Tip: PowerBook Brightness Flickering Fix

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Date: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005, 00:06
Category: Software

Radio Baily has posted a fix for the PowerBook/10.3.8 screen brightness bug:

One of the nicest features of the 15″ Aluminum PowerBooks (and some of its siblings) is their ambient light sensors. Situated under each speaker grille, these allow the ‘Book to tell how bright its environment is and adjust the screen brightness (and backlit keyboard if you have one) to suit.
It’s a thing o’ beauty to put the machine to sleep in a full light office, wake it up in a low light environment at home and have the screen dim to a comfortable level and fade up the keyboard lighting. That was until 10.3.8 when things went slightly batty. The PowerBook developed a nervous tic. You could almost sneeze and it would drop the brightness down a bit then back up again, resulting in a maddening flicker effect.
Until Apple fixes it here’s how I fixed it on mine.

Beware though, it’s not for the weak of heart.

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Best Use of a PowerBook: Free In-Flight Phone Calls

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Date: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005, 00:17
Category: Archive

Edward Vielmetti claims to have telephoned a colleague on a commercial flight using in-flight WiFi Internet access and free Internet telephony service Skype.

I spoke with Valdis Krebs this afternoon who was high over the Atlantic flying SAS on his way home from eastern Europe. He was talking to me using Skype, and not paying anything extra for the call over and above the $29 fee he paid for 6 hours of wifi service.
The flight used Boeing’s Connexion service. Skype sound quality was as good as ever – he didn’t have a separate mic and was just using the built-in on his Mac PowerBook.

Boeing offers in-flight wireless internet access for a US$30 flat rate on some flights. According to one of the comments, the Connexion service offer a respectable 5 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up with an option for 20 Mbps down with existing equipment.

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Apple Class-Action Suit Filed by Resellers

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Date: Monday, February 21st, 2005, 23:13
Category: Archive

Attorneys for a group of former Apple resellers and California consumers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple Computer, similar to a 2003 lawsuit filed by another group of resellers alleging a long list of illegal and improper business practices by the computer company. The recent lawsuit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, is on behalf of all Apple resellers, and consumers who purchased Apple computers after Jan. 1, 1995. It alleges misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, violation of the state’s consumer protection law on warranties, and that Apple sold used computers as new. Download (pdf) a copy of the lawsuit for specific details. (Source: IfoAppleStore).

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Bluetooth 2.0+EDR Triples Throughput, Halves Power Consumption

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Date: Monday, February 21st, 2005, 22:15
Category: Software

Bluetooth logoWhen Apple announced the 2005 speedbumps to their venerable PowerBook G4 lineup they became the first manufacturer to release a notebook computer equipped with Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) which increases the data rate to 3Mbit/sec., from 1Mbit/sec. in Bluetooth (v.1.2). Read more…

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Rollable Solar Panel Powers Notebook Computers

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Date: Monday, February 21st, 2005, 20:39
Category: Accessory

If you find yourself outdoors and away from AC power a lot, solar panels are one of the best (and only) ways to get power to your gadgets. The downside to solar power is that it takes a big panel to collect any real juice. The Brunton SolarRoll 14 (US$399) is a 12 by 57-inch panel of amorphous solar cells that rolls up for easy storage. While it won’t easily strap to the back of your jacket the 17 ounce roll provides a beefy 14 watts of power – enough to power or recharge laptops, digital cameras and smaller mobile gadgets. Links and more after the jump…

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Solar-Powered Jacket Charges Your Mobile Gadgets

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Date: Monday, February 21st, 2005, 20:45
Category: Accessory

The Solar SCOTTEVEST (SeV) System is the ultimate geek jacket, packing 42 pockets, zippered sleeves and a solar panel to recharge your gadgets while you’re on the go.

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2005 PowerBook Quality Issues

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Date: Monday, February 21st, 2005, 10:55
Category: Hardware

XLR8YourMac.com is covering quality issues with Apple’s 2005 PowerBook G4s including trackpad issues, hard drive noises, AC adapter and performance issues:

The first of the new Powerbooks we had in our showroom was a 15″ which suffered from the trackpad issue mentioned on your page recently. We sent it back as DOA and when I arranged to have it picked up, Apple were “unaware of the problem”.
I had found a discussion thread on the subject on the Apple support site which mentioned the trackpad would ‘go to sleep’ when the ‘book was left alone for a few minutes. The discussion metioned static as a factor. Every time I touch any ‘book in the showroom it tends to shock me, but if I first touched the older 12″ Powerbook next to the new one, got a shock and then went to the new one, the trackpad functioned perfectly normally.
My colleague (who rarely gets shocks -due to his shoes according to him) had trouble getting the problem to repeat itself when he used the 15″.
I therefore suggest that the new pads are overly sensitive to static electricity. The second new powerbook we got had no issues. Dan

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Defective 2005 PowerBooks Being Replaced by Apple

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Date: Monday, February 21st, 2005, 10:12
Category: Archive

PowerBookZone is reporting that Apple is replacing 2005 PowerBooks found to have defective trackpads.

We’ve spent a significant amount of time today on the phone with Apple’s technical support, going through the motions to show that our new PowerBook is, in fact, among those afflicted with the now-infamous trackpad problems. For most of you out there, this will simply be an hour spent doing the same things you have already tried on your own: zap the PRAM, reset the power manager, check the trackpad preferences, run the Hardware Test software, and still have no resolution. Only after all that will you get to speak with someone who can actually get your ‘book replaced. Here is a look at how the process went for us…

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10.3.8 and Excessive Sensitivity in Automatic Screen Brightness

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Date: Monday, February 21st, 2005, 09:49
Category: Archive

MacFixIt has been receiving reports about excessive sensitivity in automatic screen brightness feature of 2005 PowerBook G4s after installing Mac OS 10.3.8.

Yesterday we noted a reader report of apparent increased sensitivity in OS X’s automatic screen brightness feature — enabled via the “Automatically adjust brightness as ambient light changes” option in newer PowerBooks’ Displays preferences — since installing OS X 10.3.8. We’ve since received a significant number similar reports confirming this issue. Many readers report the issue is so bad that their screen “flickers.”

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Two-Finger Scrolling for Older PowerBooks

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Date: Monday, February 21st, 2005, 08:33
Category: Software

iScroll2 is a hack to activate two-finger scrolling on supported pre-2005 PowerBooks and iBooks (i.e. those with a “W-Enhanced” trackpad, including most AlBooks and recent iBooks) on OS X 10.3.
It is based on Apple’s AppleADBMouse-209.0.10 driver from 10.3.7 that is available as part of the publicly released Darwin source code. As such, the driver is covered by the APSL.

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