Five Pounds of Flax

Every culture has a burrito.

Applecare phone support is useless

Friday, July 28, 2006posted by Michael Rothwell @ 2:17 PM

The know-nothing "product specialists" at Applecare are useless. My Macbook Pro continues to "beachball" after coming out of a lower-power condition: not sleep, but display off and (presumably) the hard drive spun down. It happened twice this morning.

The first time, everything froze shortly after I 'woke up' the machine by touching the trackpad. Application windows could be selected, but they all beachballed. The seconds in the menu bar clock stopped advancing for thirty seconds. Then everything came back. It was as if (and this is speculation on my part) the hard drive was taking a long time to spin up.

The second time, I let it sit in the beachballed state for several minutes, before closing the lid and stuffing into my travel bag. It went to sleep -- I could tell because of the "breathing" white LED on the latch release button. I opened the lid back up on the commute in, and hte machine wole up unfrozen.

The local apple store replaced the hard drive on July 11 because the machine was logging a lot of hardware disk errors. Since then, it has not logged any errors.

I just spoke with an "advanced product specialist" who advised me to try using the machine without running any applications or periherals, and perhaps setting up a different user account to switch to when I want to let the machine sleep (the machine isn't sleeping; sleep is turned off in the energy settings, as I told him, but whatever). He suggested that when the Finder hangs, I would not be able to use any of the applications. We had a little argument about this, with me saying that I can kill the finder completely and all the other applications till work (pathfinder users do this all the time); so it can't be the finder beachballing everything. He said that perhaps it's one application hanging waiting for the disk when it sleeps, which causes the whole OS to hang. I reminded him that I'm not running OS9, and would Mail hanging really cause the menu bar clock to stop? He said "we'll need to reproduce the problem". This is the same problem I've been reporting for a couple of months now, by the way. And it happened twice today ebfore I called. I ask, "so how many timed do I need to reproduce it? It's done it twice in the exact same conditions today."

So I have to go through the stupid little dance. Yes, Mr. Tech Support Sir, I was running: Finder, Mail, Adium, Firefox, Terminal, Subethaedit and Textmate. No, there were not any peripherals attached. Yes, it hung up.


UPDATE: The guys at the Genius Bar in Raleigh are great.

Macbook Pro disk problems

Monday, July 10, 2006posted by Michael Rothwell @ 7:09 PM

My Macbook Pro was recently in for repair. They replaced the motherboard, memory and battery. Prior to the service, the MBP was locking up and had no battery life -- it would go dead in minutes.

I'm still getting occasional "pauses" (beachballing) and Azeureus is logging disk errors. The MBP's system.log contains entries like this:

Jul 10 07:29:35 Foamy kernel[0]: disk0s2: 0xe0030005 (UNDEFINED).
Jul 10 07:29:50 Foamy kernel[0]: disk0s2: 0xe0030005 (UNDEFINED).
Jul 10 18:04:02 Foamy kernel[0]: disk0s2: 0xe0030005 (UNDEFINED).
Jul 10 18:04:17 Foamy kernel[0]: disk0s2: 0xe0030005 (UNDEFINED).
Jul 10 18:44:05 Foamy kernel[0]: disk0s2: 0xe0030005 (UNDEFINED).
Jul 10 18:50:13 Foamy kernel[0]: disk0s2: 0xe0030005 (UNDEFINED).
Jul 10 19:01:12 Foamy kernel[0]: disk0s2: 0xe0030005 (UNDEFINED).


North Carolina and Tobacco

Sunday, July 09, 2006posted by Michael Rothwell @ 6:20 PM

In this picture (click to enlarge), you can see a new school being built in the town where I live. It borders a large, very healthy-looking tobacco field (see inset). My wife and I both thought that people from "up north" would find this rather peculiar.