Cooler MacBooks Prevail

April 13, 2007

Similar to my experience a couple of years ago, I shipped the MacBook Pro off to AppleCare on Tuesday evening, and on Thursday morning, it was back. About what I expected would happen, unless I was counting on it, in which case it would take every bit of the quoted ten days.

So, I prepared for the worst, and hoped for the best.

The repair documentation sticks to the story; they replaced the logic board, and “other parts as required”, which I’ve pretty much got to believe includes fans — it may not have been the entire problem, but a logic board failure doesn’t seem likely to sound like a fan on its last legs.


At least it’s fixed — and running much cooler. By about 50°F, in fact. The fans are now reporting an RPM above 0, as well.

Interestingly, the MacBook I borrowed (2GHz Core 2 Duo) ran about 20° hotter than the MacBook Pro does now. On reflection, that doesn’t surprise me overly, since the aluminum case on the Pro is a terrific conductor of heat.

The MacBook was nice — one of those snappy looking black ones — but even with 20 gig more hard drive and 802.11n, I’m still happier to have my MacBook Pro back.

“We don’t need no water (don’t) let the MacBookPro Burn…”

April 6, 2007

I finally got bit by one of the various bugs of the early-build MacBook Pro Core Duos.

A week or two ago, I noticed an occasional rattle-y sound from the ‘book. Actually, it took me awhile to narrow it down; when I’m in my office the ‘book perches on a shelf along with a small-form-factor PC and a collection of external drives that makes up my media server. At first I thought it was a bearing going out in a drive, but eventually I narrowed it down to the MacBook, and decided it was a fan getting a little noisy, and resolved to keep an ear on it (so to speak).

The noise quieted down, so I figured maybe it was just some little piece of debris (label off a chip or something) got caught in the blades.

A couple of days ago, however, I started to have stability problems — the Mac would occasionally lock up for no discernible reason, and even threw a couple of kernel panics.

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Are you being cheated on PPC advertising?

December 13, 2005

Another common stats question that comes up involves pay-per-click advertising (such as Google AdWords and Overture). Often, a PPC advertising system will show that it sent more traffic than your own statistics say you received.

Does this mean you’re being cheated? Maybe.

But maybe not.

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UNeed X15E HTPC Case Review

May 6, 2005

Home Theater PC News has a great review up of the UNeed X15E case — if you’re looking for the $600 HTPC case from hell, this may be just the ticket.

The main claim to fame is a built-in 7″ 800 x 480 (there’s an odd number) LCD screen that you can use as a second monitor for your HTPC.

This is by no means an average case and can house just about anything you wish to put in it. Even when loaded out with a high end graphics card and every slot full, all while running at low noise levels this case didn’t turn in to a heater for my family room. Heat is one issue that really tends to plague most cases but thanks to the cases ventilation, 80mm exhaust port and light aluminum panels this was not a concern. I can see all high end system builders lining up already to get a hold of these cases and use them in home automation systems, and high end home theater gear.

(via Addicted to Digital Media)

Halt and Catch Fire – Trying Windows Media Center

April 26, 2005

So, after all of my talk about SageTV vs. MCE, I just ordered a copy of Windows Media Center Edition 2005…


Well, it’s one of those stories… My SageTV setup had been built in a small form factor case that had heat problems already, and I had it in a cabinet with glass doors.  I knew this was problematic, but in typical geek fashion, I solved the problem by leaving the doors gapped slightly open, and everything went smoothly.

Unfortunately, someone (who had no reason to know not to) was by the other day and closed the doors.  I didn’t happen to catch it, and yesterday evening watching a bit of TV on the box, the damn thing actually caught fire…
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Camp Coffee

March 27, 2005

Camplore has a few tips on Camp Coffee.

Camp coffee isn’t that gourmet stuff you’ll find at Starbucks, but it manages to taste pretty good just because we’re outdoors.

Drinking coffee outdoors? I can see maybe using the fire to heat water, but where do you plug in the grinder?

Bands with Crappy Websites

December 6, 2004

Can we get an amen for Brother Merlin’s Observations?

I want to quote the entire thing, but I won’t, so go read it.  It’s short and to the point, and makes a substantial amount of sense.  His observations fit the sites of several of my favorite bands perfectly (y’all know who you are, too.)

I’ve got one more complaint to add, and then a couple of other thoughts to ramble on about…

The complaint—if you’re not some famous top ten act (if you were, I probably wouldn’t be on your site, and certainly wouldn’t be trying to get people to listen to you), you really, desperately need to put some of your best material online as MP3s that your fans can send the heathens to listen to so they can be converted.  Half-assed stuff that isn’t good enough for an album isn’t going to make anyone who doesn’t know your good stuff buy an album.  For those of you who DO put decent MP3s up, you really need to take Merlin’s recommendation about decent ID3 information to heart—that way people know how to find more of your stuff (and buy an album or come to a show).  If you’re not comfortable doing ID3 tagging, some of your fans will be HAPPY to help.

Now, on the defense—before you blame the band for their crappy site, consider that it might be their crappy management making the crappy decisions, and the band might not be too happy about it either—in which case the band might appreciate your helping to give their management a clue, as long as you direct the complaints where they’re deserved…

More libraries – Rare, Sacred or Chilled

August 15, 2004

Duke University has made available digitized copies of a number of books from their Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections library

The Internet Sacred Text Library has literally thousands of books from a wide array of traditions available for your perusal. 

Looking the beat the summer heat?  Try the Antarctic Photo Library.

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OS X Cheat Sheets

July 26, 2004

SS64 has a fairly comprehensive list of OS X Keyboard Shortcuts, as well as this great A-Z index for the OS X Command Line.

Other nifty command guides for Oracle, Windows NT, and Bash can be found here.

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Imaginary Animal Park

May 6, 2004

From Tromsø, at the top of the world, this site features a museum of strange and wonderful animals, all crafted out of odd materials—a dinosaur made from old radiators and heater cores, crabs from old hockey gloves, etc.  All looking eerily convincing—almost disturbing, in fact.

(Via The Deep North, whose adventures in Tromsø are well worth reading, like most everything else there.)

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