Saturday, October 28, 2006

Apple Macbook RSS Issue Resolved and Replaced With Immediate Successor

The entire industry of technology journalists have completely not wasted any time in quickly and loudly posting Apple's proposed solution to the Random Shutdown Syndrome (RSS) problem experienced by many Macbook owners and users like myself that surfaced this summer .  You would not know that there was a problem based upon the recent overwhelming and overkill coverage until the solution was announced before the problem was publicly mentioned supposedly after all.

Upon reading a headline that was soon repeated in many forms stating that an official solution was on the table on October 26, 2006, I promptly downloaded Macbook SMC Firmware Update 1.1 when I returned home from work and I have not experienced RSS since.

But the problem has been promptly replaced with the fact that the power supply cable seems to no longer charge the battery at all.  There is a light on the power supply cable that turns yellow when the battery is being charged and turns green when the battery is fully charged.

Now the light remains green as long as it is connected to my Macbook while the battery's strength continues to nosedive and crash.  Right now I am not showing any battery strength at all after trying to recalibrate the battery today.  When I unplugged the cable earlier this evening, the computer immediately turned off.  I am still plugged in and expect the computer to go blank upon disconnecting the power supply cable.

So now I have gone from experiencing random shutdowns to a further reduced pleasure experience of a more reliable and predictable shutdown.  Ugh:(

I found a widget that provides a measurement for battery strength as a percentage.  It is not reading any battery strength at the present time.

At first, these dots would be very difficult to connect.  But with a few mental notes and careful observations, it is beginning to become easier to recognize when a problem or proposal leaves or receives a solution and when the next problem suddenly appears.  It is as if I am waiting for public mass transit like MARTA and CCT here in metro Atlanta.

Apple did a wonderful job in at least offering the SMC Firmware Update, but right now it is seeming as if the problem or series of failures have not gone far enough.

One recently read article mentioned the reduction in battery power and another article mentioned that Apple has basically refused to state what was causing the problem and as a consequence on the same battlefront, the class action suit that was gaining strength as a late summer hurricane has not really subsided.

No one should get me wrong.  The Macbook or Blackbook is a race, show, and work horse all built into one very neat package.  But to lose the mobility and portability that a notebook/laptop computer was designed to offer does make me wonder if I would again buy a Macbook knowing what I know today.

I would have rather paid more or less money for stability (on a PC laptop maybe, I now wonder if I jest) at this point and I originally thought I did.  It seems like a wave rushed over the world this past summer and many Macbook owners hit the same wall and fell like dominoes through no effort of our own.  We only purchased a supposedly great product upon its initial release.  I know that I will not repeat computer ownership as an early adopter any more for the price paid literally and figuratively this time around.

Ironically, I even started to wonder why it was beginning to appear that only certain power sockets would allow the battery to be charged while other sockets would not until finally noticing that none of our power sockets currently will allow the power supply light to turn yellow while charging the battery.  This thought was occurring right after the firmware update was installed.

I am willing to eat my words if I am proven wrong or discover that I was mistaken but until the problem is no longer downplayed or superficially ignored, lingering questions are building in number and volume.

I thought that I had my Mac back.  Now I feel like a kid whose candy was taken away by a bully and/or adult and replaced with a chocolate laxative:(

Monday, October 16, 2006

Macbook RSS Problems Appear To Be Solved via smcFanControl:)

Over the weekend, I discovered a program designed to prevent the Random Shutdown Syndrome (RSS) that Apple Macbook users like myself have been experiencing over the summer.

The program is called smcFanControl and it makes the internal fan spin faster to keep the Macbook cool.

RSS evidently is heat related and once the computer senses that it is heating up too much, then some type of auto-mechanism kicks in and turns the product off.

There is another program that measures the temperature of the internal chip entitled Core Duo Temp that indicated that the internal temperature has reached approximately 156 degrees Fahrenheit which is around 69 degrees Celsius.  At this temperature, it is not unbelievable that RSS would occur.

When RSS occurred last night while smcFanControl was being used, I could not determine if it was because the battery had run low.  Right now, I am using the power supply and have not had any problems whatsoever even though the internal temp is getting close to 59 degrees Celsius.

So overall, I heartily recommend smcFanControl to any Macbook owner/user who is tired of being sick and tired of RSS.  The smcFanControl is donationware and after communicating with the developer, I discovered that donations can be made via AlertPay which is a competitor to PayPal (as well as PayPal itself).

So I will be donating something to the kitty since this program works so well:)

One final recommendation is to turn the settings to spin at least 3000 rpm or more.  I reset mine tonight to 4000 and it has been working like a charm.  I would set the program to start automatically upon startup, but I have not yet discovered how to do that with a Mac yet.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Macbook Random Shutdown Syndrome Date Identified

After reading an online article about a potential class action suit against Apple due to the "random shutdown syndrome" (also called RSS) being experienced by other Macbook owners like myself, today I wondered if I could identify when the first problem first occurred with my Macbook.

There are so many things on my plate that keeping such a date at the forefront of my mind is impossible, but due to the search feature within Gmail, I have been able to pinpoint exactly when the problem first occurred with my new Blackbook.

This evening I located an e-mail in which I told my friend Terry who really exposed me to the world of Macs that I sent to him on August 24th:

I noticed that my Macbook would not work at the altitude that we were flying at.  The white light on right side of the computer facing me was flashing.  It could have been that the computer needed charging but I thought that it would least completely power up.

My friend replied:

You have to ensure you completely power down before you get on a plane.  It will work, but the system must shutdown or the battery will lose power quickly.

I wondered if the altitude had an effect on my Macbook, but I know that the vast majority of Macbook owners have not flown while trying to use their computers.  So something else has to be the cause of the problem.

The problem has occurred through using either the battery and power cord as a power supply.

Lately, I have found it easier to start my usage first through the battery and then after the first random shutdown, the computer will use the power cord for power with very few if any RSS issues.

But if I start off with the power cord first, then a RSS will certainly occur very soon and repeat frequently.

I can typically expect it to occur at least once daily upon first using my Blackbook.

After the business trip, I had the Macbook checked out and shortly after getting it back, the RSS began to occur frequently.  But it first occurred on the return flight from Tampa I had on the morning of August 24, 2006.  I received and first used my Blackbook on June 28, 2006.  So this problem has started within less than 2 months of ownership.

I hope that RSS can be resolved peacefully.  I am sure to continue my ownership of Apple products, but RSS is clearly a nuisance that appears should have been quickly resolved or prevented.