Get Your PowerBook Up and Running By Jerry Yocky,
To Turn your new Apple PowerBook into a trusty, traveling sidekick.
Whether you're a portable code warrior, Wall Street magnate, or
simply a Mac-lover, the new PowerBook has a lot of nifty features
to satisfy everyone. Consistent with Macintosh's mantra for the
"personal touch," this PowerBook gives you plenty of options to
customize your laptop. But before you get too excited, take some
time and read these helpful tips for setting up your PowerBook the
Always remember: The first step after opening your box is to check
the contents. You don't want to get too far into setting up your
PowerBook if the factory goofed and you're missing crucial components
like a DVD-ROM. You've invested a lot into this computer, so make
sure you get what you paid for! That having said, your PowerBook
comes with the following features:
AC power adapter. This two-piece device should have a four-inch
disc-shaped device with cable wound in it. This end of the cable
connects to your laptop. The other half is the power cord that connects
from the wall plug to the disc-shaped device.
Battery. The battery should be pre-installed into the left slot
of your PowerBook.
DVD-ROM drive. The DVD-ROM should also be pre-installed—look for
it in the right slot of your PowerBook. Weight-saving device. This
is a small black box that can be inserted in one of the two expansion
S video-out cable. You can use this device to connect the screen
output of your PowerBook into your television.
Telephone cord. Use the telephone cord with the internal 56k V.90
Macintosh monitor adapter.
Three CD-ROMs. These contain a copy of the system software already
on your machine and a CD for troubleshooting hardware problems.
Now that you're through checking the contents, examine the configuration.
Your PowerBook came in one of two configurations: 400MHz G3 with
64MB RAM and a 10GB hard drive 500MHz G3 with 128MB of RAM and a
20GB hard drive. If you're picking up last year's model, the 400MHz
machine comes with a 6GB HD and the 500MHz with a 12GB HD. Other
than the processor, amount of RAM and size of hard drive, the machines
are identical. Both come with the same accessories and both machines
have a 100MHz system bus, ATI Rage Mobility video card with 8MB
video RAM, 1MB of L2 cache, built-in Ethernet and an internal V.90
Your laptop battery probably has some charge in it leftover from
factory setup and testing. You might be able to boot up your system
immediately, but it's probably better to plug your PowerBook into
an outlet. The number of LEDs illuminated on the battery lets you
know how much battery life is left—each LED corresponds to 1/4 charge.
You'll probably only have one or two lit. If you don't see the battery
indicators after plugging in your PowerBook, depress the rectangular
button on the battery.
Time to boot the machine. Just open the display and press the power
button. After the initial splash screen, the setup assistant will
run, taking you through a short registration tour. You'll probably
want to answer all the questions in this part. If you're impatient
and quit before the assistant is through (by holding down Option+Apple+Esc),
you can always go back by launching the Setup Assistant application.
Simply launch Sherlock 2 and search for Setup Assistant—you'll be
greeted by the same application. But assuming you finish registration,
you'll have entered all of your registration information and gotten
set up for Internet connectivity.
When the Internet section pops up, you'll have to decide whether
you want to use an existing connection, or perform a free trial
of Earthlink. If you use the free trial, you'll need your credit
card information handy. Earthlink will give you one month free,
but if you don't cancel service by the end of that month, you will
be charged for service in the following months.
After you're done with the setup assistant, you'll be in the desktop
environment (or trying to connect to the Internet). You should see
a few icons along the right side of the screen: your hard drive
(labeled Macintosh HD), Sherlock 2, Browse the Internet, and Quicktime.
Software included with your PowerBook includes Mac OS 9.0.4, iMovie
2, Sherlock 2, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.5, Netscape Communicator
4.73, Quicktime, Outlook Express, Adobe Acrobat Viewer, and a couple
utilities like the Graphing Calculator and SimpleText. Also included
is software to play DVD movies and audio CD's.
To begin using your software, start by double-clicking the Macintosh
HD icon. A window will pop up, displaying the software installed
on your machine. Although your PowerBook doesn't come with as much
software installed as the iBook, your machine is far more powerful,
and Apple must be assuming that many users will want to install
their own sets of software. At this stage, feel free to play around
with your computer; you can easily remedy any mistakes with the
system software CD included with your PowerBook.
For example, you can change the look of your OS environment by
opening the appearance control panel. This panel allows you to change
colors of the desktop and windows, as well as the background picture.
If you have a cool icon that just begs to be the HD icon, simply
select the application that has the picture and hold the Apple+I
keys. A general information screen will open that tells you the
file type, creation date, etc. Click on the icon in the upper left
corner and hold Apple+C to copy. Now, get information on your hard
drive by holding Apple+I again and select the icon. To complete
the task, hold Apple+V and close the window.
You can also personalize your machine by customizing your hard
drive. First, rename your hard drive by clicking in the text field
and typing. You can also add an alias of your hard drive in the
Apple menu items. To add items to Apple menu, open up your System
Folder, which contains a folder labeled Apple Menu Items. Make an
alias of the application you wish to put in the Apple menu by selecting
the item and holding Apple+M. Now, instead of navigating all of
those folders, you can just use the drop-down menus to find everything
on your hard drive.
If you finished registration through the setup assistant, connecting
to the Internet should be a snap. Start by plugging the phone cord
into the back of the PowerBook. In the Apple Menu, open Remote Access
Status; you'll be able to dial in to your ISP from here. Then, open
the Control Panel for Internet, where you should click on the multicolored
apple in the upper left corner of your screen. A menu will drop
down, and if you move your mouse over the Control Panels, a submenu
Within the submenu, click on the item labeled Internet. Once the
Internet Control Panel pops up, you should see the information that
you entered in the Setup Assistant there. Click on the tab labeled
Web, and at the bottom you'll see an item that allows you to select
your default Web browser. Although all Apple computers ship with
Internet Explorer as the default Web browsing application, you can
decide to use either Internet Explorer or Netscape Communicator
If you have DSL or a cable modem, you should plug the Ethernet
cable from the modem to the included network interface card. You'll
need to open your TCP/IP control panel and set it up according to
the directions from your ISP—i.e., DNS name servers, etc.
While on the road with your PowerBook, you need to remember a few
tips. For one, using the DVD-ROM consumes a lot of battery power.
If you have no absolute need to use it, you should install the weight-saving
device in that slot. Before doing so, make sure to unmount any CD's
or DVD's and pull the black tab on the front of the laptop. The
DVD drive will pop out a few centimeters, and you'll be able to
slide it the rest of the way out. You can then just switch that
little black box in the freed-up slot. Your machine will be a few
ounces lighter, and you'll probably have more battery time, as well.
For laptop security issues, see ZDNet's article on PowerBook security.
Getting Help If you have any technical problems, you can check
a couple online resources, as well as Mac help on your machine.
Apple's Web site has a searchable
database of Q&A from their engineers. If this site doesn't help,
you can check out other Web sites like MacFixit
on the Internet.