Hiccups and new hardware

As the number of support requests I am getting from friends with brand-new MacBooks demonstrates, buying hardware that has just been released – even from a good company like Apple – is likely to land you with all the teething troubles inherent.

Apple laptop lines (formerly, the iBooks and Powerbooks; now, the MacBooks and MacBook Pros) tend to get quietly upgraded as they age: they highlight the bigger hard drives and faster processors, but the more important changes are usually fixes for issues that have cropped up among the early adopters.

The general maxim: if you want to avoid tech support and headaches, let others walk ahead of you. My iBook may take fifteen times longer to boot than the new MacBooks, but at least it does so consistently.

PS. Those having trouble with MacBooks not restarting, shutting down randomly, and doing other problematic things with regards to power should try the following:

  1. Make sure you have downloaded and installed all the patches for Mac OS X itself. You should have your system to check for these daily, and you should install them as soon as they come out.
  2. Try reseting your PRAM – this may sound like nonsense, but everyone with experience in trying to fix Apple hardware will be nodding knowingly to that suggestion.
  3. Try resetting your System Management Controller (much like the Power Management Unit in the iBooks and PowerBooks).

My general tips on protecting your computer are useful for at least minimizing the harm if a serious hardware issue arises.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

6 thoughts on “Hiccups and new hardware”

  1. You’re the best. I find these posts so helpful since I am so absentminded about tech stuff. I appreciate your help.

  2. Victoria,

    You don’t have a MacBook do you?

    Say what you will about teething problems, they are awesome machines. I would trade my iBook for one in a heartbeat.

  3. I see. One other useful tip is to download MacJanitor (free) and run it once in a while.

    Mac OS has daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance scripts that are meant to run in the very early morning. If your computer doesn’t happen to be on at that time, they will not run. This program lets you run them manually whenever you want to.

  4. Leopard Early Adopters Suffer For The Rest of Us

    By Zonk on working-the-kinks-out

    News.com tallies up the minor annoyances early adopters have experienced dealing with the newest version of OS X. From a change in folder design to install issues, and beyond to lack of support for Java 6, Mac users have had more to grumble about than usual in the last week. Just the same, the article notes, there have been no major problems and (compared to other OS launches) Leopard kicked off fairly well. “Let’s give thanks to the early adopters, however masochistic they may be. You can do all the QA in the world before releasing an operating system, and it’s not going to compare to what happens when the unwashed masses get their hands on the product. Microsoft’s Windows Vista had years of developer releases, and was released to manufacturing several weeks before it went on sale to the general public. Still, compatibility problems cropped up because it’s extremely difficult to anticipate what people are running, and in what combination. It’s easier for Apple because it tightly controls its hardware and software, and because there are fewer potential combinations in the wild, but it’s still a Herculean task.”

  5. It could be worse they could be running Vista, like some of the people in my office, i hate that OS so much. They go against my advice and buy the machines with Vista then want me to support it!

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