zo's review of the iBook 14 and OSX

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
review of iBook 14



384MB Ram

I received it finally about 2 weeks ago, and here are my impressions so far.

Size: Not having workied with the iBook 12 much, I cant complain much about the size nor the weight. The 14inch screen is great quality and have no probs with it. I did receive my iBook just a few hours before taking a flight, so I did have difficulty using it on a super cramped flight. But managed. I dont know how much better an iBook 12 wouldve fared.

Problems: The battery does not fit properly into the 'bay'. There are no battery problems per se, but the edge of it sticks out a few mm. I will take a pic so you understand. Having it on my lap, you can feel it. I will complain to Apple about this.

Screen also until yesterday has been flickering. It goes from bright, to 'sleep' mode brightness for a fleeting second... happens sometimes... hasnt happened in the last day or so. If I open/close the screen, there are no contact problems... it doesnt flicker if I move it around. Also, I was hoping (in a way) that it was a software problem, but booting into OS 9, it does the same thing. Will have to bring to store to have it verified.

Heat: Toasty warm on lap even after few hours of proc intense operations. No problems with that... especially now in winter.

Battery: Very impressed. With some light text processing, some mp3 playing, email, internet, etc an astonishing 5h20 minutes!! Its advertised as 6 hours.

Sleep: No probs whatsoever. Sleeps right away and starts up in a second or two. By having it in sleep after a full charge of battery and unplugging it, after 12 hours, I lost 3% of battery level. Very impressive.

DVD/CDR: So far, watched a few movies both on screen and through AV cable. No problems. Wish the speakers were a bit louder but oh well. Been burning CDs (audio and data) with both builtin cd burner software until I bought Toast and now use Toast for everything. Full speed no problems. 650MB burns in 9minutes (with Toast). FYI The DVD/CDR is a Sony CD-RW CDRX800E (MMC3). I cant stand this region thing for DVDs and hope that the [k] comes out soon for it to make it regionless.

Keyboard/Trackpad: All works fine... no flimsyness anywhere on keyboard and all work fine.

Mouse: Got meself a Logitech Dual Optical and am very happy with it, no more stalling if you move very quickly (games). Scroll is ok... will have to try USB Overdrive or HOPE that Logitech releases OS X drivers soon... grrr.

Modem: Tried a few times to dialup from different places. Had some disconnects. But also had them when tried from OS 9, so maybe it was the line/ISP itself.

Ethernet: Autonegotiating/sensing works like a charm. Hooked up with normal Cat5 cable (not crossover) to a Cube and transferred files to my heart's delight.

Gaming: Tried Quake 2 and works very smoothly at 800x600 with full options on... 1024 lags pretty badly. Have to try more 'serious' games soon (UT, Quake3, want to try Giants when I get it, etc).

MacOS X:

Comes with 10.1.2, build 5P54c and MacOS 9.2.2. OS X as default of course.

First run, took forever to load. About 3 minutes.

Its been 2 weeks using it full time... all I have to say is this: Apple better get their shit together. This os is half baked at best.

Folders: Half the folders never keep their prefs, icons disappear, desktop disappears... this sucks royally. I also tried removing the .DSstore file to initialize the folder prefs... no go. The root folder, (double click on desktop icon, first window you get) NEVER keeps the prefs correctly.

Internet: I have a router and cable... took FOREVER and the help of a friend (PC user who revels very much in the fact that he (a pc user) had to bail out a Mac user... grrr). To make a long thing short I had to include DNS entries in a certain order, etc. Jeez. Explorer crashes very often... but still my default browser.

Also... problem... Telnet, FTP, and Web hosting don't work at all. I have my real, unexposed IP, and asked friends to connect. No go. I dont understand if it a router/net problem or OS X. Have to try Personal Web sharing on OS 9 and see if it works there.

General: Responsiveness is pretty bad. There is always a delay somewhere. Optimize optimize optimize dammit. BRAND NEW Mac and it lags. Folder resizing sucks terribly. 'Shelf' icons are terrible. Just hideous. Once I have time I want to change all of them.

TinkerTool: Thank god for it... how can desktops pref not have an option to resize to screen, stretch, tile, etc??? Yeesh.

FireWire: I cant believe OS X cannot read PC formatted partitions... now I have to boot into OS 9, unload all my stuff and reformat into HFS+. AAAGGGHHHH.

Finder: Crashes like hell. Sometimes when I quit one app, finder quits too, sometimes when ejecting media, it crashes... sucks horribly.

iDisk: I have cable connection and it is SLOOOOOOOW. The thing that sucks the most is that as I wait for an operation to finish, the Finder is frozen for the whole time. Unacceptable. Sucks. Well, at least its free.

Icons: I have a HUGE collection of OS X icons... why is it that when I view 'too many' icons they start becoming generic??? I view the first 2-300... then thereafter they are all generic. I have to relog in to see them all. Messed up.

AppleWorks: Useless... claims that it can read Exell and Word files is just false. I tried a few PC created Word docs (Office97 format) and AW couldn't either of them.

Fonts: In the Utilities folder there is a folder called Asia Text Extras. In it there is ann app called True Type Font Editor. When I double click any font, it opens that app. Anything I try and touch in the font to view it, immediately, without question, crashes the app. Nice going. I cannot believe there is no bulitin font viewing capability like in OS 9.

iPhoto: Cute... but still needs much improvements... and SPEED IT UP. GraphicConverter for me still.

Classic: Almost never have it on. Almost all I need is OS X ready. Cant wait for PS7... and drivers for my USB SmartMedia reader... damn Lexar.

Needs: Despite trying to get used to OSX, I still NEED spring loaded folders (thank 10.2) and LABELS DAMMIT. How hard can it be to have multicolored labels for folders, files, etc!!!

Conclusion: iBook is great (except small probs mentioned before) OS X needs some SERIOUS optimization... its just TOO slow now. Has a TON of potential... but I wouldnt be surprised if it will take until 10.3-10.4 to see a better OS with all this crap ironed out.


  • Reply 1 of 23
    Thanks for the review! I am considering the iBook as my first laptop would really like a powerbook, but I don't really need all of the power in my portable (that is what my desktop computers are for <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" /> )

    [quote] Telnet, FTP, and Web hosting don't work at all. I have my real, unexposed IP, and asked friends to connect. No go. <hr></blockquote>

    This is more than likely a setting in your router. I am using a Linsys router at home and I either use IP Forwarding (specify which LAN IP and Ports and Protocols) or just use DMZ Hosting (exposes all ports/protocols of specific LAN IP)

    Hope that helps some.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    zozo Posts: 3,117member
    thanks for the suggestion... will look into it:

    another thing I noticed:

    At 1024 rez playing Apple movie trailers at full screen is very jumpy. Not smooth. Very negatively surprised by that.

    I hope its an optimization problem and will be resolved soon.

    Also, OS X seems to be coming down to a crawl at times... Jeez Apple, come on... this OS sucks right now
  • Reply 3 of 23
    zozo Posts: 3,117member
    some updates:

    with the announcement of QT 6 I hope it improves QT playback in OSX. After doing some tests, in OS 9 I can playback the new Blade 2 480Hi-res trailer at full screen without a hitch. In OS X its terrible and have to resort to doubling the screen. Blah.

    Gaming: Downloaded the Myth III demo and plaed it with 32bit color, textures on insane and the other two settings on medium. In OS 9 it actually played pretty well, happy. Haven't tried in OS X yet.

    Drivers: Happily, after bitching and complaining to Lexar for drivers(usb flash/cf combo reader) they sent them to me (if anyone needs them, I can send you the dl link) and while it doesnt seem to work with iPhoto (although it launches... but doesnt import), it does work with the older ImageCapture app perfectly. I actually prefer that seeing that I will stay off iPhoto until it gets to 2.0 at least.

    Screen Flickering: Its been 2 days and it hasnt happened anymore... very strange. If it happens again I will take it to be seen, although it might be a good idea to do it anyway just in case.

    Scanner: Canon USB 1240 (nice) still missing Drivers/App to use in OSX but works in Classic mode (at least).

    FireWire Pocket drive: Took a while to empty it and then reformat with SilverLining Pro... and then ended up reading on MacOS X Hints that SilverLining and that I should reformat with Apple tools... *groan*. Ah well, at least now I have a usable FW drive in OSX... I still can't believe OS X cant read MS-Dos partitions.

    Curiosity: In the Startup Folder control panel in OS 9, it sees other copies of my MacOS 9.2.2 backups as 9.1.2. In OS X, it sees them correctly as Z-9.2.2. Very weird.

    WindowShade: Yet another indispensible hack... Love it... download it from Versiontracker.

    PixelNhance and Curator: Hah... iPhoto move over. Curator is what OS X should be for viewing pics. PixelNhance is great and simple.

    Photoshop 7 beta 43: A friend just HAD to pass by and install it on my computer... so, oh well, I have that. It loads in 20 seconds and about 18 seconds after quitting first time. All I can say is it works perfectly. I can't TWAIN acquire (tried with my Canon USB scanner). It should be optimized a bit for speed... but I have used it a bit and works awesomely. In anycase I have PS Elements with which I am more than happy with for photo retouching (although its a classic app :-/ )

    the experimentation goes on...
  • Reply 4 of 23
    Funny! I must be using an alien version of OS X since I can mount and read and write to DOS formatted drives (Memory Stick, CF Card, FireWire drive etc)
  • Reply 5 of 23
    [quote]Originally posted by ZO:


    Ethernet: Autonegotiating/sensing works like a charm. Hooked up with normal Cat5 cable (not crossover) to a Cube and transferred files to my heart's delight.


    Are you sure this is actually a feature of the iBook rather than the Cube?

    I'm not quite sure, but didn't the Cube at least have GBit ethernet as an option? 'Cos Auto MDI-X is pretty common w/ GBit ethernet, but hardly ever found on 100MBit ethernet.

    Guess I'll just go check Apple's tech pubs...

    EDIT: Done so, and it turns out that the iBook doesn indeed have Auto-MDI-X. Cool, very cool.



    [ 02-13-2002: Message edited by: RazzFazz ]</p>
  • Reply 6 of 23
    zozo Posts: 3,117member
    here is what I mean by the battery not being in place:

    btw, even the Mac store where I bought my iBook had this 'defect'. The 12inch version next to it didnt seem to have the problem. Anyone else see this? Notice it?

  • Reply 7 of 23
    I really think you'd qualify for a replacement with that battery, you know; that can't be right. Thanks for an insightful review;

    One thing - I suspect that the screen flickering might be down to the power management software; have a look at the sleep settings.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    ZO, thanks for a very informative review. I find OS X to be a royal pain actually, and your criticisms of it are well taken. sometimes i actually miss OS 9... (for stupid little things too, like the folder labeling!)

    btw, i have that screen flicker you described too, like its about to go to sleep or soemthing, but then snaps back to bright. (and i have a new imac g4.) been trying to ignore it, but maybe it can be fixed? i dunno.

    anyway, hope you get your battery problem taken care of. it has to be some kind of defective battery or terminal. i cant imagine apple would make such a sloppy design intentionally. the outer package is way too important to them.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    zozo Posts: 3,117member
    what build of OS X do you have? Maybe we share that in common.

    In any case, it hasnt happened again in the past few days.

    I hope that I will either be able to get a new battery (and keep the original one) or at least have it replaced. I think its more of a battery issue rather than the whole design.

    As I said though, the iBook 14 in the store had the same defect. And, no, they didnt give me that one without my knowledge
  • Reply 10 of 23
    Just for reference for you guys saying osx is slow as balls. Im running OSX on a ti book g4 550 and a 933 powermac both with 512ram and osx is very very fast, window resizing in explorer is the only exception. But on both those computers Osx feels more responsive and runs better that 9.2. and feels more responsive and runs better than any windows system ive ever been on . If i had all my appz in x i would never use 9 again. but i can undestand the frustration of x not running like it should on slower machenes, but if they made it like that it prob wouldnt be such a powerfull os
  • Reply 11 of 23
    zozo Posts: 3,117member
    well if G4 and 128MB more make that much a difference (ok, and 8MB more vram and 33mhz faster bus) then I totally sympasize(?) with those people in California that want to sue Apple because OS X performs like shit on G3s.

    I mean, these aren't 3 year old first or second gen G3s we are talking about... I bought this baby TWO WEEKS ago.

    Heck, if by 10.3 (or whatever it will be called in 6 months) OS X doesnt get faster on this machine, I may start thinking of raising some hell myself.

    When I go back into 9 its like night to day. Immediate responsiveness, etc... and freezes. In OSX everything lags juuuust a little bit, resizing in ANY mode just plain sucks and goes to a crawl. I opened a folder with 980pics in list view.... it took 25seconds of spinning pinwheel before I could touch ANYTHING in the Finder again. Other apps of course were fine...

    Actually come to think of it, the worst 'app' I have to deal with is the Finder. It crashes very often and just makes me want to scream.

    If it werent for the stability of this OS overall, I would have just died.

    Im sorry but seeing that consumers wont be getting really fast processors any time soon (, new iMac is bare minimum imo... just wait until next year and lets see if they are all nice and fast as they are today) Apple had better optimize the HELL out of this OS. I just hope everyone's optimism will hold out in that they approach the OS ala NeXT way... first roll out the product in any shape or form (just like 10.0) and then over time optimize the living hell out of it.

    Well there is only one way to find out... wait.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    [quote]Originally posted by ZO:

    <strong>what build of OS X do you have? Maybe we share that in common.

    In any case, it hasnt happened again in the past few days.

    I hope that I will either be able to get a new battery (and keep the original one) or at least have it replaced. I think its more of a battery issue rather than the whole design.

    As I said though, the iBook 14 in the store had the same defect. And, no, they didnt give me that one without my knowledge </strong><hr></blockquote>

    you think its an OS X problem? hmm, i have to see if i get any flicker in 9. will report back.

    btw, are you missing some gigs on your HD? it says my total hard drive capacity is 55.9 gigs. where's the other 4.1???? its suppposed to be 60! even if its being used by something, shouldnt it be part of the total capacity?
  • Reply 13 of 23
    zozo Posts: 3,117member
    [quote]Originally posted by catalyst:

    <strong>Funny! I must be using an alien version of OS X since I can mount and read and write to DOS formatted drives (Memory Stick, CF Card, FireWire drive etc)</strong><hr></blockquote>

    well, I had read that it was only FireWire drives that had this issue.

    In fact in Disk Setup app, I can see the MS-Dos partition... but it will not mount. Also, if I select the ENTIRE drive I can partition it in UFS, HFS, HFS+, and MS-Dos. BUT If I select the ONE HFS+ partition (mine is currently 16GB HFS+ and 3GB MS-Dos) I can't reformat it in MS-Dos format, only the other 3. Also, I cannot select the MS-Dos partition by itself (in the partition tab). I see 2 small non formatted sections and one HFS+ one.... no sign of the MS-Dos partition.

    I also tried this on an older G4 via FireWire and did the same thing.

    Seeing that I dont have anything important on it yet I could actually try and totally reformat it in MS=Dos using the Disk Setup app and see if THEN I can see it in X (basically would mean that SilverLining sucks). Also, would like to try with USB connection and see if its a FW issue or just an OS thing.

    Hmmm... off to tinker I go.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    zozo Posts: 3,117member
    well, I went ahead and erased the FireWire drive.

    I made it one big MS-Dos partition using the OS X Disk Utility app. No problems. Made it and it mounted onto the desktop. GetInfo says its MS-Dos formatted...

    Now, back into the Dist Utility app to try and partition it.

    I select it, select 2 partitions and make one 2GB and the other 17GB. Here is where it gets loopy.

    I can format the individual partitions as UDF, HFS, HFS+, and Free Space. No MS-Dos.

    So I make the 17GB partition HFS+ and leave the smaller one as Free Space.

    Now only the 17GB partition mounts fine. No sign of the Free Space (which I guess would be unformatted).

    Anyone? Any clues about this?

    When I eject it, and replug it in, in takes about 20 seconds before anything appears on the desktop. No sign of the unformatted partition <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
  • Reply 15 of 23
    I use OS X 100% of the time, only because it has the UNIX part of it that I really like. I frequently impress my PC friends by compiling popular Linux programs native on my iBook. But iBooks have terrible quality problems (won't get into details - I'll end up destroying the thing...), and OS X is quite sluggish on here, and has been since I bought it. The iBook shipped with OS X, back in September, 2001. Oh well...
  • Reply 16 of 23
    "Free Space" isn't a partition that is left unformatted. It's just Free Space.

    And since the actual partition maps themselves differ between the two formats, I'm not sure you can have success in your mission. Good luck.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    zozo Posts: 3,117member

    All of a sudden this morning I couldn't modify anything in my Applications folder.

    I went out on a limb and without asking or consulting I enabled and logged in as root and changed the permissions to the whole Applications forder to Group: Read&Write.

    Obviously it works now, but I wonder if I didnt do something bad for security later on.

    THEN.. literally a few hours later I see posted on Maccentral that Apple posted a fix for this exact problem... DOH. I dont know what it did to fix it.. hope it was the same thing.

    FREE SPACE: How can it just be free space? It must be an unpartitioned sector.. no? Doesnt make sense. In any case, rebooting to OS 9 I tried SilverLining to see if I could format it into MS-Dos... alas, to no avail. It doesnt see the Free Space partition.

    Very weird.

    SCANNER: Dammit, I hope Canon releases OS X Scanning and Drivers ASAP. Its the only thing that needs Classic for me now.

    SHERLOCK INDEXING: Is there any way to turn the damn thing off??? I hate it at startup or login that it you hear the HD churning as it indexes... its useless for me. ALSO: When I use Sherlock and the various HDs appear, my main HD appears and it says "Can't Index This Volume. Add Folders and Index Them" WTF??? There are thousands of folders in it!!

    OSX Rant number...: When I create a folder or edit the name of a file/folder in list view, it jumps. IE, I click on the name twice slowly and the text edit field appears. A second later it becomes solid again. So I have to repeat the process. Also, when I create a new folder, it automatically appears with an editable name... but here. It appears (always in list view) for a second... I can get a letter or two in, then it becomes solid again and jumps to the letter position.

    Blinking cursor during file edit In OS X save files or changing the name of a file/folder when I press forward with cursor keys I lose sight of the cursor blinker (position blinker, whatever its called when you write and shows the position of your text write) for a second. So, if I try and edit a name, I press a few times and have to wait for the cursor to reappear... you dont see the cursor move as you move... hmmm, does this make sense? Basically as I move forward it dissappears for a second until I stop.

    Enough rant for today.

    PS Tip: I have noticed a few times when some apps seem to be hung (not in that sense... I mean with spinning wheel), if you right click on the 'hung' app icon in the dock, it sometimes 'unfreezes' it. Happened a few times compressing very big archives or other things.

    Come on Apple... this is an amazing OS so far.. get your shit together and make this thing really SHINE.

    [ 02-15-2002: Message edited by: ZO ]</p>
  • Reply 18 of 23
    torifiletorifile Posts: 4,024member

    I've got a 12.1" iBook and I've had that battery problem in the past. It's a matter of making sure it's seated properly before you tighten it. Trust me. I was ticked at first too. Try just pushing down on edge that's sticking up. I bet that'll fix it. Just make sure the battery is smooth by running your finger over it before tightening next time. As for OS X being so bad, I haven't had any problems with it. It's really a learning curve thing. I did have the permissions problem once and only once. I'm not sure how it happens, but I think that some of those Haxies that you have (or maybe you've got just one, WindowShade), might be causing the problem. I had 2 permissions problems, actually. Both were RIGHT AFTER I installed haxies. Needless to say they're gone now and so are my problems. HTH.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    The Sherlock indexing thing is in the Preferences. Duh.

    I'm sorry your iBook has caused so much frustration. I haven't seen any of the problems you have (just got mine, too). My only problem was FedEx taking three extra days - after the first attempt to deliver it when we weren't home - to try delivering it again.

    At work, we have a tendency to erase all Macs out of the box and rebuild them from the ground up, but I decided to see how far I could get before deciding I should have done that with the new machine. So far, I haven't regretted the thought for a moment. Not one problem and not the least bit slow.

    I guess I'm just lucky.

    (Then again, I got the 12" and not the 14". I suppose *that* could be the difference. heh)

    [ 02-16-2002: Message edited by: cydar ]</p>
  • Reply 20 of 23
    zozo Posts: 3,117member
    [quote]Originally posted by cydar:

    <strong>The Sherlock indexing thing is in the Preferences. Duh.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Umm, yeah I figured that, but there is no option to disable it totally. I already had un-checked the options in the prefs. And yet, when I startup or login, I still hear 1-2 minutes of intense disk churning. I THINK its Sherlock, seeing that after my HD is done, my FW drive also gets the treatment. Only for a few seconds because there is nothing on it yet.

    Regarding your habit of reinstalling Macs as soon as you get them, I do the same thing since years. Makes things better (at least psychologically).

    Does anyone know where the "Welcome to MacOS X" registration/setup movie is? Actually, I know where the movie is, but it seems that there is a sound file somewhere else that accompanies it as it starts. I could only find the movie but not the audio file.

    Dock Oddity Since the start I've placed the dock to my left and had it auto-hide. I started getting really annoyed at the auto hide thing and the fact that I have added tons of apps means I need more space. So I placed it on the bottom and turned off auto-hide. Strangely enough OS X seems to be a lot smother since I have done this. I think the auto-hide feature takes a pretty big processor hit.

    I used TOP in the Terminal and watched the processor usage spike like hell when I used the dock on the left and autohide. On the bottom it seems, strangely, to take less. Weird.
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