Ever have a problem with a CD/DVD stuck in your offline MacBook Pro and it doesn't allow you to boot up OS X? Apple mentioned the solution is to press and hold the trackpad button when booting your MBP. You tried that, but still fails? Another possible fix is the credit card/knife trick that sometimes works, but it just sounds not right?
OK, now there is an easy way to do it: Just power up your MBP and leave it alone for about 10 minutes. It will eventually boot up and the CD/DVD will automatically eject (make sure your power cable is plugged in, though!).
[robg adds: I haven't heard about this possible fix before ... and I can't confirm it, not having a CD stuck in my MB at the moment.]
This is very much a "niche" hint, but hopefully someone out there will find it useful. There are a few instances where you might want to use a laptop with its built-in LCD completely removed, using an external display instead. A couple I can think of are if you've broken the built-in screen somehow and don't want/can't afford to replace it, or have done what I did recently -- upgraded to a new laptop, but kept the old one to use as a server, and removed the old latop's LCD and sold it.
The problem is that even with the LCD removed, the motherboard still thinks that it is there. This means that you could run into a situation where the LCD is set as the main screen (with the menu-bar), and the external screen is set as a secondary display. Getting the menu-bar onto the external display using the GUI in this situation is pretty much impossible.
Today I inserted a CD from a friend into my fairly new Mac Book Pro. It had a sticker type label, which I'm generally leery about, but it looked OK and not likely to peel back inside my computer. I got what I needed off the CD and went to eject it ... but sure enough, it was stuck inside. I tried six or so times without success, using the Eject button. I couldn't even see through the slit to tell what I was hanging on. I was at the point of ... 'Do I tear my nice newish MBP apart or take it in for service'?
Then an idea occurred to me. I unplugged the system, held it in my hand, pressed the Eject button, then flipped the whole system upside down. Sure enough, the CD popped out, much to my surprise and relief. No idea if this will work with other portables, but thought I'd pass it along just in case.
On further investigation of the offending CD, I noticed the label peeled up slightly right near the center. Apparently just enough to throw off the eject sequence.
Problem: Macbook video firmware may become disrupted on a machine that has MS Windows installed via Boot Camp. This will present as a failure to boot, or a failure to boot completely.
Workaround: When machine fails to boot, the startup sound will sound, but the screen will not display anything. (External monitors will also not display anything.) Press the power button until the machine starts to restart, then press and hold Control-Option-P-R simultaneously to reset the PRAM. Do this three times through startup.
Long-term workaround: Always start the machine while holding down the Option key to choose which boot directory to use.
[robg adds: I haven't experienced this issue myself, but I haven't used the Boot Camp Windows install on my MacBook all the often.]
Ever wondered where to keep your macbook IR remote so it does not get lost on your desk? Well, inspired by a similar 'feature' on the iMac, I found that you can stick the remote magnetically to the top left of the MacBook display's frame -- like this.
[robg adds: This does work as shown, based on tests with my MacBook.]]
I like that Apple provides little caps for the various laptop cables, but I am always afraid of losing the caps. This is especially important for my Powerbook's power supply cable. Since I throw the power supply in my bag, I was concerned that the prong (tip of the connector) would get damaged, so I use the plastic cap for protection.
My little solution for tethering the caps is pretty simple. All you need are the supplied cap, some dental floss, and a safety pin. Here are the steps:
Using the safety pin, make a small hole in the top of the cap.
Thread the dental floss into the hole made with the safety pin. You can use the safety pin to help push the floss through the hole.
Once the floss is through, make enough knots to prevent the floss from sliding out the hole. Trim any excess floss for neatness.
Tie the other end of the floss to the cable.
When done, it should look something like this:
Now the cap is tethered to your cable and available to protect your connector whenever you need it. I don't have a MacBook Pro, but I understand that those caps are similar to the iPod connectors, which can also be tethered without any problems.
[robg adds: Clearly, this isn't an OS X hint. However, I thought I'd see what the reaction was to running it, as I've lost more of those darn caps than I care to count -- I'll be trying this project this weekend! Use the rating system and/or the comments to let me know if you find this sort of hint useful, even though it's not directly related to OS X.]
I like to be able to activate Exposť on my MacBook without moving my hand away from the trackpad. I figured I could do this by holding down the Command key while doing a secondary mouse click (i.e. a two-finger-tap on the trackpad), but couldn't find where to set this up in the Dashboard & Exposť System Preferences panel. The bottom section of the panel just showed 'Keyboard,' not 'Keyboard and Mouse.'
When I connected a USB mouse, however, the mouse shortcuts section appeared in the preference pane. I was able to set up the Command-secondary click shortcut, and it continues to work with the trackpad even after the USB mouse is disconnected. I really think Apple should enable this section of the preference pane on their notebook computers which are capable of a secondary click, even when no external mouse is connected.
[robg adds: On my PowerBook G4, the Mouse section shows up, even without a USB mouse connected. On my MacBook, it's not there. I believe the difference is SideTrack, which I have not yet installed on the MacBook. I'm guessing that the system sees SideTrack as an external mouse, hence, the Mouse shortcuts section shows up.]
Quick! Go count the number of cords you pack when travelling with your laptop. Quite a lot, right? Here's a possible way of reducing that number. Take the adapter off your laptop power supply (or iPod power supply or Airport Express), and plug it into your other power bricks.
So long as their AC input is able to handle it (you can find this on the underside; it should read AC Input = 100-240V 50-60Hz), you shouldn't have any problem. Definitely double-check, though, so that you don't create potential problems.
I have used this for a while, and have written about it, along with some images of the solution in action.
[robg adds: I wrote about the sheer number of things I pack for even a short trip a while back, so this hint is of interest to me. And while not directly OS X related, it's related to using Apple hardware, and I thought it might be of interest to others ... I guess the rating will eventually answer that.]
I'm sure that many of you with PowerBooks and iBooks have, on occasion, opened your lid only to find that the screen remains black rather than offering you a login. In the past, this has led me to do a forced shutdown. However, I think that I might have found a workaround.
Rather than pressing and holding the power button for the forced shutdown, just press it once briefly, then press S. If you try this whilst your machine is running normally, you will see that, first, the Restart - Sleep - Cancel - Shutdown dialog box is displayed, then pressing S selects the sleep option and the machine instantly sleeps.
I have tried this a couple of times when it appeared that I was suffering from the 'black screen of death,' and I have recovered without further problems.
I figured this out last night. Don't know if this is a known thing or not, but I was pretty psyched about it. If you want to use an external monitor with your MacBook in "clamshell" mode (but with the screen open), but don't have the peripherals, here's what to do:
With your MacBook on and running, plug in your external monitor and turn it on (if the monitor isn't already on).
Depending on the way you have your display prefs set, you'll either be in mirror mode or extended desktop mode. If in extended desktop mode, change to mirror mode. If in mirror mode, keep it that way.
Close your MacBook. The whole system (including external display will go to sleep).
Take any kind of USB device and plug it into the MacBook (I used an external media card reader). This will wake up the external monitor and the MacBook. You should have your desktop displayed on your external monitor at its full resolution (as long as it's equal to or less than the MacBook's highest achievable resolution, I think).
Now, you don't have an external keyboard and mouse, so how do you control the MacBook? Well, just open the MacBook up now. The screen will stay off (and it is off, not just dimmed), but the MacBook's keyboard and trackpad will be fully functional, controlling the pointer on the external monitor's desktop! Why would someone do this instead of just keeping the MacBook open in the first place while in mirror mode?
Well, I find having the external monitor and the MacBook's screen both on in mirror mode to be quite distracting. Since you are using the MacBook's keyboard and trackpad, you pretty much have to have it sitting in front of you. And, you pretty much have to have the external monitor sitting in front of you as well. With both the screens on, your eyes tend to wander from one to the other, even though they are both showing the same desktop (ie, mirror mode).
However, with the MacBook's screen off, there is no distraction. In fact, you can partially close the MacBook, keeping enough room for your hands to access the keyboard and trackpad, so you would have even less distraction. Another benefit is not having to worry about the MacBook overheating with it completely shut (clamshell mode), but on. With it open (either fully or partially), I'm sure it helps to vent heat away from the MacBook.
Anyway, I just thought I would share. Again, this may be a known thing, but it was completely new to me! I swear!
[robg adds: I believe this should work for a MacBook Pro, or potentially any laptop. I thought we had run something similar, but all I cound find was an older tip about iBooks. Apologies if this is a duplicate.]