The 'Book Review

New 'Books a Bit Faster, Fixing Broken a Power Tip, Tiny SimpleDrive Mini, I-Sight Illuminator, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.11.04

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


Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

New PowerBooks Slightly Faster

Macworld's James Galbraith reports:

"The latest PowerBooks feature higher-resolution displays, longer battery life, and dual-layer SuperDrives - but not much in the way of substantial jumps in performance over their predecessor in Macworld Lab testing.

"The subtle effects on performance weren't surprising, given the nature of the changes introduced by Apple earlier this month. After all, the update to the 15-inch and 17-inch laptops didn't include any increase in speed from the 1.67 GHz PowerPC G4 chip featured in previous models. Meanwhile, two of the most prominent additions - increased battery life and the ability to burn dual-layer (DL+R) DVDs - are not measured by Macworld's Speedmark performance testing tool. Other improvements, like increased drive capacity, higher screen resolution, and faster DDR2 memory contributed to only minor differences from the results posted by the previous generation of 1.67 GHz G4 PowerBooks."

Link: PowerBooks See Subtle Gains


Fixing a Broken Power Adapter Tip

Leander Kahney says:

"Apple's PowerBooks and iBooks are generally well-made, value-for-money machines, but they suffer from a critical design flaw - the tip of the AC power adapter is prone to breaking off inside the power port.

"It's a costly and time-consuming repair, and it's almost impossible for owners to fix themselves. I know, because it's happened to me three times in the last three years.

"The last time was just last week, and the story of how I fixed it is a saga you can read after the jump. Long story short: I finally dug it out in a frenzy of rage and frustration that almost ruined a $2,500 computer."

Link: Fixing a Broken Power Adapter Tip

Products and Services

SimpleDrive Mini 1" Hard Drive

PR: SimpleTech, Inc., a designer, manufacturer and marketer of custom and open-standard memory and storage solutions, today announced the addition of the SimpleDrive Mini 1-inch External USB Hard Drive to its line of storage products. With this addition, SimpleTech continues to provide cutting-edge, affordable storage solutions to meet the needs of its customers.

SimpleDrive MiniThe demand for computer storage is greater than ever. A rise in storage requirements for digital files and consumer demand for mobility has focused the spotlight on high-capacity portable storage devices.

"We are proud of our expanding storage line that extends from portable USB Flash Drives and SD Cards to the stationary mass storage solutions for the desktop and home," said Patrick Wilkison, vice president of marketing and business development at SimpleTech. "The release of the SimpleDrive Mini brings multiple storage technologies together to create a storage solution with ultimate flexibility. We can now say with confidence that we have a storage solution for every consumer storage need."

Initially available as a 4 GB model, the new SimpleDrive Mini is a hard drive with the coveted compactness and portability of flash technology. With business card-like dimensions, and no thicker than a pack of gum (2.05". x 2.56". x 0.55".) the SimpleDrive Mini tips the scales at a featherweight 45g, and easily fits into a shirt pocket or briefcase. Important files and digital keepsakes can be safely stowed on one's person as a mere afterthought. As an important feature, the SimpleDrive Mini is powered by, and communicates with the host computer via a built-in retractable USB cord, eliminating the need to carry additional cables.

Designed to meet the needs of mobile users, the SimpleDrive Mini is a durable, shock-resistant external USB hard drive that works seamlessly between both Windows and Mac platforms. The SimpleDrive Mini is a plug-and-play device that doesn't require additional drivers, providing quick and easy transfer between multiple computers. As a result, mobile users can have the confidence of knowing that no matter where they are or what computer is available their files are both safe and easily accessible.

Staying in step with the latest in file transfer technology, hours of digital music and thousands of photos can be backed-up in a matter of minutes, in credit to the speed and convenience of USB 2.0. To mobile users, USB 2.0 represents on-the-fly peace of mind by allowing files to be transferred at speeds up to 480 MBps.

The SimpleDrive Mini 4 GB model is currently shipping with a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $149.00. The SimpleDrive Mini is scheduled to be available at,, Costco, CompUSA, CDW, D & H Distributing, Insight, PC Connection, PC Mall, Tech Data, Tech Depot, and SimpleTech's online retail store,

Link: SimpleDrive Mini

RadTech Omni Work-in Armored Sleeve and I-Sight Personal Illuminator

PR: RadTech, makers of iPod and mobile computing accessories and more, have announced immediate availability of Omni work-in armored sleeves, and I-Sight Personal Illuminator.

OmniOmni is a lightweight, poly-reinforced work-in armored notebook sleeve - a follow-on to the successful tekmod work-in messenger brief. With Omni, RadTech offers a whole new level of freedom and functionality for mobile computing.

Omni's unique design features work-in functionality with unrestricted access to all ports and drives, while in the case! The integrated flip-out riser stand provides an ergonomic typing angle for comfortable and efficient keyboarding. The Sleeve incorporates two surface-mounted handles, and an adjustable and detachable, minimalist shoulder strap.

Omni's are available now in two sizes and six colors, and will fit most sub-17" notebooks. Pricing starts at $42 .

I-Sight is an ear-worn personal illuminator, which replaces RadTech's popular eyelighter product and provides numerous enhancements. The overdriven, super-bright Nichea LED module features a parabolic reflector and precision focusing lens to provide a phenomenally bright and uniform beam pattern, with no hotspots - just pure and even lighting. I-Sight's reversible and adjustable ear loop allows use with or without glasses on left or right ears.

I-SightWeighing a scant 18 grams, and featuring a useable, continuous runtime of over 36 hours, I-Sight illuminates the wearer's field of vision, with no distracting side flare - while keeping both hands free. An easy to use push-button power switch, fully aimable lamp module and tool-less battery replacement round out the feature enhancements.

RadTech's former eyelighter product has been used extensively by astronomers, photographers, mechanics, engineers, electricians, plumbers, backpackers, campers, law enforcement and others.

I-Sight is available in two illumination colors: bright white for general tasks, and green for situations when dark vision needs to be maintained. Affixes to right or left ear; compatible with eyeglasses and most Bluetooth headsets.

I-Sight is available now for $12.95

Newer Tech's Intelligent Battery Charger/Conditioner for iBooks and PowerBooks

PR: Adding to the firm's successful line of innovative performance accessories for Apple Macintosh laptops, Newer Technology, Inc. (NewerTech) has released a line of Intelligent Battery Charger/Conditioners for select iBook G3/G4 and all PowerBook G4 models.

Newer Tech's Intelligent Battery Charger/Conditioner"We already make industry-leading batteries for these laptops," said Larry O'Connor, president of NewerTech. "Now we give our customers the means to best maintain and even restore both stock and after-market batteries - and at an affordable price."

The NewerTech Intelligent Battery Charger/Conditioners are available immediately for $149.95 for all Apple PowerBook G4 and select Apple iBook G3/G4 models.

The Intelligent Battery Charger/Conditioners have been designed with a dual purpose in mind: to charge and condition. Both bays charge the batteries, allowing two batteries to be fully charged at all times. The second bay also conditions new or 'abused' batteries - those that may have incomplete charging cycles that prevent full cell use - providing for full utilization of available run-time capacity.

"NewerTech NuPower™ batteries offer the highest capacities and longest run-times available for Apple laptop models," O'Connor added. "And now NewerTech's intelligent battery charging stations allow users to maximize their use of stock or NewerTech high-capacity batteries."

Link: Battery Charger/Conditioner

Booq Python XL Backpack Fits 17" PowerBook

PR: Python XL is not for everyone. If you want large capacity and lots of pockets, a rugged design and solid laptop protection, Python may just be the backpack for you.

In terms of utility, Python is one of finest laptop backpacks available: Waterproof zippers, weather-resistant ballistic nylon exterior and tough, seatbelt nylon straps, a rigid-frame laptop compartment designed to protect the world's largest laptops, lots of padded pockets and compartments for items large and small, a dedicated iPod pocket with non-scratch lining, a stand-alone removable accessory bag, removable waist strap, sternum strap, and much more.

Booq Python XLIn terms of capacity, Python is hard to beat: You'll have room for a stack of books 6" high, a complete set of clothes with shoes, large document folders and shipping envelopes, water bottles, (SLR) camera with lens, plus your complete set of typical laptop accessories like cables, mouse, power adapter and more. Python even has a secure iPod pocket completely lined with non-scratch fabrics, protected by two layers of zippers.

Python comes with a small clip-on accessory bag called Ecto, convenient for those times when you want to keep your valuables close to you. Featuring a variety of pockets and compartments for your iPod, wallet or checkbook, a small digital camera, cell phone and a few other small items, Ecto ships with a 1" wide, removable nylon shoulder strap. Clip Ecto to your Python backpack for additional storage or leave it at home. Or, take your valuables with you inside the Ecto bag and leave your backpack behind - whatever suits your needs.

Like all BOOQ bags, Python has been designed by BOOQ in California with the professional user in mind, and every bag is covered by BOOQ's Lifetime Repair Warranty, which shows our commitment to creating products with the most refined design and highest quality.

Again, Python XL is not for everyone, but if you are looking for the most rugged, most versatile backpack that can hold your laptop and everything you need, this backpack's for you.

The complete large-capacity laptop backpack solution for 17-inch laptops. Rugged, large-scale performance and virtually unlimited storage options come standard. Includes a sleeve of choice and two accessory cases.

  • High-end materials and hardware, rugged construction, waterproof zippers
  • Various padded accessory pockets for items large and small
  • Rigid-frame laptop compartment with 0.75" hd foam padding and non-scratch lining
  • Room for a stack of books 6" high, shoes, water bottles, SLR camera etc.
  • Detachable shoulder bag "ecto" for small items
  • Ergonomic, breathable shoulder strap design with sternum strap and waist belt
  • Dedicated and secure iPod pocket, accessible from the interior only
  • Color: Black
  • Exterior Dimensions: 20.0" x 17.0" x 8"
  • Laptop Compartment: 17.0"x 12.25"x2.0" (432 x 311 x 51mm)
  • Weight: 5.4 lbs
  • Ships Nov 15, 2005

Price: $199.95

Link: Booq Python XL

EDGE Tech DDR2 and DDR2 with ECC for New PowerBooks

PR: EDGE Tech Corp, a leading supplier of DRAM and flash memory upgrades, portable computing products, storage devices, and other personal technology solutions, is pleased to announce its DDR2 and DDR2 with ECC memory for the Apple series of computers. EDGE Tech Corp's DDR2 memory modules are the industry's only Mac memory modules to undergo the rigorous testing and vetting process necessary to ensure lightning speeds and ultra stability to the Mac user's experience. Manufactured to the needs of the power user, EDGE Tech's memory modules will be available in memory configurations from 512 MB to 4  GB of DDR2 RAM and DDR2 with ECC and will be available to consumers immediately.

EDGE Tech qualifies all DDR2 modules by thoroughly testing them under a variety of environmental conditions such as extreme heat and bitter cold while performing under load with the latest Mac software. EDGE Tech's modules are designed under compliance with the industry's JEDEC semiconductor engineering standard and assembled in ISO-compliant conditions while tested with the lowest possible latencies and highest bus speeds.

PowerBook (15" and 17" screen models)

  • Memory Size: 512 MB to 1 GB DDR2 (single module)
  • Memory Speed: PC2-4200 (533 MHz)
  • Memory Type: Dual Channel DDR2
  • Pins: 200 pin SODIMM
  • Lifetime Warranty with 24/7 tech support

EDGE products are available through resellers including CDW, Insight, PC Connection, PC Mall, Zones, eCOST, Tech Depot (an Office Depot Company), Walmart, and, and through distribution at Tech Data, Ingram Micro and D & H Distributing. This specific EDGE product is also available for purchase through the company's website.

Link: EDGE Tech


One Finger Snap Right Mouse Button for Single Button Mice and Trackpads

PR: One Finger Snap is a Preference Pane that brings up the contextual menu whenever you click and hold down the mouse button. This means that you can do everything with a single-button mouse that you can do with a 2-button mouse.

Don't throw away that 1-Button Mouse:

Many new Mac buyers find that the first purchase they make is for a 2-button mouse so they can have quick access to the contextual menu. Sure, you can hold down the control key when you click, but let's face it, a two button mouse makes the contextual menu so much easier to get to. Now with One Finger Snap, you can just click and hold down that one button to get to the contextual menu. And that way you can hold onto that beautiful Apple mouse, too.

Great for PowerBook users:

At the office, you have a nice two-button mouse, and you use it every day. Now you take your PowerBook on the road, and your right mouse button finger is just twitching. You get things done so much faster with the contextual menu. Don't you wish there was an easy way to get to it from the track pad? One Finger Snap works as well with a one-button track pad as it does with a one-button mouse. So you can click and hold the trackpad button rather than carry along another piece of equipment.

For ex-Windows users:

So you took the plunge and switched to the Mac. Good for you. While you like Mac OS X on your new Mac Mini, you can't help but miss that old 2-button mouse. Don't go back to Windows, just try One Finger Snap. It's much cheaper, and it has fewer viruses.

But I already have a 7-button, wireless mouse with a scroll wheel:

One Finger Snap can still help you. Wouldn't it be nice to have just one more button? Turn on One Finger Snap, and you no longer need that right mouse button for the contextual menu. Now you can reassign it to something more useful (like launching your browser or opening AppKiDo or reading Joy of Tech).

New with One finger snap 1.3

  • The click feedback sound volume is now adjustable.
  • Fixed an issue with the contextual menu not always coming up when drag-selecting in Safari & Apple Mail
  • Lots of under-the-hood redesign
  • Added a Japanese Localization - Thank you (Masamichi Kagechika)

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

$6.85 shareware

Link: One Finger Snap

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

  • PowerBook WallStreet G3/233 MHz, 128/4/CD, $185
  • PowerBook WallStreet G3/266 MHz, 128/6/CD, $205

  • 12" Book G4/1.33 GHz, 512/40/Combo, APX $900 with $100 mail-in rebate

Wegener Media

  • used PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, Mac OS X, $799.99
  • Upgrade to Super Drive, $129.99
  • Add 512 MB RAM with purchase of machine (total of 768 MB), $49.99
  • Add 1 GB RAM with purchase of machine (total 1.25 GB of RAM), $189.99
  • 1 year extended service warranty, $99.99
  • Add Airport Express card, $39.99
  • Upgrade to 80 GB hard drive, $119.99

Apple Store

  • refurb 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 256/30/CD, $699
  • refurb 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 256/30/Combo, APX, $719
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, APX, $1,099
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/60/Combo, APX, Bluetooth 2.0, $1,199
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/SuperDrive, APX, $1,149
  • refurb 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, APX, $1,299
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, APX, $1,799


  • used 14" iBook G3/600 MHz, 256/20/Combo, $519.99

The PowerBook Guy

  • used 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 256/30/CD, $629.95

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our best aluminum PowerBook G4 deals, best titanium PowerBook G4 deals, best iBook G4 deals, best PowerBook G3 deals, and best iBook G3 deals.

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