The 'Book Review

MacBook Random Shutdown, Inside a Notebook Battery, Portectorz for MacBook, EVDO Support, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.09.08

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Last week Apple's battery recall, impacting 1.1-1.8 million 'Book users, was our lead story, and reports of MacBooks randomly shutting down were just making their way onto the Web. This week, it's our top story. Apple's official advice: Call AppleCare.

Jason O'Grady takes a look inside an old iBook battery and finds AA Li-Ion cells - see Inside Your Notebook's Battery: Ordinary AA Li-Ion Cells for more on that subject. Logitech's Revolution laptop mouse has yet another positive review, and MacMice now has Danger Mouse available in black. Put that next to your black MacBook, Pismo, or Lombard!

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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

MacBook Random Shutdown

News & Opinion


Products and Services


Bargain 'Books

MacBook Random Shutdown

Website Confirms MacBook Shutdown Issues

eWeek's Scott Ferguson writes:

"If your MacBook shuts down without warning, a new Web site says that you may not be alone.

"The site,, is dedicated to the random shutdown problems encountered by the owner of a 2  GHz MacBook purchased in the summer of 2006."

Random Shutdowns Caused by a Short Circuit?

Guardian Unlimited's Charles Arthur says:

"Apple owners have been complaining (my, they're complaining) about random shutdowns of the new Intel-based MacBooks.

"Now, a German article . . . suggests that it's because a cable to the heat sensor comes into contact with the processor's heat sink, melting the insulation and causing a short circuit - leading to a shutdown. Let the heat sink cool, and it doesn't touch the cable, and you can boot up. Get too hot and...."

MacBook Random Shutdown Syndrome Isolated

PowerPage's Jason O'Grady reports:

"Chris Price has found an update on MacBook Random Shutdown Syndrome (RSS). Apple has isolated it to a design flaw in the heatsink. He called Apple and asked why his MacBook repair was 'on hold' and they said that they were waiting for one part, a heatsink."

Apple: MacBook Shuts Down Intermittently

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"If your MacBook is shutting down intermittently, please contact AppleCare for service. "

Short and sweet.

News & Opinion

Anatomy of a Notebook Battery

inside an iBook batteryThe Apple Core's Jason O'Grady reports:

"Ever wonder what's inside your Apple battery pack? It turns out that they're not that complicated inside, but it's amazing how much power these little cluster of cells can hold.

"I took an iBook G3 (dual USB) battery apart on the advice of Coconut Battery which told me that after 496 load cycles, this battery had seen better days."

MacBook Q&A says:

"Instead of writing out a full-blown review, I thought it would be nice to take a look at the new Apple MacBook in a question and answer type article. Please keep in mind that most of the answers below are based on the 13" MacBook laptop right out of the box, but I did answer a few questions based on the upgrades I made to it as well.

  • "How does the MacBook look?"
  • "What about that crazy looking keyboard?"
  • "Is the iSight camera functional or just another gimmick?"
  • "Is the trackpad button really mushy and non-responsive?"
  • "Will the MacBook carry on the Apple tradition of frying my lap?"
  • "Why does the white MacBook only have a 60 GB hard drive?"
  • "Is the glossy screen a hit or miss?"
  • "Does the MagSafe power cord have a habit of just coming loose?"
  • "Now that the lid latch is gone, will my laptop lid constantly be flying open?"
  • "How is the battery life on the MacBook?"
  • "Is the MacBook fast?"
  • "Will my Intel MacBook run older PowerPC programs?"
  • "What can I do to make my MacBook perform even better than it already does?"
  • "How difficult is it to add RAM and change out the hard drive?"
  • "If I already have an iBook or PowerBook G4 is it really worth upgrading to a MacBook?"


Logitech VX Revolution 'Freewheeling' Cordless Laptop Mouse

Logitech VX RevolutionThe Register's Lars-Göran Nilsson reports:

"If you're an avid laptop user, you'll know how clumsy most notebook touchpads and thumbsticks are and that you really can't go wrong with a good mouse. Enter the VX Revolution, Logitech's latest laptop-friendly input device. But this time there's more on off than just a fancy new design: specifically, the mouse maker's new MicroGear high-precision, low-resistance scrollwheel....

"So far the biggest improvement anyone's made to a mouse's scrollwheel was to allow it to scroll sideways by rocking it left or right. You can still do this with the MicroGear scrollwheel, but the big thing here is that you can switch it from the normal, 'geared' mode - which is the way all other scrollwheels work - to a truly free-wheeling style. With a flick of the finger, the scrollwheel spins freely for up to seven seconds depending on how hard you spin it. The result is much faster page scrolls. To switch modes you have to slide a switch at the bottom of the mouse and this can be a little bit tricky if you don't a suitable prong to hand."

Products and Services

Black Danger Mouse Announced

Danger Mouse BLKPR: MacMice announces a new matte black version of its flagship product, the Danger Mouse USB laser mouse.

"Since Apple released its black iPod models, and then a black version of the MacBook, more of our customers have been asking for black versions of our MacMice products," says M.H. Peng, CEO of AllSpirit Co., Ltd., manufacturer of MacMice products, "The obvious place for us to start was to create a version of our industry leading Danger Mouse to nicely match the matte black finish of the MacBook."

Danger Mouse BLKThe Danger Mouse BLK has a matte black outer shell with two button, scroll button, and scroll wheel functions. Its 1,600 dpi laser pickup mechanism provides superior tracking performance on difficult surfaces. And, it's notchless MicroScroll mini scroll wheel gives an impressive sense of precision. It has a five-foot black USB cable, and is compatible with the standard mouse drivers included in either Mac OS X or Win XP systems.

Danger Mouse BLK is available from the MacMice web site or any MacMice retailer worldwide for $29.99, and will begin shipping on September 14, 2006.

Editor's note: This should also complement those old black G3 PowerBooks, Lombard and Pismo. dk

Portectorz with MagSeal for MacBooks

PR: RadTech, makers of iPod and mobile computing accessories and more, today announced immediate availability of Portectorz for Apple Computer's Intel processor based notebooks.

PortectorzRadTech Portectorz provide positive protection for an electronic device's power, audio, video and data ports. Ports are positively protected from foreign objects, debris and liquids when fitted with custom-molded Portectorz. Constructed from high-polymer Silicone to eliminate tackiness and uni-die molded for a smooth, mold-line free appearance that can endure thousands of insertion and removal cycles.

Portectorz are molded to exacting specifications to ensure a perfectly sealed and secure fit, and now features MagSeal for positively sealing Apple Computer's innovative breakaway magnetic power port. MagSeal consists of an embedded metallic insert, which draws the Silicone seal into the shallow MagSafe power port.

PortectorzPortectorz low-profile design ensures compatibility with all sleeves, bags, cases and packs. Use the entire Portectorz panel, or easily custom cut the strip to create protection for any of the ports or combinations desired - such as those used infrequently. MacBook Portectorz are now available in black to match this popular notebook's case color.

Portectorz provide the protection and flexibility active users need to stay productive, while affording sensible insurance against potentially costly component damage.

Portectorz start at $5.95 US, and are available for all recent Apple notebooks with displays measuring up to 15.4", all Apple docking iPods and Apple Airport Express WiFi transceivers. Portectorz for Apple 17" notebooks coming soon.

Get a MacBook Pro Handle for $25 with a QuickerTek Connect or Transceiver

PR: QuickerTek is now offering special $25 Off product bundle for Apple MacBook Pro Transceiver and Connect customers. When either of these products are purchased, a carry Handle is available for only $25 (half off the regular price) for Apple 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro customers.

MacBook Pro Handle"Our customers have had such success with both our Connect and Transceiver line of Mac wireless performance products that it just made sense to reward customers with a price deal. The huge AirPort wireless improvement our MacBook Pro customers get from both products made the Handle that much more relevant because with a larger wireless range, you're more likely to take the MacBook Pro mobile - and that's where the Handle makes obvious sense." said Rick Estes of QuickerTek.

Like most QuickerTek products, the Handle, Connect and Transceiver for all sizes of MacBook Pro models are backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor. Additional product information is found:

Free Sprint Merlin S720 EVDO Support for PowerBook

PR:, the leading EVDO (EVolution-Data Optimized) wireless connectivity experts who focus on getting your Mac connected from anywhere using EVDO, announced today that they are releasing free directions to allow Sprint's newly announced Merlin S720 EVDO Revision A PCMCIA Card to work with 15" or 17" Apple PowerBooks. has a history of releasing free information to allow EVDO cards to work with Macs, well before Apple or EVDO carriers add driver support. Last week Sprint was the first carrier to deliver EVDO Revision A Cards. Unfortunately, these cards are not currently supported by Apple's Mac OS X 10.4.7, nor does Sprint provide software or drivers for Mac OS X. is releasing free directions to allow any 15" or 17" PowerBook running OS X 10.4.7 to use the new Merlin S720 EVDO Rev A card. These directions require some technical knowledge and familiarity with the Terminal application. A detailed, step-by-step keystroke-by-keystroke eBook is included when ordering your Merlin S720 EVDO card and Sprint service from EVDOinfo's sister site,



CoreDuoTempPR: Monitor the temperature of your Intel Macintosh with CoreDuoTemp.

CoreDuoTemp uses SpeedIt.

New in version 1.0:

  • CoreDuoTemp become a menubar application .

New in version 0.91:

  • Correction of bugs: window position, space folder location (installer and application).

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.6
  • iMac 2006, Mac mini 2006, MacBook Pro, or MacBook

CoreDuoTemp WidgetNow the CoreDuoTemp Widget

System support: Intel


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.

Wegener Media

14" WallStreet PowerBook G3 Series

  • 233 MHz, 64/2/floppy, battery, power adapter/charger, $199.99
  • 233 MHz, 64/2/CD, battery, power adapter/charger, $219.99
  • 266 MHz, 288/2/CD, battery, power adapter/charger, $259.99
  • 266 MHz, 256/10/CD, battery, power adapter/charger, $289.99
  • 266 MHz, 256/25/CD, battery, power adapter/charger, $299.99
  • upgraded to 400 MHz, 256/20/CD, battery, power adapter/charger, $399.99
  • upgraded to 500 MHz, 160/2/CD, battery, power adapter/charger, $419.99

Upgrade options, valid only with purchase of Wallstreet:

  • 10 GB hard drive, $39.99 installed
  • 25 GB 5400 rpm hard drive, $59.99 installed
  • 40 B hard drive, $69.99 installed
  • 1.44 MB expansion bay floppy drive, $9.99
  • CD-ROM module, $29.99
  • DVD-ROM module (decoding card not included - required for DVD Playback), $89.99
  • DVD Decoder Card (enables DVD playback). Special order - allow 4 days for shipping, $89.99
  • OS X compatible USB adapter PC Card, $29.99
  • Add a Targus laptop bag with a lifetime warranty. Bag is in excellent condition - these could pass as new, 1¢
  • ClarisWorks 4.0 Internet Edition, $5.99
  • Upgrade to 96 MB total RAM, $19 installed
  • Upgrade to 160 MB total RAM, $29 installed
  • Upgrade to 288 MB total RAM, $69 installed
  • Upgrade to 384 MB total RAM, $59.50 installed
  • Upgrade to 512 MB total RAM, $89.99 installed
  • 1 year extended limited warranty, $99.99

Note: these WallStreets are all upgradeable to G3/500 for less than $250 or to a G4/500 for around $400!


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.

  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 256/30/Combo, $679.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/SuperDrive, APX, BT, $1,399.99

Apple Store

  • refurb 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 256/30/Combo, APX, $719
  • refurb 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/40/Combo, APX, BT 2.0, $799
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/100/SuperDrive, APX, BT 2.0, $1,799
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/120/SuperDrive, APX, BT 2.0, $1,899

Baucom Computers

  • PowerBook "Kanga" G3/250, 160/5/CD, floppy, $119
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $325 (add Airport for $99)

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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