The 'Book Review

Prolong Battery Life, a PowerBook Switcher, a Lombard G4 Upgrade, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2004.03.22

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.

How to Prolong the Life of Lithium-based Batteries

Battery University's Isidor Buchmann has posted an excellent tutorial on getting the most out of LiIon batteries.

"Battery research is focusing heavily on lithium chemistries, so much so that one could presume that all portable devices will be powered with lithium-ion batteries in the future. In many ways, lithium-ion is superior to nickel and lead-based chemistries and the applications for lithium-ion batteries are growing as a result....

"A lithium-ion battery provides 300-500 discharge/charge cycles. The battery prefers a partial rather than a full discharge. Frequent full discharges should be avoided when possible. Instead, charge the battery more often or use a larger battery. There is no concern of memory when applying unscheduled charges.

"Although lithium-ion is memory-free in terms of performance deterioration, batteries with fuel gauges exhibit what engineers refer to as 'digital memory'. Here is the reason: Short discharges with subsequent recharges do not provide the periodic calibration needed to synchronize the fuel gauge with the battery's state-of-charge. A deliberate full discharge and recharge every 30 charges corrects this problem. Letting the battery run down to the cutoff point in the equipment will do this. If ignored, the fuel gauge will become increasingly less accurate....

"Aging of lithium-ion is an issue that is often ignored. lithium-based batteries have a lifetime of 2-3 years. The clock starts ticking as soon as the battery comes off the manufacturing line.... Avoid purchasing spare lithium-ion batteries for later use. Observe manufacturing date. Do not buy old stock, even if sold at clearance prices.)"

"There are no remedies to restore lithium-ion once worn out. A momentary improvement in performance is noticeable when heating up the battery. This lowers the internal resistance but the condition reverts back to its former state when the temperature drops."

Editor's note: The battery on my January 2001 PowerBook G4 initially ran for 3 hours and 20 minutes using Battery Amnesia under OS 9. As of last week, battery life is down to 65-70 minutes. In real world use, I get 75-90 minutes of use. Aging has taken its toll, and if I used the PB often away from current, I'd spring for a NuPower Ti replacement battery, which sells for less than Apple's battery and has 30% more capacity than my TiBook's battery had when new. Four hours plus battery life would be a real treat. dk

Smooth Switch from Windows Laptop to New PowerBook G4

Martin von Haller Groenbaek says:

"I finally decided to change from a Windows PC to Apple. Here is my first try at the Apple family: The PowerBook G4 with a 12.1 inch screen....

"The transition from PC to Mac has been very smooth so far. It seems that all the things that I could do on my Dell laptop I can do on my PowerBook. My home banking solution now comes with a Mac option. And the ASP solution that we use at the von Haller law firm based on Citrix and VPN in fact works better on my PowerBook!"

Daystar Previews Lombard 433 MHz G4 Upgrade

PowerBook Lombard owners are no longer out in the cold processor upgrade-wise.

Daystar Technologies has announced the imminent availability of the XLR8 433 MAChSpeed G4 Lombard upgrade with 250 MHz backside cache and exclusive MAChSpeed Control software as a companion product to their successful 500 and 550 MHz MAChSpeed G4 Pismo upgrade products. I have a 550 MHz Daystar upgrade installed in my Pismo PowerBook, and after five weeks use I continue to be extremely pleased with its performance.

Daystar's Gary Dailey tells me that they will be using the expensive 500LE CPUs in the Lombards rather than the 450SKs (quadruple the CPU cost to Daystar). Gary says the 450s just ran too hot for his taste (68°C).

The XLR8 433 MAChSpeed G4 Lombard transforms your PowerBook G3 Bronze into an AltiVec energized laptop. The XLR8 433 MAChSpeed G4 Lombard upgrade with its 1 MB cache (twice the size of the G3/900) and MAChSpeed Control software transform your G3 Lombard into a G4 AltiVec-energized laptop. Great for graphics, video, and games, it's an absolute necessity in Mac OS X, whether Jaguar or Panther.

XLR8 433 MAChSpeed G4 Lombard upgradeMac OS X and all native OS X graphics applications are now optimized for the G4s velocity engine. Daystar claims that you'll experience bursts of speed that are up to 7 times faster than your current system. Even Mac OS X's Finder is snappy, with windows popping open immediately. The system is 100% compatible and runs faster than a 400 MHz PowerBook G4. This is the only no-compromise upgrade solution. Factory installation and testing ensures that you'll be running at full G4 speeds with no upsets - just power-up and go.


  • Exclusive factory installation and testing with standard 24 hour turnaround.
  • Daystar custom Pismo shipping container included.
  • No hidden costs. You can configure all your shipping costs in the Product Options before you checkout.
  • Low-power design runs 20% cooler than a G4/500, and it extends battery life.
  • Includes XLR8's award-winning MACh Speed Control OS X CPU profiling & monitoring utility.
  • Includes XLR8's USB Dual Button Scrolling Mouse (a free gift, not required for operation).
  • Week-ender program available (in on Friday, back on Monday).
  • XLR8 MAChSpeed G4: Rated the top upgrade by leading PowerBook editors

Daystar now offers three way FedEx shipping options. You can configure your three way shipping options worldwide using the Product Options above. First, select the pre-shipment for the Lombard container going to you. Second, select the speed for the return to Daystar. Third, select the final shipment home to you.

To be priced at $259 plus shipping of the box to the customer

Prerelease Special: $214

You can read my full review of the 550 MHz MAChSpeed G4 Pismo upgrade installed on my own Pismo PowerBook on Mac Opinion.

Kamas PowerBook Stands

Specially designed models of the Kamas stand are available for the 17", 15", 12" (aluminum), and 15" (Titanium) PowerBook G4 and white 12" & 14" iBook. The "universal" model fits any PowerBook G3, 3400, 2400c, or 1400.

The Kamas stand provides level viewing of the PowerBook's screen while using an external keyboard. The platform is adjustable to any angle and has a space for storing the keyboard beneath the PowerBook. It also helps to cool hot PowerBooks by keeping them up off the desktop so air circulates more freely across the PowerBook's underside and dissipates heat. Silver color, coated steel, edge protectors prevent scratches. Imported from Japan.

Price: $99 ($109 for 17") plus shipping and handling.

Daystar FireWire Mini-Drive Enclosure for PowerBook Drives

This drive allows you to take any PowerBook drive (or any 9.5 mm ATA 2.5" hard drive) and use it as an external FireWire drive with any system. Its sleek "pocket-sized" case allows you to have complete mobility without compromise. Fully self-powered. FireWire cable included. Daystar also sells a selection of MCE and Toshiba 2.5" hard drives. Free drive installation is included with any drive purchase.

Daystar's FireWire 2.5" mini-enclosure sells for $35 (hard drive not included)

Inside the iBook G4

Insanely Great Mac's Remy Davison says:

"Curious to know what's inside your icy new iBook G4? Or want to swap out that hard drive? MacBidouille have made it easy(er) for you by publishing a raft of pictures for the Complete Amateur to get in and out of the iBook without damaging the real estate.

"Of course, it goes without saying that following this route invalidates your warranty. But for the curious and cash-rich, proceed at your own risk...

"Apple sure has come a long (and hard) way from the days when you could field-strip a PowerBook 5300 or a G3 inside 7 minutes."

Too true, Remy.

Lindows Announces First Linux-Based OS Tailored for Laptops

Laptops are the fastest-growing segment of computers sold each year, now making up nearly half of all personal computers sold. To make sure that laptop owners have an affordable choice for mobile computing, Lindows has announced the new LindowsOS Laptop Edition.

LindowsOS Laptop Edition is a version of the LindowsOS operating system that is designed specifically for laptop computers, including those powered by Intel Centrino Mobile Technology. Improved power management, high compatibility with WiFi cards, better hard drive and CD/DVD drive performance, and the ability to take advantage of keyboard shortcut keys to browsers and email programs round out the special features of the LindowsOS Laptop Edition.

There are three ways you can get LindowsOS Laptop Edition:

  1. Buy a laptop running LindowsOS Laptop Edition Purchase a laptop computer, preinstalled with LindowsOS Laptop Edition. (System builders, if you're a member of the Builders Program, go to your My.Lindows account, log in and click Premium Bundles to purchase units).
  2. LindowsOS Laptop Edition is also available to current LindowsOS users with a CNR Membership by way of updating to the latest version of LindowsOS. (See your account for details on downloading or ordering a CD.) 
  3. If you do not have LindowsOS yet, you can purchase the Laptop Edition

Laptop Edition Features:

  • When you're carrying around your laptop between meetings or classes, or when you just want to save some battery life while you're not using your computer, closing your laptop (or just clicking "sleep") will cause it to automatically sleep, making sure your battery lasts as long as possible, and your laptop doesn't get too warm while it's in your briefcase or backpack.
  • While desktop computers are always "plugged in," laptops spend a lot of time relying on battery power. So the LindowsOS Laptop Edition includes a battery indicator that will keep you aware of how much battery life you have left at all times.
  • Most laptops now feature internal WiFi (wireless Internet) capabilities and many businesses, college campuses, airports, coffee shops and homes now have wireless Internet. LindowsOS Laptop Edition has been engineered to work with a wide variety of WiFi hardware so that you can be online on-the-go.
  • In addition to WiFi, many laptops now come with "Web Browser" and "E-mail" hotkeys. These keys save you time and hassle when you want to get on the Net. LindowsOS Laptop Edition has been fine-tuned to work with many of these newer laptops with Net keys.

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.

Wegener Media

Want a Lombard to go with one of Daystar's 433 MHz G4 upgrades?

With Daystar's prerelease upgrade offer, that could put you into a PowerBook with a G4 CPU for $613.99

Power Max

With this CPU you qualify to buy OS X (Panther) for $99.

Several others available.

Small Dog Electronics

Apple Store, Special Deals

Baucom Computers

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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