Michael Olivero
The official blog of Michael Olivero, Software Architect & Humble Entrepreneur

MacBook Air improve battery life with Mountain Lion

Tuesday, 24 July 2012 02:47 by Michael Olivero

With Mountain Lion's imminent release any day now, according to a close friend, I'm happy to report there is evidence Mountain Lion has been optimized for improved battery life -- particularly noticeable on MacBook Air machines.   Previous to Mountain Lion, MacBook Air 11" noticeably drained battery quite quickly.  With Mountain Lion, it seems the battery life is much more respectable.  If I had to guess, I would go on a limb and say up to 25% more.

Charging would be necessary by 12noon under normal usage and it seems it lasts through early afternoon.  We'll have to see in the next few days if indeed this is a common finding upon early adopters of Mountain Lion.


UPDATE 8/7/2012 In lieu of people having battery problem with Mountain Lion: 

I didn't realize this, however as I initially started using OSX Mountain Lion I do recall making a change because my MacBook Air battery would train really fast while in sleep mode closed.  Meaning, I would close it at night with say 90% only to wake up in the morning with 75%. It seems by default the memory remains powered unnecessarily after going to sleep.  I'm not sure if this is a necessary setting for HardDisk based MacBooks, but for MacBook Air's this is certainly not the case as the computer should save an image of memory to the SSD quickly (e.g. hibernation) and then power down the system components.

I changed my power management setting manually to ensure it hibernates while powering down and ever since I have no longer had battery issues with my MacBook Air.

First, check your current power settings by running this command:

pmset -g custom

And you should see something like this:


There two sections "Battery Power" & "AC Power" along with each of the various settings for each section.  If you notice, hibernatemode for the battery section is currently 25.  This is the setting you want to have for your MacBook Air. Ever since setting this to 25, I've woken up with 100% remaining after leaving the MacBook Air to sleep for many hours.

If you look into the details of pmset command, you will find the three recommended settings as shown:


Clearly, us MacBook people, particularly the MacBook Air people or those with SSD's as storage, would want to have setting 25 and it seems it is only configurable manually via pmset.  Here is the magic command.  Run this with the command line and you should no longer have problems with battery.

sudo pmset -b standbydelay 900 standby 1 hibernatemode 25

The stand by delay of 900 seconds simply means it keeps the memory powered for 900 seconds (15 minutes) in case you return to your MacBook quickly.  This will give the instant on impression.  After 900 seconds, the memory is powered down and the machine must restore the memory from hibernation which simply means it takes an extra second or two to power up.  If you like this convenience, you may want to increase/decrease the 900 value by however many seconds makes sense for you.






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Is Apple another bargain when the stock opens 6% lower from the previous close?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011 00:05 by Michael Olivero

Imagine if Microsoft, a similarly comparable large company like Apple, would all of a sudden gain 54% in profit. Would its stock tank 5 or 6% because they didn't sell as many licenses of Windows as economists had projected?  No, on the contrary it will rise like 10% on such profound news for typically lethargically large companies of their size.  The funny thing, this is not a one time event, this is a continual event every quarter for sometime now and will continue for a few more as the world settles into the iPad as they did with the iPhone and of course the App Store, the only place you can legitimately buy apps for it, will continue growing too.   The 4th quarter is going to be that much more of a smashing success with iPhone projections as the 3rd quarter wasn't because the sales of iPhones, which dropped in 3rd quarter due to lack of product launch in June, will fall over to 4th quarter from the iPhone 4S product launch.  So of course, when comparing Q3 2011 to Q3 2010, there is inevitably going to be some differences -- especially with the successful iPhone4 being the growth factor then.

To blatantly compare Q3 2011 with Q4 2010 in gross iPhone sales and fuss over the unsatisfied expectations has got to be the most misconstrued news I have ever heard.  This only reinforces Peter Lynch investment style of investing in what you know and you'll beat the analysts every time.  No matter which way you slice it, AAPL has 81 billion in the bank accruing at 6.5 billion per quarter, no debt, 54% increase in profit and product portfolios which are no where near becoming stagnant.  New product revenue lines like App Store, iPad, & strongly increasing revenue from existing product lines like iPhone, MacBook, iTunes (#1 digital music store) -- it's a 100% no brainer this stock will continue to push upwards for the near future.  Any drop should be considered a discounted buying opportunity.  

Oh, and this is before the announcement of their touch based iMacs which will lay slightly inclined on your desk similar to the iPad, still with a slide out keyboard for keyboard dependent apps , and any other new upcoming product line.

I'll write again when the price is at 500 and I'll reassess the situation then to see if we can expect more.  Buying now will give you roughly a 25% return from 400 to 500 within 12 months.



UPDATE 11/28/2011

Apple Stock today closed at 376.12.  It's an extreme bargain.  I just read various articles which simply justify my gut feeling.  One reported iPhone4S sales so large in Britain, it became the #1 in sales, even beating Andriod -- a feat many people thought was impossible given the diversity of Android devices at various price points.  Another article, states teens have listed iPhone & iPad with the same level of desire as cash and clothes on their holiday wish lists.  Yet, another, from a financial perspective, compares Apple stellar performance in comparison to it's current stock price.  Every financial metric used to value the stock have it as extremely undervalued.  Anyone buying at today's price will reap an easy 30% gain on the way up to 500.  Lets just hope the financial crisis doesn't bring a general recession/depression -- the only thing which could drag down the stock.

ExFAT filesystem with Mac OSX and Windows7

Thursday, 22 September 2011 15:35 by Michael Olivero

Do you have a drive partitioned half NTFS and half OSX format just so can utilize the drive on both operating systems or resorted to the unreliable FAT or FAT32 for the convenience?

FAT was never designed to scale to the large storage systems available today. so modern operating systems evolved their own sophisticated file systems (Linux Ext3, Windows NTFS, & Mac HFS+) with various features to handle not only the enormously large capacities, but also provide fault tolerance among other valuable features.  FAT, once ubiquitous, still survives today as the defacto file system for flash cards and USB drives. So why is a new file system called exFAT necessary?

It turns out, the modern file systems have significant overhead and are considered to be an overkill for flash drives -- some times making them slower.

exFAT (Extended FAT) was devised specifically to address these issues and more.  Since the latest versions of Microsoft and Apple operating system support exFAT, it coincidentally serves as a great file system to interchange data between the operating systems too!

On OSX's Disk Utility application, you can easily select exFAT during the erase process and similarly on windows as shown:

In summary, exFAT borrows some valuable features modern file systems such as transactional file system TFAT among others.  I'm personally using this as the filesystem for my external USB drive, however I did notice some applications on the Mac side, which rely specifically on Apple's HFS+ file system, are disabled.  For example, I cannot move a Final Cut Pro X project to my external drive to work remotely -- it simply doesn't let me drop it there as it would an HFS+ partition.

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Thunderbolt and MiniDisplay Mac Compatibility 101

Thursday, 21 July 2011 19:05 by Michael Olivero

I have a MacBook Air 2010 model with the mini display port.  At the office we recently ordered an iMac with the thunderbolt port.  On occasion, I want to use my MacBook Air at the office so I was exploring the option of using the iMac 27 as an external monitor via the thunderbolt port.

The latest macs, both the 2009-2010 models using mini display ports as well as the 2011 using the thunderbolt ports support a feature referred to as "Target Display Mode".  In essence, when properly cabled with either of the two cables, hitting Command/F2 will enable it.

The main question is, what are all the possible combinations?  Meaning, here I am with a mini display port MacBook Air and an thunderbolt iMac 27", do they communicate?  Turns out no, a mini display port cannot target a thunderbolt machine (or monitor) as a target display.   So a little frustrated, I went to them Apple store to sort things out and the Apple employee was super friendly on testing all the combinations with a new thunderbolt MacBook Air and cables I had just bought.  Here are the results:

SourceDestinationCable UsedResultDestination iSight Camera works
MBA Mini Display Cinema Display (Mini Display) Integrated Mini Display Cable Worked Fine Yes
MBA Thunderbolt Cinema Display (Mini Display) Integrated Mini Display Cable Worked Fine Yes
MBA Mini Display iMac 27" Mini Display Mini Display Cable  Worked Fine No, MBA prevails
MBA Mini Display iMac 27" Mini Display Thunderbolt Cable Did Not Work NA
MBA Mini Display iMac 27" Thunderbolt Mini Display Cable Did Not Work NA
MBA Mini Display iMac 27" Thunderbolt Thunderbolt Cable Did Not Work NA
MBA Thunderbolt iMac 27" Mini Display Mini Display Cable Worked Fine MBA Prevails
MBA Thunderbolt iMac 27" Mini Display Thunderbolt Cable Did Not Work NA
MBA Thunderbolt iMac 27" Thunderbolt Mini Display Cable Did Not Work NA
MBA Thunderbolt iMac 27" Thunderbolt Thunderbolt Cable  Worked Fine NO, MBA Prevails

One thing to note, when using target display mode and mirroring, the resolution will default to the lowest resolution device. In my case, I had a MacBook Air resolution displayed on the iMac 27 which didn't look great for extended reading. There are two ways to achieve target display native resolution. One way is to close the MacBookAir and tap on the mouse to wake it up. When it wakes up, it will adjust to the target display resolution. With the Thunderbolt MBA, you will need to have the magsafe power plugged in. I am not sure if this is required also for the Minidisplay MBA.

The second way entails setting up a second monitor side by side (uncheck mirroring). The problem here is, if you want to ignore the MBA's monitor and solely use the target display, the dock and menu bar are annoyingly on the MBA monitor making it very cumbersome to work. We accidentally came across a nifty solution by trying out various options. We discovered, just like you can move the orientation of the second monitor, you can move around the menu strip too. So while viewing the monitor orientation window, click and drag the little white strip above one of the monitors and drag it to the other. This in essence moves the doc and menu over to the target display monitor. At this point, you can either dim the brightness of the MBA and you are all set to go.  Thanks!


Unfortunately WordPress didn't make it convenient for migrating blogs out of their system.  As a consequence, I'm linking to the original posting for this topic so others can have access to the comment history.  Moving forward I will be updating this blog.