The 'Book Review

USB Memory Mouse, LapCop 2.0, Combo and SuperDrive G4 Upgrades, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2003.08.08

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

IOGear Launches the First Mouse with a Memory

IOGear has eliminated the hassles of touchpads, cumbersome mice, and bulky external hard drives with the launch of Memory Mouse, a mini mouse capable of storing up to 32 MB of files.

The tiny peripheral is a great tool for mobile travelers who don't want to lug around bulky laptops and have limited space to work. By storing PowerPoint presentations, MP3s, photos, and other files, Memory Mouse enables users to transfer data onto any PC or Mac at any location by simply plugging the device into a USB port.

With 800 dpi resolution, Memory Mouse offers twice the accuracy of standard mice, allowing greater precision for graphic design or detailed-oriented projects. The high resolution also requires less wrist movement to move the cursor, an advantage for travelers working on airline tray tables or in other confined areas. Memory Mouse features a retractable cable to avoid tangled wires, making it simple to store.

IOGear's tool works on any surface and offers an ergonomically contoured design for comfortable use. Memory Mouse is priced at $49.95 (MSRP) and is available immediately from all major catalog resellers, online resellers, and selected retail outlets.

"IOGear's latest device is a great example of how mice have migrated from a utility peripheral to a more multipurpose and feature-rich tool," said Miranda Su, vice president of sales and marketing at IOGear, Inc. "Memory Mouse is a great product for mobile workers looking to reduce their heavy load and simplify data transfers. The mouse is much sturdier than CD-ROMs or floppy disks, making it less of a risk to break or get scratched in a bag or pocket."

Memory Mouse supports Windows 98, 98SE, 2000, ME, XP and Mac OS X. The product is USB ready, Plug-n-Play, and hot pluggable. It comes equipped with a carrying case and IOGear's three-year limited warranty. At press time, there was no information about the Memory Mouse on the IOGear website.

LapCop 2.0 Phones Home if Your 'Book Is Stolen

Due to legal issues with a competitive product, we have been asked to remove the following article. However, this is a news archive, and we are retaining the article as published for historical reasons with only a single change - the broken link has been removed. Dan Knight, publisher, Low End Mac

Laptops are becoming increasingly popular, but their portability makes them very susceptible to theft. Computer theft has reached epidemic proportions worldwide: There were 591,000 laptops stolen in the US in the year 2001, and according to a recent FBI report, 97% of all stolen computers are never recovered. Macintosh laptops are especially popular among thieves, because even thieves sometimes have good taste....

LapCop's developers are iBook and PowerBook users themselves. To help recover your iBook or PowerBook in case it gets stolen, they have developed LapCop, an innovative stealth software application that secretly transmits an electronic beacon to an email address of your choice, allowing you to track and locate your Mac anywhere in the world.


  • LapCop monitors your system.
  • If your Mac is stolen, LapCop sends a stealth email to your designated email address as soon as your lost or stolen Mac is connected to the Internet.
  • The stealth email contains all the information needed for the local authorities to recover your Mac. As a side benefit, any other items of your property that might have been taken at the same time may also be recovered.
  • Sends LapCop a copy of the stealth email, and they will help you locate your stolen Mac.

New in this version:

  • LapCop 2 no longer uses SMTP to send its stealth email. It now contacts LapCop's dedicated server, which then sends out the stealth email, making the stealth mail delivery 100% reliable.
  • LapCop 2 now reports the serial number of the stolen Mac.
  • IP addresses of the router are now reported as well, making it even easier to locate the stolen Mac.
  • LapCop 2 is free for registered users of LapCop.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.2 or higher

LapCop sells for $25.

Other World Computing Introduces SuperDrive and Combo Upgrades for PowerBook G4 Titanium

Other World Computing (OWC) has introduced Mercury Ti and Mercury Cube slot-loading internal SuperDrive and Combo drives available for both 15" PowerBook G4 and Power Macintosh G4 Cube models, respectively.

Allowing users to replace their current internal optical drive, OWC SuperDrives provide full DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW capabilities, while the OWC Combo drives provide full CD-R/RW and DVD playback capabilities. Drives are 100% compatible with all Apple software titles, including iDVD (SuperDrive only), iTunes, and Disc Burner.

"Out goes the stock drive and in goes the new OWC SuperDrive or Combo drive upgrade," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "Now both Cube G4 and PowerBook G4 owners can have it all - conveniently right inside their machine and with 100 percent Apple software compatibility."

The Mercury Ti and Cube SuperDrive upgrades for both 15" PowerBook G4 and Power Mac G4 Cube models include the following features:

  • 24x Speed CD-ROM Reading
  • 16x Speed CD-R Writing
  • 4x Speed CD-RW Writing/Rewriting
  • 8x Speed DVD-ROM Reading
  • 1x Speed DVD-R Writing
  • 1x Speed DVD-RW Writing/Rewriting
  • Buffer Underrun Protection
  • 2 MB Write Cache

The OWC Mercury Combo drives for 15" PowerBook G4 and Power Mac G4 Cube models offer:

  • 24x Speed CD-ROM Reading
  • 8x Speed CD-R Writing
  • 8x Speed CD-RW Writing/Rewriting
  • 8x Speed DVD-ROM Reading
  • Buffer Underrun Protection
  • 2 MB Write Cache

OWC SuperDrives are priced from $379.95 for both the Mercury Ti and Cube models, and both models of OWC Combo drives are priced at $199.95. All come with step-by-step instructions for easy installation and are available exclusively through OWC.

Further, OWC offers a trade-in rebate of $19 or $85, respectively, for the return of a properly functioning Apple CD/DVD or Apple CD-R/RW+DVD (Combo drive) that the new OWC drive has replaced.

PowerBookResQ "SuperDrive" DVD-R/CD-RW Burner Upgrade for G4 PowerBooks

The PowerBookResQ "SuperDrive" upgrade for the 15" PowerBook G4 is a slot-loading DVD-R/CD-RW drive designed to replace the built-in CD-RW or DVD drive with a drive that can burn CDs as well as DVDs that can be played in most consumer DVD players.

The PowerBookResQ SuperDrive upgrade is bootable and compatible with Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, iDVD, iTunes, Disc Burner, Apple DVD Player, Toast, and Retrospect. The drive reads at 24x, writes CD-R at 16x, writes CD-RW at 8x, and writes DVD-R/RW at 1x. A one year warranty applies.

The $399 upgrade price is based on the exchange of your functional DVD drive. If you do not wish to exchange your original drive, or if the original drive is defective, then there is an additional core charge of $75.

PowerBookResQ offers a convenient upgrade solution. The $399 price includes pickup at your location, overnight delivery to our repair center, installation within 24 hours, and return overnight shipping to you.

In order to be compatible with the required software, your PowerBook must be running OS 10.2.6 or OS 9.2.2.

MicroSaver Guaranteed Notebook Replacement Security Cable

Powerful protection - a security cable with guaranteed laptop replacement, MicroSaver Guaranteed Notebook Replacement is the strongest security cable from Kensington, and it's backed the industry's first replacement guarantee. Kensington will replace up to $1,500 per laptop and up to $10,000 per year per purchaser under its replacement guarantee program.

Features and Benefits

  • Replacement guarantee ensures replacement for locked laptop that's stolen
  • Super-strong 6' steel and Kevlar brand fiber cable encased in cut-resistant stainless steel braided sheath for superior protection
  • Patented T-bar lock provides most secure grip on slot
  • Works with security slot in 99% of laptops, flat panels, tablet PCs, projectors, and other portable devices
  • Slim-profile lock won't block computer ports, rubber bumper on lock head protects computer from scratches
  • Works with the security slot found in 99% of laptops, flat panels, tablet PCs, projectors, and other portable devices
  • Easy to use with no screws, brackets to install - no messy glue or hardware to use

System requirements: Works with all computing equipment that have the Security Slot. Can be used with most computing equipment with slot adapter

Price: $67.95

more iBookScreenEnhancer Enables Extended Desktop Mode

The AppleScript more iBookScreenEnhancer enables Extended Desktop mode in newer iBooks to support two non-mirrored monitors - the internal LCD and an external monitor with up to 1920 x 1440 resolution. Be careful, though, as this can make some 'Books unusable. Try it at your own risk.

MadsonLine MicroAdapter Mini AC Adapter

MadsonLine offers the MicroAdapter mini AC adapter and the PowerSet 2 (US$144), which includes the MicroAdapter and Auto/Air Adapter.

The MicroAdapter AC Adapter for PowerBook G4 (all models) & iBook (Dual USB and later) comes with a 30 day money back guarantee and one year warranty.


  • Credit card size: 1.75" x 3.5" x 0.92"
  • Weighs 5 oz (w/o AC cord)
  • Right angle power plug saves space.
  • Heavy Duty 20 wire gauge dc cord.
  • Input: 100-240V AC.
  • One 30" AC cord included.
  • Outputs: 24V at 45 Watts continuous.

One Year Warranty

SleepLess 1.3.1 Prevents Sleep Without Changing System Settings

SleepLess is used to prevent your Mac from going to sleep without changing system settings. It updates the system activity timer once per some interval.


  • no Dock icon
  • small floating palette
  • one click activation/deactivation

New in this version:

  • button image is updated properly
  • some English phrases changed
  • status bar menu item feature disabled in 10.1.x

New FireWire 2.5 FireWire/USB2 Combo Enclosure For Everyone

FireWire Depot has introduced a new series of 2.5" FireWire/USB2 combo enclosures, the FireXpressPS.

In keeping with the recent enclosure designs offered to customers over the past two years, the FireXpressPS is an ultra slim 9.5 mm brushed metal hard drive enclosure offering both FireWire 1394a and USB2 connectors. USB2 is backward compatible with USB1.1. The FireXpressPS will accept any 9.5 mm hard drive (10 - 80 GB, not included with kit).

If you are looking for external storage for your laptop or desktop computer but not sure if you want to go with USB for its popularity or FireWire for it's universal speed advantage, the FireXpressPS supports the best of both worlds in a new ultra compact form factor.

This external 2.5" ATA hard disk drive conversion kit provides the USB 2.0 and FireWire interfaces to connect to Macs, PCs, and Linux machines (check your Linux distribution for SBP2 drivers). The data stored on the hard drive is fully accessible with either interface, and does not require special partitions. With maximum transfer rates of 400 Mb/s on FireWire and 480 Mb/s for USB2, you are guaranteed superior performance with any system.

The enclosure kit includes a premium IEEE 1394 cable, USB cable, software, vinyl carrying pouch, USB and PS/2 DC adapter, and the famous "FireCable" universal FireWire power supply for $99.99 (FXU2-EB-25S model only.)

Medea Ships FireFly FireWire Storage Solutions

Medea Corporation has begun shipping FireFly, an innovative FireWire-based storage solution for content creation applications.

"FireFly is the first FireWire storage solution to feature a docking station and removable disk modules that also operate as stand-alone FireWire drives," said Roger Mabon, Vice President of Channel Marketing at Medea. "With FireFly, one disk module can be left secure in the docking station while the other module is used to create content while 'on-the-fly'. When the module is replaced in the docking station, content can be automatically synchronized to provide a backup copy of the user's valuable data."

FireFly is a modular FireWire storage solution designed for today's storage-intensive applications, including digital audio and video editing, DVD authoring, digital imaging, and desktop publishing. The system features a FireWire port on the front of the docking station for easy connection of DV camcorders.

FireFly is available in capacities up to 500 GB (two 250 GB modules) and can be either striped (RAID 0) for performance, mirrored (RAID 1) for data protection, or formatted as two independent FireWire drives.

Setting up FireFly as independent drives enables the user to leave one disk module with its content secure in the docking station while creating content on the go with a laptop or on a remote workstation with the other module. When the user returns the "mobile" module to the docking station, the content can be synchronized (using included software) to the other module for data security and peace of mind.

FireFly supports the leading Mac OS and Windows content creation applications, including:

  • Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, Encore DVD, Audition
  • Apple Final Cut Express/Pro, DVD Studio Pro
  • Avid Xpress DV
  • Digidesign Pro Tools
  • Pinnacle Edition, Nuendo
  • Sonic Foundry Vegas
  • Sonic Solutions DVDit!

FireFly is available in 240, 400, and 500 GB capacities with North American pricing of $699, $999, and $1,299, respectively. FireFly is available now from Medea's authorized dealers and mail-order vendors.

New FireWire800 1394b Cables for Everyone

FireWire Depot has introduced a new series of FireWire800 1394b cables.

Until now, the only cables that have been available for users were the 2 meter (6') 9-9 pin, 9-6 pin, and 9-4 pin cables. Now you have a greater choice and selection in FireWire800 1394b cables including 9-9 pin 18 cm (approx 7"), 9-9 pin 0.5 meter (1.5'), 9-9 pin 3 meter (9'), 9-9 pin 4.5 meter (approx 15'), and 9-9 pin 9 meter (approx 30'). Also available will be a 9-6 pin (1394b to 1394a) 9 meter cable. Prices range from $21.99 to $49.99.

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. The same goes for the PowerBook G4/667 (Gigabit Ethernet/2001) and G4/667 (DVI).

Baucom Computers


Power Max

Get a free Fellowes Security cable with these refurbs, plus, if you buy them with an Apple display, get a free scanner

Small Dog Electronics

The PowerBook Guy

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our Best PowerBook G4 Deals and Best iBook Deals.

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