Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Apple Performance Update 1.0: No more spinning beachball of death?

I have been infrequently getting the annoying spinning rainbow beachball of death on my 13" MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard, most noticeably while using Safari 4. It almost seemed as if the hard drive was failing, but after each pause everything was fine, and Disk Utility showed no problem with the drive. I then thought it was Snow Leopard itself, but it turns out it may be caused by hard drive pauses associated with Apple's latest Macs. This is hopefully corrected with the Apple Performance Update 1.0:

This update addresses intermittent hard drive related pauses reported by a small number of customers.

Products Affected
MacBook Air (Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53GHz, Mid 2009), iMac (20-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009), MacBook (13-inch, Early 2009), MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009), MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008), MacBook Air (Late 2008), MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008), iMac (24-inch, Early 2009), iMac (20-inch, Early 2009), Mac mini (Early 2009)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I've had it with Apple Bluetooth products

Given that the Apple Mighty Mouse's scroll ball has a nasty habit of not functioning properly after just limited usage, it has gotten a well deserved bad reputation. Even the cheap throwaway mice I get at the hole-in-the-wall PC shop in the $5 surplus bin never suffer this problem, yet Apple's pricey Bluetooth mouse does.

But that's not the worst of it. What's even worse is when the batteries in the mouse (or keyboard) die. Put in new batteries, and... nothing. Half the time the computer refuses to recognizes the mouse (or keyboard). Turning it off and on again helps once in a while, but the only really consistent ways to get the computer to re-recognize the mouse (or keyboard) is to reboot, or to manually set it up again from the Bluetooth preference pane. Very, very irritating. What about not letting the batteries die? Doesn't help. If you swap out the battery it's the same effect. Reboot may be necessary.

So lately I've just taken to putting my Bluetooth keyboard in the cupboard, and using a wired keyboard. As for the mouse, I've still been struggling with the Mighty Mouse, but won't get another one with my next iMac. Even if they introduce a brand new multi-touch mouse, they'll have to do some serious marketing to win me over if it's Bluetooth. The proof is in the pudding, and so far Apple's Bluetooth pudding is pretty rotten.

However, if they offered a wired multi-touch mouse, maybe I'd get that instead. Or perhaps a Microsoft RF mouse. Wireless, without all the Bluetooth headaches.