Technology News from the EDGE OF THE WORLD

I have spoken at length about my Mac woes.  Time for some good news!

Here is how I got my MacBook Pro to work again.

It turns out that there is a part inside called the SMC.  This stands for System Management Controller, or something like that.  The SMC works the low level functions of the Mac.  In fact, of most computerized devices.  It controls the Power switch, the battery charging, etc.

What I think is wrong with my Mac, is that when it took its great fall, the Power Management Unit was damaged.  Also, the keyboard is also apparently damaged.

The Mac will turn on, and sometimes make it to the Login screen, but shortly after goes to sleep and refuses to wake up..  If it DOES get past the Login screen, you MIGHT have five minutes of a workable machine, before the keyboard and trackpad stop working.  Then it will also probably go to sleep.

So here is my work-around, at least until I can get a replacement.  (I’m eyeing those MacBook Airs…Maybe even the 11 inch model!)

My work-around is the result of lots of trial and error, I might add, and that a computer repair guy couldn’t fix it.

To reset the SMC, you use the hotkey combination SHIFT-CONTROL-OPTION-POWER.   I turn on the Mac as usual, and then immediately do this combination.  Then turn it on, then repeat.  Then repeat.  Then repeat.  UNTIL….I hear the fan blow.  That’s right.  There is a fan inside a MACBOOK PRO.  Who knew? You never heard it before!

My theory was that if I could make the fan blow, the machine would not go to sleep.  AND I WAS RIGHT!  And then I could figure out what was wrong, fix it, and all would be cool again.   No so much….

You see, the keyboard still doesn’t work in this strange mode.  Also, the machine doesn’t even see its battery.  Bear in mind that it could be running on that battery, but it still doesn’t acknowledge it.  At any time it could cut out on me.  So I keep it plugged in.

Turns out that the USB ports work just fine.  So I can attach a mouse and keyboard….or even better…use that old Apple BlueTooth keyboard that I have laying around.  I finally got that thing to work again!  (True shouts of joy!)

So my Macbook acts like a desktop model.  That is it in a nutshell.  I won’t lie.  It runs a little slower than it used to.

The light is there, at the end of the tunnel.  But we can enjoy our last days together!

Anyone out there had similar trouble in the past?  Let me know!

Buy a Mac….Don’t be a CheapSkate

As mentioned numerous times, the SpartanNerd is a Cheapskate.  How cheap?  Well my nerdly pursuits are anything but cheap.  But I try to cut corners where I can, by subscribing to comics, buying booster packs of MTG cards instead of the cards I want, going with Netflix instead of cable\satellite, etc.

But where am I not a Cheapskate?
Well I figure there are three areas where being a cheapskate just won’t cut it….
Go ahead and get the expensive trash bags!
Buy the Scott-Tissue.
Get a Mac, instead of a PC.
The first two probably have obvious answers…..You want to avoid a mess.  Get the Hefty bags.  Want to avoid plumbing blockages, get the Scott-Tissue.
But what about the computer?  Well, when you buy a computer, you should be thinking….”Hmmm….I’m buying a friend and a working partner.  I’m buying a pet.  I’m buying an item that I am going to be seen with.  I’m buying an item that is dependable.”  SO YOU SHOULD GO AHEAD AND GET A MAC!
Yes it is more expensive at first, but hear me out Hub City Geeks!  I remember the days of DOS.  (Yes.  I am a true SpartanNerd!)  In those days, you had to know the commands to type at the prompt in order to accomplish anything.  Want to delete that cute kitten picture?  You had to type at the C:\> prompt, “del cutekitten.gif”   This command would only work in the root C: directory.  If it was in a different directory, (nowadays directories are called “folders.”) you would type something like 
“C:\kittypictures>del cutekitten.gif    .   Got me?  Of course not.  Most of you folks have only lived in the age of the mouse and the touchscreen.  This kind of code has been lost to the world of the casual nerd.
So after the golden age of DOS commands and codes, Microsoft Windows came along.  Keep in mind, this is how I saw it.  Windows was a HUGE ADVANCE.  You could see that folder on the screen, and open it, and delete the kitty by dragging it to the trashcan.  WOW.
Now I had a relationship with Windows.  You see, I could sense the DOS codes going on behind the scenes.  I had a leg up on everyone in this area, it seemed.  But Windows became WACK over time, and I didn’t realize it.  I was like that frog in the water that slowly came to a boil. And then a breakthrough.  A revelation.  A breath of fresh air.  and I didn’t see it coming.
I was invited by my employers to attend a Podcasting workshop.  (This was in 2005.)  At this event, people from Apple computers came and dug in their heels and taught us how to do podcasts.  Now I’ve done a few podcasts since, but what was transformative for me was that they gave me an eMac and an iPod.  The eMac ran OSX “Tiger,” and was really alien to me.  But after a day of using it and getting lost in the machine, and actually creating a product with basically no trouble, I realized that my friends the Window PCs had had their day in the sun.  Now the Mac was Back in Town!
Now I did have a little relationship with Apple machines before this workshop.  In elementary school we had Apple IIe computers that ran floppy disks.  In college we had a mac computer lab that would eat my disks.
But this was nearly ten years after all of that.  OSX is a dream compared to Windows, in every form.  My computers have crashed about 10 times in the last EIGHT YEARS.  I was handed a Windows 8 machine today for work, a Dell XPS, brand new out of the box, THAT THING HAS ALREADY CRASHED.
Go with the Mac.  You won’t regret it.