Archive for the ‘Keyboard’ Category

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.

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Another MacBook Pro Keyboard Update

Apple posted another Firmware Update for the MacBook family to solve the dreaded ‘ELP!’ problem. Where the first key pressed after idle would not be noticed.

The MacBook and MacBook Pro Keyboard Firmware Update 1.0 addresses an issue where the first key press may be ignored if the computer has been sitting idle. It also addresses some other issues.

This is their second try to fix this one, the previous patch was released in december and only solved half of the problem.

It will be interesting to monitor the MacBook Pro discussion forum in the coming days to find out whether this fix really works or not.

Sick and Tired of MacBook Pro Leopard Issues

This is a rant about a 2000 EURO laptop that does not work correctly.

I’ve been using Apple computers since 1980 and Apple laptops since ’97 or so when I had a PowerBook 150. I’ve had many iBook models, PowerBooks in all shapes and sizes and now I have the last model of the MacBook Pro 15″. The Late 2007 ‘Santa Rosa’ model.

In all these years I have never owned an Apple laptop that was so incredibly badly supported by Apple’s own operating system. The MacBook Pro in combination with Leopard is a true compatibility disappointment. It feels like a flakey Windows XP install on crappy hardware. Which is crazy since they are both made by the company that we love so much.

Let me explain the issues that I have.

Sleep/Wake Problems

I have constant sleep and wake problems with this MacBook Pro. I know that the MBP now uses full hibernate where it can take a LONG time before it goes to sleep. My problems are different though.

  • Sometimes it does not wake up when I open the lid.
  • Sometimes it wakes up but the screen stays dark.
  • Sometimes I close the lid and I can see that the backlight stays turned on. Forever.
  • Sometimes the backlight goes off when I close the lid and the I see the Apple logo flashing every couple of minutes.
  • Sometimes I hear the CD drive making it’s purr sound when the lid is closed.
  • Many times the ony way to get control back is to reboot. Sucks bigtime.

I’ve seen sleep/wake problems with all other models since the iBook but never so structural as with the MacBook Pro running Leopard. This is simply embarrassingly bad. It used to be one of those great features. Now I am afraid to open my MacBook because there is a good change I will have to reboot.

I’m not the only one. See the following threads on Apple’s MacBook Pro discussion forum. Just search for Sleep or Wake.

Keyboard Issues

I have described my keyboard problems in detail on this blog. Summarized the problems are: first keystroke has no effect after some period of idle time. Keyboard functionality disappears completely.

Apple put out a fix for this in the form of a software update. I think this proves that they simply fragged up support for their own hardware. Unfortunately the fix does not work for many people. Many folks on Apple’s discussion forum are reporting that they still have the above issues, even after installing the update.

See for example the following threads on Apple’s discussion forum: #1355165, #1356337 or #1129578

It’s INSANE that so many people are still having issues and that there is no proper fix.

‘Jumpy’ Mouse Issues

What I mean with Jumpy here is that you move the cursor for a little bit but instead it jumps all over the screen.

The problem is probably related to the wireless connection since I have heard from a lot of people that the mouse is jumpy when the MacBook Pro is looking for a wireless network to connect to. When it is connected to a wireless network of decided that no network can be found then the jumpy mouse problem goes away.

That by itself is already a big problem since your MacBook Pro is basically unusable during that time. And it can sometimes take a really long time before it find a usable network, so all that time you are basically waiting behind a non-working computer. But even more annoying, for many people the mouse stays jumpy even after succesfully connecting to the wireless network.

It actually just happened to me: I was at the Copenhagen airport to fly home and when I opened my MacBook Pro the mouse got all jumpy and stayed that way. Now back at home in Amsterdam I have to reboot and close 8 terminal windows with work and editors with documents open to get rid of this problem. Extremely Lame

This is clearly a Leopard software problem since I never had this issue with 10.4 on this same MacBook Pro.

See the following threads on Apple’s discussion forum: #1206438 , #5889720 , #5881774 , #6126097 , #6137148

I’m not alone. Just check Apple’s own MBP forum or the forums on any Apple fan site. Leopard has been out for months, this hardware for much longer. I can only think of one reason why the MBP has so many issues with Leopard: they never did proper testing and quality assurance since everybody in Cupertino was too busy building new products.

Prices go up, quality goes down. These are really bad signs.

Involuntary Reboot #4 – Trackpad Issues Again

Fourth time. I open my MacBook Pro to wake it up. Mouse behaves erratically like it is on crack. Same symptoms as before.

I let my MacBook Pro sleep and then wake it up. Hope that the problem is gone. It got worse: both the keyboard and trackpad are not working now.

After connecting an external keyboard I was able to get this from the system log:

AppleUSBHub::setPowerState(0x68fd800, 2 -> 4) timed out after 10617 ms
USBF:	305518.599	AppleUSBUHCI[0x660f000]::DeviceRequest
   - dmaCommand (0x690c500) already had memory
      descriptor (0xebfb080) - clearing
USBF:	305518.599	AppleUSBUHCI[0x660f000]::DeviceRequest
   - buffer dmaCommand (0x690c300) already had memory
      descriptor (0xecd8900) - clearing
USBF:	305518.599	ControlTransaction: control packet
   1 error 0xe0004057

Maybe some smarties in Cupertino should fix this. It looks like a software problem.

Leopard is like Windows. A reboot each day. So incredibly lame.