The 'Book Review

Laptops Trump Handhelds, 1.3 MP Webcam in New MacBook Pro, a Foldable Mouse, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.07.13

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review.

News & Opinion

Reviews

Apple Updates

Products and Services

Software

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Laptop Trumps Handheld for Mobile Access

The Register's Jon Collins says:

"You're out and about, and you know you'll need to hook back to the office to pick up that important email or access that corporate system - so what do you want to take, a notebook or a handheld device?

"To our surprise, according to over 1,000 of you, compared to mobile access via a handheld device, remote notebook access was twice as likely to be broadly relevant across the workforce. The distinction is less profound in the smallest of companies, but of course this means that it is even greater for larger organisations.

"Why exactly is this?"

'Santa Rosa' MacBook Pros Have 1.3 MP Webcam

macdaddyworld.com's Ken reports:

"At WWDC, Glen had the unenviable task of hitting the compatibility lab and testing the upcoming release of iGlasses on as many computers as he could. When checking out the new 2.2 and 2.4 GHz MacBook Pros, he noticed something interesting about the built-in iSight:

"It's a whole new camera. - Really!

"First, looking at System Profiler:

"It has a new USB PID. What I'll henceforth have to refer to as the original built-in iSight, had the USB Product ID: 0x8501 and reports its manufacturer as Micron. The new built-in iSight has the Product ID of 0x8502 and reports manufacturer of Apple Inc.

"Now the cool part: - It's a 1.3 megapixel sensor! I wrote a simple test application to capture a frame of video using an SGDataProc and save it to the Desktop. On my older 2.33 GHz MB Pro with the original built-in iSight, what I get is a VGA (640 x 480) image....

"After fighting our way through the crowds of people asking if they can pre-order an iPhone, we commandeered some MB Pros. - The same test program produced a nice, big 1.3 MP (1280 x 1024) image...."

RAM Upgrade Fixes MacBook Slowdown

createdigitalmotion.com's Jaymis says:

"In my computing life I'm very much into segregation. Until recently I've worked exclusively with PCs and have always had 3-4 machines around, each installed with a certain set of tools to do a specific job:

  • Workstation with After Effects, Photoshop, Web Development tools, Content stuff...
  • Laptop with Mail, IM and other communication/organization stuff.
  • Server with Bit Torrent downloading, media serving and distributed rendering.
  • Gig machine with just Resolume and required codecs.

"Since this whole tour thing started I've had to consolidate everything onto my MacBook. All of the usual amail [sic], browsing and IM duties remain, but are now encroached by editing in iMovie, flyer and poster design in Photoshop/InDesign, web administration and coding in Coda, Tour and Gig organization with NeoOffice, photo organization in Lightroom... My poor MacBook has been flogged half to death, with constant slowdown and frequent freezes and crashes. Quicksilver especially - my Mac raison d'tre - has been having huge problems."

Editor's note: Core Duo MacBooks (and Pros) support up to 2.0 GB of RAM, pre-June 2007 Core 2 models can reach 3.0 GB, and the new "Santa Rosa" MacBook Pros can reach 4.0 GB. dk

Sony VAIO Taking a Lesson from Apple's MacBook?

Sony's MacBook-like keyboardPBCentral's Joe Leo says:

"Yesterday, we brought you a commentary on how the 'CR Series' of Sony's VAIO laptops bore an uncanny resemblance - if not an exact clone - to Apple's black MacBook line. It was timely because one, the laptop that caught our attention is on sale this week at Best Buy stores, and second, AppleInsider.com reports that the new iMac revision will also bring with it a new Apple keyboard... a low-profile style like that found on the MacBook.

"So last night, we embarked on a little journey to see for ourselves whether the keyboard on Sony's VAIO laptop was a clone of Apple's MacBook notebook. The results were jaw-dropping."

Multi-Touch MacBooks Rumored

Wired blogger Adario Strange says:

"CrunchGear reports that Apple will roll out slimmer MacBooks with iPhone-like multi-touch functionality built into the touchpad later this year. This of course begs the question that most Mac fans have pondered for a couple of years now: When will Apple release tablet computers?"

Ultrathin MacBook Rumor Restoked

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Apple's much-rumoured ultra-skinny MacBook Pro sub-notebook has reared its Flash-filled fascia again, this time in a story suggesting the unit will sport a 12.1in screen and less than three-quarters of an inch thick.

"Beyond that, MacScoop's report has little to add. Its mole maintains the svelte laptop could appear by the end of the year, slightly better than the 2008 timeframe previously claimed.

"If this thing exists, our money's on a Macworld Expo unveiling in January 2008...."

Tutorial: Turning an iBook into a Server

The chaos blog 2.0 reports:

"A little while ago I was given an iBook with a faulty screen (as in not working at all).

"Having a hard time just throwing it away, I was looking for a way to put it to use even though it was a fairly old 500 MHz G3 iBook.

"Things being as they were, I thought the only thing to do was using it as a server even if it would mean quite a makeover - hence the fun.

"First of all we need to take the iBook apart to remove screen, optical drive and battery. All of these aren't necessary since we are building a server. "But what about restoring of OS X - don't we need the hard-drive for that?" Actually, you don't, since you can do it just as well in target mode from another hard-drive. Another thing we need to keep in mind is that we really want to keep the footprint of the iBook as small as possible.

"Before taking an iBook apart I strongly recommend visiting ifixit's guide on how to disassemble an iBook so that nothing unintentionally gets broken."

Keeping a MacBook Pro Cool Running Vista with Boot Camp 1.3

MacWindows reports:

"Peter Presti sent us some tips for keeping a MacBook Pro cool when booted from Windows Vista using Boot Camp 1.3 beta.

"He did not have the serious keyboard and booting problems that others have been reporting with version 1.3, but recommends a Windows utility for finer controls with keyboard settings. Presti did report an issue with external displays and found USB to be slow."

Reviews

MacBook Pro 'More than a Minute Speed Bump'

digitalartsonline.co.uk's Neil Bennett says:

"The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is the first laptop we've seen to use Intel's new version of its Centrino platform, codenamed Santa Rosa.

"Santa Rosa offers slightly faster processor speeds than the Intel's previous Centrino - so instead of a choice of 2.16 GHz and 2.33 GHz chips you can now choose from 2.2 GHz and 2.4 GHz models. Our review unit features the 2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo T7500. The new processors communicate with the rest of the components faster, through a front-side bus (FSB) that been upped from 667 MHz to 800 MHz.

"The end result is more than the minute speed bump that you would expect. The new 2.2 GHz model was slower at After Effects video rendering and Cinebench 3D rendering than the 2.33 GHz model we looked at in our June issue - but much faster than the 2 GHz Sony Vaio FE41Z we looked at in the same group test."

Apple Updates

MacBook Pro Software Update for June 2007 Models

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"MacBook Pro is built on the revolutionary Intel Core 2 Duo which packs the power of two processor cores (up to 2.4 GHz) inside a single chip. It provides 4 MB of Smart Cache, L2 cache that can be shared between the cores as needed. It delivers higher performance in 2D and 3D graphics, video editing, and music encoding. But the faster engine is only part of the story. MacBook Pro delivers up to 4 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 memory with a faster, 800 MHz frontside bus and support for hard drives up to 250 GB. Ultimate speed, performance, and connectivity. To go. That's MacBook Pro.

"What's New in this Version:

  • This update provides important bug fixes and is recommended for all 2.2/2.4 GHz MacBook Pro models.

"This update requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later.

"File Size: 14.7 MB

"System Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later
  • MacBook Pro 2.2 GHz or 2.4 GHz"

SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1 for MacBook Pro and MacBook - and Warning

The SuperDrive Update improves readability of certain CD media. The updater application will be installed in the /Applications/Utilities folder. Please follow the instructions in the updater application to complete the update process.

System Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later
  • MacBook Pro Core Duo (15-inch 1.83 GHz, 2.0 GHz, or 2.16 GHz)
  • MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo (15-inch 2.16 GHz or 2.33 GHz)
  • MacBook Core Duo (13-inch 1.83 GHz or 2.0 GHz)
  • MacBook Core 2 Duo (13-inch 1.83 GHz or 2.0 GHz)

File Size: 12 MB

Editor's note: MacFixIt is reporting that Apple SuperDrive Update 2.1 for MacBook or MacBook Pro is, if the installation does not proceed perfectly, killing optical drives.

MacFixIt says: "Well, we warned you. Dozens if not hundreds of users are now reporting that SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1 killed their optical drives, with the devices no longer reading media, nor accepting or ejecting....

"We previously issued a stern warning regarding SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1: If there's a glitch - a mistake in the instructions, or an interruption in the update process - you may find your hardware nonfunctional. As such, it was (and is) recommended that users take special care to avoid interruptions during the firmware installation process." cw

Products and Services

Slim Foldable Laptop Mouse

G4 Slim Foldable Laptop MousePR: Nowadays, there are plenty of laptop mice that try to offer solutions for traveling and are supposedly designed for working "on the road". But external laptop mice tend to be extremely small and therefore significantly uncomfortable to use. The slim portable G4 mouse is the only laptop mouse that can be transformed from a mouse-for-packing to a mouse-for-working.

Slim G4 Optical Mouse online store - the only 5 mm thin, slick, external USB mouse that twists open to a stable, surprisingly comfortable to use, ergonomic mouse in only 10 seconds. The G4 slim laptop mouse opens up to a full-size, smooth operating, working-horse-mouse with a strong and durable metal and rugged plastic body, built for an extensive, long-lasting usage. Its touch-scroll pad prevents accumulation of dirt, dust or sand and its cable-hiding mechanism protects the USB cable from tangling, tarring and disconnecting.

G4 Slim Foldable Laptop MouseG4 slim portable mouse is claimed to be the smallest, thinnest, most elegant accessory you can imagine possessing. When ready for mousing it flips into a strong, stable, hand-fitted laptop mouse. This portable mouse is a perfect solution for those of you that can't stand using the trackpad and that find the little travel mice just too small to operate. It features an easy scroll operation that allows rapid and effortless navigation by just gently sliding a finger on the smooth center touch-scroll wheel. It is stable, durable and comfortable to use on any solid surface.

Product

If you don't like using the trackpad and the little travel laptop mice are just too small, you will will find the G4 slim portable mouse most suitable in style and comfort level. The G4 slim laptop mouse is based on a new optical module technology awarded for its excellent design by the Korean Government in October 2006. This Unique double featured portable mouse is slim, flat, easy to carry and saves space when traveling, yet it twists open to a strong, 3-dimensional, arched structure for mousing.

G4 Slim Foldable Laptop MouseThe G4 slim portable mouse features an easy scroll operation that allows rapid and effortless navigation by just gently sliding a finger on the smooth center touch-scroll wheel. It is stable, durable and comfortable to use on any solid surface. The G4 slim portable mouse has a steady structure and does not "lean" on a fragile "kickstand" when open. It's also a length adjustable laptop mouse and therefore fits all sizes of hands.

This slim laptop mouse fits all laptops - PCs and Macs - by a USB connection. Just "plug" it in and "scroll on". When not working, this ingenious slim portable mouse hides the USB cable neatly under its surface - so there are no torn or mixed up cables.

Features

  • Transformable - converts from a 2-dimensional, thin, flat object to a 3-dimensional, full-blown ergonomic mouse, by twisting it around its turning point
  • Credit-card dimensions when flat: 9.4 x 5.3 x 0.5 cm / 3.7 x 2 x 0.1 inch (length x width x height)
  • Adjustable length when open - for a comfortable, arched shape mouse 10 x 5 x 3 cm / 4 x 2 x 1 inch (length x width x height)
  • Light weight laptop mouse: 43 gr.
  • Folds open to a steady ergonomic arched shape
  • Made of metal and rugged plastic - robust and durable
  • Fits inside your laptop memory card slot (PCMCIA)
  • Features 2-buttons (right, left) and a center touch-scroll wheel
  • State-of-the-art technology optical tracking
  • USB mouse with a comfortable cable length: 65 cm / 25.5 inch
  • USB mouse with a retractable cable (unseen when stored)
  • Optical mouse that operates on any surface (excluding glass)
  • USB connection (1.1~2.0)
  • Resolution: 800 DPI
  • Windows 2000, 98, XP, NT, ME compatible
  • Comes with a leather pouch and a mousepad
  • Comes in 4 different colors (Blue, Cherry, Silver and Ivory)
  • CE and FCC approved ( Federal Communications Commission, America: sets standards in regulation of electrostatic disturbances in electric devices)
  • Working environment: 0°-45° C / 32° - 113° F; 10-95% humidity level
  • Storage temperature: 20°-60° C / 68° - 140° F
  • Comes with a 1 year warranty

Advantages

Advantages over other laptop mice:

  • A unique double featured laptop mouse - slim, flat, easy to carry and saves space when traveling. It twists open to a strong, 3-dimensional structure for mousing.
  • Stores in your memory card slot (or inside your smallest pocket).
  • Steady structure - does not "lean" on a fragile "kickstand" when open - easy to work with for hours.
  • Fits all laptops - PCs and Macs - by a USB connection
  • A length adjustable portable mouse - fits all sizes of hands.
  • Easy scroll operation for rapid navigation - just gently slide your finger on the smooth center touch-scroll wheel.
  • Touch-scroll wheel - when traveling no sand or dust will ever interfere with your portable mouse scrolling
  • Comfortable left and right buttons (won't break or get stuck after no time).
  • "Plug and play" - and just "scroll on"....
  • No torn or mixed up cables - the retractable USB cable stores quickly and neatly under the laptop mouse surface.
  • A Schick, origami-like, luxurious designed slim portable mouse (like no one else has...). Comes in 4 different colors to choose from.

Advantages over the laptop trackpad:

  • Much easier to operate than the tiny laptop trackpad (even if you played the piano as a kid or have really small hands...).
  • Freedom of movement - as you work long hours with your portable mouse, you'll find that your hand and back are more relaxed.

This G4 portable mouse enables freedom of movement that makes your hand and back feel more relaxed. This Schick, origami-like designed slim portable mouse comes in 4 different colors to choose from, a pad and a luxurious leather jacket.

Packed to go - Credit-card dimensions when flat :

9.4 X 5.3 X 0.5 cm / 3.7 X 2 X 0.1 inch (length X width X height)

€51.5 / $69.99

New Laptop Desk Combines Fashion and Function

PR: LapWorks Inc., the market leader in ergonomic and heat- reducing laptop desks, stands, and accessories today announced a fashion-forward addition to its Laptop Desk family - the Laptop Desk Futura. Like its Laptop Desk 2.0 and UltraLite siblings, the Futura's dual-purpose design provides an ergonomically-sound workspace across the lap, and folds into a wedge-shaped stand for desk use. An oval-shaped burst differentiates the chic Futura design, and it will be LapWorks' first laptop cooler to come optionally in fashion colors in the coming months. The initial units, in modernistic 'gunmetal' gray, retail for $29.95 directly from LapWorks.

To improve laptop cooling over previous designs, LapWorks 1) created open ventilation slots which were previously closed channels so cool air can enter from under the Futura, 2) elongated these slots by 2 inches so hot air has a better pathway to escape from under widescreen notebooks, and 3) created a 1/8-inch air space to let cool air circulate under the notebook with rubber pads that lift and separate it from the Futura.

"In the next three months we plan to offer the Futura in bright, modern, hand-painted colors similar to iPod/MP3 player skins," said Jose Calero, LapWorks' president. LapWorks also plans to offer customized Futura paint jobs. All colors - hand-painted and customized - will be offered at premium prices. "Some of our customers have asked when we might have a trendy Laptop Desk, so we are dipping our toes into the fashion fountain with the Futura," Calero explained.

The Laptop Desk Futura weighs just over a pound (16-1/4 ounces), and folds in half to 11 x 10-3/4 inches and one-half of an inch thick for easy traveling in any computer bag. It is constructed of high-impact ABS plastic, and carries a one-year warranty.

"The Futura's design takes better advantage of the thermal dynamics of heat rising to cool notebooks," said Calero. "The moment hot air radiates from the bottom of a notebook, it travels laterally looking for the quickest way to rise. The new open, elongated slots let cool air in from the bottom to mix with and begin cooling the hot air seeking its way out and up. Additionally, we are confident that the Futura will not absorb sufficient heat to overheat and radiate heat downward, which is good news for the lap."

The Futura retains key design features of the award-winning, dual-purpose Laptop Desks v2.0 and UltraLite.

As a lap tray, the Futura unfolds into a wide, 21 x 11 x 3/8-inch workspace. Ergonomist Sally A Longyear, CIE, MPH, uses LapWorks' wide-span lap desks to demonstrate correct posture. "LapWorks' Laptop Desks span the entire lap so you can relax your knees naturally instead of squeezing them together to balance a laptop," Longyear says. "This minimizes strain on the shoulders, neck, back and arms." This illustration shows correct laptop-using posture on a desk and on a lap.

As a desktop stand, the Futura folds into a wedge shape that offers 5 typing angles that incline the notebook's keyboard for more ergonomically comfortable use than when set flat on a desk. It also elevates the screen 3 3Ú4 inches closer to eye level at maximum incline to reduce neck strain.

Because of the limited mousing space on the Futura, customers who prefer an external mouse when using a laptop on their lap should consider the Laptop Desk 2.0 or the slightly longer, yet lighter Laptop Desk UltraLite, which was designed to support notebooks weighing less than 5 pounds. Later this year, LapWorks expects to offer a snap-on MouzPad to expand the Futura's mousing area.

Sonnet Tempo SATA Express 34 ExpressCard eSATA Adaptor Reviewed

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"The External Serial ATA (eSATA) add-on interconnection standard is becoming more common on systems as users seek greater data transfer speeds. Macs are often among the first to get new technologies like these, but eSATA ports remain absent. For ExpressCard 34-equipped laptops at least, here's one answer.

"Sonnet's Tempo SATA Express 34 comes without any eSATA cables - it's the same thing as a SATA II link - so you'll need to spend an extra eight quid on one of those if your hard drive doesn't have one either. None of the drives we tested with the Tempo did.

"The card has two ports, so you can hook up at minimum two drives. Want more? Then hook up a drive enclosure that contains a port multiplier - such as Sonnet's own Fusion series - and you can connect up to ten drives. Initially, we only had access to a single drive, a 750 GB Seagate FreeAgent Pro, so our first tests are based on that, more basic configuration."

Plantronics .Audio 480 Headset

Plantronics .Audio 480 HeadsetPR: In an airport, on a train, or a busy hotel lobby, the Plantronics .Audio 480's sophisticated features and cool profile make life on the go more enjoyable. The flexible boom lets you bring the microphone close for private conversations. Sound-isolating earbuds block out unwanted noise, allowing you to immerse yourself in rich stereo sound. Callers benefit too - a noise-canceling microphone minimizes external noise, making it easier for them to understand you. When it's time to be on your way, the headset folds and fits easily into a crowded briefcase. A quiet oasis in the midst of clamor. That's better.

Product Features:

  • Sound-isolating earbuds minimize street, train, and traffic noise
  • Bring the microphone comfortably close for conversation
  • Wind noise reduction makes it easier for callers to hear you
  • Noise-canceling microphone lets your callers easily hear and understand you
  • Perfect for commuting - "fold, stow, and go
  • Easy to plug in and use.

Mac compatible (USB version): $109.95

To be available in August.

Belkin Mouse TrapCarry and Store Your Mouse with the Belkin Mouse Trap

PR: Belkin's Mouse Trap zips up to carry a mouse and other small items around the house, for use with your laptop. Open it up and use it as a portable mousepad. Mouse Trap is perfect for moving from your bed to the couch to the dining-room table.

  • Hand-washable
  • Soft and flexible
  • Won't slip on most common household surfaces
  • Available in chocolate/tourmaline, steel/burnt orange, dove/tarragon, dove/peony

Belkin Mouse TrapAvailability: Available now with launches in Asia, Europe, and Australia to follow.

Mouse Trap (F5L008) - $12.99

Proporta Protective Laptop Sleeve

Proporta Protective Laptop SleevePR: The Proporta Protective Laptop Sleeve provides essential protection against scratches and impact damage, whilst storing your laptop safely away when not in use.

Protect your laptop when you are on the move with this Protective Laptop Sleeve. Available in three sizes to best fit your laptop, the Protective Laptop Sleeve is suitable to fit devices measuring up to 13" (330mm), 15" (381mm) and 17" (432mm).

Smooth to the touch, the Protective Laptop Sleeve combines contemporary styling with tough protection. It includes elasticated sides which stretch to accommodate a wide range of laptop widths.

The Protective Sleeve also has a nylon lining to protect your laptop unit from scratching caused on the move by knocks, bumps or loose items in your bag.

Proporta Protective Laptop SleeveFeatures

  • Protects against scratches and impact damage
  • Nylon lining to protect against scratches
  • Available in 3 sizes. suitable to fit devices measuring up to 13" (330mm), 15" (381mm) and 17" (432mm)
  • Elasticated sides to accommodate wide range of laptop widths

Protective Laptop Sleeve sells for $56.95

2 Additions to Targus' Women's Line of Notebook Computer Cases

PR: Targus Inc., maker of the world's top-selling notebook computer cases and accessories, has announced the latest additions to its women's line of notebook computer carrying cases. Created to appeal to the sophisticated flair of the female executive, the new Targus Bolero and Fandango Totes offer female executives a functional, yet classy and stylish choice for carrying their notebook computer, files and accessories while on-the-go.

"We understand that women in business are looking for something that offers a combination of function with flair, an alternative to the traditional briefcase," said Al Giazzon, vice president of US marketing at Targus. "We designed our new carrying cases with female tastes in mind so they appeal to the fashion-minded, yet are practical and durable enough for everyday use."

Fandango Tote (Model # TLT051US)

The Fandango Tote is elegantly designed and has the look and feel of a traditional purse. It fits notebook computers with a screen size of up to 15.4", includes a large removable storage pouch with wrist strap to store mobile accessories. It also includes a handy removable wallet. The interior is equipped with pen loops, a business card holder, key clip, additional pockets and plenty of storage space for files and documents. The tote is classic black and is constructed of durable polyester with handmade leather accents. It also features tapered fold down carry handles for a more comfortable fit, along with a classic striped interior lining and tassel detail on the front pocket for added style. The Fandango Tote measures 15.4" X 5.25" X 14.75" and is 2.87 lb.

Bolero Tote (Model # TLT05701US)

The Bolero Tote can be conveniently carried as a tote with short handle strap or over the shoulder with a longer strap so that it falls at the waist. The case fits notebook computers with a screen size of up to 15.4" and includes pockets for a cell phone, PDA or other accessories along with pen loops, an ID/business card holder and a large zippered compartment. The large zippered pocket and alternate side pocket with magnetic closure provide plenty of storage for accessing items quickly while on the go. Constructed of durable black polyester fabric, the Bolero Tote features a sleek and slim design perfect for business or casual use. The tote measures 16.2" x 4" x 13" and weighs 2.1 lb.

Pricing and Availability

Backed by as a limited lifetime warranty, the Fandango Tote is immediately available at leading retail and e-tail stores as well as targus.com for a suggested retail price of $89.99. The Bolero Tote will be available late August for a suggested retail price of $59.99.

Targus Adds Chic Cha Cha Tote to Its Women's Line of Notebook Cases

Cha Cha TotePR: Targus Inc., maker of the world's top-selling notebook computer cases and accessories, has added the chic Cha Cha Women's Tote to its line of notebook computer carrying cases, geared towards women on-the-go. Offered in stylish red, the new Cha Cha Tote provides a fun and fashionable alternative to the traditional black notebooks case.

"We are constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to designing our line of women's carrying cases," said Al Giazzon, vice president of US marketing at Targus. "The Cha Cha Tote is perfect for women looking for a fun yet functional bag when traveling with their computer over the weekend or from meeting to meeting."

Cha Cha Women's Tote (Model # TLT05402US)

The Cha Cha Tote is constructed of durable, red polyester material and features a decorative tassel and man-made leather accents for added style. It fits notebook computers with a screen size of up to 15.4" and the interior includes pen loops, business card slots, storage pouch and a large zippered storage compartment for papers or files. Female customers will appreciate the matching zippered pouch with wristlet for storing additional items such as keys or lipstick. It also comes with tapered fold down handles giving it the look and feel of a purse. The product measures 15.5" X 4.75" X 13" and is 2.49 lb.

Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, Targus' new Cha Cha Tote will be available late August for a suggested retail price of $69.99.

Software

Slife Labs Releases Slife 1.2, Continues MacBook Giveaway

PR: Slife Labs releases Slife 1.2, featuring several performance improvements and a new auto-update engine. Slife Labs is also giving away a MacBook on July 13th. In order to enter the drawing, all users need to do is purchase a Slife license for $34.

Slife Labs announces the immediate availability of Slife 1.2. Slife is a new application for the Mac OS X that lets users visualize their computer activities, keep track of time and stay in touch with friends by sharing web sites they visit, videos they watch, applications they use and much more.

Slife

Slife 1.2 features a new data model, optimized execution of plugins, improved support for any application and a new auto-update engine. "This release is mainly about performance", said Edison Thomaz, Principal at Slife Labs. "We've made improvements in all areas. Slife is faster to launch, uses less memory and consumes less CPU", he added.

Slife Labs also announced that its MacBook giveaway continues. The company will be giving away one 13-inch 2.0 GHz White MacBook on July 13th 2007. In order to participate in the drawing, all users need to purchase a Slife license by July 12th 2007. A license costs US$34 and allows Slife to track an unlimited number of applications at a time. The drawing will be held on July 13th and the winner will be posted on the Slife Labs blog soon thereafter.

Pricing and Availability

Slife 1.2 for Mac OS X can be downloaded today. Slife can track up to 3 applications at a time for free and an unlimited number of applications with a license. A Slife license can be purchased for US$34.

Requirements

Slife 1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later and at least 512 MB RAM (1 GB RAM recommended). Streaming activities to a Slifeshare account requires Slife 1.0 or later.

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

With the release of upgraded "Revision C" MacBook Pros in June, the value profile of refurbished units has shifted somewhat. Prices are finally edging downward, with most of the MacBook Pro offerings $100 or so lower than before. There is a vast selection of both MacBook Pros and MacBook's now available, including "Revision A" Core Duo MacBook Pros at low-ball prices. However, I continue to recommend going for a Core 2 Duo machine if you can scrape together a couple or so hundred more bucks. The value is there. And while a refurbished Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro will soak you four or five hundred dollars less model-for-model than a new "Revision C" Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, in a few weeks there are sure to be Certified Refurbished Santa Rosas entering the distribution channel, which should drive the price of Core 2 Duos farther downward. Something to consider if you don't have compelling urgency to upgrade. cm

  • refurb 1.83 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, $799
  • refurb 1.83 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, $849
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, $849
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, $949
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $999
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, $999
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,299
  • refurb 15" 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,299
  • refurb 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,349
  • refurb 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/100/SD, $1,399
  • refurb 15" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,449
  • refurb 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,499
  • refurb 15" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 17" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,999
  • refurb 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,199

TechRestore

TechRestore is offering a $25 discount to 'Book Review readers off any PowerBook or iBook in stock. Just enter the code CWM during checkout when ordering online. The coupon code is valid from now through 2007.12.31.

  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $469.99 less $25 = $444.99
  • 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/40/Combo, $699.99 less $25 = $674.99
  • 14" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $719.99 less $25 = $694.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/400, 256/20/DVD, $549.99 less $25 = $524.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/800, 256/40/Combo, $649.99 less $25 = $624.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 1 GB/6/SD, one RAM slot, $699.99 less $25 = $674.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, $999.99 less $25 = $974.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/80/SD, $1,099.99 less $25 = $1,074.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, $1,149.99 less $25 = $1,124.99

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 192/1/CD, $199
  • 15" PowerBook G4/867, 512/40/SD, $579
  • Add Airport for $70

Wegener Media

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $199.99
  • 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
  • 14" iBook G3/600, 256/20/Combo, $359.99
  • 14" iBook G3/800, 256/30/Combo, $469.99
  • 14" iBook G3/900, 256/40/Combo, $499.99

ExperCom

  • 12" iBook G4/800, 256/40/Combo, $499
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 768/30/Combo, $549
  • 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 512/30/Combo/ AirPort, $599
  • 14" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 768/60/Combo/ AirPort, $649
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, BT, $849

The PowerBook Guy

  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/300, blueberry, 64/3/CD, $169.95
  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/366, Key lime, 128/10/CD, $289.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $219.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/40/CD-RW, $279.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/20/CD, $239.95
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/Combo, $379.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/CD, AP, $479.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/Combo, AP, $549.95
  • 14" Pismo PowerBook G3/400, 256/20/DVD, $349.95
  • 14" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/40/Combo, AP, $629.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/500, 256/20/DVD, $449.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, BT, AppleCare, $1,099.95

We Love Macs

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 192/10/CD, $284.95
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $379.95

Custom Macs

  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/300, 64/3/CD, OS 9, $129.99
  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/300, 256/3/CD, OS X 10.3, $189.99

BetaMacs

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, OS X, $209
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/30/CD, OS X, $279
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/30/CD, OS X, $329

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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