The 'Book Review

Tiger Makes 'Books Run Hotter, Henrico Fighting Malware on Dells, Intel's New Frugal CPUs, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.09.02

This 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. News about Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and other Intel developments is covered in The Macintel Report.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion


Products and Services

Tech Trends

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Tiger Runs 'Books Hotter - Back to Panther

Om Malik's Broadband Blog says:

"I am an early adopter - be it a new phone, a new music player or a new operating system - I am first in line to snap up that gizmo. It was this lust for new that prompted me to switch to Apple Tiger almost instantly. A clean install, and seamless transition to Tiger OS X was great for about an hour. After I had gotten over the joy of iSyncing 6682 and 6620 with iCal and Apple Address Book, I realized that I should not have been so eager to upgrade.... The biggest problem was that my PowerBook 15 and PowerBook 12, both after upgrades were running so hot that you could cook an egg on them.

"I tried everything - turning off dashboard, turning off spotlight, and well, everything that I could do. I could not figure this out, and then problem only got more acute with fans running all the time. (It was the fan-issue that resulted in a iMac G5 meltdown earlier this year!) The screen started to flicker. (I was told that since Tiger offloads a lot of vital tasks off to the graphics chip, normally if you have an older generation graphics chip, it cannot do the task and causes some screen related problems.)

"Unable to figure out what to do, I decided perhaps it was time to switch back to Panther....

"To make sure that it was not a hardware issue - I left my PowerBook 12 (which has been switched back to Panther) for the entire day. 20 hours later, the machine is lukewarm. It is brisk, and well feels like a real comfortable Mac I have been used to...."

[Editor's note: I've noticed similar phenomena with my iBook and PowerBook (550 MHz G4), although not nearly as extreme. Both machines run hotter with Tiger than they did with Panther.]

Henrico County Battles Malware on Dell Laptops

The Times-dispatch's Olympia Meola reports:

"Never in the history of Henrico County's laptop program have the students' Apple iBooks fallen victim to a fast-spreading virus or worm.

"Apples were not as prone to them, said Lloyd Brown, director of technology for the Henrico school system....

"The Henrico school system will distribute Dell laptops to high school students this year, a change from the past four years with iBooks. That also means a switch from a Macintosh to a Windows operating system that has been more prone to viruses.

"Student e-mail accounts, where many viruses spread, are not being used."

Editor's note: "Not as prone"? There are no viruses or worms for Mac OS X. "More prone to viruses"? Nearly 100% of viruses and worms target Windows exclusively. I guess this is what they wanted when they chose to replace their iBooks with Dells. dk

Intel's New Power Frugal Chips

Fairfax Digital's Garry Barker says:

"Rumour mongering reminds me of our cat. It's half Siamese and possesses a special kind of feline evil. It will sit beside my easy chair with a paw raised and fix me with a steely yellow eye. 'No, cat. Not again!' I plead....

"Launching rumours is like that but, what the heck, raise the paw and let's begin, recognising that good rumours need some facts and, in this case, they are coming fast.

"Last week Intel released details of its new microchip; power-frugal and allowing processors with four or more cores - running cooler but working harder.

"How cool is in Intel's claim that its most economical chip will draw only half a watt. A small torch draws about five watts, a Pentium 4 about 95, as much as an average room light. Imagine battery life on half a watt!

"Intel has since said it will port a complete set of compilers and performance-enhancing libraries to Apple's Intel-based version of Mac OS X for both single and multicore processors, matching Windows and Linux. The tools will work as plug-ins to Apple's Xcode development environment.

"The new chips mean the Pentium is history and Wintel geeks and server farmers will have to find new ways of frying their breakfast eggs.

"The first Intel PowerBooks look likely to use Merom, a notebook chip due next year. The standard chip will consume five watts, but that will drop to the aforementioned 0.5 watts with the introduction of an ultra-lean version at the end of next year. Pentium M chips draw up to 22 watts and in notebook form 5.5 watts.


Grooving with Apple's iBook

Scripps Howard News Service's James Derk says:

"I've got kind of a funny story this week. Some of you may recall that I told the story of my purchase of a gleaming new Apple iBook in last week's column.

"Well, that column was picked up by MacDailyNews, which suggested that every Mac reader send me a note welcoming me to the Apple fold.

iBook"Nice sentiment, but I wasn't aware of this welcoming gesture when I was sitting in my computer repair shop and decided to check my e-mail (using a Windows machine, naturally) and received so many emails that Outlook Express choked on its own lunch and died a horrible, flaming death.

"So thanks for the nice notes, even if I have to FTP in and manually retrieve them one by one someday.

"I am enjoying my iBook and am undoing my years of Windows programming. I have found most of my applications, even.

"One of the first things I did was install a 1 gigabyte memory chip from, which triples the installed memory of the iBook. I would not say this would be required for most applications because the iBook is plenty peppy out of the box, but I plan on using the iBook for a couple of memory intensive applications going forward."

12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz

Notebook Review's Jarrett Bato reports:

"I am a switcher, and this is my first Mac ever. In fact, the last time I used a Mac was in high school and in a college physics lab....

"My reasons for buying the iBook were complicated, to say the least. Coming back from my first year of college, I wanted a laptop to take advantage of the wireless Internet access abundant on campus. I currently attend UC Berkeley, and there are tons of hotspots around campus, and many more in local coffee shops andbookstores. I really wanted to take advantage of that, but I didn't want that to be my only reason for buying a laptop. I thought there were other ways of taking advantage of Wi-Fi, such as with modern PDA's for example. I am accustomed to desktop computing, and my current desktop, a Compaq with a non-64 bit AMD chip, will be cherished for a long time. I have been accustomed to Windows, and have had XP for about 3 years now.

"So why the Apple iBook?....

"Well, one reason is that I've already seen one beforehand, and am very aware of its sturdy construction. I've never owned a laptop before, and I decided that if I ever were to own one, it had better be darn sturdy. In the dorms of Berkeley, there are iPods and iBooks galore. So much so that my vision sometimes transforms to high-definition while dance music fades in, then someone starts dancing with the patented white earphones swinging about and an iPod in hand. Then the music stops, and you realize a bum stole someone's iPod and he was dancing around listening to Jeff Buckley right smack in the middle of Telegraph. Who knew? Anyway, a lot of people I personally know own an iBook. And coincidentally they all sleep on the top bunks in their dorm rooms. I have witnessed the dropping of an iBook numerous times from someone on their bunk bed who fell asleep watching a streaming Astronomy lecture. This happens repeatedly of course, since they're lazy and refuse to go to lecture. And after all that, the iBook works like nothing happened. So I am convinced of its sturdiness, in contrast to the PC laptops I have used. The HP and Dell machines are hardly sturdy. I just love how I can hold the iBook from its corner and be confident nothing will break."

[Long and detailed owner review CM]

Products and Services

'Handmades' Protect Your 'Book from Scratches

Handmade Notebook CoverPR: Dear Mr. Moore,

I'm an Austrian student who produces bags to protect iPods, notebooks and mobiles from scratches. Originally I made such a bag for my friend's iPod and then we had the idea... we started with an easy HTML-site and a post in my friend's favourite forum. Since Monday we have a new online-shop:

Daystar Announces End User Pismo G4 Upgrade Kits

PR: Daystar Technology, an Apple Authorized Reseller and Mac Technology Integrator, today announced the expansion of its MAChSpeed G4 Pismo product offering.

Previously limited to "system based upgrades", where the user had to send they PowerBook to Daystar for installation, the company now offers complete upgrade kits. The kits allow Apple Techs or technical end users to install the XLR8 MAChSpeed G4 Pismo, onsite, without having to send their unit to Daystar .

Zero Downtime.

The new product offering allows customers to upgrade in a few minutes, without any substantial downtime. No need to send their systems out, no need to ship their existing card out.

The XLR8 550 MAChSpeed G4 Pismo Upgrade Kit. The kit includes all components and tools needed for completing the upgrade onsite.

  • XLR8 Upgraded 550 G4 CPU Card with 250 MHz Cache (refurbished service module, tested and upgraded with all new parts).
  • XLR8 MAChSpeed Control CPU Software.
  • Daystar Modified High-Performance Metal Heat Sink.
  • Daystar Modified High-Performance EMI Shield.
  • Torx, Flat-Head and Philips Screwdrivers.
  • Arctic Silver Premium Thermal Compound.
  • Instruction / Installation Sheet.
  • Daystar Rebate Form (for returning your CPU/EMI/Heat Sink if desired).
  • Free Telephone Installation Information (live installation assistance available at an additional charge)

Customer rebate for sending old components to Daystar: The kit includes a rebate, form which allows customers to send the old CPU, EMI Shield and Heat Sink back to Daystar. In return, Daystar sends them a rebate check for $85 US.

The Total Cost of the Upgrade is $399

(Users can take advantage of the $85 rebate after upgrading... a net cost of $310).

"We're happy to expand our offerings yet again," said Gary Dailey, president of Daystar. "With the MAChSpeed being the only true, low-voltage Pismo upgrade design to date, users are assured of at least 10 years of continuous CPU life!"

Additional information on Daystar Technology and XLR8 can be found via the Daystar website.

Logitech V20 Notebook Speakers

PR: Road warriors: you needn't deny yourself the comforts of home when you're on the road.

Now you can enjoy great sound with a simple setup from your laptop! The Logitech V20 Notebook Speakers offer a convenient, high-quality speaker system for your laptop with rich, full sound and deep bass - all in a lightweight, portable design. The USB port provides power and digital quality audio - no other cables are necessary! Convenient multimedia controls provide easy access to track forward/back, play, stop, mute, and volume buttons that work with many software applications.

  • Optimize your sound. High dynamic headroom circuitry offers greater volume with less distortion - and combined with the 2" Max-X™ high-excursion drivers and 3" pressure drivers, maximize bass response.
  • Take them with you. The Logitech V20 Notebook speakers have a lightweight, portable design that folds away easily in the protective travel case.
  • Plug and play. USB provides both power and digital-quality audio. No other cables are necessary, and there is no AC adapter to pack.

Technical Specifications Package Contents

  • Total RMS Power: 2 Watts (1W + 1W) into 4 ohms at 1 kHz at 10% total harmonic distortion (THD)
  • V20 notebook speakers
  • System THD: less than 0.05% THD, before clipping
  • Integrated USB cable
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: >70dB
  • Protective travel case
  • Frequency response: 70Hz - 20 kHz
  • Quick start guide
  • Driver size: 2" high-excursion driver with 3" pressure driver
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Dimensions: 6.44" x 6.25" x 1.5" HWD (combined)
  • Weight: 1 lb. 3 oz.

System Requirements

  • Available USB port
  • Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP or higher
  • Mac OX S or higher

Price: $79.99

Tech Trends

Samsung 19" 'Laptop' Sighted

Laptop Logic reports:

"We've heard rumors that Dell is considering a 19" laptop, and perhaps they're going to buy it from Samsung, but regardless of who makes this it this sure is one beast of a machine.

"The screen itself is going to be the true beauty of this beast. Supposedly the 19" Samsung panel will have a resolution of 1680 x 1050, 600:1 contrast ratio, 280 nits brightness, and a 10ms response time."

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.

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/20/CD-ROM, $345
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/20/CD-ROM, AirPort, $409
  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 512/40/Combo, $819
  • 15" PowerBook G4/500, 256/20/DVD, $599

Apple Store

  • refurb 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 256/30/CD-ROM, $799
  • refurb 14" iBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, $899
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, AirPort Extreme, $1,099
  • refurb 15" PowerBook G4 1.33GHz, 256/60/Combo, AirPort Extreme, $1,499


  • 15" PowerBook G4/400, 256/20/DVD, $689.99

Wegener Media

  • 12" iBook G3/300, 96/6/CD-ROM, $279.99

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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