The 'Book Review

Higher Capacity PowerBook Batteries, Revised 10.2.8 Fixes Battery Problems, Benchmarks, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2003.10.10

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

NuPower High Capacity Pismo, Lombard, and WallStreet Batteries

Newer Technology Inc. and Other World Computing have introduced a new line of high-capacity batteries designed for Apple Computer's PowerBook G4 and G3 models.

The NuPower line of Lithium Ion batteries from Newer Tech offer up to 30% more capacity than stock batteries standard with the PowerBooks - and at prices as low as $139.99.

"The NuPower batteries set a new standard for battery life for G4 and G3 users everywhere," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "Everyone knows that battery life is a very critical aspect of successful on-the-go computing. Whether you'd like to replace an older battery that just isn't performing like it used to or are in the market for a spare, our NuPower Li-Ions deliver the longest run times of any stock replacement batteries available today."

The NuPower Li-Ion G4 Titanium Battery works with all 15" titanium PowerBook models (400 MHz to 1 GHz) and delivers 14.8 volts and 4400 mAh, providing 65 watt-hours and making it the longest lasting PowerBook G4 battery available today by as much as 30% compared to the original Apple Battery. Retail price: $139.99.

NuPower Li-Ion G3 Batteries for G3 Lombard (1999/Bronze Keyboard) and G3 FireWire (2000/Pismo) PowerBooks are 10.8 volts and 5400 mAh, providing 12.5% more capacity versus stock Lombard and FireWire batteries. Retail price: $149.99.

The NuPower Li-Ion G3 Battery for G3 WallStreet (1998/Black Keyboard) PowerBooks delivers 14.4 volts and 4500 mAh, providing 25% more capacity than the stock Apple Battery. Retail price: $139.99.

"You really don't think about your laptop battery until you need to," O'Connor said. "It's when you're dimming your screen and engaging every last power-saver mode to get those extra minutes that you're wishing your battery lasted longer. In those situations our NuPower batteries come in mighty handy."

Revised OS X 10.2.8 Update Fixes iBook and PowerBook Battery Problems

PC Pro reports:

"Apple has confirmed that the latest Mac OS X 10.2.8 update, released on Friday, should solve any problems that iBook and PowerBook users have been having with battery life.

"The original update, Build 6R65, could cause the battery life indicator to inaccurately show the remaining battery time. The latest update, Build 6R73, fixes this, according to http://

"The battery needs to be recalibrated from time to time to keep the onscreen battery time and percent display accurate. You should perform this procedure when you first use your computer and then every few months thereafter.'

"Basically, this involves fully charging the battery and then running your Mac until the battery is exhausted. Full instructions can be found at"

MacInTouch Benchmarks PowerBook G4/1250 vs. 5 Other Macs

How do the new 1.25 GHz PowerBook G4 and 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5 compare with older models? MacInTouch has benchmarks comparing the following systems

  • PowerBook G4/1250: 15" aluminum with 1.25 GHz CPU, 1 GB of RAM (512 KB L2 cache); 80 GB 5400 RPM Hitachi hard drive (HTS548080M9AT00), SuperDrive, ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 with AGP 4X and 64 MB DDR SDRAM (1280 x 854, millions of colors), Mac OS 10.2.7, "highest" processor setting; firewall off
  • PowerBook G4/550: 768 MB of RAM (256 KB L2 cache), 40 GB 4200 RPM IBM TravelStar 40GN (IC25N040ATCS04-0), Combo optical drive, ATI Mobility Radeon graphics with AGP 4X and 16 MB DDR (millions of colors, 1152 x 768), Mac OS 10.2.8
  • 14" iBook 700: 640 MB of RAM, standard Apple hard drive, CD-RW
  • iMac 17"/1000: 17" flat-panel, September 2003 model with 256K of RAM (256K L2 cache), 80 GB 7200 RPM Seagate Barracuda (ST380023A) hard drive; SuperDrive, Nvidia GeForce 4 MX graphics, Mac OS 10.2.6
  • Power Mac G4/733: 256 MB of RAM (256 KB L2 cache), ST340016A hard drive
  • Power Mac G4/800: 768 MB of RAM (256 KB L2 cache), IBM-IC35L040AVER07-0 hard drive
  • Power Mac G5/1800: 512 MB of RAM (512 KB L2 cache), ST3160023AS hard drive

LowePro Stealth Reporter 650 AW Camera/Computer Bag

LowePro Stealth Reporter 650 AWThe LowePro Stealth Reporter 650 AW is a discreet, all-in-one shoulder bag designed for digital photographers and photojournalists.

  • top zip for instant access to gear padded notebook compartment
  • adjustable dividers and padded
  • lens cups to customize the removable padded liner for camera equipment, including many makes of 300mm f/2.8 lens (with hood reversed)
  • All Weather Hood for light protection from the elements plus easy access to gear
  • All Weather Cover for greater protection from challenging conditions
  • tripod straps for a small tripod or monopod
  • attachment loops to take optional SlipLock add-ons
  • includes a padded, contoured shoulder strap


  • large pro SLR (up to Canon EOS D2000 or Nikon D1H or D1X) with 80-200mm f/2.8 lens attached; additional body; 2 short lenses; large notebook computer; memory cards; flash; charger and small tripod
  • size (exterior): 17" W x 10.5" D x 12.5" H (43 x 26.5 x 32 cm)
  • size (interior): 14.5" W x 8.5" D x 11" H (37 x 21.5 x 28 cm)
  • outer fabric: water-resistant 600D TXP™ ripstop and 2000D ballistic nylon

G3 PowerBook 16x10x24x Combo Drive

Wanna get more use of your PowerBook? Slide this Combo Drive in your right side bay, and experience your PowerBook's maximum capabilities.

Combo drive allows full DVD and CD-RW capabilities, including:

  • 8x DVD
  • 16x CD Burn
  • 10x CD Rewrite
  • 24x CD-RW/CD capabilities

Fully compatible with OS 9 and OS X 10.2 Jaguar. Burn with iTunes, or use the desktop CD Burner to save your data. Identical to original DVD or CD-ROM drive (same exact faceplate, same look, etc.). No ugly faceplates or non-matching hardware!


  • PowerBook Pismo G3
  • PowerBook Lombard G3 (some models require DVD CardBus Decoder Card for DVD playback).


  • Bootable: Just hold "C" when booting
  • Buffer underrun protection: No more bad CD's!
  • Fully compatible with iTunes, CDBurner, Toast, even Retrospect
  • New mechanism by OEM mfr.
  • Just slide into your right hand bay, and you're in business.

Get $40 rebate for sending in your old DVD drive (dead or alive).

Price $299.99

Need a better bargain and don't care about aesthetics? Another option is a 16x10x24x Combo mechanism. Put this in your old sled, install the drivers, and you'll be up in no time. Drive is Hitachi, new, and is $199.99.

Water Cooling Could Be Used in G5 PowerBooks

Cooligy, Inc. has announced a new technology for active cooling of microprocessor "hot spots."

Initially demonstrated at Stanford University, Cooligy's Active Micro-Channel Cooling technology can effectively cool the breed of powerful, hot microprocessors destined for the next generation of workstations, servers, and high-end PCs. For the first time, Cooligy is unveiling the technologies that form the core of Cooligy's Active Micro-Channel Cooling system.

The next generation of microprocessors not only produce higher overall temperatures but also create one or more concentrated hot spots of particularly high heat on the chip. These hot spots, typically found above areas where the most work is performed on the chip, must be kept to within a specified temperature to ensure high-performance and reliability. Traditional means of cooling these chips, such as heat sinks, fan sinks, and heat pipes, require a large mass of metal to passively absorb and spread the heat to air cooled fins. These passive technologies cannot effectively cool the hot spots produced in next generation microprocessors.

Cooligy's Active Micro-Channel Cooling technology utilizes highly efficient means to absorb heat from the chip's hot spots and quickly dissipate it to keep the chip cool. The Cooligy cooling system employs a heat collector fabricated from a thin layer of micro-machined silicon that fits on top of a microprocessor package. A very dense area of Micro-Channels etched into the silicon enables fluid to circulate through the heat collector and efficiently absorb and take away heat. Cooligy's system has been shown to effectively cool microprocessor hotspots of up to 1000 watts per square centimeter.

The Cooligy approach also employs a new, innovative, solid-state Electro-Kinetic pump. The Electro-Kinetic pump circulates the fluid in the cooling system through the Micro-Channel heat collector and to the heat radiator that transfers the heat to air. With no moving parts to wear out, this noiseless pump - the first of its kind - is small, cost-effective, and highly reliable for long-term use.

Although some form of fluid cooling has existed for the most sophisticated computer systems during the past four decades, none have provided the precision, reliability, or cost effectiveness needed to cool the hot spots of the next generation of microprocessors. Cooligy's Active Micro- Channel Cooling and its innovative solid-state Electro-Kinetic pump is the first solution to solve the difficult cooling challenge presented by intense hot spots in future chips.

The company will begin supplying qualification systems to computer systems developers and manufacturers later this year.

According to The Register's Tony Smith:

"The company also said it has prototyped the system with Intel, AMD and Apple. The Intel test produced the highest performance Intel had ever seen from any cooling technology, Cooligy claims.

"The Apple connection is interesting since Cooligy's could play a major role in allowing the company to ship G5-based PowerBooks. The 64-bit CPU requires a major computer-controlled cooling system in its desktop incarnation, rendering it effectively useless for mobile applications.

"The chip is expected to clock to beyond 3.2 GHz in the Q2 2004 timeframe, when IBM begins volume shipments of a 90 nm version of the chip. IBM has said it has already started sampling 90 nm parts. However, while the die-shrink reduces the power consumption on a clock-for-clock basis, pushing up the core frequency quickly eliminates the gain.

"Apple has already said it is exploring a range of cooling techniques for future machines, including liquid cooling systems."

ThermographX 0.7.0 Temperature Monitoring Utility

ThermographX monitors the various temperature sensors inside modern Macintosh G4 or G5 models, including aluminum PowerBooks, mirror drive door Power Macs, and the new G5s.


  • Records maximum and minimum temperatures.
  • Shows temperature records over time, using a zoomable display so you can analyze short-term or long-term.
  • Shows individual sensor temperatures on models that have them.

ThermographX compatibility is still being determined. So far, it is known to provide accurate sensor readings on these models:

  • 12" & 17" PowerBook G4.
  • "Aluminum" 15" PowerBook G4.
  • "Mirror Door" G4.
  • Power Macintosh G5.

Note: Motorola's MPC7450CE/D Rev 5 errata indicates "The thermal assist unit (TAU) is no longer supported on the MPC7450, MPC7451, or MPC7441." Because of this, you will not be able to measure the junction temperature on any system with these processors. At current, this includes the "Gigabit" PowerBook G4 and the "2001 Quicksilver" G4s.

New in this version:

  • Add long-term measurements window.
  • Added proper identification of G5, new PowerBooks.
  • Bug fixes to temperature recording and submission feature.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.2.4 or later
  • a Macintosh with compatible thermal sensors (so far, these have been found on the Aluminum 12", 15" and 17" PowerBooks, the "mirror-door" G4 and the G5).

ThermographX is $7 demoware.

Ideative's FlexUSB Now Available at Micro Center and J&R Computer World

Ideative, Inc. has announced the availability of FlexUSB (first reported in the July 3 'Book Review) in all Micro Center stores nationwide and J&R Computer World's mega-store in New York City. FlexUSB is a fully adjustable USB adapter that bends, rotates, and flexes in response to the changing needs of the user.

The introduction of FlexUSB in Micro Center and J&R marks the beginning of the company's plans to make FlexUSB available in retailers worldwide. Both retailers also offer FlexUSB online. FlexUSB continues to be available directly from Ideative with current sales in over eight countries worldwide.

"FlexUSB solves the two problems experienced by notebook and desktop computer users," says Tavis Schriefer, Ideative's president. "First, USB ports are in difficult to reach locations. Second, devices plugged directly into USB ports are often damaged because they are in risky orientations. FlexUSB eliminates these problems with its patent-pending, fully adjustable design."

FlexUSB is designed to work with both Windows and Macintosh computers, and all USB devices, including USB 2.0 - and backed by a one year warranty.

Connecting FlexUSB between a USB peripheral and computer allows the device to be rotated to almost any position - securely holding the device beside the machine, neatly and conveniently. FlexUSB is ideal for products such as card readers, flash memory sticks and other USB peripherals.

Dr. Bott Announces PocketDock for 3G iPod Now Shipping.

The new PocketDock lets you connect the new iPod's docking port to a standard 6-pin FireWire cable.

PocketDock"PocketDock is the simple solution to a common problem" said Eric Prentice, CEO of Dr. Bott. "And it fits in your wallet. What more could you ask for in an iPod accessory?"

Designed and built by SendStation Systems, PocketDock allows owners of the new 3G iPods to leave their docking cables at home but retain the easy access to their iPod. "When you're on the road with your new iPod," says André Klein, SendStation Systems founder, "and you want to connect to another Mac or PC to exchange files or just to charge the battery, you'll probably find that you didn't bring the special docking cable - it's at home connected to your computer. The PocketDock, small enough to carry anywhere, is a simple and elegant solution."

The PocketDock is smaller than a box of matches and allows a standard 6-pin FireWire cable to connect to the iPod's proprietary docking port, giving the user the freedom and independence he or she has come to expect from Apple's iPod.

PocketDock is compatible with Apple iPods that use the dock connector, 10 GB (M8976LL/A), 15 GB (M8946LL/A), 20 GB (M8976LL/A), 30 GB (M8948LL/A) models, and 40 GB (M9245LL/A).

PocketDock is available exclusively from Dr. Bott and its authorized dealers worldwide, including The Applelinks ThinkDifferent Store, Apple retail stores, and the Apple online store. It retails for $18.95.

New IBM ThinkPad Introduces Airbag-like Detection to Protect User Data

IBM has unveiled a completely updated line of ThinkPad notebook computers, including new ThinkPad R50 and T41 models that include the world's first automatic hard drive protection technology.

Because smaller, lighter, and more mobile systems are at a continual risk of being dropped and damaged, IBM developed a patent-pending hard drive protection technology to help protect people's data. The IBM Active Protection System, similar to the technology used in automobiles to deploy airbags upon impact, uses a microchip on the system board to detect system acceleration (such as in a fall). The system responds by temporarily parking the drive's read/write head until the system is stabilized. This rapid response can help prevent hard drive crashes that could occur in some falls, to help prevent total data loss and reduce warranty costs.

Some insurance and analyst reports indicate that more than 10.5% of notebooks in a corporate enterprise are damaged annually, and that accidental damage accounts for the majority of PC loss claims. Of the three notebook components most prone to damage - hard drive, display, and keyboard - hard drive damage results in the loss of valuable information and productivity.

"Applying this lifesaving technology to personal computing is revolutionary. If you're rushing to finish a report in an airport and you accidentally drop your notebook, with any other machine you'd face a greater potential for losing all your data," said Peter Hortensius, vice president, Think Offerings, IBM Personal Computing Division. "IBM is committed to providing our customers with the most reliable notebooks in the industry. This new technology and Rapid Restore Ultra are two great ways of doing that."

The new ThinkPad R50, available in 14" and 15" models, has a travel weight of less than 6 pounds and measures 1.3" thin. The ThinkPad R50 features a long-life battery, and by adding a second system battery option users can achieve almost 10 hours of battery life, providing users with a truly mobile computing experience. Select ThinkPad R50 and T41 models are available with Intel Centrino Mobile Technology or with integrated IBM 802.11a/b/g wireless. Both the ThinkPad R50 and T41 feature select models with the IBM Embedded Security Subsystem and, when used with industry-standard wireless encryption, are claimed to provide the most secure wireless computing environment in the world.

IBM also announced the updated ThinkPad X31, R40, R40e, and G40 models featuring faster processors, integrated wireless technology on select models, and some of the latest ThinkVantage Technologies. The ultraportable ThinkPad X31 now features integrated 11 a/b/g on select models and shares a common software image with the R50 and T41, giving flexibility to organizations purchasing various ThinkPad models by enabling a single image to be deployed across multiple platforms. Additionally, for the first time, select wireless models of the ThinkPad T40, T41, R40, R50, and X31 feature enhanced wireless security as defined by the WiFi Protected Access (WPA) and Cisco Compatible Extensions certification programs, providing enhanced wireless data security for organizations of all sizes. The Cisco Compatible Extensions program ensures compatibility with Cisco Aironet Access Points through independent third-party testing.

All new ThinkPad models are available immediately through IBM. IBM personal computers are also available through select business partners. Prices for the ThinkPad R50 start at $1,529; prices for the ThinkPad T41 start at $1,649; prices for the ThinkPad X31 start at $1,449; prices for the R40 and R40e start at $1,129 and $849, respectively; and prices for the ThinkPad G40 start at $899.

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).

Small Dog Electronics


Apple Store Special Deals

Baucom Computers


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

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