Café Computing and the MacBook Air, Paired Storage and the MacBook Pro, MagSafe Shortage, and More
This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News
News & Opinion
- I Now Know Why Someone Would Want a MacBook Air
- Café Computing
- Thunderbolt MacBook Pro: The Last Notebook You'll Ever Need
- The MacBook Pro and Paired Storage
- How to Activate TRIM on Any SSD
- Very Powerful USB Ports on 2011 MacBook Pro
- Does Your 2011 MacBook Pro Literally Rock?
- 60W MagSafe Power Adapter Shortage
- Mac OS X v10.6.7 Supplemental Update for 13" Late 2010 MacBook Air
- Early 2011 MacBook Pro: Spotlight Indexing Makes the Cooling Fans Run Harder
News & Opinion
So says ZDNet blogger Christopher Dawson, who allows that what he really wants is an affordable, yet much higher performance, Chrome notebook. For now a natural fit just might be the MacBook Air (MBA) until OEMs starting taking off with Chrome OS, but - as usual for him - with Macs it's that value-for-your-money proposition, although he concedes that the Chromebook is worthless if it isn't connected to the Net and suffers from performance- and durability-related shortcomings, while the MacBook Air's Core 2 Duo processor will blow away Atom processors any day. The MBA can support 4 GB of RAM, has an awesome keyboard, extreme durability, excellent portability, above-average notebook performance, and local storage besides -and that its dated processors put it at an attainable price point in the super-portable-but-not-a-netbook category.
"Leave the heavy laptop at home and try one of these lightweight alternatives instead, with or without a latté," says InfoWorld's Galen Gruman, noting that last weekend he did a double-take when he spied a prototype Chrome OS laptop being used by a young woman at his favorite coffee house, noting that the Chromebook is much lighter than a laptop, while its screen is a larger, more readable size than a netbook's screen.
Gruman notes that using a Chromebook or other lightweight device - such as an iPad, Android tablet, or smartphone docked into a dumb laptop like the Motorola Atrix/Lapdock combo - as a casual "café computer" makes a lot of sense, noting that when he flies these days, he sees about as many iPads (and the occasional Motorola Xoom) as he does MacBooks and PC laptops, with the tablets having the advantage of fitting comfortably on an airplane tray, plus, an iPad will easily run for an entire cross-country flight - and considerably longer.
He also takes a look at how much one can rely on café computers for "real" work, noting that they can only go so far, but they perfectly fine for café computing, citing the MacBook Air as a logical alternative for a users who find that the iPad's "so far" isn't quite far enough for their needs, with the 11" MacBook Air weighing weighs just 50% more than an iPad and being not even twice as thick - albeit at a stiffer price.
InfoWorld's Tom Yager says if the new MacBook Pro and its amazing Thunderbolt don't blow your mind, you're not paying attention, noting that Apple's MacBook Pro has been the standard-bearer for professional notebook computers from the outset, with Apple's "go the extra mile" engineering setting the bar for performance, durability, build quality, longevity, ergonomics, battery life, and connectivity.
Yager observes that for the past several years, Apple has had only itself to outdo with each new generation of MacBook Pro, yet it has still managed to set and advance the pace, such as with its one-piece machined aluminum frame and dynamic GPU switching, among many unique and jaw-dropping innovations, and with the new Thunderbolt MacBook Pro, buyers will realize double, triple, and order-of-magnitude level improvements that can justify spending $1,799 to $2,499 on a notebook in a dodgy economy - a brand of magic that can't be (or at least hasn't been) conjured up by Apple's competitors.
ZDNet blogger David Morgenstern says that one hot topic in data storage right now is paired storage, the combined use of a hard disk drive and a solid-state drive (SSD). A third-party upgrade kit, the OWC Data Doubler, lets owners of the MacBook Pro give this advanced storage architecture - not to be confused with hybrid hard drive technology - a spin by swapping out their optical drive and replacing it with an SSD.
A hybrid drive integrates flash storage with the primary hard drive media, while paired storage uses separate flash and hard disk drives, addressing the lower speed performance associated with using just hard drives and the lower data storage capacities found in higher-performing SSDs.
Morgenstern cites a joint report by storage analysts Tom Coughlin and Jim Handy of Coughlin Associates and Objective Analysis entitled "HDDs and Flash Memory: A Marriage of Convenience" (PDF), noting that according to the authors' projections, the paired storage market will grow to 328 million units by 2016 AND be found in 53% of desktop computers and 25% of notebooks. The emergence of a new category of "fat tablets" that will also incorporate paired storage.
Hardmac's Guy reports that they were able to activate the TRIM command on an OCZ-Vertex SSD, thanks to a Hardmac member reporting a solution discovered by German and/or Russian Mac users.
To activate the command, you'll need a hex editor such as 0XED, HexEdit, and others, some of them freeware.
You will also need to review the activation of TRIM on an APPLE SSD, because the procedure is essentially the same, with the necessary addition being is the modification of the extension identifying the disk and thus allowing TRIM or not: IOAHCIFamily.kext version 2.05.
If you don't have a 2011 MacBook Pro, you'll need to download that version of the extension following the link in the news about the APPLE SSD. With the 2011 MacBook Pro, you'll find it in the extension folder.
Hardmac's Lionel reports that peripheral device bus-powering through USB is usually limited to 500 mA at 5V, a minimum required by in order provide 1 A of power for it external SuperDrive, an external hard drive, or to recharge an iPhone.
Citing a 9 to 5 Mac report, he notes that Apple has gone even farther with the 2011 MacBook Pro, making a total of 2.1 A available. It may soon be possible to power a 3.5" external drive from a USB port.
Hardmac's Lionel notes that some 2011 MacBook Pro users have noticed that their laptop is a little "unsteady" when resting on flat surfaces - not a whole lot, but enough unevenness to be able slide a sheet of paper under one corner.
Lionel says that the problem is not case warpage, but rather assembly of the bottom panel, and that according to Apple (and confirmed by Hardmac's own tests), the remedy is to remove all ten screws securing the panel and then align and refasten the panel carefully, making an effort to torque all ten screws as evenly as you can.
Hardmac's Lionel reports that Apple has informed its retail partners that multipacks of 60W MagSafe power adapters, the model that ships with the 13" MacBook Pro, are will not be available until further notice, with dealers only able to order single adapters.
Normally Apple offers authorized dealers packs of five or 20 units of MagSafe adapters. Packs of 85W adapters for the 15" and 17" MacBook Pro and 45W units for the MacBook Air remain available.
Lionel speculates that the shortage is likely due to the sales success of the 13" MacBook Pro, with Apple diverting the bulk of 60W MagSafe production to manufacturing plants assembling those laptops.
For anyone needing a replacement MagSafe adapter and finding them backordered, note that it is perfectly okay to substitute an 85W unit in place of a 60-watter (or, for that matter, a 60W instead of a 45W). Arguably, a more powerful than necessary power adapter could last longer, because it will never be stressed to its full capacity in use. It's not recommended to use a lower-wattage power adapter with a laptop (although my wife has been getting away with using an iBook adapter with her 17" PowerBook for several years now).
Another word to the wise: Frequently coiling and uncoiling the MagSafe adapter's cable will accelerate fatigue, so it's preferable to just stuff it loosely in your computer bag or case when mobile, or even better - have one adapter dedicated to your home or office workstation and another for road warrioring.
The Mac OS X v10.6.7 Supplemental Update for 13" MacBook Air (Late 2010) addresses an issue that makes the system unresponsive when using iTunes and is recommended for all 13" MacBook Air (Late 2010) users running Mac OS X v10.6.7.
A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:
Sometimes you may notice your computer's fans may run on high after you perform a data migration from another computer and Spotlight begins to index your hard drive.
After you complete your data migration, Spotlight automatically indexes the contents of your hard drive. This activity may increase the CPU utilization and your computer may become warm. Your computer's fans should turn on and run to cool your computer. After Spotlight completes its index, the computer and its fans should return to a normal idle state if no other applications are open. After a file has been indexed, Spotlight updates the index only if that file is modified.
To confirm Spotlight is indexing:
- Click the magnifying glass icon in the upper-right corner of your display If your computer is indexing, a message and a progress bar will appear. The magnifying glass will also have a tiny dot in the middle.
You can also prevent Spotlight from indexing certain folders.
Open System Preferences and select Spotlight. (From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences, then choose Spotlight from the View menu.)
Under Privacy, add specific files to exclude from the indexing process. Note: Although you can exclude your entire hard drive this way, doing so may prevent search features in applications from functioning properly.
DigiTimes' Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai report that first-tier notebook vendors - including Acer, Asustek Computer, Sony, and Samsung Electronics - are set to launch Chrome OS-based notebooks featuring Intel or Nvidia processors, 10" to 12" screens, and Chrome OS or dual-OS support, with mass shipments to start in the second half of 2011. Machines may be showcased at Computex Taipei 2011, according to sources from notebook makers who also note that Acer and Asustek's Chrome OS or dual-OS notebooks will have a chance to see prices below US$300 to separate them from the tablet PC market.
For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.
Recent News Roundups
- Tips for New MacBook Users, When (Not) to Buy AppleCare, and More 'Book News, 2012.12.29. Also inside Retina MacBook's asymmetric cooling fans, Windows 8 means lower Windows PC sales, and more 'Book news.
- Confessions of an Apple Store Employee, Refurb Mac Bargains, and More Mac News, 2012.12.29. Also save old RAM when upgrading, latest Geekbench results, use TextEdit as an HTML editor, and more Mac news.
- The Case Against PPC Linux, OS X Tiger on Facebook, ResExcellence Rebirth, and More, 2012.12.22. Also sharing files between OS X, Classic, and Linux; remembering the 20th Anniversary Mac, iMac, SuperDisk, and G3 PowerBooks; and TenFourBird 17 email client released.
- Google Maps #1 iOS App, Android Share Dropped in 2012, New Apps, and More iOS News, 2012.12.22. Also Google Maps drives users to adopt iOS 6, Walmart iDevice price rollback, Easilydo life assistant, waterproof iPhone 5 case, and more iOS news.
- 2012 a Year of Great Change in Apple Portables, Desktop to MacBook, and More 'Book News, 2012.12.22. Also can an iPad replace your MacBook?, EFI update for 13" Retina MacBook Pro, $249 Matrox Thunderbolt dock with video output, and more 'Book news.
- Apple Services Status Monitor, Macs Users the Most Charitable, and More Mac News, 2012.12.22. Also Yahoo mail viewed as platform neutral, EFI update for Late 2012 iMacs, Logos and Photoshop Elements sales, and more Mac news.
- iPhone 5 Is Time's Gadget of the Year, Fundamental iOS 6 Complaints, and More iOS News, 2012.12.17. Also former Mac evangelist an Android fan, iPad changes the way you write, Microsoft Surface falling flat, Google Maps for iOS 6, and more iOS news.
- More in the 'Book Review index.
Links for the Day
- Mac of the Day: Color Classic, introduced 1993.02.01. A cult classic, this was the compact Mac with color that everyone had been waiting for.
- May 23 in LEM history: 00: A computer I understood - 01: Mac: A dream fulfilled - 02: PowerKey - 03: 12" PowerBook better than 15" TiBook - 05: The First Macs - 06: What's in your workspace? - Picking the right laptop - Sun has set on the G4 - 06: Running your notebook using flash memory - 08: MacBook holds its own against Dell and HP
- Support Low End Mac
Recent Content on Low End Mac
- World Book Encyclopedia 2012 DVD, Tommy Thomas, Reviews, 2013.03.05. "You may be asking yourself, in an age of Wikipedia and instant information, is World Book still relevant?"
- Vintage Computer Festival SouthEast, April 20-21, 2013, Simon Royal, Mac Spectrum, 2013.02.25. Old Apple gear and old PCs.
- iMessage: The Ultimate Messaging Service?, Simon Royal, Mac Spectrum, 2013.02.21. In most ways, Apple's iMessage is far superior to BlackBerry Messenger.
- More links in our archive.
- Best Mac mini Deals
- Best 13" MacBook Pro Deals
- Best Intel iMac Deals
- Best iPod touch Deals
- Best iPhone Deals
- Best iPod nano Deals
- Best iPod classic Deals
- Best Apple TV Prices
- More deals in our archive.
Low End Mac Reader Specials
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Mac Driver Museum
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ