Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Installation of OpenWRT on a Linksys 54GL

I recently installed OpenWRT on a Linksys 54GL Wireless Router so I could setup an additional gateway behind an existing internet connection. I used the OpenWrtDocs here but since I found the instructions a little unclear, I thought I would explain them a bit:

  1. Attach a network cable and plug the router into a computer so you can use the Linksys web GUI (@ http://192.168.1.1)
  2. Download the openwrt-wrt54g-squashfs.bin firmware image file from http://downloads.openwrt.org/kamikaze/8.09.1/brcm-2.4 folder or click here to download it directly.
  3. Save the file somewhere that's easily accessible.
  4. Using the same instructions provided on the OpenWrtDocs page open http://192.168.1.1/Upgrade.asp in your browser or manually browse to it.
  5. Upload the openwrt-wrt54g-squashfs.bin file
  6. Wait about 2 minutes. I think I clicked continue to reboot after about 2 minutes.
  7. You are done, now you just need to telnet to the router at 192.168.1.1
    1. Personally I like Putty for telnet but that's just me.

iPhone Tethering

Someone pointed me to this site a while ago where an iPhone user can download a mobile configuration file to their phone to allowing tethering. This works with the iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S.

Of course the benefit of this so called "hack" (mind you this is not a jailbreak) is that you can use the iPhone's internet service on a laptop or PC. Check out the video:

Friday, December 25, 2009

Maintenance Schedule / Service Log for 1998 Chevrolet Silverado

Below is the maintenance schedule for my old 1998 Chevy Silverado. At the time they separated the schedules into short trip or city miles and long trip or highway miles. I've combined them. Warning, it's a long list:

  • 3,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 6,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate tires.
  • 7,500 Miles – Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate tires.
  • 9,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 12,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • For Two-Wheel-Drive vehicles only: Clean and repack the front wheel bearings (or at each brake relining, whichever occurs first).
    • Vehicles With GVWR Above 8,500 lbs. Only: Inspect shields and underhood insulation for damage or looseness. Adjust or replace as required. This is a Noise Emission Control Service. Applicable to vehicles sold in the United States.
  • 15,000 Miles – Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Vehicles With GVWR Above 8,500 lbs. Only: Inspect shields and underhood insulation for damage or looseness. Adjust or replace as required. This is a Noise Emission Control Service. Applicable to vehicles sold in the United States.
    • Rotate tires.
  • 18,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate tires.
  • 21,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 22,500 Miles – Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 24,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate tires.
  • 27,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 30,000 Miles – Short Trip / City and Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • For Two-Wheel-Drive vehicles only: Clean and repack the front wheel bearings (or at each brake relining, whichever occurs first).
    • Replace fuel filter. An Emission Control Service.
    • Vehicles With GVWR Above 8,500 lbs. Only: Inspect shields and underhood insulation for damage or looseness. Adjust or replace as required. This is a Noise Emission Control Service. Applicable to vehicles sold in the United States.
    • Rotate tires.
  • 33,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 36,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate tires.
  • 37,500 Miles – Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate tires.
  • 39,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 42,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 45,000 Miles – Short Trip / City and Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • For Two-Wheel-Drive vehicles only: Clean and repack the front wheel bearings (or at each brake relining, whichever occurs first).
    • Replace fuel filter. An Emission Control Service.
    • Vehicles With GVWR Above 8,500 lbs. Only: Inspect shields and underhood insulation for damage or looseness. Adjust or replace as required. This is a Noise Emission Control Service. Applicable to vehicles sold in the United States.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 48,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 50,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change automatic transmission fluid and filter if the vehicles GVWR is over 8600 lbs. or if the vehicle is mainly driven under one or more of these conditions:
      • In heavy city traffic where the outside temperature regularly reaches 90*F (32*C) or higher.
      • In hilly or mountainous terrain
      • When doing frequent trailer towing
      • Uses such as found in taxi, police or delivery service
      • If you do not sure your vehicle under any of these conditions, change the fluid and filter at 100,000 miles.
      • Manual transmission fluid doesn't require change.
  • 51,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 52,500 Miles – Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 54,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 57,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 60,000 Miles – Short Trip / City and Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • For Two-Wheel-Drive vehicles only: Clean and repack the front wheel bearings (or at each brake relining, whichever occurs first).
    • Vehicles With GVWR Above 8,500 lbs. Only: Inspect shields and underhood insulation for damage or looseness. Adjust or replace as required. This is a Noise Emission Control Service. Applicable to vehicles sold in the United States.
    • Inspect engine accessory drive belt. An Emission Control Service.
    • Replace fuel filter. An Emission Control Service.
    • Conduct Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system inspection as described in the service manual. An Emission Control Service.
    • Conduct evaporative control system inspection. Check all fuel and vapor lines and hoses for proper hook-up, routing and condition. Check that the purge valve works properly (if equipped.) Replace as needed. An Emission Control Service.
    • Inspect fuel tank, cap and lines for damage or leaks. Inspect fuel cap gasket for any damage. Replace parts as needed. An Emission Control Service.
    • Rotate tires.
  • 63,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 66,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 67,500 Miles – Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 69,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 72,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 75,000 Miles – Short Trip / City and Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • For Two-Wheel-Drive vehicles only: Clean and repack the front wheel bearings (or at each brake relining, whichever occurs first).
    • Replace fuel filter. An Emission Control Service.
    • Vehicles With GVWR Above 8,500 lbs. Only: Inspect shields and underhood insulation for damage or looseness. Adjust or replace as required. This is a Noise Emission Control Service. Applicable to vehicles sold in the United States.
  • 78,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 81,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 82,500 Miles – Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 84,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 87,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 90,000 Miles – Short Trip / City and Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • For Two-Wheel-Drive vehicles only: Clean and repack the front wheel bearings (or at each brake relining, whichever occurs first).
    • Replace fuel filter. An Emission Control Service.
    • Vehicles With GVWR Above 8,500 lbs. Only: Inspect shields and underhood insulation for damage or looseness. Adjust or replace as required. This is a Noise Emission Control Service. Applicable to vehicles sold in the United States.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 93,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 96,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 97,500 Miles – Long Trip / Highway
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    • Rotate Tires.
  • 99,000 Miles – Short Trip / City
    • Change engine oil and filter (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first). An Emission Control Service.
    • Lubricate chassis components (or every 3 months, whichever occurs first).
    • Check rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
  • 100,000 Miles – Short Trip / City and Long Trip / Highway
    • Inspect spark plug wires. An Emission Control Service.
    • Replace spark plugs. An Emission Control Service.
    • Change automatic transmission fluid and filter if the vehicles GVWR is over 8600 lbs. or if the vehicle is mainly driven under one or more of these conditions:
      • In heavy city traffic where the outside temperature regularly reaches 90*F (32*C) or higher.
      • In hilly or mountainous terrain
      • When doing frequent trailer towing
      • Uses such as found in taxi, police or delivery service
      • If you haven't used your vehicle under severe conditions listed previously any of these conditions, change the fluid and filter at 100,000 miles.
      • Manual transmission fluid doesn't require change.
    • Inspect Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve. An Emission Control Service.
  • 150,000 Miles – Short Trip / City and Long Trip / Highway
  • Drain, flush and refill cooling system (or every 60 months since last service, whichever occurs first.) Inspect hoses. Clean radiator, condenser, pressure cap and neck. Pressure test cooling system and pressure cap. An Emission Control Service.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Macbook Air Part 1 - 128GB New SSD Benchmarks


This is the first article in a three part series on MacBook Air Solid State Drive Benchmarks.

I wanted a laptop that was light, portable but more powerful than a traditional netbook which typically have sub-par screens and underpowered graphics capabilities. I did my due diligence and I landed on a MacBook Air or (MBA). My MBA's specs are:

  • 13.3-inch LED glossy widescreen
  • Max resolution 1280 by 800
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86 GHz processor
  • 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM (not SODIMM; built onto the motherboard)
  • 1066MHz Front-side Bus
  • 256MB of Shared DDR3 NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card
  • Built in Bluetooth
  • 128 GB Solid State Drive (13GB used by the system) – which according to Anandtech is a Samsung device.
    • Model APPLE SSD SM128, Revision VAM0BA1Q
  • Installed Mac OS X 10.5.6 (Leopard) and the upgrade for Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
  • Built-in iSight camera, 1 USB port, 1 mini displayport, 1 audio port, 802.11n, etc.
Before purchasing a MBA I tried to find Apple SSD Benchmarks for the included 128GB SSD hard drive but my search didn't turn up anything relevant. I had previously read the Anandtech review of Solid State Drives, most interesting was the part on Samsung drives installed by OEM's (like Apple) which are usually the worst in terms of random write performance once the Solid State has been used.

It turns out new versus used performance is something very important when evaluating solid state drives. Almost all SSDs perform well when they are brand new but because of their design (Solid State Drives read in 4KB "pages" and write in 512KB "blocks") once the drive has been filled they are forced to perform more complex read-modify-writes (instead of read-writes) which causes performance to decrease. Since I couldn't find anything out there I thought I'd do a little benchmarking myself.

I've never done benchmarks for a hard drive (or anything for that matter) and I found it very difficult to locate suitable hard drive testing software for Macs. I decided to use a few simple scenarios for testing:

  1. New Drive – running OS X 10.5.6
    1. Cold Boot Times, Shutdown Times, and Time Launching Apps including iTunes, Safari and Firefox.
  2. New Drive – running OS X 10.6
    1. Cold Boot Times, Shutdown Times, Time Launching Apps including iTunes, Safari and Firefox.
  3. Used Drive – running OS X 10.6 (elapsed time: 1 week)
    1. Same as #2
  4. Formatted Drive – Dual boot with OS X 10.6 and Windows 7 (elapsed time: > 4 months)
    1. Same as #2 minus the Benchmark Apps, Windows 7 Performance Index
In order to have true benchmarks I needed something to compare, so for my SSD benchmark tests I compared basic times of the new versus used drives for the operations listed above. I also compared the used times versus a reformatted system to see if formatting an SSD returned it to a "new" state.

In order to recreate a "used" drive and its performance measurements, I copied a bunch of files to the MBA's hard drive until it there was no space left (actually there was about 500KB available). Then I deleted the files. I thought this would ensure the SSD's performance would match a drive that had been completely written to since each flash block had been filled with data.

The Initial Results:

  1. Brand New Drive - running OS X 10.5.6
    1. Cold Boot Time was about 27.3 seconds
    2. Shutdown Time was about 4.1 seconds
    3. Time Launching Apps
      1. iTunes was about 4 seconds
      2. Safari was about 1 second
      3. Firefox was about 1 second
  2. Brand New Drive - running Snow Leopard - OS X 10.6
    1. Boot Time was about 29.3 seconds
    2. Shutdown Time was about 2.3 seconds
    3. Time Launching Apps
      1. iTunes was about 1.5 seconds
      2. Safari was about 1.4 seconds (40% increase)
      3. Firefox was about 2 seconds (100% increase)
  3. Used Drive - running Snow Leopard (elapsed time: 1 week later)
    1. Boot Time was about 31 seconds
    2. Shutdown Time was about 1.9 seconds
    3. Time Launching Apps
      1. iTunes was about 2.1 seconds
      2. Safari was about 1.75 seconds
      3. Firefox was about 2.3 seconds
I also ran a few benchmark programs on the new hard drive but didn't run them on the "used" (and still haven't).

  1. CineBench - Rendering (1CPU) 1572 CB-CPU, Rendering (x CPU) 1143 CB-CPU, Multiprocessor Speedup: 0.73x, OpenGPL Standard 2512 CB-GFX
    1. OpenGL Standard Test CB 2512
    2. Single CPU Render Test CB 1572
    3. Multiple CPU Render Test CB 1143
  2. GeekBench - Geekbench Score: 2661
    1. Processor integer performance: 2095
    2. Processor floating point performance: 3710
    3. Memory performance: 2357
    4. Memory bandwidth performance: 1583
As you can see from the initial results the "used" SSD (after about a week of testing) didn't have a very big performance decrease. In hindsight I probably should have tried to encode a video or mp3, something that would require writing to the hard drive in large amounts of data. Although the times for launching a few applications increased it wasn't a big slowdown.

After I formatted the drive, put Windows 7 on it and used it for a few months I noticed a much more dramatic decrease in performance. Check out the subsequent results.


Related Articles:
Macbook Air SSD Part 2
Macbook Air SSD Part 3
Macbook Air vs. Macbook Pro SSD

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Macbook Air making noise / Dissected

About a month ago I noticed an intermittent noise coming from my Macbook Air (MBA) that sounded like something was rubbing or scratching the inside of the computer. It wasn't quite a buzz or hum. This gave me reason for concern since my MBA is less than 3 months old and has a solid state drive, which means it couldn't (shouldn't) be my hard drive. In fact I imagined there weren't too many moving parts on such a small laptop.

A quick Google searched turned up an Apple Support Discussion about the subject here.

It started occurring regularly yesterday so at the suggestion of one of my coworkers I "dissected" my MBA by removing the case and checking the fan. As I pressed on the fan to determine if that was the cause of the noise and it snapped back into its proper alignment. Take a look for yourself at the fan in my MBA:


As I noticed the fan is probably the moving parts inside the newer Macbook Air's - especially with a solid state installed. Since I had the MBA dissected (at least the cover off) I decided to browse over it's internal components and check to see if I could find the RAM chips.

I assumed when I purchased my Macbook Air that I would be able to upgrade the memory at a later date. I mean 2GB isn't very much to start with. My assumption was the Macbook Air would use standard SODIMM chips that could be upgraded at any time. I was definitely surprise when I saw this:



Anandtech has a much clearer picture here.

The photos show the RAM is actually built onto the motherboard (logic board) in the MBA, for what I can only assume is to save space. That means this and all other Macbook Air's memory cannot be upgraded. No memory upgrades - Bummer!

Note: This may only be a temporary fix for the noise problem because once the fan is out of place it may continue to slip / fall out when the Macbook is flipped over for normal use. At this point it might be worth taking back to Apple and having them replace the fan.

Update on Sunday, April 4, 2010:

After "fixing" this issue a few times myself I could still hear the scratching sound so I decided to take my MBA into the Apple store and let the "geniuses" fix it. Of course the problem wasn't occurring during my appointment but I told them exactly where the problem was and the fan needed replacing. About a day later I had my MBA back and it hasn't made the sound since.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Atomic Unit of Online Consumption

I keep seeing the phrase "Atomic Unit of Consumption" or "Atomic Unit of Online Consumption" in regards to the disruption occurring in old media (aka Newspaper, Music and Cinema). Most recently I was reading Eric Schmidt's Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal and the Google Operating System blog on Atomic Unit of Online Consumption. Both articles make for a interesting read, especially the former because of Google's description of how consumption for existing media has changed over time.

While Atomic Unit of Consumption sounds good, an atomic unit is actually a unit of measurement (a way to measure) used in certain branches of science like physics. Of course that's probably why Google coined the term Atomic Unit of Consumption. They employ a lot of engineers and scientists!