Reverting back to Mavericks

It’s unclear.  I did a fresh install of Yosemite on a Retina MacBook Pro 13″ 11,1 but the battery life was terrible.  Typically 4-5 hours max.  In order to revert to the “Out of Box” state you need to delete the primary Mac OS partition and then boot to recovery using CMD + Option + R.  This will initiate the “Internet Recovery” which will take hopefully less than an hour to download whatever OS the machine came with, in my case Mavericks.  Upon receipt of the machine I did a fresh install of Yosemite but consistently saw terrible battery life.  My hope was that it was Yosemite related, so I’ve reverted back to 10.9.4.

I’ve now performed an SMC reset and I see over 13:00 hours at 100% battery life under Mavericks.  It’s unclear if Yosemite is at fault, or the SMC is at fault, the clean install is at fault, I mean who the fuck knows Apple?  All I know is that I did a fresh install of Yosemite on a brand new machine and it got about 4 hours of battery life.  Now it says it has 13 hours of battery life.  Talk about a fucking unreliable narrator.

MacBook Pro Magsafe Charging Issues…

No one is alone here with MagSafe issues.  Apple recently announced a MagSafe replacement program (US only) for which I’m quite sure I’m a good candidate (I see some insulating wire); the strain relief on the head of the magnetic adapter simply isn’t up to snuff, which forced a redesign a couple of years ago (along with the requisite California Class Action fire hazard lawsuit).  All of this is to say, if you can see wires sticking out of your MagSafe, the strain relief “issue” qualifies under warranty for replacement.

But what about the ‘ole “MagSafe won’t charge battery” issue?  Well, as it turns out this could be related to the pins in the magnetic tip, or it could be the “System Management Controller” on your laptop.  This is the exact wording of the Apple Support Document for resetting the SMC on a laptop with removable battery:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the computer, if it’s connected.
  3. Remove the battery.
  4. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  5. Release the power button.
  6. Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter.
  7. Press the power button to turn on the computer.

Ah, but if only it were so simple. I recently watched this video on YouTube:

Macbook Battery Not Charging Fix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRYIMDQxunI

What Kris tells us, with one critical difference from the official Apple support document, is that after pulling the battery he reconnects the MagSafe, waits five seconds, and then re-installs the battery. I did this tonight with my 1st generation MacBook Pro and it solved the charging issue immediately, which makes me think that this is indeed the correct order. YMMV.  Godspeed.

No more shiny plastic discs

The latest updates from the Cupertino camp have included the elimination of the plastic encased MacBook from the notebook lineup and the disappearance of any sort of optical drive from the Mac Mini. And perhaps saddest of all no black anodized MacBook Air. All the newer Macs are now reasonably up to date with mobile Core i3, i5 or i7 processors and “Thunderbolt” ports.

But say again, no DVD drive? What about a Blue-ray Disc drive? Surely iTunes or Amazon isn’t about to start streaming 1080p movies anytime soon. In fact when I recently rented a movie on iTunes to my last generation Mac Mini (late 2009) it forced me to download the entire 1.4GB SD video. Craziness. At least Netflix has HD streaming working well. I think perhaps the Apple TV supports streaming films from iTunes, it’s unclear, though it’s likely a licensing issue.

I mean, I understand where they are going here, people are using discs a lot less. The App Store now allows direct downloading & upgrading of the latest OS (10,7). But I thought the Mac Mini was good for servers & HTPCs? Doesn’t that sometimes require a disc? And why has Apple never been excited about Blu-ray (beyond the awkward hyphenation)? The biggest gripe I have about the Netflix pricing hike is that there simply aren’t nearly as many good films on demand as there are currently on DVD.

I cannot imagine studios are going to kill off the DVD anytime soon. And certainly Blu-ray Disc is the last generation of physical media out there. Anyhow I’m glad I’ve got my not very upgrade friendly 2009 Mini.

No more Java Plug-In support OS X 10.5.8 Chrome & Firefox

I was trying to figure out what had happened after I ran a system update, and as it turns out, Java Plug-In support for both Chrome and Firefox web browsers is now deprecated in OS X 10.5.8 “Java Update 10”. Ugh. I’d been meaning to do a clean install of 10.6 for sometime now, I suppose this is just one more reason to do it, but really Apple, you couldn’t have let people know before you did this?

https://discussions.apple.com/message/15544003#15544003
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3151047

Mass .flac to Apple Lossless (ALAC .m4a) conversion

I have a couple posts going on the back burner, namely the re-foaming process on the 8″ woofer drivers from the Advent Heritage speakers I found in Greenpoint and the Mac Mini media server setup we have going now.  But first, say you want to convert all the albums you ripped to FLAC to Apple Lossless (.m4a) under OS X.  You want to know what’s easiest and quickest for batch conversion?

The X Lossless Decoder (see: XLD) is one very good option for OS X.  I find generally his application works best decoding full album single file rips from EAC with .cue sheets.  Usually with EAC you’d have three files, the .log, the .cue and the full album .flac file, XLD will nicely split the .flac into .m4a (Apple Lossless) individual files with little effort.

For larger batches, and because I used Stephen Booth’s “Max” for a lot of ripping, I find batch processing of tags and mass conversion a bit easier.  Where XLD is good on an album by album basis I found that Max was very good for converting whole directories of individual artists with multiple albums.  I find that I’m often fixing tags first in Max and then again in iTunes and then the last step is usually confirming the album art for use with Cover Flow.  It takes probably 5-10 minutes per album and it’d be faster if I had uniformity in my ripping standards.

I think ultimately, as an archive, using EAC and backing up to an image (.flac, .cue & .log) makes the most sense (but takes the longest). For playback and ease of use, unless you’re really crazy about bit perfection, I think the sound quality with Apple Lossless (.m4a) and iTunes is perfectly acceptable, especially with a halfway decent external DAC.  I’ve been using the Mac Mini as our A/V front end and the Apple Remote application for the iPod Touch works very well (over wifi)  allowing me to control iTunes on the Mini.

X Lossless Decoder (XLD)

X Lossless Decoder (XLD)

Stephen Booth's "Max"

Stephen Booth's "Max"

Darwine you are a fine Wine.

For whatever reason I’d never played around with application compatibility layer software like Wine under OS X. Parallels and VMware are quite overkill for most people’s purposes.  Usually the user may need to run one application in the guest OS and setting up an entire VM and giving 10GB or whatever over to that system, not to mention memory resources, is overkill.  Certainly for developers being able to load/change machine states with VMs and sandbox their development, it makes sense, but for most end-users it’s crazy.

I haven’t checked all the applications I’d like to use, the ones I found myself booting to XP the most were A/V stuff like Foobar2000, MediaMonkey, EAC, etc.  But the good news is that under Leopard Darwine v1.21.1 runs Foobar2000 just fine, a fine Wine if you will (hah).  So that’s exciting.  Codeweavers sells something similar called CrossOver but Darwine is free and I figured since I already had X11 installed it was worth a shot.  Pretty cool stuff.

Darwine

Darwine