Serious Bluetooth Fail on the MacBook Pro

I’m baaaahaaaaack.

So I thought it would be a good idea to start using my Wireless Mighty Mouse and the nice little Wireless Keyboard again with my MacBook Pro while it is sitting on my desk connected to a nice 24″ Dell display.

Unfortunately it seems that Bluetooth is full of fail; so far my MacBook Pro has lost connection with these two devices at least once an hour. The only cure is to use the trackpad and manually turn bluetooth off and on again.

What I see in the system log file is this:

AppleFWOHCI_AsyncTransmit::waitForDMA - context not going inactive.
[closeConnection] Error: L2CAP channel psm:40 wasn't closed properly - forcing it closed.

There is an 8-page thread on the Apple discussion forum. It is full of complaints about exactly this issue.

Some people say Apple is aware of the problem and claim it is related to the periodic Time Machine backups. This could be the case as Time Machine also runs every hour, which would be consistent for my case.

I also read some claims that this issue has been fixed with 10.5.6. but we’re on 10.5.7 now for a while and a lot of folks still complain.

So far there is no fix or no workaround. Except the obvious one: don’t depend on Bluetooth.

I’m so disappointed with this seriously lame case of fail. There used to be a time when Macs worked flawlessly. That great time when we could point at a Windows machine and go ‘haha’. Not anymore; Macs have just as many weird annoyances and bugs as PCs.

Please Apple. Fix this extremely lame bug that somehow slipped through your low quality quality assurance department.


A slightly different black screen of death

I just opened my Unibody MacBook Pro and I was greeted with a Black Screen of Death with slightly different behaviour. This time caps-lock seems to be responsive. And when I use the keyboard I hear a beep. No login dialog though, not even after closing and opening the lid a couple of times.

Only fix: reboot. I lost work. Some of the files that I was working on are now corrupt.


I’ve received some lame comments from people about my complaining. Some people seem to think that I should simply shut up and ignore the fact that the Black Screen of Death is making a brand new laptop completely unusable. What is up with that? You don’t want your expensive Mac to work perfectly fine?

Here are some other folks with the same issues.

On the idealog there is an article about a much bigger problem with the Leopard 10.5.6 update. Apparently it can completely break your MacBook Pro. In such a way where it does not even boot up correctly. Fortunately I don’t experience that issue, but the symptoms sound very much the same. One of the comments read:

Mine will power on enough that I hear the hard drive and fan spin, and the power LED comes on, but no display.

Sounds like what I am experiencing.

On the official Apple Discussion Forums there is also a lot of discussion about the wake problems.

From Macbook Pro won’t resume from sleep

This is one of the most problematic of the problems with the new MBP. About 90% of the time when I try to wake the computer from sleep, the machine just doesn’t respond. It might be related to bluetooth and/or connecting an external monitor. This machine is fast becoming unusable, since every time it goes to sleep and doesn’t wake up, I have to restart the machine by holding down the power button until it reboots, causing me to lose my work.

From Why does my macboook not want to wake up from sleep?

I just bought a brand new unibody macbook Pro from the apple store last monday. Sometimes if I shut the machine, it will do its sleep thing and when I open it back up and press a key it doesn’t respond. I even push the power button and it still won’t respond. The only thing that works is manually removing the battery and replacing it. I definitely should not have to do this.

From mbp dosn’t allways wake up when asked

My mbp doesn’t always wake up from its sleep, i rub the trackpad, click the buttons, and usually i have to hard re boot it. Is this normal, what can i do?

From Won’t wake from sleep… need to reboot

So when I lift the lid to my late ’08 MBP, randomly it doesn’t wake from the sleep mode, even after the latest firmware update. Anyone having the same issue?

For more sad stories just search for ‘wake’ in the MacBook Pro (Late 2008) category on the forums.


The black screen of death

Earlier today I worked a bit on my new Unibody MacBook Pro in the living room. Then I simply closed the lid and put it away. The power led was showing it’s happy heartbeat.

A few minutes ago I walked back to the home office with my Unibody MacBook Pro and opened it up. I hear the DVD drive making it’s regular bzzz bzz sound and then … Black Screen of Death. I can hear the fan spinning but everything else is dead. Cap-lock does not work. No pointer on the screen. The power led is off.

Closing the lid does not seem to do anything. Except for making the white power led turn on. Waiting does not do anything. It has crashed and there is no way to wake it up. This gorgeous but otherwise totally unusable Unibody MacBook Pro.

Only a hard reboot gives me back a usable Unibody MacBook Pro. I lose my complete workspace. Open applications and documents.

Never ever will I buy a first version of Apple hardware. It was very unfortunate that I had to this time. Bad timing. In the future I will wait for the next model when they iron out all the bugs.

If you are considering buying a new Unibody MacBook Pro. Don’t. It is FULL of bugs. Not just simple software issues. Complex hardware problems that cause overheating, sleep/wake problems and hard crashes. Just wait until the next revision is available.


The beep you don’t want to hear

My Unibody MacBook Pro was sitting idle in the home office when I suddenly heard that dreadful beep that you also get when you do a firmware upgrade. The totally non-Mac-like, more PC-sounding BEEEEEEEEEEP.

So it seems my Mac crashed or so. It was crazy hot and the screen dark. Fan running. Not responding to anything.

The only thing that it was running while being idle was the Arabesque screen saver on both the external and built-in monitor.

Does this mean that I have a failing Unibody MacBook Pro as described by the Inquirer recently?

Could it be that running this simple screen saver overheated the problematic NVidia GPU in the Unibody MacBook Pro and that it automatically shutdown?

This sure is lame version 1.0 hardware.

Nothing but sleep/wake problems with the new Unibody MacBook Pro

Unfortunately I have nothing but sleep and wake problems with my brand new Unibook MacBook Pro.

Before anyone asks: Yes, I did install the latest 1.6 firmware update.

The latest incident:

I just unplugged my MBP from my external screen and the power. I did not close the lid first. What I do is that I wait for the menu bar to move from the external screen to the MBP screen. Then I close the lid. I moved to another room and opened it. No problem and I worked on it for a bit. Then I closed it and made a coffee. Now I’m back and open the MBP and the screen stays dark. The white power led did turn off. There is no way to get the screen back on.

Only a reboot works. I lose my workspace and some open files. Lame. What is this? Some Wintel piece of crap?

For the record: I run no strange software on this Mac. This is my main development machine and I depend on it daily. So I do my best to keep it as standard as possible. It’s a default 10.5.5 install with the most non-standard thing on it being LaunchBar.

This is getting so annoying that I am now thinking about selling this Unibody MacBook Pro and getting the previous model. This is pretty much an unworkable situation for someone like me who moves around a lot.


Unibody MacBook Pro and Screen Flicker

I discovered something new and annoying recently: my external screen, attached to the new Unibody MBP, flickers sometimes. Not constantly though, its more like the whole screen does a super quick off/on every couple of minutes. Could this be a first sign of the video controller failing? Or maybe these are DisplayPort problems? Has anyone else seen this?

The New MacBook Pro is Full of Fail

Due to very unfortunate circumstances the Lame Leopard had to get a replacement for his good old Early 2007 MacBook Pro. So what did he get? A nice new Late 2008 MacBook Pro. The UniBody. All Hail Jonathan Ive.

To be honest, the UniBodyBookPro is seriously beautiful. It really is a very nice design and the new keyboard is just great.

Unfortunately the new MacBook Pro is also full of fail.

Here are a bunch of mostly annoying things that I have encountered in the first two weeks:

  • The Trackpad – It is loud and it misses clicks. Ok the missing clicks issue has been resolved with a recent patch. But really, it shows how less Q&A this whole MacBook has had. I noticed the missing clicks within the first 5 minutes. During the initial OS X install. Why did Apple not notice this before the damn thing was shipped. Maybe they thought it was an acceptable issue. Odd.
  • Sleep Problems – Leopard truly was a complete disaster with regard to sleep and wake. It seems with this New MacBook Pro we are back to square one. For example, I just noticed that my new MacBook Pro was still turned on in my Crumpler bag. It was hot as hell. I could barely touch it in the corner where the GPU or CPU lives. Why is this so difficult to get right? Why does it this break every time they introduce new hardware? Do we really have to wait another five Leopard releases again before sleep is going to properly work on the new MacBook Pro? Lame. Lame. Lame.
  • External Display Problems – So in the home office I have this nice 24″ Dell screen. It is awesome and when I bought it it was like half the price of a similar Apple screen. It worked great on the old MacBook Pro. On the New MacBook Pro the screen does not wake up properly from power-save mode. I frequently have to either reboot the New MacBook Pro, sleep/wake the New Macbook Pro or disconnect/connect the screen to get it out of the power-save mode. This is sooo annoying
  • Audio Input Problems – Many times when I plug in a headphone or external speakers, the New MacBook Pro does not recognize this and will happily continue to play audio on the built-in speakers. The problem goes away when I plug the speakers in again. I’m not sure if this is because of bad quality plugs. But I know for sure that I never had this issue with the Old MacBook Pro.
  • Mini Proprietary DisplayPort – The Old MacBook Pro had a completely standard DVI port and it did not require any special cables to hook it up to video equipment. With the new MacBook Pro Apple broke this good habit and fragged it up by introducing their own stupid non-standard and proprietary variant of the video port. This time it is called Mini DisplayPort and there are of course zero cables or non-Apple devices to be found to support this new proprietary Apple standard. I had to put down 30 dollars to get a Mini-DisplayPort to DVI Adapter. My Dell screen does have DisplayPort but of course it is the standard connector and there are no Mini To Standard cables to be found anywhere. They simply do not exist. Lame.

It’s a good reminder to never buy Apple’s v1.0 hardware. Unfortunately I had not choice this time. Otherwise I would have waited till the next revision.

The new MacBook Pro is prepared for Snow Leopard

There is a lot of chat about the new MacBook Pro on the web. But what nobody seems to realize is that the MacBook Pro with it’s two GPUs is the perfect match for Snow Leopard.

One of the most exciting new components of Snow Leopard is the inclusion of OpenCL, a framework that allows developers to offload compute intensive tasks to the GPU. The framework takes care of hardware abstraction, scheduling and managing tasks. According to Apple’s press release:

Snow Leopard further extends support for modern hardware with Open Computing Language (OpenCL), which lets any application tap into the vast gigaflops of GPU computing power previously available only to graphics applications. OpenCL is based on the C programming language and has been proposed as an open standard.

OpenCL will work on any Mac with a capable graphics card or onboard graphics chip. But having 2 GPUs is of course the ideal dream scenario. Just imagine how crazy fast Photoshop filters will run when they can use the full power of that extra GPU.

Of course Apple will optimize Snow Leopard to take advantage of this GPU too. They already do this in Leopard but Snow Leopard with OpenCL will open the door for much broader usage of the technology.

Awesome stuff.

Interesting VMWare Fusion Release Notes

Found this in the VMWare Fusion release notes:

VMware Fusion 1.1.1 incorporated a workaround for Apple bug 5679432 (Mac OS X hang under heavy disk load when unbuffered I/O is in use).

That might explain some hangs that I sometimes still experience.