The Keeper of the iBook

iBook and the Internet

By Mark Newhouse, <>
April 11, 2000

The iMac started it all, creating the iEverything craze. Sure there were others before the iMac, but, just like the translucent color revolution Apple started, iHold them responsible for the creating the iPrefix. Of course, like the "i" in iCEO, the "i" in iMac stands for Internet, and the iMac was the first computer positioned as an internet computer. There are others now, but Apple was the first.

So, when Apple created the next iComputer in the iBook, they upped the ante. If the iBook was to be at truly portable iComputer, then it required something extra, wireless networking. I have already discussed the merits of the AirPort, so I won't get into that here. I want to discuss what to do once you get on the internet.


Apple has realized that they have a lot of brand new customers with iMacs and iBooks flying off the shelves (when you calculate the number of computers being sold as one every six seconds, it isn't an exaggeration to say that they are flying off the shelves). So Apple is positioning itself as an Internet company, creating a portal of sorts out of the Apple site by introducing iTools.

Actually, what Apple has done with iTools is not really that revolutionary. There are review sites out there that do a much better job than iReview, if only because they update their reviews regularly. There are many other eCard sites, although Apple's iCards are pretty slick. KidSafe is a pretty innovative approach to the whole internet filtering idea, but it is going to take some time before it is really useful as there are too many sites that haven't been reviewed yet, and are therefore not accessible via the KidSafe filter.

The two iTools that I like the most are the free e-mail (yes, that has been done before, too, but which e-mail address do you prefer, or and the iDisk. The free e-mail turned out to be the catalyst for getting my wife online. I signed up an e-mail address for her, and now she is taking advantage of the ease of communication it affords.

The best thing about signing up for free e-mail is that it gives you 20 MB of free disk space in an iDisk. This is once again something that has been done before, but the interface to the disk is just like mounting a server on your desktop. The integration is seamless. And, for now at least, there are no ads or annoying pop-ups on the web pages that you post on your iDisk. I have taken advantage of this free space at two sites now. You are soaking in one; the other is my iBlog.

iBook Community

So what is out there, beyond the domain? Despite the picture you might get from looking at iReview, quite a bit. Although most of the sites are dedicated to all things Macintosh, there are a few sites that are dedicated to just the iBook, this being one of them. I'll give a brief description of the other sites below.

This site focuses on iBook related news items, and has a few original articles as well. They also had the good taste to put a Keeper of the iBook banner at the top of their site for a while (thanks Tom). And by fortuitous coincidence, they just started a new iBook forum today (April 11, 2000). Pay them a visit, and see how the forum evolves.

Part of the PowerBookZone site, the iBookZone also focuses on iBook news, with an occasional article about the iBook.

Part of the MacOSPlanet network, this site focuses on iBook news and articles as well, and is cross-linked with the rest of the network sites.

Everything iBook
This is a good reference for finding the right peripherals and other iBook gear. It is part of the Everything iMac site, and since the iBook is an iMac to go, most of the peripherals for the iMac can be used with your iBook as well.

What else is out there?

Discussion Boards and Lists
In addition to the sites described above, there is a more interactive way to get involved in the online iBook community. There are several bulletin boards and email lists that offer the new user-friendly place to ask questions about their iBooks, and the more experienced users a place to share their knowledge with others.

The iBook list
One of the first things I did when I became the Keeper of the iBook was to join Eric Prentice's iBook mailing list. This turned out to be a very good move on my part. I have been a somewhat active participant in the list, and have learned from those who contribute. This is likely the oldest list dedicated to the iBook (it actually started 9 months before the iBook was announced) and is very active. No question is too "newbie" to be asked, and everyone is very helpful. I recommend it, for new users and experts alike!

MacDebate iBook discussion board
If you don't want your inbox filling up too fast, then discussion boards may be a better option for you. MacDebate is a web site that is devoted to discussing all things Macintosh, including the iBook (which just happens to be the most activce board on the site). This is another great place to get questions answered. The only problem with a discussion board is that you have to remember to check it periodically if you want to stay up to date.

The iBook Nook at MacAddict
"You can't have one yet, but you can talk it up in here" Even though the tag-line is a little out of date, this board is fairly active. An interesting thing is that there is no a whole lot of cross-members between this board and the one at MacDebate.

I try to visit each one a couple of times a week. You may even find me posting here and there, as keeper.

There are more sites and opportunities for you to get involved, but this sampling should be more than enough to get you started. So, what are you waiting for? Join the Community!

Mark Newhouse is the Web Designer for the public outreach arm of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories in Tucson, AZ, where the weather allows him to surf naked nearly year 'round!.

The iBook image is courtesy Apple Computer, Inc. The iBook icon is courtesy the Iconfactory.

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Keeper of the iBook Copyright © 2000, Mark Newhouse, all rights reserved

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