An update on my earlier post about the dieMac: Now, it is no longer possible to start the machine in safe mode. Even a safe boot renders kernel panics. A safe, safe boot (!) will still do the trick, though.
It this geek to you?
Mon Sep 4 01:51:04 2006
panic(cpu 0 caller 0x0085CC9C): Apparent UniNorth Hang: AGP STATUS = 0x00000004
Latest stack backtrace for cpu 0:
0x00095718 0x00095C30 0x0002683C 0x0085CC9C 0x0085D3BC 0x008462EC 0x002E8BA0 0x002EAA6C
0x0008C4B0 0x000291C0 0x000233AC 0x000AC0AC 0x00000000
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
Proceeding back via exception chain:
Exception state (sv=0x2B599000)
PC=0x9000B268; MSR=0x0200F030; DAR=0x0284B000; DSISR=0x42000000; LR=0x9000B1BC; R1=0xBFFFE900; XCP=0x00000030 (0xC00 – System call)
Darwin Kernel Version 8.7.0: Fri May 26 15:20:53 PDT 2006; root:xnu-792.6.76.obj~1/RELEASE_PPC
It’s bad news. My iMac G4 (from April 2002) started acting up back in June and the only way to get a reasonably stable performance has been to reboot (that’s geekspeak for restart) the machine in “Safe Mode”. If I didn’t do that, the result would be immediate kernel panics – the mac equivalent of the Blue Screen of Death. “Safe Mode” unfortunately disables the sound card and a lot of other practical functions.
Yesterday I did a minor search on “Apparent UniNorth Hang: AGP STATUS = 0x00000004” which returned the suggestion that I am dealing with a nasty hardware problem. That GeForce and Graphics are mentioned are also bad signs: That has to do with the graphics card and now we are talking about a motherboard that is on its way to the electronic churchyard. (My hope was that some application extension was causing conflicts or perhaps that the RAM module was faulty).
Well, then. Since 1991 I’ve had four new macs and one that I bought used. The first, a Macintosh Classic, was my primary computer from 1991 to 1999. It worked like a charm – and still does, actually.
The second new mac was a PowerBook 165c which died in the Autumn of 1998 after four years of use. And yes: That cost me a new motherboard to give the machine two more years of use. Strangely, the floppy drive was destroyed in the process. Too bad, because it was a nice machine.
Enter, in 2000, the used mac: A 1994 PowerMac 6100 which sounded like a sawmill but was otherwise very stable. That was in daily use until the Spring of 2002 when it was replaced by the said iMac G4.
Last year I leased a 1,67MHz PowerBook G4 and the idea was to use it as a supplementary computer for travels, presentations and so on, while keeping the iMac for three more years. But it seems that the iMac is in terminal decline and right now I’m not too keen to throw a lot of money after it for something like 18 months’ use. We shall see.
What I would like to note, though, is that on my – admittedly – small sample of five macs, two – or 40% – have encountered serious hardware failure after four years. And the PowerBook has a faulty battery.
And here it is: One of those batteries that have made the headlines in international media.
Some thoughts about the process – and just to make my position clear: It’s bad luck for Apple (and Dell) that batteries produced by Sony turned out to be faulty, perhaps even dangerous, but I do think that Apple’s information has been a little shaky:
First, Apple’s homepage collapsed as concerned users tried to log on and see if their computer was affected. That took some hours to fix.
Second, the support page gave confusing information. I could see that the battery in my laptop was affected but when I tried to enter the relevant information, the battery number (but not the computer) was rejected as out of range. I’m sure the people at Apple support have one or the other story to tell about Thursday evening.
Third, the link to the relevant information is hidden on the lower part of Apple’s frontpage. It should be more prominent, if only to show Apple-users and others that Apple does in fact take the issue very seriously indeed.
When all of this has been said, the process of ordering a new battery went pretty smoothly when all of the SNAFUs had been cleared from the road – or the net, if you like. A new battery will arrive.
For the record: Yes, the battery of my PowerBook G4 is among those recalled by Apple Computer. As a matter of fact, my TV broke down yesterday as well.
The autumn semester starts on Monday.
I’ll hate myself for doing this but I am posting this quote from Robert Scoble’s blog with a purpose:
But, this is an important point: research is NOT done because of commercial pressures. Itís done to study something and come up with new approaches.
This is why itís so important that our industry continues to do real research. Not just product development. You never know what Marc will learn from studying the social behaviors of those who hang out in newsgroups. Maybe heíll find a new algorithm thatíll prove very useful in a blog search engine.
You see, what Danish (and Swedish) politicians want from the public universities is product development – the “research-to-invoice” approach.
So in research policy, we have a private company acting as a state ought to and states acting like they think a private company does.
There is a Danish equivalent, by the way: Carlsberg and the Carlsberg Foundation.
Correction: That’s Robert, not Richard Scoble.
A former colleague once argued that during a university lecture – any university lecture – one third of the students were actually paying attention to the lecture, one third sound asleep and one third thinking about – erm – sex.