Apple Quietly Admits Hairline Crack Issue on White MacBook, Offers Repairs

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2009, 07:44
Category: MacBook

macbooks.jpg
After months of contention, Apple has privately acknowledged an issue within some of its 13″ MacBook notebooks in which hairline cracks have arisen during normal usage patterns.
According to AppleInsider, Apple issued a bulletin to its authorized service providers in March that essentially reversed its stance on replacing the bottom casing of notebooks that may be experiencing these symptoms.
Initial reports surfaced in November that Apple was refusing to cover repairs for the bottom casing of the notebooks despite its willingness (on occasion) to address identical problems with the top portion of the casings containing the keyboard and palmrests.
The bulletin apparently identified four key areas prone to hairline cracking, including the case front below the palmrests and trackpad, the portions around the I/O ports, the back rear corners, and the back rear ventilation area.
Apple has also noted that other portions of the case could be affected by hairline cracking and has asked service providers to determine whether the cracks themselves were due to the owner’s negligence.
In the event that providers are unable to identify signs that the user is at fault for the cracks, they’re advise to escalate the notebook for coverage by Apple, regardless of whether its one-year limited warranty has expired.
The exception also applies to the black plastic 13-inch MacBook that was discontinued last year, but does not extend to any other member of the MacBook family, according to those familiar with the matter.

(more…)

Sleep Tips for MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks Published

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 09:03
Category: How-To

el17.jpg
Albeit generally reliable, putting your MacBook or MacBook Pro notebook to sleep can be a bit of a gamble. When you open the notebook back up, you want to make sure the computer will wake up again or your day just got that much worse.
Over on the Apple Core, David Morgenstern has offered the following tips in getting his MacBook Pro to wake from sleep under both Mac OS X 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5.
Per Mac OS X 10.4:

1. Before I put the machine to sleep, I unplug anything connected, such as an Ethernet cable, hard drive or mouse.
2. Next I use the Sleep command under the Apple Menu to put the MacBook to sleep and I wait until the screen actually goes blank before closing the lid. I don’t just close the lid.
3. When I go to wake the MacBook, I open the machine and make sure that I don’t plug anything into the machine before I wake it.

Interestingly enough, Mac OS X’s Energy Saver panel allows for multiple types of sleep (“computer sleep,” which is what we commonly think of as sleep, where the system sleeps; “display sleep,” where the screen goes black; and “hard disk” sleep, where the drive spins down).
The column then mentions that the following types of sleep can be used:

Sleep, where the Mac saves the state in RAM, which means it can go to sleep and wake up quickly, but could bring trouble if the battery runs down or is removed.
Hibernate, where the state is written to the hard disk (the safest for your data), but takes the longest time to be put to sleep and to wake up.
Combination Sleep and Hibernate, which Apple calls Safe Sleep. It may take the longest time to sleep but it also can wake quickly. And if your MacBook supports it, you can swap in a fresh battery.

For users looking to specify the sleep type used, software developer Patrick Stein’s SmartSleep lets you choose between the modes.
For users experiencing problems getting their MacBook notebook to sleep, Apple’s “Why Your Mac Might Not Sleep or Stay in Sleep Mode” Knowledge Base article offers the following tips:

There are reasons why you may want your Mac to stay awake even though you are not using the keyboard or mouse, such as when you are:
Watching a DVD movie
Listening to your iTunes music library
Running an automated backup
Away from your computer while downloading large files

The article also mentions that using Bluetooth devices can disrupt a MacBook’s sleep function:

You can allow Bluetooth devices to wake a sleeping computer by enabling “Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer” in Bluetooth preferences. A bluetooth device paired correctly should not typically prevent a computer from sleeping. However, some Bluetooth mice can interfere with sleep.

Finally, applications themselves can affect sleep:

If an application uses a custom font to display text but the font resource is marked purgeable, then at some point the memory manager will purge the font from memory. When the application tries to draw text using that font again, it will be loaded from the hard drive, resetting the sleep timer.
Applications can be designed to keep the system awake and prevent idle sleep indefinitely. In developer lingo, an application may explicitly prevent system sleep by calling IORegisterForSystemPower(), and calling IOCancelPowerChange() when it receives a power management kIOMessageCanSystemSleep notification.

(more…)

MacBook LCD Mod Tutorial Goes Online

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 2nd, 2009, 08:17
Category: Hack, MacBook

It’s a matter of how comfortable you are taking your notebook apart and soldering new components into place, but for MacBook owners looking to make the Apple component of their LCD screen look like this:
lcdmod.png
check out the tutorial created by Mac user Eddie Zarick.
The tutorial includes a full list of supplies and materials you’ll need, including a US$200 Century Plus One sub-monitor, but this should yield some fairly cool results.
If you’re about to take this on or have performed a similar mod, please let us know in the comments or forums.

(more…)

Users Reporting Dropped Internet Connections During Time Capsule Backups

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 26th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Software, Time Capsule

timecapsule.jpg
In the category of “it should be working perfectly forever but isn’t”, a number of users have reported that their Time Capsule units are dropping Internet connections during the backup process. According to MacFixIt, the AirPort Utility does not see the Time Capsule during the dropped out period. Even so, the backup continues and completes despite the Internet connection not working. Time Capsules may also be dropping Internet connections more frequently than during backup sessions as multiple users report anywhere from 5 minute to 30-minute increments between drops.
One user, identified as “Zzooomm”, described the situation as follows:

“Time Capsule V7.4.1 loses Internet/Wireless Connection with my MacBookPro2,2 Core 2 Duo 10.5.6 during backup. It appears the backup continues successfully. Opening Airport Utility shows my second Airport Extreme but not the Time Capsule. Within 10 minutes of completing the backup, the TC reappears. Suggestions?”

Strangely enough and on an apparently-unrelated note, Apple has acknowledged that the Real Player Downloader has been causing communications complications between airport cards and Time Capsules. To repair this, head over to System Preferences, Accounts, Login Items, highlight the RP Downloader and click the (-) button. This is a solution that many of the users on the discussion threads acknowledge solves the issue.
If you do not have the Real Player Downloader installed and are still having problems, be sure you have Apple’s latest update to the Time Capsule firmware, 7.4.1. If you do not have it, download the update from Apple and install it.
If you have the firmware updated and do not have Real Player Downloader installed and are still having issues, try resetting your Time Capsule following instructions in the User’s Manual or read this Apple Knowledge Base article.
If you’ve seen this issue on your end or have an opinion to offer on it, let us know in the comments or forums.

(more…)

iFixIt Offers New Mac Mini First Look Guide, Guide to Adding Second Internal Hard Drive and 1 TB Upgrade Kit

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 08:45
Category: Mac Desktop

elmacmini.jpg
Computer outfitter iFixIt has released a slew of new items in the wake of Apple’s recent Mac mini refresh. First, the company’s First Look guide has been rewritten to include the following highlights:

  • Both the hard drive and RAM are easily upgradeable once you remove the upper case.
  • The processor is now soldered to the logic board. Those people who had grown accustomed to upgrading mini processors will be greatly disappointed by this.
  • As usual for the mini, a putty knife is required to disassemble it.
  • The SuperDrive used in the new Mac mini is finally SATA, as in the new iMacs and MacBooks.
  • If you install 2GB RAM in a $599 low-end mini, it recognizes and uses 256 MB of video memory.
  • (more…)

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

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

    optibaydrive.jpg
    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.

    (more…)

    Apple Releases SMC Firmware Update 1.3 for 13″ MacBook

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

    macbooks.jpg
    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.

    (more…)

    Apple Posts Knowledge Base Articles to Help Access RAM/Hard Drive/Battery for Unibody MacBooks

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, February 17th, 2009, 13:41
    Category: How-To

    el17.jpg
    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.

    (more…)

    QuickerTek Releases 2009 Apple aluminum MacBook and MacBook Pro External Battery and Charger

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, February 17th, 2009, 08:11
    Category: Accessory

    quickertekbattery.jpg
    Accessory maker QuickerTek has begun selling its 2009 Apple aluminum MacBook and MacBook Pro External Battery and Charger for Mac notebooks. According to MacNN, the unit is design for use with the latest unibody 13″ MacBooks and 15″ MacBook Pro notebooks. The battery is said to provide between eight and 10 hours of total run time as opposed to the five offered by Apple’s batteries. When attached, internal batteries are depleted before the QuickerTek one takes effect.
    The QuickerTek battery is additionally said to charge in only three hours instead of five, as well as significantly extend the useful life of a MacBook by separately lasting between 2,000 and 3,000 recharge cycles. The unit retails for US$450.
    If you’ve worked with QuickerTek batteries before or have an external battery of choice, let us know in the comments or forums.

    (more…)

    Customizable Four-Finger Gestures May be En Route for Apple Notebooks in Mac OS X

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, February 16th, 2009, 08:12
    Category: News

    el17.jpg
    There’s some interesting stuff buried within the depths of the Mac OS X file structure. Among these, according to MyAppleGuide, is a bit of code in Mac OS X’s Trackpad preference panethat would allow users of multitouch-capable trackpads such as those on the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros to define their own four-finger gestures.
    The file is currently a .nib, meaning it’s currently just installed as part of the interface and no actual code is hooked up to it, but if you have a multitouch-capable Mac (such as a unibody MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air), you can find the same file at /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Trackpad.prefPane/Contents/Resources/ English.lproj/FourFingerSwipeGesture.nib.
    Currently, the multitouch trackpad’s four-finger gestures are hard-coded and perform a given set of functions such as activating the desktop, triggering Expose, and bringing up the Application Switcher.
    Customization of gestures could be en route in a future Mac OS X update, a feature many users might appreciate.
    Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

    (more…)