How to Calibrate Your MacBook Pro Battery

There comes a time when the battery in your MacBook Pro will become offset and give a faulty percentage or time indicator. There is a way to fix this and keep your battery calibrated correctly. Apple recommends that you do this step the first time you receive your new MacBook Pro or any Mac computer with a battery and continue to do it every couple of months after that to keep your computer in tip top shape.

Calibrating your battery isn’t hard, but will take some time to complete once started.

Make sure your Mac is fully charged — Before you start your test, make sure your computer has a full charge; this will be indicated by a green light on the end of the MagSafe power adapter.

Allow your computer to rest — If you’ve just charged your Mac, allow it to rest for two hours so the battery has time to keep the charge and sustain it.

Unplug and drain the battery — Once the Mac is fully charged for at least two hours, you may unplug it and start to use the computer. The point here is to wear down the battery and deplete it until the computer shuts down by itself.

Continue to use the computer after the warning of low battery — Save work once you see this warning and continue to use the computer and fully drain the battery.

Let the computer sleep — Once the Mac’s battery has been depleted, it will automatically go to sleep. At this point, you want to let the Mac go uncharged for five hours so that the battery will truly drain all the way down.

Charge it back up — Once the battery has been drained for five hours or more, you may then charge it up again. When charging, leave it off and do not turn it back on until the battery indicator is green.

At this point your battery has been recalibrated and should show accurately what your computer percentage is. For more diagnostics of your battery, check out the free tool called coconutBattery, which will show you detailed information on battery statistics and all the fun stuff for the more technical person.

Strange MacBook Pro Hinge Clicking Issue

LockerGnome reader RandomRazr emailed in about a clicking sound coming from his brand new MacBook Pro that occurs when the lid is opened or closed. He asked, “When I open the macbook pro past 90 degrees or when it’s opened all the way, it makes a clicking sound. The hinge isn’t loose and the screen works. I am concerned that the issue might become more worse as time goes on. Unfortunately, the closest apple store is in Toronto Canada, which is 3 and a half hour drive from where I am.” He also submitted a video (below) to better describe the issue he’s having.

Well RandomRazr, thank you for sending this in. After doing a little research, this appears to be a common issue with unibody MacBook Pros.

The hinge area is a tiny space that contains a pathway for cables to run through that connect to the screen and logo light. These cables are under a certain amount of tension and the hinge essentially rotates around them as the notebook is opened and closed. In this case, it’s possible they might be a little too tight. This may cause them to stick and pop back in to place as the lid is opened and closed.

Another possible cause may be found in the screws holding on the hinge components in place. While the lid itself may not appear loose, a single screw with a little give to it can make a clicking sound when rubbed against, or if there is a shift in the area it holds together.

It’s impossible to actually see what is causing this particular issue, and it could be something entirely different than the two possible causes mentioned in this article. The best first step is to try calling Apple at 1-800-MY-APPLE and report the issue. They may also offer to send you a box in the mail to ship your MacBook to them for warranty service. If you prefer to go to a physical service center for repair, you may be in luck going through an authorized service center rather than driving all the way to the nearest Apple Store. The best way to locate the closest Apple Authorized Service Service Provider is through the store locator located on the Apple Canada site. This may save you a long trip to the Apple Store for warranty repair or replacement.

How to Care for Your MacBook Battery

A LockerGnome reader asked, “My MacBook is less than a month old and iStat shows me that my battery health is 95% with only 17 cycles. I’m not sure if frequently unplugging and replugging my MacBook charger is causing this or not.”

This is a great question. Notebooks are meant to be portable and accessible pretty much anywhere. Unfortunately, a weak battery can ruin a user’s experience. The good news is that your frequent use of the battery actually has a positive affect on overall battery life. A stale battery that never gets the chance to discharge can age and lose its capacity at a slightly faster rate. Thankfully, Apple has a process called “adaptive charging” which

Battery Calibration
My first piece of advice is to make sure you’ve calibrated the battery on your new MacBook properly. It’s recommended that you go through a calibration cycle when you receive it and once every month or two afterwords to maintain accurate readings on your battery level monitor. iStat is a great tool, but it may not be very accurate without a properly calibrated battery.

According to Apple, calibrating your battery can be done using the following process:

  1. Plug in the MagSafe Power Adapter and fully charge the battery.
  2. Allow the battery to rest in the fully charged state for two hours or longer.
  3. With the computer still on, disconnect the power adapter and continue to use your computer.
  4. When you see the low battery warning, save your work and close all applications. Keep your computer turned on until it goes to sleep.
  5. After your computer goes to sleep, turn it off or allow it to sleep for five hours or longer.
  6. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged. You can use your computer during this time.

While you are discharging and charging the battery, you can use your computer as you normally would except for a brief period of time during steps 4 ad 5 as indicated.

Charging and Discharging
Apple does not recommend that you leave your MacBook plugged in all the time. In fact, Apple describes an ideal usage situations as, “a commuter who uses her notebook on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge.”

Apple expects its current line of notebook batteries to hold at least 80% of their original factory capacity through 1,000 charges and discharges. A system they call “adaptive charging” is in place with the intention in mind of keeping the battery healthy for up to five years.

Storage
It’s recommended that if you use your notebook infrequently, the battery be discharged at least once every month in order to maintain calibration and sustain capacity.

If you plan on storing the MacBook for extended periods of time (six months or more), Apple recommends that you discharge the battery to 40-50% prior to doing so. If you store a battery for long periods of time at full charge, it may lose capacity more quickly.

Should I Wait Until WWDC 2011 to Buy a MacBook Pro?

In a recent email, a reader asks, “Do you think I should wait until WWDC and the release of Mac OS X Lion to purchase a MacBook Pro, or simply buy one now and upgrade later?”

That’s a great question. On one hand, right now is the best time to buy a MacBook Pro since the new line just came out and you don’t run the risk of an upgrade being right around the corner. On the other hand, you may need to deal with the hassle of purchasing Lion and upgrading within a couple months of receiving your Mac.

To date, the only official estimate for Lion’s release is sometime in the summer of 2011, which may or may not coincide with WWDC. Your wait could very well be shorter, or longer than expected.

This all boils down to personal needs and preferences. If you plan on purchasing a MacBook Pro with the solid-state drive option, you’ll probably find TRIM feature included with Lion to be quite useful. That’s not to say this won’t be available to you if you decide to upgrade later.

Currently, OS X Lion is expected to release at a retail price of $129, which follows suit with previous major releases excluding the more recent Snow Leopard which acted more like a minor update than a stand-alone OS version. That’s not to say that Apple won’t change their usual pricing in this case, as they have been reducing their software prices in general lately.

Overall, the decision is yours to make. You can save a little money and hold off until Lion sees the light of day, or have an extra couple of months with an amazing system that works just fine in the meantime.

Will My MacBook Pro Run Maya and ZBrush?

In a recent email, a reader asked, “What specifications should I outfit the new MacBook Pro with to allow it to easily run CPU intensive programs such as Maya and ZBrush?”

Well, this depends on your general speed preferences. If you want it to zip through complex 3D models with very little to no trouble then you’re going to find that in general, the better you specs the faster your experience. There are, however, ways to ensure that your MacBook Pro will run with general ease during typical usage.

Here are the recommended system specs for a 64-bit Maya installation on Mac OS X:

  • Apple® Mac OS® X 10.6.5
  • Macintosh® computer: Macintosh computer with Intel-based 64-bit processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 10 GB free hard drive space
  • Qualified hardware-accelerated OpenGL graphics card
  • Three-button mouse with mouse driver software
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • HDD: IDE, SATA, SATA 2, SAS, SCSI
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, Apple Safari, or Mozilla Firefox web browsers

According to these recommendations, the base model MacBook Pro 13-inch has you covered as far as the OS, processor, hard drive, memory (RAM), graphics card, and DVD-ROM drive are concerned. You’ll need to purchase an after-market mouse for comfortable controls and the included hard drive (5400 RPM) is a bit on the slow side compared to the SSD options available on the MacBook Pro. You’re also just meeting the requirements with the RAM included on the MacBook Pro. An upgrade to this will help your overall system operation during your more intensive tasks. As far as Maya is concerned, the cheapest model MacBook Pro can run it just fine under normal conditions.

Here are the recommended system specs for ZBrush 4 on Mac OS X:

  • OS: Mac OSX 10.5 or newer
  • CPU: Intel Macintosh (Must have SSE2 : Streaming SIMD Extensions 2)
  • RAM: 1024MB (2048MB recommended for working with multi-million-polys)
  • Monitor: 1024×768 monitor resolution set to Millions of Colors
  • (recommended: 1280 x 1024 or higher)

As far as these specs go, you’re good to go with the cheapest MacBook base model in almost all areas. The resolution on a 13-inch MacBook Pro is only 1280×800 which falls short of their recommendations though an external monitor or a move up to a 15-inch model should resolve this shortcoming. The bit about needing SSE2 simply means you need the Intel processors as it was introduced between 2001 and 2004 when the Pentium 4 lead the Intel lineup.

Once you’ve met the basic system requirements set by the software developers, any additional boost to your MacBook’s specs will only serve to make the experience smoother and snappier as your models become more complex. A good rule of thumb when it comes to matching hardware to software is that if your processor is a couple generations newer, the RAM doubled, and the operating system current, you should be fine.

Best Choice for a First Time Mac User

In an email, the question was raised what is the best Mac for a first-time buyer that just wants to do some basic web browsing, photo editing, and light video editing? While the biggest and most expensive models can accomplish these tasks very easily, let’s take a look at which options would best suit these needs.

The current line of Mac minis is capable of doing everything listed, even basic movie editing through iMovie, however, if you want a smooth experience with smooth multitasking, you’re probably best going with an iMac. The i3 processor is quick and responsive, even when dealing with 1080p video on iMovie. Having a capable monitor built-in is a big plus and in terms of value makes up a lot of the difference price-wise between the Mac mini and the iMac.

If you want to go with something more portable, the MacBook is a good budget choice for web browsing and photo editing but not recommended for video editing due to it’s underpowered processor and lower resolution display. A MacBook pro at a couple hundred dollars more will give you a powerful platform with a capable of handling quite a bit.

Here are some builds I think bring the best price for performance without being overkill for what you’re asking for:

iMac 21.5-inch: 3.06GHz ($1,199)
This is the base model iMac though the differences between it and the step up are minimal considering what you’re wanting to do with it.

Mac Mini 2.4 GHz: 320GB ($699)
One of the wonderful advantages to the Apple warranty is that you don’t have to have to buy or install additional RAM through them. A $100 upgrade to 4GB of memory can cost a fraction of that if you use quality after market RAM. See apple.com for spec requirements and installation instructions.

This particular model is the least powerful out of the suggested options, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re planning on doing a lot of full HD video editing, but it will handle basic tasks fairly easily. Make sure you have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at the ready since they don’t come included with the Mac Mini.

13-inch MacBook Pro: 2.3GHz ($1,199)
The MacBook Pro combines a decent amount of performance with portability. The Core i5 processor is significantly faster than the one found on the MacBook and the Mac Mini. Even large external monitors will connect to the MacBook Pro without overwhelming the video processor.

As far as software goes, iMovie is a capable movie editing platform included with new Macs without any added cost. It works very well to do most basic tasks and encoding your final product can be done through QuickTime, also included, with decent quality.

Photo editing can be done on a very basic level through iPhoto, though if you would like a powerful alternative without adding to the price, try Gimp. Gimp is the open source answer to PhotoShop and includes a lot of great features.

New MacBook Pros To Have Larger Trackpads And Dedicated SSD

With all signs leading to a MacBook Pro refresh later this week, most likely Thursday, details on the changes may be rather exciting. A new report from BGR claims to have information on the upcoming update and what we might see. The report hints to more than just using Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors.

Something Apple has looked into and looks like it will be coming out is a larger trackpad. Like those found on the current models, a larger trackpad can help with gestures and multi-finger swipes that Apple has hinted to and made a big part in most of its devices. These gestures are what Apple is making a big focus on, allowing users to cut down on keystrokes and increase the simple gestures to switch applications or go straight to their favorite application.

The report also claims that the newest machines that are coming out will offer a dedicated solid-state drive of 8-16GB to house the Mac OS X system. This would allow for a faster boot-up and performance from the system. Additional internal storage would be made available in either traditional hard drives or solid-state drives.

The next bit of information doesn’t quite make sense to us, but we have been told the OS on the laptops will be loaded to a separate (internal) 8-16GB SSD while everything else will remain on the regular hard drive. There will be options for just SSD drives but the base models will feature regular hard disks with the SSD combo for the OS.

These reports about a dedicated hard drive for the system have been heard before back in 2006 when Apple was experimenting with “Turbo Memory” that would add the same type of function to the system to increase overall speed of the programs and computer.

Finally a small detail includes Apple shaving off a half pound from the computer on the MacBook Pro models.

Will All Future Notebooks Look Like The Apple MacBook Air?

I read an article yesterday in which there was an interview with the CEO of Nvidia. His take on the future of the notebook computer is that they all would resemble the Apple MacBook Air. He also stated that since there are no heat pipes, fans, nor the addition of extra batteries to carry around, a thin, light notebook made sense. He also stated that this was his vision for notebook computers by the year 2012.

While I respect this person’s opinion, and while I also believe that all future notebooks will be lighter and faster, one needs to look at what happened to Dell. In 2009 Dell introduced its Adamo notebook computer, which was going to be a direct competitor against the Apple MacBook Air. Priced at $2,000 when it was first introduced, the lightweight, thin notebook did not sell well.

Dell is eliminating its Adamo notebooks. At its outlet center I found two models being sold at steep discounts:

Adamo XPS notebook without a DVD RW drive for between $919 to $999

Adamo XPS notebook with an external DVD RW drive for $999

All of these computers come with Intel Core 2 Duo 1.4GHZ processors, 4GB of RAN, 128 GB solid state drive and Windows 7 Home Premium. Screen size is a modest 13.4″ and the units weight in at about 4 lbs. So much for the air aspect of a lightweight computer.

So why did the Dell Adamo fail? Price. Few of us could afford $2,000 for a notebook.

With newer ARM Processors and the new Tegra Processors from NVidia, the future does in fact look bright for thin notebooks. In addition the promise of new processors that come with the operating system on-board could bring to us instant on computers. This is one of the things I truly like about the Google Chrome Cr-48 test computer. Boot is instant.

What do you think? Was Dell ahead of its time? Can you see yourself with a lightweight notebook in your future?

Comments welcome.

Source – CNET

Source – Dell Outlet

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How to Save Hundreds on Your Mac RAM Upgrades

I recently ventured in to the local Apple store to look at pricing for a new machine. Some time was spent with an Apple representative who walked me through the pricing and options for a Mac mini, iMac, and MacBook Pro. One thing these machines all had in common were literally hundreds of dollars for RAM upgrades. In one case in particular, a RAM upgrade from 4GB to 8GB on a MacBook Pro would net me a $400 dollar increase on the price. Considering that this is an addition to what was charged on the initial price for 4GB, that’s a steep $100 per GB.

This is where many frugal computer users begin to head back to the door proclaiming that Apple products are only for the rich. While this can certainly seem like a serious drawback to the brand, there is a silver lining in this cloud.

While each manufacturer has their own warranty agreement with their users, Apple has a remarkably easy one to work with. Apple support explains its warranty policy regarding customer upgrades a bit further: “Adding memory (DRAM, VRAM) or other user-installable upgrade or expansion products to an Apple computer is not considered a modification to that Apple product. Therefore, it is not necessary to obtain Apple’s written permission to upgrade or expand an Apple computer.”

In short, the act of upgrading the RAM yourself with a cheaper aftermarket product won’t void your warranty. There is a stipulation that should you or the RAM you install damage the product, you would not be able to take it in to an Apple certified service center for warranty repair. Thankfully, Apple provides detailed instructions on how to exchange RAM for each one of its machines. It also explains exactly what kind of RAM needs to be purchased for a successful match.

Here is where the financial benefit of doing your own upgrades comes in. A search on Newegg.com prices 8GB of RAM suited for the 13 inch MacBook Pro at between $80 and $120. That is a savings of $85 to $90 per GB and you’ll still have the original 4GB as spare.

There is a clear benefit to upgrading your own RAM after purchase, though it is important that each computer user be aware of the slight risks involved and weigh whether or not this method works for them.

Apple Plans To Drive You Screwy With Their New Screw

Oh those folks at Apple are a busy bunch. They do not like people taking apart their products. So they have recently developed a new screw called a Pentalobe and one site even describes the new screw as a “Evil Proprietary Tamper Proof Five Point Screw” (or the EPTP5PS). The new screw requires a new tool, if one wishes to attempt a repair on the following Apple devices which include:

This isn’t the first time they’ve used this type of screw—it first appeared in the mid-2009 MacBook Pro to prevent you from replacing the battery—and Apple is using a similar screw on the outer case of the current MacBook Air. This screw is the primary reason the 11″ MacBook.

Apple is now including the Pentalobe in their latest release of their popular Apple iPhone 4. The newest models now come with the new screws which look like the illustration below:

So what is one to do if they want to crack open their iPhone or other device that Apple has applied the Pentalobe screw? One just needs to liberate themselves and go over to the iFixit web site where for just $9.95 one can buy the tools known as the iPhone 4 Liberation Kit.

The liberation kit includes two screw drivers that will deal with the new screws and provide you access to the Apple device of your choosing.

I believe that the only thing this type of thinking from Apple does is just to annoy customers and put independent providers at a disadvantage. But in a day in age where it is so simple to take a rendering of a screw and design a tool in minutes, Apple isn’t fooling anyone. For $10 you can crack their cases easily

Comments welcome.

Source – iFixit iPhone 4 Liberation Kit is here

Printing From i0S To OS X

I was pretty excited, based on reports in the community in the past about being able to print from my iPad in the new iOS 4.2.1 operating system via my Mac computer. My Wi-Fi laser printer in my home office is a good printer, but it certainly is not AirPrint enabled. So leveraging my MacBook (which is pretty much always up and running) was to be a good option for me.

no airprintBut, alas, iOS 4.2.1 is here, and OS X 10.6.5 is installed and running on my MacBook (after some troublesome issues that finally got resolved)… But it looks like Apple removed the AirPrint capability from the 10.6.5 release of OS X. It was in the beta versions, but not in the version they finally released.

Lifehacker has a brief article describing how to manually enable AirPrint support in 10.6.5, so you can share your non-AirPrint printers with your iOS 4.2 devices via your Mac.

In a nutshell, you just do this:

  • Download a few files (which are pulled from the OS X beta)
  • Copy them to a couple of specific locations (described in the linked site, above)
  • Remove your printer from the system
  • Restart your Mac
  • and re-add your printer, and share it

Of course, this is not a supported configuration and undoubtedly there is some very real reason why it was not included in 10.6.5, so your mileage may vary should you decide to try it.

For those who may not want to break open the Terminal app in OS X, someone also built a quick Mac App called AirPrint Hacktivator that you can run, which will allow you to automagically install the proper files and configure the OS.

Again, your mileage may vary. But I can tell you, it worked for me! I used the Hacktivator app and didn’t even have to restart my computer. I ran it, removed the old shared printer and re-added it, and instantly my iPad “saw” it and was able to print.

So, I’m now printing from my iPad, via my MacBook Air on the WLAN, to my office laser printer. Pretty slick, and a nice feature to have. No more emailing links and copy/paste content to one of my other computers in order to print things I find or need from the iPad.

If you’re interested in what else is available in iOS 4.2 for the iPad, I suggest you check out the Lifehacker review and video.

To read more about this sort of thing, converting HD DVDs to Blu-ray, exchanging water-damaged iPhones, network security, Easter eggs, or whatever else Greg Hughes feels like talking about, you should drop by his blog. He may not update daily, but the wait’s always worth it!

Apple MacBook MC207LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop – $991.47

For those of you who are in the market for a new laptop computer, you may wish to consider one from Apple. The Apple MacBook MC207LL/A 13.3″ laptop boast’s a battery life of 7 hours. With a Intel dual core for speed and the renowned Snow Leopard OS, this is a dynamo computer that has plenty of poop to run yours apps.

On the Amazon site the laptop also is described as having:

Inheriting technology and design features from the MacBook Pro line, the new MacBook has been updated with a durable polycarbonate unibody design featuring a brilliant LED-backlit display, a glass Multi-Touch trackpad and Apple’s innovative built-in battery for up to seven hours of battery life. Measuring just 1.08 inches thin and weighing 4.7 pounds, the sleek new MacBook cuts a slim profile on any desk (or in any backpack or briefcase). And it comes with everything you need for email, calendar, contacts, browsing the Internet, and more–all a part of the pre-installed Mac OS X Snow Leopard operating system.

Comments welcome.

Apple MacBook MC207LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop for only $991.47

iKlear Complete Kit Review

There should be an image here!For Christmas 2009, I received a white, unibody MacBook; to go along with that, my mum purchased me the iKlear Complete Cleaning Kit. It was recommended to my mum by Apple at the time when she purchased the MacBook. The iKlear kit was £19.95, and includes many items. These are:

  • One 2 oz./58.9 ml iKlear spray bottle (Airplane travel size)
  • One 6 oz./177.3 ml iKlear spray bottle
  • One large Micro-Chamois polishing cloth
  • One travel size Micro-Chamois polishing cloth
  • One travel size Micro-Fiber “Terry” polishing cloth
  • 12 iKlear travel singles (Step 1/Wet)
  • One iPhone/keyboard Antibacterial Microfiber cloth
  • One keyboard cover (Micro-Chamois cover for all MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook models)

I think the assortment of cloths is excellent and they include the solution and micro-fibers for both home and travel use. The one thing that I wouldn’t have thought of using before I got this kit was the keyboard cover, but this is extremely useful as it keeps the grease from the keyboard going onto the screen. I don’t think I will use the travel singles, but it’s nice that iKlear included them. I think all the items in the kit are an excellent value for the money.

So far I have used iKlear to clean my MacBook, iPod touch, and external monitor screen, and I must admit it is one of the best cleaning kits I have ever used. It makes the electronics sparkle like new and gets rid of every little bit of lint. It lifts the daily grime and grease off my electronics perfectly and couldn’t be better.

Overall I am very pleased with this product, as it cleans all my electronics perfectly and I feel extremely safe using it. It was made especially for electronics, unlike my previous attempts of cleaning with glass cleaner. I would recommend the iKlear Complete Cleaning Kit to anyone looking to keep their electronics spanking new.

Emma Jones was born in Hong Kong on the 15th February 1996 and moved to the UK. She has lived in the UK ever since. She is a 13-year-old girl currently in year 9 at school. She is an Apple fanatic who loves to review its products and give her opinions.

MacBook For Students – On Sale For $899

If you are looking for a deal on a MacBook and you are a student. Apple is offering a cool $100 off their popular MacBook. The MacBook comes with the following specifications:

The new MacBook.

2.26GHz : 250GB

  • 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB DDR3 memory
  • 250GB hard drive1
  • 8x double-layer SuperDrive
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
  • Built-in 7-hour battery2
  • Polycarbonate unibody enclosure
Grab your new MacBook at the link below. Includes free shipping.

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Capturing images on your screen is pretty simple, right? But what if you want to do more with them? Then you want to snag a copy of SnagIt. How did you ever get along without screen capture software? This one even integrates with AOL instant messenger and potentially your blog, too! Start your next screen capture the right way — manage it with TechSmith’s SnagIt.