The 'Book Review

The 'Book Review 2001.08.31

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2001.08.31

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.

Online from Canada's Arctic via PowerBook

Canadian Inuit filmmaker Mary Kunuk's website offers the chance to share with others the lives and stories of her parents, Vivi and Enuki Kunuk, who have spent much of their lives living off the land as their ancestors did from a remote hunting camp on Baffin Island in Canada's Arctic.

But this month, the Kunuk's ancient outpost camp is connected to the world over the Internet by satellite.

Ms. Kunuk is using an Inmarsat-M4 satellite telephone, 64 kbps ISDN Internet connection. Digital video camera, mini-disc recorder, a digital still camera, two Macintosh G3 PowerBooks for audio and video production, an iBook available to participants for creative texts and journal writing, a CD burner, and a Pentium II laptop for data transfer.

ATI Announces Mobility Radeon 7500 Graphics Card

ATI Technologies, Inc., has unveiled the Mobility Radeon 7500 mobile graphics processor, which it claims is the most powerful, feature-rich mobile graphics solution in the world.

The Mobility Radeon 7500 delivers almost twice the performance of its nearest competitor on a range of industry standard benchmarks, according to a study by Inquest Market Research. Mobility Radeon 7500 is also the first mobile GPU (graphics processor unit) to support 128-bit DDR (double data rate) memory - double the current standard and, therefore, dramatically raising the bar for notebook 3D performance.

When operated in power-saving mode using ATI's PowerPlay voltage and frequency scaling technology, the new chip consumes less than half a watt under light usage. ATI's PowerPlay technology, which further refines ATI's industry-leading power management technology, produces the lowest power consumption levels in typical 2D, 3D and DVD (digital versatile disc) modes. For example, PowerPlay extends DVD playback on battery power by up to 25 percent, enabling, for example, full playback of feature-length movies. PowerPlay modulates clock speeds and voltage settings automatically when users switch between AC (alternating current) and battery operation, and includes the option of user-selectable voltage/frequency scaling, which allows for maximum-performance even when running off battery power.

Mobility Radeon 7500 integrates key mobile features and components directly into the graphics processor. This saves ATI's OEM (original equipment manufacturer) customers vital motherboard space, while reducing power consumption and cost, contributing to thinner and lighter designs with the highest available performance. Mobility Radeon 7500 incorporates an integrated TV-out encoder, TMDS (transmission minimized differential signaling) transmitter for connection of DVI (digital video interface) flat panels, iDCT (inverse discrete cosine transform), and motion compensation as well as spread spectrum. Mobility Radeon 7500 is available with up to 32 MB integrated memory or 64 MB external DDR memory.

The Mobility Radeon 7500 offers video feature enhancements never before seen on a mobile processor, including adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing technology, which dramatically improves vertical resolution and eliminates twitter and feathering artifacts during DVD playback. It also incorporates the following advanced feature set:

  • HydraVision, which affords the Mobility Radeon 7500 the most advanced multi-monitor management software in the industry. HydraVision allows users to define up to nine multi-monitor configurations. Work can be spread across the entire workspace or applications can be configured to one monitor or the other. Favorite features can be assigned hot keys for instant access.
  • Charisma Engine, which combines the industry's fastest geometry engines with revolutionary techniques for bringing 3D characters to life. The geometry engine supports full transformation, clipping, and lighting at 40 million triangles per second processing capability. Charisma Engine supports cutting-edge character animation features such as advanced vertex skinning and key frame interpolation.
  • Pixel Tapestry, which combines the industry's fastest rendering engines with an unprecedented set of 3D special effects. The chip's ability to process up to three textures concurrently means unsurpassed performance in accelerating the coming wave of multi-textured game content. Because of its rendering capability, Mobility Radeon 7500 enables full performance in 32-bit color, making 16-bit color obsolete.
  • Video Immersion, which advances ATI's historic leadership in digital video with such features as on-chip motion compensation, iDCT, and adaptive de-interlacing. The Radeon 7500 incorporates advanced video technology inherited from ATI's video-oriented set-top box and consumer electronics products. Mobility Radeon 7500 is capable of decoding and displaying MPEG-2 content in all HDTV (high definition television) formats, including 1280 x 720 pixels progressive and 1920x1080 pixels interlaced.
  • Hyper Z technology, which boosts effective memory bandwidth by 20 percent. As a result, the Mobility Radeon 7500 can access up to 8.8 GB/sec (gigabytes per second) of effective memory bandwidth. With memory bandwidth increasingly becoming the largest barrier to performance in today and tomorrow's most advanced applications, the combination of Hyper Z and high speed DDR memory is crucial to realizing the full potential of the graphics processor.

Plextor Introduces Ultra Portable 8/8/24 CD-RW Drive with USB 2.0

Plextor Corporation announced the immediate availability of the portable PlexWriter 8/8/24U CD-RW drive. The PlexWriter 8/8/24U is lightweight, compact (almost pocket size), and connects via USB to any laptop or desktop computer, PC or Mac. Recording and storing music, archiving digital photographs, and copying files on the road has never been easier.

The external drive features 8x CD-Write, 8x CD-Rewrite, and 24x-max CD-Read, making it one of the fastest portable CD-RW drives on the market today. Housed in a highly stylish yet durable silver-and-blue enclosure, the portable drive measures just 5.55" by 0.87" by 6.73" and weighs only 1.10 lbs. The drive is labeled with the Hi-Speed USB logo, which allows consumers to verify that the product they are buying has passed the USB 2.0 compliance program instituted by the USB Implementers Forum.

With the new PlexWriter 8/8/24U drive, both business "road warriors" and consumers on the move can now record custom CDs or backup files from any USB-enabled computer located anywhere. With plug and play simplicity and the convenience of hot-plug/unplug capabilities, this portable CD-RW drive makes transferring and storing data much faster and easier from any location.

The PlexWriter 8/8/24U CD-RW drive features USB, Plug & Play compatible with Mac OS 8.6 and later (USB 1.1) and Mac OS X (USB 2.0). Users can typically begin recording custom CDs within minutes of opening the box.

The versatile 3-in-1 drive lets users write, rewrite, and read compact discs at a variety of speeds. With USB 2.0 connections, the drive is capable of 8X CD-recording, 8X CD-rewriting, and 24X max CD-playback. With USB 1.1 connections, the drive records at 4X, rewrites at 4X, and plays at 6X max. The PlexWriter 8/8/24U features a 2 MB buffer and supports a wide variety of writing modes, including Track-at-Once, Disc-at-Once, Session-at-Once, Multisession, and variable/fixed packet writing.

The PlexWriter 8/8/24U drive also features BURN-Proof (buffer underrun-proof) technology, which ensures fault-tolerant CD burning. BURN-Proof prevents errors from occurring when data flow to the drive is interrupted during the recording process due to slow source drive performance, PC configuration problems, or other active applications. By allowing users to surf the Web, download files, and utilize other applications while a CD records in the background, this error-reducing technology makes CD-recording more practical than ever before.


  • Fully compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1
  • 8x CD-R, 8x CD-RW, 24x max. CD-ROM
  • Macintosh OS (no Mac software included) and Windows 98SE/2000/ME compatible, XP ready
  • 140ms Average Random Access
  • 2 MB Buffer
  • Capable of Digital Audio Extraction at 24x max
  • Supports CD-DA, CD-ROM (Mode 1), CD-ROM (Mixed Mode), CD-ROM XA (Mode 2, Form 1 and Form 2 and Mixed Form), CD-I, Photo CD, Video CD, CD-Extra, CD+G, and CD Text
  • Burn-Proof technology eliminates buffer underrun errors in fast write modes, allows for multitasking
  • Flash ROM allows for easy upgrade over the Internet
  • Supports Disc-at-Once, Track-at-Once, Session-at-Once, Variable & Fixed packet writing modes
  • One-year full warranty and unlimited toll-free tech support

The PlexWriter 8/8/24U CD-RW drive carries a $289 manufacturer suggested retail price

Fujitsu Develops 110 GB Notebook Hard Drive

AisaBizTech reports that Fujitsu Laboratory Ltd. has developed a new magneto recording technology that realizes a hard disk drive recording density of 100 Gb per square inch.

This will enable a 2.5" HDD in a notebook PC to have capacity of about 110 GB. According to the firm, it has accomplished the "highest recording density in the world" through the technology.

Fujitsu Ltd. plans to adopt it in its hard drives to be marketed in the latter half of 2001.

eLeather Ti Dressed PowerBook Case

Many road warriors prefer that their laptop luggage disguise the fact that they're packing an expensive computer, but if you want to flaunt what you've got, eLeather's Ti Dressed Apple Titanium carrying-case is designed to show off the small size of your Titanium and protect it without hiding it.

A Ti Dressed Plus version lets you carry your Titanium accessories in its convenient side pockets of the Ti-Dressed Plus. The iDressed Plus Pocket add-on completes your iDressed with an elegant couple of large pockets for cables or other types of accessories.

The eLeather Apple Titanium bag sells for €265/US$241/£167

The iDressed case covers your iBook - no need to leave it on your desk from now on. You can take it anywhere. iBack has been specifically designed to keep your ideas with you, on your back, shoulder or in your hands.

The iBook case sells for €189/US$172/£119

There is also an iBook backpack for €326/US$296/£206.

Apple Cuts Price on Titanium PowerBook G4

This is slightly stale news which just missed the cut in last week's 'Book Review, but last weekend - as widely predicted - Apple dropped Titanium PowerBook G4 prices to $2,199 for the 400 MHz model and $2,999 for the 500 MHz model, a price drop of $400 and $500 respectively.

This is very strong indication that upgraded TiBooks may be on the way soon.

The Titanium PowerBook G4 models are available in two standard configurations:

  • 400 MHz processor with 1 MB level 2 backside cache, 128 MB PC100 SDRAM, 10 GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive, ATI RAGE Mobility 128 featuring AGP 2x support and 8 MB of video memory, built-in 10/100BASE-T ethernet, FireWire and USB ports, VGA and S-video ports, AirPort ready, built-in 56K V.90 modem, iTunes, and iMovie 2.
  • 500 MHz processor with 1 MB level 2 backside cache, 256 MB PC100 SDRAM, 20 GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive, ATI RAGE Mobility 128 featuring AGP 2x support and 8 MB of video memory, built-in 10/100BASE-T ethernet, FireWire and USB ports, VGA and S-video ports, AirPort ready, built-in 56K V.90 modem, iTunes, and iMovie 2.

Bargain 'Books

This Week's Best PowerBook Deals


MacResQ has a bunch of back to school 'Book deals this week:

  • PowerBook G3/266, 96/4 GB/20x CD/56k/10Base-T/ 14.1" TFT, 1 MB cache, $899.99
  • PowerBook G3/400, 384/6 GB/DVD/56k/FireWire 14.1" LCD, $1,499.99
  • PowerBook G3/500, 128/12 GB/DVD/56k/14.1" LCD, $1799.99
  • Back to School Bundle 05. iBook G3/300, blueberry, Canon Inkjet Printer, AirPort Card, AppleWorks 6, $899.99
  • iBook G3/300, blueberry, 64/6 GB/24x CD/56k, $789.99

Power Max

Power Max has a large assortment of other used WallStreet 233 MHz machines too numerous to list here.

LA Computer Center

Global Deals

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

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