by Steve Siercks, Jordan Streiff, & Chris Rogers
computer news with the teen perspective
The Official iTeen iBook Review
by Chris Rogers
Hello Everyone, it's Chris from iTeen and I have some wonderful news for you; I have just finished reviewing the iBook. I purchased my iBook about a month ago and decided it would be better to completely review it in everyday circumstances, and by-golly that's just what I did. Now, on with the show!
The iBook specifications
Most of you know the specifications for Apple's new lovable portable, but for those who don't, here they come.
G3 300MHz Processor
32 MB RAM
3.2 GB HD
12.1" Active Matrix Display
Full Size Standard Keyboard and Trackpad
Built-in Stereo 3D Speaker
1 Stereo Out port, One 12Mbps USB Port
10/100Base-T Ethernet Port
56k v.90 Compatible Modem
Upgrading your iBook
This is a great laptop if you purchase it stock, with no extras, although most of you would need some extras added to it. The first of these would be RAM. I purchased a 64MB RAM module to add to my iBook. The total is now up to 96MB with the help of the two SO-DIMM RAM slots. 32MB of RAM will work for many users as long as Virtual Memory is also turned on, but to have several apps running at one time, or to use more RAM intensive apps, you will want to upgrade the RAM.
The second upgrade I added to my iBook that many people might need is an Ethernet network, only this will involve upgrading your other Macs. Like most people, the iBook isn't their only machine. Sure the iBook comes with built-in Ethernet, but some older Macintosh models, Like a 6100 series or PowerMacintosh of slightly older Performa model, do not come with built-in Ethernet. The ethernet network will make it easy to transfer data to and from the iBook to another computer. What you will need is simple:
A 5-Port hub
2 Category 5 Ethernet Cables
An Ethernet Card in your other computer(s)
If you don't have an ethernet card in your other Machine, you will want to add a 10/100base-T Ethernet card to it. One I recommend is one from Asante. Having the network makes it easy to get data. For instance, I am able to get files from my SCSI Orb Drive and SCSI Zip Drive that is attached to the other computer even though the iBook does not have SCSI capabilities. I simply go to the Network Browser or the Chooser, click on my desktop machine, enter my password and click on the volume. Voilá, the volume instantly appears on the iBook's desktop.
If you simply don't want to have wires, since the iBook is a wireless capable machine you can always purchase the iBook Airport Bundle. This will make it even easier to get files to and from the iBook and your desktop machine. You simply change the Appletalk Control Panel to Airport and there you are sitting on a 11Mbps Network, and best of all, no wires! This works great with multiple iBooks, or a network with the new PowerMac G4s and/or the new iMac models. These models all have AirPort capabilities. PowerBooks have PC card options that make them AirPort capable. Apple has tips for adding other PowerMacs to an AirPort network on their AirPort FAQ page.
Onto the important stuff!
By now you are saying, you aren't telling me anything I don't know. If you have any other questions, you can simply go to the iBook's Home Page or surf Apple's TIL Library for any technical questions you may have about it. The big question for the iBook around this season is, is it really a student computer? One that I can use at home and at school? The answer is YES!
Taking it to school
I took the iBook to school with me for a day just to test this out and I enjoyed it a lot. I could simply turn on my iBook and not disturb anyone. The machine is so quiet you can barely hear the hard drive spin and read. If you mute the sound, the startup chime won't be heard either. Using the free Palm Desktop, you can easily enter your homework into the Tasks list and now you have your homework wherever you take your homework. No more losing papers no more space being taken up in your backpack for some Agenda Book. It simply sits on your hard drive and comes up on the screen when it needs to be taken care of.
Some real practical uses of the iBook in school is using it to take notes. Though I got more compliments on how cute and pretty it is from both guys and girls, it's powerful features and flexibility in the environment is the best I have ever seen in a laptop computer. The computer is built from the same plastic used in bullet proof vests and has .8mm of rubber welded around the edges of the computer, both display and base, so that if it gets bumped, no scratches or other marks to mar the beauty of the machine. This makes it a physically sturdy computer but what about the non physical side? Well, the iBook comes equipped with tons of different kinds of software, but the most valuable that comes with it would have to be AppleWorks 5. In any class I can simply have AppleWorks open and take notes at the push of some keyboard keys.
Most people can type faster than they can write, due to the skills learned from too many IM's from friends and family while online. You can take detailed notes on any subject that you have. I took Finals notes in English, Biology, Geometry, and French and had them at my finger tips when I went to study for them. Unfortunately, I don't believe that the wireless portion of the iBook will be taken advantage of in school systems for a while now. Most schools are spending their money on getting machines or setting up cabled networks. If you are lucky enough to get a wireless capable network in your school. Take advantage of it.
The battery lasts on average 6.6 hours. That was enough for me and I had plenty of power to do a presentation on how to use the internet in my English class.
The iBook is definitely a winner for any student this holiday season, and any season really. If you have any questions about the iBook be sure to E-Mail Me, or post on our Forum Board, and I or anyone else will help you.
-Chris Rogers- & the iTeen iTEAM
iTeen Most Recent Columns
Offering computer news with the teen perspectiv, iTeen Online started with a weekly column at theimac.com under the supervision of Robert Aldridge. When they realized that there was a huge demand for teen computer news, iTeen Online was born. iTeen Online posted daily, original content that anyone (including adults) could read. Hits soared and iTeen Online became the number one source for teen computer news.
Now iTeen Online has once again became iTeen. At The Mac Observer the iTeem will produce a weekly article that will air on Thursdays at MacObserver.com. In addition to the weekly article, the iTeem will give you the same reviews and content that you're used to at iTeenol.com.