The 'Book Review

The 'Book Review 2001.11.23

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2001.11.23

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.

PowerBook & iBook Hard Drive Compatibility

'Book users are often confused as to what sort of hard drive upgrade will work with their machine. Essentially, any IDE/ATA 2.5" hard drive (the same sort of drives PC laptops use) will work with the PowerBook 5300/190 and later, provided it will physically fit in the PowerBook or iBook (there are also some bracketing issues with 5300/190s and 1400s, and certain compatibility issues with 3400s - check with the supplier)

Most laptop hard drives now available are either 12.5 mm or 9.5 mm thick, which is the limiting dimension.

Both 12.5 mm "Slim" and 9.5 mm "Superslim" 2.5" ATA/IDE drives will work with:

2.5" ATA/IDE 9.5 mm 'Superslim' drives only will work with:

  • iBook, all versions and models

PowerBook Manufacturer Profiled

Some readers may be surprised to learn that Apple doesn't manufacture PowerBooks itself, but rather subcontracts the work to Taiwanese laptop specialist, Quanta, which also was responsible for about one third of the engineering of the Titanium PowerBook.

The Register's Robert Blincoe has posted an interesting profile of Quanta.

SuSE Linux 7.3 for PPC Released

If you are intrigued by the prospect of running Linux on your PowerBook or iBook, SuSE Linux has just released SuSE Linux 7.3 PowerPC Edition! The latest SuSE edition is the most comprehensive Linux version for Motorola PowerPC processors on the market today. SuSE Linux 7.3 PowerPC Edition comes on 8 CDs with the latest Linux operating system and more than 2,000 applications tuned to the needs of PowerPC users. The latter include image processing programs, desktop applications and emulators, as well as an extensive range of window managers, network tools, and editors.

The improved KDE 2.2.1 desktop sets high standards with respect to user-friendliness and functionality. XFree86 4.1 and SaX2, the expanded graphical configuration tool which ensures a simple and secure setup of supported graphics cards, complement this Linux package.

The virtual machine MOL (Mac on Linux) has also been improved. Using it you may start a network-capable MacOS in Linux in window or full-screen mode.

The sound system ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) for PowerMacs among other functionalities enables you to integrate up to 8 sound cards at the same time.

Even newcomers should encounter no difficulties whatsoever, thanks to SuSE's proven administration and configuration tool YaST2. The automatic hardware detection and a selection of preinstalled configurations render the setup if not "mere child's play," as SuSE intimates - it is at least doable for non Linux veterans. welcome to access our comprehensive support database at any time.

With the brand new Kernel 2.4.12, SuSE Linux 7.3 PowerPC Editions features greatly enhanced USB support as well as the possibility to use up to 3 GB RAM.

SuSE Linux 7.3 PowerPC Edition can be obtained directly from SuSE, bookstores, or software retailers. The recommended retail price for the package is US $79.95.

Westcoast Large Display Laptop & Printer Case

Willow Design's Westcoast Large Display Case was specifically designed for the WallStreet G3 PowerBook. It Westcoast caseoffers excellent protection for your laptop and accessories plus room for some paperwork in a reasonably compact package. For the thinner Lombard and Pismo PowerBooks, there is extra room available for paperwork.

The Large Display Laptop & Printer case can accommodate large monitor laptops plus your adapters, cables, etc. Ample protection is provided by adjustable, rigid dividers separating each compartment with extra room available for paper in the outer padded pocket.

Westcoast Large Display features:

  • Superb protection insured by 1.2 cm foam throughout reinforced with corrugated plastic, high density polyethylene and hardboard on the bottom of the case
  • Excellent comfort insured by a thick, reinforced padded handle, wide contoured shoulder strap
  • A convenient upper level compartment for the laptop secured by a 50mm Velcroed elastic strap
  • Lower level accessory compartment for extra drives, CD-ROMs, etc. separated by two movable dividers
  • Front to back accessory compartment for thicker accessories
  • A disc and mesh pockets in lid of computer compartment
  • Organizer pocket on front of case with room for extra paperwork
  • A organizer panel in the padded pocket plus a flat front zippered pocket on outer panel
  • A convenient flat pocket on the back suitable for maps, magazines, or newspapers

Available Colours: Black; Charcoal; Navy; Teal; Purple

MCE's CD-RW/DVD Drive for PowerBook G3 Review Posted

MacCentral's Peter Cohen has posted a hands-on review of the MCE Xcaret expansion bay combo drive, which is available for Pismos, Lombards, and WallStreets

Peter generally liked the Xcaret drive, and summarizes: "MCE's solution provides tremendous utility for users who are hoping to maximize an existing investment in PowerBook hardware."

Dr. Bott's Auto Charger for iPod

Dr. Bott's Auto Charger for iPod provides the power to charge and operate the iPod through the auto charger12V adapter in your car.

Auto Charger for iPod connects to the standard 12 Volt DC cigarette lighter found in most any car and provides power through the FireWire port of the iPod™ just like the included AC charger.


  • Works with any 12V auto cigarette lighter.
  • Auto Charger for iPod lets you drive with music and arrive with iPod fully charged.
  • LED indicates power status.
  • Includes replaceable fuse to protect iPod (twist tip of plug to access fuse).
  • Provides 12 W max.

Pre-orders are currently being accepted, Dr. Bott's Auto Charger for iPod is scheduled to ship in Mid-December (in time for Christmas) at $24.95.

Dr. Bott's iPod Connection Kit

Dr. Bott's iPod Connection Kit includes everything you might need to bring your music anywhere you might iPod connection kitwant it. iPod Connection Kit provides most every option for connecting to iPod's 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack to automobile stereo systems, home stereo systems, mic input of computers and other devices, boom boxes, and clock radios.

Dr. Bott's iPod Connection Kit includes:

  • Auto Charger for iPod
  • FM Stereo Transmitter
  • Mini Stereo Extension Cable (male/female)
  • Mini Stereo to RCA Cable
  • Mini Stereo Connection Cable (male/male)
  • iPod Carry Pouch

Availability: Dr. Bott's iPod Connection Kit will be shipping in late December and can be pre-ordered now. The price will be $49.95

JanSport Ultimate ultimate briefBrief

JanSport Ultimate Brief features:

  • Three compartment brief
  • Front-with deluxe organizer, keyper and file space
  • Middle-compartment for removable padded laptop insert case 14"x10.5" x 3"
  • Back-divider file folder area
  • Side cell phone pocket
  • Two front exterior pockets
  • 1680 denier Ballistic Nylon coated on the inside for water resistance.
  • Zip pocket on front flap
  • Back stash pocket with zip piggy back system
  • "C" curved padded shoulder strap with three inch wide Jansport-patented Gellastic Gellycomb pad
  • Padded leather wrap handle
  • #8 main self-healing coil zippers/locking"
  • Dimensions: 17"W x 12.5"H x 7.5"D
  • Available in classic black and "teak"
  • MSRP: $250

Bargain 'Books


If you read this week's Road Warrior column, Does an upgraded WallStreet make sense as an iBook alternative?, this deal from MacResQ may be of interest. This is the best price I've seen on a WallStreet with a 14.1" screen and 96 MB of RAM.

Small Dog Electronics

  • iBook G3/500, 256/10 GB/CD-RW/56K modem/Small Dog Refurbished with a 90 Day Small Dog Warranty, $1,299

These machines were used at a computer camp and have the balance of Apple's factory warranty. Small Dog will guarantee at least 90 days. Not the deal of the century, considering that a new iBook with a 15 MB hard drive and 128 MB of RAM lists for the same price, but the RAM upgrade and CD-RW are the purported advantages.


MegaMacs has a whole gaggle of used PowerBooks listed. Those 190s can get you into a reasonably powerful workaday 'Book awfully cheap, and the 3400c prices also are especially tempting. Best I've seen to date.

680x0 'Books

PPC 'Books

Power Max

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