The 'Book Review

Dual Core G5s, EyeTV for USB 2.0, SideTrack Trackpad Software, myPower for iPod, and More

Charles Moore
2004.11.19

iPod News

Bargain 'Books

"Antares" G5 to Ship in Single, Dual Core Forms

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"IBM's dual-core G5-class PowerPC processor, codenamed 'Antares', is to ship alongside a single-core version, if sources cited by Think Secret are to be believed.

"The PowerPC 970GX - aka 'Antares SP' - will essentially succeed today's single-core part, the 970FX, the sources claim, but will provide double that chip's on-die L2 cache to 1MB.

"Meanwhile, erstwhile Motorola chip division Freescale is continuing work on the G4-class MPC7448, its first 90nm PowerPC chip...."

"Apple last updated its PowerBook laptop line in April...."

Plextor, Elgato to Introduce USB 2.0 Personal Video Recorder for Mac

Plextor Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, has teamed with Elgato, a worldwide leader in digital video recording for the Macintosh, introducing the first Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Personal Video Recorder for the Macintosh computer.

The Plextor ConvertX Personal Video Recorder for the Mac combines award-winning Elgato EyeTV software with Plextor's ConvertX PVR video capture device with built-in TV tuner. The new ConvertX PVR for the Mac uses a real-time MPEG-2 hardware encoder to capture and compress broadcast, cable, or satellite TV to a hard drive. ConvertX PVR also supports RCA composite audio/video input and S-video input connections for capturing home video from other sources such as camcorders, DVD players, and VCRs.

During live TV viewing, Elgato EyeTV software supports all the time-shifting features normally associated with PVRs, including pausing live TV, skipping forward, and instant replays. The EyeTV electronic programming guide (EPG) allows users to schedule TV recordings with a single mouse click. Users can edit video scenes using EyeTV software, or they can export files into popular Macintosh software like Apple's iMovie, iDVD, DVD Studio Pro, or Roxio Toast Titanium. EyeTV also can convert video into other popular video formats such as QuickTime, AVI, MPEG-4, and 3G.

"When the Macintosh integrated FireWire into the computer years ago, it unleashed the first real wave of home video editing, and now Mac users are looking to do even more with video on their computers," said Dirk Peters, director of marketing, Plextor. "With the ConvertX PVR, users get the ability to record all their favorite TV shows to their Mac in the MPEG-2/DVD format, which not only saves tremendous amounts of hard disk space, but also is the correct format for burning to a DVD disc for playback in a home DVD player."

"Partnering with an international quality hardware manufacturer like Plextor, Elgato is able to focus on developing the best possible software for customers," said Freddie Geier, CEO, Elgato. "The USB 2.0 solution at the price point of $229 USD has an unbeatable price-performance ratio."

Recommended System: Macintosh computer with minimum PowerPC G4 500 MHz or G5 processor; Mac OS X 10.2.8 or higher and 256 MB of RAM (512 MB recommended); 20 MB free space for software installation and USB 2.0 connection. Roxio Toast 6 Titanium is recommended for CD or DVD creation.

The Plextor ConvertX Personal Video Recorder for Mac is scheduled for shipment to distributors and resellers in North and South America in November 2004. The ConvertX Personal Video Recorder for Mac has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $229.99 USD.

SideTrack 1.0 Advanced Trackpad Driver for PowerBook/iBook

SideTrack is a replacement driver for the PowerBook and iBook trackpads. With SideTrack installed, your standard trackpad becomes a powerful multi-button scrolling mouse.

Leave your external mouse at home and take full control over your trackpad:

SideTrack is multiuser aware and fully compatible with Mac OS X 10.3 fast user switching. Every user on your PowerBook can have different settings depending on their needs.

Extended control over the trackpad button and tap gestures. Use trackpad taps for left click, drag gestures, or right click. Complete scrollwheel mouse emulation with customizable scrolling speed. Place your scroll zones on either side of the pad, or both sides simultaneously.

Turn the corners of your trackpad into independent tap actions. Use the corner zones to emulate up to a six-button mouse or generate custom keystrokes. Customize SideTrack's sensitivity and accuracy. Calibrate to your own trackpad style and adjust filtering to reduce accidental taps while typing. Choose from several mouse acceleration options.

System Requirements

SideTrack 1.0 does not support prerelease builds of Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). Tiger compatibility will appear in a future release of SideTrack.

New in this version:

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.2 or higher

SideTrack is $15 shareware.

Kensington Introduces Convertible Mouse with Mobility Product Suite

Kensington Technology Group has introduced a suite of new mobility products that addresses practically every need of the on-the-go, mobile professional or home user. Leading the new product introductions is the PocketMouse Convertible Mini Wireless, the first ever 2-in-1 optical mouse that converts from an ultra compact mini to a full size desktop model in seconds.

For travel, the Convertible Mini Wireless offers users all the convenience of Kensington's popular two-button, ultra-compact Mini, including its proprietary QuickRF wireless and DiamondEye optical technologies that allows for smooth and accurate tracking on any surface. When it's time to move off the road and back to a home or home/office setting, users simply snap on a fitted AirForm shell to instantly transform the mini into a comfortable full-size mouse.

Available online and at major retailers, including Circuit City, CompUSA, and Walmart, the Convertible Mini Wireless has an estimated street price of $44.99

"Our goal at Kensington is to continually seek out and develop new devices that make life easier for our digitally active customers," comments Rob Humphrey, Director of Marketing. "By thinking about all of the digital tools one would want in their bag when on the road, and then delivering them with innovative design and functionality, we're demonstrating that we understand the needs of our customers better than anyone, including our customers themselves."

In addition to the PocketMouse Convertible Mini Wireless, Kensington's new mobility products include:

PocketLink Switchable Ethernet Cable

The right cable for any connection, the retractable 7' Switchable Ethernet cable allows users to connect computers to any Ethernet network. Or, with the flick of a switch, it transforms to an Ethernet crossover cable that can link two computers for file transfers, peripheral sharing, or head-to-head gaming. Available online, the PocketLink Switchable Ethernet Cable has an estimated street price of $29.99.

PocketLink 3-in-1 Cable

A self-contained connection to the digital lifestyle, the 3-in-1 offers twin cords to manage multiple mobile connections with a single unit. One cord provides an Ethernet or phone connection to the Internet. A second cord simultaneously links USB devices, such as a camera, printer, scanner or hard drive directly to the laptop. Both seven-foot cords instantly retract at the push of a button Available online and at major retailers, including Circuit City, Staples and Walmart, the PocketLink 3-in-1 Cable has an estimated street price of $29.99.

PocketLink 4-in-1 Cable

Offering similar functionality as the PocketLink 3-in-1 Cable, the 4-in-1 goes one step further with the addition of a FireWire connection. Available online and at Apple retail stores, the PocketLink 4-in-1 Cable has an estimated street price of $49.99.

International Travel Plug Adapter

With the Kensington Travel Adapter, there's never a need to be at a loss for power again. This all-in-one pocket-sized unit provides plug adapters for use in more than 150 countries. Travelers simply slide out one of the built-in plugs and plug in a laptop, cell phone, battery charger, or similar electronic device. The unit's safety release button and built-in fuse ensure safe operation. Available online and at major retailers, including Circuit City, CompUSA and Staples, the International Travel Plug Adapter has an estimated street price of $19.99.

Pocket Presenter Wireless Laser

Professionals and students can add new life to their presentations with this all-in-one, compact and lightweight remote. Its intuitive, easy-to-use buttons and built-in laser pointer allow for control up to 50 feet away, while the wireless USB receiver stores conveniently inside its compact case. With no software to load or program, the Pocket Presenter Wireless Laser adds wireless freedom to presentations, instantly. Available online and at major retailers, including Best Buy, Circuit City and CompUSA, the Pocket Presenter Wireless Laser has an estimated street price of $59.99.

New Apple Portable Fan Books Released by O'Reilly

The ideal gift for anyone who owns a PowerBook, iBook, or an iPod - or who will own one once Santa visits - are O'Reilly's new flock of "Fan Books." These colorful little guides are the quick and fun way to get users acquainted with their new devices, lead them through the many features and capabilities, and show them tips and tricks that will make them instant experts.

O'Reilly's Fan Books show users how to customize preferences and learn about the coolest cases, add-ons, and doodads that not only add functionality but also personalize their devices. "When you bring home a new Apple iBook, for example," says Derrick Story, author of both the "iBook Fan Book" (O'Reilly, US $14.95) and "PowerBook Fan Book" (US $14.95), "it's really Apple's computer - not yours. All of the settings were made at the factory. But you can make it your iBook by sitting down with it and customizing a few simple preferences. This is my goal: to make Apple's iBook YOUR iBook as quickly as possible."

And readers can count on these full-color Fan Books to be every bit as stylish and hip as the devices they showcase. "Attention is spent on every word, picture, and design element," says Story. "We're hoping that you'll like these books as much as the subjects they cover."

O'Reilly's affordable (less than $15 apiece) new Fan Books include:

PowerBook Fan Book: This is the perfect guide for mastering all the features and taking advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple's most desirable laptop. The "PowerBook Fan Book" takes readers through the process of getting familiar with their new machine and OS X Panther, learning handy tricks and using high-end features, and finding out about little-known but gotta-have accessories for their sleek and speedy new PowerBook.

iBook Fan Book: Anyone who owns an ultra-thin iBook can count on the "iBook Fan Book" to give them everything they need to make the stylish little white wonder work - and play - just as hard as they do. The book covers: getting familiar with Mac OS X Panther; organizing a digital lifestyle; using advanced features; enjoying iBook at home, at the office, and on the go; minimizing time and stress; and maximizing fun and productivity.

PowerBook Fan Book

Derrick Story, ISBN: 0-596-00817-1, 112 pages, $14.95 US, $21.95 CA

iBook Fan Book

Derrick Story, ISBN: 0-596-00861-9, 128 pages, $14.95 US, $21.95 CA

G-Drive FireWire & USB Drives with Unique Cooling Technology

G-Technology Inc. (G-Tech) has introduced G-Drive, a new line of professional strength storage solutions engineered for demanding applications including audio and video editing, image archiving and high-speed data backup. G-Drive is equipped with the latest high performance FireWire and/or USB 2.0 interface and features a unique "fanless" cooling system designed to silently dissipate heat for superior reliability and data integrity.

"G-Drive significantly raises the bar on external disk storage solutions for personal computers," said Roger Mabon, President of G-Technology Inc. "G-Drive trumps the competition on industrial design, performance and reliability. G-Drive's FireWire and USB interfaces offer industry leading performance and the built-in silent cooling technology is unprecedented in the industry."

G-Drive is a high-performance external disk storage system ideal for digital audio and video editing, graphic design, image/music archiving, sharing files between systems and high-speed data backup. G-Drive is available in 160, 250 and 400 GB capacities.

G-Drive versions include:

All G-Drive models feature:

Pricing and Availability: G-Drive will be available in December 2004 with list prices starting at $169. Preorders may be placed now with G-Tech and its authorized resellers. Visit G-Tech to buy online or to find a reseller near you.

A "Quietly Supercharged" Laptop Case

Booq is offering a serious alternative to the professional laptop case. Cobra.XM is the ultimate transport created for the style-conscious traveler who does not wish to compromise on performance.

Cobra.XMAside from its quietly elegant styling, the high-performance Cobra.XM offers everything you'd ever want in a high-end laptop case: Tough protection for your laptop(s), a variety of intelligent pockets and compartments for all your accessories, documents and books, and a super-comfortable carrying handle and ergonomic shoulder strap design. On top of that, the case is expandable by 1.5" (38mm), should you ever need a little extra cargo space.

Using only the highest quality ballistic nylons and most durable seatbelt-nylon straps, and tough, high density foam padding with rugged impact protectors, Booq have paid attention to every detail and have created a stunning product we know will be the envy of your fellow travelers. As with all of our products, Cobra.XM is covered by a lifetime repair warranty.

Cobra.XM Features:

Sony Introduces New Mac-Compatible Double Layer DVD Burner

Mac owners will soon be able to enjoy all the benefits of Sony's award-winning double layer, dual format DVD burning technology with the introduction of the new Mac compatible DRX-710UL-T model.

Sony's latest external double layer DVD drive will begin shipping next month with Roxio's Toast 6 Lite for Mac compatibility.

With Sony's new DVD drive and Toast 6 Lite software, Mac users can take their favorite projects to a whole new level with double layer DVD recording. The drive will allow them to record up to four hours of high-quality MPEG-2 video or up to 8.5 GB of data, music and/or images on compatible DVD+R DL media for advanced audio/visual projects and backups, among other useful applications.

Toast 6 Lite also includes the capability to create one-click copies of CDs, DVDs and disc images, as well as standard audio CDs with CD-TEXT from nearly any QuickTime audio file.

In addition to the Toast application, the drive will come bundled with a full-featured software suite from Nero for Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

The drive supports 2.4x DVD+R DL, 16x DVD+R, 8x DVD-R, 4x DVD+/-RW, 48x CD-R, and 24x CD-RW recording speeds. It also features a unique vertical design for easy placement and portability, and offers connectivity with both i.LINK (IEEE 1394) and hi-speed USB (USB 2.0) digital interfaces for simple setup and maximum flexibility.

Sony's new DVD burner is geared toward Mac users who want high-speed burning and substantial storage capacity at an affordable price.

The DRX-710UL-T model will be available in December for about $230. Sony DVD/CD rewritable drives are sold through resellers nationwide, mail order catalogs, and select online shopping sites, including sonystyle.com.

"Must-Have" Features of Dream All-in-One Handheld Revealed in Survey

Electronic gadgets of all shapes and sizes, including PDAs and cell phones, have become "hot" holiday gifts, with electronics like the new Apple iPod, PalmOne's Treo650, RIM's new Blackberry 7100t and Sony Ericsson's new P910 smartphone fueling the gadget-giving frenzy.

So what are tech-savvy "gifters" and "giftees" looking for in a gadget? The results of the AvantGo® 2004 Mobile Lifestyle survey of 3,260 users reveal that when it comes to device functionality, "techies" want to have their cake and eat it too.

The survey revealed the following "top 12" must-have features of an all-in-one dream device:

  1. Calendar/contact list
  2. Easily synchs with PC
  3. Great battery life
  4. E-mail/messaging
  5. WiFi/Bluetooth
  6. Compact size
  7. MP3 player
  8. Phone
  9. Large screen
  10. GPS locator
  11. 20+ gigabyte memory
  12. Camera

The survey found that over three quarters (77%) of respondents reported purchasing their own current handheld device, while 13% received it as a gift. Chances are, these purchases will be made over the holidays - arguably the most popular shopping season of the year.

Respondents chose a surprising combination of "bells and whistles" and standard options. They want normal PDA features like calendars and contact lists, and also want a device with an iPod-size memory to play and store music and other content; email functionality; GPS; phone, compact size and a larger screen. Surprisingly, MP3 players (77%) ranked slightly higher than phones (76%) and GPS locators (65%), while more hard drive memory (64%) edged out cameras (63%) in popularity.

AvantGo is a free service that delivers rich, personalized mobile websites to PDAs and smartphones. Today, hundreds of major brands, including American Airlines, Cnet, GM, Rolling Stone and The New York Times, leverage AvantGo to target a highly desirable demographic of millions of registered users. AvantGo offers the convenience of anywhere, anytime access, seamlessly supporting both wireless and "sync and go" connectivity.

iAnywhere is the worldwide market leader in mobile and embedded databases, mobile middleware and mobile and remote device management. More than 15,000 customers and 1,000 partners rely on the company's award-winning enterprise products, including SQL Anywhere Studio and XcelleNet front line solutions. In addition, its AvantGo mobile Internet service has millions of registered subscribers. iAnywhere is a subsidiary of Sybase, Inc. Visit http://www.ianywhere.com/ for more information.

myPower for iPod Integrated Battery and Dock

Tekkeon has unveiled myPower™, a sleek new iPod case that combines the power of a rechargeable battery with the convenience of a portable dock. Now iPod users can take advantage of a single device to power and sync iPod on the go.

myPower for iPodmyPower for iPod is a new all-in-one rechargeable battery and portable dock for iPod from Tekkeon, Inc. myPower for iPod provides up to 32 hours of extended play time for iPod, as well as a FireWire and a USB 2.0 port for downloading and managing music. For use with 3rd and 4th generation iPods, iPod mini and iPod photo, myPower includes a line out for connection to external speakers, and a charging port that charges mobile phones, or other 5V devices - even while powering iPod.

myPower, a rechargeable lithium polymer battery built into a portable dock case, uniquely complements the style of the iPod. This lightweight, all-in-one device provides 4th generation (4G) iPod and iPod photo users with an extra 32 hours of extended play time, 3G iPod users with up to 20 additional hours, and iPod mini users with up to 28 additional hours. (When the iPod backlight is used, the extra hours will be slightly lower.)

myPower includes a high-speed FireWire port and a USB 2.0 port to enable users to sync iPod using standard FireWire or USB cables, which are included with the product. As these ports are built into myPower, users can download or manage music without removing iPod from the myPower dock - even while powering iPod.

"myPower is an all-in-one device that effectively combines the cost-savings of a rechargeable battery, the ease of a portable dock, and the convenience of a carrying case - into one sleek device," says Michael Schmel, Tekkeon's vice-president of sales and marketing. "Imagine the convenience of owning just one device that can be used to power, sync, and carry iPod."

A convenient on/off switch on myPower lets users decide when to power iPod. When switched off, myPower doesn't power iPod; however, the ports provided on myPower can still be used. This means iPod can remain in the convenient myPower carrying case.

myPower includes a line out port for connection of iPod to a stereo or external speakers, and a 5V charging output that lets users simultaneously charge a mobile phone, or any device that requires up to 5V, while powering iPod.

An attached belt clip on myPower provides handsfree convenience, allowing users carry iPod while providing easy access to the iPod controls, and to the myPower ports.

Rather than requiring a separate power adapter, myPower can be charged using the iPod power adapter connected via the FireWire port, or via a FireWire connection to a 6-pin FireWire port on a computer. For convenience, the iPod battery can be charged simultaneously. In this case, iPod is inserted into myPower and the charge will pass through to the iPod battery from the power source. This pass-through charging is available while myPower is connected to a power source.

myPower is compatible with the third and fourth generations of iPod 15 GB, 20 GB, 30 GB and 40 GB, iPod mini, and iPod photo. The myPower package includes myPower, a FireWire cable, a USB 2.0 cable, four sets of sizing pads, a clip for the iPod mini, and a user guide.

The MSRP for myPower is $89.95. myPower, which comes with a one-year limited warranty, will begin shipping in November through the Tekkeon store, and will be available in stores in Q1 2005.

Contour Design Lets iPod mini Show Through

Contour Design has announced yet another addition to their award winning iPod case lineup, the iSee Mini.

iSee Mini"We have designed a case that will augment the unique style of all five colors of the iPod mini," says Mike Jackle (of Contour Media & Retail Products Group). Jackle goes on to state, "The case provides a snug fit with a two piece unit for complete protection as well as incorporating the flexibility to use attachments such as Apple's arm band. With the seamless amalgamation of a clear and tough ABS plastic we have taken the design of the iPod case to the next level."

Protection Everywhere With Simple Access

The iSee-Mini, manufactured with a clear scratch-resistant ABS plastic, consists of two sections. Used as a standalone, the front portion of the case provides solid protection to the display screen while enhancing all five of the iPod-Mini colors. When the front and back sections are used together, the iSee Mini combines the ultimate in protection with the convenience of Apple's belt clip, Apple's own armband, or any third party add-ons.

Key features

The Contour iSee-Mini sells for $19.99.

switchPod Single Switch Scanning Control for iPod

switchPodThe switchPod is an accessory that gives a person with no hand function control of Apple's iPod personal music player. The switchPod plugs into the remote control socket, and using a single switch suited to the individual, all remote control functions are available. For a person with high level quadriplegia, a switch mounted on the wheelchair headrest may be suitable.

Follow these simple steps:

What the choices do:

Play/Pause/Power:

Track Forward/Back:

Volume Up/Down

Power Users do it with their eyes closed.

The switchPod feeds a series of beeps into the user's earphone as it steps. Different sounds are used to distinguish the functions. We expect regular switchPod users will learn these sounds, and then not even need to look at the display.

iPod and Apple are trademarks of Apple Computer. Technical Solutions Australia is grateful for the support and technical advice provided by Apple Computer.

Marware's SportSuit Santa for iPod, iPod mini

Ho-ho-holidays!

SportSuit SantaJust in time for the holidays comes the perfect wrapper for all the new iPods under your tree. The SportSuit Santa from Marware combines function with festive form to make the perfect holiday statement. Constructed of 2mm neoprene, this soft case includes a lanyard and provides a protective, shock-absorbing cocoon for your iPod or iPod mini.

Case features:

$19.95

Contour Design Lets Apple's iPod mini Show Through

Contour Design has announced yet another addition to their award winning iPod case lineup, the iSee Mini.

"We have designed a case that will augment the unique style of all five colors of the iPod mini," says Mike Jackle (of Contour Media & Retail Products Group). Jackle goes on to state, "The case provides a snug fit with a two piece unit for complete protection as well as incorporating the flexibility to use attachments such as Apple's arm band. With the seamless amalgamation of a clear and tough ABS plastic we have taken the design of the iPod case to the next level."

Protection Everywhere With Simple Access
The iSee-Mini, manufactured with a clear scratch-resistant ABS plastic, consists of two sections. Used as a standalone, the front portion of the case provides solid protection to the display screen while enhancing all five of the iPod-Mini colors. When the front and back sections are used together, the iSee Mini combines the ultimate in protection with the convenience of Apple's belt clip, Apple's own armband, or any third party add-ons.

Key features

The Contour iSee-Mini sells for $19.99.

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.

This Week's 'Book Deals

Wegener Media

Small Dog Electronics

Apple Store Special Deals: Apple Certified

PowerBook Guy

Baucom Computers

sFor 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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