Sleep Tips for MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks Published

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Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 09:03
Category: How-To

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Albeit generally reliable, putting your MacBook or MacBook Pro notebook to sleep can be a bit of a gamble. When you open the notebook back up, you want to make sure the computer will wake up again or your day just got that much worse.
Over on the Apple Core, David Morgenstern has offered the following tips in getting his MacBook Pro to wake from sleep under both Mac OS X 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5.
Per Mac OS X 10.4:

1. Before I put the machine to sleep, I unplug anything connected, such as an Ethernet cable, hard drive or mouse.
2. Next I use the Sleep command under the Apple Menu to put the MacBook to sleep and I wait until the screen actually goes blank before closing the lid. I don’t just close the lid.
3. When I go to wake the MacBook, I open the machine and make sure that I don’t plug anything into the machine before I wake it.

Interestingly enough, Mac OS X’s Energy Saver panel allows for multiple types of sleep (“computer sleep,” which is what we commonly think of as sleep, where the system sleeps; “display sleep,” where the screen goes black; and “hard disk” sleep, where the drive spins down).
The column then mentions that the following types of sleep can be used:

Sleep, where the Mac saves the state in RAM, which means it can go to sleep and wake up quickly, but could bring trouble if the battery runs down or is removed.
Hibernate, where the state is written to the hard disk (the safest for your data), but takes the longest time to be put to sleep and to wake up.
Combination Sleep and Hibernate, which Apple calls Safe Sleep. It may take the longest time to sleep but it also can wake quickly. And if your MacBook supports it, you can swap in a fresh battery.

For users looking to specify the sleep type used, software developer Patrick Stein’s SmartSleep lets you choose between the modes.
For users experiencing problems getting their MacBook notebook to sleep, Apple’s “Why Your Mac Might Not Sleep or Stay in Sleep Mode” Knowledge Base article offers the following tips:

There are reasons why you may want your Mac to stay awake even though you are not using the keyboard or mouse, such as when you are:
Watching a DVD movie
Listening to your iTunes music library
Running an automated backup
Away from your computer while downloading large files

The article also mentions that using Bluetooth devices can disrupt a MacBook’s sleep function:

You can allow Bluetooth devices to wake a sleeping computer by enabling “Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer” in Bluetooth preferences. A bluetooth device paired correctly should not typically prevent a computer from sleeping. However, some Bluetooth mice can interfere with sleep.

Finally, applications themselves can affect sleep:

If an application uses a custom font to display text but the font resource is marked purgeable, then at some point the memory manager will purge the font from memory. When the application tries to draw text using that font again, it will be loaded from the hard drive, resetting the sleep timer.
Applications can be designed to keep the system awake and prevent idle sleep indefinitely. In developer lingo, an application may explicitly prevent system sleep by calling IORegisterForSystemPower(), and calling IOCancelPowerChange() when it receives a power management kIOMessageCanSystemSleep notification.

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How-To: Get Around Conflicts Between Back to My Mac and Time Machine

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Date: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009, 08:10
Category: How-To

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As nifty as Time Machine is, a number of users seem to be running into problems where the “Change Disk…” option for Time Machine is nonfunctional.
Over on the Apple Discussion Board, user Joel_H offered the following description of the issue:

“(After switching TM disks) I realized there were still things on my time capsule backup that were no longer on my G-Raid2, so I switched drives in Time Machine and restored what I needed. I then tried to switch back, and the “Change Disk…” button is depressing but not responding.”

According to MacFixIt, users encountering this issue may have first tried changing their Time Machine setup for Time Capsule devices (i.e.: from Wireless to Wired connectivity), but a few people have noticed this may happen if the Time Machine backup volume has its name changed. One workaround users have tried, which has met with some success, is deleting the Time Machine preferences and then reselecting the drive. This seems to only be a temporary fix and the problem returns after a period of time.
The issue appears to be related to Apple’s MobileMe services and tends to rear its ugly head when the Back to My Mac option is enabled. Console error messages for this problem indicate a potential conflict with Bonjour networking, which Back To My Mac uses. For now, the available workaround for this problem is to turn off Back To My Mac.
Other workarounds include the following steps:

1. Turn off Back To My Mac.
To turn off Back To My Mac, click the “stop” button in the “Back To My Mac” section of the MobileMe system preferences. This should enable the “Choose Disk” button in the Time Machine setup again.
2. Remove Back To My Mac preferences.
This problem could be from corruption in the “Back To My Mac” preference files. As such, removing the Back To My Mac preferences may also help. The preference file is called “com.apple.BackToMyMac.plist,” and is located in the /Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences folder.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and if you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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How To: Get Around Unibody MacBook Pro Freezes During Screenshots

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 08:30
Category: How-To

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As exciting and cool as your new unibody MacBook Pro may happen to be, there may be some bugs to sort out.
According to MacFixIt, a number of users have posted to the Apple Discussions board complaining that the screenshot function on their late-2008/unibody MacBook Pro notebooks cause the system to freeze for a few minutes.
Apple Discussions poster ikarus79m described the situation as follows:

“I have noticed a super weird bug with my new MacBook Pro. At least while running the integrated graphics chipset (not yet tried in power mode.) When I snap a screenshot using Shift+Command+3 (or 4) my computer takes the screen grab, however, then freezes for a minute or two. After that it comes back to life.”

There are several potential causes for this problem, the first being a driver issue, where the screenshot utility is more prone to problematic behavior when running with the drivers for the newer computers. This may be supported by some users having the problem only when running on the GeForce 9400M GPU.
Potential fixes are as follows:

Repair permissions: This problem seems to be influenced by some permissions problems for core system files. Fixing permissions using Disk Utility seems to help the problem. Alternative to Disk Utility, users might wish to do a more in-depth system cleaning using a third-party utility such as AppleJack or OnyX. These utilities can fix multiple problems beyond just permissions, since they can clear many caches, run built-in maintenance scripts, and run a variety of other tasks to keep the computer running optimally.
Reset the SMC and PRAM: While it’s unlikely that hardware settings in the SMC and PRAM would directly affect the screen shot utility, some users have seen improvement after resetting them. It is possible that some faulty setting could interfere with driver function. To reset the PRAM, hold the options-command-P-R keys down all at once after restarting, allowing the computer to reset s couple of times before releasing the keys and allowing the computer to boot normally. This Apple Knowledgebase article (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1411) contains the steps for resetting the SMC on various MacBook models.
Workaround: Because this problem is with the internal screen capture utility, users can bypass it by using a third-party screenshot utility.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Apple Posts Knowledge Base Articles to Help Access RAM/Hard Drive/Battery for Unibody MacBooks

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Date: Tuesday, February 17th, 2009, 13:41
Category: How-To

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Recently, Apple posted updated Knowledge Base documents referencing how to access the batteries, hard drive and RAM on the new unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.
While the 13″ and 15″ computers come with a hatch that provides easy access (at least to the hard drive and battery), the 17″ computers do not have a hatch and many users have complained about the accessibility for user-serviceable hard drives, as well as RAM upgrades for the whole product line.
Per MacFixIt, Apple’s reasoning for removing the access hatch makes sense from a battery engineering standpoint, but it does limit users from otherwise relatively simple repairs, upgrades, and troubleshooting. Despite not having a hatch, the 17″ macbook is still accessible. Users will have to remove the bottom case of the computer, and will need a #0 philips screwdriver.
The Knowledge Base documents can be located at the following links:
17″ MacBook Hard Drive (and RAM) (note that the RAM installation instructions are inscribed on the inside hatch).
15″ MacBook Hard Drive (and RAM).
For users interested in upgrading the RAM on the new 15″ MacBook Pro, the following video guide functions as a very thorough demonstration on how to upgrade the RAM:
www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Upgrade-RAM-in-Unibody-MacBook-Pro—Bleeding-Edge-TV-297–71649299
If you’ve upgraded your unibody MacBook or MacBook Pro and have any tips to offer, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Bluetooth Kernel Panic Guide Published

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Date: Thursday, May 24th, 2007, 09:58
Category: How-To

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The guys over at MacFixIt have posted a workaround and repair guide geared towards resolving Mac OS X kernal panics triggered by Bluetooth extensions.
Like the extension conflicts of Mac OS 9, Bluetooth kernel extensions can trigger the system to fail, but can be diagnosed by looking at the system’s crash logs and seeing what appears. From here, the user can disconnect various Bluetooth devices to find the culprit and remove kernel extension-related caches with programs like Cocktail and Tiger Cache Cleaner.
Click here to check through the guide and if you’ve found any fixes or workarounds of your own for these problems, let us know.

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Adobe CS3 Installation Bug Workaround Discovered

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Date: Tuesday, May 1st, 2007, 11:22
Category: How-To

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Reader Ciro Coelho sent us this workaround when he found himself unable to cleanly install the Design Premium version of its Creative Suite 3 package:
I got problems as soon as I tried to install CS3 Design Premium on a G5 running 10.4.8 with a Photoshop CS3 Beta installed. I checked the web for a solution to the problem, and found the CS3Clean script. I uninstalled Photoshop CS3 beta and the CS3 Design Premium using its uninstalling routines (Utilities folder), ran the CS3Clean script and trashed preferences as instructed by the script read me files. I tried installing CS3 after repeating the same procedure for 2 existing user accounts, as well as having created a fresh one, to no avail. I then called Adobe and they told me to do what I had already tried. The only solution left, which had been successful with other customers, was to archive and install OS X, or ultimately, to clean re-install it before attempting to install CS3.
For obvious reasons I resisted they suggestion, and found A SUCCESSFUL solution:
-Uninstall all CS3 applications (beta and shipping versions).
-Run Adobe’s CS3 Clean script, trash CS3 preferences.
-Mount an external firewire drive.
-Install OS X (I did 10.4.9) onto it.
-Restart and boot up from that firewire drive.
-Insert CS3 CD, install software onto the external drive.
-Restart from your regular internal drive.
-Migrate (Utilities>Migration Assistant) from the firewire drive where you installed a fresh OS X and CS3.
-Restart from that new user account on your regular internal drive. Launch one of the applications from CS3, enter serial number, register computer.
-Login from your regular user account and launch CS3 applications.
If you’ve seen similar instances of this or created your own workaround, let us know.

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Safari Speed-Up Guide Published

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Date: Monday, April 16th, 2007, 11:10
Category: How-To

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The folks over at MacFixIt have published a full guide as to how to speed up Apple’s Safari web browser.
Topics included cover how to speed up the program’s launch by cleaning up the startup routines, clearing out .plist files, removing third-party add-ons, resetting the browser, checking the plug-in inventory and clearing out the AutoFill option.
The guide also recommends lower tech solutions such as power cycling a cable or DSL modem or router as well as reworking your bookmarks and even editing names to increase speed on this front.
If Safari remains your favorite browser for the Mac despite the allure of Firefox, take a gander and let us know what you think.

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Video: How to Recover From a Laptop Liquid Spill

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Date: Thursday, March 22nd, 2007, 08:27
Category: How-To

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The guys over at Engadget have linked to a Google video over at Grynx.com demonstrating how to pull a laptop back from the brink of an inadvertent spill.
Or, in this case, two consecutive spills.
Here a group of technology authors poured both a glass of red wine on the keyboard, followed by a glass of lemonade. The group then acts quickly, draining the excess liquid off into a towel, opening the laptop, washing it under tap water, then rinsing the components under distilled water before leaving them out to dry.
The end result is interesting, even if the beginning of the video kind of makes one cringe as the liquid is poured into the Dell laptop’s keyboard. A soundtrack of “Kung Fu Fighting” only makes it better and it’s a good way to look at a semi-inevitable problem.
If you have comments, ideas or experiences of your own with this, let us know.

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Rosyna Discusses Prebinding Bug in OS X Updates

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Date: Monday, March 19th, 2007, 14:20
Category: How-To

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A post over on Unsanity wherein the author (identified as “Rosyna”) describes the prebinding bug in Mac OS X 10.4.
Simply put, this is where Mac OS X finishes installing an update and enters its “Optimizing System Performance” stage. Here, the operating system is prebinding, or looking off memory offsets of symbols in the operating systems’ libraries before a program is launched and won’t have to search for these offsets later on (whenever I’m installing an update and it takes a while with someone looking over my shoulder while the Mac reaches this stage, I tell them this is important. And not to interrupt. Ever.)
The “not touching the Mac” part might be just that critical. According to Rosyna’s post, Mac OS X features a bug wherein if multiple processes are prebinding at a given time, it’s possible for a system’s file system to completely zero itself out.
The best way around this: let the “Optimize System Performance” process run to its conclusion and don’t launch any applications during this time. The piece also discusses workarounds in case the system happens to zero itself out.
If you’ve had any experience with this or advice to offer on prebinding under Mac OS X, let us know.

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Keeping Your Black MacBook Pristine

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Date: Thursday, March 15th, 2007, 16:30
Category: How-To

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From the PowerPage Department of Hopefully Useful Tips comes a guide to keeping your black MacBook clean from the guys over at macapper.com.
The black MacBook, despite being excessively cool and one of the best looking pieces of hardware Apple‘s released in recent years, the matte finish still tends to attract smudges and finger prints while the keys tend to build up oils from the skin.
Author Josh R. Holloway suggests using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, soft micro-fiber cloth, a can of compressed air, a little water and some patience.
Let us know what you think and if you’ve discovered a good way to keep either your black or white MacBook looking new, let us know.

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