The 'Book Review

Run OS X Without Restarts, PowerBook Defective Trackpad Info, iTunes Phone Postponed, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.03.18

The week's PowerBook, iBook, and Notebook news

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

'Book News

Bargain 'Books

How to Run an OS X 'Book without Shut Downs, Restarts, or Quitting Applications

MacDailyNews comments:

"After almost four years now with OS X, I'll tell you how I think a PowerBook or iBook should be run.

"I never shut down my computer. Well, hardly ever. My PowerBook has been on or asleep for over three weeks currently. This excludes any restarts due to software updates since I have to keep current. I must have gone over two months at least without restarting or shutting down at times in the past.

"Although the frequency of Apple's incremental OS and other application updates sometimes makes me wonder if they are forcing me to restart when I normally wouldn't for a reason or just to mess with me.

"I've concluded that there is almost no need to ever shut down your computer. While in Sleep mode, the PowerBook consumes almost no battery power."

I agree. My PowerBook WallStreet, which runs OS 9, goes for literally months between restarts, although my production OS X machines get rebooted fairly frequently for software updates. CM

Frequently Asked Questions about Defective Trackpads

The PowerBook Zone's Doug B. Landry has posted an FAQ on Defective Trackpads in the latest PowerBook revisions.

"We've received an overwhelming amount of email from readers discussing defective trackpads found with their new PowerBooks. To help those looking to diagnose and troubleshoot their problems, we've decided to create a list of frequently asked questions that should help to this end. If there are questions or answers that you'd like to contribute, email us at editor (at)"

PowerBook G4 : Troubleshooting Intermittent Trackpad Issues

A new Apple Knowledge Base Article says:

If you find that the trackpad cursor on your PowerBook G4 (12-inch 1.5 GHz), PowerBook G4 (15-inch 1.67/1.5 GHz), or PowerBook G4 (17-inch 1.67 GHz) temporarily stops tracking or behaves erratically, try the following steps to resolve the issue.

  1. Make sure you test all parts of the trackpad surface and be sure you're using just one finger. Multiple fingers could cause erratic behavior.
  2. Reset the trackpad by placing your entire palm directly onto the whole trackpad for 3 to 4 seconds, and then remove your hand from the trackpad in one smooth motion.

In most cases, trackpad operation will return to normal. If so, this resolution should work if you ever see the issue again. Apple is aware of this issue and is investigating.

17" PowerBook G4 Review

CNET's Troy Dreier says:

"With the latest version of its 17-inch wide-screen PowerBook, Apple incorporates some nice upgrades but leaves out the one most of us were hoping for: a mobile version of the high-performance G5 chip. Still, the impressively designed 17-inch PowerBook G4, Apple's premiere desktop replacement, is equipped with a new-and-improved set of specs and features, including a scrolling trackpad, for easier navigation through documents and Web pages, and Sudden Motion Sensor technology to protect the hard drive. Apple has also lowered the price by about $100; unfortunately, at $2,699, the 17-inch PowerBook G4 still costs hundreds more than the PC competition....

"The foxy Apple 17-inch PowerBook delivers the performance and the features most users will need, but it's more expensive than a similarly outfitted Windows laptop."

eMac Attraction Fades as Educators Turn to Portables

Macworld UK's Karen Haslam reports:

"Speaking to analysts at the Morgan Stanley Semiconductor and System Conference, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer revealed that independent third party research group Student Monitor had found that in the education sphere intention to buy Mac - particularly portable Macs - is way up.

"This is good news for Apple, but not necessarily good news for the particularly un-portable eMac....

"times have changed and it would appear that Apple is having much more success seeding the iBook to schools than the education specific eMac. And with the advent of the Mac mini at £339 an even lower priced option than the eMac (as long as a screen, mouse, and keyboard do not need to be bought) it could be concluded that the eMac is one more consumer computer than the company needs."

The Not So Mini Gap in Apple's Product Line: The Notebook Mini's Trent Lapinski says:

"With PowerPage's 'Palmtop' Mac rumor surfacing this past Tuesday, it struck me that the last remaining gap in Apple's product line is between the iPod and the iBook. Thanks to the Mac mini the desktop product line is finally taken care of. However, the cry for a portable with more features than an iPod and something more pocket friendly than an iBook is really the last thing Apple users are craving, and with good reason, too....

"....While the iPod is a great way to access stored information, that's about all it can do. The iPod is more of a mirror than a window. And sure, an iBooks or PowerBooks are amazing ways to create and stimulate information on-the-go. Alas, neither can fit in my pocket....

"The solution? A handheld Mac that has a somewhat full keyboard and a stylus that can fold to fit in at least a cargo pocket. Call it a tablet Mac, call it an iPod Extreme, an iBook mini, I don't really care - I just need one, as do many others...."

Wooden Laptop's Jason Striegel says:

"....the other day I got a message from asbesto, who told me about a wooden laptop that he made:

"Here is my laptop: the 'legnatile'; I replaced the plastic shell with a wooden one; it took about 4 months of work, and now it's lighter than the original plastic shell. A unique piece, ultimate frontier of case modding, joint of natural wood and leather, with high technology. Inspired by 'Snow Crash' by Neal Stephenson & the first real wooden laptop in the world!"

Motorola Postpones iTunes Phone Debut

AP Business Writer Matt Moore reports:

"Motorola Inc. postponed plans Thursday to unveil a cell phone that can buy and play songs from Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes download service, a sudden decision which may reflect tensions with cellular companies who also want to sell music to mobile phone users.

"The company briefed reporters on the new offering earlier in the week and planned to unveil the phone at the big CeBIT technology show here. Motorola's two-story exhibition booth included a display of iMacs running iTunes, but the new phones weren't there.

"Motorola spokeswoman Monica Rohleder said in Chicago that the company remains in discussions with a number of wireless carriers regarding the first iTunes phone and will announce it 'when it's ready to go,' close to its expected release time this summer."

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

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 (VGA) and G4/667 (DVI), the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz, and 1.25 GHz to 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBooks.

Mac Pro

Apple Store


Baucom Computers


  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, AirPort, AppleCare, $2,279
  • Add an Epson C86 printer for $99, then get $99 back via mail-in rebate.

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

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