18 January 2009

Static electricity and your fan...

My fan started to blow like crazy yesterday. But it was not really blowing in fact. It was just making a lot of noise. A little bit like when those little model planes take off... Since my MacBook is not equipped for flying I understood something was very wrong. I was doing CPU intensive things when all this started... Like (re)install the trial version of iWork' 09 and simultaneously move 3 gb of data to my external disk...

I did not sleep well last night. The prospect of having to complete 3 translations on my backup machine (an old Titanium) while the MacBook was sent to repairs -for the 4th time- was not making me very cheerful.

I called Apple support this morning and they told me this fan problem could be triggered by static electricity.

The procedure to solve that is as follows:

  1. turn the machine off
  2. unplug it
  3. remove the battery
  4. press the start button for more than 10 seconds
  5. plug the machine and put the battery back
  6. press Command+Option+P+R simultaneously right after pressing the start button

The machine is supposed to emit 2 long beeps after booting and then starts normally.

I did not have 2 beeps, instead of that the MacBook entered a just as scary cycle of reboots. So I eventually stopped pressing the keys, and the machine decided to stop pedaling with my nerves and properly boot.

Now, the fan seems to behave properly. I'll hopefully be able to complete the jobs without having to send the machine to repairs... Only 5 months left on my AppleCare !!!

08 January 2009

iWork 09, no backward compatibility...

I just downloaded the iWork '09 trial package. Reports on the net mention its enhanced Applescript support, its new looks and new functions.

Pages '09 opens Pages '08 files without difficulties and can save into that format (see the new Share menu), but the new format cannot be opened in Pages '08.

A Pages '08 was basically a folder with a .pages extention. You could go to Terminal and do a:

$ cd file_name.app


to find the following list of files:

$ ls
Contents QuickLook index.xml.gz


where both Contents and Quicklook were folders with files in them, while the file itself was a gz-compressed XML file (index.xml.gz)


Now, the same file created by Pages '09 would have a totally different structure.

Where file_name.pages was a folder containing compressed data in Pages '08, the file is a compressed folder containing normal files.

To see what it looks like, change the .pages extension to .gz and double-click that file. The result is a folder with the following files:


$ ls
QuickLook buildVersionHistory.plist index.xml


Quicklook is still a folder with a PDF (Quicklook) and a JPEG (thumbnail) preview of the file but the old Contents folder is not there and the index.xml contains XML code that significantly differs from the one in Pages 08.


Keynote '09 and Numbers '09 show a similar internal structure for their files.