How-To: Troubleshoot keyboard backlighting on a MacBook Pro

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2012, 08:07
Category: How-To, MacBook Pro

You like your MacBook Pro.

And if you paid extra for it, you’re probably pretty fond of your MacBook Pro’s backlit keyboard.

So when it goes south/doesn’t light up, there’s some room for consternation.

To this end, the cool cats over at MacFixIt have assembled a useful list of steps to take if your backlight fails at any point in time. Click the link, take a gander and with any luck, your darkened living room will soon be illuminated by that keyboard glow once again.

RIM Co-CEOs step down, take lower positions on board

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2012, 06:08
Category: News, wireless

Sometimes you just need to make a chance.

In a surprise step, RIM confirmed late Sunday that its two CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis would resign from their top positions. Per the Wall Street Journal, the two would stay on as board members and shareholders for the BlackBerry designer, but would hand over direct leadership to one person, current COO Thorsten Heins. Board member Barbara Stymiest would be promoted to an independent board chairman.

There would be “continuity” from the earlier strategy, Heins said, but it was “not going to be a standstill” that preserves the existing order. He was confident that BlackBerry 10 would lure customers and developers to RIM, but hinted that licensing the OS on a “case-by-case basis” might be an option if the software is successful.

A new board member, Fairfax Financial Holdings CEO Prem Watsa, was coming in to further shake up the board.

Balsillie and Lazaridis cast their partial exits as voluntary, but also in the wake of an imminent panel decision that suggested the board changes. Balsillie claimed that the jump would have good timing now that BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 and the first BlackBerry 10 phone were both on schedule.

While portrayed as voluntary, the shift would come after what many consider RIM’s worst relative year of performance on record. The company bled market share for the core BlackBerry smartphone line virtually every quarter, and its belief that the BlackBerry PlayBook would take on Apple quickly fizzled as it had to ship fewer and fewer tablets and cut the price of the PlayBook by as much as 60 percent just clear stock. The company repeatedly gave overly optimistic guidance for most of 2011 and was regularly confident in imminent turnarounds that didn’t materialize.

The co-CEO structure was widely criticized, both for being very unusual in the industry but also for a self-reinforcing structure that made it harder to challenge their opinions. Their joint leadership of the board of directors also made it doubtful that other board members would significantly challenge their authority. Many credit the late responses to the iPhone and Android to a disbelief they could be outdesigned and a reluctance to respond directly.

Heins, meanwhile, came to RIM in 2007 from the CTO role at Siemens. While some of RIM’s troubles came under his watch, he has shown signs of improvement by cutting down the lag between announcement and shipping for BlackBerry phones from months to weeks.

Feel free to hurl your two cents in on this via the comments.

Apple working to adopt 802.11ac 5G Gigabit WiFi standard in 2012

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2012, 05:33
Category: News, wireless

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You know, 802.11n’s been speedy, but it’s also been around for a while.

It might be time to move on to something new.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is expected to rapidly deploy support for the new 802.11ac specification this year, adding so called “Gigabit WiFi” to new AirPort base stations, Time Capsule, Apple TV, notebooks and potentially its mobile devices.

The new 802.11ac standard achieves much faster wireless networking speeds than the existing 802.11n specification (in use on the latest Mac, AirPort and iOS devices) by using 2 to 4 times the frequency bandwidth (from 80 to 160MHz), more efficient data transfers through sophisticated modulation, and more antennas (up to 8; existing standards support up to 4, while Apple’s Macs currently use up to 3).

While not yet finalized as an official standard by the 802.11 Working Group, progress on the new 802.11.ac standard is occurring faster than previous efforts in wireless networking have.

Multiple suppliers have already issued chipsets supporting 802.11ac for consumer grade applications. Key Apple component maker Broadcom announced chips supporting the standard earlier this month at CES.

In addition to reaching networking speeds above 1 Gigabit (about three times as fast as 802.11n networks can manage), 802.11ac promises better networking range, improved reliability, and more power efficient chips, thanks to parallel advances in reducing chip size and enhancing power management.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.