Scripting News for 9/26/2006

Jeremy Zawodny on Yahoo’s Hack Day.  

Update on my restarting MacBook. It’s gotten much worse, to the point where the computer reboots every ten minutes. A few weeks ago I got some pointers from people saying that Apple is requesting people to bring their MacBooks into an Apple Store, so I called the store in Emeryville and was told they’ve never heard of the problem, and I should bring it in so a technician could look at it. So apparently Apple isn’t aware of the random restart problem. I don’t know if I should waste a trip down to the store, I know I can’t be without use of the laptop for any extended period of time. Not a happy situation. 

Eric Soroos had the same problem, after three weeks in service, his MacBook was fixed. He says at some level Apple is aware of the problem, if not at the retail level.  

Mike Kaltschnee has had two replacement Macs, still getting random restarts. He provides the range of defective serial numbers, my serial number is in the defective range. Guess it’s time to take it in. Surprising that the people at the store don’t know about this problem. Surprising that they’re still selling defective computers?  

Jason Calacanis reports that there are now mobile versions of all the Weblogs, Inc sites. 

Good luck to my buddy Robert Scoble on the launch of his new show, aptly named The Scoble Show. Go get em dude!! 

Why it’s been so quiet here the last couple of days — I’m furniture shopping with another good buddy, the world-famous Ponzi, of Gnomedex fame. She flew down from Seattle just for the occasion. She’s a really great person to do this with. We’re having a lot of fun! That’s why there’s a picture of a chair below, we call it The Million Dollar Chair. It’s really nice.  


A monkey is living in my old bedroom at my parents house. He’s typing random letters into a typewriter. In 1986 he typed the letters I, P, O, and D next to each other. He says I can sue Apple for trademark infringement. I say no way.  

15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by bobby orbach on September 26, 2006 at 7:46 am

    re: google personlazed search:

    The problem is most users don’t “get” it – they use it to find their own site, and at first they’re (perhaps) ranked #60. They watch themselves climb to #1 over time, and think woohoo! – what they fail to realize is that that’s only on their own system.


  2. Just thought I’d mention that Tim Bray, co-chair of the Atom working group, gives RSS a ringing endorsement (though not by name) in his interview with Robert Scoble.

    Early on in the interview he says, “XML and the web in general are trying to teach us a lesson that is painfully obvious…simple beats complex”

    I’ve heard that somewhere else, before.


  3. Posted by Anton2000 on September 26, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    Hello Dave,

    How to avoid harddisk problems 🙂


  4. Regarding the term “podcast”

    By the way… my personal .02 cents on the podcast issue is that the community should try and work away from using any part of the term podcast. For one, Apple has lashed out at the community that has so staunchly supported. While I understand their reasons for doing so, I think there is a ton more potential in “podcasting” and don’t think that any one oranization should be able to force the community to follow their business model.

    Secondly, “podcasts” are beyond Apple now… available to many other devices and fully supported by a diverse community that might not specifically care about what Apple desires for future of “podcasting”.

    So, I think that some other name should be chosen and the community can use that in whatever manner they wish. If Apple wishes to have complete command of the term podcast, than let them. It’s inconsequential. Lets not let a word hold back the community, its innovators and the value they are bringing into our lives.


  5. Re macbook random shutdown.

    It’s a known issue, but I don’t know how far into the company the knowledge has spread. From what I’ve found on the web, it’s a thermal issue with the heatsink/pipe expanding and burning through the insulation on a wire, then shorting out after so many cycles.

    Mine was fixed after three weeks @ the applecare service center while waiting on a replacement heatsink assembly. The motherboard was also replaced in the same trip. (see and )

    The phone based applecare macbook specialists certainly do know about the issue, so perhaps they’re the best ones to try.

    I would recommend as full of a backup as soon as possible, as my machine didn’t even stay running in firewire disk mode.


  6. THanks for the tip Eric, as it happens I’m doing a complete backup of the hard disk now, getting ready to work without this computer.


  7. Dave,

    I’m on my third black MacBook. The first, an early one like yours, blew out the GPU and they replaced it at my local Apple store since it also ran really hot. The second one lasted 2 months before it started the shutdown problem.

    I called Applecare and they wanted me to send it in (they send you a pre-paid box), but I said that I couldn’t be without my machine. He suggested asking the local store about a replacement, and they replaced it a 2nd time with a new computer.

    They ran a quick test at the store to confirm it had a problem:

    1. Open Terminal.
    2. Type “yes anything”

    It’ll spike the CPU, and my machine shutdown within 2 minutes.

    They gave me the option of paying to upgrade to a MacBook Pro (for an additional $500), but I need a smaller machine. I’m starting to regret this decision — the new MacBook runs the fan too often.

    Think Secret has a list of serial numbers that they claim are suffering from the random shutdown problem:

    “Affected MacBooks span the serial number range 4H617-4H635.”

    My 3rd MacBook is in this range, so I’m wondering when it’ll start having the problem.

    See if you can get a new machine. Show them your blog in the store. 😉

    – Mike


  8. Mike, my serial number is indeed in that range.


    I’ll take it in tomorrow and point them to your post, I doubt if they’ll be impressed with my blog.

    I’ll take the MacBook Pro if they offer it.


  9. My MacBook is with Apple now. They sent it off to fix the RSD thing. They said something like 2-3 weeks.. so I picked up a 24-inch iMac to hold me over while it’s being fixed.


  10. Dave,

    Sorry about the confusion, but 2nd replacement MacBook hasn’t had the random shutdown problem yet (but the fan runs way too much). I am concerned that it will have the same problem, though.

    – Mike


  11. Posted by mark on September 26, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    Mike, you keep saying the fans run way too much. Based on what? Your opinion? Since one opinion is as good as the next, mine is you’re wrong. My macbook’s fans run pretty constantly, maybe all the time. I say maybe because I can hear them only about 2 percent of the time i’m using my macbook, and i use it a lot. I normally have to put my ear up to it to hear anything.

    Just saying “it runs too much” means very little, and unless the fans die because of being over worked, does nothing to hurt the experience of owning a macbook.


  12. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for informing me about the random shutdown problem. My MacBook has only begun to malfunction in the past few weeks but at least I could recognize what was happening. Thanks to the comments here I know what to do (mine is within the serial number range too). Time to back it up and send it in…

    Glad to hear you have had a great time shopping with Ponzi. She is a lot of fun! Can’t wait to go shopping with her sometime myself. 🙂


  13. Posted by James K on September 27, 2006 at 8:08 am

    FWIW, I’ve never bothered going to a retail store to get my laptop fixed…the one time I did go to a “genius bar” when the CD drive stopped working, they told me it was broken (gee thanks) and they’d have send it in to the central repair depot. So I figure it’s faster to just mail it directly to the repair center instead of having it mailed from/to the store and have to go to the store to get it back.

    Over the course of the last 5 years, I’ve had to mail back my powerbook (different models) 3-4 times, but the turnaround has always been really fast. I get the box mailed to me, pack it up and ship it out on monday around noon, and it’s back to me by thursday noon. I hardly even have time to adjust to using a different machine before it’s back to me.


  14. Dave,

    I had the same issue with my macbook. It started right after I did the firmware update to fix the fan “moo” issue. It steadily grew worse until it was happening 20-30 times a day and I knew being without was better than dealing with the shutdowns. The people at the apple store suggested I get a second laptop if going without mine wasn’t possible – they never even bothered to try and accomodate me. The people at AppleCare weren’t much better. Check out my saga here.


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