View Full Version : The Dumb @SS Updates

02-19-2007, 08:33 PM
Hey Guys,

Well, I've had my second refurb MPB for a couple of weeks now. So far, so good. It arrived with a couple of minor scuffs (one on the LCD which upset me, but I've since overcome that). So, I thought I'd offer up some observations, all subjective, unquantified stuff. (I also have a Leopard worry I'm going to throw out there.)

Haven't done much real playing around with the MBP (had a paper deadline--just hit the “send” button this Friday), but have done some work on it. I was pleased that I noticed very little difference in response time using Word on the MBP as compared to using Word on a G4. I'd spun myself up into a bit of a snit over the possible lag in Word (arguably my primary app). Subjectively: nuttin'. So, after logging several years of intensive Word use on my MDD 1GHzDP, loaded with 2GB crucial RAM, I'm experiencing pretty much the same performance on the MBP (2.16C2/1GB).

Regarding the temp matter. I installed Temperature Monitor literally the day I got the MBP and rarely did the temp crawl above 135F--until today, when I installed Leopard. (Backstory: I went through this phase . . . remember when they rolled out what was to become .Mac? I think it was called iTools or some such. Well, I established an account and also signed up as, ahem, a developer. Yes, yes; I know. There was some sort of "interested student" or whatever category. Anyway, I've kept it up to date; I know not why. Anyway, since I'm still bound by that agreement, I've been eligible to download various tools and apps that are way too high speed for me. For obvious reasons, I tend to skip that stuff. I did, however, decide to install the dev release of Leopard and set up some additional partitions for boot camp experimentation (as well as some evdo comparisons). So, as of this morning, I've been running Leopard. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.)

There is, it seems to me, little obvious difference between Tiger and Leopard. Nothing like the move from Panther to Tiger (more on this in a bit). But, recall the temp that never exceeded 135F in Tiger? Well, it shot up to 155F under mild stress (e.g., browser, mail, some data movement). 20F seems like a pretty intense jump when nothing else has changed. So, following--unclemac, no?--advice from here, I installed SMC fan control. I really didn't want to do that because I simply don't know enough about the engineering to feel comfortable tinkering with something like that. But even a dumb ass knows that heat=bad. So. Incidentally, what temp counts as excessive? Like, can someone draw me an analogy with a tachometer, maybe? What's temp red-zone for the MBP innards? Does it vary, and if so by how much, from component to component? Right now, CPU core 2 is at 164F! Yikes.

On the Apple front, little changed, other than my folding--almost immediately--in my resolve to forego future apple purchases, given their awful customer service. I gave it a couple of days, and no one called to do a follow-up (despite claims that they would). Finally I called. I was especially miffed that Apple was willing to cut me loose without even trying to work something out (like, inviting me to kick in a little more for a nonrefurb, or investigating my possible interest in a MB, maybe an iMac, etc.). Clearly, this isn't how they operate. So, I was forced to give up on the "customer service" matter. They posted a new batch of refurbished machines about two days after Apple suggested I piss off; I called and demanded that they provide me with one of those, which they did. (Down to 160F with a fan speed of 3500RPM.)

Damn those aesthetics! MBP, encased in his spiffy red acrylic Spec case, sportin' a black iSkin and both LCD and trackpad films, is lookin' pretty darn dapper. How could I be expected to resist? I keep flashing back on those Jeff Goldblume adverts . . . remember? "Beige? Who says that computers have to be boring--like beige?Really. What's beige, anyway? Sand?" Great stuff, that. But, looking hot is one thing and being hot, another (holding at 160F).

I'm thinking of giving iWork a try--that is, thinking about going with pure Apple, not (I hasten to add) as a gesture of appreciation for their stellar service. But, I've noticed that I've done more of the minimal web stuff that I do with the iLife suite than with stand-alone apps. For instance, I used to compose my webpages in Dreamweaver and then upload it/them to my mac space; now I just do everything in iWeb. Ditto for a number of other such tasks, which have never been particularly onerous. So, I'm wondering whether Pages might not meet my needs as well as Word does. Any input, folks? The price tag certainly is sweet. (I don't actually have to pay for Office out-of-pocket, but the price offends me nonetheless.)

And what’s the word on boot camp/Windows on the intel macs? Anyone willing to nudge me in some direction?

And, since this is such a grab-bag posting anyway, I’ll close with some miscellaneous thoughts:

(1) Missing Sync for palm os rocks!
(2) Power Support LCD protectors, while a great idea, are virtually impossible to affix without air bubbles. Still, I can see the marks left on the LCD film by the iSkinned keyboard . . . so, it’s doing its job albeit ugly.
(3) And, the Power Support trackpad film has a RADICAL impact on sensitivity, response, consistency, and the like--which is a damn shame, given the magnificence of the unfettered trackpad’s performance. Curiously, one of the “positive features” mentioned in reviews is the “smooth texture” of the film, This, in my judgment, is the central drawback: the responsiveness of the unprotected trackpad surface is due, in large part I’m sure, to the texture. I’m undecided about leaving it on . . .
(4) The spec case looks great. No doubt this provides fantastic protection for folks who tote around their machines. In fact, the mac genius commented on the condition of machines he’s serviced when they had iSkins and/or the spec case--thumbs up, both. I just wish they made something thinner than that fuzzy cloth palmrest cover.
(5) The iSkin is no problem when it comes to the effect on keyboard response, though the unprotected keyboard is (obviously) a bit snappier. I've been using the Tactile Pro for a few years now, so I'm really used to the clackety-clack. But. The MacBook (not Pro) keyboard is to-die-for. Seriously. Reminds me of the Apple IIe keyboards (which I think are the best ever put together). I was on the verge of buyer's remorse when I set up my friend's MB (especially since my iSkin covers the backlighting of my MBP keyboard, which is sort of all it has to offer when compared to the MB).
(5) Great little app out there called USBmodem that enables one to use a smart phone--and some of the smarter nonsmart phones--as a (sometimes broadband) modem. Not yet the most stable, but not bad for a $30 app either (especially since some companies charge an additional $15-30/month for the carrier-based version of this!).

Okay, that's all for this installment of Dumb Ass Update . .


02-19-2007, 10:47 PM
Uh.......10.5 is beta only. It is not ready for prime time, not ready for production work. Besides being unfinished, there is debugging on, which effects performance.

As for not looking or being that different, word on the street is that the demo betas made available to developers (what you apparently have access to) does not include many of the user interface changes that will be included in the final release product.....cause they don't want users and devs to let the cat out of the bag in a forum like this. :rolleyes:

Most of the changes in the dev betas are backend, effecting the way things work, not the way they look, and are available so that software and hardware devs who need to test their wares and have plenty of time to prepare for the changes to the guts of 10.5, and be able to release their products updates quickly after 10.5 gets released. Oh, and technically you have to agree to a an NDA - non-dislcisure agreement - to be able to download the betas, so we are thin ice talking about it in public.

There are oodles of reasons not to run a beta OS on an honest to goodness pay-your-bills machines, the most compelling of which is that it might eat your data. Others might include things like fan control not being fully sorted out, not to mention third party things like SMC fan control may not work correctly. I strongly suggest you reinstall 10.4 from your included DVD.

Once you get 10.4 squared away again, boot camp and/or Parrellels is really great.

As for heat, a good rule of thumb is to keep the temps under 55 C. Closer to 50 C. is a good goal, which works out to be about 122 F. I don't profess to know what specific components can handle what temp, and what the long term effects will be, but I agree with your "DA" assesment that cooler is better. Most HDs have a max recommended temp of 55 C. for example.

Glad your second attempt is starting out better....even if we still have some drama going. :D

02-20-2007, 05:21 AM

Yes, beta certainly on the 10.5. I had to do a clean installation of 10.4--have been running off of the same backups/images for WAY too long now, and the intel mac seems unhappy with some of the bits and pieces from the PPC. Anyway, I did a clean installation of 10.4, made an image and then installed 10.5 on top of that. My primary motivation was to find out whether the app I use for evdo access via my phone would work on leopard--didn't want to have any surprises on that. And, half thought that I might have some pleasant surprises, given some of the more credible reports on leopard network changes.

And actually I think that the withholding of some bells and whistles is something they've done before (probably it's usual?). Given the blatant cribbing of OS X features in Vista (based, that is, on reports) it doesn’t seems like an irrational worry. I don't recall testing out tiger, but I think that I had a test image of panther . . . same deal: a bit bumpy, touch unstable. The fan issue really surprised me, though. I would have expected that to be one of the back end things they'd have stabilized by now.

As for the NDA, I don't recall that being the nature of the agreement. I believe that the thrust of the worry had to do with distribution, not discussion. But, perhaps things have changed since that legal snafu a couple years back. I should look at it, now that I've opened up my mouth (though all of this has been reported by press beta folks for months now).

It was my full intention to restore to the 10.4 image after testing out a few things. The temp issues, though, mean that I'll be restoring today. Bummer.

Thanks for the sample temps--way lower than I expected they'd be. For instance, I've been at the computer for bout 20 minutes now and the temp is 71C, doing nothing but mail, safari, and pages.


02-20-2007, 06:40 AM
Might need to 'edit' the thread of some content guys? seems "close."

Anyway, 2 bits, iPages could easily replace what I do in Nisus Express currently, and it just looks so nice and crisp.

For $500/yr or your current student status, Apple throws in 10% or so discount on hardware?

I'd buy iLife 07/iWork but I do get tired of paying full price every time.

If you have been keeping up with "Today's Active Threads" I've been adding some stuff to a Vista thread as I stumble onto an article, and have RC1 and now 64-bit Business Edition running. Gotta know for myself, and learning something new is fun, plus I get to see different interpretations. I like Vista's "restore points" and the abilitty to roll-back to an earlier version. Unlike Time Machine, it is done in place.

Every OS X rollout has been rough on the edges, driver support, and taken a good three updates to get things settled down. Vista runs nice, but I am surprised to find lack of 64-bit drivers and 'readiness' from 3rd party. Guess some things don't change.

I prefer Quicken Deluxe PC version, but I don't like how annoying Intuit can be.

I wanted to see if FireFox looks and runs better.

when I had trouble with my ISP they wanted to come out and run Windows, so I thought I'd beat them to the punch. (they aren't really ready for Vista either though - too much of an upgrade for hardware). Ah, Macs have been doing Quartz Extreme and such for ages now, using the GPU to handle window composing and such. So Macs really are more Vista-ready than most any PC or laptop and low-end laptops are miffed about having to put Vista in, means they have to use more expensive components or it will only run Aeroless.

PPC applications don't run well, fewer the better, but don't migrate - installer only if you must - and memory hungry like crazy.

02-20-2007, 08:13 AM
Hmm. If there's really that concern, let's just blow away the thread--editing seems an overly clumsy and time consuming project given the length of the thread and the lack of earth shaking material in it. Sorry, though, for the inconvenience (such as it is) . . . really never occurred to me that disclosure of such common and widely discussed aspects my be problematic.

Yeah, TZ, Vista could be fun to play with, though what I've read suggests that a GB of RAM might not be enough for the full monty.

Totally OT: has anyone had the opportunity to form an opinion about Creature Speakers? Alternatively, anyone care to recommend a set?


02-20-2007, 10:21 AM
Hmm. If there's really that concern, let's just blow away the thread--Hmm. The FAQ indicates that there should be an editing button on/near this thread (and the permissions down at the bottom of the CP says that I can edit my own posts); yet I see no such button. Has it been disabled in this particular forum or am I just missing something?


02-20-2007, 10:55 AM
Time-out for editing is 10 minutes or so.

Don't worry, there weren't any comments that need to be blacked out.

Apple could learn a thing or two about Restore Points, though.