I usually keep two 20" screens side by side on my desk, so I can code on one and test on the other. I find I can work much faster if I can just make a change in Eclipse, and by the time I turn my head to the other screen, the tests have already run. My new laptop, however, has a 15" screen, which feels a bit cramped when I’m working away from the office. I’ve been using the fancy Desktop Manager by Richard Wareham, which is a very nice utility to let you keep several virtual desktops, and change between them easily.
Of course, if you’re using something like Emacs or Butler, all your keys will be taken already, so you’ll need to use some sort of Command-Ctrl-Shift-4 keystroke for the actual desktop switching.
Turns out, the laptop has a built-in motion sensor. Nominally, it’s there to protect the internal hard drive. The basic idea is this: If the accelerometer suddenly notices that the gravitational pull of earth is no longer present, the most likely explanation is that the laptop, sensor and all, is currently accelerating at 9.81 m/s² towards said earth. In that case, it will (wisely) try to turn the hard drive off in preparation for impact.
An article on ARS Technica disputes the claim that MacBook Pros run cooler by reducing the amount of thermal grease that Apple applies to the chips in the machine:
James Duncan Davidson of O’Reilly’s MacDevCenter recently explored the issue, disassembling his own MacBook Pro, removing and reapplying paste, measuring the effects, and laboriously documenting all the details as he went. In the end, after of all the effort, he got a (drumroll, please) 2 degree temperature reduction! Now, you will be quick to point out that many others have gotten signficantly better results and you’d be right. Davidson has some ideas on that. It seems that in reassembling his computer, he accidentally disconnected the heat pipe sensor. The computer responded to this by running ALL FANS! ALL THE TIME! ALL NUDE! (okay, maybe not actually nude) and making the MacBook Pro delightfully cool. It was only after getting annoyed by the fan noise that he discovered the sensor problem. Upon hooking it up, he got the noise under control and saw the temperature climb up to near the original levels. Bummer!
If you’ve been wondering what to do with the Sudden Motion Sensor in your new MacBook Pro, check out MacSaber, a new application that lets you use your expensive Mac hardware as a light saber, like the ones in Star Wars. Once installed your MacBook makes sounds like the famous Star Wars weapon as you wave it through the air. Very cool
Now that you’ve spent entirely too much money on your fancy sudden motion sensor equipped Mac laptop, I predict you’ll soon be swinging it around like a loon. Introducing MacSaber 1.0 Beta. Using your Mac’s sudden motion sensor, this software turns your computer into a Jedi weapon almost worthy of taking on the real thing by making authentic lightsaber sound effects. It senses speed for the lightsaber movement sounds and acceleration for different levels of striking sounds.
With today’s announcement of the MacBook consumer notebooks (a.k.a. “WhiteBook” and “BlackBook”) comes another surprise: Apple has quietly speed-bumped the processors in the original MacBook Pro announced in January. They’ve dropped the 1.83GHz configuration and now offer 2.0 and 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo configurations standard for the same price. All other specs seem to be the same.
17″ MBP 2GB 7200 100GB vs G5 Dual 2.7GHz 8GB [hard drive unspecified]
Boot time to desktop:
Dual G5: 36 sec
MacBook Pro: 8-11 sec
iDVD 30 min DV to DVD and burn:
Dual G5: 36 min
MacBook Pro: 39 min
1080P trailer playback 3 movies simultaneous 24 FPS:
Dual G5: 18 FPS
MacBook Pro: 10.4 FPS
MS Word load 4000 pg document with photos 170MB:
Dual 2.7GHz G5: 19.4 sec
MacBook Pro: 32 sec
MacBook Pro running Windows vs Dell XPS
Half Life 2 video test:
Unreal Tournament 2004:
MBP: Smooth as silk in the dungeons, outside a little choppy when looking into the distance (fog not working, odd shadows).
XPS: Smooth but “chuggy” in dungeons, outside 10-15fps but playable (looks normal).
The MacBook Pro has more than enough power to play the latest PC games and compares well to the Dual G5 when running Mac universal applications.
When compared to the Dell XPS, the MacBook Pro looks better, is cheaper, two pounds lighter, boasts a higher res screen, is faster by 10%, and (best of all) can run both Mac and PC apps.
Contributed by: Brett Jordan
I replaced my 17″ PowerBook (1GHz) with a 17″ MacBook Pro. After half a day with the MacBook Pro, I’ve got almost all good things to say about my new machine (so far).
The one downside is the heat when it is plugged in and set at “Better Performance” it is almost untouchable on the bottom. I was installing all of my applications and copying my files over from my LaCie Big Disk (FW 800) and sitting wide-eyed at the speed at which my iTunes library came over when I decided to check on the heat.
Contributed by: Bob Fish
Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig has started an excellent thread on the Apple Discussion forums about the lack of a good airplane charging solution for the MacBook Pro. It looks like Apple needs to take some action on this issue or risk losing a lot of frequent flying potential MBP sales. Click through to read the rest of the thread.
I’d be interested in whether people think this problem is specific to my machine, or general.
I do too much travel on planes. I therefore couldn’t begin to use my MPB until I could buy 3 batteries (about a month after I got the machine), and I also had to buy an inverter, since I couldn’t find any iGo like tip to connect to the new magnet connection.
The first inverter I got was a Targus. It promised 90w – above the reported 85w drawn by the machine. Four flights, never would it work. Everytime, it would trip because too much power was demanded. I then bought a "CyberPower" inverter, promising 120w. That worked for a good 3 hours on an internatinoal flight, but then it began flaking as well. I then discovered that if I had a fully charged battery (so it wasn’t trying to charge), it worked fine. So the obvious "solution" is either to have a fully charged battery, or to remove the battery — though that’s obviously a bit dangerous, since the cord disconnects from the laptop so easily.
This is a big problem with the machine. Is it just mine, or is it general? And is there any useful way to control how much power the unit draws? Notice, the processor speed control has been removed from the Energy Saver panel.
If it wasn’t bad enough that to have processor and CPU whine, poor Airport reception and solar ambient temperatures, it appears that some early MacBook Pro batteries are now failing.
Christopher Price from PCSIntel.com has uncovered what appears to be a potential issue with the first batch of MacBook Pro batteries.
According to his blog entry “Now The MacBook Pro Batteries…” Chris’ MBP battery fried last night and a bit of prodding from AppleCare got the serial number block. AppleCare said there was a known issue with some early MBP batteries and are cross-shipping out new ones to customers having similar symptoms.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.
QuickerTek announced a new Airport transciever for the MBP today:
QuickerTek on Monday introduced a new 27dBm transceiver that boosts the MacBook Pro’s wireless range by up to 100%. The US$200 product is compatible with 802.11b and 802.11g networks and features 500 milliwatts of RF power.