worried About iPad Competition

Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reports that the iPad is too big and lacks communication capabilities, or so argues the former Apple executive who oversaw the demise of the company's iconic-but-flawed Newton more than a decade ago

"The iPad is not a tablet, it's another addendum to the iPhone, the iPod touch," Keizer quotes Andreas Haas, the CEO of Axiotron, a the small El Segundo, Calif. company he founded in 2005 to engineer and manufacture tablet computer conversions of the MacBook. "It's the Newton reborn."

Axiotron's conversion kits that transform MacBooks into pen-based tablets branded "Modbooks" retail for $700 when the customer provides the notebook, $1,650 for a turnkey device.

Link: Modbook Maker Not Worried About iPad Competition

MacBook Air Knockoff MacBook Air Knockoff Unboxed and Reviewed

micgadget.com reports:

"The ultimate MacBook Air knockoff has landed, and folks all over are excited about it. This is the best MacBook Air wannabe ever, featuring a real glowing Apple logo and it's almost as thin as the real one. Here we have a wholesome unboxing and hands-on shots for you to enjoy.

"Our previous introduction on the MacBook Air Knockoff with Glowing Apple Logo has brought us a motivation to buy it and own it. We love the knockoff, it's possibly the most beautiful product the Chinese knock-off makers have ever copied. There have been some MacBook Air knockoff reviews out there, but we got the first of the units that will actually ship to customers, so it's time for telling you what we think."

Link: MacBook Air Knockoff Full Review: Unboxing and Hands-On

Clock made from iBook enclosureClock Made from Recycled iBook G4 Enclosure

Etsy.com has posted a photo of a clock made using a recycled Mac G4 iBook case, complete with Apple mouse utilized as the working pendulum bob.

Link: Clock Made from a Recycled Apple iBook G4 Computer Case

Tech Trends

Nvidia Launches Dual-GPU Tech for Notebooks with Auto Switching

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Nvidia reckons it has finally cracked the problem of smoothly swapping between graphics chips in notebooks that have more than one GPU. Today, it launched its solution, which it has branded Optimus.

"Now, we're not talking two or more GPUs configured in SLI mode for greater graphics performance. Optimus addresses the use of a discrete graphics chip that operates when you're running software that needs one, and a separate, integrate graphics core that handles all the other tasks, and does so with a much lower impact on battery life."

Editor's note: This technology is specific to Windows 7 at present, but I'm sure it could be adapted to MacBook Pro models as well. dk

Link: Nvidia Launches Dual-GPU Tech for Notebooks

ARM Boss Forecasts Mass Migration to Netbooks

The Register's Tony Smith reports that ARM CEO Warren East believes netbooks are on the way to dominating the PC market - and not too far into the future either.

"Although netbooks are small today - maybe ten per cent of the PC market at most - we believe over the next several years that could completely change around and that could be 90 per cent of the PC market," Smith cites PC Pro quoting East, who also reportedly projects that 90 per cent of users will be buying netbooks a couple of years or so down the line.

Smith deduces that a large proportion of current laptop owners use their machines solely for Internet activities, and for many of them, the netbook's advantages will compensate for their various limitations, and can envision lots of folk - maybe even a majority - downsizing to smaller computers, but notes that anyone who needs real processing power for stuff like serious gaming, video, high-end graphics work, and such will still need more powerful machines and there are plenty of people out there who fall in those categories.

The new iPad's impact on the lower end of the portable market as a netbook competitor also remains to be seen

Link: ARM Boss Forecasts Mass Migration to Netbooks

Netbook Shipments Grew 79% in 2009

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Last year was a good 12 months for netbook makers: together they shipped 30.2 million of the mini laptops.

"That, market watcher Strategy Analytics said this week, is 79 per cent more than they managed in 2008."

Link: Netbook Shipments Surge

Products & Services

Wireless USB DisplayDock for MacBooks

PR: Wisair, a provider of single-chip based UWB and Wireless USB solutions, announced today the availability of its Wireless USB DisplayDock Set solution for Mac OS, enabling MacBook owners to enjoy a whole new user experience.

The Wireless USB DisplayDock Set for MacBooks will be offered by four OEM vendors in the end of March 2010: Lenexpo (Atlona), Source R&D (Warpia), and Cables Unlimited in the USA, and Olidata in Europe.

Demonstrations will be held in Macworld 2010 show in San Francisco in Atlona's and Wisair's booths.

While enjoying the mobility of MacBook platforms, users can now also enjoy a convenient working environment at their home or at the office. The Wireless USB DisplayDock Set allows users to easily connect their MacBook to their desktop environment, consisting of a monitor, speakers, keyboard, and mouse, with a single adapter that connects to a USB port on the MacBook.

MacBook platforms do not have VGA or DVI connectors, which are the most common connectors in monitors, and for a complete desktop environment, Mac users therefore need today to connect at least four cables/adapters:

  1. a mini DisplayPort or mini-DVI to VGA or DVI adapter cable
  2. USB cable for the keyboard
  3. USB cable for the mouse
  4. yet another cable for the audio.

Wisair's Wireless USB DisplayDock solution allows Mac users to connect to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers via a single wireless link with a single adapter that connects to a USB port, which is available in all MacBook platforms. Bearing in mind that there are very limited docking solutions for MacBook platforms available today, this solution offers a whole new user experience with plug and play operation and enhanced convenience.

Amongst Wisair's customers that are currently shipping Wireless USB products are Lenexpo (Atlona), Source R&D (Warpia), and Cables Unlimited in the USA; Fujitsu, XEL (Q-Waves), Hama, Olidata, Digicom, Display Solutions, and More Monitors in Europe; and Witech in Korea. The availability of Mac OS support in addition to Windows OS support allows these customers to further expand their offering to MacBook users.

User's Benefits:

  • Convenience - enjoy the MacBook mobility as well as the convenience of a large monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers while at home or at the office.
  • Complete - a single adapter that transfers everything (the video, audio and input devices), wirelessly.
  • Simplicity - does not require any network know-how or network configuration. Install the software once, plug in the MacBook adapter to a USB port available in all Mac platforms and go.
  • Performance - no delay for keyboard, mouse or audio and crisp and clear images delivered with fast and reliable Ultra Wide Band (UWB) radio and Wireless USB protocol.
  • Security - pre-paired adapters to ensure secure transmissions over a 128-bit encrypted link.

Wireless USB Solutions Key Features:

  • Point to point wireless connectivity based on reliable UWB radio link.
  • Universal solution for MacBook platforms with an adapter that connects to a single USB port available in all Mac platforms, for audio, video, keyboard and mouse.
  • Connectivity from anywhere in the room, with distances of up to 30 ft.
  • Pre-paired adapters for hassle-free, plug and play operation.
  • High speed connectivity that does not load the WiFi network in the office or at home and does not degrade its performance, for simultaneous operation and display of Internet content.
  • Wireless audio and video (up to 14401050 screen resolution).

System Requirements: Mac Leopard (10.5) and Snow Leopard (10.6) OS support.

At Macworld (February 9th-13th in San Francisco), Wisair will demonstrate its wireless solutions for MacBook and MacBook Pro platforms including the InFocus Wireless System (booth #885).

Atlona will be featuring their newest Apple related products at this year's Macworld Expo in booth #1646 including their HDAiR wireless USB-to-HDMI device (now fully OS X compatible).

Wisair is a fabless semiconductor company providing Ultra Wideband (UWB) and Wireless USB solutions based on its CMOS single chip. Wisair's solutions offer the best combination of performance, price, and power consumption for UWB and Wireless USB products.

Atlona Technologies is a solution based manufacturer of Audio Visual Accessories including Cabling, Extension, Splitting, Switching, and Conversion products. Atlona is known for delivering professional quality products at an affordable price range serving Consumer, Commercial, and Professional Broadcast markets.

Link: Wireless USB DisplayDock Set

New, Improved Belkin Laptop Cooling Pad Offers Best Cooling Performance

Belkin Laptop Cooling PadPR: The new Belkin Cooling Pad keeps your laptop cool. In order to achieve the best cooling performance, Belkin redesigned the Cooling Pad to include a patent-pending AirFlow Wing, repositioned fan, and wave shape. This combination of features optimizes circulation to let hot air flow up and away from your laptop. The USB-powered Cooling Pad can be used comfortably on a desk or in your lap.

Belkin Laptop Cooling PadIndependent third-party testing of cooling performance done by NTS Testing and Engineering Services. Testing measured laptop temperature before and after 20 minutes of operation with cooling-pad products. Testing included the Belkin Cooling Pad and top cooling-pad products in terms of market share in the United States as of October 2009.

Features:

  • Patent-pending AirFlow Wing for better cooling and quieter operation
  • Patented wave design enhances cooling capabilities
  • Single-fan design optimizes cooling with low power consumption

Includes USB cable and convenient storage compartment for it when not in use

  • Fits laptops up to 15.4"
  • In the last year, NPD reports that the laptop cooling category has grown by 22 percent.
  • NPD data shows Belkin has gone from having no share to almost 40 percent of the market within 2 years.
  • Building off of the success of the previous model, the new Cooling
  • Pad aims to further increase Belkin's prominence by offering a superior method of keeping laptops cool.

Availability April 2010 in all global regions. Now available for preorder on Amazon.com.

Laptop Cooling Pad - $29.99

Link: Belkin Laptop Cooling Pad (purchase link: black or white, $24.99 at Amazon.com)

KB Covers Debuts New Mac OS X Shortcuts Keyboard Covers at Macworld 2010

PR: Mac OS X users at any experience level can now have the most useful and powerful shortcuts at their fingertips.

KB Covers, a specialist in Apple Mac keyboard covers and keyboards, today announced the release of the OS X Shortcuts keyboard cover, which can help turn normal Mac users into power users. The KB Covers OS X Shortcuts keyboard cover contains color-coded Universal OS X shortcuts, plus shortcuts for Mail, Safari, and Finder.

Mac OS X Shortcuts Keyboard CoverKB Covers mission has always been to help users improve their workflow with popular Mac applications; Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Avid, Pro Tools, Photoshop, and many more. OS X shortcuts can help nearly any user work better and faster. Developed to help users take advantage of the power of OS X's most important and useful shortcuts, KB Covers has designed a keyboard cover for users of all experience levels. Learning new shortcuts or just helping to remember old ones, the KB Covers OS X keyboard cover will certainly improve your workflow and speed.

"The new OS X Shortcuts keyboard cover is one that we are very excited about," said Greg Sad, Marketing Director of KB Covers. "Our mission has always been to help users improve their workflow with popular Mac applications; Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Avid, Pro Tools, Photoshop, and many more. OS X shortcuts can help nearly any user work better and faster."

Consisting of soft, ultra-thin silicone, the KB Covers OS X Shortcuts Keyboard Cover has a smooth texture that won't slip off the keyboard and is nonrestrictive to regular typing. It also helps to safeguard the MacBook from dirt, spills, wear and tear, allowing the user to protect their valuable equipment.

For more information about KB Covers, the OS X Shortcuts Keyboard Cover and other application keyboard covers, visit kbcovers.com

KB Covers will also be an exhibitor at Macworld 2010 in San Francisco from February 11-14, 2010.

KB Covers is dedicated to providing the finest quality keyboard covers for Apple/Mac desktop and laptop computers. Covers are made with stringent Quality Assurance methods, which help to ensure a tight fit, long-lasting durability, no paint cracking/chipping, a soft-feel, and ultimately a happy customer. They are designed to fit all Apple/Mac keyboard layouts around the world, including U.S. keyboard, European ISO keyboard, and Japanese JIS keyboard layouts, and new keyboard covers for popular applications are constantly being developed.

Link: OS X Shortcuts Keyboard Covers

NokHoo Pretty Smart Laptop Bags

Icarus bagPR: NokHoo laptop bags are the creation of Nicole Roberts, a career textile and product designer who says she learned a lot working for big companies - and more during a two year sojourn in Thailand. The night before leaving for the Far East, Nicole bought a new computer, looked around for a laptop bag, and found she couldn't find anything that married both form and function, so she decided to make her own. As she puts it, "One thing lead to another, and NokHoo laptop bags were born."

NokHoo laptop bag stylesIn case you're wondering, NokHoo is the Thai word for owl, and because owls are both handsome and wise, she thought it seemed like the perfect name for these bags.

Pretty smart laptop bags

NokHoo bags are designed to be sturdy, comfortable, and fully padded to protect your laptop and your back, featuring a variety of zippered pockets to secure all your gadgets, side pockets for a quick stash and an easy-to-reach phone pocket. The bags have a unique personality, combining fresh fabrics and layered artwork with practical styling. Right now NokHoo exclusively carries backpacks but plan to expand their form factor options in the future.

NokHoo laptop bagsAll the NokHoo construction materials are high quality with features like metal fittings, light padding throughout and heavy padding in the laptop area. Nicole says she's traveled extensively with the bags, and that they've stood up well through considerable wear-and-tear.

All bags are fully padded with water-resistant linings to protect your laptop and your back, and each model features a variety of zippered pockets to secure your accessories, mesh side pockets for quick stashing and an easy-to-reach phone pocket.

Currently there are four different NokHoo models.

Raining Paradise

Raining Paradise bagInspired by the paintings of Gustav Klimt, Raining Paradise is sure to turn heads. Vertical lines of hand embroidery and beading on a rich textured surface give this bag a look that is absolutely unique.

Smart features:

  • Textured heavyweight cotton exterior with contrast print inside.
  • Padding throughout bag saves your laptop and your back.
  • Interior padding is water and shock resistant.
  • Main section has separate laptop pocket and secret zip pouch.
  • Zippered front section provides multiple pockets made for CDs, business cards, and gadgets.
  • Detachable phone pocket on strap.
  • Elastic side pockets for easy access.

Raining ParadiseDetails

  • Color: Periwinkle
  • Bag Dimensions: 11" x 16" x 8" (WxHxD)
  • Fits Laptop: 10.5" x 16" x 1.5" (WxHxD)
  • Weight: 3 lb.
  • Warranty: Guaranteed to be free from manufacturing defects for life
  • Shipping: 5-10 business days
  • Price: $150

Link: Raining Paradise

DeLoverly

DeLoverly bagWhen birds and butterflies mingle with hand embroidery and beading, the result is DeLoverly. Elegant details, unique textured fabric and smart design make this bag both feminine and practical.

Smart features:

  • Textured heavyweight cotton exterior with contrast print inside.
  • Padding throughout bag saves your laptop and your back.
  • Interior padding is water and shock resistant.
  • Main section includes separate laptop pocket and secret zip pouch.
  • Zippered front section provides multiple pockets made for CDs, business cards, and gadgets.
  • Convenient front pen and accessory pockets.
  • Detachable phone pocket on strap.
  • Elastic side pockets for easy access.

Details

  • Color: Etruscan Red
  • Bag Dimensions: 11" x 16" x 8" (WxHxD)
  • Fits Laptop: 10.5" x 16" x 1.5" (WxHxD)
  • Weight: 3 lb.
  • Warranty: Guaranteed to be free from manufacturing defects for life.
  • Shipping: 5-10 business days
  • Price: $150

Link: DeLoverly

Sirrush

Sirrush bagLegend has it the Babylonians were protected by a dragon they called Sirrush. If the Babylonians could name this bag, we're pretty sure Sirrush would be it. Practical styling and durable fabric protect you and your laptop from harm, while cool layered artwork makes you a legend in your own time.

Smart features:

  • Heavyweight cotton exterior with contrast plaid inside.
  • Padding throughout bag saves your laptop and your back.
  • Interior padding is water and shock resistant.
  • Main section includes separate laptop pocket and secret zip pouch.
  • Zippered front section provides multiple pockets made for CDs, business cards, and gadgets.
  • Detachable phone pocket on strap.
  • Elastic side pockets for easy access.

Details

  • Color: Toasted Sesame
  • Bag Dimensions: 11" x 16" x 8" (WxHxD)
  • Fits Laptop: 10.5" x 16" x 1.5" (WxHxD)
  • Weight: 3 lb.
  • Warranty: Guaranteed to be free from manufacturing defects for life.
  • Shipping: 5-10 business days
  • Price: $150

Link: Sirrush

Icarus

Icarus bagIn Greek mythology, Icarus flew on brilliantly crafted wings made of feathers and wax. NokHoo's Icarus shares that spirit of creativity and craftsmanship-comfortable fit and useful details combine with print and metallic embroidery to create a heavenly bag (just don't get too close to the sun).

Smart features:

  • Textured cotton/Lycra exterior with contrast stripe inside.
  • Padding throughout bag saves your laptop and your back.
  • Interior padding is water and shock resistant.
  • Main section includes separate laptop pocket and secret zip pouch.
  • Zippered front section provides multiple pockets made for CDs, business cards, and gadgets.
  • Convenient front pen and accessory pockets.
  • Detachable phone pocket on strap.
  • Elastic side pockets for easy access.

Details

  • Color: Gunmetal
  • Bag Dimensions: 11" x 16" x 8" (WxHxD)
  • Fits Laptop: 10.5" x 16" x 1.5" (WxHxD)
  • Weight: 3 lb.
  • Warranty: Guaranteed to be free from manufacturing defects for life.
  • Shipping: 5-10 business days
  • Price: $150

Link: Icarus

DeLoverly bagNokHoo bags are guaranteed to be free from manufacturing defects for life. If your NokHoo bag has a problem due to materials or workmanship, the company will replace or repair it ASAP (not to include typical wear and tear or bag abuse).

Also, if it's not what you were hoping for, your bag can be returned for any reason within 30 days of purchase.

Buyers from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Thailand can order directly from the website. If you are buying from other locations in the world, contact NokHoo for shipping costs. All payments are in US currency, buyer pays all customs and taxes.

Shipping Costs

  • Continental US Ground $9
  • Continental US Rush $23
  • Alaska/Hawaii/US Territories Express $25
  • Canada Ground $25
  • Europe/Thailand/Australia Priority $40
  • Add $3 for each additional bag.

Bargain 'Books

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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