The 'Book Review

The 'Book Review 2001.08.24

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2001.08.24

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.

Arcing Yo-Yo Power Adapters

I continue to have mixed feelings about Apple's power adapter recall program for WallStreet and Lombard PowerBooks. My original M4402 AC adapter brick that shipped with my WallStreet never got more than moderately warm in 2-1/2 years of 24/7 use.

However, there are some unsettling stories about the "yo-yo" style power adapters that are being used to replace the M4402. in the recall program.

The yo-yos are manufactured by either Samsung in China or Delta in Thailand

Reportedly, some of the Samsung units have an electrical problem. If you first plug the AC cord into the wall, and then plug the other end of the cord into the yo-yo, it frequently arcs, creating a bright blue spark to jump.

Apparently, the twin metal prongs inside the adapter in the Delta unit are somewhat conical (non-arcing), while the Samsung's are rounded (arcing).

The eligible units are small rectangular black AC adapter boxes with a permanently attached cord on one end to connect to the computer and a detachable two-prong cord on the other end to plug into an AC outlet. The adapter is approximately 4.75 inches long by 2 inches wide. The label located on the side of the adapter reads in part, "Macintosh PowerBook 45W AC Adapter" and "Model Number: M4402."

iBook Overclocking Tutorial Posted

Accelerate Your Mac has posted an iBook 2001 Overclocking Guide, a tutorial by David Giessel on how to goose the 2001 iBook to 100 MHz bus speed and 600 MHz CPU speed (while voiding your warranty in the process).

As the article's disclaimer/caution notice reads: "This article is for entertainment purposes only. The author nor the site publisher assumes any liability for modifications you make to your iBook, which voids the warranty and may affect short or long term reliability. Incorrectly done modifications may cause immediate system damage or injury."

So don't even think about trying this at home, kids, unless you're prepared to assume full personal responsibility for potentially wrecking your new iBook.

Geissel also notes:

...taking a compact laptop apart is a very daunting task (I'd say that it is at least 3x more difficult than completely disassembling one of Apple's current towers). There are dozens of screws and small parts, and the case has to be pried off of the magnesium frame. Not a walk in the park. I took my time the first time around and 1.5 hours later I had the motherboard out. It was very stressful and there are no guarantees that you will be able to get any extra speed out of YOUR PARTICULAR iBook. You will also lose your warranty and it is likely that local service shops will refuse to work on your iBook as well....

Was it worth it?

The tweaked 'Book is definitely faster.

Carriage Trade 'Book Accessories

Lee Herrington touts his Herrington Catalog as "a catalog for enthusiasts - those who share my passion for great automobiles, serious golf, fine photography, hassle-free travel, physical fitness, and distinctive executive accessories."

Among the items Herrington offers are some PowerBook accessories.

  • Mobile 75-Watt DC/AC Inverter: Charge your laptop on the road or in the air - and never run out of computing power, or things to do, while traveling.

No matter what the capacity of your laptop's battery, it always seems to go dead when you're miles away from home, and nowhere near an AC socket. Solve that with this mobile DC to AC Inverter. Slips into your briefcase at just 5"x 3"x 1.5", but plugs into any 12-volt DC lighter socket to provide plenty of 110 volt AC to recharge your laptop, video camera, or portable CD/DVD player. Modified sine wave design for smooth, reliable current; peak surge power of 150 watts. Low-current draw permits use with car running or engine turned off; includes low-battery alarm and auto low-battery shutdown just in case! For use on airlines, simply plug Inverter's 12-volt lighter plug into our matching Airline Power Port. Plugs directly into in-seat 12-volt power sockets now offered in 1st Class and Business Class on most major domestic and international flights. So you can work productively as you fly from coast to coast - without a power failure!

The Mobile 75-Watt DC/AC Inverter adapter sells for $49.95. You can purchase an optional airline adapter for $19.95. Power Set - both for $65.00

  • Autobahn Desk: Transform your passenger seat into a mobile office - work at peak efficiency on the road!

Strap Autobahn Desk into your front passenger seat with the existing seat belt, and establish a spacious, flexible work space right next to you. Large slide-out writing surface creates a two-tiered desk top. Nonskid material keeps your briefcase or computer from sliding. Generous storage compartment stows your notebook computer, cell phone, and folio out of sight. Wedge shape nestles right into the contours of the seat, creating a flat work surface. And a generous tub file lets you suspend a dozen or more standard hanging files. So you can access key account, vendor, or product data easily from the driver's seat.

Although lightweight (12 lbs.) and portable, Autobahn Desk's thoughtful design and rigid construction creates a solid, stable mobile office. So you can turn wasted hours away from the office, into productive ones!

Autobahn Nonskid Desk, $160.00

Canvas Carry Bag, $49.95

Until wireless technology becomes the standard, we're all stuck with cords. Travel with this compact Connectivity Kit, and you'll never be unable to access the Net. One spool of cord gives you 7' of reach. Just pull out to the desired length; push the button to retract. Both ends have a standard RJ-45 phone connector that fits into a Router/Hub or RJ-45 wall plate. Inside the 4"x 2.75"x .75" case, 3 separate adaptors nest neatly together, letting you customize the cable for different applications.

Two RJ-45 to RJ-11 conversion adaptors let you hook your laptop to any standard phone outlet for modem use. A third adaptor lets you "split" a standard phone outlet so you can connect two devices to one outlet (i.e. a telephone and your laptop). Lastly, use simply as a 7' extension cord to an existing network or phone cord that's just too far away for convenience! Cord is Cat-5e Ethernet standard for corporate networking.

Retractable Connectivity Kit, $36.95

Low-Current 512 MB Pismo RAM Modules Available

The PowerBook Source notes that low-current 512 MB RAM modules, which are the only modules that can be used together reliably in a Pismo PowerBook to obtain the maximum 1 GB of memory, are available from MicroWest Technologies and West Coast Technology.

I had no luck bring West Coast's Website up, but you try this URL:

TechWorks Releases New 512 MB SO-DIMM RAM 'Book Modules

Speaking of RAM, TechWorks' 512 MB SO-DIMM, Part Number 12467-0001, is designed for the Titanium and PowerBook FireWire 2000 (Pismo) and allows you to upgrade to 1 gigabyte with two modules.

A second SO-DIMM, 512 MB, Part Number 12468-0001, upgrades all iBooks, from the original to the new iBook.

Keyspan Announces New Versions of USB PDA Adapter and High Speed USB Serial Adapter

The Keyspan USB PDA Adapter (USA-19Q) now has the ability to hot sync PDA devices at up to 115 Kbps. In addition to supporting serial PDAs from Palm, HP, Compaq, Casio, and Sharp, the enhanced adapter now works with Psion organizers. Additionally, the adapter now sports a 3-foot detachable USB cable. The enhanced adapter has an MSRP of $39 and is now shipping.

Keyspan's High Speed Serial Adapter (USA-19QW), which continues to offer data rates up to 230 Kbps, now includes a 3-foot detachable USB cable, and is compatible with an even broader range of modems, cameras, PDAs, GPS, cell phones, handheld scanners, and other serial devices. This adapter has an MSRP of $59 and is now shipping.

In addition to "off-the shelf" support for Linux 2.4, Keyspan's Serial-to-USB Adapters also support Windows 98, Windows Me and Windows 2000, as well as Mac OS 8.6 or higher. Beta drivers for Mac OS X are available at

Willow Whumphs! iBook Slipcase for Backpacks

Willow Design has introduced an iBook slipcase for those who want easy access to their iBook while the slipcase Whump caseis still in the pack.

The Whumph! slipcase protects with half inch soft open cell foam backed up by the protective rigidity of corrugated plastic on the case outside. Both the foam and plastic are tightly fitted to maximize protection.

The slipcase is also comfortable to carry on its own. The Whumph! features a removable foam padded wrap handle around the web handle which is riveted through a high density polyethylene backing plate for extra security. Each slipcase comes with a comfortable, foam padded, contoured shoulder strap.

iBook Whumph! Slipcase Features

  • excellent protection for your iBook afforded by 1.2 cm (0.5") soft "gushy" foam reinforced by corrugated plastic on the top and bottom plus all sides.
  • a clean, very lightweight and compact size.
  • convenient end access for those who wanting to stuff the slipcase into and remove the iBook from top loading backpacks.
  • great carrying comfort insured by a removable foam padded wrap handle with extra strength ensured by web handle being riveted through high density polyethylene backing .
  • contoured, padded shoulder strap with a special sticky bottom to keep it on your shoulder.
  • nylon web handle, quadruple reinforced with rivets, to insure the safety of your laptop.
  • outer front organizer panel with pockets for business cards, pens, elasticized pocket for the Apple power supply plus room for the power cord and an ethernet cable.
  • flat external rear pocket especially handy for maps, magazines or newspapers.
  • lifetime guarantee against defects in materials or craftsmanship.

Price: $90 Cdn., $60 U.S.

Available Colours: Black, Charcoal, Navy, Teal, Purple, eRoyal, and Mauve

Looking for a Job?'s Chris Volpe notes that according to a job posting on the Apple's Website, the company is looking for someone to "own the development of the product from first concept phase through architecture, design, development and release to manufacturing." The right man or woman will manage "hardware and system engineering" for Apple's PowerBook line, including the current G4 Titanium PowerBook and its successors.

"Apple is looking for a dynamic, highly motivated worldwide product manager to join the PowerBook team," states the post. "As a PowerBook product manager, you will be responsible for the creation of the world's best portable computer."

Bargain 'Books

This Week's Best PowerBook Deals

This Week's 'Book Deals


Power Max

Although the page doesn't say, we presume this is the Lombard at this price, not the newer Pismo.

Small Dog Electronics

  • PowerBook G4/400 Travel Bundle, 128 MB/10 GB, Brenthaven Titanium 1 case, factory refurbished with a 1 year Apple warranty, $2,228

Mac Of All Trades

The PowerBook Guy

For hot deals on new iBooks and PowerBooks, see the Best iBook & PowerBook Deals.

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