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.

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!


Post your spy shots and tag them !


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?


The Pigs, they are a flying

The impossible has happened. When you're outside over the next few days watch the skies. If you looks carefully you may see pigs flying through the air! Why? My Apple MacBook arrived yesterday and I'm playing with it now. After some initial problems with my Linksys WRT54G wireless router I got the laptop online using the neat "network setup assistant". Soon Firefox and Thunderbird were downloaded and now I'm trying to figure out how to migrate my email from Linux to the Mac Thunderbird. Hopefully it's as easy as copying over the data folder.

Despite myself, I am impressed. It's going with me to San Francisco so I'm going to have a busy few days installing Apache, PHP, MySQL, Subversion and whatever else I can find to amuse myself on a long trip!

Now, where are all those Unix tools hidden?

Update – writing in Mac Flock, ripping a DVD with Mac Ripper, iTerm, VLC, Samba on my Linux box allows me to browse my mp3, movie and photo collections, from the living room! Bottom of the machine is very warm. No need for central heating this winter!

iPhoto likes to do it's own thing with my photos. Not sure if I'm comfortable with that but I'll give it a go. I knew the DOOM Collector's Edition I bought a few years ago would come in handy! PrBoom works a treat, but avoid the 2.4.3 release. The "Launch" button is greyed out no matter what WAD file you throw at it. 2.4.2 works fine though.

XAMPP for Mac OS X is downloading now. Like the well known version of Windows, this is an installer bundled with Apache, PHP, MySQL and PHP. Along with Vim and Subversion I should have a complete dev environment for the long wait in the airport tomorrow! Later – I spoke too soon, XAMPP doesn't work on Intel Macs yet. I'm going to give MAMP a go now.

Later still! Lots of tips for new users switching from Windows to Mac on this page. Podz saw it on the top posts list! I still don't know how to switch between Flock windows. ALT-TAB switches between applications only. Anyone know how?