The 'Book Review

15" PowerBook White Spot and iceBook Problems, Panther on WallStreet, Sharing AirPort, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2003.12.12

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

Apple Acknowledges 15" PowerBook White Spots Problem

Two months after the introduction of the 15" aluminum PowerBook, Apple has finally acknowledged the white spots on the screen issue that by some estimates has affected up to 25 percent of early production examples of this computer.

An Apple Knowledge Base article (since removed by Apple) entitled: "PowerBook G4 (15" FW 800): Faint White Spots in Display" notes tersely:

"Some PowerBook G4 (15" FW 800) computers may have faint white spots visible in the display.

"Customers experiencing faint white spots on the PowerBook G4 (15" FW 800) computer's display should contact AppleCare."

More on iBook Quality Issues

PowerPage reader bonker, responding to the recent PowerPage article "Quality Control or the Lack Thereof," says:

"The original poster's dual USB iBook screen problem is just the tip of the iceberg. Google the phrase 'iBook screen problem' and you'll get hundreds of hits.

"Everybody is having the same problem with the screen, and if you got a dual USB iBook, it is probably only a matter of time before it hits you. It appears that the wires going through the hinge to the screen get twisted and slowly and agonizingly break with usage, inducing a number of screen and lockup related manifestations."

PowerBook Parts sells replacements for the troublesome video cables.

For more discussion of these issues and a repair tutorial see iBook Sticky Hinge and Flickering Screen Repair.

And yet more discussion in Apple's discussion forum.

XPostFacto 3.0: Install Panther on PowerBook G3 WallStreet

It is possible!

Accelerate Your Mac has posted a reader report on using Ryan Rempel's XPostFacto utility to install Mac OS X10.3 on an (unsupported) PowerBook G3 WallStreet.

The machine specs:

  • 250 MHz WallStreet (ASP reports ROM rev: $77D.41F5)
  • 256 MB RAM installed (2 x 128 MB DIMMs)
  • 20 GB IBM TravelStar 40GNX Hard drive (not the original drive)
  • No peripherals or devices connected during install other than the WS's OEM CD-ROM drive and the AC power adapter.


"There is an issue with ejection of PCMCIA cards. In short, they don't eject: either by selecting the menu bar command or depressing the ejection buttons located to the left of the keyboard above the card slots.

"With the exception of non ejection of the PCMCIA cards, I've had no problems with the following: Apple ADB keyboard, Belkin USB card, FireWire Card, Logitech cordless USB mouse, Global Village External modem (Using the WS's printer/modem port).

PowerBook as a WiFi Repeater

Ben Hammersley's blog reports:

"In answer to the long held question, can a TiBook with one WiFi card act as a repeater and relay access to everyone else in the room without them having to pay, the answer it turns out is yes."

Contour Announces NoteRiser Laptop Stand

NoteRiserContour Design, Inc. will begin volume shipping of its NoteRiser in mid-December. The NoteRiser enables the laptop/notebook user to position the computer for optimal ergonomic integrity. Doing so promotes improvements in body posture during use, minimizing - if not eliminating - the risk of neck and back pain and discomfort. It allows the user to situate the screen at the appropriate height and angle to help decrease eyestrain.

The NoteRiser is compact and portable and made exceptionally durable through use of space age aluminum alloy. Exceptionally rugged, it weighs in at less than fourteen ounces. Its dimensions are 11.8" by 10.63" - and it flattens to approximately 1/6" for portability. For optimal implementation, Contour Design recommends use of the NoteRiser in conjunction with an external keyboard (sold separately). MSRP for the NoteRiser is $129.95.

According to James Golden, CAE, Vice President at Contour Design, "We have been hearing from Safety & Health professionals for sometime now that a product is needed to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with the growing usage of laptops and notebooks. Their suggestions for a lightweight, durable laptop stand have resulted in this exceptional new solution."

Key Features:

  • Improve Posture and Decrease Eyestrain. The NoteRiser, along with an external keyboard, enables you to locate the keyboard and screen at the proper distance and height. This allows you to improve your body posture, eliminating the risk of neck and back injuries due to slouching. Placing the screen at the appropriate height also helps decreases eyestrain.
  • Adjustable Height. The NoteRiser may be adjusted to place your screen to five different heights. This product will raise the screen to your eye level whether you are short or tall.
  • Great for Travel. The lightweight, ultra thin, durable metal makes the NoteRiser great for traveling. Its low profile design hardly takes up any room as you slip it into your briefcase. Click Strips allow you to simply attach the NoteRiser to the bottom your laptop so it may travel anywhere your computer goes.
  • Convenient. A document holder is included, allowing you to work comfortably without any hassle.


  • Weight: 0.84 lb.
  • Size: 11.8" W; 10.63" D; 0.16" H
  • Adjustment Range: 3.5" to 8.66"
  • Angles: 20 to 55 degrees
  • Made in Germany

Price: NoteRiser MSRP $129.95

ZeroShock Sleeve for 15" Aluminum PowerBook G4

ZeroShock has announced the imminent arrival of a new ZeroShock Sleeve designed for today's larger 15" notebooks.

Owners of larger-sized 15" notebooks can now take advantage of the superior protection provided by the ZeroShock 15" Notebook Sleeve. The new large version of the sleeve fits Apple's new aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 as well as many other popular notebook brands with large 15" displays.

Available in medium/large sizes and blue, gray, and black colors, the ZeroShock 15" Notebook Sleeve is composed of a high-resistance polyurethane foam that provides superior absorption of external impact force.

When you first pick up a notebook computer enclosed in a ZeroShock Sleeve, the exterior feels rigid and inflexible. Only when you begin to really squeeze will the ZeroShock's material yield and compress, leaving behind dents in the surface. These indentations will remain for a few minutes before the material expands and reverts back to its previous state. The tactile feel is so different from what we normally expect from a notebook case that the effect is quite unique.

ZeroShock polyurethaneHigh-resistance polyurethane does not yield to external pressure as easily as neoprene or regular polyurethane foam. By compressing slowly and expanding slowly, high-resistance polyurethane is particularly adept at absorbing impact energy. Due to high-resistance polyurethane's impact-absorbing properties, it is most often used in medical devices, car seats, acoustic devices, fruit transport packaging, and aerospace development applications. Applying this technology to notebook cases results in an unparalleled shock-absorption/weight ratio.

Translation? Better protection for your notebook with less weight.

Impact shocks to precision instruments such as notebook computers can have devastating results. Not only is your notebook valuable, so is the data contained inside. ZeroShock cases provide impact absorption on all sides, protecting the sensitive LCD screen, hard drive, and other critical internal components from external shock. Tests were performed on the ZeroShock sleeve, comparing its ability to absorb external shocks to that of standard notebook sleeves. As the test results indicate, ZeroShock provides dramatically superior impact protection.


  • High-resistance polyurethane provides superior protection against external shocks
  • Two different sizes to fit a wide range of notebooks with 14-15" displays, including the new 15" aluminum PowerBooks G4 and 14" iBooks
  • Notebook can be used in place without removing it from the sleeve
  • Low profile design that fits snugly
  • Two high-quality zippers with easy-to-grab rubber "mini-handles"
  • Designed to be carried inside a separate bag or backpack
  • Available sizes: medium and large
  • Available colors: black, gray, blue

The ZeroShock 15" Notebook Sleeve is expected to ship December 15 for $29.95 (US).

Cool Computer Cases from Italy

Not much detail available in English, but here's a picture:

  • Modern, resistant, technical materials.
  • Lined with shockproof materials
  • Equipped with multipurpose pockets.

LaCie Delivers New Generation FireWire 800 PC Card

LaCie has announced it will begin shipping a FireWire 800 PCMCIA card, allowing users to add an incredibly fast dual-interface to their Mac or PC laptop. By adding two external FireWire 800 ports and one FireWire 400 port to your current laptop, the LaCie FireWire 800 PC Card gives you the ability to transfer your data up to 800 Mbits/sec (400 Mbits/sec with FireWire 400).

By adding the LaCie FireWire 800 PCMCIA Card to your laptop, you can connect high-speed devices such as hard drives and video camcorders at home or on the road. Other key advancements include support of increased cabling distances. FireWire 800 can burst data across 100 meters of cable, giving users added flexibility. LaCie's FireWire 800 PCMCIA Card is perfect for those who want take advantage of the fast speed of FireWire 800 but still need the ability to connect legacy, FireWire 400 devices.

With this PCMCIA card, you can bus power your peripherals on each of the three ports up to 18W per port with an included power adapter. LaCie's FireWire 800 PCMCIA Card only requires one available 32-bit PCMCIA Card slot. For FireWire 800 functionality, users will need Mac OS 10.2.4 and higher, Windows 2000 or XP. For FireWire 400 functionality, users will need Mac OS 9.x and 10.x or Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP.

The LaCie FireWire 800 PCMCIA Card will be available in December 2003 through LaCie's authorized resellers and mail order partners with prices beginning at $79. The FireWire 800 PCMCIA Card ships with an 18W (12V-1.5A) AC-DC power adapter and a user manual.

The iCurve Collection from is a source of dual-monitor desktop images. Now, in association with Griffin Technology, they bring you the iCurve Collection of ultrahigh resolution desktop wallpapers. All of the images found in this collection have been specially re-rendered to fit PowerBook/Cinema Displays combo's perfectly.

The iCurve from Griffin Technology is a laptop stand designed specifically for the Apple PowerBook and iBook. Its main purpose is to better position the iBook or PowerBook in your permanent desktop environment. In addition it provides an innovative way for the creative professional to transform their notebook and external monitor into an ergonomic and attractive dual monitor setup, the iCurve is specifically designed to position the top edge of the Apple PowerBook G4 at 16" high. This is exactly the same height as Apple's 17" LCD monitor. It's also about the same height as Apple's 22" Cinema Display. This makes iCurve perfect for tiling the PowerBook with Apple's LCD monitors. With Apple's 23" HD Cinema Display - that's almost 3.4 million pixels of side-by-side screen real estate.

For the really serious creative Mac enthusiast, the ultimate setup has to be an Apple PowerBook/Cinema Display combo. But where do you find desktop wallpaper capable of showing off your new iCurve setup to its full potential?

The iCurve Collection is only available to members of Membership to provides access to the new members only zone where you can download over 100 of Rob's creations. As well as many galleries of 4:3 ratio images at 1600 x 1200 pixels (standard monitor size), you will also have access to a growing collection of widescreen and dual monitor wallpapers. Lifetime membership only costs $7. No monthly subscription. Just a one-time fee. Upon payment you will be emailed your own unique username and password. To find out more about membership.

15" Aluminum PowerBook G4 Disassembly Tutorial

Accelerate Your Mac's John Wolf has posted illustrated instructions for tearing down the 15" aluminum PowerBook.

He notes:

"Getting one open isn't too difficult, however I don't recommend anyone try it who might be worried about voiding their warrantee."

Viz. Apple portable quality control, John says:

"The whole point to opening this particular PowerBook was to find out why it didn't recognize the AirPort card. It turns out that during assembly a small piece of paper was left in the AirPort slot, and it was getting wedged into the connector slot...."

On a more positive note:

"Overall, the internals are very well laid out. Apple has come a long way, even from the Titanium laptops. I appreciate the long cables on the keyboard assembly. The separate circuit board for the power connector might reduce the cost to repair the inevitable power cord yank...." Unveils MAPP Mice, "Big Cat" CD/DVD Case, and Dimple Gel Notebook Wrist Pads have announced the immediate availability of three new products.

MAPP mouseAvailable in both white and dark silver models, the new MAPP Mice are perfect matches with Apple's Macintosh line of personal computers. The dark silver model is a striking complement to both PowerBooks and Power Mac computers, while the white model was designed with iBook and iMac owners in mind. Featuring 800 counts per inch for smooth and accurate tracking, these next-generation mice were specially designed by Masamune Shiro, creator of the popular Ghost in the Shell saga. These limited edition mice come bundled with an interview insert in which Masamune talks about his design philosophies and tricks of the trade (English translation of interview provided exclusively by

MAPP Mice are available at for $69.95.

Big Cat caseThose enjoying Jaguar, the latest and greatest Mac operating system, will appreciate the new "Big Cat" CD/DVD case. This case holds 24 CDs and/or DVDs, and the furry exterior means it not only looks great, it feels great, too. The strap on the case has a fastener on the end, which makes the CD case easier to carry and reduces the risk of the case opening unexpectedly.

The "Big Cat" CD/DVD Caseis available at for $12.95.

Dimple Gel Notebook Wrist PadsRecently recognized by Japan's prestigious Good Design Award for excellence in product design, the Dimple Gel Notebook Wrist Pads insulate your hands from the excessive heat produced by today's faster notebook computers. The dimpled design provides supple wrist support for those extended days and nights in front of the computer, and the pads feature a non-slip bottom surface to keep the user's wrists in place.

The Dimple Gel Notebook Wrist Pads are available now at for $12.75.

XtremeMac Announces Xtremity iPod Accessory System

XtremeMac has announced the Xtremity iPod Accessory System for Apple iPods with dock connectors. The Xtremity redefines iPod accessory design with the most elegant and well thought out system ever introduced to iPod customers.

The foundation of the Xtremity system is the Xtremity iPod Case, designed to be a natural extension of the iPod. It forms the basis for seamless integration with a number of add on accessories such as battery packs, FM transmitters, Bluetooth wireless transmitters, belt- clips, dash mounts, and more. All of the add-ons simply slide in place on the back of the Xtremity case and "disappear" behind the iPod, maintaining its elegant design.

XtremeMac had one mantra in mind when designing the Xtremity: "It's all about the iPod." The result: a matching white case that is barely visible from the front and appears to float on the wearer's hip. ClearShield, a removable clear cover included with the system, provides protection for the front of the iPod without obscuring the beauty of the iPod itself. Gray rubber accent strips cushion and protect the iPod. The case itself is made of high-strength Lexan™, an incredibly durable, scratch resistant material.

Flexibility was another prime concern. The Xtremity case has been designed to be used in a variety of ways: with or without a traditional belt-clip, as a holster, or as a mounting system in an automobile or other vehicle. No matter how it is used, iPod users will agree it provides the best all-around combination of functionality, ease of use, design, and protection.

The Xtremity swivel belt clip is claimed to be the most innovative ever created. Its security features, such as an interlocking j-hook, and press-to-release action, prevent typical belt-clip maladies. Most belt clips have a channel that accommodates a post mounted to the case - this new design turns this inside out. The post is now on the belt-clip, leaving the iPod case completely flat in back, allowing the case to lie flat while not being worn. A recessed channel in the back of the Xtremity case allows for the addition of accessories, while a similar channel on the back of the accessory allows for the belt clip to be attached. Thus, the user can add accessories and functionality while keeping the elegant lines of the iPod intact. XtremeMac is the first company ever to do this; they call it the SecurSlide system.

The Xtremity iPod Case System includes:

  • Xtremity iPod Case
  • Xtremity ClearShield, a removable, optically-clear Lexan flex-cover
  • Xtremity Low-profile Dash-Mount
  • Xtremity Swivel Belt-clip
  • Dock Connector Dust Plug
  • Adhesive adjustment pad for used with thinner iPods

The complete package sells at a suggested retail price of $29.95 and will be available from the website, in Apple retail stores, at The Apple Store, and through a network of national and international resellers and distributors in time for the holidays.

"Mac OS X Unwired" Released by O'Reilly

Remember the first time you held a wireless phone and realized you were no longer tied to the wall by a cord? Or the first time you drove off in your car with a cell phone and realized you could keep talking? Each step of freedom makes you wonder how you ever survived being wired.

But going unwired is more than just a heady experience. In more situations than not, it just makes sense. Dramatic improvements in wireless technology in the past few years, coupled with the growing affordability of wireless equipment, make going "unwired" all the more attractive. With Mac OS X - now primed to take advantage of the many different wireless technologies - it gets even better. "Mac OS X Unwired" (O'Reilly, $24.95) by Tom Negrino and Dori Smith shows Mac users how to make use of their operating system's unparalleled support for going wireless.

"Mac users can connect to the Net whenever their iBook or PowerBook is in range of a WiFi network," Negrino and Smith explain. "That could be at home, at school, at conferences, or even public hotspots such as an airport, local Starbucks, or Borders Books and Music. Or, with a laptop and a Bluetooth phone, you don't even need the WiFi network."

But wireless technologies aren't just for Internet access, Negrino and Smith advise. "You can also use your Mac to communicate wirelessly with peripherals such as mice and keyboards, to connect to your cell phone or PDA, or to share files and use iChat with other computers."

"Mac OS X Unwired" introduces readers to the basics of wireless computing, from the reasons why they'd want to go wireless in the first place, to setting up a wireless network or accessing wireless services on the road. The book provides a complete introduction to all the wireless technologies supported by Mac OS X, including AirPort and AirPort Extreme, Bluetooth, and Infrared, as well as related wireless technologies such as CDMA and GPRS. Readers will learn how to set up their first wireless network and how use the Mac OS X software that supports wireless, such as iSync, iChat, and Rendezvous. They'll also get a good understanding of the limitations and liabilities of each wireless technology.

Other topics covered in the book include:

  • Connecting to wireless hotspots
  • Cellular data plans compatible with Macs -Using Rendezvous with wireless networks
  • Wireless Security
  • Wirelessly synchronizing with a Palm or cellular phone
  • Sending SMS messages from a Mac
  • 802.1X authentication on wireless networks

"Mac OS X Unwired" is a one-stop wireless information source for technically savvy Mac users of all levels. Anyone who has considered wireless as an alternative to cable and DSL, or using wireless to network computers in a home or office, will benefit from the book's full-spectrum view of wireless capabilities of Mac OS X, and how to get the most out of them.

Chapter 4, "WiFi on the Road," can be read online for free.

More information about the book, including Table of Contents, index, author bios, and samples is also available online.

Kano Introduces Fast 4x DVD+RW/R Drives for Mac, PCs

Kano Technologies has introduced its K4Xtreme 4x DVD+RW/R drive. A complete storage solution, the fast new drive is available in an internal model for the PC and external models for PCs and Macs. The K4Xtreme has a 4x write speed for both DVD+RW and +R media. A storage capacity of 4.7 GB per DVD makes the K4Xtreme the perfect choice for video archiving as well as data backup and archiving.

"This is simply the fastest DVD+RW/R system currently available," said Robert Young, Kano's director of national sales. "We are extremely pleased to be one of the first companies to introduce the 4x DVD+RW capability. The K4Xtreme can record an entire DVD in less than 15 minutes. It can also write to and read CD media at speeds of 24x10x40x and can read DVD-ROM at a speed of 8x."

"Using a USB 2.0 or FireWire 400 (1394A) connection, a user can easily add K2Xtreme DVD+RW burning capability to a PC or Mac laptop or desktop," Young continued. "PC users opting for the internal model can connect with an IDE interface."

The extremely compatible "+R" format allows the K4Xtreme to create home movies that play in most set-top DVD players. K4Xtreme PC models use Roxio" DVD Creator 6 to quickly create photo and video archives, business training videos, and promotional videos on DVD. Roxio features drag-and-drop video, menu backgrounds, video transitions and titles. The PC models also use WinDVD4 for DVD video playback on a PC desktop. The K4Xtreme Mac model includes Roxio Toast Lite for audio and video recording and playback.

All K4Xtreme models have the ability to schedule automated backups. The PC models offer award-winning NTI Backup NOW! and Mac models feature Dantz Retrospect for data backup.

The K4Xtreme drive comes complete including cables for the external models, drive mount screws, DVD+R and DVD+RW media, and an instruction manual. MSRPs are $199 for the K5240RI-WHT internal model for Windows, and $299 for the K5240RU external USB 2.0 Windows model or the K5240RF external FireWire Mac model. All models are available now from Kano storage-solution providers.

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).

This Week's 'Book Deals

Wegener Media

Baucom Computers


Small Dog Electronics

Apple Store Special Deals

Refurbished PowerBooks
Refurbished iBook G3

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

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