News Archive for: Monday, Feb. 27th, 2006 (later posted items first)
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Two readers report problems out of the box with their new MacBook Pro
Several readers had gotten MacBook Pros last week and didn't note any problems out of the box, but 2 readers today sent word about initial problems with theirs.

" Can you ask your readers a question? I received my (2GHz) Macbook Pro on Friday, it was defective and now I have to play a waiting game to get a replacement...in the mean time I am still in possession of the useless Macbook....have any readers had defect issues with the Macbooks and how has apple been in dealing with them?
(I asked him for more details on the problem he saw-Mike)

Well essentially, when it booted up it had an X on the battery icon, it would not boot from battery or even see the battery as inserted...yet if I pulled the powercord..it would run off battery.... just no indication of charge or anything....
The apple rep i spoke to told me there was a "known" issue but would not elaborate and told me I had to take it to a genius to handle the RMA. (I asked if he was told to try any troubleshooting like resetting the pwr mgr, etc.-Mike)
Power manager reset nothing else. Reset PM..no effect..even went to apple store and tried it with one of their batteries...no go...same results..definitely the Macbook.
As of this moment, I am waiting on a Fedex waybill from Apple to send the defective one back and as soon as they have updated tracking they claim they will send a replacement out immediately.
Richard C. "

There's always a chance of getting a bad one (with anything) but I decided to post this after getting another mail within a few hours of the first:

" I'm just wondering if any readers have encountered problems with dead/non-booting MacBook Pros yet?

I finally received my Core-Duo 2.0Ghz custom-ordered model this morning (7200RPM 100GB drive and 2 512MB DIMMS), and upon powering it up, I got no chime or video display. I could hear the hard drive spin up and I think the cooling fan, but nothing else except a white light on the button you press to open the lid.

I tried all of the recommended tips, including resetting the PMU and PRAM to no avail. (The keyboard didn't even appear to be responding, since the light never came on when I pressed on the CAPS-LOCK key.)

I even tried re-seating the DIMMs, as well as removing one at a time and trying to boot with only one, and then the other one installed. Nothing!

I ended up having to request an RMA and shipped it back to Apple via FedEx this afternoon. How disappointing!
- Tom "

Two reports is a very small (tiny) sample considering how many they've shipped, but if anyone else has just gotten a new MacBook Pro, let me know if you've seen any OOB problems or not.

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Intel iMac Display sleep/Slow Networking File Transfer problem report
I don't own an Intel CPU Mac but posting as a FYI. (Several Intel CPU iMac owners wrote they have seen the slow network file transfers - see notes below)

" I've got an intel 20" iMac, 2GB RAM, and have mostly been very pleased. I've noticed a couple of minor reoccurring issues with it.

I've got Energy Saver set to Never put the computer to sleep, put the Display to sleep after 20 minutes, and put the hard disk to sleep when possible. I've noticed 2 issues, and I haven't been able to pin down a cause or find anyone mentioning it. One is that the display will occasionally fail to turn back on, I can hear audio effects so I know the Mac is awake. If I force the machine to full sleep via the power button, and wake it back up then the display will restore. The other issue is that occasionally the display will fail to go to sleep at all. I'll come back from work (or wake up in the morning) and the screen saver will be going, display still at full brightness. I'm not running any unusual applications that should be keeping the display on, I haven't pinpointed a common cause for when this happens either.

The other issue is Macintosh to Macintosh networking. I have a Powerbook G4 and have the worst luck getting the two machines to connect using Personal File Sharing. The two machines see each other, and I'm able to mount remote volumes, but when I attempt to transfer files, the transfer rate is abysmal (using Airport on both machines). It appears the slowdown is on multiple small files, it seems to really hang when it has to start to transfer a new file (or maybe closing out from transferring the prior file, not sure). Even with the slow transfer rate, I get many "Finder cannot complete the operation because some data cannot be written (Error Code -36)" errors, essentially making Personal File Sharing useless. I can transfer files with Windows machines using Windows File Sharing (albeit slower than FTP, but it works without errors). I can transfer files between Macs with FTP splendidly, I just don't know what the issue is with Personal File Sharing.

I don't know if anyone else is seeing similar issues, or if mine is an isolated incident, since I haven't seen anything regarding either Sleep or File Sharing come up with regards to the Intel machines yet. I'm running 10.4.5 on both machines. Overall I'm very happy with the Intel iMac, these issues don't impede anything I do with my computer, just seem to give it a bit of "personality"
(Update - he later wrote in reply to the notes/suggestions below)
Just an update on the Intel iMac issues I described earlier...
I had IPv6 disabled to begin with. I went through and checked Appletalk - it defaults to enabled on the Ethernet adapter, not the Airport adapter. Appletalk wasn't being used on either of my machines. Enabling Appletalk on both Macintoshes, and the transfer rate dramatically improved. I still get (Error Code - 36) occasionally. I'll try a manual IP tonight and let you know the results. I'll also see if I can't find a hub and see if direct connection via Ethernet gives any different results, or if it's just Airport.

I do not see the faulty Airport symptoms that are described in the Apple Discussion Forum a reader linked, but it was a good thing to check for. Airport, for the most part on both my machines, is rock solid, except when I try to connect via File Sharing (I've always had to use FTP).

As for the display issue - I have no wireless devices attached. I'm using the Mighty Mouse that came with the system. I do have a Firewire DVD-RW that I use occasionally, I'll have to disconnect that and see if the problem reoccurs. I also found "Wake for Ethernet Network Administrator Access" was checked, I turned that off, and will have to see if that helps any on that issue as well. I also turned Bluetooth off (since I'm not using it) - maybe that will help too
Thanks again for your (and all your readers) help!
-bb "

Several readers w/Intel CPU Macs replied to this post that they've also seen slow network file transfers and mentioned these suggestions:

  • Several suggested manually assigning an IP address to each Mac
  • One suggested turning off IPv6 networking and/or manually entering DNS info
  • One reader asked if Appletalk and Filesharing was enabled on all Macs used (not just the source).

If any of the above helps those with the problem, let me know. Thanks.
One reader also included a link to an Apple discussions forum thread on a similar topic.

One other Intel CPU iMac owner wrote regarding sleep issues:

" I've got similar "iMac wakes up on its own" issues. I've noticed it wake up at periodic times through the night when I notice a glow coming from the room with the computer in it. I've resorted to turning it off at night now. :-(
I am still wondering if it is the cheapo cordless mouse I'm using if it is sending spurious signals and waking it up. Guess I should try the evil wired bar-of-soap mouse and see if it works right with that.
-Mike W. "

A reader with an iMac G5 mentioned sleep/wake problems caused by a USB card reader but not sure if "BB" had any 3rd party devices connected. (They're a common cause of sleep/wake problems with USB PCI cards also and for any sleep problems, disconnecting/removing 3rd party addons is the first thing to try.)

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More reports on Cheap USB Audio Cards
" Mike, I reported awhile ago about the 12$ USB dongle that worked well with my QuickSilver 2002, I just wanted to let you know that I Installed iLife '06 today and GarageBand 3 now works with the 48khz output provided by the SoundMax SD-102.
-Dave "

"i recently bought a Creative MP3+ usb audio card to hook my powermac g4 up to a set of logitech z-680 speakers. I read a few comments on your site about the creative working with the generic apple drivers (basic feature support with OS X core audio) so thought i'd give it a go. all was going well until today when i discovered that the creative box doesnt support multichannel audio over the optical out. i hadn't realised this when i bought it but on further reading on your site people do mention this not being supported. perhaps you could make more mention of this so that others don't make the same mistake.
I'm off to buy a M-audio transit to replace it (unless you've got a better idea). Lets hope i don't have as many problems as other readers have had with it.
thanks, mark "

There's been many posts on low-cost USB Audio cards here but the most recent ones were:

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G5/Tiger user report on ReadyNAS 600 NAS (w/4 SATA Drives)
(from a drive db report this weekend)

" Infrant ReadyNAS 600
PowerMac G5 Tower running OS X Tiger
The ReadyNAS is a small device containing a controller board, power supply and sapce for 4 SATA drives. I bought my ReadyNAS as a barebones kit and installed 4 Western Digital 320GB drives. The NAS supports raid 0,1 or 5. With raid 5 the NAS can be configured to use all 4 drives for the raid or 3 and hot spare. The device uses a hardware raid controller rather than a software controller like the Buffalo and similar consumer-level products.

Configuration is done through a web interface. The OS is an imbedded Linux that boots from a Compact Flash card installed in the NAS.

Other Features include:
-1000MB Ethernet
-USB port for Sharing a printer, backing up data to a usb HDD, moving files from a flash drive to the NAS, and for connection to a UPS to allow for shutdown in case of a power failure.
-Very Quiet operation, less than an idle Powermac G5
-Supports AFP, SMB, NFS, FTP, HTTP/HTTPS
-Supports Slimserver and UPnP for Media players
-Share, User, or Domain level security
-Has an rsync client/server for remote backups to and from the NAS
-Built-in scheduler for doing rsync backups
-Upgrades are done through the web interface.
-Mac support has been problem free when using AFP
-alert system to send email incase of drive failure or other events
-DHCP server

Overall, I've been very pleased with the device. It accepts my daily retrospect backups and stores my itunes library of AIFF files and serves them to a Squeezebox player using the SlimServer.
-Chad H. "

Several readers asked I write Chad for more info on his Squeezebox/iTunes AIFF library setup - see his reply in Tuesday's news.

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Notes on Seagate 7200.9/500GB drive P/Ns with SSC disabled
(from a drive db report)

" In the course of researching a hard drive purchase, I got the following information from Seagate presales support:

"All Seagate 7200.9 SATA drives with the Part Numbers that end in the suffix -301 have SSC enabled and are not compatible with the Apple controllers. (as mentioned previously here - SSC (Spread Spectrum Clocking) is not compatible with the Mac onboard SATA. Seagate also has a PC/windows utility to disable this but not a Mac version of it.-Mike)

All other suffixes other than -301 on the Part Numbers are compatible ( -302, -303,-401, -402 etc).

Here is a list of part number with SSC disabled for ST3500641AS:
9BD148-302
9BD148-303
9BD148-401"

I ended up purchasing the hard drive from OWC, and it works fine. (OWC noted last fall when this issue first came up they disable SSC on their stock of 7200.9 drives-Mike) There is that occasional drive sleepiness that occurs when the computer wakes up from sleep, but the wait doesn't last 90+ seconds. 20 seconds tops. (A previous 7200.9/500GB owner commented problems after waking from sleep (beachballing cursor, etc.) - another reader with the same drive said it was fine after waiting a minute or so for the drive to spin up/be ready after wake from sleep-Mike) More often than not, and it seems to be getting better through time, the drive wakes up right away. You can actually hear the drive click when it springs back to life.
-Raul" "

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Drive Genius and AppleJack user reports pages updated
I've updated the pages of user reports on Drive Genius (another Defrag problem report - but updated now with two v1.2 users that wrote today they've defragged without any problems) and AppleJack Troubleshooting Tool/Script for OS X (report on using it with OS X 10.4.5).
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Gmail Encryption
(I don't use gmail personally but here's a note from a reader that does)

"Neat Gmail encryption trick
Hey Mike, ... There is a very neat trick to encrypt all Gmail communications (not just the log-in part) but the you reading your email part just by starting your gmail visit from https://mail.google.com as opposed to the normal http://mail.google.com
Starting from the https site your mail stays encrypted while you're reading it after the initial log-on so an ISP busybody or wireless snoop or low grade NSA rookie can't read it in transit.

This tip was more fully explored at
http://linuxactivist.blogspot.com/2005/11/gmail-hack-encrypt-gmail-login-and.html
Hopefully other webmail offerings will adopt the idea.
-Josh L. "

A reader replied to this post:

" Subject: Using SSL to connect to GMail
Yup, have been using this ever since the middle of last year when I got my account. The only trouble is, once your mail leaves Google's servers, it's now unencrypted--unless you use something like PGP to encrypt your mail's contents.
Ken L. "
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Apple Knowledge Base Doc Updates (Aperature, Pro Apps, iPhoto, iDVD, iPod, iTunes, OS X)
(from apple's weekly listing)

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CDRW/DVD/Hard Drive/Storage Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 15 new reports added this morning. (Entries later today are added the next newsday morning.) The database includes reports on CDRWs, Combo DVD-CDRW, DVD-ROM, DVD Burners, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, NAS, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, SATA, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters). Current total - 15,607 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first - does not include updates to previous reports) iApps burn support mentioned in reports unless otherwise noted.

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE AOpen DUW1616L in G4/AGP (OS X 10.4)
    (listed under "Other" brand. Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio model)
  • IDE I/O Magic IDVD16DL in G4/AGP (OS X 10.4)
    (listed under "Other" brand.)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-110D in G5 Tower (OS X 10.4)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-110DBK in (MDD) Dual G4 DDR (OS X 10.4)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-110D in eMac (OS X 10.4)
    (although Tiger has basic iApps burn support for most drives without it, he noted using Patchburn 4. FAQ's iMac section has download of eMac superdrive install PDF.)
  • USB (Lacie cased) NEC ND-3550A used w/iMac slot-loading (OS X 10.3)
    (with only USB 1.1 ports, speed will be very very slow (less than 1x dvd rates). Using Patchburn 3 for 10.3.x iApps burn support.)

    CDRW Drives:
  • IDE Sony CRX230e (52x32x52x) in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (use Patchburn for 10.2.x iApps burn support. Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers Beige G3 tower and B&W G3.)

    NAS (network attached storage) Drives:
  • Network Interfaced Infrant ReadyNAS 600 (867GB) used w/G5 Tower (OS X 10.4) (listed under "other brand")

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE Fujitsu mhv2100ah 100GB in PowerBook G4 (OS X 10.4)
    (Reader FYI - PowerBook G4 Ti 15in. LCD illustrated Hard Drive install guide here
    PB G4 15in (Aluminum) Disassembly guide here.
    Powerbook G4 12in LCD illustrated Hard Drive install guide here
    FAQ's Powerbook section has links to other model take-apart guides.)
  • IDE Hitachi Travelstar (5400rpm/8MB cache) 60GB in PowerBook G4 (OS X 10.3)
  • IDE Maxtor 6L250R0 250GB in (MDD) Dual G4 DDR (OS X 10.4)
  • IDE Seagate ST9100824A (Momentus) 100GB in PowerBook G4 (OS X 10.3)
  • IDE Seagate ST9160821A (Momentus) 160GB in PowerBook G4 (OS X 10.4)
  • IDE (SerialATA onboard) Seagate ST3500641AS 500GB in G5 Tower (OS X 10.3)
    (has notes on which 7200.9 models have SSC enabled, notes on wake from sleep drive ready delay)
  • IDE Toshiba MK1032GAX 100GB in (Pismo) Powerbook G3 2000 (OS X 10.4)
    (PB G3 Pismo illustrated HD install guide here)

You can find full owner reports (latest shown first) by searching the database by drive/brand/interface/mac models (the latest reports are shown first in searches). For guides to installing CD/CDRW/DVD drives or Hard drives in many mac models, see the IDE Articles page. The Firewire articles page also has guides on case kits, installing drives, etc.
If you've added a IDE, SCSI, Firewire or USB hard drive, CDRW, tape drive, etc. make sure you add a report to the database. (If you post an updated entry - make sure you use the same name, etc. as you did before so I can find your past entry. Thanks.)
(Incomplete entries are deleted. Do not post questions in the database, it's for drive reports not questions on what drive to buy - for that try searching the database for reports from owners of your mac model on the drive type/brand/interface, etc. you're interested in.)

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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 3 new reports (entries later today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 10,203. Here's a summary of the reports added (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Other World Computing G4 1.467GHz in (Digital Audio) G4/AGP (rated 9)
  • PowerLogix BlueChip G3 900 in (Pismo) PowerBook G3 2000 (rated 1)
  • Wegener Media G4/500 in Powerbook G3 Wallstreet2 (rated 8)
    (listed under "Other brand".)

    (Full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades compared to stock CPUs, including real world apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked at the CPU upgrades page. OC/CPU module articles are on the Systems page.)

You can find the full reports by searching the database selecting the indicated Mac model and upgrade card brand/type. If you've upgraded the CPU on your Mac, please post an entry in the database. Search the database for entries from most every upgradable Mac model *before* you buy. (Searchable by mac model/upgrade brand).

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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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