MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo Users Report Flickering Displays/Distortion

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Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2006, 15:59
Category: MacBook Pro has reports in regarding the emergence of flickering displays and the appearance of horizontal distortion lines in the late 2006 model of the MacBook Pro.
The issue, which is similar to a problem that occurred in some of the iBook G4 laptops. Apple seems to be replacing the logic board as a fix, albeit a parts shortage problem may led to delays. The issue doesn’t seem to be related to any problems with the display components themselves, but seems isolated to the logic board.
If you’ve experienced this problem or have any workarounds or ideas, post them as comments.


Special edition Beatles iPod could be in the wings

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Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2006, 10:14
Category: iPod

beatles-ipod-nano-red.pngOn Monday Fortune magazine reported that Apple is negotiating with The Beatles to distribute their music online via an exclusive arrangement with the iTunes store. The deal would be a coup considering that The Beatles have yet to license their music to be sold online and they are one of the last major holdouts that people mention when criticizing online music sales.
The buzz began in April 2006 when Apple Corps Ltd. (The Beatles record label) head Neil Aspinall mentioned that they were re-mastering the entire Beatles catalog…
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


Macworld Expo Reworks Users Conference Sessions

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Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2006, 08:15
Category: Macworld Expo

IDG World Expo, the company responsible for organizing the Macworld Expo, announced on Wednesday that it had revamped the upcoming Macworld Conference and Expo Users Conferance program. The Macworld Expo takes place from January 8 – 12 at the Moscone center in San Francisco, California and draws tens of thousands of attendees every year.
The upcoming User’s Conference is organized as a seried of sessions and is expected to draw over 3,000 trainees for the upcoming expo. Training is divided into 30 conference sessions which are spaced out over Wednesday, January 10th and Thursday, January 11th. Each training session lasts for 75 minutes.
The upcoming user’s conference will feature two new conference session tracks; “Vision” and “Inspire”. The “Vision” track will feature a collection of sessions led by speakers detailing how technology will evolve and effect work environments, home life and culture. The “Inspire” track will feature sessions led by experts demonstrating new Mac producs and how to use them to generate original works.
Other new conference tracks include Magic, Work and Create with full details for each conference being show at the conference web page.


Apple to Ship 300,000 MacBooks in November

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Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2006, 07:08
Category: MacBook

Apple may be doing better than expected with its recently released version of its Intel Core 2 Duo-based laptop, according to a report from Chinese publication Commercial Times. The report cites that 300,000 MacBooks will likely be sold in November alone according to build orders provided to Taiwanese manufacturing partner Asustek. Apple could easily ship 1,000,000 MacBooks for the December quarter at this rate.
The report also added that Asustek’s shipments dropped for October since Apple was in the process of transitioning the MacBook to the faster Core 2 Duo processor.
Analysts have predicted that Apple will ship between 1.6 and 1.8 million MacBooks for the December quarter according to AppleInsider.


Will Apple Make Another 12″ Laptop?

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Date: Wednesday, November 29th, 2006, 17:31
Category: Any Laptop Computer

Longing for the days of laptops the size of the the PowerBook Duo, reader Eric Nix offers the following request:
Have we seen the end of Apple’s ultra portable laptops? Hopefully, no.
Many users demand ultra portability because of frequent travel. In my case, I frequently travel to third world countries for international relief work. I need something that’s ultra portable with a decent battery life. Stocked with a few extra batteries, it might be days before I can plug into an electrical outlet to recharge a battery.
Here are the reasons why we 12″ PowerBook users feel abandoned and why we hope Apple will produce another ultra portable laptop:
1. Not every person needs a widescreen display: Most of us don’t watch movies on our laptops. Most of us use the laptop for surfing the internet, reading email, word processing or business applications. Although a widescreen is suited well for many users, it adds unnecessary inches to a laptop’s width.
2. A smaller size translates into better portability: Ever tried using a laptop on a cramped airplane, train or bus? Imagine doing this in a third world country where the seats are even closer together than in the U.S. Yes, you can pack humans on a bus like sardines in a can. It’s not the ideal place for a 17″ widescreen, but the current 12″ form factor works well.
3. Smaller screens allow for better battery life: No unnecessary pixels to illuminate.
4. Smaller sizes and lighter weights make it easy to tote around: Every ounce counts when you’re toting textbooks or extra batteries to your class — a half mile away from your parking garage.
5. Thin is in: A thinner laptop allows one to pack in more of those textbooks, papers, and other “fun” stuff into your laptop bag. Some of us will even opt to carry additional batteries in the saved space.
How about it, Mr. Jobs? Will you give us a 12″ non-widescreen MacBook Pro for us ubergeek travelers who demand portability, or will you alienate us and force us to look for Windows (gasp) ultraportables?
Contributed by: Eric Nix, MD


Mac Sales On the Rise at Penn State

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Date: Wednesday, November 29th, 2006, 08:02
Category: MacBook

Mac sales seem to be on the rise at Pennsylvania State University where the Penn State Computer Store saw a significant jump in its sales of Macintosh computers this past summer as opposed to its summer 2005 sales, according to Robin Anderson, communications director of the university’s information and technology services.
A recent study, conducted by Student Monitor, a research organization that studies college student consumer trends, found that 13% of college students planning to purchase laptops have opted for a Maintosh, placing the brand second behind Dell.
Eric Weil, managing partner of Student Monitor, expressed that he felt the numbers showed a noteworthy change.
“It’s probably up two or three [percentage] points in just a year,” he said. “That’s a significant increase.”
Martin also expressed that he thought the popularity of the iPod had boosted Apple’s image on campus.


The Apple Core: Apple releases OS X Security Update

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Date: Wednesday, November 29th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Software

software-update.jpgApple yesterday released Security Update 2006-007 for Mac OS X 10.3.9 through 10.4.8. The update, which is available in Software Update and from Apple Downloads, weighs in at 23.9 MB (for Intel) and is available in several flavors.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


MacBook Users Reporting Trouble with External Keyboards/Mice

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Date: Tuesday, November 28th, 2006, 10:06
Category: MacBook

According to a recent post on, some users have reported troubles using external keyboards and mice with their MacBooks after waking the laptops up from safe sleep. The issue is sometimes accompanied by reports of underpowered USB ports.
Some users have reported successful fixes in disabling the option “Allow Bluetooth Devices to Wake this computer” in Mac OS X’s Bluetooth pane of the System Preferences menu.
Others have found a more technical fix to disable Safe Sleep in general by entering the following command in the Terminal program:
sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0
Stay tuned for more on the story as it develops and if you have and ideas, fixes or workarounds, be sure to post them as comments.


MacBook Pro C2D 7200 vs 5400RPM Drives

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Date: Tuesday, November 28th, 2006, 10:34
Category: hard drive

Bare Feats has posted an addendum to their article on the MacBook Pro C2D where they discuss:
a) 2GB matching vs 3GB unmatching memory, and
b) 7200rpm drive vs 5400rpm drive
Comparing the Hitachi 160GB 5400rpm SATA notebook drive to the Hitachi 7200rpm SATA notebook drive on both SATA and FW800 interfaces, I would characterize the 7200rpm as overall 25% faster (combining sequential and random reads and writes).
My recommendation (and personal approach) is to go with the faster, small boot drive and just be careful what’s stored on it. And then augment the capacity with external FW800 bus powered notebook drives like my favorite, the Little Big Disk from LaCie (dual 7200rpm 100GB drives in box level RAID 0 array).


MagSafe Stress Relief

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Date: Tuesday, November 28th, 2006, 10:00
Category: MacBook Pro

For those of you worried about the weak spot/melting point of the MagSafe connector, here’s what I’ve been doing with all my laptop power supplies for the last few years. I cut a short piece of 1/8″ spiral cable wrap available at Walmart or Radio Shack, usually in a package of multiple diameters for a couple bucks, wrap it around the weak point and cinch it down hard with a small zip tie and a pair of pliers. Cheap trick, but until they add some real stress relief at that joint, it cheaper than buying a new power supply.
Contributed by: Kent Sievers