Denki News

September 7, 2006

Apple battery recall replacements arriving

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 5:43 pm

As most of you no doubt already know, Apple has recently followed in Dell’s footsteps in recalling Sony-made lithium ion batteries for their portables, thanks to the possibility that said batteries might overheat and cause a fire. This is bad news for the companies involved, but it couldn’t have come at a better time for many PowerBook and iBook users, since their batteries are likely nearing the end of their functional lives anyway.

This was the case with my 12″ PowerBook G4. I had one battery that I got for my original 12″ PowerBook (back when they were first released in 2003) and one that came with my current 12″ PowerBook (from about a year and a half later). I signed up for the recall online and was told that only the older of the two batteries was eligible. However, DHL brought me two new batteries a couple of weeks later. The model and serial number of my other “non-eligible” battery don’t seem to be part of the recall, so I don’t know if it was a mistake or not, but I’m not going to be complaining. Two new batteries will extend the functional life of my PowerBook by quite a bit. Since they retail for around $130 apiece, this is a pretty big deal.

On a side note, the return process for these batteries was very painless for me. Just put in your serial numbers on the web site above and request a replacement. They’ll send you a new battery or batteries and you send back the old one in the same box, using the pre-paid postage label. Some people have mentioned that they’ve had trouble getting batteries that should be eligible for the recall recognized by the system, however.


July 25, 2006

Apple servicing stained white MacBooks

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 9:38 pm

Apple has quietly added a Knowledge Base article that reads, in its entirety:

“If your MacBook is exhibiting discoloration on the top case after some use, please contact AppleCare for service.

This seems to be tacitly acknowledging the problem I wrote about a while back, where parts of white MacBooks would turn a nasty yellowish brown after only a moderate amount of use. It’s good to hear that they are taking care of the problem, although its cause is still unclear. It certainly isn’t a problem that affects the majority of MacBooks, however.

[via TUAW]

June 24, 2006

Mysterious stains on white MacBooks

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 5:00 am

Hot on the heels of the news of flaking black MacBooks are reports that white MacBooks are exhibiting strange discolorations on the palmrest area. A user has even set up a website documenting the problem and claiming that 38 users have contacted them with similar complaints. It should be obvious that the problem doesn’t affect all MacBooks (my sister has a white MacBook that has no problems, for example) but it is possible that the materials used in the case somehow react with certain people’s body chemistry. There were scattered reports of the aluminum PowerBooks having problems with their palm rests actually getting tiny holes in them, apparently because of some kind of reaction with the sweat in the user’s hands. It will be interesting to see how this story plays out.

[Edit: Apple is apparently providing service for people affected by this problem.]

May 27, 2006

Flaking black MacBooks?

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables, Rumors — icruise @ 6:01 pm

There has been a fair amount of discussion recently as to the nature of the matte black plastic that makes up the casing off the black MacBook. It has an almost rubberized feel to it, which is quite different from the surface of the white MacBook.

A post on marklemdotcom first brought up the idea that the surface of the MacBook might be coated with something that could easily flake off by scratching it with a fingernail. The discussion in this thread on the MacNN forums (and my own very cursory examination of the black MacBook) seemed to indicate that this was not the case.

But then today another post on the MacNN forums pointed out that someone on Flickr also had problems with flaking finish on their MacBook. The two problems don't really look the same — the first one looks like a clear coating was being rubbed off, while the second looks like black paint has been chipped off by the user's watchband. The interesting question is, why would the chips reveal what appears to be white underneath? Even if Apple used some kind of coating on the MacBook, wouldn't they have used black plastic underneath? It's possible that it's only the frame surrounding the wrist rest that is affected, but it's a little disturbing nonetheless.

Without more evidence, it's hard to say one way or the other. But I do know that my Pismo PowerBook had no such issues with the finish. I hope this doesn't become the "nano scratch" of the MacBook line.

May 17, 2006

Yet more MacBook take-aparts

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 8:33 pm


Japanese Mac modder Keita Suyama has joined the growing ranks of people who have taken apart the MacBook. I met and interviewed Suyama several years ago about the phenomenon of "Mac modification" in Japan. At the time, he had just finished a black version of the iMac G4. He's taken apart just about every Mac that's come out in the last few years and has done some pretty impressive modifications as well.

The pictures are on his main page (in Japanese) at the moment, but this will change as he adds new content.

MacBook already disassembled

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 8:01 am

Update: has what is probably the best set of take-apart photos.

Kodawarisan (the webmaster of which I met once at MacWorld Tokyo) has these pictures of the MacBook being taken apart.

And this Chinese site has some good close-up pictures of a white MacBook, including many shots of it being completely disassembled.

You can see the user-replaceable hard disk, which is a first for an Apple consumer portable.

MacBook Picture Roundup

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 3:27 am

Some people are already starting to get their hands on the new MacBooks, so I thought I would collect a few of the better photos I've seen.

Flickr user andrson has some pictures of a white MacBook box opening.

Flickr user fullgl has the same for the black MacBook.

Flickr user jaydon34 has some shots of his white MacBook.

Finally, this MacWorld First Look article has some good photos and a nice write up about the new models. Of particular interest is the shot of a 12" PowerBook on top of a MacBook:

And a closeup of the MacBook keyboard:

May 16, 2006

New MacBooks arrive!

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 9:51 am

This morning Apple released their new consumer portable, the MacBook. The rumor sites were mostly right about this one. They sport 13” glossy screens with 1280 x 800 resolution. The low end model is $1,099 and has an 1.83Ghz Intel Core Duo processor, 512MB of memory, a 60GB 5400 rpm hard disk, and a combo drive. The middle model goes for $1,299 and ups the processor to 2.0Ghz and swaps the combo drive for a SuperDrive. Finally, the high-end model goes for $1,499 and ups the hard disk to 80GB and gives you a spiffy black shell instead of the white of the other two models.About the only thing you can really complain about in this lineup is the fact that the MacBooks use GMA integrated graphics and not stand-alone graphics cards. That will certainly hurt them to some degree when it comes to gaming. But otherwise they are quite impressive, even featuring the extended desktop feature that has long been crippled on the iBooks. While it’s true that paying $200 for an additional 20GB of hard disk space and a black case may not make the most economic sense, I’m sure they’ll sell plenty of the black models. A lot of people have been waiting for a black portable from Apple ever since they discontinued the venerable Pismo (the last PowerBook G3).

I for one will be very interested to see some actual photos of these machines “in the wild” and not just Apple’s CG-like renderings. Things to watch for include: how the glossy screens will look and how they will affect usability, and how the “latchless” lids will work.

May 11, 2006

Safe Sleep for older Apple portables

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 11:31 pm

Apple's newer portables now have a feature called "Safe Sleep" which is similar to "Hibernation" mode on Windows computers. Andrew Escobar has a page detailing how to enable this mode for some older portables. I tried it out recently on my 12" PowerBook, and I'd like to tell you a little about how it works. (More after the jump.)


May 9, 2006

No sign of new MacBooks today (May 9th)

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables, Rumors — icruise @ 9:08 pm

It looks as though the rumor sites were wrong again. As of 6PM Central time, there is no sign of the rumored MacBooks. It did seem a little odd that Apple would release what is probably going to be their biggest redesign of the year to date without some kind of event or fanfare. The other Intel releases so far (MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac mini) have pretty much just used the existing hardware designs with a few tweaks, but the MacBook (again, assuming the rumors aren’t completely wrong) will have a new screen and likely a redesigned enclosure.

It does seem likely that the new models will appear sooner rather than later, though, as Apple will want to have them ready for students going back to school.

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