Apple Notebook Guide for the College-Bound Published

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 18th, 2009, 04:32
Category: Any Laptop Computer, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

el17.jpg

With August wrapping up and new students getting ready to head off to college, the Mac Observer’s John Martellaro has written an outstanding guide as to how to safely bring your MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to campus, how to keep it safe and the various levels of security, backup and recovery to keep it safe.

Because, and take my word for it, if something happens to your laptop and you lose your data or the laptop itself, then nothing short of fifteen simultaneous miracles (including winning three separate multimillion dollar lotteries) is going to brighten your day.

The guide also features links as to bags, accessories and external hard drives worth considering to keep your notebook in good shape with its data safely backed up in an alternate location.

Take a gander and if you have any suggestions of your own, please let us know.

Apple Apparently Reconsidering Matte Displays on iMacs, Notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 05:56
Category: iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

el17.jpg

When Apple began to slowly convert its notebook and iMacs displays to highly-reflective glass surfaces shortly after the release of the original iPhone in 2007, opinions were mixed as to the change. In short, Jason pretty much Hulked Out given the annoyance. And there may have been smashing.

The screen, which has been considered almost as reflective as a mirror, has drawn complaints from users using the notebooks in outdoor environments.

According to AppleInsider and the Apple Core, in January 2009, Apple appeared to concede the point that glossy screens aren’t for everyone when they announced the new 17″ MacBook Pro with a matte screen option. The company included a US$50 upcharge for anti-glare but offered users a choice. Apple then went on to release the rest of the unibody MacBook Pro line with glossy-only displays.

Per the AppleInsider article, Apple may have realized the error of its glossy ways, as the company is “mulling the possibility of extending anti-glare display options to more of its Macs” and that “the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros would be the most likely candidates.”

Other World Computing Releases Free Online Library of DIY Videos for Apple Notebook Owners Looking to Upgrade Components

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 05:51
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, PowerBook G4, PowerBook G4 Aluminum, PowerBook G4 Titanium

applelogo_silver

Accessory manufacturer Other World Computing announced the completion of its series of Do It Yourself videos for Apple’s entire MacBook and MacBook Pro product line on Tuesday. The videos cover all of the DIY options for these laptops, including memory, hard drive and/or optical drive components for all of Apple’s laptop line from the Titanium PowerBook G4 to the latest Unibody line as well as include warnings for the issues customers should be considering and other instructions needed to do the upgrade.

The installation videos are being offered for free, and OWC has made them available in low, medium, and high resolutions.

MacBook Air Overheating Issue Noted, Fixes Suggested

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 05:38
Category: MacBook Air

mba2

Over on the mighty MacFixIt, reader “Martin V.” wrote in to desribe an ongoing issue wherein his new MacBook Air notebook began to experience a “kernel_task” process that caused his system to run abnormally hot.

“A few months ago I bought a MacBookAir1,1 (standard hard disk, no solid state) which was then hugely reduced in price (€999). Lately it has been nearly impossible to watch youtube video’s (for instance). If I do the machine gets really hot and slows down dramatically. A process called ‘kernel_task’ uses almost all resources. Just do a search on “macbook air” and “kernel_task” and you’ll see this is a widely spread problem”

Over on the Apple Discussion Boards, a large number of users appear to be encountering the same issue with the following solutions being offered:

“it seems to be temperature issue, i.e. the system tries with the kernel task to avoid an overheating of the cpu/gpu.
those guys here (Plasma Design) recommend a cpu undervolting to reduce this heating. they use CoolBook
you can get it for $10. i just installed it and hope that it helps.”

In addition to the Apple Discussions Board back and forth on this, you can also find a full MacRumors forum thread as to how to use CoolBook to best deal with the overheating issue.

Apple Releases MacBook Air Update SMC 1.2

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009, 04:56
Category: Mac, MacBook Air, Software

mba2

Apple released its MacBook Air SMC Firmware Update 1.2 patch yesterday, a 623 kilobyte download that offers the following fixes and changes per the web site:

“This SMC firmware update adds compatibility for the latest service replacement batteries…. After this update has successfully completed, your SMC Version will be: 1.23f20 [for original MacBook Air models, or] 1.34f8 [for more recent models].”

SMC Firmware Updates generally control the System Management Controller on Intel-based Macs. The SMC controls power and thermal management features, including the battery and fans. In this case, new replacement batteries from Apple are apparently different enough that they require the use of this updated version of the SMC firmware.

The update can be downloaded directly or snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Latest High-End MacBook Air Performing Slower Than Predecessor

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 29th, 2009, 04:47
Category: MacBook Air

mba2

Taken at face value, the specifications tied to Apple’s most recent MacBook Air updates imply the latest pair of ultra-slim notebooks should handily outperform their predecessors, but a new report claims this notion only holds true for the slower of the two models.

According to Macworld’s review, the most recent MacBook Air notebooks, an entry-level US$1,499 model with a 1.86GHz processor and 120GB hard drive, and a high-end version for US$1,799 that sports a 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 128GB solid-state flash drive, have been tested against their predecessors introduced last October: a 1.6GHz model with a 120GB (then priced at US$1799) and a 1.86GHz version with 128GB solid-state flash drive (then priced at US$2499).

While the new low-end 1.86GHz model bested its 1.6GHz predecessor, outperforming it in most tests and recording a Speedmark score of 11 points higher at 156, the same couldn’t be said for the new high-end 2.13GHz MacBook Air, which achieve a score of 175 — a full 4 points lower than the previous-gen 1.86GHz model.

“What’s weird about the new high-end MacBook Air model is that although it cost dramatically less than its immediate predecessor, it was also slower than that model,” wrote Macworld’s editor, Jason Snell. “The late-2008 1.86GHz MacBook Air was faster than the new top-of-the-line model in 11 of our 18 tests, and as a result, the old system’s final Speedmark score was slightly higher.”

Snell also reported that he saw several cases in which the new, low-end MacBook Air, with its slower Core 2 Duo chip and hard disk drive, outperform the high-end model and its sold-state flash drive. He notes that this may be the result of hard drives being known to outperform their solid state drives in certain operations, but added that the slower system also beat the faster model in some video compression and 3D rendering tests.

“We’re not quite sure why this is happening, though it’s possible that the Air’s thermal-protection systems are aggressively ratcheting down the speed of the faster, hotter processors when they’re asked to perform those tasks, slowing their performance,” he wrote.

In light of these results, it’s worth noting that several Apple authorized resellers maintain inventory of the previous-generation 1.86GHz MacBook Air, which they’re discounting to a price of US$1,649 (roughly US$150 cheaper than than the new 2.13GHz model they appear to be outperforming).

MacBook Air Meets Angry Owner with Knife

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 1st, 2009, 10:57
Category: MacBook Air

Some things defy description.
This is one of them.
And yes, Apple has admitted as to the hinge problem with the MacBook Air, but considering the meaty pile of bills awaiting payment somewhere around the house, this is about as “spoiled brat” a solution to a problem as it gets…



QuickerTek Releases External Battery/Charger for MacBook Air Notebook

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 14th, 2009, 07:38
Category: Accessory, battery, MacBook Air

externalcharger.jpg
Accessory provider QuickerTek announced the release of a new external battery/charger for Apple’s MacBook Air notebook on Tuesday. The external unit powers the pack while simultaneously charging the internal battery and QuickerTek has cited 12 to 16 hours of run time or about 6 to 10 extra hours of power. According to MacNN, the charger is also said to charge the internal battery in only three hours.
The unit measure 7″ x 3.5″ and is housed in a machined aluminum case with an anodized finish. QuickerTek claims the cells are capable of up to 1,000 full recharges.
The MacBook Air external batter can be purchased for US$349.95 but customers must also have a QuickerTek-modified MagSafe adapter, available for US$100. An existing MagSafe adapter can be converted for US$25.

(more…)

AppleCare May Not Extend to First-Gen MacBook Air Hinge Problem

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 2nd, 2009, 11:27
Category: MacBook Air

macbookair.jpg
Following up on last week’s story regarding several users citing the hinge defect in Apple’s first generation MacBook Air notebook, a number of users are reporting a hit-or-miss policy in terms of Apple covering fixes for the notebooks under its AppleCare program.
According to Macworld, users have reported that Apple is flat out denying fixes for MacBook Air notebooks with broken hinges, even if the notebooks are still under warranty.
Per the article, an Apple Store location cited that a user who brought their MacBook Air in could spend US$800 to have the problem resolved or spend US$1,799 for a brand new, second generation MacBook Air. In this case, Apple cited the case as “accidental” damage wherein the repair would not be covered under Apple’s warranty policy.
In another case, user Lisa Eckstein (who documented the damage on her Flickr page) reported that upon taking the notebook to a “smaller and less busy” Apple Store location, employees promptly took the notebook and fixed it.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this occur on your end, please let us know in the comments or forums.

(more…)

First-Gen MacBook Air Owners Cite Flaw in Hinge Construction

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 27th, 2009, 07:42
Category: MacBook Air

macbookair.jpg
Given what you paid for the first-gen MacBook Air notebook, Hulking out may be entirely permissible given the following news: a number of owners of the notebook have cited a fundamental flaw in the notebook’s hinge constructions.
According to MacNN, a number of users on the Apple Discussions board have noted that, after several months of use, hinges can become unreasonably loose, sometimes enough for a lid to travel or close completely without any help. In extreme cases hinges may break entirely, rendering an Air useless as a portable device.
The problem may be especially critical as some Apple Store Genius Bars are reportedly refusing to honor warranties, with or without AppleCare, on the basis that the damage is thought to be “accidental” rather than an inherent problem. The Air hinges are also divided in two, as in some older Apple notebooks, and embedded into the lid, meaning that people affected by faulty hardware may have to pay as much as US$900 for repairs due to the cost of the associated display.
Some Apple Store locations have cited that they’d be willing to cover repairs under warranty. The problem appears to be absent from second-generation MacBook Air notebooks, though Apple has yet to officially recognize the issue, which could represent the second major flaw to affects Airs following the discovery of graphics corruption.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this problem on your end, please let us know in the comments or forums.

(more…)