Improve your MacBook Pro’s Performance
I have been using Apple’s MacBook Pro line since they first came out in 2006 and have serviced quite a few since then. I have pulled together some helpful tips to help you increase your performance and get the most out of your MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. These tips address best use practices, dealing with sluggish performance and battery issues.
Good Sound Apple Advice
Right out of the box make sure you follow some of the tips found in the MacBook Manual. This includes conditioning your battery and other helpful tips.
Increase Your Performance
If you leave your MacBook on 24/7 only plugging it in to recharge it and you notice in decrease performance you might want to consider shutting it down waiting a while and then restarting. Most people say that the MacBook should be designed to operate all the time but you should give it a rest once and a while mainly because it needs to run maintenance scripts in the background. These maintenance scripts run every hour, day or week and if you contently put it to sleep it won’t have the opportunity to run them. When you restart the system checks the last time they have been run and forcibly runs the ones you haven’t run in a while.
Another way to increase performance is to check your Energy Saver Preferences and see what your graphics are set to. Go to System Preferences > Energy Saver. Click on the Graphics pane at the top and enable ‘Higher Performance’ instead of ‘Better Battery Life’. This forces your MacBook to run faster graphics instead of the lower more energy efficient on.
Single Button Trackpad Troubles
If your MacBook (late 2008) is one with a single button and found that it is sometime unresponsive then your are probably due for a Firmware Update. You can restore your trackpad back to its old glory by installing the MacBook Pro Trackpad Firmware Update 1.0. One note of warning here that if the Firmware install gets interrupted, or was interrupted, for any reason you may wind up with an nonfunctional trackpad. If this happens you will need to find a wired mouse and perform the Firmware update again.
Battery Not Holding a Charge
This is a common issue with most MacBooks that are now 2 years old. Make sure you have conditioned your MacBook Battery, check out my Getting Started guide for MacBook. If you feel a new battery might be your next step make sure you have installed the latest MacBook Pro Battery Update. How to tell if the battery update has been installed.
- Go to SystemConfiguration folder: From the Go menu select Go to Folder.
- Type: /System/Library/SystemConfiguration
- Click Go.
- Select the file named BatteryUpdater.bundle.
- From the File menu, choose Get Info and check the Version or type Command-I.
- If the version is BatteryUpdater 1.3 your system and battery are up to date.
If installing the batter update does not work you can test your battery with coconutBattery. coconutBattery shows your current charge of your battery and its current maximum capacity in relation to its original factory capacity. This might prove that you need a new battery and a visit to the Apple Store might be in order. Your MacBook might qualify for a new battery even if it is out of warranty.
If your MacBook Pro doesn’t turn on or start up after being turned off or going to sleep try the following suggestions in order until your computer turns on:
- Make sure the power adapter is plugged into the computer and into a functioning power outlet. If the power adapter is not charging you won’t see the indicator light on the power adapter turn on when you plug in the power cord. Try unplugging and replugging the power cord to reseat it on the MacBook and try a different outlet.
- Check whether the battery needs to be recharged. Press the small button on the left side of your computer. You should see one to eight lights indicating the battery’s level of charge. If a single light indicator light is on, connect your power adapter to recharge. If you press the battery button, and all battery indicator lights flash five times quickly you may need a new battery.
- Try returning the computer to its factory settings by disconnecting the power adapter and holding down the power button for at least 5 seconds.
- If you recently installed additional memory, make sure that it is correctly seated and compatible with your MacBook. Try removing the new RAM and reinstalling the old chips allows the computer to start up.
- Press the power button and immediately hold down Command+Option+P+R keys simultaneously until you hear the startup sound a second time. This resets the parameter RAM (PRAM).
Share, Present and Collaborate with Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 iChat
I am a big user of Apple’s iChat, a built in chat client that comes with Mac OS X. I was a early adopter of iChat and have tried other software and web based services like Facebook, Yahoo and Google. Mac OS X iChat remains my go to chat application since it has a lot of features that integrate with the Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6; most of which Mac users are not aware of.
Included with Mac OS X, iChat provides a comprehensive application that works with your AIM, Jabber, Mobile Me and Google Talk accounts. With Mac OS X iChat you can easily stay in touch, collaborate, show off your kids and share friends and family using text (SMS) sound or video. Even if the person you are trying to talk with doesn’t have a Mac you can still use iChat as long as they have an AIM or Google Voice account. Lets get started looking at all the cool features that are found in iChat.
Down to Basics
Start by setting up an account. When you launch iChat for the first time a dialogue will appear asking you to press ‘continue’. You can use iChat with your MobileMe, AIM or Google Talk accounts. In Account Settings you will need to:
- Select Account Type
- Enter Screen Name
- Enter Password
- Click ‘Get an iChat Account’
Use Facebook Chat (IM) with Mac OS X iChat.
This is a great way of taking advantage of all the features of iChat and combining it with the social networking reach of Facebook. Start by opening your iChat Preferences:
- Go to the Menu Bar iChat > Preferences…
- Click on Accounts Tab.
- Click + to create a new Account.
- Select Account Type: Jabber Account.
- Account Name: (Facebook usersame)+@chat.facebook.com – find it in your profile.
Enter your Facebook Password.
- Click Done.
Once the account autheticates it will enter all the server information for you. Voila!
Show off Slideshows – Anywhere.
I have been in a lot of Skype interviews lately and and there is always a moment you wish the candidate could show a visual presentation. In most cases you need to be technically minded to get through a presentation; not to mention calm before giving a presentation online! With iChat you can give a Keynote presentation remotely using iChat Theater. To start select 1-4 buddies, next:
- Click and Drag your Keynote presentation to the iChat window.
- Drop your file into the ‘Share with iChat Theater’ drop-box.
That’s it! Keynote will automatically launch your presentation and load up a presentation feed in the iChat window. You can also host a photo slideshow or play a movie this way. You control the slide show from keynote. When your done just quit Keynote and resume talking via video.
Screen Sharing: Get on the same page.
iChat also allows you to share your screen with your buddy. This way you and your buddy can observe and control a single desktop making it easy to collaborate, browse the web or look over documents. Sharing your desktop allows you and your Buddy access and control to each others desktops. To start up Screen Sharing all you have to do is:
- Select the Buddy you want to share with.
- From the Main Menu select Buddies > Share My Screen.
- iChat initiates an audio chat to start the screen sharing session. You can talk while you make the connection and work.
That’s it! Hard to believe that you can manage to do all this with only a few clicks.
Multiway Video iChat – Connecting up to Four Buddies in a Conference.
Video iChat is the best way to quickly get to know who is on the other side of the screen. With iChat you can connect up to an unlimited number of people in one text conference, up to 10 total people in an audio conference, and up to four total people in a video conference. Here is how:
- Select the buddies that you want to participate in your conference. (Tip: Hold down the Command key to select more than one buddy).
- Click the movie camera button to start a video conference; If you want to start a text conference click the “A” or the phone button to start an audio conference.
- Participants just need to accept your invitation and they will be able to interact with everyone who joins!
Having fun with iChat! – Video iChat Backgrounds
If you haven’t tried this your should! Try the video backdrops that are a part of iChat. After you start a video iChat you can make it look like you’re chatting from the Golden Gate Bridge or use your own custom backdrop. Here’s how:
- Select the Buddy(s) you want to chat with.
- Initiate the the video chat by clicking the movie camera button.
- Select View > Set Chat Background…
- Select the background you want to use. Tip: Make sure you are in front of a neutral background like a white or solid color wall.
- To clear the background just select View > Clear Background.
You can also add cool effects by selecting Video > Show Video Effects (Shift+Command+E).