A lot of Macbook Pro users, and some MacBook users, have reported a quiet but noticeable buzz seemingly coming from the middle of the computer. The noise is caused by the dual-core CPU when it becomes idle. Recently this problem has appeared on my 1.83GHz Macbook, and it's annoying. Apparently Apple doesn't consider it a repairable fault, so here are three solutions/workarounds:
Download the QuietMBP application. This simply gives the processor useless tasks when it's idle, and was created by a frustrated Macbook Pro owner suffering from the problem. It works well, and by dragging the program's slider, I found I could even manipulate the pitch of the whine. The only issue is that battery life might be affected, although you could always quit the app when away from main power.
Start PhotoBooth and minimise it to the Dock. For some reason, using the iSight causes the sound to disappear until PhotoBooth is closed. (Other apps that use the iSight, such as ProScope HR or the Mirror widget, also cause the sound to vanish temporarily).
Turn off one of the processor cores. This can be done by installing the CHUD tool from the developer directory of the Tiger install DVD. This will then add a new entry to System Preferences called Processors, and it lets you switch off one of the CPU cores on the fly. I'm not sure this is 100% safe, because you're using the chip in a way that it wasn't designed for. I also find that the fans tend to spin-up when even trivial tasks are being done, because all the CPU work is being loaded onto one core.
[robg adds: I haven't experienced this issue on my MacBook Pro, but I have seen some of the buzz (sorry, couldn't resist) about it on the net. I did have a similar issue with my Dual G5, which led to this hint about reducing the "chirping" noises.]
I've noticed that certain CD and DVDs never jam in my MacBook Pro, while others almost always wind up jammed. It also seemed that culprit discs would only jam if left in for more than a few minutes. My conclusion? Lower quality CDs and DVDs must warp slightly when heated, which causes them to jam in the player.
My solution: Turn off the MacBook Pro, and put it in a cool location for about five minutes. Then eject the CD as soon as the OS starts up. This has worked every time for me.
[robg adds: I've probably only ever had a few discs stuck in any of the Mac portables I've owned over the years, so I'm posting this as not only a hint but also a call for comments: are jammed discs somewhat common, and I've just been lucky to miss out on this problem? Or is this possibly a sign of a misaligned drive or other hardware related issue? Please share if you have additional information...]
I don't know if everybody except me has known this for years, but ... I have my MacBook rigged to a Dell display through DVI, and I mostly run it in clamshell mode. The annoying thing has been that when I reconnect my MacBook after having used it on the road, I have a hard time getting anything to appear on the external display.
I used to wiggle my Bluetooth mouse, and press the space bar on my Bluetooth keyboard for some time, and keep on doing this until (eventually) the display would light up. There is, however, a far simpler solution to this problem: after reconnecting your MacBook, just switch the display off and on again and presto -- instant image!
I recently purchased (on eBay) an "802.11G WiFi USB 2.0 Dongle 5 dBi Antenna 4 Mac PSP NDS," to use with a G3 clamshell iBook running 10.3.9. This dongle comes with the Zydas 1211 driver and software. I followed the directions carefully, but after installation, the Network System Preferences panel did not recognize the driver or the device.
After hours of troubleshooting, I downloaded the AirPort software, which was not on the clamshell, and this fixed the problem. This is not mentioned anywhere in the Zydas documentation.
There's an old tip here on how to use your MacBook with the main display off -- i.e. just using an external monitor. However, it requires that you have USB things to plug in, and it's a pain. This way is much easier.
With your display on both main and external monitors, start closing the laptop lid, but don't close it all the way. Get it so that there's a finger's depth between the lid and the palm rests. The MacBook should go to sleep, thinking you've shut it. Now reach underneath the lid and start pressing some keys -- the right arrow key is easiest to reach. You may have to bend the lid up a bit, but as long as it doesn't turn at the back, the MacBook won't think you're trying to open it again.
After pressing the keys a few times, the computer will wake from sleep and will reconfigure the display so that the main display is off. Now you can open the MacBook lid as far as you like -- I have it at about 30 degrees so I can type, but it doesn't get in the way of the monitor. And there you go! It might not work the first time, but it does work. I can now have my MacBook's screen off without any pesky USB switching.
I have a six-month-old Macbook pro (2.16 GHz). It is by far, the best computer I have ever owned and used, but twice during this period, the battery has died on me ... sort of. It's the now-classic "charged battery laptop that shuts down when unplugged" syndrome. Sometimes this happens immediately after unplugging the machine from the wall, with a 100% battery charge. Sometimes it happens only when the battery reaches a specific charge level after being unplug. I have had both. When you reach this point, trying to restart the laptop on the battery immediately shuts down the computer after a fibble attempt at startup. You can't even go into single user mode.
I have looked around the web for a solution to this, but nothing. Apple recommends resetting the power manager, and the PRAM. For me, these have not helped. I have run Applejack to remove all cache and repaired permissions ... nada. Some blogs state that the only solution is to have Apple replace the logic board or some other components, but since that would be a long process for my machine (which belongs to my employer), I did not want to do this.
Each of the times this has happened, I have been able to bring the computer and battery back to normal operation, yet I have not come across anyone explaining similar instructions, so I thought perhaps posting it here could help a few.
I've had no wake from sleep problems with my G4 800mhz 12 inch iBook since I returned to using the software sleep (via the Sleep command in the Apple menu) rather that the power button or closing the lid.
[robg adds: I've not experienced any of the wake from sleep issues seen in a few spots around the net, but I know it's happened to others. Here's one possible fix; feel free to share your methods and experiences in the comments.]
Ever try using audio chat or voice over IP on a laptop or iMac? It's nearly impossible for the person on the other end to hear what you're saying, because the microphone is right next to the speaker. (It's actually behind the same grill). The trick is that the microphone is only on one side.
So the solution is to go to Sound in System Preferences, and change the Output balance all the way to one side for the duration of your chat. This minimizes the effects of feedback and makes it a lot easier for the other person to hear what's going on. You'll probably have to dig out your owner's manual (or look online) to find out which side your microphone is on. The iMac G5's is on the right side, so put balance to the left. The MacBook Pro (17 in) is on the left.
Newer portable Macs use safe sleep (hibernation) in combination with normal sleep (older computers can use this, too). What happens is that when you put your computer to sleep, the system writes the contents of RAM into the file /private var vm sleepimage, then goes into normal sleep mode. If your system loses power completely, it can recover the contents of RAM from this sleepimage file.
The problem with this is putting your computer to sleep can take a while (20 seconds to one minute or more), depending on how much data you currently have loaded in RAM. Also, this sleepimage file is the same size of your total RAM, wasting valuable hard drive space. I have 2GB of RAM, so my file is 2GB.
To disable safe sleep, run the two following commands in Terminal:
$ sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0
$ sudo nvram "use-nvramrc?"=false
When done, restart your computer. Now go delete the file /private var vm sleepimage" to free up some hard drive space. When you put your computer to sleep it, should happen in under five seconds; my MacBook now goes to sleep in two seconds.
[robg adds: To state the obvious, with safe sleep disabled, a total power loss will wipe out whatever was open on your machine. To enable safe sleep mode again, repeat the above commands, but change hibernatemode 0 on the first line to hibernatemode 3, and =false to =true on the second line. You'll then need to reboot again. Personally, I prefer the safe sleep mode, even with the slower sleep time and hard drive consumption -- even if for no other reason than it's great when changing batteries on a flight.]
You press a few keys on your Blackberry, and you receive an emailed an image of whoever is in front of your laptop. The image is also saved and the filename time stamped. This is a complete hack and there are probably a million ways to do this better, but it works.
A Blackberry with data services (I have a T-Mobile Pearl)
A free program called midpSSH installed on your Blackberry
I won't cover these things in this hint: Installing midpSSH on your Blackberry, setting up a static address to connect to (search Google for no-IP for mac), beginner information on using Terminal and Automator. Read on for the solution...