The 'Book Review

PC PhoneHome Comes to Mac, Klear Screen LCD Cleaner, Gefen's VGA-to-ADC Adapter, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2002.03.15

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

PC PhoneHome Tracks Locates Missing Computers, Now Supports Macs

There were 418,000 laptops and PCs lost or stolen in the USA in the year 2000, and, according to a recent FBI report, 97% of all stolen computers are never recovered. According to insurance statistics, if you own a laptop you have a 1 in 14 chance it will be stolen.

Brigadoon Software offers a crime fighting product designed to protect your personal computer from theft.

Imagine - you're a small business owner and you just went out and invested several thousand dollars in the latest laptop computer, fully loaded with all the bells and whistles. On your first business trip with your new computer you leave it (you think) safely hidden in your hotel room while you entertain a client. Later that night you return to your room, and your laptop, with all your work in it, has disappeared without a trace. The financial loss is bad enough, but the hours of work you've lost is worse. And the sensitivity of the information in your laptop, if it gets into the hands of the wrong people, could be a disaster.

Now imagine a simple, inexpensive software system that offers real hope of tracking your laptop and pinpointing its location anywhere in the world.

PC PhoneHome is a software application that, when installed in your laptop or desktop computer, secretly transmits an electronic message to an email address of your choice, allowing you to track and locate your computer, thus providing the potential for its ultimate recovery as well as apprehension of the thief.

First, you install PC PhoneHome on your computer, configuring it to send it's recovery information to an email address of your choosing. PC PhoneHome sends a stealth email to your designated email address once a day, or every time you connect to the Internet and are assigned an IP address different from your previous IP address. If your computer is lost or stolen, you report the loss to the police and continue to monitor your designated email address. When your stolen computer accesses the Internet by any method, your lost or stolen Computer will send you its stealth email message, informing you of its location.

PC PhoneHome has been enthusiastically embraced by police forces, insurance companies, and the computer industry. The product is a natural fit for the security monitoring and ISP industry, and it's a great value added product that complements not only these industries but also the computer manufacturing industry. PC PhoneHome enhances the customer experience by raising the bar for customer satisfaction and service. PC PhoneHome is compatible with Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

System requirements:

  • PC PhoneHome will work on all computers using Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2K/XP and Mac OS 8.6-X.

PC PhoneHome Lite is a freeware version that Brigadoon distributes as a public service to provide the public at large with a powerful security tool to protect their valuable hardware and intellectual property.

PC PhoneHome Lite sends a periodic stealth signal to the registrant's command center with the exact coordinates of the registrant's computer. In the event the computer is lost or stolen, its whereabouts can easily be pinpointed. PC PhoneHome Lite will not withstand a format, low-level format.

PC PhoneHome Pro is the paid version of the program that operates by stealth at a very low level and sends periodic signals to the registrants command center with the exact coordinates of the registrant's computer in the event the computer is lost or stolen. PC PhoneHome Pro cannot be removed from the protected hard drive with a format or low-level format.

PC PhoneHome Enterprise is similar to PC PhoneHome Pro in that it operates by stealth at a very low level and cannot be removed from the protected hard drive with a format or low-level format. However, PC PhoneHome Enterprise sends periodic signals to a centralized command center of the licensee's choosing with the exact coordinates of the registrant's computer. This allows the Enterprise user to centrally administer the recovery of lost or stolen computers, and tracking of all computer assets.

The price for one license of PC PhoneHome Pro is $29.95 for the life of your computer. Pricing for the PC PhoneHome Enterprise is based upon the total number of computers covered under the Enterprise license. There are no yearly add-on costs. No hidden fees. No additional charges.

You can download PC PhoneHome Lite for free.

Consumer Group Turns Up the Heat on Defective PowerBook Hinge Issue

Kevin Barry , who is organizing a user group to pressure Apple to positively address the PowerBook G3 defective screen hinge issue, writes:


We are stepping up the G3 hinge issue and coupling it with power adapters and the power input issues on the G3 PowerBook series computers. We are currently doing an investigation into the problems and are asking users to come and fill out a brief questionnaire.

Here is the link.

Kevin Barry

Klear Screen LCD Cleaner

Klear Screen is the only LCD cleaning product recommended by Apple to safely clean all LCD/laptop displays and computer monitors.

Klear Screen contains a unique 3-step liquid polymer-based formula that lifts and dissolves surface contaminants and fingerprints, floating debris off the screen surface, leaving an antistatic coating which dramatically reduces surface friction & wear, resists fingerprinting and provides a renewable protective screen barrier.

Klear Screen's "award winning" formula is antistatic, 100% nontoxic, environmentally friendly and is the most "recommended", non-damaging, alcohol & ammonia-free screen cleaner you can buy.


  • Antistatic
  • Alcohol and ammonia free
  • Nontoxic
  • Cleans, polishes, protects

To order call 1-800-505-5327

Spire Atom Laptop Backpack Sale

For a limited time you can save $25 on the Spire Atom backpack at $70 (Regular price $95).

The Atom is a great pack for those who want an affordable, simple bag for their computer. It's slim, but Spire Atom Backpacknot stripped-down - it will carry a notebook, accessories as well as a textbook or two.

The Atom is the Spire Zoom's lower-priced cousin, designed with the needs of students in mind. It's built to hold your notebook comfortably and securely - with no gimmicks or gadgets. It's able to contour to your body's natural curves, which makes it much more comfortable to wear than the cheaper packs on the market that just stitch a foam panel into the rear of the bag.

Like all Spire products, the Atom is designed, tested, and manufactured in Boulder, Colorado, and guaranteed for life.


  • Includes a padded, removable sleeve for your computer for no additional charge. The sleeve can be used to protect your notebook while it's in another bag or just used on its own. With the sleeve removed, the Atom can be used as a regular daypack for carrying books, clothes, or even climbing gear.
  • The notebook is protected on all six sides for maximum protection.
  • The front compartment has multiple pockets for holding accessories, pens, keys, and other items.
  • Exterior is all 1000 denier Cordura nylon, one of the strongest, most durable fabrics available.

The main difference between the Atom and the Zoom is the configuration of the compartments. Both the packs are about the same size, but the Atom has a larger rear compartment and smaller front one. Spire did this to make sure the bag could carry bulky items like textbooks or clothes.

Chrome Vagrant and BlackBox Cases


Dual entry double flap action. Easy access external cargo pocket for Discman, CD's, etc. Includes side cell Vagrant casephone sleeve, zippered pocket, pen slots, and waist strap. Lined with heavy-duty weatherproof PVC tarp. Makes a great laptop bag with the addition of the Laptop Sleeve option. Perfect size for the new G4. Lifetime guarantee.

  • Dimensions: 15" x 10.5" x 5"
  • Volume: 1200 cu. in.
  • Vagrant Mini Messenger $66
  • Cell Phone Holster $9
  • Laptop Sleeve $15


Lock away your laptop in it's very own padded cell. Crash proof molded foam on all sides. The semi-rigid construction BlackBox caseoffers maximum protection from crushing and impact. On the inside you get additional protection from a removable padded laptop sleeve. Equipped with a super comfortable shock absorbing neoprene shoulder strap with industrial strength snaphook hardware. Features a front panel flip down organizer with pockets for Zip Drive, disks, cords, and CD's. Redesigned to fit the new G4 Titanium and other wide format laptops.

  • Internal Dimensions: 13.5" x 12.5" x 4.5"
  • External Dimensions: 14.25" x 13.25" x 5"
  • Blackbox price: $100

Chrome Factory Second Discounts on Laptop Bags

Looking for a deal? Look into factory seconds of the previous version through the Chrome Backdoor. Bags for sale through the Chrome Backdoor are considered to be factory seconds for cosmetic reasons only. These bags are 100% structurally sound and are covered under the same warranty and return policies as our first quality bags. Defects you may expect to receive could be due to small ink stains, wrinkled fabric, or less than perfect stitching. You will not receive bags with defects such as holes, torn seams, or broken hardware.

Currently available:

  • DJ $40.00 (regular $66.00)
  • Citizen $60.00 (regular $80.00)
  • Blackbox $60.00 (regular $96.00)
  • Commodore $65.00 (regular $95.00)
  • Ransacker Messenger $60.00 (regular $80.00)

Gefen Ships ex-tend-it VGA to ADC Conversion Box

Gefen is now shipping its ex-tend-it VGA to ADC Conversion Box, which connects Apple's 17 inch Studio Display or 22 inch Cinema Display to any PowerBook G4, using the computer's VGA port.

The ex-tend-it VGA to ADC Conversion Box connects traditional analog video graphic cards to ADC compliant LCD digital monitors. The VGA to ADC Conversion Box, enables users to connect laptops or other legacy computers that are equipped with HD-15 video connections only. The device has the DVI to ADC Conversion Box built in. The VGA to ADC Conversion Box also enables Apple PowerBook and iBook users to connect their laptop to the new family of Apple's flat panel displays.

Simply connect the supplied VGA (M-F) cable to the input side of the VGA to ADC Conversion Box. Then, connect the Apple flat panel display to the ADC output connector of the VGA to ADC Conversion Box. Three different resolution settings are supported including 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024 and 1600 x 1024.


  • ADC Bandwidth: 1.65 GHz
  • VGA Bandwidth: 350 MHz
  • Input Video Signal: 1.2 volts p-p
  • Input DDC Signal: 5 volts p-p (TTL)
  • Power Consumption: 205 Watts (max.)
  • Power Supply: External 28 VDC
  • Dimensions: 2.75W x 1.0H x 4.5D
  • Shipping Weight: 6 lbs.  


  • Titanium PowerBook G4 500 MHz or higher
  • ATI Radeon 7500 and the Nvidia GeForce
  • ATI Radeon Mac Edition
  • 2MX and 4MX graphics cards
  • Apple TwinView card
  • Graphics cards compatible with Apple's latest computers
  • Mac OS 9.2.2
  • Mac OS 10.1.3


  • iBook
  • iMac
  • PowerBook G3 (Pismo)

Route 66 Route USA 2001-2002 for Macintosh

Route 66 Route USA 2001-2002 calculates the most reliable and accurate trips between any number of stops. It contains all information available for car navigation products in the USA.

More than 2,600,000 streets and more than 725,000 Points of Interest in over 50 categories such as hotels, restaurants, theaters, and gas stations, most of which together with their addresses and telephone numbers. All this information is easily accessible with the state-of-the-art Route 66 search engine. When printing the calculated route and the result appears on your screen immediately, even before being sent to the printer.

Route 66 Route USA 2001-2002 also provides support for GPS, enabling you to establish your exact location using satellite navigation. Route USA 2001-2002 shows you your precise location on the map, which means you will never lose your way again. The itinerary in Route 66 Route USA 2001-2002 uses the directions you encounter on road signs during your journey, which means you will never lose your bearings.

You can add any roadblocks you feel necessary using Route 66 Route USA 2001-2002, for example in the event of road works, and the system automatically takes account of this during the route calculation.

  • 95-100% streets
  • 95-100% major roads

Minimum system requirements:

  • Power Macintosh with Mac OS 8.5, 200 MHz PowerPC processor
  • 64 MB RAM
  • 3.1 GB available hard disk space.
  • 8x CD-ROM
  • 256 colors (8 bit color) at 800 x 600 pixels

Recommended system requirements:

  • Power Macintosh with Mac OS 9.1 or X, 400 MHz PowerPC processor
  • 128 MB RAM
  • 3.1 GB available hard disk space
  • 32x CD-ROM
  • 16 bit color (thousands of colors) at 1024 x 768 pixels

Optional system requirements:

  • NMEA 0183-compatible GPS receiver (a GPS receiver is not included with the software).

Price: $ 49.95

Bargain 'Books

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.

Small Dog Electronics


Power Max

  • iBook 500 MHz, 64 MB/10 GB/CD, snow, factory refurbished, free iceBook tote, $949
  • iBook 500 MHz, 128 MB/15 GB/CD, snow, factory refurbished, free iceBook tote, $999

PowerBook Guy


  • iBook G3/500. 128/10 GB/CD-RW/12.1", factory refurbished, $1,099.99
  • iBook G3/600, 128/15 GB/DVD/12.1", factory refurbished, $1,179.99

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