Zx Plectrum

If your into retro noise you may like Zx Plectrum. It’s a one trick pony but then again it’s just a buck. I grabbed it and annoyed everyone around me for a good twenty minutes. That alone was worth the dollar.

“Play the ZX Specturm loading sounds as a musical instrument on your iPhone/iPod/iPad! Relive the crisp sounds of your youth! Change the loading phase and pitch to make some weird but familiar sounds!” – davesapien.com

For more info: davesapien.com

Missing letters when typing on a new Macbook Pro.

Macbook Pro Keyboard

Yesterday I received a brand new Macbook Pro, 2.2GHZ with 7200rpm internal hard drive. It has Leopard installed, an LED screen and all wonderful things you would expect from a new Apple Computer. It’s amazingly fast, bright, silent and I can’t wait to use it in a live situation. The huge boost in power is going from a 12″ 876MHZ G4 is going to open many new doors during the performance. I will be able to add a ton more effects and multiple video streams.

Unfortunately I am having what maybe a serisous problem or defect with my machine. Every now and then the computer won’t type a key I press. Often it’s the first letter in a word and many times it happens when I switch into a new window and start typing.The new keyboard does have a different feel from the old Powerbook so I thought it could be user error. But after this happening for a few hours I decided to look online for an answer to what’s going on and I found this thread:

ELP! – first letter always missing!

To my surprise this is a known issue that some people are having. I tried every suggestion recommended to see if it would fix the problem. First, under Trackpad in the Keyboard and Mouse System Preferences I disabled “Ignore accidental trackpad input” and clicked “Ignore trackpad when mouse is present”. Next, in the Universal Access panel under Keyboard I put the Acceptance Delay on Short. None of these things fixed the problem. I then thought maybe its a Energy Savings issue where the computer is going into a low power mode then having an issue waking up fully. I went into the Energy Saver System Preference panel and clicked off “Put the hard disk(s) to sleep whenever possible”. I also moved the sliders to “Never” for “Put the computer to sleep…” and “Put the display(s) to sleep…”. Nothing has helped and so today I will call tech support. If they don’t have a real answer for me I will ask them to exchange this machine for me.

Do you know anything about this issue?

Update: After going back and forth with tech support and trying a few other things like zapping the Pram and using a guest account the problem did not go away. Apple is taking this machine back and sending me a new one. I’ll do a follow up post when the new computer arrives in about 10 days.

Update 2: I received a new replacement Macbook Pro and have been using it for a week. Here are my findings. The first letter missing issue has been resolved. This replacement machine does not have that problem. However, there is something that I have noticed. This keyboard has such a short throw that unless I am sitting upright in a good position I mistype. I think many of the comments I have seen on the Apple Discussion forums are from people simply not liking the keyboard so much. I am now used to it and currently love everything about this machine. I highly recommend having your computer switched out for a new one or repaired if it has the first letter missing issue.

Update 3: I hate to say this but the replacement computer is now exhibiting the same ELP behavior. I am pretty surprised. My next action is to bring it in for a repair at Gravis.de in Berlin. It’s free but I will be without the machine for 5 days. I have up to a year of free repairs so I may wait a few weeks and see if anybody figures out the exact problem on the Apple Discussion forums.

Update, February 20, 2008: Apple today pushed a software update and firmware update for the keyboard issue. It details the problem exactly so I suspect this will fix it completely. link

photo credit: aditza121