Categories
Apple

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

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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.

Categories
Apple

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.

Categories
Apple Hardware Humour Linux

I made my Macbook cry

If Macs are so perfect why do they keep crashing and dying and need to be rebooted seeminly after every update? I’m just back from another reboot when Flock brought the system down. Yes, yes, must switch to another browser but after Mark’s ranting about the slowness and general bloatedness of OS X Firefox I’m wondering what I’ll use.

For all the fans of Microsoft Windows out there, here’s a sort of BSOD from the Mac. This happened at the last BarCamp in Waterford. I have witnesses!

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In the interests of fairness, I should also say that Linux died horribly on me when Firefox, Flock, GIMP and Bibblepro were all loaded and swap went haywire. It was quicker to put it out of it’s misery and reboot than wait for the kernel to kill one of the above apps. But why spoil a good anti-Mac rant by injecting some perspective?

Categories
Apple Humour Linux

Hi! I'm Linux!

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Apple advertisments become cliches within a short space of time which is a testament to how good they are, or perhaps how often the fanboys go on about them in online forums…

Unfortunately Linux is still regarded as being a geeky system only and spoofs of the current Apple advert feature a guy dressed in a Tron costume look ridiculous and certainly won’t help. This advert from Novell may help change that. If it doesn’t, well it might pique the interest of some guys who will try Linux and like it. Even though the advert is sponsored by Novell, I recommend you try Ubuntu Linux. You can download and try it without installing and it’s super easy to use!

Read all about it on Reverend Ted’s site and download the first advert.

All in all, it’s a balance that we hope to have struck right: representing Linux as sexy and confident, while avoiding sexual cliches that are degrading to women. While there may be some flaws in our execution (particularly how the third video throws out the people as computers metaphor altogether), overall I really hope that we managed to create a playful spoof that effectively subverts the “Mac vs Windows” framework that Apple has established with the “Get a Mac” campaign.

Ted updated his post with the second and third videos. I’ve included them here for your blogging pleasure.
Continue reading “Hi! I'm Linux!”

Categories
Apple

Who wins the iPod?

When I originally mentioned Paul Walsh’s viral competition to win an iPod I thought he would pick out the winner, but no. He makes me do the dirty deed.

I haven’t announced a winner yet, mainly because my phone line is all crackly and my DSL dies within 10 minutes of going online and then doesn’t come back for hours, but also because it’s difficult to pick one winner:

  • Do I pick someone out at random? That’s the fairest way for all involved.
  • If I pick a winner at random that doesn’t reward people who frequently comment on my blog. Out of all the comments received only three “regulars” participated.
  • My brother commented, and Frank, a friend from school commented. Do I stand accused of favouritism by rewarding one of them?

In the end it was today’s Dilbert cartoon that swung it. My brother Donal gets the iPod. He’s a music nut as you can guess from all the concert photos on his blog, but also a keen musician too. He was best man at my wedding and there was no job too big or small that he couldn’t do to make preparations for that day easier. Thanks Donal and thank you all for participating!

I’m just glad the rest of my family didn’t leave comments or I’d be in a whole heap of trouble picking the winner…

Categories
Apple Humour Movies

Bill and Steve and the C64

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, C64

When Bill Gates and Steve Jobs fight who mediates and brokers a peace deal? The venerable Commodore 64!

“Macs get you laid”? The stereotypes continue. (via and here)

Categories
Apple

How to rename a file in Mac OS X

Silly bugger, doesn’t he know Macs are easy to use? Well, yes they are but it’s not obvious how you can rename a file or folder in Finder. I had to look it up in a book to find out. (Thanks Barry for “The Missing Manual”!)

It is rather simple to rename a file actually, although not obvious.

  • In Finder, open the folder with your file in it.
  • See all those pretty icons? Don’t click on them. Find the icon for your file. Click once on that icon then click and hold the mouse button down on the filename below it.
  • After about a second of holding down the mouse button the text will become editable and you can type over the filename. Be careful you don’t change the extension because bad things will happen!

Simple when you know how.

Meanwhile, Mark is documenting his own experiences with a Mac Mini. Must try X-Chat Aqua.

Categories
Apple Humour

Is your Macbook spying on you?

I’m typing away here, working on some bugs, fixing them, not creating them! I sit back thinking about one bug in particular and I look up and see that black square above the screen and I wonder, “Is anyone looking at me?”

If you are spying, here’s me! Hello World!

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Post your spy shots and tag them !

Categories
Apple

Cool those aching fingers

Another advantage of the smcFanControl for cooling your Macbook is the nice breeze that rises from the keyboard as you type. It’ll probably work wonders for those sweaty sessions deep into the night when a deadline is fast approaching!

It cools your Macbook very effectively too, but I wonder what it’ll do to the life of the fan motor if it’s twirling around at 6200rpm all the time?

Categories
Apple

Mac OS X – how to update /etc/hosts

Way back in the good old days of Linux and Windows it was much easier to update my hosts file. There it was, /etc/hosts or C:\windows\hosts, edit, save and the change becomes active.

MacOS X is a little more complicated. Once you update /etc/hosts you’ll have to update the Netinfo Database. That’s why I’m blogging this so I’ll remember it. This page documents the steps required but the important command is this one:

sudo niload -v -m hosts . < /etc/hosts

There is a GUI but it’s a little clunky and duplicating an existing entry isn’t the most elegant method of adding a new one. Especially when a warning dialog pops up!

Thanks Barry for suggesting a similar fix while I was in SF and getting used to my new laptop! 🙂