How-To: Work Around Magic Mouse Disconnecting From Bluetooth

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 31st, 2009, 09:27
Category: News

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Recently, a few users have noticed how Apple’s new multitouch “Magic Mouse” will disconnect at seemingly random times. Although the the mouse will connect just fine upon boot and is usable for a while, it’s been known to become unresponsive and the “Connection Lost” icon will float at the bottom of the screen.

Per CNET, some users have claimed that just clicking the mice will get them to connect again while others have mentioned tapping it on the case of their desktop computers was how they get it to connect.

This problem appears to be with the mice losing power when movements jar the batteries slightly. In some cases people have been able to cause the mouse to disconnect by holding it up from the trackpad and firmly tapping on the top side of the mouse. This suggests that slight battery movement may cause the mice to lose power, and as such there are a couple of remedies available:

Re-seat the batteries:
If a small misalignment is causing the batteries to easily disconnect, try taking them out and putting them back in. This will exercise the spring mechanisms that hold the batteries in place, and perhaps cause them to apply a better hold on the batteries.

Wedge paper under the batteries:
Some people have had success in rolling up a small wad of paper and placing it between the batteries before closing the cover. This will put some additional pressure on the batteries to help secure them in place. If you do this, be sure you do not put so much paper that you warp the battery door.

Replace the batteries:
If your batteries are running low, the mouse may start behaving erratically and disconnecting. However, if this is the case the computer should report the battery level as being at critical levels, as long as you have installed the Magic Mouse driver software.

Apple has recently published a new Knowledge Base article that discusses Bluetooth issues, including those that have been occurring with the Magic Mouse. Albeit Bluetooth has proven reliable and spiffy, the article states that there are occurrences of random shut-odds and currently only recommends checking battery levels and hunting down sources of signal interference as possible solutions.

If you guys have seen this on your end or discovered a useful fix of your own, please let us know.

Additional Reports Bolster Likelihood of Apple January 26th Media Event

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 31st, 2009, 05:58
Category: iPhone 3GS, iPod, Rumor

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A new report published by Fox News has bolstered rumors regarding Apple’s anticipated media event on January 26th at the Yerba Buena center in San Francisco, California. While the original report indicated that Apple had reserved the space to make “a major product announcement,” today’s report indicates that sources have first hand knowledge that the event will be associated with a product in the “mobility space.”

For those anticipating the release of a tablet device at the event, Apple has reportedly told some of its iPhone developers to prepare their apps to run on a larger device, which is not a major undertaking given the flexible foundation supporting today’s iPhone apps.

Reports that Apple is hosting its own January media event at the Yerba Buena, a location it has historically used for its fall iPod-related music events also help explain why the company announced last year that it would no longer be presenting a keynote or even hold a booth at IDG’s Macworld Expo event. The event date set in late January allows the company more time to plan and prepare for the slate introduction.

Former Google China President Reveals Apple Tablet Details in Microblog Post

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 31st, 2009, 05:58
Category: iPhone, News

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Ok, this is somewhat unexpected.

But definitely not unwelcome.

Per GadgetMix, Kaifu Lee, the ex-president of Google China has dropped several hints regarding Apple’s upcoming tablet device on his microblog.

“The Apple Tablet looks like a bigger iPhone that sports an awesome UI packed in a beautiful 10.1-inch screen. The tablet combines the functions of both netbook and kindle, an ebook reader. It has virtual keyboard for text entry and a webcam for video conferencing.”

These details fall in line with recently reported features on the tablet. Earlier in December, analyst Yair Reiner of Oppenheimer predicted that the device would have a 10.1″ multi-touch display using the same technology as the iPhone. He also stated that Apple has been reaching out to book publishers in order to strengthen the position of the tablet as an ebook platform.

All signs currently point to Apple holding an event focusing on the “mobility space” on January 26 at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, where it is believed that the company will finally unveil the tablet to the world.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you think.

Apple Updates Knowledge Base Articles for iPhoto, iMovie and Wireless Input Devices

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 30th, 2009, 09:50
Category: News

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You’ve gotta love the Apple Knowledge Base, for it sometimes has the answers.

Per CNET, Apple has updated and released a few knowledgebase articles, covering issues with iPhoto and iMovie as well as offering troubleshooting tips for wireless keyboards and mice.

Without further ado, here we go:

iMovie ’09: Referenced videos from iPhoto Library not displayed in iMovie Event Library
This article outlines a problem where even though iPhoto can be set to import a movie and store it in locations other than the iPhoto library, if you do this movies that are kept in the iPhoto library will not show up for use in iMovie. This is because iMovie will reference the iPhoto library file for the movie contents, and if the movie is not directly in the library (even though iPhoto can reference it), iMovie will not be able to find it. To get around this problem, either follow the article’s advice and enable copying of imported items into the iPhoto library, or locate the movie file in the Finder and import it directly into iMovie.

Mac OS X v10.6: Character Viewer / Keyboard Viewer appears with authentication dialogs or Fast User Switching dialogs:
The keyboard and character viewers will open for use with individual applications, rather than being globally on or off. As such, if you have opened one of these viewers with an authentication dialogue box open, they will open every time the system prompts for authentication. To disable them, the next time the system prompts for authentication, choose “hide” for the respective viewer in the input menu (may look like a flag on some systems).

iPhoto, Aperture: Warning icon when ordering photo products:
This article discusses a problem with iPhoto and Aperture where if the resolution of an image is too low or if the caption text for an image is too large, then the program will display a warning symbol next to the picture or caption. There are a few minimum resolution requirements for iPhoto’s pictures, which are outlined in this article.

Troubleshooting wireless mouse and keyboard issues:
This article covers a number of problems people may have with bluetooth input devices, including the device not being recognized by the computer, specific keys or other functions of the input devices not working, or bizarre jumpy or slow input. It is specific for people who use the Apple bluetooth keyboard and Magic Mouse, but may also be useful for people running other models, be them either from Apple or from a third party.

If you’ve seen any major changes to the Knowledge Base or just found an article that helped you out of a jam, please let us know.

Apple Offers Additional Education Store Discount, Brings MacBook Prices to Below $800 in Some Cases

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 30th, 2009, 05:09
Category: MacBook, retail

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Sometimes there’s a decent deal to be had if you look for it.

According to MacNN, Apple has offered an educational discount on the current MacBook, dropping the price below US$899. Apple recently dropped the standard educational price by $50, on top of a previous price below the $999 retail cost via its educational store. At at least one school-specific Apple storefront however, the cost has been lowered to US$728. Shipping remains free.

The impetus for the price cuts remains unclear, though it seems likely that Apple just wants to clear out its holiday stock. Apple also sells to most of its educational customers in the run up to September, when many schools begin classes.

The company’s usual “Back to School” promotion offers money towards an iPod when buying a new Mac.

Additional Evidence of Forthcoming 8GB iPhone 3GS Discovered

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 30th, 2009, 05:51
Category: iPhone, News

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Additional evidence of an 8GB iPhone 3GS unit replacing the US$99 8GB iPhone 3G has emerged.

Per Electronista, a German customer who purchased a refurbished 8GB iPhone 3G found a label on the back that said “iPhone 3GS v2.2, 8GB.” The model number, A1241, and part number, MB490DN/A, are identical to the existing iPhone 3G, but other materials on the packaging reference an 8GB iPhone 3GS.

Apple currently offers its lowest capacity 16GB iPhone 3GS model for US$199 with a two-year AT&T contract. The unit sports a fast PowerVR SGX GPU core that supports Open GL ES 2.0, which the existing $99 iPhone 3G cannot do.

Recent reports have said Apple has scheduled a special media event for Jan. 26, 2010. New products are expected to be announced at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif.

During the company’s earnings report in October, Chief Operations Officer Tim Cook noted that the $99 iPhone 3G did not impact sales of the high-end iPhone 3GS. In fact, he said, that demand for the iPhone 3GS exceeded the company’s expectations. The average selling price of iPhones last quarter stood at over US$600, demonstrating gravitation towards the iPhone 3GS.

How To: Get Around an “Error 109″ Message With Time Machine and an Airport Extreme Base Station

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 29th, 2009, 06:00
Category: News

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If you’re experiencing “Error 109″ when backing up Time Machine to an Airport Extreme Base Station, this might be for you. Per CNET, the problem itself can be repaired by repairing the sparsebundle image file. Although the root of this issue may ultimately be compatibilities with the connection to the AEBS, by repairing the sparsebundle you should be able to continue your backups.

Interestingly, Apple doesn’t officially support Airport Extreme Base Station as a Time Machine destination, which may have to do with how the device handles external drives versus a more robust handling of the internal drives in Time Capsule devices. Even so, regardless of the specifics, once the sparsebundle is corrupted, the computer then will have trouble accessing and mounting it, resulting in the errors.

Recently, a number of Airport Extreme Base Station users have been looking for a solution in a growing discussion thread on the Apple boards regarding the issue. A user identified as “rsva” posted a method for solving the issue, which has worked for a couple of others. The idea is to avoid directly mounting the sparsebundle (which has failed for a number of people who tried) and instead use terminal commands to only attach the sparsebundle disk image to and correct format problems. This assigns a device ID to the bundle so it can be treated as a disk, without the system trying to read and interact with the contents of the disk.

If you’re feeling brave, here are the instructions:

“Quit all applications and turn off Time Machine.

Securely connect the backup hard drive to your Mac.

Open the “Terminal” and go to the hard drive mount point with the following command:
cd /Volumes/”BACKUP DRIVE”

In this command, “BACKUP DRIVE” is the name of your backup volume. Put it in quotes if you have spaces in the name.

Use the “hdiutil” command (disk image management utility) to attach the backup bundle (this may take a while if the image is corrupted):

hdiutil attach -nomount -readwrite -noautofsck -noverify BACKUPNAME.sparsebundle

The previous command should output some information about the attached drive, such as the following:
/dev/disk4 Apple_partition_scheme
/dev/disk4s1 Apple_partition_map
/dev/disk4s2 Apple_HFSX

The device may be a different number than the one listed here (ie, disk3, or disk5), depending on how many other disks you have in your system. Find the device identifier next to “Apple_HFSX” (it should contain “s2″ in the name).

Run the filesystem checking command “fsck” on the attached drive with the following command:
fsck_hfs -rfy /dev/disk4s2

This command will run a repair routine on the filesystem, and should output a number of errors if found and correct them. This may take a while, so be patient, and it may mention the drive cannot be repaired, but ignore this for now.

Open Disk Utility, and drag the sparsebundle into the window under where other drives and devices are listed (should be separated by a horizontal line). Then select it and in the “First Aid” tab click “Repair Disk”.

In Disk Utility, select the backup hard drive itself (above the sparsebundle) and run the “Repair Disk” routine on this drive as well to ensure the filesystem is intact.”

Once these steps have been run, users can eject the drive and plug it back into the Airport Extreme Base Station. From here, reactivate Time Machine on your Mac and run a test backup. This routine won’t fix the problem occurring in the first place, but should get the drive back up and running once corruption has occurred.

If you’ve tried this on your end, let us know how it went and what to expect.

AT&T Resumes Online iPhone Sales in New York City

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 29th, 2009, 05:02
Category: iPhone, News

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As quickly as they stopped, wireless carrier AT&T has resumed selling iPhones through its Web site to New York City customers with no official explanation as to what prompted the halt.

Per Techmeme, New Yorkers who tried to order an iPhone through AT&T’s Web site over the holiday weekend found themselves unable to given errors in the web site. When customer representatives were asked as to why this was, explanations ranged from network congestion problems to online fraud to this the boilerplate explanation that “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.”

Come Monday, sales were once again being processed for New York City ZIP codes through AT&T’s site.

AT&T has yet to offer an official explanation for what caused the disturbance.

New Air Travel Guidelines Put Into Effective After December 25th Bombing Attempt, Certain Electronic Devices Now Partially

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 29th, 2009, 05:42
Category: News

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In the wake of December 25th’s bombing attempt on a plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, the New York Times is reporting that the US Department of Homeland Security has directed the Transportation Security Administration to enact a series of heightened security measures.

Per the report, international travelers bound for the United States are now being told “they could not leave their seats for the last hour of a flight, during which time they also could not use a pillow or blanket, or have anything on their laps,” including a laptop.

The new directive, as mentioned on boardingarea.com, also requires a thorough pat-down of all passengers on international flights to the United States and a physical inspection of all their carry-on luggage prior to boarding.

All international flights are now being required to enforce new rules during the final hour of the flight which includes insisting that all passengers remain in their seats and prohibiting passengers from accessing any carry-on baggage or from having any blankets, pillows or other personal belongings on their lap during the final hour of the flight.

The new “final hour of flight” rules appear to have surfaced from the fact that the would-be terrorist attempted to ignite a chemical explosive he had smuggled onto the plane. During the final hour of flight, the flight crew is most likely to be preoccupied with making preparations for landing, and least likely to be available to observe attempts to ignite such an explosive, particularly if obscured under a blanket or pillow.

Canadian officials have responded to the new directive by essentially banning all carry-on luggage for passengers headed to the United States, the Times reported.

Additionally, airlines’ international flights are now required to “disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and during all phases of flight.”

The directive also insists that, while over U.S. airspace, the “flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks.”

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and please let us know what’s on your mind per these new directives.

Etsy: Now Selling MacBook, MacBook Pro Vinyl Decals for Cheap

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 28th, 2009, 08:12
Category: Fun, MacBook, MacBook Pro

You love your MacBook or MacBook Pro, but sometimes there’s the feeling that it could be a little cooler looking. The guys at The Unofficial Apple Weblog have completed a quick roundup of custom vinyl decals for your road machine.

The cool cats contributing to Etsy seem to have their work cut out for them, the company making a wide assortment of decals for as little as US$10 before shipping and handling.

Take a gander and if I can’t sell you on them, maybe Yoshi can:

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