Proporta Laptop Sleeve Review

March 18, 2008

Proporta Laptop Sleeve
It seems like I’m always looking around for a better laptop sleeve. I’ve been rocking a Brenthaven Eclipse II sleeve for my 15″ Macbook Pro for awhile, and it’s a great sleeve, but for day-to-day stuff, I’d prefer something a bit more lightweight and “portfolio-like”.

Enter the new Proporta sleeve.
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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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802.11n Upgrade Kits for Core Duo MacBook Pros

March 5, 2007

Well, hot on the heels of the upgrade instructions (and the warning from Apple), QuickerTek, the put-a-handle-on-your-macbook people, have an 802.11n Upgrade Kit for “modern MacBooks and iMacs”.

The kit runs $150 for do-it-yourselfers, or $200 plus an unspecified shipping fee to ship your precious ‘book to them and let them do it for you.

Since Apple has already gone on the record as saying that doing this at home will violate your warranty, I think I’ll wait until we hear an official position about sending it off to have it done before I give it a shot.

For their part, QuickerTek offers a 1 year warranty on the new hardware, and their page doesn’t say anything one way or another about the Apple warranty (and/or an AppleCare subscription).

(via MacMerc)

MacBook Pro Wishlist

February 5, 2007

I’ve had my Core Duo MacBook Pro for about a year now, and while it’s still got enough flavor left in it to keep chewing for awhile (hey, I hung on with a G4 PowerBook for a long time, and this is miles better), particularly as more and more apps are out as Universal Binaries, there are certainly some features I’d like to see in the not-too-distant future that would make me upgrade in a hot minute.

In no particular order…

  • Flash Disk – We’re starting to see flash disks in the 64GB – 128GB range be announced, at not terribly unreasonable prices. These are only going to get bigger and cheaper from here out. I’d be thrilled to have a notebook with only a flash disk instead of a hard drive.
  • LED Backlight – This will probably be out in the next generation of Mac notebooks — longer life, lower power, brighter displays
  • Polycarbonate Case – The brushed aluminum is pretty sexy, admittedly, but it scratches and dents too easily, and (worse) it blocks RF signals. I’ve envied the iBook / MacBook folks their tough-to-abuse cases and two-bars-better-wifi-sitting-next-to-me for a long time, but the black MacBooks really tore it; I think a MacBook Pro with a black polycarbonate case (but still all of the “Pro” features) would be killer. Put some brushed aluminum accents on it if you have to, but keep ’em away from the antenna loops.
  • 802.11n – Yeah, I missed the curve of upgradable notebooks; obviously any new one is going to have this from here out
  • Firewire 800 – Please bring my Firewire 800 back. I miss it.
  • Faster CPU – A “duh” item, to be certain.
  • More RAM – We’re hitting the point where notebooks really need to be able to accept a minimum of 4GB of RAM. More would be better, particularly if we’ve still got to deal with some essential apps that haven’t gotten converted out of Rosetta.
  • Lose the optical drive – Ship the SuperDrive as an external unit (I guess it can’t be optional if it’s the only way to install an OS). Use the regained space for more battery, or give us a smaller lighter unit. As infrequently as I use the thing, taking out of my notebook bag and hooking it up is a small price to pay for not having to lug it around when I don’t need it.

That’s a start to it, anyway. I’m assuming that with LED backlighting and flash disk we’d see a battery life improvement, although faster CPUs and more memory might wash it away. Notebooks always need more battery life; that’s just a gimme.

The Macbook Pro’s Best Party Tricks

May 22, 2006

There are a couple of things that are particularly fun about the MacBook Pro, even for the most jaded Mac user.

First of course is the Windows-in-a-window trick. Since I use Desktop Manger to keep a handful of virtual desktops around, I just run Parallels Desktop on a virtual desktop of it’s own. Desktop Manager uses the same visualization effects that Fast User Switching does, and it’s always fun to watch people’s heads snap around when you click on the desktop pager, and it does the rotating cube thing to swing around to a copy of Windows.
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