The 'Book Review

PB G4 Motherboard Upgrades, 16x DVD+R Burner, Fuel Cell Laptop Shown, the Microsoft Tax, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2004.09.10

PowerBook G4 Titanium Motherboard Upgrade

DT&T Computer Services, Inc. is offering a motherboard upgrade for the "Ivory" and "Gigabit Ethernet" versions of the Titanium PowerBook.

This is an upgrade of the new Apple logic board to a 1 GHz (p/n 661-1800). The models that are compatible for the upgrade are 667 MHz (DVI), 800 MHz, and 867 MHz. The upgrade requires that you have a good working board in exchange. If your current Titanium has a problem with the logic board,then it cost you additional $50 more on top of the upgrade cost. Outright purchase, no exchange cost $750. These logic board are available, quick turnaround 1-2 days turnaround. 6 months warranty on parts and labor. You can get the board and install yourself or just send in whole computer to DT&T to install for you, installation is free.

Cost for upgrade with exchange

  • 667 MHz (DVI), $650
  • 800 MHz, $550
  • 867 MHz, $495
  • Purchase w/o exch, $750

Remember there will be a $50 additional charge if your board has problem or bad.

Samsung Launches 16x DVD Rewritable Drive

Samsung Electronics Ltd., the worldwide digital consumer electronics and information technology leader, announces the newest entry in its award-winning optical disc drive family, the Writemaster TS-H552B 16x DVD Rewritable drive. The double-layer TS-H552B supports all the popular DVD recordable/rewritable formats, and provides computer users with greater storage power and even more flexibility to enjoy favorite movies and music, and archive data without regard to format variations.

The TS-H552B provides double-layer data storage up to 8.5 GB in one disc, which is two times more than single-layer DVD and 12 times more than a CD disc. To reduce noise when recording or reading at high speeds and ensure outstanding functionality, the TS-H552B features Samsung's Silent Pulse Width Modulation (SPWM) technology and an Automatic Ball Balancing System (ABS).

Fast and reliable performance of the TS-H552B is ensured through several high-end technologies including: Speed Adjustment Technology (SAT), which automatically optimizes the speed according to the disc quality; Tilt Actuator Compensation (TAC), which gives the disc a tilt with the objective lens for the most reliable writing condition; and Double Optimum Power Control (OPC), which strengthens the writing performance by controlling the laser power in the inner and outer sides of the disc. The drive also includes a power save function and technology to prevent Buffer Under Run Error.

The TS-H552B is capable of recording DVD+R media at 16x, DVD-R at 12x, DVD+/-RW at 4x, and double layer DVD+R. The new 16x rewritable disc drive is now shipping with an estimated price of $200.

Millennium Cell to Power Notebook PC with HOD/PEM Fuel Cell System

Millennium Cell Inc., a technology development company which offers a proprietary technology to safely store, generate and deliver pure hydrogen as an energy source, has announced that it is demonstrating a prototype hydrogen fuel cell system to power a notebook PC at the Intel Developer Forum from September 7th through September 9th at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. The system is on display in the Intel Pavilion in the technical showcase.

The system consists of a disposable Millennium Cell Hydrogen on Demand ("HOD") fuel system combined with a hydrogen fuel cell. In this initial demonstration, the battery pack has been removed from a Dell C400 notebook PC and the computer is directly powered by the HOD and a Proton Exchange Membrane ("PEM") fuel cell system. The sealed, disposable cartridge containing the HOD system is similar in size and shape to a traditional battery pack. Also on display, will be the Company's vision of the next generation HOD and fuel cell system and how it will be integrated into a notebook personal computer without any loss of portability or functionality of the device.

"We are delighted to showcase our HOD technology at this prestigious forum," said H. David Ramm, Millennium Cell President and CEO. "We are excited to demonstrate the combined power of HOD/PEM technology to help realize the vision of 'all-day' computing."

"The Extended Battery Life Working group is actively working towards all-day battery life of mobile PCs. We encourage power source companies like Millennium Cell to work on and bring to market new power source technologies for notebook PCs," said Kamal Shah, Mobility Enabling Initiative Manager, Mobile Platforms Group, Intel Corporation and Chairman, Mobile PC Extended Battery Life (EBL) Working Group.

Millennium Cell Inc. is engaged in the development of a next generation energy source for use primarily in consumer electronics, portable power devices and standby power systems as well as in selected transportation applications. The Company's innovative and proprietary Hydrogen on Demand systems safely generate high-quality hydrogen through the use of sodium borohydride. This chemical compound is noncombustible, high in energy density, easily distributed, and convenient for consumer use. Millennium Cell is developing technology in partnership with corporate and government entities.

Avoiding the Microsoft Tax blogger Grady Booch says:

"Today's news reports that Microsoft has set the release date for Longhorn in the second half of 2006, with a more modest collection of features relative to its initial announcement. I've yet to install Windows XP SP2 as I'm waiting for a few more pioneers to blaze the trail, letting them fall into the dark shadows first.

"It may be the case, however, that I'll never bother installing SP2. I've decided to make the move to a Microsoft-free computing environment, having tired of the time I spend on the care and feeding of XP as compared to my relatively worry-free network of Linux appliances and Macs. My latest acquisition is a 17" Apple PowerBook powered by the IBM G4 processor which I'll use to replace my XP laptop and an older G4 tower. In addition to a breathtakingly beautiful form factor, this machine has every feature I need, from DVD-R to Airport and Bluetooth connections. More importantly, there's no essential application I need that doesn't run on this platform. In this manner, I'll avoid the Microsoft operating system tax, although I will break down and install the Microsoft Office suite (which actually is nicer on the Mac than it is on XP). Eclipse runs quite handily on the Mac already, thank you: I've been developing beans with it for over a year now.

"Is it therefore curious for me, an IBMer, to be carrying around a non-IBM laptop?"

Fans Keep Newton in Motion

Wired's Leander Kahney reported last week:

"This weekend, fans of Apple's long-discontinued Newton will gather in Paris to celebrate the PDA that will never ever die.

"Six years after Apple Computer terminated the Newton, the Worldwide Newton Association is holding its first conference to determine the future of the platform.

"Indeed, the Newton may be getting a new lease on life.

"The first Newton hardware emulator will be unveiled at the show, which may allow the Newton operating system to run on other hardware, including full-color handhelds or Tablet PCs."

Milano 12" PowerBook/iBook Case

Milano leather caseThe Milano high-quality leather case is geared to the executive who wants a slim, stylish case for business use.

Crafted of high-quality cowhide leather, the Milano comes in a 12", 15", and 17" version to ensure a custom fit for all PowerBook models. The 12" and 14" iBook also fit nicely in the respectively sized cases. The Milano is a tight design that avoids the bulkiness found in most other cases.

The Milano has a comfortable, padded non-slip shoulder strap with an attachment for your iPod, digital camera or cellphone. Or you can go strapless and carry the case by its rugged handle. The buckles and handle connectors are all-high quality solid stainless steel hardware.

The interior features a padded laptop pocket, lined with soft plush fabric. A smaller pocket holds your non-digital documents and folders. There is also a pocket for your extra batteries, cables, adapters, etc. The back of the case features a large open pocked for quick access to magazines, plane tickets or other quick-reach items.

The Milano is a slim design with enough storage for the "on the go" professional. Matter of fact, it is so sleek that most people won't even realize that you have a laptop in your bag.

Price: $139.95

Tunewear Announces Tunemax iPod Case with Embedded Battery

Nothing is worse than when you are on the town or on the road and your iPod runs out of juice.

Tunemax is a product that looks and weighs about the same as a protective case for the iPod, yet it is actually a powerful 16 hours of additional power for your iPod. The beauty of Tunemax is the design. The case actually is the battery.

Tunemax iPod CaseSimple yet elegant, the case sandwiches the iPod inside the side covers which are filled with 850 mAh Lithium Ion cells. Each cover holds 425 mAh worth of power. A lightweight and sturdy hooking belt clip designed onto the case allows you to clip it to your waist belt, bag, or anywhere you like. It is wide enough be used as a belt loop, and unlike conventional clips, opens at a wide angle for easy clipping onto thick surfaces.

The Tunemax Controller is also a unique feature. It has an on/off switch allowing you to control when you want the charging mechanism to be active. When set to on, Tunemax begins charging the iPod, allowing you up to 28 hours of continuous music playback. When switched off, you are using the iPod's internal battery.

The Controller has 4 LED lights (3 green and 1 red) to show you exactly how much power is left on Tunemax. Four lit green LED lights indicates that power storage is 100%. Three lit green LEDs indicates 75% power, and so forth.  

One of the most revolutionary features of Tunemax is it's ability to sync with iTunes even when connected to your iPod. You do not have to remove the 30 pin cable from your iPod to access synching with iTunes, because a USB port is provided to do just that. Simply attach a standard USB cable to Tunemax and the computer, and you are ready to sync. You can also charge during synching by connecting the FireWire port of your computer to the Tunemax power port.

Charging the Tunemax battery cell is a piece of cake. There are no big power supplies to carry or use, just one simple lightweight cable you attach to the FireWire 400 port of your computer, or straight into your iPod power supply.

Tunemax is compatible with the whole iPod line of products from Apple Computer. The thick industrial strength rubber on the sides hug thin 20 GB iPods, and expand to allow thick 40 GB iPod's to stay put. Used with the Tunewear silicone case called Icewear, even iPod mini fits perfectly inside Tunemax.


  • Size: 60(W) x 42(L) x 110 (H) - measured with iPod 20 GB inside, dimensions do not include belt clip
  • Weight: 145g (iPod and cable not included)
  • Color: Black leather, white plastic controller

iPod Compatibility:

  • iPod (Click Wheel)
  • iPod (Dock Connector)
  • iPod mini (when used together with Icewear)
  • iPod (FireWire), 6-pin FireWire cable not included

Tunemax will be available for sale worldwide starting in September.

Depending on usage conditions, especially temperature where the product is used, hours of playback may vary.

Contour Design Announces Showcase 4G for Apple and HP Click Wheel iPods

Contour Design ShowcaseContour Design, a market leader in the iPod hardcase accessories, announces the Showcase 4G. Based on the original top selling Showcase for Apple generation 3 iPods, the Showcase 4G offers an innovative design and advanced protection for Apple and HP's newest member of the iPod family.

"iPod users want a case that will not only protect their iPod, but will also show off its aesthetic design. Our Showcase 4G does just that! It's a true work of art!" says Mike Jackle (of Contour Media Products Group). "Jackle goes on to state, at Contour Design we focus on quality in all aspects of our products, from strength and durability to look and feel. The development of the Showcase 4G involved complex design and manufacturing processes coupled with strict attention to detail, delivering a product that will lead the market for iPod Cases."

To achieve this ultimate style and protection, the Showcase 4G is created using superior materials and crafted with the latest double injection molding technology. Shock-absorbing rubber supports the iPod; protecting it from hard impacts while providing a soft, smooth feel, and a colorful expression. The clear scratch-resistant plastic protects the screen without hiding the iPod beauty. Designed to fit the active lifestyle, this case allows for easy access to all the controls and can be taken anywhere with its comfortable, horizontally mounted belt clip.

Key features

  • Sleek, clean design: a seamless integration of clear, protective, durable, and shock-absorbing materials
  • iPod display screen perfectly visible yet protected behind impact-resistant clear plastic
  • Click wheel easily accessible
  • Top and bottom openings provide access to connectors, headphone jack and hold switch
  • Strong, detachable belt clip provides a secure, comfortable fit
  • Available in two colors, Black or White

The Contour Showcase 4G MSRP is $32.99, and it will be available through Contour Design's extensive distributor and reseller partners.

IBM Recalls 500,000 Melting Notebook Adapters

The Register's Ashlee Vance reports from Chicago:

"More than 500,000 notebook power adapters sold by IBM are being recalled to offset the threat of melting plastic and even fire.

"IBM and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall, saying at least six consumers have reported incidents with the power adapters. The adapters were produced by Delta Electronics and sit in systems shipped between January 1999 and August 2000...."

Hmmm. That's roughly the same vintage as the batch of PowerBook G3 power adapters Apple recalled in 2001.

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


Baucom Computers

Power Max

Small Dog Electronics

Apple Store

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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