Explorer

A liberating laptop

D’Arcy Jenish August 2 1999
Explorer

A liberating laptop

D’Arcy Jenish August 2 1999

A liberating laptop

Explorer

In a nifty piece of corporate downsizing, Apple Computer Inc. hopes to capitalize on its highly successful, multicoloured desktop computer, the iMac, with a similar product for the laptop market. The “iMac to go,” is how Apple co-founder and interim chief executive officer Steve Jobs described the iBook while unveiling it last week in New York City. Having proven with last years iMac that design counts in computing, Apple is betting that a laptop that looks different will sell, especially with everyday consumers who have been slower to embrace portables than business executives and professionals. The iBook, which will be

available in September for $2,400, comes in a translucent shell with rounded edges and in two colours— blueberry and tangerine. Apple has added one unique option: a wireless Internet connection. Users must purchase a $450 AirPort base station, which plugs into a modem, and a $150 computer card. When the card is inserted, they can surf the Web or check e-mail up to a distance of 50 m from the base station.

A tall green thumb

Forget about the backyard, the environmentally friendly place to plant a garden these days is the roof. Steven Peck, director of a coalition of roofing manufacturers and consultants called Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, is launching an overhead green revolution, starting in Toronto. Greening a city’s rooftops, which has already occurred in many German communities, can lower heating costs, reduce runoff flowing into storm sewers and help remove contaminants from the air. And with roofing systems proven in Europe

and now available in North America, one can cultivate hardy, low-maintenance grasses, shrubs and ground covers without adding excessive weight to the roof. The technology consists of a waterproof sealer membrane, a sheet of composite material for drainage and a 10-to-15-cm thick growing medium of crushed rock, peat and soil. Roofing manufacturers have developed these growing compounds because they are lighter than topsoil mixes and do not require seasonal replenishment with fertilizer or fresh earth. Perfect for the lazy gardener.

D’Arcy Jenish