How-To: How to Fix a Faulty Multitouch Trackpad

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 4th, 2010, 07:23
Category: How-To

Macbook-Multi-Touch-Trackpad

Occasionally the Really Cool Thing on your MacBook or MacBook Pro stops working the way you want it to. And you get frustrated.

Per MacFixIt, a number of users have found that their multitouch trackpads on MacBook and MacBook Pro computers may randomly stop accepting 3 and 4 finger gestures. Although two-finger scrolling, tapping, and clicking will work as expected, the more complex inputs do not seem to be recognized.

This problem could be from a number of factors, including faulty preference files and other system settings and driver conflicts. Take a gander at the following tips to help resolve this issue:

Inherent Trackpad Delays:
If there are multiple confusing inputs being presented to the trackpad, the system may pause input for a second or two while it waits for a clear gesture to be used. These delays may be more prominent for multiple-touch gestures, so if you experience them, wait a few seconds and try the trackpad again with a firm and clear swipe instead of frantically trying to get the trackpad to work.

Test The Trackpad:
The utility “BetterTouchTool” has a “Live View” feature that can be used to visualize trackpad inputs. After installing and launching the preferences (from the BetterTouchTool menu extra), if the trackpad driver is recognizing multiple inputs you should see the dots representing those inputs on the Live View display. Keep in mind the BetterTouchTool is very experimental at this point, and while it does work it may crash; however, this feature should let you know whether or not the trackpad and driver are still working.

BetterTouchTool Live View: After installing and opening, select the “Touchpad” tab and click “Show Live View” to see the finger inputs on the trackpad.
(Credit: Screenshot by Topher)

Change Trackpad Settings: If the trackpad is not loading settings properly, try toggling some settings in the “Trackpad” system preferences. This should spur the system to load the new settings and hopefully get the trackpad working again.

Remove Third-Party Drivers:
If you have other input drivers, such as USB Overdrive, Logitech Control Center, or enhancers such as jiTouch or Multiclutch, try removing them and restarting the computer. Many times incompatibilities between input drivers may cause problems.

Try removing the .GlobalPreferences.USER-UUID.plist file:
The user account’s .GlobalPreferences file is a hidden preference file used for device settings such as colorsync profiles, default printers and monitors, and trackpad settings. After deleting this file and logging out and back in, you may need to ensure these items are setup correctly again. To do this, open the Terminal and follow these steps:

1. Type the following command (do not press enter): rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences

2. Press the Tab key twice, and you should see an output of the files containing “.GlobalPreferences” in their name.

3. Locate the one with the UUID in it (the UUID will look something like this: 6F77B0D6-8208-4977-8B45-EB1ADF6714BA) and start entering part of the UUID portion into the terminal so the command looks like the following: rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences.6F77B

4. When you have entered part of the UUID section of the file name, press the Tab key once and the file name should automatically complete, so the command looks something like the following: rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences.6F77B0D6-8208-4977-8B45-EB1ADF6714BA.plist

5. After the full filename has been typed, press enter to remove the preference file, and then log out and log back in to your user account.

Reset the PRAM: The system’s PRAM contains a number of settings, including those for mouse and trackpad input. Resetting the PRAM should clear any problematic settings that may interfere with the trackpad. To do this, reboot the system and immediately hold down the options-command-P-R keys. Hold the keys until the system resets a couple of times, and then release them and allow it to boot normally.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or found a fix or workaround of your own, please let us know.

Initial Intel Arrandale Processor Benchmarks Released, Chips En Route to MacBook Pro Near You

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Date: Monday, January 4th, 2010, 07:31
Category: News, Processors

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With Macworld Expo and CES only days away, Intel’s Arrandale dual-core processor line is also set to debut this month with some of the processors finding their way into Apple’s MacBook Pro notebooks.

Responding to this, the cool cats at PC Magazine have posted benchmark tests pitting Intel’s new 2.53GHz Intel Core i5-540M from ASUS against a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P9500, as well as a 2GHz Intel Core i7-920XM.

“We’ve seen incremental bumps in speeds (percentages in the teens) when Intel launches new processors for the same platform, but when you swap out an entire motherboard and everything that goes with it, the change can be quite significant,” they said. “Cinebench R10 is a multi-threaded benchmark test that took full advantage of the Core i5-540M’s HyperThreading technology, beating the T400s’s similarly clocked Core 2 Duo P9500 CPU by a 62% margin.”

The Arrandale mobile processors were released alongside their Clarksdale counterparts and the two chips share the same architecture, which features a 32nm Westmere core paired with a 45nm chipset. The new 32nm chips offer improved speed, better graphics performance and lower power consumption. They will also allow motherboards to become smaller.

An article over at Tom’s Hardware found that the new processors strike a good balance between speed found on desktop machines, with power consumption low enough to support a mobile device. These gains, in early tests, come without the inclusion of a discrete graphics card.

In a test of ripping CDs to the AAC format within iTunes, the new Arrandale mobile processor performed the task 10 seconds better than its Penryn predecessor, clocking in at 1:36 on the task.

The review found that the 35W Core i5-540M uses more power under load, but uses quite a bit less power than the Core 2 Duo P8700 processor during downtime. Average power consumption was said to be 32.9W for the Arrandale and 31.7W for Penryn.

The new processors are set to improve upon the previous line of Intel’s Core 2 Duo chips, which have been utilized in versions of Apple’s new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac. Apple uses the mobile variants of Intel’s desktop chips for those systems, meaning machines with chips based on the Arrandale architecture could arrive soon.

Unlike the Core 2 Duo CPUs, the Arrandale processors will have the major northbridge chipset memory controller components built in. Currently, Apple uses Nvidia chipsets with its Mac lineup. The architectural changes found in the Arrandale line, along with an ongoing lawsuit that has forced Nvidia to halt the development of future chipsets, would likely make it difficult for Apple to continue with Nvidia.

Apple last updated its MacBook Pro line in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Those systems included Core 2 Duo processors and Nvidia graphics, along with cheaper prices, better displays and built-in batteries. Intel intends to release 17 new CPUs in early 2010, which will be highlighted at this week’s CES event.

Happy New Year From the PowerPage!!!

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 1st, 2010, 07:23
Category: Announcement

Welcome to 2010 and the staff of O’Grady’s PowerPage will be taking the day off to thoroughly rock out to Heart’s “What About Love?” (which will be played on a continuous loop) as well as ponder the upcoming Apple tablet and iPhone OS 4.0 in the new year.

Come back Monday, January 4th, and we’ll continue to do our best to keep you up to date with the best Macintosh mobile news available.


new-year



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

apple_magic_mouse_360

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.