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joenspa

This guy is not alone

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In many ways I love my MacBook Pro. All of them happen to be about it's construction though. It is a solid piece of machine. However between bad video, constant lock ups (About every 20 minutes it locks up for about a minute or two), podcasts not syncing right in iTunes and don't even start on MobileMe, I'm not sure I'll get another laptop. Maybe a Mini or iMac but I really hope the iPad comes around to be a serious machine so I don't have to suffer through another laptop with these issues.

Check out this guy's article. He probably makes the case better than me.

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constant lock ups (About every 20 minutes it locks up for about a minute or two)

turn off Flash. you won't miss it. and if you need a flash web thing use Chrome. if you have external hard drives change the setting so they don't spin down when idle. if your web connection is PPPoE based run a keep alive script to prevent the connection from being dropped.

podcasts not syncing right in iTunes

this is not a hardware issue. so if you move to a mini or a pro or a iMac it will still have this problem.

and don't even start on MobileMe

not hardware. mobile me is largely useless if you have access to a real web server.

that said, I cannot be sympathetic to the article's author. laptop have a short life span. 18 to 24 months is about what you can expect before things start to stop working. pretty much everything from the hard drive to the back light inverter are prone to failure in the 3rd year. this has been my experience since I've been using them. and this is even more problematic on non-Apple notebooks.

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I will show some of my ignorance in my response here but please bear in mind I have no intention of walking away from Apple. The options are far worse.

 

First, how do you shut off Flash? I can't find anywhere that I can do that.

 

The only external drive connected is my Time Machine backup and I feel pretty confident that is not it. In fact the system still locks with no external hardware plugged in.

 

As far as PPPoE I don't believe I am making use of that right now. I have seen that in my Network control panel before but at home I am using an Airport connection to cable modem. Plus these lock ups occur no matter what connection I use. I travel quite a bit and use quite a few different systems.

 

I realize iTunes is not a hardware issue. I think the hardware is great. I think Apple's issues lie in software that is starting to bloat. Even Adam has talked about how iTunes has almost become an OS of it's own. I sync between my laptop, iPhone and a shuffle. Quite often podcasts are remarked as un-listened even though they have been finished. This shouldn't be that big of an issue. Shoot even voice memos import into iTunes every time you sync unless you shut off the syncing of voice memos. Apple even acknowledges this issue.

 

Once again I realize MobileMe is not hardware. I said hardware is good and I feel software is bad. I'll go ahead and say it. It's buggy. Calendar syncing has been an issue. Even Address Book has had issues. Apple seems to realize this. There was even an email from Steve Jobs where he told someone MobileMe would get better this year. Let's hope that happens. MobileMe should be the perfect compliment to the iPad and iPhone. That should be the center of our syncing universe not something called iTunes that started life as an MP3 player.

 

I actually haven't had your experience with laptops. This is my fourth. PB140, PB1400c, Titanium and then this model the first unibody. I loved the Titanium. For work reason I still need an OS9 machine to pull old info from and this thing is still working. Unfortunately at 550Mhz. I always upgraded due to speed and needing to use the last system.

 

I've gone on a bit long here but maybe we are at the same junction. Laptops are a dieing breed. They are inherently flawed. Maybe we will live in a world of desktops and iPads. I'm fine with that as long as I can get documents on and off easily (no iTunes) plus print easily from it. I welcome more input especially on how to shut Flash off. Thanks.

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Laptops are a dieing breed. They are inherently flawed.

 

On that point I agree. The basic concept of a Hard Drive based computer that, by its very design nature is moved around and shaken is, in the words of Mr Spock, "Not Logical". That being said, I have to agree with John that the vast majority of your issues are software based. Have you ever tried re-installing OS X ? You could very well have some corrupted system files somewhere that are causing at least a few of these issues.

 

All I know is that for every one person that has issues with their software, there are dozens that do not. I worked three of the last four Olympic Games ( Beijing, Torino and Athens ) dealing with Pro Photographers assisting them with their computer issues and even with that generally non tech-savy group my theory holds true. For the most part, OS X and its related software does simply just work, but there are always those that, for whatever reason, have their issues with it. I have a 17" MacBook Pro from 2007 and it has always run flawlessly ( yes even iTunes ). Of course, I have always been careful to re-install OS X periodically ( about once every 6 months ) and I am VERY picky about what software I install.

 

As harsh as this may sound, and I really don't mean to offend, but often a person's issues with software are simply the result of them doing something "wrong" ... by that I mean somehow using the software in a way that the author never anticipated and thus "mucking it up". We used to refer to this as "pilot error" back in the day ( late 70's early 80's ). I'd bet at least one or two of your issues fall into this category ( heck it's happened to me more than I'd like to admit ). Eventually, every time I think some software is a piece of crap, I find out that I missed a setting or was doing something "backwards". Unfortunately, it's just the type of thing that can't be helped without sitting there with you. I know this doesn't help much ... just a shame that what seems intuitive to the software author is not always that way to the user ... it's just amazing to me that for the majority they hit it pretty close ( even if you or I don't fall into that majority all of the time ).

 

PS - one thought I just had that may be adding to your problems ... how much free space do you keep on your internal HD and how much RAM do you have ? Often lockups and video playback issues are the result of low RAM ( or even some bad RAM ) or lack of free space on the HD ( Macs like at least 10 - 20 % of the HD to be empty ... I can't tell you how much better my iMac runs since I moved my 176 GB iTunes library to an external drive and now have all that free space ).

Edited by Dolphbucs

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First, how do you shut off Flash? I can't find anywhere that I can do that.

 

You can trash the Flash plugin/player, or uninstall it (more or less the same thing).

 

 

I realize iTunes is not a hardware issue. I think the hardware is great. I think Apple's issues lie in software that is starting to bloat. Even Adam has talked about how iTunes has almost become an OS of it's own. I sync between my laptop, iPhone and a shuffle. Quite often podcasts are remarked as un-listened even though they have been finished. This shouldn't be that big of an issue. Shoot even voice memos import into iTunes every time you sync unless you shut off the syncing of voice memos. Apple even acknowledges this issue.

 

 

I can sympathise with the podcast listening marking; I think it's an issue with my old(er) iPod Shuffle. Sometimes it marks things that I have listened to as unlistened, things I've listened to once as twice, and sometimes not done anything at all. Restoring doesn't do anything. I just end up marking the podcasts myself, manually.

Edited by R94N

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Have you ever tried re-installing OS X ?

 

All I know is that for every one person that has issues with their software, there are dozens that do not. I worked three of the last four Olympic Games ( Beijing, Torino and Athens ) dealing with Pro Photographers assisting them with their computer issues

 

As harsh as this may sound, and I really don't mean to offend, but often a person's issues with software are simply the result of them doing something "wrong" ... by that I mean somehow using the software in a way that the author never anticipated and thus "mucking it up".

 

PS - one thought I just had that may be adding to your problems ... how much free space do you keep on your internal HD and how much RAM do you have ? Often lockups and video playback issues are the result of low RAM ( or even some bad RAM ) or lack of free space on the HD ( Macs like at least 10 - 20 % of the HD to be empty ... I can't tell you how much better my iMac runs since I moved my 176 GB iTunes library to an external drive and now have all that free space ).

I have reinstalled OS X 3 times by doing Archive and Install. No real luck. Trying to get the computer backed up via Time Machine so I can wipe the drive to Zeros and start all over. Plans are to have 2 clones and a Time Machine backup but right now that refuses to work too. I wants to start the whole process all over. (I went into that rant in another post.)

 

Interesting you mention 3 Olympics. I've done 7. Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake, Athens, Torino, Beijing and Vancouver. I work for the host doing the technical side for commentary audio. What venues were you at? We may have seen each other? Will you be in London? Back to Mac stuff, I have used an Apple laptop at all those Games, got made fun of for it too but I stayed with it and now there are a lot more Macs out there at these international events. My gut feeling though is that my laptops have gotten progressively worse. There life span seem to be getting shorter on them. But I do agree. I have seen all those laptops running Photoshop in the field and they are working great. In general. My Mac Mini works great too.

 

As far as being offend by your comment I wasn't, you are right. But I believe I have removed any 3rd partly stuff that got into the system. Mouse drivers and junk like that. That made no difference what so ever. I'm having a hard time seeing how double clicking a picture in iPhoto could be mucked up. A big part of my job is troubleshooting. I have to look for consistencies in issues to help track them down. The only one I can find with this is that every 5-10 minutes it locks up for 2 to 3 minutes. I would love for someone to tell me, go shut this off or delete this and have this thing working. With everything I have tried software-wise I keep finding myself going back to hardware. If anyone has any other software ideas please let me know.

 

I have a 500 Gig drive that I am using about half of. I put this drive in about 6 months ago. I thought maybe the issue was having to do with disk access. It wasn't. I have 4 Gig of RAM that was installed by Apple when I bought it. I sometimes have to do video or audio work with this machine so I maxed it out at the time of ordering.

 

Thanks everyone for input and I am sorry if I sound like a pain in the port it's just that I really want to start using this laptop for work rather than working on it. I'll probably make my 2 clones tomorrow and give Time Machine one more try and then reformat this thing writing zeros and start all over. In the mean time I think I'll have a beer.

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this problem sounds like bad RAM. random crashing, lock ups for no reason and other odd behavior can be caused by RAM that is failing or isn't the correct type of RAM. past Macs have been notoriously finicky about the timing and type of RAM. this has allowed vendors to charge a premium for "Mac RAM" when in fact it was just them filling the order for the correct RAM for the product. computers that use more generic bridge chips accept a wider range of RAM timing allowing very slow (and cheap) RAM to work.

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Interesting you mention 3 Olympics. I've done 7. Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake, Athens, Torino, Beijing and Vancouver. I work for the host doing the technical side for commentary audio. What venues were you at? We may have seen each other? Will you be in London? Back to Mac stuff, I have used an Apple laptop at all those Games, got made fun of for it too but I stayed with it and now there are a lot more Macs out there at these international events.

 

I worked for Kodak ( as a contractor ) providing computer support and photographic services to the acredited photographers. In that capacity they ( we ) were located in a specific area in the MPC building ( Main Press Center ) at each event. In Athens, we were located in the basement of the MPC ( right next to the main press conference room ). In Torino, just inside one of the main entrances ( not the one by the bank but the one at the other end by the McDonalds and DHL's booth ) and in Beijing we were one level down from the main entrance to the MPC ( where the gift shop was ). Kodak also handled much of the processing of the acreditation badges at each of those games.

 

Athens was my first, and in summer 2004 only about 1/4 of the photogs were shooting digital. In fact, to show you how far we've come, there was a very well known photographer there ( George something ) who had a prototype Hasselblad camera that could shoot a 22 megapixel image ( OOOOOOO!! ) I was the "rookie" on the crew that year and we only had 4 or 5 Quicksilver Power Mac G4's. The vast majority of the photogs didn't even have laptops then. They simply shot film which Kodak developed for them and then scanned and stored on their servers. The photogs could then use the PC workstations ( or one of those Macs ) to FTP the photos directly to their home office.

 

In Torino and Beijing, Apple "piggy-backed" with Kodak in the Photography centers and I was able to work alongside some of Apple's elite at those two games. Torino was just after the release of Aperture and so they wanted to be able to demo it to the pro photogs. So they sent about 10 G5 quad processor Mac Pros ( screaming machines for Feb 2006 ) along with cinema displays. It was fun having PC using photogs come up to us and say "How do I get to look at my photos on those monitors? " and hearing the Apple reps say " use a Mac ". In fact, it was at those very games that I finally became converted to the Mac side ( bought my first iMac with the money I earned there ). I even learned pre-maturely of the impending release of Bootcamp at those games ... somebody slipped and told me that at Beijing we wouldn't need PC's because if Apple came back the photogs would be able to run Windows on the Macs. Man, was the guy who told me that ever paranoid the rest of the games LOL. By then only about 1/4 of the photogs were still shooting film ( quite a bit of change for only an 18 mo turn around )

 

By Beijing, virtually ALL of the photogs shot digital. Apple showed up again, this time bringing along a "celebrity" ... pro photog and Aperture Guru Derek Story. Funny thing is, I was there for the better part of 4 weeks ( there was setup and prep involved before the games and teardown after ) and I had no clue who Derek was until 2 days before he left ... I talked to him only once or twice and then only to get him to come assisit a photog that needed Aperture help ... I just knew him as "Derek" and I knew he was an authority on Aperture. The really funny thing is that at the time I was modding Leo Laporte's Stickam Chat and as such had a bit of a back and forth going with him. I even sent Leo a package of Beijing stuff which he opened on air. I knew Leo was planning a trip to China the next summer. It wasn't until later I found out that Leo was going there with, among others, Derek Story ( found this out when Leo mentioned on air that Derek would be along and it was great because Derek had been there last year for the Olympics ... when I heard this I posted in chat to Leo "Yeah, I know he was there working with me ). LOL

 

They were great times, however, Kodak ceased being a worldwide sponsor after the Beijing Games and so I wasn't at Vancouver and won't be at London. The host OC's are providing services for the photogs now ... happen to know how that worked in Van ? It's a really weird feeling to watch the games at home having had such and "inside baseball" view of the event. Gotta say though if I had to pick 3 games. the ones I went to were the best I could have chosen. I know you know this but for everyone else, especially with Beijing, what you guys saw at home on TV really did NOT do anything justice. Did you get to Tom's Roadhouse ( I think that was the name )? It was a tex-mex place over around the corner from the US Embassy in a small strip mall type place. And of course you MUST have stopped into the Apple Store. Torino had La Mole ( a huge tower-like domed structure which has been converted into a Motion Picture Museum with a glass elevator in the middle ) and their Museum of Egyptology ( one of the world's largest Egyptian Artifact Museums outside of Egypt ). And of course Athens was Athens .... not quite ready for the games but spectacular ruins ( Ackropolis, etc. ) as well as the classic 1896 Olympic Stadium ( I got to attend the marathon finish there ).

 

When you say you worked for the host do you mean ATHOC, TUROC and BOCOG ? Did you volunteer or did they contract you ? We at Kodak were always trying to make a deal with one of the volunteers to get one of their shirts ( they always looked so cool ) but as the Paralympics were always right after the main games, and many of the volunteers working the MPC were also working them, it was a very hard sell. Best we could ever do was massive pin swaps.

Edited by Dolphbucs

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this problem sounds like bad RAM. random crashing, lock ups for no reason and other odd behavior can be caused by RAM that is failing or isn't the correct type of RAM. past Macs have been notoriously finicky about the timing and type of RAM. this has allowed vendors to charge a premium for "Mac RAM" when in fact it was just them filling the order for the correct RAM for the product. computers that use more generic bridge chips accept a wider range of RAM timing allowing very slow (and cheap) RAM to work.

The RAM is the original 4 gig I had Apple install when I bought. Who's to say they didn't have a bad stick though. Trying to reinstall the system right now. Second attempt. If that ever happens I'll try pullng one or stick at a time and see what happens.

Thanks.

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