The 'Book Review

Apple Quality Slipping?, 160 GB Notebook Drives, SiesMaCalibrate Calibrates SMS, PowerBook Retrospective, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.08.11

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Got enough hard drive space in your 'Book? This week's release of the 160 GB Seagate Momentus brings the highest capacity 2.5" hard drives to the MacBook and MacBook Pro. The 5400 rpm drive has an 8 MB cache. (The 160 GB Momentus and Hitachi Travelstar notebook drives are also available in UltraATA versions for older 'Books.)

This week's innovation is SeisMaCalibrate, a free piece of software used to calibrate the Sudden Motion Sensor in MacBooks and recent PowerBooks. Although calibrations isn't a big deal for protecting the drive in a fall or playing with SMS, it does allow SeisMac (also free) to make more accurate readings.

In other developments, we now have handles for the MacBook and 17" MacBook Pro, MacStyles is back with their decorative/protective vinyl 'Book covers, and we're seeing more on the ExpressCard front.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. News about Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and other Intel developments is covered in The Macintel Report.

News & Opinion


Tech Trends

Products and Services


Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Quality Control Problems at Apple?

Ars Technica's Jacqui Cheng says:

"When Apple's first generation of Intel-based laptops started rolling out, first with the MacBook Pro and then the MacBook a few months later, initial user reports seemed almost too good to be true. Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to run Mac OS X and Windows in a single bound! Initially, the transition to Intel was largely viewed as a success, at least in terms of product reviews. This was no small feat on Apple's part. Despite the fact that the company was transitioning to a new architecture, Apple chose to stick with the general appearance and design of their popular PowerBook line and make some tweaks to the iBook form factor. It seemed as though they had shoehorned the new architecture into the line without a hitch.

"All of that changed after units started shipping in quantity. No computer company produces flawless products, but Apple has a reputation for being a cut above most computer companies. Yet here was the MacBook Pro 'whining.' Others claimed that the MacBook could burst into flames. Then MacBook owners began noticing discoloration on their cases. In this brief report we look at the biggest quality control problems we've seen and heard in recent months, then answer the question: are there quality control problems at Apple? We've wondered about that before and now we're raising the question again."

Excellent summary and review of problems that have afflicted the early production MacBook Pros and MacBooks. cm

A PowerBook Retrospective: From 68K to PowerPC's Neale Monks says:

"Rolling on from the success of the first batch of PowerBooks, Apple released not only new models, such as the PowerBook 180c (the first to have an active matrix colour display), but also a whole new line of sub-notebooks, the Duos, in 1992. These were more than simply scaled-down PowerBooks. Plugged into any one of a range of devices called Docks the Duo instantly became the heart of a desktop computer system. The Dock connected the Duo to the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, as well as any network connections or printers. In effect, the Duo delivered what Apple called the best of both worlds: the mobility of a laptop coupled with the versatility of a desktop. In its most perfect form, the Duo would mechanically be pulled into the desktop computer-sized Duo Dock like a tape cassette into a video recorder, and be ejected in the same, very satisfying way. While a wonder to look at and fun to use, the Duos did not sell especially well, most probably because a complete system worked out to be rather expensive. Many Duo owners simply used them as lightweight alternatives to the regular PowerBooks, either instead of, or as well as, a desktop Mac."


  • Stealth PowerBooks: the legendary PowerBook 500
  • The PowerBook 5300 fiasco
  • The PowerBook 1400
  • The super-fast PowerBook 3400

'I Need a New Laptop' - Back to School Myth?

PR: As college students prepare to head back to school, parents are likely to hear an all too common complaint: "My computer is too slow. I need a new laptop!" After all, Dell, Best Buy, Circuit City and others are pushing hard on the theme in their weekly ads. What makes better sense, in most cases, is a little routine maintenance and perhaps some additional RAM memory.

Prices are coming down on laptops, driven by the lower costs in the LCD market, but parents may want to do a quick math assignment - upgrade or replace - rather than immediately giving in to the pleas for an entirely new system. This back-to-school shopping season is in full swing, but there's still plenty of time to make a solid decision before most students need to pack up for school. And in many cases, you'll end up saving hundreds of dollars while still getting excellent computer performance.

CEO Brian Way of online retailer 4 All Memory helps to answer this question for thousands of customers each week who are concerned about poor PC or laptop performance. "If you see your mouse pointer turn into an hourglass for significant periods of time, if you hear your hard drive working, or if your computer seems to work more slowly than you expect, the reason is probably insufficient memory. When the memory is full, your system transfers data to the hard drive. This is called swapping. Since the hard drive is considerably slower than the memory, your system seems slower altogether. What parents may not realize is that installing upgrade memory is something virtually anyone can do at home in just minutes. For most first-timers, the Memory Installation Guide on the company website does just the trick, providing simple, step-by-step instructions along with photos and line drawings that give you or your college student confidence.

Not only is upgrading the RAM memory in an older computer smart, but even new PC buyers can save by seeking out specialty retailers. Instead of buying additional memory from Dell or HP at the time of purchase, more and more consumers are turning to companies like 4 All Memory for additional RAM even when they buy new, avoiding the high mark-up on memory modules and other accessories from the computer manufacturers and large retailers.

4 All Memory is a St. Louis-based computer accessories online retailer. In addition to computer memory, you can also find memory for digital cameras, printers, and MP3 players, as well as hard drives and other upgrades.

New Washington High-rise Offers MacBook With Lease

Macsimum News' Dennis Sellers reports:

"KSI Services, Inc., one of greater Washington's largest commercial and residential developers, has announced the commencement of leasing and the grand opening of the information center at The Metropolitan at Reston Town Center. Soaring 21-stories above Reston, the Metropolitan will offer 288 apartments with over 30 different floor plans and more than 12,000 square feet of private resident amenity areas. As an introductory promotion, all new leases come with a MacBook."


Slick MacBook Does Windows

PC World's Harry McCracken reports:

"The Apple MacBook is one of the best designed laptops around, and now it can even do Windows. PC World Canada rating: 88, Very Good.

"With its new MacBook, Apple has filled out its Intel-based portable line with an entry-level model. But this mobile Macintosh packs so many clever, practical features into its compact case that using it never feels like a compromise. In fact, the matte-black version I tried out is one of the best-looking, best-designed laptops I've ever used, regardless of cost...."

Tech Trends

Acer Ferrari 5000 Dual-core AMD Laptop

Acer Ferrari 5000The Register's Lars-Göran Nilsson reports:

"Acer's Ferrari-branded notebooks have always favoured AMD-made engines, and the very latest model, the 5000, features the latest Turion 64 X2 twin-core processor. This fifth-generation Ferrari laptop brings yet more features, as well as higher performance, but like the titular sportscars, you'll need quite deep pockets to be able to buy one...

"But there's no question you get a lot of laptop for your lolly, whether you're a Ferrari fan or not. In the UK, for example, you'll only be able to buy the top-of-the-range model.

"The design is the most striking part of the Ferrari 5000, and people will definitely be glancing at your notebook if you own one of these. The lid is made from carbon fibre, to reduce the weight but still provide protection for the screen. The screen itself measures 15.4in and is a shiny model with a native resolution of 1,680 x 1,050. It looks very good during indoors use, but the coating can get very reflective if you park it in bright sunshine."

Products and Services

OWC Intros 160 GB 2.5" Upgrade/Backup Solution for MacBook/Pro

PR: Other World Computing offers new 160 GB "Upgrade and Backup Solution" engineered and packaged specifically for Intel MacBook or MacBook Pro for less than $300

Other World Computing (OWC) today announced the immediate availability of a new 160 GB 2.5" SATA Upgrade and Backup Solution for dramatically improving storage capacity for the Intel MacBook and MacBook Pro and providing advanced backup protection. The Upgrade and Backup Solution is introductory priced at $289 and features a new perpendicular technology-based 160 GB 2.5" Seagate Momentus 5400.3 SATA hard drive mechanism, EMC Retrospect Backup software, full installation video support, a 5-year mechanism warranty, and a 30-day DOA replacement warranty.

Factory hard drives being replaced with the new OWC Upgrade Solution qualify for a trade-in cash rebate of up to $75. Or, factory drives can be paired with an OWC Mercury On-The-Go SATA enclosure for $89.99 to create a pocket-sized, impact resistant external storage solution.

OWC also offers Intel Mac memory upgrades starting at just $56.95, including 2.0 GB Matched Pair OWC Memory for $217.99. Additional OWC HD Upgrade Solutions for Intel Macs are available in 100 GB, 7200 rpm and 120 GB, 5400 rpm capacities starting at $148.99.

Link: 160 GB 2.5" Seagate Momentus 5400.3 for MacBook/Pro

Seagate Momentus 160 GB SATA 2.5" Drive

PR: Trans International is now shipping 160 GB Seagate Momentus 2.5" SATA drive as internal and external Storage Solution for The New MacBook, MacBook Pro and Mac mini (Intel Core).

The Seagate Momentus hard drive is a perfect combination of value and performance. Featuring high shock tolerance, low power consumption and Whisper-quiet load/unload acoustics. Momentus 2.5" 160 GB SATA drive is offered with 5400 rpm and 8 MB cache and a 5 year warranty.

Trans International is offering Seagate Momentus internal SATA 160 GB drive for $269.00 and the external storage solution with miniXpress enclosure is also available for an additional $99.00 This affordable storage solution is ideal for upgrading MacBooks, MacBooks Pro and Mac minis as well as other computers and devices that use 2.5" SATA hard drives.

TechRestore Offers 160 GB SATA Overnight Upgrade

PR: TechRestore, Inc. has announced that they have begun offering a 160 GB SATA upgrade as part of their overnight hard drive upgrade service for laptops that have a Serial ATA interface such as the MacBook, MacBook Pro and newer PC laptop models. The new upgrade features the first 160 GB Serial ATA drive upgrade available for laptop users.

The high-speed overnight service includes installation of the new drive into the users laptop and data transfer from the old hard drive onto the 160 GB SATA drive. An exact clone of the users old hard drive is transferred to the new drive, ready for immediate use when their laptop is returned to them via overnight courier. Nationwide door-to-door pickup service is available for the upgrade, with personal couriers picking up customers laptops from virtually any location.

"With the addition of the new Seagate 160 GB SATA drive to our overnight services, MacBook and MacBook Pro owners can now get the maximum drive upgrade with minimum downtime," said Shannon Jean, Founder and President of TechRestore. "We're performing services on these fantastic new laptops on a daily basis and we're excited to add this new drive to our overnight upgrades."

The 160 GB overnight upgrade is $329 including the hard drive, installation and data transfer. The upgrade includes a 1-year warranty from TechRestore and a 5-year warranty on the hard drive from the manufacturer. The service is available immediately.

Novatel V640 ExpressCard Adapter for CardBus Macs

PR: As the industry switches from PCMCIA cards to ExpressCards, many ask how easy can the transition be to this new format?

Novatel V640 ExpressCard AdapterSome are looking for devices like the Elan U132 USB To PCMCIA Adapter that allows you to plug a PCMCIA card into an adapter that plugs into a USB port.

The real killer product is an ExpressCard Caddy or ExpressCard to PCMCIA Adapter. Purchase an ExpressCard and ExpressCard Caddy, and use in your existing PCMCIA laptop. Later, when you upgrade to a new laptop with an ExpressCard, remove the ExpressCard from your PCMCIA adapter and you have a fully functional ExpressCard.

The ExpressCard is a little shorter than PCMCIA Cards.

New Broadband VZW ExpressCard Novatel V640 along with the ExpressCard Adapter that enables an Express Card/34 to be used in a PCMCIA slot that supports the new CardBay interface (based off the PCMCIA specification Release 8.

With regards to the adaptor the laptop must use either Ti or O2 Micro Cardbus/Smart Cardbus controller (it will NOT work in laptops that use the Ricoh PC Card controller). Enables an ExpressCard/34 to be used in a CardBay supported PCMCIA slot (It will not work in legacy laptops that do not support the CardBay Interface) Expands the ExpressCard/34 Market beyond Express Card enabled laptops (one device across multiple platforms)

The ExpressCard Adapter (Part Number V640CARDADPTR) will sell for $29.99 and is currently not yet available.

Carry Handle for MacBooks

PR: QuickerTek has just released a new carry handle that fits all of the Apple MacBook models - both black and white versions. Using the new patent-pending Handle design found on the MacBook Pro Handles, the MacBook Handle also features the comfortable padded handlebar. Available for $50 from QuickerTek dealers, the new MacBook Handle offers the latest ergonomic adjustments.

Offering an easy-to-use adjustment, you can make the tilt angle suit any work surface, from coffee shop to airline tray to home couch. In addition to the improved ergonomics, heat is swept away under the elevated case, keeping the MacBook and your lap cooler.

This handle has new features you need including:

  • Slotted mounting holes to insure perfect snag-free installation
  • Non-slip handle grip makes it more comfortable to carry and prevents scratches to the MacBook case or the desktop surface
  • Easy grip thumb screws (patent pending design) allow the tilt angle to be locked in for consistent desktop placement
  • All aluminum construction for strength, heat dissipation and light weight

The QuickerTek MacBook Handle is designed for both the white and black Apple MacBook and comes with all hardware and required tools. The padded handle not only makes carrying easier, but also helps secure the laptop to any smooth desktop work surface. Improved ergonomics are made possible through the larger possible tilt angle adjustment - using the thumbscrew at the joint shown above. You can the MacBook up and off of your lap - keeping your MacBook and your thighs cool.

Like most QuickerTek products, the carry Handle is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

QuickerTek has been a recognized leading innovator of antennas and RF products for Apple Power Macintosh, iMac, PowerBook, iBook and MacBook computers. QuickerTek products can be purchased online and from authorized dealers.

Carry Handle for 17" MacBook Pro

PR: QuickerTek Intros Handle for Apple 17" MacBook Pro Laptop is Cooler More Ergonomic

With the introduction of the new 17" Apple MacBook Pro follows the latest in carrying handle technology. QuickerTek announces a new carry Handle for the new larger MacBook that not only makes it easier to carry, but also aids ergonomics and in heat dissipation. This brand new MacBook Handle is $50 and is in stock now.

The QuickerTek 17" MacBook Pro Handle is complete with all hardware and required tools. The fully padded handle makes carrying easier and secures the laptop to smooth desktop work surfaces. Improved ergonomics are possible by locking in the Handle angle to a wider range than other handle products.

The new MacBook Pro Handle has a brushed and anodized finish to match the MacBook Pro case. Slotted mounting holes insure a smooth snag-free installation. The non-slip handle padded grip makes the laptop more comfortable to carry while preventing scratches to the MacBook Pro case or the desktop. Easy-to-grip thumb screws (patent pending design) allow for quick adjustment of the ergonomic tilt angle. for All aluminum construction provides strength, heat dissipation and light weight.

Like most QuickerTek products, the 17" MacBook Pro Handle is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

MacStyles Are Back

MacStylesPR: Custom made vinyl applications fit iBooks, PowerBooks, MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and Mac minis

MacStyles are the answer to the naked Apple epidemic! These custom made vinyl applications fit iBooks, PowerBooks, MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and Mac minis. With over 20 vibrant colors and hundreds of designs to choose from, there are thousands of possible combinations. Join the fight against naked Apples, introduce your apple to MacStyles today!

MacStyles are custom made vinyl decals specially designed to fit your Apple notebook. They are made of quality high-gloss vinyl that has been rated for years of use and are sized to allow approximately 1Ú4 inch (or less) of border around your screen .MacStyles provide scratch protection while at the same time adding a personal touch. With over 20 vibrant color options and over 100 different "voices" there are thousands of possible combinations. Combined with MacPads and Maccents you are only limited by your imagination. MacStyles are made to order so please allow at least 4 business days for your order to be shipped.

MacStylesMacStyles are available to fit:

  • 13" MacBook
  • 15" MacBook Pro
  • 17" MacBook Pro
  • 12" iBook
  • 14" iBook
  • 12" PowerBook
  • 15" PowerBook
  • 17" PowerBook

Sportfolio Deluxe CaseMarWare Sportfolio Deluxe Cases for MacBook & MacBook Pro

PR: A sleek, sporty case that protects your Apple notebook, the Sportfolio Deluxe easily adjusts to your needs. A fully functional interior includes pockets for power adapter, extra battery, and even custom pockets for MacBook and MacBook Pro's remote and your iPod. Use it with the accompanying fully padded shoulder strap and carry it as a folio or brief case style.


  • Orca skin pocket
  • Plastic inserts on sides for edge protection
  • Easy-grip bottom for carrying as a folio
  • Sportfolio Deluxe CaseZipper lining to protect against scratches
  • Headphone access
  • Pocket for remote
  • Interior orca skin pocket stores any iPod, camera, or mouse
  • Pocket for power adapter
  • Plush lined interior

Prices: $79.95 to $85.95

NewerTech Announces Battery Recycling Program

PR: Newer Technology Inc. (NewerTech) announces the launch of a new recycling program providing a no-cost means for customers to ensure their old PowerBook and iBook batteries are properly disposed of and that associated recoverable materials are responsibly recycled.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nearly 3 billion cell-based batteries are purchased each year in the United States. Improper disposal of batteries creates environmental risks to groundwater supply and air quality, in addition to the non-recovery of recyclable materials.

Now included with all NewerTech NuPower laptop batteries is a free return shipping label. Batteries returned using this label are directed to the appropriate recycling/disposal center ensuring properly handling. Information on this recycling program as well as local disposal options can be found online.

"NewerTech has long led the way with the highest capacity and longest lasting PowerBook and iBook batteries available;" said Larry O'Connor, President of Newer Technology Inc. "NewerTech is now proud to lead the way by taking steps that ensure proper environmentally friendly laptop battery recycling/disposal with this no-cost option for our customers." NewerTech manufactures the NuPower battery line - the highest capacity replacement batteries available for all Apple iBook and PowerBook computers produced since 1998. NuPower MaxCapacity Lithium-ion batteries provide up to 62% more capacity than original Apple factory-shipped notebook power units. NuPower MacBook/MacBook Pro replacement battery options are currently planned for 2006 Q4 introduction.

NewerTech NuPower high capacity replacement batteries are designed, engineered, and manufactured in the U.S. utilizing the highest quality cells in the world.

Belkin Multimedia Reader and Writer ExpressCard

PR: Why ExpressCard? ExpressCard, the new standard destined to replace CardBus, effectively quadruples the amount of available computing bandwidth. This results in faster music downloads, smoother streaming video, and lightning-fast access to mass-storage devices.

Belkin Multimedia Reader and Writer ExpressCardThe Belkin Multimedia Reader and Writer ExpressCard offers the perfect solution for users who want to add a media reader to their notebook computers. The Card is designed to take advantage of the additional bandwidth and features provided by the new ExpressCard I/O interconnection standard. Now you can drag and drop files, images, and music to your computer from your digital camera, PDA, MP3 player, or other device. The ExpressCard future-proofs your computer with technology so advanced that it exceeds the processing-speed capability of many devices currently on the market. Installing the ExpressCard now will give you device-upgrade expansion room for many years to come.


  • Transfers files through simple drag-and-drop capabilities
  • Lets you download images, music, and files at transfer speeds of up to 480 Mbps
  • Installs easily into any 34mm or 54mm ExpressCard bus* slot
  • Future-proofs your notebook computer for tomorrow's bandwidth-intensive applications
  • *Note: Enclosed Card will not fit into a standard PCMCIA or CardBus slot

System Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10 and above
  • Windows®-based notebook computer with available ExpressCard slot
  • Windows 2000, XP, 2003 Server

Package Includes

  • Multimedia Reader and Writer ExpressCard
  • User Manual

Belkin online price $29.99 (temporarily out of stock at press time)

Logitech Notebook Peripherals Line Enhanced for Portability, Comfort, Performance, and Internet Communications

PR: Logitech has unveiled the latest additions in its growing family of portable peripherals, designed to help people get the most out of their notebook PCs.

The new Logitech Premium Notebook Headset, the Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro and Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Deluxe webcams make it easy to participate in Internet phone or video calls. The enhanced webcams now feature Logitech RightLight 2 Technology, which offers superior image quality, even in the harsh lighting people may encounter as they use their notebook PCs in different places. The new Logitech V450 Laser Cordless Mouse for Notebooks offers Logitech's laser-precision tracking technology and alleviates the frustration of trying to navigate complex digital content when using only a touchpad.

More consumers than ever are using a notebook PC as their primary computer, carrying it from room to room in the home or taking it on the road. In fact, worldwide unit shipments of mobile PCs reached 63 million in 2005, an increase of 34.5 percent over 2004, according to research firm Gartner.(1) Analyst firm IDC estimates that shipments of portable PCs will surpass shipments of desktop PCs beginning in late 2007 or early 2008 in the U.S. and Europe.(2) Logitech's award-winning peripherals for notebook PCs empower people to do more with their laptops, whether it's communicating, experiencing digital media, browsing the Internet, or word-processing.

"Notebooks are clearly becoming the computing platform of choice," said Charles Seiber, Logitech's senior manager of product marketing for notebook solutions. "People are using them at home, in the workplace, at school, and on the road. But to truly experience the promise of the platform, they need tools that make using a notebook as easy and as comfortable as a desktop PC - and notebooks typically don't come equipped with these tools. We've conducted extensive research to understand the way in which different people use their notebooks. Our newest products and each of our peripherals for notebooks allow people to personalize their notebook experience - each product offering different benefits and capabilities, while making people more efficient and comfortable."

Logitech Premium Notebook Headset

The Logitech Premium Notebook Headset is designed to enhance the experience of using Internet calling applications such as Skype. The headset offers an adjustable fit and a compact, portable design that makes it a perfect choice for notebook users. When not in use, the headset folds flat and slips into a protective travel case - making it easy to take on the road. The Premium Notebook Headset features a noise-canceling microphone and convenient inline volume and mute controls, and offers the flexibility of connecting via digital USB ports or traditional analog (3.5 mm) ports through the use of a convenient adapter.

Its great-sounding stereo audio also makes the headset a good complement for listening to music (on a laptop or MP3 player), watching movies or playing games. The Logitech Premium Notebook Headset will be available beginning in September in the U.S. and in Europe. Its suggested retail price is $59.99 in the U.S.

Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro and Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Deluxe

For making a better connection with friends and family, the enhanced QuickCam for Notebooks Pro and QuickCam for Notebooks Deluxe webcams now feature Logitech RightLight 2 Technology, delivering superior performance even in low-light and uneven lighting conditions.

The QuickCam for Notebooks Pro webcam features a powerful 1.3 megapixel sensor and advanced video technology integrated within this powerful webcam's ultra-compact frame. At only 2 3/8-inches tall, less than 1-inch wide and 3/8-inches deep, the QuickCam for Notebooks Pro webcam is easy to carry and use anywhere, whether it's in the living room, the office, or the hotel room - yet it delivers a powerful performance on par with Logitech's high-end desktop QuickCam Fusion(TM) webcam. The QuickCam for Notebooks Pro also features Logitech RightSound(TM) Technology with acoustic echo-cancellation software, enabling people to make echo-free video calls without using a headset. The enhanced Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro webcam will be available later this month in the U.S. and in Europe. Its suggested retail price is $99.99 in the U.S.

The QuickCam for Notebooks Deluxe features a durable, one-piece, arch-like design that allows it to elegantly and snugly rest on top of a laptop display. Its offers a video resolution of 640-by-480 pixels, and also provides the ability to take snapshots with a resolution of 1.3 megapixels, with interpolation. The enhanced Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Deluxe webcam will be available later this month in the U.S. and in Europe. Its suggested retail price is $69.99 in the U.S.

Logitech V450 Laser Cordless Mouse

To help make people more comfortable and efficient when using a notebook PC, the Logitech V450 Laser Cordless Mouse for Notebooks delivers a perfect blend of comfort, performance and reliability in a portable design. The V450 mouse's soft rubber grip and contoured shape provide exceptional comfort, and the unsurpassed battery life of up to one year significantly minimizes the hassle of changing batteries.

Logitech's laser technology delivers smooth cursor control and precision tracking on virtually any surface - giving notebook users the flexibility to use their mouse and computer wherever they want. Logitech's 2.4 GHz digital cordless technology provides a robust wireless connection, and the plug-and-play USB micro-receiver tucks away neatly inside the mouse's storage slot when not in use - making it a great traveler. Now available in the U.S. and Europe, the V450 mouse has a suggested retail price of $49.99 in the U.S.


coconutBattery 2.5.1 Laptop Battery Monitor

PR: coconutBattery v2.x is completely rewritten . . . preferences menu . . . dashboard widget . . . more languages(coming soon) . . . many groundbreaking new features are planned for the next versions . . . and it's still freeware(but donations are more than welcome)

coconutBattery is a tool that reads out the data of your notebook-battery (iBook/PowerBook). It gives you live feedback, what's going on in your battery (not only a snapshot like other tools).

It shows the current charge of your battery as well as the current maximum capacity related to its original. If coconutBattery detects that you have connected the wrong charger (i.e. an iBook charger plugged in a PowerBook) it will warn you! That's a cool feature!

Of course you are able to save the current maximum capacity of your battery - with just one click! coconutBattery uses Apple's new and really powerful technology named "CoreData" to realize that.

Finally coconutBattery calculates the age of your Mac exactly! So you can derive the age of your battery. And last but not least: coconutBattery is Universal Binary (you can run it on Intel-Macs! - cool!) and it is complete localizable!

Many localizations are ready to start but still need some bug fixes.

If you want to help translating coconutBattery to your language, just write me an email - but you should wait these few days until I know what localizations needs a update.

By the way: The really really cool and absolutely coconut-flavoured icon was created by - really good job! Check out the webpage.

New in version 2.5:

  • Now compatible with MacBook and MacBook pro, warning on unsupported computers (like iMacs)

New in version 2.3:

  • Universal binary for MacBook Pro

New in version 2.2:

  • widget bug fixes and improvements,
  • new localizations (Finnish, Spanish, French, German),
  • minor bug fixes

System requirements:

  • Mac OS 10.4.3 (Tiger)
  • An Apple-Notebook (PowerBook or iBook)

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later.


SeisMac 1.2 Turn Your 'Book into a Seismograph

PR: SeisMac is a Mac OS X Cocoa application that makes your MacBook or MacBook Pro (or SMS-equipped PowerBook or iBook) into a seismograph. It access your laptop's Sudden Motion Sensor in order to display real-time, three-axis acceleration graphs.

The resizable, real-time scrolling display shows an enormous amount of acceleration information. Place your laptop on a table and see the seismic waves from tapping your toe on the floor. Lay your laptop on your chest and see your heartbeat. And, of course, if there is a real earthquake, SeisMac will be displaying full seismic information while you drop, cover, and hold-on.

When running on the MacBook or MacBook Pro, SeisMac has a range of plus or minus two gravities of acceleration, displaying 256 values per gravity, sampled 200 times per second for each axis. SeisMac is also compatible with older Sudden Motion Sensor-equipped iBooks and PowerBooks.

New in version 1.2:

  • Fixed computability issue with SeisMaCalibrate

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

System support: PPC/Intel


SeisMaCalibrate Calibrates Sudden Motion Sensor

PR: Suitable Systems has released SeisMaCalibrate, a new software tool that calibrates your Sudden Motion Sensor (SMS) so you can have accurate acceleration readings in three axes.

While a number of products have been released that use Apple's SMS to perform various tasks, SeisMaCalibrate is the first tool that, axis by axis, accurately determines each SMS's offset and scale error. The error values are then used to create calibration values, which are stored for later use by other programs (such as Suitable Systems' SeisMac).

One difficulty in developing for the SMS is that different models of MacBook Pro, MacBook, PowerBook and iBook have vastly different SMS calibration values. Although Suitable Systems' previous product SeisMac attempted to set intelligent default calibration values, a lack of Apple-supplied information made this problematic. Now, once SeisMaCalibrate users have accurately calibrated their SMSs, they can click a button to email a summary of their machine and the calibration back to Suitable Systems. This will aid in developing industry-leading per-model default values for SMS access.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later


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.

PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.


  • used 12" PowerBook G4/867, 256/40/Combo, Scratch & Dent, $499
  • used 12" PowerBook G4/867, 256/40/Combo, BT, $549
  • used 12" PowerBook G4/867, 256/40/Combo, AirPort, BT, $599
  • used 12" PowerBook G4/867, 640/40/Combo, AirPort, BT, $649
  • used 12" PowerBook G4/867, 640/40/SuperDrive, AirPort, BT, $749
  • used 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/SuperDrive, AirPort, BT, $799
  • used 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/80/SuperDrive, AP/ BT, Scratch & Dent, $899
  • used 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SuperDrive, AP/ BT, Scratch & Dent, $899


TechRestore is offering a $25 discount to 'Book Review readers off any PowerBook or iBook in stock. Just enter the code CWM during checkout when ordering online. The coupon code is valid from now through 2007.12.31.

  • used 14" iBook G3/900, 256/40/Combo, $519.99 - $25 = $494.99
  • used 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, BT, $1,199.99 - $25 = $1,174.99

Baucom Computers

  • used 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $335 (add AirPort for $99)
  • used 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, $1,049 (add AirPort for $99, 512 MB for $89)

Wegener Media

  • iBook G3/300 $229.99
  • add AirPort, $109.99 installed
  • add 256 MB RAM, $29.99
  • add 512 MB RAM, $99.99
  • new 4000 mah battery, $79.99

Apple Store

  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, PAX, BT 2.0, $1,199
  • refurb 1.83 GHz MacBook (white), 512/60/Combo, $949
  • refurb 2.0 GHz MacBook (white), 512/60/SuperDrive, $1,099
  • refurb 2.0 GHz MacBook (black), 512/80/SuperDrive, $1,299
  • refurb 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1024/120/SuperDrive, $2,399
  • refurb 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SuperDrive, $1,549
  • refurb 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro (glossy), 512/80/SuperDrive, $1,699
  • refurb 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 1024/100/SuperDrive, $1,949
  • refurb 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro (matte or glossy), 1024/100/SuperDrive, $2,149

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our best 15" MacBook Pro deals, our best 17" MacBook Pro deals, 12" PowerBook G4 deals, 15" aluminum PowerBook G4 deals, 17" PowerBook G4 deals, titanium PowerBook G4 deals, iBook G4 deals, PowerBook G3 deals, and iBook G3 deals.

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