QuickerTek Releases Wireless nCard for Older MacBooks, Mac Minis

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, 06:31
Category: Accessory, MacBook, MacBook Pro, wireless

QuickerTek_Logo

It’s not quite as cool as whatever the iPad will become, but it’s useful stuff.

The cool cats at QuickerTek have released a new wireless nCard accessory for older MacBook notebooks and the Mac mini. The nCard extends Wi-Fi compatibility on the A, B, G and N standard and installs in the internal Airport card slot, with similar complexity to installing RAM chips. Per MacNN, the components are claimed to offer higher signal sensitivity and transmission power for potentially faster speeds and a wider reception area. Reception can also be further improved with an optional external antenna.

The nCard is compatible with 2006 through 2009 Mac minis but not the G4-based Minis, however and the 2006 through 2009 black and white plastic MacBook notebooks. The nCard also works in the 2006 through 2008 MacBook Pros in both the 15″ and 17″ inch models, excluding the unibody models.

The nCard is now shipping and is available for US$90.

Intel Promo E-Mail Points to Core i5-Based MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 13th, 2010, 06:05
Category: MacBook Pro, Processors

intellogo.jpg

If you’re currently hankering for a forthcoming MacBook Pro featuring Intel’s new Core i5 processor, it may be en route.

Per AppleInsider, an e-mail promotion sent from Intel to members of Intel’s Retail Edge promotional program highlight a forthcoming MacBook Pro from Apple sporting the Core processor.

The promotion was included in an e-mail sent out to U.S. members of the Intel Retail Edge Program. It reads: “January Prize Draw: Win a MacBook Pro. Pass this month’s trainings for 2 chances to win one of 2 MacBook Pro laptops with the accelerated response of an Intel Core i5 processor.”

Currently, the top MacBook Pro features an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

The Intel Retail Edge Program allows retail employees who sell Intel products to access technical knowledge and sales tips, which allows them to earn “chips” which can be exchanged for products. The program also offers occasional contests and giveaways.

Last week at CES, Intel formally introduced its new line of processors, which included the new Core i3, i5 and i7 chips. The mobile Core i5 is considered to be a likely candidate for a coming MacBook Pro refresh.

Apple is expected to host an event Jan. 27 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to introduce new products. While most speculation has centered around a tablet being unveiled at the event, Apple could also use it as an opportunity to refresh its MacBook Pro line.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, here you go:
corei5-100113-2

Notebook Users Report Battery Errors Under Snow Leopard, Workarounds/Fixes Suggested

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 7th, 2010, 06:43
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

battery

Since installing it, I have to admit that I like Snow Leopard and it has yet to kick my pets or burn my apartment to the very ground.

These are good things.

Even so, per CNET, a large number of MacBook and MacBook Pro owners have noticed a problem with the computer frequently displaying a “Service Battery” warning in the battery system menu. This also seems to be coupled with relatively short battery life, either with the battery discharging rapidly or with the computer going to sleep but still reporting high percentage of charge left in the battery. As of the Mac OS 10.6.2 update, affected users are still experiencing the problem.

This problem appears to be an issue with Snow Leopard’s handling of the battery hardware, where the services that are supposed to detect battery problems are incorrectly reporting the battery status, and subsequently triggering the system to go into a precautionary sleep mode or claiming the battery is draining. This theory is backed up by the fact that affected people who have downgraded back to Leopard either by reinstalling, restoring from backup, or even booting off the 10.5 Leopard DVD have not had the problem occur on the same hardware.

A recent TUAW article suggests this behavior stems from Snow Leopard being fine-tuned to reveal existing battery problems that Leopard was not aware of. While this may be the case for some people, the sheer number of people reporting the problem indicates there may be errors in the software. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to discern those with pre-existing battery problems from those with healthy batteries.

In order to address the issue, the article offers the following tips to help sort things out via the mighty Apple Knowledge Base:

- Calibrating the battery

- Resetting the PRAM

- Resetting the SMC

Strangely, the battery issues have cleared for a few users who have just shut down and restarted their systems on a regular basis. While keeping the power supply plugged in to prevent any issued with the battery, they’ve turned off the machine and rebooted to see the battery being normally recognized. This suggests the problem may be with a setting more than a specific bug, that hopefully can be reset by a full restart. MacBook owners may tend to sleep their systems instead of restarting them, which will keep various settings from being refreshed.

Further supporting the claim of software issues in Snow Leopard is that some users have cleared the problem by booting into 64-bit mode. If you do not have any software that requires a 32-bit kernel and system extensions, try booting into 64-bit mode by restarting and holding down the “6″ and “4″ keys simultaneously. For some the problem has returned when booted back into 32-bit mode, but for others the switch to 64-bit mode has fixed it even when booted into 32-bit mode.

Another suggestion to address this problem is to remove the power management system preferences, which contains parameters that determine how the system will behave when running on either AC power, battery, or a UPS. This file is called “com.apple.PowerManagement.plist” and is located in the /Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ folder, and can be removed without harming anything. This isn’t a fix, however, and those who have done this have found it only seems to temporarily remove the warning in the battery system menu, and does not address the underlying issue.

Lastly, the issue may lie with the upgrade process itself, where settings for Leopard are not working with Snow Leopard. The temporary successes with removal of the Power Management property list suggests this may be a possibility. As a result, try booting off a clean OS installation of Snow Leopard to test the hardware.

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

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:

il_fullxfull.112344382

Apple Releases Firmware Updates for MacBook, MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2009, 07:36
Category: MacBook, MacBook Pro, Software

applelogo1.jpg

Late Tuesday, Apple released its MacBook EFI Firmware Update 1.4 for its MacBook notebook. The update, a 3.1 megabyte download, eliminates the noise made by the optical disk drive during system startup and wake from sleep on MacBook computers.

The company also released its MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.8 for some MacBook Pro models. The update, a 3.4 megabyte download, also eliminates the noise made by the optical drive during startup and emerging from sleep.

Both updates can be snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.

Tales of Getting a MacBook Pro Battery Replaced

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 07:29
Category: battery, MacBook Pro, Opinion

NMA017

Blogger David Alison describes a process many of you have been through: going to an Apple Store with a nigh-dead MacBook Pro battery here and the details therein.

The piece also links to Apple’s terms as to which batteries are covered under an AppleCare plan, the company’s page on battery care and how to do a battery calibration via an Apple Knowledge Base article.

It’s a useful read, so give it a gander and if you have any MacBook Pro battery replacement stories of your own, please let us know.

Apple Launches U.S. Black Friday Sale, Modest Discounts Seen

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 27th, 2009, 08:27
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

applelogo1.jpg

Black Friday is upon us and while the sales aren’t extraordinary, there’s a couple bucks to be saved if you know where to look. Per CNET, the latest updates are as follows:

- Apple’s U.S. Black Friday sale is up, and while not spectacular, there are some rare discounts to be found. To go back to the same examples we used for the UK and Australian Apple stores, the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro is US$1,098, down from US$1,199.

All MacBook Pro models are exactly US$101 off, while the US$999 white MacBook is not discounted at all. The 32GB iPod Touch is currently US$268, down from US$299.

This sale is good online and in Apple’s retail stores and runs until 3 AM EST on Saturday, November 28th.

If you see any killer sales in your area (up to and including someone selling MacBook notebooks from the back of a van near the highway), please let us know.

Some MacBook, MacBook Pro Users Report Overheating Under Snow Leopard

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2009, 04:30
Category: MacBook, MacBook Pro

A number of MacBook and MacBook Pro users are reporting that their systems running inordinately hot after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, causing their fans to work exceptionally loud. According to CNET, users in this thread on the Apple Support Discussions forums focus the issue primarily on MacBook Pros, though some scattered entries from MacBook owners suggest the issues may be noticed in many of Apple’s notebooks.

Users’ machines tend to run extremely hot, causing the fans to cycle at a high rate and deplete battery power at an accelerated clip. ASD forum user “Ryan83″ reports:

“Fans running constantly at 6000 RPM without any program running – - just letting it idle or running solely iTunes. iPhoto 09 unusable – - when you edit in full screen – - the screen shows colored artifacts all over. Internet has been very spotty and misbehaves.”

Similar symptoms are reported by many of the thread contributors. Typically, CPU usage will spike when users do media-heavy actions with their systems, such as editing photos with Photoshop, cutting movies with Final Cut Pro, or watching media online at sites like YouTube or Hulu. Some users suggest that it could be a hardware issue with the actual fans, though this is unlikely (at least at first). Because most users report the problem after their upgrade to Snow Leopard, chances are it is a software issue. If left unattended, the problem could eventually lead to the fans, logic board, or other hardware becoming corrupt.

Some things to check :
- Be sure all your programs are Snow Leopard compatible. Several users reported that updating the notification utility, Growl, to the Snow Leopard ready version, 1.2, solved their overheating issues. Users should open Activity Monitor (Applications > Utilities) and take a look at any background processes that may be running. If any of those programs are not Snow Leopard compatible, they could be causing the excessive CPU usage and heat production.

- When in doubt, especially if you are under AppleCare, taking your machine to an AppleCare Authorized Technician or an Apple Store is a good idea. You will want to avoid any future damage to your hardware as soon as possible. Keep in mind that a solution may involve reinstalling Snow Leopard. Be sure you have a stable and current backup of all your important data. As we have mentioned in recent articles, the 10.6.2 update for Snow Leopard is expected very soon and includes (based on information from beta releases) a myriad of fixes that may include a solution to the overheating issue. When the update is made available, drop by MacFixIt to get a rundown of all the included fixes.

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

Apple Quietly Drops Prices on MacBook Pro RAM, Processor Upgrades

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 27th, 2009, 04:03
Category: MacBook Pro, News

applelogo1.jpg

Amidst Apple’s release of new hardware last week, the company apparently also quietly dropped the prices of additional RAM and processor upgrades on its MacBook Pro line. Per AppleInsider, Apple’s Australian online store, as of Monday, had cut prices on MacBook Pros by up to $700 AUD. The 17″ model, which previously sold for $3,999 AUD is now $3,299 AUD.

Take a look around and if you see any other price reductions, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Upcoming MacBook Pro Notebooks Could Receive Quad-Core Processors

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 27th, 2009, 04:43
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

el17.jpg

Following up on yesterday’s piece regarding references to upcoming MacBook Pro notebooks discovered in the most recent developer build of Mac OS X 10.6.2, the cats at 9to5Mac have noted that Apple Store geniuses are starting to work with the new Core i5 and i7 Quad-Core processors that may make their way into the notebooks.

While nothing is definite, it’s looking like the release of OS X 10.6.2 and the refresh of the MacBook Pro might come in tandem, sooner than we think and have something fairly interesting to offer along the way.