News Archive for Friday Nov. 14, 2008 (later added items first)
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New MacBook Pro notes on using DisplayPort with Adapters for ADC Cinema display
Posting as a FYI for anyone with a new MB/MBP and one of the older ADC Cinema Displays:

"Mike, This is a quick heads-up for those wanting to use old Apple ADC displays with the new MacBooks with the mini display port. Yes, you can use a DVI to ADC adapter and then hook up the DVI connector on it to Apple's Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter, BUT...
With my new MacBook Pro and a 23" ADC Cinema Display, I can only get video on the Cinema Display using the *Apple branded* DVI to ADC adapter.
First tried an AddLogix (sub-branded Bi-System) 2-port DVI to ADC KVM, and then Dr. Bott's DVIator -- both passed through the USB fine, but no video on the Cinema Display. Both worked fine hooking up ADC displays to the DVI port of my last model Powerbook G4 and whatever other Mac with a DVI port I have. Lucky for me I had so many ADC adapters to try.

I hope the rumored software fix for video on external DVI displays will address this, as I miss the convenience of the KVM switch.
Best, Byron"

I've not had a post on DVI/ADC adapters for years. One brand of DVI to ADC adapter had a reader's complaints about noise present on the LCD display IIRC. I think Apple's adapter was the preferred one.

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Safari 3.2 problems with some browser addons and OS X Tiger prebinding problems
FYI: On Nov. 24th Apple posted Safari 3.2.1 update available at

(original posts on Safari 3.2.0 from Nov. 14th follow)
(Updated w/later comments including several more OS X 10.4.11 users noting prebinding fails after the update. Prebinding is OK on my 10.5.5/AL iMac, but I would not install Safari 3.2 on a OS X Tiger system at this point. )
As I mentioned last night, I wondered about Safari 3.2 breaking some addons. Here's several mails from readers on issues they've seen with some so far:

" I'm running PithHelmet and Inquisitor (and 1Password). I disabled PithHelmet, but Safari continued to crash repeatedly, so much so the choice was to use FireFox as the main browser or revert to 3.1.1, I reverted back to 3.1.1. This was not an occasional, but a repeated crash, especially upon launch from NewsFire.
-Paul E. "

Please include versions of addons if you suspect a problem with them.

" I too had Safari aborting when loading my 'morning' Tabs. However, loading individual pages worked. I had used Software Update. It also aborted (browser) when I tried to use Accessing and then downloading via Apple's download page worked fine and the resulting installer worked fine.
After removing Pithhelmet v2.8.3 and Glims v1.0b10 everything went back to normal. I suspect Pithhelmet is the culprit. (a reader below said he installed Glims 1.0B10 worked after updating to Safari 3.2. And Tony later replied he's using it OK now)
I only mentioned Glims v1.0b10 because it was beta and I installed it last night. I just now, after removing PithHelmet, reinstalled Glims v1.0b10 and everything works ok. I believe therefore that PithHelmet is the problem.
Mac OS 10.5.5, MacBook Pro 17", 2.4 GHz C2D/4GB ram "

And a report on Acidsearch (v0.70b3) problems w/Safari 3.2:

" Here's some feedback on my experience with Safari 3.2 tonight. I initially had problems with this update crashing on my 24" iMac Intel 2.8 GHz running OS X 10.5.5, which I traced to a conflict with Pozytron's AcidSearch add-on. I was using AcidSearch v.70b3, the last version that Pozytron posted. It's over a year old and I think that Pozytron is no longer actively supporting AcidSearch.
(Although it was not at Pozytron's page - I saw a v0.70 beta 4 after searching at MU. One reader later said the Beta 4 version worked w/Safari 3.2-Mike)
After getting rid of AcidSearch, Safari 3.2 worked fine, but I missed the flexible search capability of AcidSearch. A quick search led me to Glims, which proved to be a fine replacement.
Once I had my iMac working properly I installed both downloads on my 15" PowerBook G4 1.83 GHz (originally 1.25 GHz) running OS X 10.4.11, and it is running OK as well.
I initially upgraded my iMac using Software Update, had the crash problem, redid the update with the standalone installer, and when that didn't fix my problem I did the diagnostics which led me to get rid of AcidSearch. I used only the standalone installer with my PowerBook.
Regards, Jim K. "

I also had several mails from OS X 10.4.11 users that prebinding fails after the Safari 3.2 update. (And attempts with Onyx, Applejack and other utils also failed).

"Hi Mike, I also have prebinding errors after installing Safari 3.2 on a 10.4.11 system, to the point where update_prebinding now quits every time with the message:
  • update_prebinding: too many errors (101)
  • update_prebinding: error: terminating
  • update_prebinding: error 256 running update_prebinding_core

Later, Eric.

A later mail from another Tiger user with this problem said using the -debug option you can see the problem is related to libxml2.2 (updated w/Safari 3.2). (I've also had more mails from readers that ended up reinstalling OS X after seeing problems like this.)
To see if I could replicate that problem on this AL iMac running OS X 10.5.5 w/all updates - I quit all running apps, opened terminal and forced a rebinding (sudo update_prebinding -force -root /) - it completed OK (no errors, no log errors). I've not updated any OS X Tiger systems with Safari 3.2 yet (and won't at this point until Apple either updates the installer or addresses this. Many threads on problems in Apple's Safari forums.)

BTW - Despite having the Security prefs set to "Never Accept Cookies", with Safari 3.2 I've had a "PREF" cookie (sort of a google user ID I guess) appear repeatedly (and reappear later after clearing it). Despite settings of "Never" accept cookies - within 5-15 minutes of clearing cookies (again) and visiting google pages/searches - the google PREF cookie reappears.
No other cookies appear with "never allow" setting. I don't want to lock the cookies.plist file as sometimes I have to enable them for some sites. I've twice "Reset" Safari and restarted, but that didn't change anything. (And as a test I locked my cookies.plist file - the pref cookie still appeared over time - makes me wonder if it's actually a stored (file) or just a memory/cached item. Maybe Safari 3.2 just shows this pref and it was 'hidden' in previous versions.)
FYI I've noticed that the Google PREF "cookie" doesn't appear (w/never allow cookies setting) if you uncheck the option to "Warn when visiting fraudulent website" (which uses "Google Safe Browsing Service".

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    iBook G4 owner notes on repeated WD 250GB (PATA) drive head parking
    (Updated with notes on WD patch info from a reader that reported this same issue a couple years ago.) Clip from a reader's drive upgrade report added to the database today. I remember some similar issues with some drives in the past but this sounds even more frequent than those. (There were also some WD drive/SMS issues a couple years ago, but that was fixed a long time ago.)

    "Hi Mike, I *think* I'm having a issue with a Western Digital drive upgrade that I completed a few days ago, and I'm trying to find the solution... First, here's my specs:
    Computer: 12" iBook G4 1.33 GHz, OS X 10.4.11
    Drive Upgrade: WD2500BEVE (250GB IDE), 5,400 RPM 8MB Cache
    (I asked for the drive firmware version from ASP (revision))
    WDC WD2500BEVE-00WZT0
    Revision: 01.01A01
    Serial Number: WD-WXC7086244xx (last 2 digits masked)

    I recently picked up this drive for $90+tax at TigerDirect to replace my original Toshiba 40GB drive.... After installation, I booted from my tiger DVD (10.4.0) and then used Disk Utility program to reformat to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). This only took a few seconds (I didn't zero and erase). I then proceeded with the installation, which went very smoothly. .... once 10.4 was up, I ran software update, which updated me to 10.4.11 (along with lots of other stuff).

    Now the the problem... Although the drive would normally be thought of as working perfectly fine, I can hear the drive parking the head (and spinning down) literally every 5 seconds or so during periods of light use. The "LOAD_CYCLE_COUNT", as reported in the drive's SMART status is incrementing upwards at a rate of over 150 per hour. Given the drive's expected lifetime is 600,000 cycles, and doing the math, this means that the drive can be expected to fail in about 167 days (under 6 months) of continuous use (and I do leave my laptop on 24/7). I don't recall how often my original drive was parking the heads, although that drive was working for about 3 years (and it didn't fail, I just needed the extra GB's). (I asked if Energy Saver settings to Not allow drive sleep mattered)
    Disabling drive sleep has no discernible effects...

    I've tried a lot of things to resolve the issue, and the only thing that works is setting the drive's APM value to "max", using the hdapm utility, but this isn't ideal. Now, the APM can theoretically be set to any value between 1-254/255, but using a value of max-1 doesn't decrease the frequency at which the parking takes place, only the amount why which the drive will spin-down. The issue with setting the value to max is that the drive heats up far too much because it's always on (it gets to about 57 deg. C and the max permitted rating is 60). Obviously, APM doesn't seem to be affecting the timing of the spindowns, and I can't figure out how to do this.

    I've tried calling WD, but they won't admit it's a drive problem, or tell me anyway to alleviate it. (Their "level 2" tech guy told me that there were "no firmware upgrades for these drives". Although, he did say as such in a very passingly fashion, which makes me question whether it's based on his gut or his research!) I certainly can't imagine that this is normal operation if indeed the drive is expected to fail at 600,000 cycles. Sure, I've got a 3 year warranty, but I'm trying to find a proactive solution so that I don't have to go through having the hard drive replaced ever 6 months. I may have to return this drive and try another (the 160GB Hitachi Travelstar looks good), but I'm not looking forward to opening the computer again.
    -Darrin W."

    It probably won't help (if it's drive firmware related) but I'd try a PMU reset. If not I'd ask WD for a replacement (hopefully with different firmware version) or a refund/different drive from Tiger.
    If anyone else has a suggestion (or hasn't seen this problem with the same drive) let me know.. (Include drive firmware version in mails. Thanks)
    Update: Got this reply from a reader (which rings a bell from the past)

    "This problem is not something WD specific even though WD drives are commonly affected. I have an SAMSUNG HM160HC 160GB hard drive installed in my PowerBook G4 (mid '04) and also got this head parking problem. This issue was also addressed in Apple's discussion forum thread (titled "Upgraded to WD2500BEVS Hard drive, makes clicking noise"). You'll find a tool called Declunk essentially keeping the drive busy by writing some bytes on the drive and reading it all the time. Although for many people only one instance with the default parameters seems to be enough, I need at least 2 with pretty short cycle intervals to reduce the amount of load cycles per day to a minimum.
    Concerning cpu utilization and hard drive performance, there is no feel or measurable drop detectable.
    -Arman V."

    You'd think as a boot drive it would have enough open files/activity to not need that and I'd prefer not to use that sort of thing. Darrin replied:

    "I did actually come across that thread during my research (think I've seen almost everything :) and I did try a single instance of declunk with the default settings (a read/write every 5 seconds), but did not try running multiple instances concurrently or reducing the read/write rate. The default settings did not work.

    Likewise, I don't think it's the best solution. I think the goal of declunk is to completely prevent the head-parking, which would essentially be the functional equivalent of setting the drive's APM to "max", which did work, but created that excessive heat of 57 dec C. Given that declunk actually increases drive activity (however little), it could only result in increased temperatures. Ultimately, I'm trying to get the drive to recognize extended periods of inactivity (or low activity) when it would be ok to park the heads, rather than just parking after 2-3 seconds. Artificially increasing the activity seems counterintuitive.

    I'll experiment with declunk to see if it's "tunable" to the point where it just reduces the spin-down frequency. Though, I'm still hoping for a more technically sound solution.
    -Darrin W."

    All this made me dig up some old info from the FAQ here (originally posted here many years ago on optical drive sleep problems despite having Energy Saver set to never sleep drives).

    "When you do any changes by entering commands in pmset, make sure you use
      sudo pmset

    When you first launch pmset. This will run pmset with admin privileges which are required to change the settings. To check the current settings enter:

      sudo pmset -g

    To make sure that your drives (both hard and optical) don't got to sleep enter:

      sudo pmset -a spindown 0

    That's a zero (not O).

    But that may not affect this sort of drive firmware-related (IMHO since it's not common with all drives) behavior.
    Update - Darrin later wrote:

    "(sudo pmset -a spindown 0)
    This gave a note about idle sleep times not behaving as expected, but the drive still parks as before. Interestingly, "spindown" is not reported with pmset -g.
    Resetting the PMU didn't do anything (but I think it did reset correctly because it gave me a notice about the time being wrong upon reboot).
    (I also sent him command to reset/clear NVRAM from Open Firmware boot)
    Nope - unfortunately it didn't stop the parking... I also called WD back and pointed them to their own KB article with that DOS software update. Their response was that the software was for older drives and didn't apply to this one, as this drive is fully up to date.

    What's most aggravating is that I still don't know if it's a drive firmware or OS X issue. Setting the APM to max works, but does that modify the drive or just the settings of the signals that are sent to it by OS X? I get the sense that there is some unknown (to me) signal being sent to the drive by X which the drive doesn't fully understand, and it's inadvertently causing the spindown/parking. I wanted to try monitor the IDE interface commands/data, but I can't find any software to do that. I love solving problems, and I hate conceding defeat, but I may have to do so :)

    Another reader reply to the main site news page post on this - with link to a WD site PC/DOS patcher utility (I think one of the old posts years ago here had this info):

    "Hi Mike, I was the guy who put a WD 250GB scorpio into a PB G4 Tibook 667MHz about 2 years ago and had the clunking situation with this drive - there is a KB article on the Western Digital website plus a fix if you have Windoze (PC/DOS machine).
    This issue is caused by a system initiated power management command being interpreted incorrectly by the hard drive.
    WDC site link:
    (UPDATE: As of early 2009, this link goes to a Login page, not the doc as before)
    Why does the WD Scorpio 2.5" hard drive make clicking noises when installed in a laptop computer? ( download at bottom of page ( that has patcher)

    I have a Windoze laptop but its gathering dust somewhere if i ever get round to trying the fix i'll let you know. Great Site!

    I wrote Darrin about this and he said it was for "older drives" - so my question is - Is this a firmware version updater or just a mode patcher? - if an old firmware version updater will it patch drives with current firmware like Darrin's? If it's a mode patcher, it may still work - but if a firmware version updater (old updater), it may refuse to update a current firmware drive if there's any version check included. (For those that asked why I bothered to keep the Drive Upgrade/Compatibility database going all these years - this is another example why.)
    (FYI: Ti PB's don't have big drive/48bit addressing support, so limited to 128GB capacity unless using intech's driver.)

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    More feedback on Parallels Desktop 4.0 Upgrade for Macs
    I've added 4 more reader's notes to page on Parallels 4.0 Upgrade reports and Tips. (Late posting these from yesterday.)
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    Other News/Articles, Software Updates, Apple How-To/Troubleshooting docs
    (later added items first)

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