The 'Book Review

Diet Coke vs. MacBook Keyboard, $37 Netbook Is Real, Carry Handles for Unibody MacBooks, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.07.02

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

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

The Horror of Diet Coke on a MacBook Pro Keyboard

The Houston Chronicle's Dwight Silverman says:

"When you spill a liquid into a desktop computer keyboard, in most cases it's no big deal. At worst, you must replace the keyboard, a relatively minor expense. But spilling a liquid into the keyboard of a notebook computer is another matter.

"So that's why, when I spilled Diet Coke onto the keyboard of my 13-inch MacBook Pro on Wednesday night, my heart nearly stopped."

Editor's note: One issue highlighted by Silverman's account of this incident that I hadn't previously pondered was that he wanted to remove the battery as well, but of course the 13" MacBook Pro, like all Apple laptops today, has a non-removable battery - another strike against the built-in battery configuration, which I've never been enchanted with. Silverman says he's now decided that this is not a good design feature.

Silverman says that so far, after drying it out, the MacBook Pro appears to be working fine, but he was told by an Apple service tech that any liquid that made it inside could corrode the laptop's circuitry over time, so he's holding his breath. cm

Link: Diet Coke on a MacBook Pro Keyboard: The Horror!

$37 Netbook: Yes, It's for Real

$37 Windows CE notebookeBay has posted a 7" mini laptop netbook computer notebook with WiFi running Windows CE for the princely sum of $36.98.

Sourced in Hong Kong, these are new, unused computers claimed to have absolutely no signs of wear, although they may be missing the original packaging. Possibly they're factory seconds.

The cheapie netbooks have 300 MHz VIA ARM 32-bit processors with integrated graphics, 7" TFT HD 800 x 480 resolution displays, 128 MB of DRAM, and 2 GB hard drives.

$37 Windows CE notebookConnectivity-wise, these little rock-bottom priced laptops put the iPad or even a MacBook Air to shame, with three (count 'em and weep) USB 2.0 ports, a SD Card slot, an RJ45 port, integrated "Quadraphonic" Speakers, analog 1/8" (3.5mm) line-out headphone and microphone input ports, Fast Ethernet, and IEEE 802.11b WiFi.

The pointing device is a trackpad, and there's a 1800 mAh smart lithium-ion battery with a 9 volt AC adapter.

Three colors are available: black(default), white, and pink. If you want white or pink, you're instructed to leave message on PayPal.

With a CPU frequency of 300 MHz and just 128 MB of RAM, this little box is not going to be any rip-snorter, and note well that Windows doesn't support Java by default, so some websites won't load properly, unless you install Java and certain other necessary plugins. However, for 37 bucks, you can hardly complain.

Add $39.99 for shipping. Payment by PayPal only.

Link: 7" Mini Laptop Netbook Computer Notebook WiFi Windows CE

Lenovo and Toshiba Preparing to Launch Dual-Core Smartbooks

DigiTimes' Yen-Shyang Hwang and Joseph Tsai report that Japan-based Toshiba and China-based Lenovo are preparing to launch new "smartbooks"* by the end of August and the end-of-year holidays, respectively.

The report says Toshiba will launch a smartbook, the AC100, under its Dynabook line, featuring a 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Nvidia's Tegra 250 graphics processor, Google's Android operating system, and a 10.1" display. It will be available initially in Japan, gradually expanding to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Toshiba also plans two ARM-based tablet PCs for debut at the end of 2010.

Lenovo has already unveiled its two smartbooks, the Skylight and IdeaPad U1 Hybrid, but Hwang and Tsai note that the company recently decided to upgrade their specifications from Qualcomm's single-core 1 GHz processor to its new dual-core 1.5 GHz processors, and to switch the operating system to Android, which will delay official launch until the end of the year.

* Smartbooks are small, like netbooks, but based on ARM CPUs - like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch - for better battery life than Intel x86 CPUs can provide. dk

Link: Lenovo and Toshiba Prepare to Launch Smartbooks (subscription required)

Products & Services

Carry Handles for Unibody MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air

UniBody Mac Carry HandlePR: QuickerTek announced that they are shipping carry handles for all models of the Apple Unibody MacBook - aluminum and white - and MacBook Pro Unibody 13", 15", and 17" laptops. Along with the MacBook Air carry handle that was announced this past March, this completes coverage of the entire Unibody Mac laptop family. This new lightweight carry handle is made from sturdy non-flex aircraft quality aluminum for strength and weight savings.

The new QuickerTek Carry Handle is priced at $79.95 and is available through QuickerTek's web store.

UniBody Mac Carry HandleThe Carry Handle ensures that the Mac laptop doesn't slip and hit the floor. The lightweight handle is made from sturdy aluminum with captive screws and it attaches with a bracket mount that uses the existing screw holes on the back of the computer.

The unique design lays the handle out and the bracket elevates the MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air when it's resting on a horizontal surface, which allows better airflow underneath the laptop for more efficient convection cooling which means a cooler-running laptop. This slight angle adjustment also keeps the keyboard at the slightly forward-raked angle that many users prefer [although it's less ergonomically correct than a flat orientation or even a "wrong-looking" forward-raked one that would angle the user's wrists down in a more relaxed and natural pronation, rather than up, which is stressful on the Carpal Tunnel. cm].

The QuickerTek Carry Handle doesn't alter your Apple laptop and is completely reversible. It is styled to match your Mac, so it goes with all out your cool Mac stuff. Like most QuickerTek products, the Carry Handles for the Unibody Family is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Link: UniBody Mac Carry Handles

64 GB Crucial RealSSD C300 2.5" SATA 6 Gb/s

PR: If you're looking for unhindered speed, Crucial's RealSSD C300 is here. This new 2.5" Crucial RealSSD C300 drive offers mobile and desktop users scorching-fast read speeds of up to 355 MB/s. And because it has no moving parts, you will also enjoy a quieter, cooler, and more durable storage solution - and a better alternative to a traditional notebook hard drive.

Improved Data Transfers

Designed with high-speed synchronous MLC NAND, advanced controller technology, optimized NAND management, and the new SATA 6 Gb/s interface, these drives dramatically improve data transfers for bandwidth-demanding applications like audio and video.

Push Your Performance

The improvement in boot time and application load times push performance to new levels at the desktop too. You will experience improvement across a variety of common tasks such as viewing and editing photos, video, music and other media, gaming, communications, productivity and security.

The Crucial brand of memory has long been synonymous with reliability and high-performance. Our expertise in NAND process technology enables us to optimize the performance and durability of Crucial solid-state drives.

Guaranteed Compatible

Crucial RealSSD C300 series employ a standard hard drive interface and dimensions, so it is an easy storage upgrade for most notebooks.

Features:

  • Read speeds up to 355 MB/s
  • SATA 6 Gb/s interface
  • High-speed Synchronous NAND
  • Limited three-year warranty

$149.99

Link: Crucial Solid-State Drives

Other World Computing Data Doubler for MacBook, MacBook Pro

OWC Data DoublerPR: Other World Computing (OWC) announces the OWC Data Doubler, an optical drive bay mounting solution for MacBook or MacBook Pro notebook computers that enables users to add a second hard drive or SSD for up to an additional 640 GB of internal drive capacity, internal RAID, or other user customized internal data storage configurations.

The $79.99 MSRP OWC Data Doubler comes complete with all required hardware, a detailed step-by-step Mac notebook model specific installation guide, available online OWC installation videos, and is immediately available for the following Apple notebook computers:

  • MacBook 13" "Late 2008" 'Unibody' and later models
  • MacBook 13" "Late 2009" 'White Unibody' and later models
  • MacBook Pro 13" "Mid 2009" 'Unibody' and later models
  • MacBook Pro 15" "Late 2008" 'Unibody' and later models
  • MacBook Pro 17" "Early 2009" 'Unibody' and later models

The custom engineered, black anodized aluminum OWC Data Doubler gives MacBook and MacBook Pro users the flexibility to uniquely configure their notebook computer's internal drive array. Any SATA 2.5" hard drive or SSD of up to 9.5mm (Super Slim) height can be mounted onto the bracket with the entire assembly then installing into the notebook's 5.25" optical drive bay. 9.5mm SATA 2.5" drives, currently available in capacities of up to 640 GB, are fully 'Plug and Play' recognized via the Apple Disk Utility program with standard configuration options just like any typical drive including, but not limited to:

  • Creating an individual volume with its own desktop icon.
  • Combining a new drive with the existing internal drive for one larger volume (SPAN).
  • Combining a new matching drive with existing internal for high-performance RAID-0 Stripe volume.
  • Configuring a new drive as a Time Machine™ backup drive.
  • Formatting one drive for the Mac OS and the other dedicated for Windows.

"The OWC Data Doubler kit is a cost effective and well documented solution for MacBook and MacBook Pro owners to attain more capacity, performance, and/or redundancy - all right within their existing laptop with nothing additional to carry," says Larry O'Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing.

The US$79.99 OWC Data Doubler comes complete with all required hardware, a detailed step-by-step Mac notebook model specific installation guide, available online OWC installation videos, and is immediately available for the most MacBook and MacBook Pro models released in late 2008 and afterward.

High Performance Hard Drives and SSDs Available

In addition to the Data Doubler optical bay drive solution, OWC carries a full line of 2.5" notebook drives up to 1 TB with 500 GB hard drives from $74.99 and Solid State Drives (SSD) from $129.99. For the fastest and most reliable drive available on the market, OWC also offers its own award-winning Mercury Extreme Pro SSD line in capacities from 50 GB to 480 GB starting at $199.99.

Link: OWC Data Doubler

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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