Tag: fail

I think something might be wrong. Let’s hope actually finding something on the computer takes less time.

For the record, 124,392 hours is the equivalent to 14 years, 2 months, 12 days and 10 hours.

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Batteries are technology’s weak link. While tech like processor clock speed, hard drive capacity and graphics cards has accelerated rapidly over the last few years, battery capacity and total usage time has remained relatively constant. Sure, the newest lithium ion power packs can give your computer a solid 2 – 3 hours of charge, but we’re still a few years away from being able to work untethered for a good 6 – 8 hours.

I bring all this up because my MacBook has a problem with the battery that I’ve seen on others. As the above screen capture shows — from the iStat nano widget — the battery suddenly has 4% health after I used it for 10 minutes. The health is different from the actual charge because it represents the maximum possible charge the battery can take, which means how long the computer can run. What seems to happen on my computer is that it appears normal for a while, but then suddenly drops to less than 10% without warning. My friend had a MacBook with a similar problem — it would shut down when it had (supposedly) 30 minutes of power remaining.

Apple states that a battery is considered defective if it holds less than 80% of its original capacity and has fewer than 300 charge cycles. A charge cycle is the the time between a full discharge and charge — from full power to shut down. If the battery meets this criteria, it may be eligible for replacement. Since I have AppleCare, it seems that I will be taking the computer to the local Apple Store to see if a Genius can get me a new one.

Has anyone else seen a problem like this?

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Something positive almost always comes out of a negative situation.

In my case, it happened earlier this week while I was continuing work on my WordPress plugin. After adding a single page when testing, I wanted to delete it. Rather than delete the single post, I accidentally clicked the “select all” button on the first page of posts, then clicked through the Yes/No prompt. Immediately after pressing it, I realized what I had done and madly tried canceling the operation. Thanks to MySQL’s lightning fast response time, my last 12 posts were long gone by the time I could do anything about it. After being unable to access my webhost’s backup files, I set about the task of recreating my posts out of the Google cache. They are now fully repaired, which is why you won’t notice a real difference.

What did I learn from this?

Make sure your posts are in the Google index
If your site is indexed often, and correctly, by Google’s robots, you’ve already got a last-ditch backup system in place. While recreating posts from this information is rather time consuming, it is certainly better than losing everything.

Use automated backups
Thankfully, WordPress’ dependence on MySQL databases means there are plenty of plugins available to make backup painless. After some reading, I found a plugin called WP-DB-Backup that can backup your entire database and either download it to your computer, save to your server, or automatically email to an account of your choice. I’ve set up a 7GB Gmail account that will now contain daily backups of my WP database.

Check your webhost backups
Every webhost backs up their client’s data. A good website administrator checks the backups to make sure they work properly. When something goes wrong, a good backup can get your site back online immediately, but if you can’t use it, you’re stuck.

So after somewhat of an anxious few hours, I’ve seen the error of my ways, and now have a safety net in place. Here’s hoping you’ve done the same.

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It’s not often that an Apple product gets me well and truly frustrated. Generally I can pinpoint a repetitive problem and find other people with similar issues, and often find a solution.

But the current problem I’m having with Keynote is completely unacceptable and I have absolutely no idea why it’s occurring.

Let me set the scene. You’re working on a large multimedia presentation that uses video backgrounds, transitions, pictures and transitions. In a burst of creative genius, you furiously hammer out a dozen slides and sit back to admire your handiwork. In your eagerness, you press the Play button before saving to see the result of your work, and suddenly the screen goes black and you hear the tell-tale sound of the optical drive and the sickening startup chime (it’s sickening because you realize all your hard work could possibly be toast).

In my case, I was working on a presentation with more than 250 slides, with videos, photos and transitions — the works. Even though I had saved a few minutes earlier, I still lost work. The strange part is that there seems to be no real connection to when the button works and when it restarts. My theory is that somehow it determines the longest time between saves, then breaks — just to spite you. The other unusual thing is that the MacBook starts up without any of the information requests like when it shuts down improperly. I can’t figure it out.

Have you ever seen anything like this before?

[tags]Keynote, troubleshooting, Mac OS X, iWork, iLife[/tags]

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Early last week I was working on my MacBook, with a USB hard drive, FireWire Time Machine drive built from my old iBook, and keyboard connected. Suddenly, my computer shut off, and I smelled burnt plastic — clearly two events you don’t want to see in quick succession. Fearing the worst, I pressed the power button again, and the MacBook came to live. When it was back at the desktop, I set about determining where the smell had come from.

It turns out that it was my 4 year old iBook drive, which had vanished from the desktop and would not mount regardless of the steps I performed on it. So I did what any curious nerd would do: I took it apart then put it on eBay. Who would buy a broken hard drive, I do not know, but I’ll soon find out. I knew that the data couldn’t be salvaged, and since it was a backup drive, I wasn’t concerned about the loss. Keep in mind that if, for some reason, you’d like to do something similar, your data will be destroyed.

The results of the destruction are shown here. While I couldn’t see any significant damage when I opened it up (I was hoping for mangled and burnt plastic), the drive is surely dead now after my finger prints slipped onto the platter.

So if you’ve ever been curious as to what goes on inside a 40GB iBook drive, behold the wonders!

The platter

The mechanism

Update: It turns out that no one buys broken hard drives. Maybe I’ll try again.

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