The 'Book Review

WildEeps TiBook Screen Cushions, 466 MHz G3 Upgrade for PB 1400, MacVCD X 4.0, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2002.03.22

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

WildEepz for TiBook Screen Closure Cushions

Radiologic Technologies offers WildEepz replacement screen closure cushions made from a rubber polymer. The cushions are .04" thick, but will compress to approximately .03" and are claimed to offer much better protection and rigidity compared to the ineffective, fragile original cushions Apple uses.

WildEepz

The Radiologic cushions attach via an adhesive backing and can be removed at any time with no damage to the titanium surface. The cushions eliminate the free play in the display when closed, help protect the display from contacting the main chassis, add significant rigidity to the PowerBook when closed, and help eliminate the unintentional opening if the latch button is slightly pressed, such as when carrying the unit.

"WildEepz" cushions sell for $10.

Sonnet Announces New 466 MHz Processor Upgrade for PowerBook 1400

Sonnet Technologies has released the Crescendo/PB G3 466-1M, Sonnet's fastest upgrade yet for the PowerBook 1400, and the latest addition to its product line of Crescendo processor upgrade cards. This upgrade offers a powerful 466 MHz PowerPC G3 processor with 1 MB Level 2 backside cache, which produces an impressive 11x increase in performance over a stock 117 MHz machine. The Crescendo/PB is compatible with the PowerBook's existing hardware, software, RAM, and peripherals. It transparently integrates with your system software, and performs flawlessly with Mac OS 7.5.3, through OS 9.1.

Crescendo/PB G3 466-1M is shipping now and has an estimated street price of $299.95. This new product replaces the Crescendo/PB G3 400-1M at the same price.

PowerBook Cases from the Mothership

The Apple Store offers a wide selection of laptop cases and backpacks by companies like Brenthaven and Incase. Go to the Apple Store site and click on the Laptop Gear link.

Some examples include:

Mobility 1 iBook Messenger Bag

Featuring a custom fit iBook protective sleeve, iBook specific accessory pockets, the Mobility 1 is amazingly light - only 1.6 lbs. - and is the innovative and functional complement to the new 12" iBook.

Manufactured exclusively for Apple by Brenthaven, the Mobility 1 is designed around the new 12" iBook and features the same care and exquisite craftsmanship that has earned Brenthaven the reputation as the industry leader in carrying case technology.

The main case compartment houses the iBook protection sleeve and two hardware accessory pockets conveniently sized to fit the iBook power cord, disk shaped AC adapter, as well as a spare iBook battery. The case is topped off with Brenthaven's easy-grip handle and adjustable shoulder strap that is designed to ride comfortably on a shoulder.

Constructed of high performance Cordura nylon fabric, the Mobility 1's front flap-over design is extremely rugged and lightweight (only 1.6 lbs.). The case features a compact organizer section for stationary items, a zippered organizer pocket, a PDA pocket and side quick-access pockets to provide storage for cell phones, sunglasses, etc. Also featured is a handy key holder and a convenient bungee cord carry-strap for universal carrying needs.

Specifications:

  • Front flap, 1 compartment design
  • iBook protection sleeve
  • 2 computer hardware pockets, 1 PDA pocket, 2 quick access pockets, 1 zippered mini-pocket, 1 magazine slip pocket
  • Bungee cord carry-strap & quick access key holder
  • Compact organizer panel
  • EasyGrip handle, fully adjustable shoulder strap
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Color: blue/black combination
  • Case dimensions: 4" x 10-1/4" x 13-1/2"
  • Case weight: 1.6 lbs..

Price: $79.95

Brenthaven Mobility 2 Top Loading Case

The sleek and sophisticated Mobility 2 by Brenthaven is manufactured exclusively for Apple for the 12" iBook. This case features a custom fit iBook protective sleeve, iBook accessory pockets and all the little details to make this the perfect compliment for your new laptop.

Manufactured exclusively for Apple by Brenthaven, the Mobility 2 is designed specifically for the 12" iBook and features the same care and exquisite craftsmanship that has earned Brenthaven the reputation as the industry leader in carrying case technology.

The Mobility 2 is a two compartment, top loading computer case constructed of a combination of high performance Cordura and Antron nylon. This stylish and streamline design is extremely rugged, weighs only 2.2 lbs. and features the Brenthaven dual spring-rod handle system as well as a padded contoured shaped shoulder strap for the ultimate in ergonomic comfort.

The main compartment contains the custom-fit iBook protection sleeve as well as storage space for files. The second compartment provides the ultimate in organization, storage and accessibility. This compartment features an organizer panel, a PDA pocket, multiple media pockets for DVDs and Zip disks as well as custom pockets to carry the iBook spare battery and disk shaped AC adapter and cables. Also featured in the case are an external magazine slip pocket, a handy key holder as well as a convenient side-mounted cell phone pocket for quick and easy access.

Specifications:

  • Top loading, 2 compartment design: one for the computer and files; the other with an organizer panel and multiple storage pockets
  • iBook protection sleeve
  • 2 hardware accessory pockets, 2 DVD pockets, 1 spare iBook battery pocket, 2 media/additional hardware pockets, 2 cord/cable pockets, 1 AC adapter pocket, 1 magazine slip pocket
  • Side-mounted cell phone pocket
  • Quick access key holder
  • Wheelie strap for attaching to wheeled luggage
  • Exclusive Brenthaven dual spring-rod, non-slip handle system
  • Fully padded, contour shaped 1.5" molded shoulder strap
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Color: black
  • Case dimensions: 6" x 11-1/2" x 12-3/4"
  • Case weight: 2.2 lbs.

Price: $99

Incase Laptop Sleeve for G4

Image Incase's New Laptop Sleeve for the Apple PowerBook G4 offers a new level of performance and laptop sleeveversatility. The Sleeve works by adding laptop protection to your favorite larger bag or works as a stand alone just as gracefully. It's designed to be sleek and slender to complement the G4's sparkling clean looks and carries well with the shoulder strap or new retractable handles that tuck away when not in use. Incase also added a neoprene pocket so you can carry your power supply but discreetly hide the bulge. Sized to fit the PowerBook G4 and available only in Dark Graphite.

Price: $39.95

Amazon Offers $100 off on Laptops (including iBooks and PowerBooks)

Amazon.com is discounting new laptop computers by $100, in addition to their free Super Saver Shipping program, until March 29, 2002

For Apple portable models offered, click here.

ThinkFree Office Now Available on CD-ROM

If you've been following the thread of discussion on Low End Mac initiated by my article about living Microsoft-free, you might be interested to learn that ThinkFree Corporation announced that its MS Office alternative, ThinkFree Office, is now available at retail stores as a shrink-wrapped CD-ROM offering, which runs on both PCs and Macs.

ThinkFree Office is a suite of productivity applications, including a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation graphics program, that seamlessly reads and writes Microsoft Office file formats. The retail version of ThinkFree Office includes a non-expiring software license, CD-ROM media that installs in minutes, and a printed user's guide.

The retail version also includes a registration serial number, which can be redeemed for a one-year subscription to ThinkFree's Internet services.

These services provide customers with:

  • A personal Cyberdrive, a secure Internet file storage system hosted by ThinkFree servers
  • The ability to download any software updates which are available on the ThinkFree website
  • The ability to download and install ThinkFree Office from ThinkFree's Web site, as needed, to any supported computing platform anywhere, anytime
  • Email customer support

"The retail version of ThinkFree Office represents a marriage between today's desktop-centric computing paradigm and our vision for the future - one that enables anywhere, anytime, any platform computing," said Robert Wise, CEO for ThinkFree. "ThinkFree Office addresses the needs of an extremely diverse market spectrum, from increasingly mobile corporate users who demand ubiquitous access to both their data and applications to small office or home users who are more concerned with price, compatibility, and ease of use. ThinkFree Office offers a compelling benefit to technology early adopters and the more conservative mass market users alike."

ThinkFree Office has previously only been available directly from ThinkFree's website on a subscription basis as a hosted service or Server-based version that is installed and deployed within an organization's own network. ThinkFree Office includes:

  • Write, a Microsoft Word compatible word processor/HTML editor
  • Calc, a Microsoft Excel compatible spreadsheet application
  • Show, a Microsoft PowerPoint compatible presentation graphics application
  • Folders, a file manager for navigating and managing documents seamlessly on your local drive and on your ThinkFree Cyberdrive

Consumers will be able to purchase ThinkFree Office at retail outlets nationwide for an estimated street price of $49.95 (that's a lot cheaper than Office). Current retailers include CompUSA, Micro Center, Fry's Electronics, and J&R Music and Computer World.

Sony to Offer 16.1" Notebook Display

According to News.com, Sony is releasing a new Vaio GRX notebook at $2,499 with a 16.1" display, providing about the same viewing area as a 17" CRT monitor.

Apple's PowerBook G4 has a 15.2" wide screen format display, and Gateway offers a 15.7" display on its Solo 9550 notebook.

Sony's top-of-the-line GRX590, priced at $2,999, features a 1.7 GHz Pentium 4-M with the 16.1" screen, and includes a 40 GB hard drive.

Dell Debuts $949 Notebook Computer

Dell has announced a new notebook priced at $949.

The SmartStep 100N is targeted at first-time notebook buyers and repeat customers who want a second computer system for their home. That's one of the iBook's target markets, and the SmartStep is $250 less.

The SmartStep 100N features a 14.1" XGA display, Intel Celeron 1.06 GHz processor, 128 MB RAM, 20 GB hard drive, internal 24X CD-ROM, and internal modem, Windows XP Home Edition operating system with Works Suite 2002, Music Match software for listening to digital music and Dell Picture Studio for processing and sharing digital photos, six months of America Online or DellNet by MSN membership (new members only).

SmartStep 100N is covered by a 90-day limited warranty, but customers can upgrade to a one-year limited warranty for an extra $50.

Location X 1.0.4 Full Featured Location Manager

Location X brings Location Manager functionality from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. Location X allows you to change network, time zone, email settings and more all at once with a single click.

Macintosh portable users who travel between different locations often have to reconfigure their Macs for use at home, school, the office, the hotel, the east coast office, China (you get the picture). Configuring Location X to do this for you is easy using its intuitive and elegant Aqua interface. Now using your laptop in different places is a snap.

Location X was designed to allow third parties to develop plug-ins that will allow you to change even more settings than those provided in the Location X package. We will soon be publishing this interface to allow developers to enhance and extend Location X. In the mean time, you can use Location X's built in plugins that let you change your network configuration, Apple Mail settings, time zone, and QuickTime connection speed. Check back frequently for new plug-ins!

New in this version:

  • Fixes problems that may have prevented Mail or QuickTime plug-ins from working
  • Includes Default Printer and AppleScript plug-ins

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.1.3

Location X is $10.00 shareware.

MacVCD X Version 4.0 Released

Want to watch VCD movies on your PowerBook or iBook running OS X?

Mireth Technology has released version 4.0 of MacVCD X for Mac OS X. This is the first release of their VCD player that supports the native Video CD format on Mac OS X. You can now insert a VCD in the CD-ROM drive of your Macintosh running Mac OS X and watch the movie.

MacVCD X is an easy-to-use, full screen, full featured Video CD Player for the Macintosh. VCD movies are frequently stored in multiple files (called tracks) and, because of CD storage size limitations, are often stored on more than one disk. MacVCD X recognizes the VCD format, finds, loads, and plays the movie for you, automatically chaining the tracks together and ejecting the disk when it's done. Sit back and enjoy the movie on full screen, or even on your TV, with no interruptions except to insert the next disk.

MacVCD X also comes with several control options. Use the menu bar and the movie controller on the top and bottom of the screen, or maximize screen size by hiding the menu bar and movie controller and use the keyboard equivalents instead. You can also use the Hands Free™ speech activated controls with a stereo headset to control the movie. That's the easy way to play.

MacVCD X features:

  • Full screen display, even on large monitors
  • Automatic VCD format recognition and file chaining
  • Auto Play and Auto Eject options
  • Easy to use standard Macintosh Interface with both Movie Controller and Keyboard control
  • Track selection
  • Support for both multi-language and karaoke soundtracks
  • Hands Free™ speech activated control
  • Playback on a second display (like a TV)
  • Advanced movie controls including slow motion, fast motion and backwards playback

MacVCD X for Mac OS X costs $19.95 and can be ordered from Mireth's Web site. You can download a copy (free demo included) from < http://www.mireth.com/pub/download.html>.

System Requirements:

  • Macintosh PowerPC G3
  • Mac OS X 10.1
  • QuickTime 5 or later

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

  • PowerBook G4/667, 512/30 GB/Combo/Airport, new with free Ogio Jack Pack Messenger Bag in graphite, $2,999
  • iBook G3/500, 128/15 GB/CD-ROM, refurbished, $1,089

Power Max

ExperCom

  • iBook G3/600, 128/15 GB/DVD/12.1", factory refurbished, $1,179.99

Apple Store Special Deals

And for our Canadian readers (all prices cited below are in Canadian dollars):

MacOutpost

CPUsed

Plus a selection of older PowerBooks.

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