Solved: Bluetooth Devices Not Connecting to OSX

Apple Wireless KeyboardI’ve exclusively used Bluetooth devices to connect to my docked MacBook Pro for many, many months. It’s been a blissful period of time…one that came to a crashing halt this morning. After spending an aggravating period of time getting things working, I wanted to share with the Internet broadly (one) solution to getting both an Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard and Magic Mouse (re)paired with OS X. I will note that I first ‘lost’ my Magic Mouse, and after a restart of my computer subsequently was unable to pair my Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard.


After months of blissful Bluetooth connectivity, I’ve awoken to discover that neither my Magic Mouse nor my Apple Bluetooth Keyboard are properly pairing. First my Magic Mouse failed to scroll, which led me to remove the Magic Mouse and attempt to pair it to my computer again. This attempt failed. I then rebooted my computer, and was still unable to pair my computer and Magic Mouse. After another restart, my Apple Bluetooth Keyboard was also unable to be be used as an input device with my computer. It is important to note that, while the Bluetooth Device Manager reported this failure to pair, both devices are reported as ‘connected’ under the Bluetooth icon in the OX X menu bar. Neither device, at this point, is responding to any input.

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Review: Apple iPad

I pre-ordered the iPad  as soon as I could and unpacked it the day that I returned from a trip to South America (that saw me miss its actual delivery). I’ve had the device for over a month now, have been actively using it, and wanted to offer my impressions. Those impressions, I will note, are significantly conditioned by the reasons that I bought the device, which I’ll outline. I’ll first briefly address the actual hardware and operating system of the device, then move to what I like and dislike about the product. Ultimately, I’m happy with the device and have absolutely no regrets in getting this particular first-gen Apple product.

The screen, ergonomics, and weight are all fine. It’s using an IPS-LCD, which means that viewing angles are good and colour reproduction is pretty faithful. While some have criticized the back for being slightly rounded, it hasn’t bothered me in any way, nor has the weight of 1.5lbs struck me as ‘heavy’ though the device is heavier than appearances might lead one to believe. There is a bezel surrounding the screen itself and it makes sense: I can rest my hands on the non-interactive bezel without affecting whatever I’m displaying on the screen. This is a good thing. the iPad has the same touch interface as the iPhone and iPod Touch. This makes the iPad simple to use, if lacking any deviant features from those earlier devices (and, with the release of iOS 4, the iPad actually has slightly fewer features than the iPhone or Touch). In light of its use of the older 3.2 release of the OS, the iPad is horrible if you rely on multiple windows being open to get work done and is a poor choice for any content producer looking to do a lot of work on it that will see you flipping between a document/content production editor and the web. In effect, anyone who’s tried doing intensive content production on the iPhone or Touch will largely encounter the same old problems here. I’m not saying that you can’t do such production, but it’s far less convenient than on a full desktop/notebook or even netbook. On the upside: the device is light and battery life is good (I tend to go for 36-72 hours without needing to plug in, with moderate to heavy use each day).

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Solved: Apple SATA II 1.7 Firmware Problems

mbp13When something ‘just works’ 99.9% of the time, that .1% of downtime is particularly frustrating. This is what I recently experienced with my Time Capsule networking fiasco, and was paralleled by another problem stemming from an Apple firmware update.

The new MacBook Pros were shipped with their SATA II data speeds crippled; they were limited to 1.5Gps rather than the SATA II 3.0Gbps standardized speed. While this had no real effect for HDD users, it did affect SSD users – SSD is capable of taking advantage of the SATA II spec, and so SSD users rightly complained.

Apple heard these complaints, and released a firmware update for the MacBook Pro line; they warned that the update might not work with non-stock drives (!) but that it would restore SATA II speeds. I decided to update the firmware, just because having an up-to-date system is a good idea. This is right-minded thinking, right?


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Solved: Apple Time Capsule Not Found in Airport Utility

openingtimecapsuleAlmost all my home computer equipment is composed of Apple products, save for the Windows media center that I’m using to power the TV/display old TV shows/movies/listen to the radio. I’ve been using Windows Vista to power the ‘center until (very!) recently, and for the past two or three weeks have had my Time Capsule and attached AirPort Disk vanish from the network every couple of hours. Given that a lot of my movies and TV shows are on the AirPort Disk, this has been a real problem. Despite the drops, the router-element of the Time Capsule continued to work – I could browse the ‘net, and even run my automated backups using Time Machine, though I couldn’t actually access the data on the Time Capsule!

At first I assumed that the problem was a Windows Vista-related issue. I’d had other issues getting everything set up, and third-parties had mucked around with the media center while I was gallivanting around Ontario a few weeks ago. The only time that the router (and AirPort Disk) become unresponsive was when I used Vista to connect to the AirPort Disk. No issues arose when just browsing the AirPort Disk using a Mac (note: all Macs in the house are running 10.5.7). Continue reading

Acer Aspire One Review

I’ve recently become responsible for the upkeep of an Aspire One netbook. My thoughts, thus far: wait for a while, get another model than I did, and dump Linpus as quick as possible. First, I’ll provide the actual specs for the netbook in the house, and then outline my thoughts a bit more.

Acer Aspireone (AOA110-1531 (Refurbished))

  • Sapphire Blue
  • Intel Atom Processor N270 (512KB L2 cache, 1.60GHz, 533MHz FSB)
  • 512BM DDR2 533 SDRAM
  • 8GB SSD
  • Card Reader
  • 802.11b/g WLAN
  • 10/100 LAN
  • Webcam
  • 8.9″ WSVGA (1024X600)
  • 3 cell battery
  • Preload with Linux

The Good

I’ll start with the good points: it’s very light, was very affordable (~$290 Cnd after taxes), and the Linpus OS boots very quickly. The screen is gorgeous, and with decent battery management you can squeeze about 2.5 hours out of it. While I’m not the biggest fan of the keyboard (I’m now very used to the ‘chicklet’ style Apple keyboards) it’s not terrible – I can probably hit about 80% of my average wpm out of it.

The Not-So-Good

Now, let’s talk about what I dislike:

  1. It’s a locked box. Seriously – I’ve broken down my share of notebooks, and while I’ll likely have another go in a week or two, actually accessing the SODIMM slots is hard. Really hard. Hard enough that I’d say either wait until they make getting into the AAO more reasonable, or just buy one with more memory. These little guys are not meant to be opened and modified (you can, but it’s not easy).
  2. Linpus is terrible. There, I said it. It boots quickly, but they’re working off a modified version of Fedora, and when I try to use the add/remove programs I consistently get dependency errors. Is this fixable? Sure. Should I have to fight with the damn OS at the command line so that I can upgrade to Open Office 3.0? No.
  3. Support from other OSes is still in the infancy stages. I’ve worked with Linux before, and I get the ‘Linux is a learning experience, and you can’t expect things to just work.’ That said: I don’t want to be fiddling around with the command line for a few days to get my install working properly. At the moment, I’m just waiting for some bugs with Ubuntu to get ironed out and then Linpus is being replaced.
  4. Linpus doesn’t connect to wireless networks. Well, let me rephrase: it will connect to non-enterprise networks. Anything WPA2-Enterprise or newer, and you’re out of luck until you replace the network manager. When you *do* replace the manager, you run into problems with it not remembering wireless access passwords when you come out of hibernation.
  5. Card reader memory allocation is hit and miss. Apparently, when you don’t tinker with anything, you can insert an SD card and that SD card is dynamically added to the available flash memory available to the OS. This is cool – I got an 8GB SD card to slide into the AAO, which would give it a cool 16GB of total internal storage – more than enough for casual browsing and word processing. The catch: as soon as you make the needed modifications to access the OS proper, you have to manually mount the SD card each time you turn on the computer, or bring it out of hibernation. While this wouldn’t be an issue if I didn’t want to unlock the OS, I don’t think that using the computer as a computer should mean that this breaks.
  6. Ships with Firefox 2.0. I mean, really – FF3.0 has been out for a long time. Why the hell is it shipping with FF2.0?
  7. Terrible SSD HDD. I get a 7.x MB write to the disk. Enough said.

If you’re looking to buy one of these, get a version with a spinning disk drive. That said, if you want a netbook that is just going to rock out of the box, I’d suggesting getting the HP 2140 – it’ll be a bit more expensive, but I think you’ll be a lot happier. Maybe I’ll change my tune once Ubuntu is loaded on the netbook. In fairness, I should note that I’m being picky (because it’s what I do with these kinds of things), and the person actually using the computer doesn’t have these complaints – it does what it needs to (though not being able to access WPA2-Enterprise has caused them problems). This said, I think that items (1), (2), (4), (5), (6) and (7) really are showstoppers, though (2) and (4) will both be alleviated by changing OSes, (5) is resolvable by shifting where documents and such are saved to, and (6) is solved by hitting up the command line a bit.

My rating: 3/5

Technology Fix: Pocket Mac and Blackberry Devices

I don’t have a lot of time (term is coming crashing to an end, and I don’t want to get crushed!), but I thought I should probably post how to get a Blackberry to actually work with OS X once Pocket Mac stops working (and it will…trust me). But first, I want to have a bit of a preamble…

I love my Blackberry. It goes where I go – it’s rarely more than a few meters away from me. It has truly reacquainted me with email, and that’s great. I also love my MacBook. I’m rarely away from it for more than 12 hours at a time, and it’s a delight to use. I like the OS, the craftsmanship, and so forth.

I really hate how poorly RIM has decided to treat Blackberry owners who use Macs. RIM’s syncing ‘solution’ is Pocket Mac, which is a load of junk. In Windows, I could upgrade my OS, could configure my BB, could install applications, and so forth using the BB sync client. I can’t do that on a Mac – it’s been almost 2 years since they released Pocket Mac, and I still can’t do these basic operations, which means that I need to have a Windows virtual machine. On top of that, Pocket Mac will, fairly regularly, just stop syncing my contacts and calendar (it can’t actually sync anything else with any reliability). For a few months I’ve been trying to get this resolved, and progressively getting more and more annoyed. Annoyed to the point that I’m tempted to just move to an iPhone (I won’t because of security issues, and I can’t just get an email plan without a data plan, but it’s tempting).

Today I figured out how to resolve my issues with Pocket Mac not syncing properly anymore.

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