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A Periodic (P)review Of Leaping Forward

By: Johan

Sunday, June 5

The Ultimate Home Computer System

Top Of My Computer Shopping List:

  • PowerBook G4 15" 1.67GHz with:
    • ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 128MB dual
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Backlit Keyboard & Mac OS
    • 80GB Ultra ATA drive (5400rpm)
    • 8x SuperDrive (DVDR/CD-RW)
    • 1GB DDR333 SDRAM - 2 SO-DIMM
  • AirPort Extreme Base Station (with modem and antenna port) and/or
  • AirPort Express Base Station with AirTunes
  • Apple Cinema HD Display (23" flat panel)
  • Elgato EyeHome Wireless Edition

PowerBook G4 15"

I fist saw the Apple PowerBook 15" in the Apple store in London. It only took one glance to fall in love with it. It's thin as you could wish at just 1.1 inch, the screen is just fenomenal and it's packed with features and yet fully customizable to address your individual needs. I'm opting for the dual screen video card because I want one of them extra 23" Cinema Displays to make this a mouth-watering home theatre system. (Would have gone for the 30" if it didn't cost disproportionally extra.) Since I'm not into gaming anymore, the Ati Radeon 9700 is likely to be overkill in most aspects but apparently, to get that crisp display I want, the PowerBook G4 needs this card.

The built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-fi card provides blazing connectivity speeds of up to 54 megabits per second via the 802.11g wireless standard. It also complies with the b standard though so it will be able to hook me up online almost anywhere. The G4 also has 10/100/1000 (Gigabit!) old school networking connections.

The backlit keyboard enables you to work under the warming comfort of your duvet, a feature welcomed by us 24/7 business people. In the US the G4 PowerBook is advertised as shipping with Mac OS 10.3 codename 'Panther'. Though the Apple Store UK lists it as shipping with the latest version called 'Tiger'.


I doubt I'll actually need the modem back-up so the AirPort express will probably do me just fine. This piece of kit takes an incoming network cable connected to your cable/adsl modem and converts it to wireless internet/network. In addition you can plug your stereo in it and you can play your music via iTunes from your computer on your hi-fi set. So I'll need one that will give me wireless internet and hooks on to my bedroom sound system and one that supplies the living room stereo with tunes to play.

Cinema HD Display

The 23" provides a resolution of 1920 x 1200 which gives the eye well over 2.3 million pixels too look at. This is the exact resolution to display widescreen High Defenition multimedia. These screens are also reported to take up 33% less energy compared to their CTR equivalents in size. Working on both the HD Display as well as the laptop's own screen enables displaying multiple program windows over the combined resolution.

Elgato EyeHome Wireless Edition

The EyeHome package allows you to wirelessly connect your digital content to your TV. Whether it's watching your pictures, movies, listening to your music or browsing the internet, with EyeHome you can do it from your sofa with the supplied remote. Sony manufactures HD cameras and also distributes increasing numbers of HD shot movies. Sony uncovered their plans for an iTunes style movie download service last March. Joint development with Apple has also been rumoured. Watching films truly 'on-demand' is one step closer...

Couple Of Questions Though...

I'll have to consult some MacManiacs for this.
  1. Unlike Linux vs Windows, can I see Windows file systems from my Mac?
  2. Does Mac play MP3s or are iTunes based on some proprietary file extension?
  3. Same for movies/AVI/MPEG?
  4. Can its 'Office' Suite read and/or write common MS file types (doc, ppt, xls) like OpenOffice can?
  5. A lot of reusable media comes 'PC or MAC' formatted. If I burn a CD with jpegs from my camera for instance, can my family/friends/associates see them on their PC's?
  6. When I develop PHP programs on my Mac, can I expect a lot of incompatibilities with Linux based Apache servers?