The 'Book Review

G4 Pismo Upgrades, FireWire Notebook Drive Dock, New Notebook Cases, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2002.06.21

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

Newer Technology, Other World Computing Introduce G4 Pismo Upgrade

Newer Technology and Other World Computing have introduced the NuPowr G4 Pismo upgrade for the PowerBook (FireWire), originally code-named "Pismo."

The G4 upgrade, which is available immediately for $299.95, allows owners of 400 and 500 MHz Pismo systems to upgrade to a 500 MHz G4 processor.

"The G4 Pismo upgrade will save PowerBook G3 users literally thousands of dollars by not having to buy a brand new Titanium PowerBook in order to get a G4 processor," said Rick Estes, president of Newer Systems.

"We have a lot of loyal customers that have been requesting this product, and with their help and feedback, we are ready to make it available to the public. We are confident that it will be extremely well received, and help to once again reinforce our position as a leading provider of computer upgrade products for the Apple community."

Customers interested in purchasing the upgrade can do so exclusively through OWC. Customers will be required to send their computer to Newer Tech in Wichita. Newer Tech will test the customer's system prior to and following the installation of the G4 upgrade to ensure the system is running optimally.

Newer Tech is committed to completing the install and testing, and return the systems within two weeks of their receipt and will also cover freight by FedEx 2nd Day for the customers to send in their components and for the return of their systems.

"This is a much anticipated day," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "The NuPowr G4 Pismo upgrade is the first and only upgrade available today for the Pismo model.

"Prior to the G4 Pismo upgrade, PowerBook G3 owners did not have an alternative to upgrade their processors, other than to purchase a new Titanium system. Newer Tech has always been recognized as an innovator, and as its partner, OWC is excited to be the exclusive distributor of this bleeding-edge technology."

All sales, distribution, tracking, and customer support will be handled by OWC.

PowerLogix BlueChip G4 Pismo Upgrade

PowerLogix has announced the BlueChip Pismo G4 500 processor upgrade for PowerBook (FireWire) (a.k.a. BlueChip G4Pismo or PowerBook 2000) laptops. The upgrade consists of a Motorola PowerPC G4-7410 processor running at 500 MHz.

The BlueChip Pismo requires that the the original processor card have its G3 processor removed and replaced with the G4. This is due to the proprietary nature of the Pismo processor card.

Customers who wish to have their laptop upgraded with the BlueChip Pismo must send their laptop to PowerLogix. The original processor card is verified and tested prior to the chip swap, and retested prior to shipment back to the customer. Turnaround time is guaranteed to be five business days or less for domestic customers.

The actual chip swap is subcontracted to a local Austin firm, located about ten minutes from PowerLogix, who are experts and specialize exclusively in chip rework of this type.

Customers are provided with complete instructions about the process in a shipping package which is overnighted direct to the customer after order placement.

The BlueChip Pismo card is warranted for two years and is fully compatible with all software and hardware, including OS X.

The BlueChip Pismo was supposed to be available for ordering June 17 on the PowerLogix website, but still no sign of it as of June 20 evening.

Retail price on the BlueChip Pismo 500 is $329. Price includes FedEx overnight shipping both ways. A special introductory price of $299 for the Blue Chip Pismo upgrade will be in effect through July, 2002.

WiebeTech Announces FireWire Notebook DriveDock

WiebeTech LLC announced the FireWire Notebook DriveDock, which is a complete FireWire bridge interface attachable to any notebook drive.

"The original FireWire DriveDock for big 3.5" IDE drives is a huge hit with our customers," said James Wiebe, FireWire Notebook DriveDockPresident of WiebeTech. "They've requested that we create a similar new product specifically designed to support notebook (2.5") drives. We've done exactly that with Notebook DriveDock. We've also been able to make Notebook DriveDock completely FireWire bus powered, so that just about every 2.5" hard drive can be powered up without using an external power supply. In fact, Notebook DriveDock offers the user extreme simplicity combined with extreme performance. There are no power switches or plugs for external power, just a FireWire port and two indicator lights."

FireWire Notebook DriveDock's list of features includes the following:

  • High Speed FireWire Bridge. Notebook DriveDock uses the industry standard Oxford Semiconductor 911 FireWire bridge for best performance.
  • Bus Powered. Notebook DriveDock takes all of its operating power from the FireWire bus. The high efficiency / high performance power regulator within Notebook DriveDock is capable of supporting virtually every current production notebook drive.
  • Small Size And Beautiful Enclosure. Notebook DriveDock is really small, containing all required electronics within an enclosure volume of only 2.4 cubic inches, measuring .62 x 1.40 x 2.73 inches. The enclosure is constructed of beautiful, rugged anodized aluminum which is CNC cut from solid bar stock. As a result, its styling is good looking and very distinctive.
  • Supports 2.5" Drives To 60 GB. Notebook DriveDock supports capacities to 60 GB and beyond.
  • OS Compatibility. Notebook DriveDock is plug and play under most popular operating systems, including Windows 98SE, ME, 2K, XP; also Mac OS 9.2 and OS X. Earlier versions of the Mac OS are easily supported through the use of optional third party drivers.

Notebook DriveDock is priced at $139.95. The product is shipping from limited stock at introduction.

The product is available through WiebeTech's distributor, Dr Bott LLC. End users may also order directly from WiebeTech.

Notebook DriveDock will be shown from WiebeTech's booth at the New York Macworld Expo, July 17-19, at booth 158.

Evergreen Adds Low Cost USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive to fireLine High Speed Portable Storage Offerings

Evergreen's latest addition to its fireLine family of high speed IEEE 1394 and USB products, the new 40 GB fireLine USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive delivers high-speed portable storage for budget conscious users

The fireLine USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive delivers 40 GB of affordable high speed external data storage for PC and Mac users alike. The USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive can quickly be added to any desktop or laptop simply by plugging the drive into an available USB (either 1.1 or the new 2.0 standard) port. (For users without USB connections, Evergreen offers a complete array of USB 2.0, dual IEEE 1394, and USB 2.0 connectivity cards for desktop and laptop systems.)

In the fireLine USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive, Evergreen has removed the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) capability from its original dual standard Pocket HotDrive to provide a lower cost solution for users without the need for this added flexibility. The USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive remains a light weight, compact data storage solution for users on the go, backing up dense amounts of data and sharing data between multiple systems frequently. The new USB 2.0 standard supports "hot swapping" (plugging devices in and out without powering down the host system), daisy chaining of devices, and power transmission from the host system.

The fireLine USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive is supported by Windows 98SE or higher, Linux and Unix operating systems. Macintosh has not introduced support for the new USB 2.0 standard, however the drive is backward compatible to USB 1.1 which is supported by Mac OS 8.6 and above. It comes with a step-by-step installation guide, USB 2.0 device drivers, a USB A-to-B cable, a 5V power supply, and a one year warranty. A case-only offering is also available to users who wish to select an alternate drive capacity.

Pricing of fireLine USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive:

  • 40 GB, $259.99 list, $229.99 direct web purchase
  • Case Only, $59.99 list, $49.99 direct web purchase

"With today's operating systems and software applications demanding more and more system storage, external hard drives have become a common PC accessory. Storage demands vary from user to user, however," said Mike Magee, president and CEO of Evergreen. "Our line of high speed, external HotDrives attempts to deliver a solution for every need, whether it be data transfer flexibility, large capacity or ease of portability or low cost. The fireLine USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive is the perfect product to round out this family."

Besides the new fireLine USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrive, Evergreen continues to offer its complete line of fireLine dual IEEE 1394-USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrives. Users can obtain from 10 GB to 40 GB of additional storage capacity or the bare case-only option in this version as well.

Pricing of fireLine Dual IEEE 1394-USB 2.0 Pocket HotDrives:

  • 40 GB, $449.99 list, $329.99 direct web purchase
  • 60 GB, $369.99 list, $279.99 direct web purchase
  • 80 GB, $299.99 list, $229.99 direct web purchase
  • 100GB, $259.99 list, $199.99 direct web purchase
  • HotDrive Kit, $129.99 list, $99.99 direct web purchase

The new USB 2.0 standard enables data transfer speeds up to 480 Mbps and is backward compatible with the USB 1.1 standard, providing speeds up to 12 Mbps. USB has long been the communication standard of choice for office peripherals like printers, scanners, and faxes. Connectivity between systems and both 1394 and USB peripherals is supported by Windows 98SE or higher (including the new Windows XP operating system), and Mac OS 8.6 or higher.

The Evergreen fireLine 1394 and USB 2.0 product line is available through national distributors, retailers, PC mail order catalogs, and directly from Evergreen's website. These product lines are covered by a one-year warranty, and technical support is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST.

160 GB FireWire DesktopGB Available

WiebeTech LLC has announced a new 160 GB DesktopGB, providing the highest capacity available in a desktop FireWire drive. Available from factory stock, the drive sells for $399.95 and ships from stock. (Basic product includes: Enclosure; vertical stand, FireWire cable and AC adapter.)

"This new preconfigured version of DesktopGB is a very attractive purchase decision for anyone who wants highest capacity, highest performance FireWire storage," said James Wiebe, CEO of WiebeTech. "Consumers have requested this product and we are adding it to our product lineup as a result."

DesktopGB features the high speed Oxford 911 FireWire interface offering a read transfer rate greater than 30 MB/second is also available in capacities of 60 GB, 80 GB, 120 GB, and a user configurable 0 GB version.

In all capacities less than 160 GB, DesktopGB features USB 2.0 and FireWire multiports. The 160 GB version is shipped with dual daisy chainable FireWire ports only; USB is not supported.

In the US and Canada, DesktopGB may be purchased from WiebeTech's distributor, Dr Bott LLC, or from dealers. DesktopGB is also available directly from WiebeTech.

Techpack PowerBook Backpack

This top loading, rugged pack is ideal for moving around campus or the casual office. Easy access to your Techpacklaptop and great protection makes this one of our favorite packs!


  • Exterior: 17" x 12.5" x 5.75"
  • Padded Computer Compartment: 13.75" x 11.5" x 1.75"


  • Made of Nylon Ripstop
  • Top-Loading, Padded Inner Computer Case.
  • Exterior Zippered Flap Pocket with Holders for Pens/Pencils, Cell Phone, Business/ID Cards and a Key Chain Clip
  • Padded Computer Compartment Includes Storage for Diskettes, Files and Documents
  • Large Padded handle.
  • Adjustable, Non-Slip, Padded Shoulder Straps
  • Lifetime Replacement Warranty

Price: $44.95

LapDog Carrying Case/Portable Workplace on Sale

The Lapdog is a padded carrying case for your computer that unfolds for use on your lap, on an airplane tray, or any other work surface. Padded, folding pockets provide storage for laptop accessories when opened and protection for your laptop when closed. Made of rugged rip-stop black nylon, this versatile case is rapidly becoming a favorite for road warriors.

Lapdog is a cleverly designed padded carrying case for your laptop computer that unfolds in seconds to create a portable work environment. Ballistic nylon protects its contents and ensures good looks through even the worst abuse. Carefully placed grip areas provide a non slip surface for your desk or lap.

Lapdog's side pockets hold the things that you need to have with your laptop. The pockets will accommodate a PDA, a cell phone, removable drives, batteries, power supply, cords, and media. To prevent overloading that would result in a bag to heavy to carry comfortably, the amount of storage space on the unit was intentionally kept to a minimum.


  • 1000 denier urethane coated ballistics type nylon
  • 200 denier urethane coated rip-stop nylon
  • 1000 lb. test military spec webbing
  • non-crocking suede
  • non-slip gripdeck which also provides a thermal barrier between the laptop and user
  • shock absorbing EVA foam
  • top grain leather handle
  • military spec hardware
  • all seams are edge bound
  • all stress points are reinforced with bartacks for increased strength
  • comes with ergonomic, non-slip shoulder strap
  • will accommodate a 12.75" x 10.5" x 2.5" computer
  • 2.5 lbs. with shoulder strap

Limited lifetime warranty from manufacturer

On Sale for $99.95 (Suggested Retail: $139.95)

Doggie Bag on Sale

The Doggie Bag is an optional accessory for the Lapdog carrying case that provides additional storage compartments for files, portable printers and other office supplies and equipment. The Doggie Bag drapes over the Lapdog saddlebag style and attaches securely via two quick release buckles. Once removed, the Doggie bag can be hung conveniently to create a functional, vertical filing and storage system.

Once removed from the Lapdog, the Doggie Bags may be hung from a wall, partition, or desk drawer creating a portable filing system for your portable office.

Lapdog's leather handle wrap accepts the handle in the opening of the Doggie bag's forming a single handle, securing the bags together. Quick release buckles on the underside of the Doggie bags provide an additional means of securing to the Lapdog


  • 1000 denier urethane coated ballistics type nylon
  • 200 denier urethane coated rip-stop nylon
  • 1000 lb. test military spec webbing
  • military spec hardware
  • all seams are edge bound

Limited lifetime from manufacturer

Model No. DBG9957, On Sale: $59.95 (regular $74.95)

Dr. Bott Ships LeatherPod, Leather Case for iPod from e-Pac

LeatherPod from e-Pac is a deluxe iPod case in European design that features play-through usability while LeatherPodstill offering protection for the iPod itself. The removable shoulder strap and belt clip provide versatile yet elegant ways to keep your iPod with you on the go.

Luxurious soft leather in classic black, with features that make for a fully equipped case. Features including the fully usable jog dial, display protection, carrying strap and a sturdy belt clip. The interior is lined with soft material that will not scratch the delicate iPod materials so your iPod stays looking like new.

Most users find no need to take the iPod out of the LeatherPod - all ports and the jog dial are fully accessible and the protective front flap leaves head phones and the hold button free.

"The LeatherPod is a truly befitting the professional with high quality soft leather and European design." said Jens Dietrich, of Dr. Bott KG. "All the style, comfort and features do not add up in price - in fact, the LeatherPod is surprisingly affordable!"

LeatherPod retails for $29.95 is available immediately.

Bargain 'Books

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.

Wagener Media

Baucom Computers


Small Dog Electronics

  • PowerBook G4/667, 256/30 GB with MCE/40 GB Transport Pro Portable FireWire & USB hard drive, factory refurbished with a 90 day warranty, $2,439
  • PowerBook G4/667. 512/30 GB/DVD/AirPort, $2,149
  • iBook 500,128/15 GB/CD w/Ogio Case, $949
  • iBook 500. 128/15 GB/CD-ROM, refurb., $879


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