2011 MacBook Pro notebooks booting to gray screen, freezing, workarounds suggested

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Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011, 04:25
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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As nifty and drool-worthy as the 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks may be, there still may be issues to sort out.

Per MacFixIt, a number of owners have noted an issue wherein the machine will start up to the gray Apple logo screen without a progress indicator and freeze. Apple has also noted the issue, releasing a knowledge base article to help with the situation.

Apple Support Discussions forum user CoryCripita writes:
“So for the second time my Macbook Pro is stuck on the ****** gray screen and won’t boot. The first time this happened 2 days ago I HAD TO resort to Archive and install. The only thing that I can even think caused this was again the fact that I updated via Software Update then rebooted.”
One suggestion offered on the forum was to reset the PRAM. To do so, turn off your machine. While holding Command + Option + P + R, turn your Mac back on. Wait for the boot chime to ring three times and your machine will start normally.

Apple has released a knowledgebase article to address some causes of this problem. According to the article, the Mac booting to the gray logo screen “may happen if the computer starts up from the hard drive or from an external drive using the wrong version or build of the operating system.”

If this happens, reinstall the proper build of Mac OS X from your install DVDs that came with your Mac. Later versions of Mac OS X will also work, but the article notes that using a version of OS X that was released before the computer will likely cause this issue.

You can check and see which version of Mac OS X your machine is attempting to start from by booting your Mac in Verbose Mode. When starting up, hold Command + V. If a DOS-like white text on black screen pops up, you’ve done it correctly.

“If the computer has the wrong build of the OS installed, the startup process will stop. The following line of text will appear on the display: “Loading SystemLibraryCachescom.apple.kext.cachesstartupExtensions.mkext.””
Hold the power button to shut down and quit Verbose Mode. When you next power on your Mac it will start normally.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know how it went.

Onyx 2.2.6 released

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Date: Monday, April 4th, 2011, 04:30
Category: News, Software

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Onyx, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.2.6. The new version, a 15.8 megabyte download (courtesy of MacUpdate), adds the following fixes and changes:

- Deleting Internet Cache improved.

- Deleting the Applications Cache improved.

- Deleting the Diagnostic Reports improved.

- New Safari option: “Enable/disable Safari’s image cache”.

- New Dock option: “Enable/disable the single application mode”.

Onyx 2.2.6 requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

Cocktail 4.9 (Snow Leopard Edition) released

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Date: Thursday, March 31st, 2011, 10:30
Category: News

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Late Wednesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.9 of Cocktail (Snow Leopard Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

- Added ability to purge inactive memory and optimize virtual memory usage.

- Added ability to disable virtual memory swapping.

- Improvements on the clear system caches procedure.

- Added ability to prevent Help Viewer window from floating on top of other applications.

- Updated Automator actions.

- Updated Help files.

Cocktail 4.9 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

Google Earth 6.0.2.2074 released

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Date: Thursday, March 31st, 2011, 04:33
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, software giant Google released version 6.0.2.2074 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 23.8 megabyte download, adds the following new features:

- Fixed a problem where we were over fetching certain kml layer data and running into issuing of using large amounts of memory and slowness during zooming in.

- Fixed an issue of ruler tool disappearing. In 6.0 beta, when measuring using the path tool, if you break to add a place-mark then you go back to the path and click “save” the path and ruler tool disappears all together.

- Fixed an issue with incorrectly measuring long distances. Improved navigation in Street View inside buildings.

- Fixed a crash with elevation profile if there was empty gx:value node in KML.

- Optimized amount of terrain and imagery data fetched while viewing photo overlays.

- Fixed an occasional crash while viewing 3D buildings. Fixed broken fly-to links within local kml files.

- Fixed an issue where new place-marks added were with absolute altitude instead of being clamped to ground.

- Fixed an issue where the title for panoramio pictures no longer appeared when hovering over panoramic icons with your mouse if scale legend was enabled.

- Fixed an issue when there was occasionally a missing wall in 3D buildings.

- Optimized amount of data fetched in Street View.

- Fixed an issue where tilt by holding “shift” and moving the scroll wheel only worked in one direction on Mac.

The new version requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Rumor: Apple could release Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” in early summer

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Date: Monday, March 28th, 2011, 04:25
Category: Rumor, Software

Following the release of the Mac OS X 10.6.7 update, Apple’s Mac OS X 10.7 release could see the light of day a bit earlier than expected. Per TechCrunch, Apple could release the new operating system in the early part of this summer. If a new rumor is to be believed, it would appear that Apple should have no troubles meeting this deadline, as it appears the latest and greatest OS X could already be nearing “Golden Master” status.

Apple has continued to work through many OS X Lion bugs and other performance issues as the stated summer release date draws ever closer. Just the same, if GM candidates are already nigh, then there should not be any cause to worry.

By comparison, with OS X Snow Leopard, Apple had released the GM edition to developers a few weeks for the actual public release. If there are no bugs in the first GM version, then Apple could see a similar timeframe with Lion. To give benefit of the doubt to Apple though, it would seem an early summer release may be likely and could be found at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco this summer.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on a Mac OS X 10.7 build, let us know what you think in the comments.

Rumor: Apple may be planning iOS 5.0 around a fall release

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Date: Monday, March 28th, 2011, 04:59
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor, Software

Even if you’re still trying to figure out if Apple’s iOS 4.3.1 update provided any meaningful fixes, there’s still iOS 5.0 on the horizon. Per TechCrunch, iOS 5.0 may not see the light of day until this fall, the rumor mill stating that Instead of Apple possibly unveiling the latest version this spring, we may not see an official preview until summer, possibly alongside WWDC.

The current rumors have presented the following details:
-iOS 5 will launch in the fall and will be a major revamp of the OS.

-It could well be previewed at WWDC, but won’t be released then.

-The iOS 5 launch may coincide with the release of the oft talked about iPad 3.

-The new iOS would be built heavily around the cloud, and could see the launching of several new services by Apple that would take advantage of this.

-One of those said services would be a “music locker” service, which would see the aim for a fall launch, which is usually when Apple hosts their music-themed event.

-Much of the cloud information would first be covered at WWDC.

-The new cloud service element would include a location service for finding friends and family members.

-Some of the new cloud features could also make their way into OS X Lion as well.

Still, it could be interesting stuff, even if the usual timeline is thrown off a bit.

Stay tuned to PowerPage and we’ll bring you additional information as it becomes available.

Mac OS X 10.6.7 internal references point to widening graphics card support for future Mac hardware

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 25th, 2011, 04:13
Category: News, Software

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Dig around inside an update’s code and you’ll find all sorts of interesting stuff.

Per the tonymacx86 Blog, the Mac OS X 10.6.7 update for early 2011 Mac Book Pro models features native graphics acceleration for some Radeon HD 5000- and 6000-series cards. The supported cards are off-the-shelf graphics processing units, not Mac-only cards as have been in the past.

It’s likely that at least some of the cards will be part of the new iMac refresh expected from Apple in the near future. A new rumor this week claimed that Apple plans to ship a refresh of its all-in-one desktop by early May, with Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors and a high-speed Thunderbolt port.

But the number of graphics cards natively supported by Mac OS X 10.6.7 has led “tonymacx86″ to suggest that it could signal “the end of the Mac-only graphics card.”

“Could Apple be opening up the platform more?” he asked. “What happens to NVIDIA? Why support for cards that aren’t in Macs yet? Will the 2011 Sandy Bridge iMacs contain one or more of these new 6xxx cards?”

The Mac OS X 10.6.7 Snow Leopard build unique to early 2011 Sandy Bridge MacBook Pro models apparently contains native support for the following graphics cards:

- ATI Radeon HD 5630 Device ID 0x68D8

- ATI Radeon HD 5630 Device ID 0x68D9

- ATI Radeon HD 5670 Device ID 0x68D8

- ATI Radeon HD 5730 Device ID 0x68D8

- ATI Radeon HD 5770 Device ID 0x68B8

- ATI Radeon HD 5850 Device ID 0×6899

- ATI Radeon HD 5870 Device ID 0×6898

- AMD Radeon HD 6850 Device ID 0×6739

- AMD Radeon HD 6870 Device ID 0×6738

- AMD Radeon HD 6970 Device ID 0×6718

Apple also released a special build unique to the new MacBook Pros with Thunderbolt also addresses performance issues with FaceTime. It also improves graphics stability and external display compatibility with the new notebooks released in February.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VLC 1.1.8 update released

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Date: Thursday, March 24th, 2011, 03:12
Category: News, Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 1.1.8. The new version, a 25.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Security update regarding video width concerning some demuxers.

- Support for a new Dirac encoder based on libschroedinger.

- Package of the new VP8/Webm encoder ‘Bali’.

- Notable updates in .mp4, .ogg, .ape demuxers.

- Major updates in most language translations.

- Fixes in skins2 supports of Winamp2 skins.

- Upgrade on the look of VLC for Mac OS X.

- Auto-detection for .txt subtitles is fixed.

- Fixes on Windows integration, notably regarding volume keys.

- Codecs updates.

- Many miscellaneous fixes.

VLC 1.1.8 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.7 update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011, 03:32
Category: News, Software

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Late Monday, Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.7, the most recent version of its Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” operating system. The update, which alternates between 313 MB and 1.12 gigabytes for the combo update, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Improve the reliability of Back to My Mac.

- Resolve an issue when transferring files to certain SMB servers.

- Address various minor Mac App Store issues.

- Includes all the improvements in the previous Mac OS X v10.6.1, 10.6.2, 10.6.3, 10.6.4, 10.6.5, and 10.6.6 updates.

- Includes Safari 5.0.4.

- Includes RAW image compatibility for additional digital cameras.

- Resolves a window resizing issue with X-Plane 9 on Macs with ATI graphics

- Addresses an issue with MacBook Air (Mid 2010) computers that could cause a kernel panic.

- Address issues in the AirPort driver for certain devices.

- Improves brightness on external displays and projectors.

- Addresses an issue where DVD Player may display black video on some Macs using the 64-bit kernel.

- Addresses an issue with some NEC displays in which the screen may appear black when connected to a Mac Pro (Mid 2010).

- Resolves an issue in which some Multiple Master (MM) fonts were missing from Mac Pro (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (15-inch & 17-inch Mid 2010), and iMac (Mid 2010) computers.

- Addresses various issues with MacBook Air (Mid 2010) computer performance.

- Resolves an issue in which clicking the Updates tab in the Mac App Store could cause the Mac App Store to become unresponsive.

- Fixes a problem opening an afp:// URL that points to a file, and changes the AFP mount path to conform to previous Mac OS X releases.

- Includes the ability to repair certain issues that may prevent hardware RAID volumes from mounting.

- Fixes a rare issue in Mac OS X v10.6.5 that could cause user accounts to disappear from the Login window and System Preferences after putting the system to sleep.

- Improves the reliability of dragging files or folders to the Trash when using an NFS home directory.

Mac OS X 10.6.7 can be directly downloaded here or via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, positive or negative, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

The Rant: Because acoustic travesties are amazing

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 17th, 2011, 04:37
Category: Opinion

Over the past few days, friends have sent this along to both my Facebook and e-mail accounts, the messages expressing a certain disbelief that something this bad exists, much less that it just cracked the top 100 songs on the iTunes Music Store.

So under the rationale that this has caused me pain and torment and frustration with how bad it is, allow me to follow the PowerPage work ethic of passing the torment along to you:



Stepping back a bit, this is either a valid song or a viral-but-successful farce or both, but even so, I have to sympathize on some levels. Perhaps there is an actual musical effort being put forth here, an actual aspiring singer attempting to create a work, but it’s so heavily autotuned and overwrought with editing that this comes off as a modern day version of The Shaggs, wherein the effort attempts to soar and crashes directly into the mountainside with a resounding thud.

More specifically, here are the issues at hand with the video:
- The audio sounds autotuned to the point wherein the singer sounds like a mix of a GPS voice and Frances McDormand’s character from “Fargo”.

- There is, for some reason, a rap sequence in which an unknown rapper in his 30s or 40s is talking about not only enjoying the weekend for what it is, but apparently the joy of hanging out with the underage singer. And if this isn’t sort of creepy, then nothing is.

- Beyond the brain-damaging lyrics and amazingly saccharine content of the video, there seems to be the thought that the gloss/visual appeal of the video itself will save the day. This only compounds the train wreck as it unfolds in front of you, the train apparently having hopped the rails and now barreling towards the nitroglycerine plant, the old folks’ home and the petting zoo before tumbling off a cliff at the end of its path.

So what does this have to do with your Mac or iOS device outside of the fact that this song is available on the iTunes Store? Not a lot, but given that it’s become easier than ever to edit audio and video on your computer, there also comes the need to sit back and look over what you’re doing, especially prior to publishing it out on YouTube as an official video. And for Rebecca Black herself, who may or may not at this moment be wrangled by a team of ambitious parents, managers and public relations wonks, one has to hope that there’s an actual voice at the bottom of the pile of autotuning, especially if this is the very beginning of a career in music…

Thanks for listening to the rant and there’s free coffee and doughnuts in the corner.