How-To: How to Fix a Faulty Multitouch Trackpad

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 4th, 2010, 07:23
Category: How-To

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Occasionally the Really Cool Thing on your MacBook or MacBook Pro stops working the way you want it to. And you get frustrated.

Per MacFixIt, a number of users have found that their multitouch trackpads on MacBook and MacBook Pro computers may randomly stop accepting 3 and 4 finger gestures. Although two-finger scrolling, tapping, and clicking will work as expected, the more complex inputs do not seem to be recognized.

This problem could be from a number of factors, including faulty preference files and other system settings and driver conflicts. Take a gander at the following tips to help resolve this issue:

Inherent Trackpad Delays:
If there are multiple confusing inputs being presented to the trackpad, the system may pause input for a second or two while it waits for a clear gesture to be used. These delays may be more prominent for multiple-touch gestures, so if you experience them, wait a few seconds and try the trackpad again with a firm and clear swipe instead of frantically trying to get the trackpad to work.

Test The Trackpad:
The utility “BetterTouchTool” has a “Live View” feature that can be used to visualize trackpad inputs. After installing and launching the preferences (from the BetterTouchTool menu extra), if the trackpad driver is recognizing multiple inputs you should see the dots representing those inputs on the Live View display. Keep in mind the BetterTouchTool is very experimental at this point, and while it does work it may crash; however, this feature should let you know whether or not the trackpad and driver are still working.

BetterTouchTool Live View: After installing and opening, select the “Touchpad” tab and click “Show Live View” to see the finger inputs on the trackpad.
(Credit: Screenshot by Topher)

Change Trackpad Settings: If the trackpad is not loading settings properly, try toggling some settings in the “Trackpad” system preferences. This should spur the system to load the new settings and hopefully get the trackpad working again.

Remove Third-Party Drivers:
If you have other input drivers, such as USB Overdrive, Logitech Control Center, or enhancers such as jiTouch or Multiclutch, try removing them and restarting the computer. Many times incompatibilities between input drivers may cause problems.

Try removing the .GlobalPreferences.USER-UUID.plist file:
The user account’s .GlobalPreferences file is a hidden preference file used for device settings such as colorsync profiles, default printers and monitors, and trackpad settings. After deleting this file and logging out and back in, you may need to ensure these items are setup correctly again. To do this, open the Terminal and follow these steps:

1. Type the following command (do not press enter): rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences

2. Press the Tab key twice, and you should see an output of the files containing “.GlobalPreferences” in their name.

3. Locate the one with the UUID in it (the UUID will look something like this: 6F77B0D6-8208-4977-8B45-EB1ADF6714BA) and start entering part of the UUID portion into the terminal so the command looks like the following: rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences.6F77B

4. When you have entered part of the UUID section of the file name, press the Tab key once and the file name should automatically complete, so the command looks something like the following: rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences.6F77B0D6-8208-4977-8B45-EB1ADF6714BA.plist

5. After the full filename has been typed, press enter to remove the preference file, and then log out and log back in to your user account.

Reset the PRAM: The system’s PRAM contains a number of settings, including those for mouse and trackpad input. Resetting the PRAM should clear any problematic settings that may interfere with the trackpad. To do this, reboot the system and immediately hold down the options-command-P-R keys. Hold the keys until the system resets a couple of times, and then release them and allow it to boot normally.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or 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:

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QuickerTek Announces Whip Antenna Upgrade for MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 14th, 2009, 12:31
Category: News

Accessory manufacturer QuickerTek announced the release of its 5dbi whip antenna for the latest crop of Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. Per MacMegasite, the US$49.95 antenna upgrade attaches to the internal Apple AirPort card through the ExpressCard slot or the security slot-depending on the MacBook/MacBook Pro. A detailed installation manual and all the tools required are included with the kit.

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There’s no additional software to install and the upgrade moves the antenna up and out of the MacBook/Pro case which boosts the wireless range and speed with the powerful 5dbi antenna which has a removeable antenna clips to the screen of the computer. The Whip Antenna for the MacBook/MacBook Pro upgrade is designed for the unibody MacBook/Pro 13″, 15″ and 17″ models including the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation laptops. It also works with all Apple AirPort Base Stations, all 802.11a/b/g/n wireless access points from Belkin, Cisco, DLink and most others as well. Compatibility includes wireless devices in the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz ranges-which covers most any wireless network users are likely to encounter when going mobile. Like most QuickerTek products, the 5dbi Whip Antenna Upgrade is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Apple Releases AirPort Client Update 2009-002

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2009, 08:55
Category: Software

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Rounding out yesterday’s sexy update-o-rama, Apple also released its AirPort Client Update 2009-002. The update a 13 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Inability to turn AirPort on or off in some cases after upgrading from Mac OS X Leopard.
– An occasional loss of network connection when using Wake on Demand.
– Inability to create a computer-to-computer network, or share the Internet connection on some MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini computers.

As always, Software Update is your friend in snagging and installing this.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried it and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple Releases Firmware Updates for MacBook, MacBook Pro

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

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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.

Rumor: Intel to Release Three New Arrandale Processors for Notebooks on January 3rd, 2010

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Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 06:52
Category: News

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It came from Rumorville, but it’s a good rumor, so hang on in there.

Fudzilla is reporting that Intel is planning on launching three Arrandale-based processors on January 3rd, 2010. These Arrandale processors are based on the advanced Nehalem architecture first introduced into desktop Macs earlier this year, and should represent a significant performance improvement over the Core 2 Duo processors that are currently found in Apple’s MacBook Pros.

The new processors will be branded under the “Core i5″ and “Core i7″ names and range from 2.4GHz to 2.66GHz with prices ranging from US$225 to US$332 in quantities of 1,000. Their TDP (thermal design power usage) of 35W as “not so attractive”, as it matches up with the current high-end processors used in the MacBook Pro and implies that Apple could use these processors in a new MacBook Pro update.

These new processors are said to eventually arrive in low-voltage variants that will also make them suitable for ultra-thin notebooks such as the MacBook Air.

Apple Authorized Resellers Launch Black Friday Sales Early

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Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2009, 06:05
Category: News

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As was the case last year, several Apple authorized resellers are getting an early start on the 2009 holiday shopping season by launching early Black Friday sales that offer up to US$220 off Mac desktops and $250 off Mac notebooks.

Per AppleInsider, outfits such as MacMall, ClubMac, and OnSale.com have each begun 72-hour Black Friday sales at midnight that are scheduled to run through 11:59 p.m. pacific time on Friday. Meanwhile, others like MacConnection and Best Buy have similarly put into effect their lowest prices on Macs this calendar year.

MacBooks and Mac minis:
Thus far, MacConnection is offering the lowest price we’ve seen this year on Apple’s white MacBook notebook at US$884.99, a savings of US$114 after rebates. And for its part, MacMall is extending the deepest discounts on new Mac minis, selling the 2.26GHz model for US$549.99 and the 2.53GHz model for US$744.98, also after rebates.

MacBook Pros and iMacs:
For MacBook Pros and iMacs, MacMall, ClubMac, OnSale, and MacConnection, the prices are fairly competitive. Some noteworthy standouts include the 2.26GHz 13″ MacBook Pro and 3.06GHz Dual 21″ iMac, each for US$1,069.00 at MacConnection (a US$130 savings). Meanwhile, MacMall is offering the 2.66GHz 15″ MacBook Pro for US$1,798.97 (US$200 savings) and the 3.06GHz Dual 27″ iMac for US$1,584.99 (US$130 savings). The best price on the 2.80GHz 17″ MacBook Pro is US$2,249.00, a savings of US$250. Best Buy is also offering the new 3.06GHz 21.5-inch iMac for US$1,099 (a $100 savings without a rebate, unlike many reseller deals).

MacBook Airs and Mac Pros:
Finally, MacMall is extending the lowest prices on MacBook Air notebooks at US$1,398.98 for the 1.86GHz model and US$1,689.98 for the 2.13GHz configuration. Discounts on Mac Pros span US$200 to US$220 from the vast majority of the resellers.

If you’ve seen any killer sales on your end, please let us know.

Axiotron Drops Modbook Prices for Holiday Sale

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Date: Friday, November 6th, 2009, 06:09
Category: Modbook

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Late Thursday, Axiotron announced a reduced price for the company’s Modbook tablet Mac. The price fell to US$699 for Modbooks built from a customer-supplied MacBook base system and US$1,599 for Modbooks that include a dealer-supplied 2.13Ghz MacBook base system. The holiday discount program runs through December 31, 2009.

Axiotron today also announced that the Modbook Pro tablet computer, unveiled during the Macworld Expo 2009, is planned for release at the end of the second quarter of 2010.

Every Modbook includes a 90 day Modcare warranty on the entire system (including the MacBook base system, whose warranty is voided during the Modbook conversion). Extended warranty options for one or more years are available through participating Axiotron sales partners. Servicing and repair of the Modbook are provided by Axiotron’s service provider network.

Some MacBook, MacBook Pro Users Report Overheating Under Snow Leopard

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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 Releases Pro Application Support – 2009-01 Update

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Date: Friday, October 23rd, 2009, 03:34
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released Pro Application Support – 2009-01, its Revision to Final Cut Studio 7. This update includes Final Cut Pro 7.0.1, Motion 4.0.1, Soundtrack Pro 3.0.1, Color 1.5.1, and Compressor 3.5.1 and addresses general compatibility issues, improves overall stability, and addresses a number of other minor issues.

The update can be found via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature provided you have an application installed that requires it and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.