The 'Book Review

The 'Book Review 2001.08.03

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2001.08.03

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars, bold links are to outside sites, and regular links lead to 'Book profiles on Low End Mac.

512 MB RAM Module for Apple iBooks Released

Trans Intl. has announced the availability of a high density 512 MB SDRAM SO-DIMM memory module for the Apple iBook laptops.

iBooks have one memory expansion slot for main memory expansion. Memory expansion of the system had been limited to 256 MB with memory modules currently available.

The new 512 MB memory modules double the memory capacity of the iBook, which enables users to have more than a half gigabyte of main memory, making iBooks' memory capacity equal to the latest PC notebooks.


Trans Intl. earlier this year released an industry first 512 MB memory module for the Apple PowerBook G4 Titanium that enabled the system memory to be upgraded up to one full gigabyte of main memory.

keyBORG PowerBook G3/iBook keyborgTranslucent Key Caps Available from MacImports.Com

Replace your tired bronze or white keycaps with these cool translucent keys from DigitalHipps. The keys have a stylish Techno font and are much thinner than the original keys to reduce or eliminate scuffing the screen. has keyBORG keys in translucent gray and graphite blue. Installation is simple. The keyBORG keys fit only the PowerBook G3 1999 (Lombard), 2000 (Pismo) and original iBook. Made by DigitalHipps Co. and imported from Japan.

How to Use Your 'Book in FireWire Target Disk Mode

Apple Tech Info Library (TIL) article #58583 explains what FireWire target disk mode (TDM) is and how to use it.

FireWire target disk mode allows a Macintosh computer with a FireWire port (the target computer) to be used as an external hard disk connected to another computer (the host). Once a target computer is started up as a FireWire hard disk and is available to the host computer, you can copy files to or from that volume.

Host computers must meet the following requirements:

  • Built-in FireWire port, or a FireWire port on a PC card
  • FireWire 2.3.3 or later
  • Mac OS 8.6 or later

The following models can be used as target computers:

  • PowerBook (FireWire)
  • PowerBook G4
  • iBook (FireWire)
  • iBook SE (FireWire)
  • iBook (Dual USB)
  • Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics) with ATA drive
  • Power Mac G4 Cube
  • Power Mac G4 (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio)
  • Power Mac G4 (Quicksilver)
  • iMac (Slot Loading) with Firmware version 2.4 or later
  • iMac (Summer 2000)
  • iMac (Early 2001)
  • iMac (Summer 2001)

MCE FireBay FireWire Docking Unit

With MCE's FireBay FireWire Docking Unit, you can take the expansion bay drives from your PowerBook G3 and use them with any FireWire-equipped Mac.

Simply insert the PowerBook G3 expansion bay drive, such as the bootable MCE Xcarét Pro CD-RW drive or the high-speed MCE Xcarét Pro hard drive, into the FireBay - and now you've got a bus-powered FireWire device which you can use with your PowerBook G4 Titanium, your Power Mac G4 minitower, or any other FireWire-equipped Mac. The FireBay also works great with Mac OS X or any earlier FireWire-capable Mac OS.

If you've got more than one expansion bay device, you can use them simultaneously by stacking multiple MCE FireBay docks using their built-in stacking mechanism - no need for an extra FireWire cable; the stacking interface is built in!

This product is expected to ship in August, 2001

MCE Xcarét Pro Expansion Bay CD-RW Drives

The MCE Xcarét Pro 2000 Expansion Bay CD-RW and the MCE Xcarét Pro Expansion Bay CD-RW are CD-RW drives designed to fit into the right-side expansion bay slot of your PowerBook. Now you can write data to standard recordable (CD-R) and rewritable (CD-RW) CDs at up to 8x speeds anywhere you can use your PowerBook. In addition, the devices will read prerecorded CD-ROMs at up to 24x speeds!

The MCE Xcarét Pro 2000 Expansion Bay DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive allows you to burn CDs and read DVD-ROM discs on your PowerBook G3 1999 (Lombard, Bronze) or PowerBook G3 2000 (FireWire) with a single expansion bay drive!

Included with the drive is Roxio Toast Lite CD-recording software, which allows you to create audio CDs, bootable CDs, and general backup CDs as well as a host of other CD formats. As with all PowerBook expansion bay devices, the MCE Xcarét Pro 2000 Expansion Bay CD-RW, MCE Xcarét Pro Expansion Bay CD-RW drives, and MCE Xcarét Pro Expansion Bay DVD/CD-RW Combo drive are all hot-swappable, meaning that you don't need to shut down or put your PowerBook to sleep to insert and use the drive. They are truly portable in that they require no external power supply, since power is supplied by the PowerBook itself. As an added bonus, MCE includes the MCE Xbay Expansion Bay Device carrying case, a protective carrying case for your CD-RW or for any of your other expansion bay devices.

MCE also claims that its Xcarét Pro and Xcarét Pro 2000 Expansion Bay CD-RW Drive's are the only expansion bay CD-RW drives on the market that are capable of booting your PowerBook. This means you can leave your original CD-ROM/DVD drive at home without worry should you need to boot from a CD.


  • 4x4x20 CD-RW drives: write 4x (800 KB/sec), rewrite 4x (800 KB/sec), read 20x (3000 KB/sec)
  • 8x8x24 CD-RW drives: write 8x (1200 KB/sec), rewrite 8x (1200 KB/sec), read 24x (3600 KB/sec)
  • DVD/CD-RW combo drive: write 4x (600 KB/sec), rewrite 4x (600 KB/sec), DVD-ROM/read 6x/CD-ROM, read 24x (3600 KB/sec)
  • Requires MacOS 8.6 or later
  • 1 year warranty

Another PowerBook PCI Expansion Option

Stephen Hildreth of PowerBook Central reports, "Mobility's EasiExpansion product family offers an inexpensive PCI and drive expansion solution for PowerBooks with FireWire capability."

The EasiExpansion T45 PowerBook Expansion Base is available at MacZone for $399.99. The T35 model, with 3 expansion slots, is available for $249.99.

Nubaggage Leather Bags for Apple Laptops

Nubaggage offers high quality nubagleather bags made specifically for Apple portable computers.

  • Available in black, tan, and brown.
  • Constructed of top grain leather.
  • Lined with genuine pig suede.
  • Hand made to custom specifications for the following Apple portable computers.
  • PowerBook G4: The G4 bag fits all G4 models
  • PowerBook G3: The G3 bag fits G3 models 2" thick or less.
  • iBook: The iBook bag fits all iBook models

Cost for each model is $399 US

MarWare Sportfolio Laptop Cases

A new line for MarWare, the SportFolio laptop cases The SportFolio offers rugged protection in a slim case with an adjustable, shock absorbing shoulder strap. Two roomy exterior pockets accommodate cell phones and other items for quick access. The inside features padding for the laptop, and a pocket for files or other essentials. The slim design makes the case easy to carry anywhere. The shoulder strap can be removed and the SportFolio can be slipped into a large briefcase for travel.

The SportFolio is available in two sizes to accommodate most laptops, and is offered in black, red, and blue. The SportFolio retails for $44.95.

Bargain 'Books

This Week's Best PowerBook Deals

Small Dog Electronics

  • PowerBook G4/500 Titanium, 512 MB RAM installed, 20 GB hard drive, factory refurbished, 1 year factory warranty, sale price: $3,049

The PowerBook Guy

DataTech Remarketing

That's the best price on a 292 MHz WallStreet I've seen. Every system DataTech sells has been reconditioned, tested at their facility, and ships with a 180 day guarantee.


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