Archive for October 3, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter, Improved

As mentioned in March, there were serious problems using Apple’s Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter to connect my MacBook Pro (Unibody) to a 30-inch display. This seemed to be a software problem, as other users reported that everything worked properly under Windows (via Boot Camp), and Apple’s support specialists suggested that it might be fixed in a software update. After Mac OS X 10.6 shipped, the problems continued, so I contacted Apple again and they agreed to ship me a newer version of the adapter, with firmware 1.0.2. (You can check your firmware version using System Profiler.) The new adapter seems to fix the major problems with distortion, snow, and flicker.

It’s hard to quantify, but I still feel like the video quality is not as good as connecting via Dual-Link DVI directly. Sometimes gradients and areas of solid color appear a little fuzzy or with a slight pattern of lines.

I’m still seeing the problem where the system forgets the display’s ColorSync profile, making everything appear lighter and washed out. Under Mac OS X 10.5, I could fix this by opening the Displays pane in System Preferences. Under Snow Leopard, I need to open the Displays pane and then click the Colors tab.

It’s still a mystery me why Apple doesn’t ship its own 30-inch display with built-in Mini DisplayPort support. Additionally, despite lots of problem reports in the store and forums, Apple’s phone and retail support staff seem to be mostly unaware of the problems. At least for me, though, they seem to be mostly fixed.

Update (2009-10-05): The flicker problems are not resolved, after all.

Update (2010-07-26): The update to firmware 1.0.2 has reduced the frequency of the problems, but I still see snow, flicker, distortions, and partial screen blackouts at least once a day. This is with a 2010 MacBook Pro, and others are reporting problems with desktop Macs. 9 to 5 Mac suggests that it might be Apple’s worst product ever. Apple is no longer selling 30-inch displays so I doubt this will ever be fixed.

Update (2011-03-08): Apple has released a new version of the adapter with firmware 1.0.3. I’ll post another update after I’ve received mine and had a chance to test it.

Update (2011-04-20): The 1.0.3 adapter is by far the best yet, though still not perfect: the display problems have occurred with it twice in the last month.

ATPM 15.10

The October issue of ATPM is out:


Jesse Grosjean’s QuickCursor:

For Mac users who want to use their favorite text editor everywhere. QuickCursor is a menu item that allows you to edit text from any application in your favorite text editor. Unlike custom “edit in” plugin solutions QuickCursor provides a standard open source solution that uses public API’s and doesn’t require input manager hacks to work.

Instead, it uses the accessibility APIs.

Care and Feeding of Singletons

Mike Ash:

Programmer safety is, in my opinion, counterproductive. Apple’s approach, of building a singleton which can’t be destroyed by accident and which intercepts attempts to allocate a second instance, covers up errors rather than fixing them. It’s much better to trap and eliminate the bad code rather than render it harmless. For example, instead of overriding release to do nothing, override dealloc to log an error and abort the program.

Fail fast!