The 'Book Review

Kimmel Tapes Episode on MacBook Pro, iPad Replaces 'Book in the Field, New Iomega Drives, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.06.25

So we can post our three news roundups (Mac News Review, The 'Book Review, and The iNews Review) earlier, we first do a quick proofread and link check, leaving out images. We add images later when time permits. dk

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

News & Opinion

Reviews

Tech Trends

Products & Services

Software

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Jimmy Kimmel Records Jimmy Kimmel Live Episode on MacBook Pro

If Jimmy Kimmel Live looked a bit different last Tuesday night (or, strictly speaking, Wednesday morning), it's because an hour before scheduled taping, a power outage shut down the studio's control room, broadcast transmission center, and tape operations area. Proving he's a master of improvization in more ways than one, and with guests and a studio audience assembled waiting, Kimmel coolly recorded the entire show on his MacBook Pro laptop's iSight webcam as he welcomed guests Seth Rogen, John Henson, and country star Dierks Bentley, who improvised with an acoustic performance from his new album Up On The Ridge.

You can't do that with an iPad!

That the computer was a MacBook Pro was not blatantly obvious, since it was inside a black hardshell case, but it's been confirmed that it was indeed one of Apple's Pro models. There was also conspiracy-theorist speculation from some quarters that this might have been an Apple-engineered publicity stunt - what with ABC being owned by Disney and Steve Jobs being a Disney board member - but Kimmel has reportedly denied this innuendo.

iPad Turning MacBook Pro into a Desktop Machine

Mac 360's Bambi Brannan says:

"My, how the world has changed since 2007 when Apple introduced the first generation iPhone. Forget the Mac vs. Windows PCs wars.

"Now it's a war between fingertips and mouse clicks. A war between laptop or desktop computers and handheld devices. Even in the age of handheld devices the Mac's sales are at record levels [but] Apple's iPad is selling just as fast....

"The trend . . . should be obvious, even if the Mac is not yet an endangered species....

"From the advent of the iPhone 3G and now 3GS, my Mac usage has dropped in favor of the iPhone's unique mobile nature. My first iPad is the 3G model which is more of a companion to my iPhone than my Mac notebook is to the iPhone . . . in less than 50 days, the iPad has become a replacement Mac for mobile situations [and] to a certain extent . . . also a replacement for my Mac notebook at home . . . That means my Mac notebook is now a desktop and it competes for usage with our larger, more powerful iMac for desktop attention."

Should Your Next MacBook Be an iPad?

Blogger Tris Hussey says:

"Should your next MacBook be an iPad? Or maybe your next MacBook should be a Mac mini? Brad Feld noticed something that I figured out a while ago There are some tasks that iPads are better than laptops for just getting done....

"I've noticed, especially since I got a wireless keyboard for my iPad, that my laptop hasn't moved much from its place on my desk. Sure, I took it to WordCamp last week, but that was only to be able to present slides and surf sites. If I didn't need to switch to a browser, I might have been able to just use my iPad.

"I think we have to seriously look at how we use computers now and what do we really need portability for to do our jobs. Sure, there will always be a need for portable computers like MacBooks, but I think a lot of use who got laptops in the past might be able to use an iPad type device instead. At least most of the time..."

Is the High-end Laptop Dead?

ZDNet blogger Christopher Dawson says:

"There aren't many good reasons left to spend a big chunk of cash on a laptop. It's easy to make a case though for solid remote access to cloud and/or virtual resources.

"A while back, I wrote that I was trading my laptop for a server. Finances have dictated that I tough it out with my MacBook for a while longer, which is fine since it does most of what I need it to do as well as any other computer. A server would just be handy to centralize all of my stuff and leverage virtual machines to give the kids and wife their own computing platforms that are more easily managed than random laptops and salvaged desktops...

"That being said, I'm not even writing this on my trusty, if boring, MacBook. I'm writing it on a netbook that Dell has provided me for a long-term evaluation. It's one of their new Latitude 2110's and may actually be the most usable netbook I've ever, well . . . used."

Reviews

Avatron Air Display for iPad Reviewed

MacNN reviews this innovative way to connect an iPad as a second monitor for your Mac, noting that the $9.99 Avatron Air Display convinces your Mac that it has another monitor attached and sends the contents of the screen to the iPad over your WiFi network, allowing you to drag windows from your main screen to the iPad and vice-versa, albeit with some limitations, and noting that if you have a machine with a small screen, such as a 13" MacBook or MacBook Air, the extra 1024 x 768 pixels on the iPad screen can be a huge help, and as a bonus you can use the iPad in portrait or landscape mode and can change your mind any time you want, just by rotating the iPad.

Keep Your Mac's Battery in Tip-Top Shape with Watts

AppStorm's Ian Tromp says:

"You don't need this app [more on Watts below]. There are good guides available on the Apple website to help you get the best performance and extend the life of your Mac laptop's battery. You can even download from that page an iCal file that will add periodic reminders to your calendar, so that you're more likely to remember to calibrate your battery. Follow that advice, and respond to the reminders, and you and your computer's battery will be fine.

"I'm on the second battery in my MacBook (which is coming up to its fourth birthday this week). Apparently it's in quite good health at the moment, though it's lost 18% of its capacity. You see, I'm not so good at remembering to calibrate it, and because I tend to use it all over the house, it's constantly being plugged and unplugged, and is drained completely on most days. I'm not so hot on looking after batteries...

"And so, though I know I don't need it, I think Watts is well worth having. Read on for an introduction to this little app that could make it easier for you to look after your laptop's battery."

Tech Trends

Toshiba Introduces Libretto W100, World's First Dual-touch-screen Windows Mini-notebook

PR: Toshiba Corporation is celebrating 25 years in the portable PC business* with the launch of their new "Libretto W100", claimed to be the world's first dual touchscreen Windows mini-notebook PC.

With the Libretto W100 Toshiba has created a pocket-sized device with distinctive dual 7.0" Wide LCDs that offer a combined display area equivalent to a 10.0" widescreen. The Libretto's clamshell case opens like a book or in clamshell mode like a typical notebook PC to reveal its dual, integrated touch-sensitive screens. When used as a PC, the Libretto displays a haptic (virtual) keyboard on the lower screen. When held vertically, it becomes an ebook reader that displays a double-page spread. Compact and weighing in at a feather-light 699 grams, the Libretto W100 is touted as a "mini-note PC" that can go everywhere.

Libretto.jpg

In technical details, the Toshiba Libretto W100 is powered by a 1.20 GHz Intel Pentium processor (U5400) (CULV). Its dual touch-sensitive 7.0" WSVGA displays feature 1024 x 600 resolution and bright, power-saving LED backlighting.

The storage drive is a 62 GB SSD, and the Libretto comes with 2 GB of RAM and offers an advertised battery life of approximately two hours with its standard battery pack attached. A higher-capacity battery pack offering approximately four hours runtime is also available.

Librettotqopen.jpg

Other goodies include a WiMAX wireless communication module, Bluetooth, and a 1.02 Megapixel webcam.

The Libretto is projected to reach markets by the end of August at a price that has yet to be determined.

* See Developing Toshiba's First Laptop for the story behind the T1100, the world's first IBM compatible laptop. dk

Does Toshiba's Dual-touchscreen Tablet Have Any Chance Against the iPad?

dvice.com says:

"Toshiba has finally taken the wraps off its planned iPad killer called the Libretto W100, a shiny black clamshell device that fits in the palm of your hand and actually rivals the iPad in terms of slick design.

"...the beautiful dual-touchscreen device runs on Windows 7, weighs under 2 pounds, and has both a built-in webcam and virtual keyboard . . . as an answer to the iPad, the Libretto W100 isn't too shabby."

Dell 'In Talks' with Google over Chrome OS Netbooks

The Register's Cade Metz reports that Dell is "in talks" with Google over the still-gestating Chrome OS, an operating system that is essentially a Google Chrome web browser running atop a Goobuntu flavor of Linux. Dell has not made an official announcement, but a spokesman told Reuters that Chrome OS talks are underway. Acer and HP are also both official Google partners, and Chrome OS netbooks are projected to arrive in the late fall. Dell is also developing tablets based on Google's Android operating system.

Products & Services

Iomega eGo Desktop Hard Drive for Mac, Skin, and eGo Black Belt Hard Drives

PR: Iomega eGo Desktop Hard Drive, Mac Edition

The Iomega eGo Desktop Hard Drive, Mac Edition includes two FireWire 800 ports (plus a FireWire 400 to 800 adapter cable), one USB 2.0 interface, comes preformatted in HFS+, and includes a 3 year limited warranty when you register your product.

The drive comes in variety of colors and capacities: the Apple-esque Alpine White model is available in 250 GB; the deep Midnight Blue model is available in 320 GB; and the Ruby Red model comes in 500 GB. (Color and capacity combinations vary in international markets.)

Inside an aluminum shell little more than a half-inch thick (16 mm) and weighing less than 7 ounces (200 grams) is a 2.5" portable hard drive. Iomega's Drop Guard feature protects the eGo drive from drops of up to 51 inches, or 40% above the industry average.

All of Iomega's new triple interface eGo Portable Hard Drives receive power from a laptop or computer's FireWire or USB 2.0 ports, so there's no power supply to carry around. Each drive includes both FireWire 800 and FireWire 400 cables, as well as a USB 2.0 "Y" cable which gives users the flexibility to use two USB ports to power the drive, if needed.

Bundled free of charge with the new eGo Portable Hard Drives for Mac users are three backup software programs, giving users added protection for their photos, videos, music and other files.

The software bundle with the new triple interface eGo Drives includes:

  • Iomega QuikProtect: backup software for simple scheduled file-level backup of data to hard drives and network-attached storage devices (for Windows and Macintosh desktops and notebooks).
  • EMC Retrospect Express or Express HD: backup all of your data plus applications and settings (for Windows and Macintosh desktops and notebooks).
  • MozyHome Online Backup: Convenient online backup service with 2 GB of online capacity for free (unlimited online storage for $4.95/month). MozyHome Online service allows you to restore your most important data from any computer with Internet access, at any location in the world.

System requirements: The new Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive for Mac users is compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 or above, as well as Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. MozyHome software is available for Mac OS X 10.4 and above, along with Windows XP and Windows Vista. EMC Retrospect software is available for both Mac OS X and Windows operating systems.

eGo Portable Hard Drive Accessories

Available for purchase at http://go.iomega.com are two new accessories for the new eGo Portable Hard Drive: a durable black carry case that can be used for both the USB and triple interface models; and the Iomega Power Grip Belt for added durability, available in black and translucent colors (for the USB models only).

eGo Silver Desktop Hard Drive, Mac Edition Features at a Glance:

  • Silver color to match the latest Mac computers;
  • HFS+ for ease of use right out of the box
  • Two FireWire 800 ports and one USB 2.0 port included
  • Secure - Iomega Protection Suite via download includes Trend Micro Smart Surfing software for Mac, Iomega QuikProtect, and MozyHome Online backup service (2 GB free) (PC/Mac software free via download)

Tech Specs

  • Preformatted and hot plug-and-play
  • No AC adapter needed
  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • USB 2.0/1.1 compatible
  • Transfer rate: 480 Mbits/s
  • Three year limited warranty (registration required for extended warranty)

System requirements (Mac):

  • PowerPC G3 or Intel Core Duo processor
  • Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.6 or higher
  • Built-in USB connection (USB 2.0 host connection or controller for USB 2.0 speeds)
  • 128 MB RAM or higher as required by operating system

To View User's Manual: Firefox 1.0, Apple Safari 1.0 or higher browser

  • Dimensions: 4.9" x 3.3" x 0.7" (L x W x H)
  • Weight: .36 lb.
  • Price
    • 2 TB FireWire/USB 2.0, $249.99
    • 1 TB FireWire/USB 2.0, $159.99

Also available: Triple interface Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive for Mac users. The 250 GB Alpine White eGo model is priced at $99.99; the 320 GB Midnight Blue model is $109.99; and the 500 GB Ruby Red model is $149.99. (All pricing is US suggested retail.) Triple Interface eGo models include a 3-year limited warranty, and are available from online retailers, distributors including Ingram Micro Inc., VARs, resellers and select retailers, as well as at iomega.com.

egoblue2009.jpg

Iomega Skin Hard Drives

Iomega's new Skin Hard Drives come in three unique looks with up to 500 GB of capacity, and include features like Iomega Drop Guard protection and Protection Suite software. Drop Guard helps protect the drive if it's dropped up to 51" which is a testament to the ruggedness of these portable hard drives. Protection Suite is a comprehensive collection of software that includes Trend Micro Internet Security (12 mo. Free subscription), EMC Retrospect Express Backup software, Iomega QuikProtect, and MozyHome Online Backup service available via download. The Skin Portable Hard Drive is protected by a 3-year limited warranty when you register your product with Iomega.

Iomega Skin Features at a Glance:

  • Stylish Radical Skin, Knock Out Skin or Red Hot Skin logo designs on black, silver or red top enclosures with graffiti printing & black base
  • Super compact drive easily fits in a pocket, laptop bag, or backpack; weighs only 0.40 lb.
  • Durable; perfect for travel environments, the Drop Guard feature protects the drive when dropped up to 51" (40% above the industry average)
  • Secure - Iomega Protection Suite software includes Trend Micro Internet Security (1 year subscription)
  • Iomega QuikProtect, EMC Retrospect and MozyHome Online Backup service.
  • 3 Year Warranty with product registration

Price: 500 GB USB 2.0, $119.99

eGo BlackBelt Portable Hard Drive

For even greater security against rough treatment in challenging mobile environments, you can kick your digital storage up a notch with Iomega's new super rugged eGo BlackBelt Portable Hard Drive with enhanced Drop Guard Xtreme that protects your drive from up to a seven-foot drop - over twice the industry average. Plus, the Iomega eGo BlackBelt Portable Hard Drive requires no external power supply and includes EMC Retrospect and MozyHome Online backup software (2 GB Free). Software available via easy download. Iomega Power Grip band is included, and the eGo is protected by a 3-year limited warranty! (registration required for extended warranty)

ioblackbelt.jpg

Iomega eGo Black Belt Features at a Glance:

  • Super Rugged - the Iomega Drop Guard Xtreme feature raises the bar on drop protection (protects the drive when dropped up to 84")
  • Stylish compact black design with included black Iomega Power Grip band slips easily into a back pack or briefcase
  • Secure - EMC Retrospect software and MozyHome Online software - 2 GB free (software via download) plus Trend Micro Internet Security - 1 year Free via download

Three year warranty (registration required for extended warranty)

Specs:

  • Preformatted and hot plug-and-play
  • No AC adapter needed
  • Compatible with PC and Mac

System requirements (Mac):

  • Power Mac G3 or greater, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro or Mac mini computer
  • Mac OS X 10.1 or above
  • Built-in USB connection (USB 2.0 host connection or controller for USB 2.0 speeds)
  • 128 MB RAM or higher as required by operating system
  • 200 MB hard drive space

To View User's Manual:

Firefox 1.0, Apple Safari 1.0 or higher browser

  • Dimensions: .75" x 3.5" x 5.25" (L x W x H)
  • Weight: .48 lb.

Price: 500 GB USB 2.0, $124.99

Supercharge Your 'Book with an Intel Solid-State Drive, Now Available at 800 Best Buy Stores Nationwide

PR: Intel Corporation has announced that its Solid-State Drives (SSDs) are now available in 800 Best Buy stores across the country and on BestBuy.com.

SSDs can replace or complement traditional hard drives and deliver noticeably faster computer performance when booting up, opening files and running software applications. With no moving parts, SSDs deliver greater reliability and consume less power than conventional hard disk drives (HDDs).

Intel says that during the past decade, HDD speed has only improved 1.3 times, while Intel's processor speeds have improved more than 200 times the company says. This disparity has caused the HDD to represent a system speed bottleneck that SSDs can help solve. HDDs use a mechanical arm and spinning platter, which can sometimes result in a hard disk crash, while SSDs use flash memory chips and are 100 percent solid state with no moving parts. This makes an SSD extremely rugged, reliable and energy efficient, but the biggest benefit is in performance, where an Intel SSD delivers up to a claimed 56 percent improvement in system responsiveness for gamers, multimedia enthusiasts or anyone desiring to get more performance out of their new or existing notebook or desktop computer.

"We think solid-state drives will become increasingly popular as people realize how much faster they can boot up and run their favorite software or work-intensive applications," says Jason Bonfig, vice president of Computing at Best Buy. "Our customers are looking for the latest and greatest in technology and entertainment experiences. Now they can purchase an Intel SSD and add it to a new or existing computer for a makeover that will improve their computing or gaming experience."

IntelX25MSSD34nmblue.jpg

Intel's X25-M Mainstream SSD has 80 gigabytes (GB) of storage space, which can store applications and data or hold approximately 20,000 songs or 70,000 photos. The Intel X25-M can serve as a replacement for a hard drive in a notebook or desktop and has a Best Buy price of $229.99. The 40 GB Intel X25-V Value SSD is priced at $129.99. It is most effectively used as a boot drive in a desktop PC where the current hard disk drive is used for storing data, while the value SSD gives a boost to system performance by storing the operating system and gaming, or other important applications, for much faster access and boot up.

"When you upgrade to an Intel Solid-State Drive, you see a dramatic improvement in your computing experience," says Pete Hazen, director of marketing for Intel NAND Solutions Group. "We've already shipped more than a million SSDs and consumers are realizing that SSDs aren't just an alternate means of storage, but a performance enhancement that brings a new level of responsiveness to their computer. With Best Buy selling Intel SSDs, we hope more people will begin to experience the dramatic effect of solid-state drive computing."

Software

Watts: A Calibration Tool for Your Mac's Battery

PR: Watts developer BinaryTricks says that after several redesigns, their Watts battery calibration utility is finally out with a new, simplified face.

iwatt.png

Why should you use Watts?

The battery needs to be recalibrated from time to time to keep the onscreen battery time and percent display accurate, and to keep the battery operating at maximum efficiency. This can of course be done manually, but Watts incorporates some convenience advantages.

Better Battery Indicator

Watts can substitute the default menu bar battery icon and adds advanced features. Watts' menu will behave as the system battery icon menu, and provides some extra options like calibration assistant and other features.

Intuitive Calibration Assistant

Watts will guide you through the process of calibrating your battery. The calibration scheduling can be adjusted for your needs, and even postponed if you want. Calibration dates are automatically logged.

More Useful Growl Notifications

Have your battery always in excellent condition by enabling useful Growl suggestions. For example, allow Growl to remind you to disconnect the power adapter after a long time connected.

Detailed Battery Information

All relevant information about your battery is fully available as well as clear explanation of any technical details. Charge cycles, current battery capacity, capacity history log . . . everything to check your battery lifespan.

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher

Watts is $6.95 uncrippled demoware (60 days)

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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