MCE Ships 500GB OptiBay Hard Drive for Unibody MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks

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Date: Tuesday, February 24th, 2009, 07:04
Category: hard drive

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Accessory maker MCE Technologies announced that the company is now shipping its OptiBay hard drives for Apple’s unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook line.
Per MacNN, the drives range in capacity from 250GB to 500GB and arrive with an 8MB buffer. The 350GB and 500GB drives run at 5400rpm, while customers can choose a 7200rpm option for the 320GB model. The company claims that the OptiBay components consume less power than the original drives, contributing to a 10 to 15% extension of the battery life. The drives also support status monitoring and spin-down commands from the Mac OS.
The OptiBay hard drives are now available starting at US$190 and an optional enclosure can be used to convert the existing drive into an external storage device.
Customers can also purchase an OptiBay kit for the unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro, allowing the use of any standard 2.5″ HDD. The kit can be purchased for US$130.
If you’ve used an OptiBay kit before, let us know how the experience went in the comments or forums.

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Possible Footage of Next-Gen Mac Mini Emerges

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 10:42
Category: Rumor

A quick video has been leaked over to MacRumors displaying what could be the next generation Mac mini. The new unit appears to include FireWire 800 (which swaps out FireWire 400), a fifth USB 2.0 port and a Mini DisplayPort.
Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, take a look:




Mac Mini 2009 Edition – video powered by Metacafe


As always, let us know what you make of this in the comments or forums.

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Hack Demos Apple iPhone Using Apple Wireless Keyboard

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 09:11
Category: Hack

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This could be interesting, provided you’re willing to jailbreak your iPhone or iPod touch handset.
Ralf Ackerman has just posted a blog entry demonstrating a jailbroken iPhone using an Apple Bluetooth wireless keyboard. Details are still sketchy, but it’s an interesting proof of concept that makes one wonder when Apple will officially support this?
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think 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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Adium X Updated to 1.3.3

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Date: Friday, February 20th, 2009, 07:07
Category: Software

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Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.3.3.
The new version, a 23.4 megabyte download, sports the following major fixes and changes listed here.
Adium X is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
If you’ve tried the new build and have any feedback, positive or negative, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Cocktail 4.3.1 Leopard Edition Released

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Date: Friday, February 20th, 2009, 07:43
Category: Software

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On Friday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.3.1 of Cocktail (Leopard Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests.
The new version, a 1.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may stop responding during a scheduled clearing of system caches.
  • Added clearing of the trojan Lamzev.A and the worm Inqtana.A.
  • Minor improvements on the clear potentially harmful files procedure.
  • Cocktail 4.3 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run.
    If you’ve tried the new version and have any kind of feedback about it, let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Rumor: Apple Executives Rethinking iPhone Pricing for 2009

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009, 13:54
    Category: iPhone

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    With a new generation of iPhones all but certain this year, a discussion between analysts and Apple’s top brass has also dropped clues that the iPhone’s pricing may not be static this year.
    According to AppleInsider, Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research mentions in a research note that a discussion with Apple COO Tim Cook, CFO Petter Oppenheimer and worldwide marketing senior VP Phil Schiller point both to an upgrade to the touchscreen device as well as to the possibility of “different pricing/price points” this year, with Cook “examining iPhone’s business model” for possible changes.
    Apple execs Cook and Schiller have dropped teasers regarding 2009 as being “very exciting” year for the company’s handset.
    With no concrete details emerging, Sacconaghi was quick to dampen rumors of an iPhone nano or a similar low-budget cellphone. Without naming a source, he gathers from his investigations that the company isn’t presently chasing such a concept.
    Any future iPhone, Mr. Sacconaghi said, will probably have at least a web browser and access to the App Store, the latter of which has Cook, Oppenheimer and Schiller particularly “bullish” about the iPhone’s success as it gives Apple an advantage over rival smartphone makers.
    One detail which remained static was Cook and Schiller’s continued insistence that the iPhone wouldn’t come with a hardware keyboard. The duo seemed to inflect that a fixed set of keys made it harder to implement different keyboards, especially where different languages were concerned and would also make it harder for third-party developers hoping to use their own custom control schemes. Using the touchscreen as the primary input improves Apple’s bottom line by letting it ship what’s essentially the same phone across many different regions, the executives say.
    Were a price shakeup to occur, it wouldn’t be out of character for Apple. Each year of the iPhone’s existence has had at least one major price shakeup: the iPhone’s maximum price fell from US$599 to US$399 in 2007, while the iPhone 3G in 2008 not only reduced this top price to US$299 but switched the behind-the-scenes profit model from revenue sharing with carriers to a heavy device subsidy.
    While Sacconaghi doesn’t make many predictions in his report, he repeats frequent expectations of an iPhone in summer and also believes Apple may update the iMac in March.
    If you have any thoughts on this, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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    iFixIt Posts Full 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro Disassembly/Report

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009, 08:16
    Category: MacBook Pro

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    Tech guru and Mac-centered repair outfit iFixIt has fully disassembled Apple’s new 17″ MacBook Pro notebook, as mentioned over on the Apple Core.
    The new notebook features a battery that is not accessible without removing the notebook’s entire bottom panel. Apple has apparently secured the 12820mAh battery with three tri-wing screws to discourage removal, although the battery can be swapped using the correct tools and weighs approximately 1.25 pounds, which is 20% of the computer’s total mass. Aftermarket battery manufacturers are likely to offer a replacement soon.
    Apple has also shifted the notebook’s Bluetooth board from its previous location and the component now resides behind the optical drive.
    Other changes included the unit’s Sunon fan being physically larger than the 15″ unibody MacBook Pro fan and featuring “MagLev” technology which incorporates magnetic bearings to suspend the fan shaft without any contact between parts. This change is claimed to offer improved rotational stability, reduced vibration and increased resistance to high temperatures.
    The new 17″ MacBook Pro still displays an internal layout similar to the 15″ MacBook Pro. Finally, Apple has also decided not to include a Mini DisplayPort Adapter, in its latest model.
    Head on over to the link for the full tear-down and if you’ve gotten your hands on the new notebook, please let us know what you make of it in the comments or forums.

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    Apple Releases SMC Firmware Update 1.3 for 13″ MacBook

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    Date: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009, 08:29
    Category: MacBook

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    Late Tuesday, Apple released its SMC Firmware Update 1.3 for the company’s 13″ polycarbonate (black and white non-unibody) MacBook notebooks released in early 2009. The update, a 557 kilobyte download, works to clear a performance issue wherein the notebook may slow down when booted while using battery power only. This SMC Update improves startup time when starting up from the battery.
    The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please 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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