The Power of Mac

My iBook, Part 3

Eric Schwarz - 2002.03.14

Last time I talked about unpacking my iBook and shared first impressions. Now that I've had it for a week, I've decided to finish this series. This time, I'll be talking about the built-in applications as well as as any other loose ends I can tie up.

iApps

First of all, I find the supplied software very useful. I've loaded all my music on iTunes and am burning CDs a lot more (since I don't have to do it on the family's PC). I've also played with iMovie, creating titles for our old VHS home movies (I have the composite out connector).

I loaded iPhoto but haven't used it yet. I may if I ever decide to get a digital camera. AppleWorks 6 is also useful (I've used ClarisWorks since 2.0 and had AppleWorks 5 on my 540c).

Mac OS X proves to be a very very good experience (not Classic booting yet), and I learned how to log in as root and "tweak" my iBook - go here for directions: <http://homepage.mac.com/megasad/ibookswan/>.

More Apps

AOL IM for OS X turned out to be rather useless, so I downloaded Fire. It lets me not only talk to AOL users, but also MSN, ICQ, Jabber, and Yahoo Messenger users. This comes in very handy. Another choice for just AOL IM compatibility is Adium.

I loaded a copy of VirtualPC for the heck of it. Although I don't have a copy of Windows that works with it (the 98 from our PC is a custom IBM one that requires a certain model to run), I do have DOS and Linux. Both run fairly well.

Palm Desktop 4.0 Beta for OS X runs fairly well. I just wish AvantGo and others would update their conduits for OS X.

Peripherals

I ordered the Zip 100 USB "value line" model, and it works fairly well. No power supply is needed, since it's powered by USB. It's rather small and lightweight. I may start carrying it with my iBook.

My Epson C60 printer has proved to be very fast - and the very high-quality printout is surprising for such a cheap printer ($79). Its software is built into OS X, so it was truly plug and play.

I have also configured my iBook to work with the school's HP LaserJet 5M and Apple LaserWriter 16/600PS. Both work flawlessly under OS X.

Quirks & Notes

First of all, the battery does last a whole day in school (since I put it to sleep when I'm not using it).

I've decided to end this article with a few annoyances. The case scratches easily. The scratches aren't huge, but if you look closely you can see them. Also, the keys rub against the screen (just like on the Pismo and TiBook). I didn't think this was an issue with this model, but I fixed it by placing a thin piece of fabric between the screen and keyboard. Finally, the hinge creaks when opening (my mom's PB 170 also does this), but I assume my iBook just has to be broken in.

This weekend I'm going to Staples to see what they have in terms of RoadTools CoolPads. My iBook doesn't get very hot, but it does get warmer than I like.

Overall, my iBook seems pretty sturdy (I can hold it with one hand), is fast enough for most users, and is a great value. I'd recommend one to anyone in the market for a new computer (Mac or PC, desktop or portable), although the new iMac is also tempting. LEM

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