The 'Book Review

Widescreen iBook, Apple Quality, PB G4 and iBook Tutorials, USB Swiss Army Knife, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2004.03.12

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars, bold links are to outside sites, and regular links lead to 'Book profiles on Low End Mac.

Should the iBook Go Widescreen?

Remy Davison of Insanely Great Mac says:

"Digitimes reports that HP, Acer and Sony will integrate OEM Quanta's widescreen 14.1" screens into their notebook lines by June or July 2004....

"The 14.1" widescreen can be used with existing notebook chassis and logic boards, but the revamped LCDs will give the widescreen models are different form factor, Digitimes says...

"The question is whether a widescreen 14.1" would steal PowerBook 15.2" sales, and it would clearly also involve a design rethink from Apple...."

Apple Laptops and that "Je ne sais quoi" Quality's abaxter says:

"Why is it that Apple just seems to have that, what the French call, "je ne sais quoi" quality that enables them to make successful and highly desirable consumer products such as the Apple iBook, Apple PowerBook and Apple iPod, yet they still only have 2.6% of the notebook market?

"It's an odd thing. Apple can crank out the best-designed hardware of just about any company. Sure, Sony and Toshiba sometimes try and come close with good design but in the end Apple is left standing by themselves....

"Rob Enderle examines further what advantages Apple has and more in this interesting article for EE Times: <>."

PowerBook G4 Hinge Replacement and iBook HD Replacement Tutorials Posted

PowerPage's Michael C. Jaeger says:

"I have had problems with the hinge of titanium PowerBooks. I have replaced them and tried to describe the procedure with images - I hope for someone having the same type of problem this could be helpful not needing to find out everything again. I also posted Part two because the other hinge broke as well.

"The hinges for the PowerBook G4 are offered at various PowerBook spare part Internet stores. Along with the description I think it is feasible to repair them without exchanging the whole display unit for US$1000.

"Since my PBG4 was outranged for a while (waiting for the spare part) I needed to replace the iBook HD with the HD of my PB. This was horrible. Doing this procedure for the second time I decided to provide a description for this as well."

CeBIT to Premiere USB Swiss Army Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army KnifeThe Register's Jan Libbenga reports:

"It was bound to happen. Given that you can buy a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife with just about every gadget known to man, from horse-hoof awl to Hubble Space Telescope lens polisher, it's no real surprise that the company - in association with flash memory outfit Swissbit - is now offering cutting tools plus USB flash memory stick. The gadget will be unleashed on an incredulous world at CeBIT next week.

"The USB Swiss Army Knife is available with 64 or 128 MB memory, plus all the usual extras - knife, corkscrew and tin-opener. The 64 MB version will cost €55; the price of the 128 MB version is tba."

Aluminum 2.5" FireWire/USB Hard Drive Case

FireWire/USB Hard Drive CaseAvailable from Wegener Media:

  • Aluminum enclosure keeps your hard drive safe and cool
  • Allows device hot-swapping (Plug and Play)
  • Supports hard drive up to 80 GB-any 9 mm hard drive
  • Bus power- either FireWire or USB
  • Rugged leather carrying case--protect your data
  • Includes unit, FireWire cable and USB cable
  • 100% Mac & PC compatibility

Case only - install your own drive. Includes case, FireWire & USB cables, and instructions, $24.99

30 GB hard drive installed. Includes case, drive installed, FireWire & USB cables, $124.99

40 GB hard drive installed. Includes case, drive installed, FireWire & USB cables, $154.99

60 GB hard drive installed.: Includes case, drive installed, FireWire & USB cables, $184.99

Macintosh Hardware Requirements:

  • Mac wit USB or FireWire
  • USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 host ports (for USB version)
  • FireWire ports (for FireWire version)

Some PowerBook/iBook Trackpads Sense Pressure

A blog from a Queens University site notes:

"Apparently, many semi-recent PowerBooks and iBooks have trackpads that are capable of reporting X, Y, and Z (pressure) information....

"Apparently Synaptics (the makers of the most popular trackpads) have been including this functionality for a while. A few years ago they released a virtual theremin that took advantage of this property.

"Basilisk writes 'All current Apple pads report Z data, but the data is *not* pressure. Its the capacitive area of the pad covered. i.e. the amount of pad surface covered by your finger. This only barely correlates to pressure in the sense that pushing harder spreads the fingertip out slightly, (and thus increases the contact area). Using two fingers on the pad (however lightly) actually increases the Z much more dramatically. How do I know? Because I write the SideTrack trackpad driver and have spent far too much time experimenting with possible uses for the Z data. In the interest of giving proper credit, Heiko Hellweg originally decoded the packet format for the pad and discovered the true meaning of the Z data.'"

For more information, visit:

Many more links and comment threads on the above sites.

The Bugs Are Out of the MacFrog

FrogPad, maker of the portable one-handed keyboard, announces that all of the bug reports submitted for the MacFrogPad keyboard at Apple have been exterminated. FrogPad will start shipping Mac compatible USB FrogPads today. Use code "Frog25" for a $25 discount on the MacFrog. Also, Gaming is FrogPad's next huge development project. The GameFrog will be generated for MacGamers.

FrogPad keyboardA FrogBlog site has been set up for immediate feedback.

FrogPad has broken the Qwerty code single-handedly.

FrogPad is a portable one-handed keyboard that has an ergonomic layout designed around the 15 most-used letters in the English alphabet. FrogPad, in a very practical and compact 3" x 5" size, is the only fully functional and portable keyboard with low profile, full-sized keys that allow fast, easy and accessible data entry. In addition, unlike some other miniaturized keyboard offerings, FrogPad comes with complete numeric and symbol functionality.

It is currently available as a standard USB interface which plugs seamlessly into any available USB port on your computer. It is like conducting a one handed symphony on you Mac.

At Macworld in January 2004, FrogPad and its strategic Bluetooth solutions partner, Gennum Corporation, , announced the launch of the Bluetooth version of the FrogPad keyboard. Bluetooth FrogPad will offer mobility and portability in numerous commercial and industrial applications. With a built-in rechargeable battery, the Bluetooth FrogPad can be recharged either through a wall adapter plug or your computer's USB port. The small and compact package, with no wires or cables, allows it to be used in areas where space is at a premium. FrogPad and Gennum are also working together on a single chip solution, which will incorporate FrogPad's unique algorithm with the Bluetooth HID profile, for OEMs interested in developing their own keyboard designs.

"Clearly with Gennum's Bluetooth solution embedded into FrogPad, we are the simplest common denominator for any global application," said Linda Marroquin, FrogPad, Inc's CEO and President. "A Bluetooth FrogPad is the holy grail as a portable human computer interface and is the horizontal solution for all types of data systems."

"Bluetooth technology is rapidly becoming the short range wireless standard by which devices get connected to each other," said Gora Ganguli, VP & GM, HIP. "We are delighted to be working with FrogPad to bring Bluetooth compatibility to this innovative product".

Ice Creme Scratch Remover

Ice CremeEasily remove surface abrasion and scratches from acrylic surfaces.

Ice Creme allows you to easily remove the scuffing, scratching and abrasion which tends to occur on highly polished acrylic panels, like those used in several consumer devices and popular computers. Products like the iPod, iBook, PDAs, and cell phones can all benefit from the ease of use and power of Ice Creme. Makes scuffed-up plastic products gleam like new. Great when you want to spruce up or sell your gear.

The regular formula is for plastic products. The "M" version contains an additional bottle of metal polish for products like the iPod's polished metal back panel. Both versions include special application and polishing cloths.


  • Two part formula removes even aggressive damage.
  • "M" version removes damage from iPod's metal back pan.
  • Enough to repair several units.
  • Includes application and polishing cloths.

Price: $19.95

Junked Laptops, Flat-screen Monitors Now Hazardous Waste In California

The San Francisco Chronicle's Jane Kay writes:

"State officials have designated discarded laptops and flat-screen computer monitors as 'hazardous waste' and are asking consumers to drop off unwanted products at proper recycling centers and not toss them in the trash.

"New state tests show that laptop computers and computer monitors with liquid crystal display, or LCD, screens contain copper and lead in the circuitry at levels that exceed regulatory limits.

"These products are barred from regular landfills and require special dismantling for reuse, according to officials at the state Department of Toxic Substances Control.

"Consumers may take their unwanted items to hazardous-waste collection programs in San Francisco, Alameda County, San Jose and Palo Alto. Or they may call their counties to find out about local programs or go to the Web at and"

Kano Intros Super-fast, Portable Slim-K4Xtreme 4x DVD±RW/R

Slim-K4XtremeKano Technologies introduced its Slim-K4Xtreme multi-format, dual-interface DVD±RW/R drive for PCs and Macs. The portable drive is very fast and can burn a 4.7 GB DVD disc in less than 15 minutes. Equipped with both FireWire and USB 2.0 connections, the new drive does not need a separate power supply. Bus power support allows it to be powered through a laptop FireWire port, and an included PS2 power cable allows USB 2.0 users to power the unit from a laptop.

"Our drive is the fastest burning slim dual-format DVD drive on the market today," said Robert Young, Kano's director of national sales. "In addition, it's very small and requires no external power supply, which makes it extremely easy to carry and ideal for travel."

The 8-in-1 Slim-K4Xtreme measures just 5.5" x 6" x 0.75", comes in a rugged all-metal silver chassis, and weighs only 14 ounces. The drive is compatible with DVD+RW/-RW, DVD+R/-R, CD-RW, and CD-R media formats. It writes at 4x to DVD discs and at 16x to CD discs, and it reads DVDs at 8x and CDs at 24x speeds.

The Slim-K4Xtreme comes complete with cables, an external power adapter, Roxio Easy DVD Creator software (for PCs) and Roxio Toast 6 Lite (for Macs), and user guide. It is available now from PC Connection and Mac Connection at an MSRP of $329.

For a complete list of Kano reseller partners and dealers, contact a Kano sales rep at 866-500-KANO (toll free) or 714-379-5520. For more information or a data sheet, visit the Kano website.

ProClip Offers Automotive Mounts and Holders for iPod mini

ProClip is now providing holders for the newly introduced Apple iPod mini. These holders expand ProClip's product line of custom mounts for several generations of the Apple iPod.

"Thanks to our manufacturer's unique design and production process, we can have custom-designed mounts available almost as soon as these popular accessories are introduced to the marketplace," said Bjorn Spilling, president of ProClip USA.

ProClip holders for the iPod mini are designed to provide a perfect fit and make these digital music players even more portable. Holders are available with or without the tilt swivel feature, which provides easy adjustment and better viewing of the display and to avoid unnecessary light reflection.

The holders attach to ProClip mounts that clip on the car or truck's dashboard or console, without any damage to the vehicle's interior. They are easily self-installed.

"Taking your music with you becomes even easier, and ProClip will soon offer swivel belt clip holsters for the iPod mini as well," added Spilling.

ProClip products are available for purchase on the Internet or by calling toll-free 800-296-3212 and through a number of wireless communication retail stores and outlets.

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) and the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz.

Baucom Computers

Small Dog Electronics

  • new 12" iBook G3/900, 128/30/CD-ROM, AirPort, $759
  • refurb 12" iBook G3/900, 128/30/CD-ROM, LaCie FireWire CD-RW 52x/24x/52x D2, Small Dog Brand 512 MB PC133 SO DIMM, $959
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SuperDrive, AirPort, AirPort Extreme Base station with modem & antenna port, Postworx Speed Ball Detachable Feet for Laptop (specify desired color- Silver or White), $2,455

PowerBook Guy

Apple Store, Special Deals

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our Best PowerBook G4 Deals, Best iBook G4 Deals, and Best iBook G3 Deals.

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