Intel Macs with Windows: Audio Stuttering Tip

28 09 2006

If you’ve installed Windows on your Intel based portable Mac, and have experienced strange ‘stuttering’ in the audio output when you resize windows, open applications or basically do anything at all involving a bit of CPU work, then you may be able to fix it with the following tip:

Open ‘Control Panel’ and double click on ‘Intel(R) GMA Driver for Mobile’ choose ‘Display Settings –> Power Settings’ and then uncheck ‘Intel(R) Display Power Saving Technology’. Click ‘Apply’ followed by ‘OK’ and that should be it.

This problem is apparently caused by the Intel GMA screen power save mode, so disabling this mode should resolve the problem.

Credit to this tip goes to Matthias who posted it in a comment to the MacBook Pro with XP post.


iFact of the day

18 09 2006

As everyone knows, the letter ‘i’ has become integral to Apple’s brand image, and can be found positioned in front of almost all of their products.

What does it stand for though? Until very recently, I myself didn’t know, and had assumed that since it is mostly found in front of creativity applications, it was simply a synonym for ‘myself’ or ‘mine’ ie ‘my tunes’, ‘my photos’ and so on.

Original iMacIn actual fact, its origins stem from the release of the original iMac all the way back in 1998.

The iMac was designed to be an all-in-one, fully integrated computer, capable of connecting to the Internet right out of the box. The ‘i’ was added to the front of the ‘Mac’ brand name to signify this, so iMac is actually short for ‘Internet Mac’.

Now of course, the ‘i’ has evolved and is now used to represent high-tech consumer hardware or software and is also no longer used exclusively by Apple; several other companies have used the ‘i’ in their product names to reflect their purpose as a consumer oriented product. Another description which would fit an ‘i’ product would be ‘digital lifestyle product’.

Although Apple have now dropped the ‘i’ branding on the latest versions of their consumer notebooks, the iMac itself remains as their flagship consumer desktop computer, and probably will do for some time yet.

New and Updated Apple Products

13 09 2006

Well, what with all my MacBook Pro problems, I’ve been out of the loop for a little while, but I have noticed that so far this month, Apple have released a whole range of new and updated products. Let’s take a look at them.

New Products Lineup

1. New iPods – Standard, Nano and Shuffle ‘Clip and Go’
First of all they have the new iPod Nanos, with a welcome return of a choice a colours other tha White or Black, they now have capacities from 2GB to 8GB, they also have 40% brighter clearer screens, and are boasting a battery life of up to 24 hours. Prices start from £99 for the 2GB model.

Also new is the iPod Shuffle “Clip and Go”, which has been completely redesigned. It now takes on the shape of a clip, which can be easily attached to the belt line, is only 4.1cm long and has up to 12 hours of battery life. The new Shuffle is only available in a 1GB model for £55.

The standard iPod has also received a facelift, and is now 30% thinner, with a 60% brighter 2.5 inch screen. The software for the iPod has also been updated, allowing you to search for songs by names, and from the demo available on Apple’s website, it looks like an excellent improvement to the previous version. Coupled with the release of iTunes 7, you can now download popular games and play them on your iPod, such as Zuma, Tetris and Pac-man at £3.99 each. The new iPod is available in 30GB and 80GB models with 20 hours of battery life and starts at £189.

2. iTunes 7
With the release of the new iPods, Apple have also perfomed a major overhaul on the accompanying iTunes software. It now sports a better user interface which has been streamlined to allow easier navigation of your media library. As well as this, new features have been added which I myself have thought were missing – multiple libraries which can be on seperate disks if desired, a download manager for managing the order content is downloaded, and a built in backup system for backing up your media safely. As well as this, Apple have added new features such as Cover Flow for flipping through media more realistically, Automatic Album Art for when you’re missing the album covers and a few others.

Although I will have to wait for my replacement MacBook Pro until I can try it all out, it does look like a very good release, and I can’t wait to start using it.

3. New iMacs
Although the Intel iMac Core Duos have really only just been released, they have already been significantly updated. They have been updated to use Core 2 Duo chips which have double the L2 cache of the previous from 2MB to 4MB and are now fully 64-bit, running up to 2.33GHz. Since Mac OS X already supports 64-bit, the new iMacs are already much faster than the previous ones, Apple are clocking performance improvements of around 50%.

As well as this power boost, a new huge 24″ iMac joins the line-up with a 40% brighter screen.

So there you have it, Apple have been very busy rolling out these new models, and as you can see, they are more than just minor updates to the previous ones. If you’re interested in any of the details on any of these new products, here are links to the Apple product pages:

iPod Nano:
iPod Shuffle:
iTunes 7:

What is going on???

11 09 2006

Well, it was two weeks since AppleCare agreed to replace my faulty MacBook Pro so let me update you on what happened.

After the initial phone call, where I was told they would replace it, I was told that all the details would follow in an email, and times for collection of the old one and delivery of the new one would be sorted out. The agent I spoke to mentioned that although he was going on holiday after the weekend, everything should have been sorted out before then, and that the person who would be handling the call after that would be CC’d onto all emails so that I would still have a point of contact.

For whatever reason, that didn’t happen, so the Monday afterwards I phoned up Apple again, but was unable to be put through to my contact in Tier 2 support who wasalready speaking to someone, so I spoke to another person. I explained the situation and that I hadn’t heard a thing for a week, and didn’t know what was happening with the replacement. I was told that I basically the guy who took over from the first who went on holiday, had been working on his own jobs and had not yet gotten around to those left to him.

So I was told that he was starting them today, and that I would get the emails by the end of the day, or possibly the next day. Again, I received nothing that day, and nothing the day after. Wednesday, I phoned up again to find out what was going on, and was the person I spoke to promised to call me back once he had chased up some things.

Whilst waiting for the call back, TNT, the courier phoned me to arrange collection of the old one! So I arranged that for the next day, and explained to the guy from Apple when he phoned back, that the courier had just phoned! Apple said that to speed up delivery of the replacement, I could email them a copy of the Proof of Collection, which I did.

At this point I have still not received a single email from Apple, and despite my asking for a reply when I emailed the proof of collection, I haven’t received one. Tomorrow will mark something like the 3 week point since the initial agreement to replace my faulty unit.

3 weeks to wait for replacement of a notebook that has needed 3 repairs and is still faulty and that costs over £1700 before my discount, plus another £279 for the AppleCare is unacceptable. The fact that it has been so unreliable is the complete opposite of my past experience with Apple, and the way these problems have been handled so far have been very disappointing.

Since no one has replied to my email with the proof of collection attached, I can only assume that the replacement won’t be speeded up so who knows when the new one will arrive, and god help them if it isn’t perfect!

I would hope that the new one will be winging its way to me this week, but to be honest, with the recent performance, I should probably expect it by the end of the month…

I’d like to hear from other MacBook Pro/MacBook owners regarding their experiences with the notebooks, as well as anyone who has ever dealt with AppleCare for a fault – am I just unlucky (as with my dud MBP), or is it always this slow and badly communicated? Please post your comments and let me know!