Apple Hardware Web

How to win an Apple Mac Air

  1. Join Twitter.
  2. Follow @wubud.
  3. Tell your friends.

@wubud (pronounced woo-bud) is where Paul Walsh will reveal his next venture. You may remember Paul from a previous post here about his qik adventures when he missed his flight home because he was talking to people on the Internet. He landed a bed in a penthouse suite so don’t be too sorry for him!

Anyway, he explains on his blog why he’s going down the Twitter route and it’s an interesting experiment. It certainly caught the imagination of several people we both follow and I know others are blogging it too. Nice way to spread the word, eh? I think the incentive to win a Mac Air helps too, don’t you think?

So far only 203 people are following @wubud so it may take a while to get to the 5,000 followers Paul wants.

Paul’s in San Francisco next weekend, so you never know, he might reveal the master plan to you if you ask nicely if he hasn’t done it before then!

What about me? Do I want to win a Mac Air? ‘Course I do! My Macbook died this evening. A cup of tea spilled on it while I was feeding the baby. I quickly dried it off as best I could with paper towels but the screen was black and the thing is dead. Luckily backuppc had done a backup 6 days ago so I doubt I lost much stuff.


How to Insult the Mac Brigade

I’ve insulted the Mac Brigade. I am so sorry. I didn’t realise that putting stickers on an Apple Macbook was such a heinous crime. HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?

Well, that’s how Bernie puts it anyway. Sort of. He posted a photo of my Macbook at BlogTalk and the response surprised me. Hahahaha. Thud! (Laughing my head off)

For those who missed the original shot, here’s one I took moments ago. There are stickers from Laughing Squid (and a button too), (Thanks Nikolay),, Hyku, that WordPress crowd who get everywhere, and 2 from Om Malik: FoundRead and NewTeeVee.
The other button says, “hard bloggin’ scientist” and I got that from Jan Schmidt last Tuesday at BlogTalk. Thanks!


Lovely isn’t it? Who’s on your laptop? Anyone got a Dell sticker to put on the Apple Logo? It’d shine through nicely!


How to replace and calibrate your new Macbook battery

Last week I bought a new Macbook battery from the Apple Store to replace the slightly aged one that came with the machine. I’m travelling shortly and I need enough juice to play MAME and Doom do some work while I sit in airports waiting for connecting flights.

Late last week a parcel came for me, my new battery! Here’s how I replaced the old battery and calibrated the new one, with nice pictures.

macbook battery box

Continue reading “How to replace and calibrate your new Macbook battery”


Apple Store Promotion Code

So I was looking for a new battery for my Apple Macbook laptop and popped on over to the online Apple Store, picked up the battery, filled in my credit card details and then I was presented with this tempting textbox.

Apple Store Promotion Code

Hmm, could I save a few quid if I had a promotion code? I went searching for one as I’ve had luck elsewhere saving a bit of money online. Clicking on the first link appeared to be a forum thread. It quickly became obvious that lots of people were in the same boat, and judging by the 51 pages of posts by “macrumors newbie” status users they’re a lot more desperate than I am.

Oh well. The battery was €139, including €24 VAT which isn’t too bad. Should arrive in a few days time. I’m using Coconut Battery again to monitor battery usage, but this time I’ll try the battery calibration techniques on the new battery first.

PromoCode Needed!
I got some money for Xmas and i want to buy a macbook at the store.

Can somebody please send me a promocode ?? Fast?

Looks like someone was offering promotion codes to the first 2 to PM him.

Apple is folding it’s biz agent program at the end of 2007. As a going away present, I’m putting my last two codes out there for you, dear reader.

The fine print:

* They expire 12/28 (yeah, that’s tomorrow)
* They are NOT good in the ed store
* They are NOT good if your company already as a deal with Apple
* They ARE good for refurbs

Please don’t ask for it if you can’t use it. If you CAN make use of it, PM me and I’ll send it your way!


Vim's cursor keys work in Mac OS X again

export TERM=linux

Ever since my Macbook died and was fixed again Vim hasn’t worked properly in iTerm.

I’m a big fan of SSH and Screen. SSH to connect to a remote server, and Screen is like a workspace organiser for your SSH session.

First of all the backspace key worked in Vim even when not in insert mode, but worst of all, the cursor keys refused to work and only succeeded in ringing bells in the terminal. Previous attempts at fixing the problem failed but I must have searched for the right terms this time. This review of Mac OS X led me part of the way. Sébastien recommended setting the TERM to “dtterm” but Screen didn’t recognise that. Setting it to “linux” fixes my SSH sessions, and also fixes Vim locally as well!

I added the snippet of code above to my ~/.bash_profile to make the change permanent and everything is back to normal now! I have a vague memory of fixing this before but I wish now I had blogged it then!


The blinking folder and question mark is bad, right?

Just over a year after buying my Macbook and it has quite possibly died. While using it, it stalled, keyboard wouldn’t respond, and I had to shut it down. When I started it up again I heard 3 distinct clicks which is never a good thing, and after a few minutes of staring at a grey screen a flashing folder appeared with a question mark in the middle.

It has happened to others and the prognosis isn’t good. A reinstall of Mac OS X is required, but those clicks I heard disturb me. I get the feeling I’ll be finding out how good Apple Support are. Does anyone know how to eject a DVD without the OS running? The Bourne Supremacy is in the drive and I haven’t even watched it yet!

I’m paranoid about backups, and what has been bugging me over the last few weeks is that all my email was on the Macbook, and I hadn’t got around to backing it up because the wireless connection was too slow. I’ll find an older Thunderbird directory on my Linux box and fire that up, but if you’ve sent me email over the last few weeks that needs a reply, send it again. I think I’ll allow Gmail to store my mail in future.

If for some reason the machine can’t be resurrected, it’s definitely the last Mac I’ll buy. What with the flickering screen too, I think I might be better off spending the extra pennies on better hardware from a PC manufacturer.

Update! I rang Apple, who put me on to their local reseller/fixer-upper, and they have the laptop. Hopefully I’ll hear back from them before the end of the week. They’ll try to fix the flickering screen too. That’s apparently caused by a missing piece of rubber on the mother board.

Update on Aug 24! The service center rang yesterday evening to say the machine is fixed so I picked it up this morning. All data is gone but I won’t put anything on there I can’t afford to lose. I hope the flickering screen problem is gone now as they replaced a “board, inverter” and “cable, inverter” too. OS X is 10.4.10, and Software Update picked up one iPhoto update. Now to reinstall Firefox and other apps ..

Apple Web

Porn on your iPhone

Acting on what Matt blogged, I searched my logs for “iPhone” and found a few interesting entries. Looks like iPhone users are using the Internet for what everyone else uses it for. Searching for nice boobs: – – [08/Jul/2007:03:49:05 +0000] “GET /tag/nice-boobs/ HTTP/1.1” 200 7786 “” “Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CP
U like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3”

I wonder how well that small screen will display them?

Apple In the news

Whither the outcry?

Bombs were defused and a disaster avoided in London and Glasgow yet I hardly hear a word of it online. Strange. The terrorists must be Apple users who knew that everyone would be talking about the iPhone.

Mark reminds us it wasn’t the police who noticed the bomb outside the nightclub in London. I read somewhere that paramedics were attending to a young man who had fallen outside the club when they spotted the suspicious packages in the car. If they hadn’t been there how many people would now be dead? Hugh points towards this post showing the nonsensical imbalance of news reporting.

I guess if it doesn’t happen in your own backyard then it doesn’t happen at all.


How much of your Macbook's battery is gone for good?


Rechargeable batteries start deteriorating from the moment they are manufactured. I’ve noticed my Canon 20D’s batteries don’t last quite as long as they did 2 years ago. AA and AAA batteries seem to be even worse. As I’m heading to San Francisco in July I’ll be doing a lot of flying so it’ll be important that my Apple Macbook laptop have a decent battery life.

There’s no quick fix for this as it’s not reversible but if you’re wondering how much life is left, then Coconut Battery is a must have. I installed it last night and it looks like my battery still has 85% of it’s capacity left after 11 months of use. That’s not bad. It’s not enough to get me across the Atlantic but I don’t know if I want to spend €139 on a second battery when I’ll only ever use it once a year.

I think it is possible to slow down the deterioration. Don’t unplug your laptop! The less you use the battery, the longer the battery will last.


My flickering Macbook

I thought I had got off lucky with my Macbook. I had dodged the problems with sudden shutdowns that others experienced and I was happy with it. Unfortunately, for the last two days the screen on the laptop has flickered for about 30 seconds after coming out of sleep mode. It looks like someone is adjusting the brightness up and down a few notches really quickly. Here’s what it looks like:

Is there a fix for this? Not yet. There’s speculation that a firmware upgrade might fix it but I have my doubts. My laptop is still under warranty but I presume it has to be sent to Dublin for repair. I better read the warranty card.

I’m not the only one affected by this. Check out these other blogs and discussions:

It’s very disappointing.

In other news, I’m looking for a quiet PC to replace my noisy desktop machine. It’s possible to tell from anywhere in the house when the machine is off. It’s that noisy! My brother has a nice quiet Dell desktop, but I think he got lucky. I’m very seriously thinking of buying another laptop and hooking a proper keyboard, mouse and my LCD monitor to it. I can cope with having a relatively small harddrive in it. All my backups are now done to an external 500GB disk anyway.