DVD stuck in MacBook Pro

This article was originally written in 2006, but the solution below still (in 2015) applies to Mac computers with optical drive.

Earlier this evening I inserted a blank DVD into my MacBook Pro wanting to burn some files. However, OS X never recognised the disc, nothing on the desktop, nothing in the Finder, not even in the Disk Utility. I pressed the Eject button, pressed and held F12 for a few seconds, but the disk was stuck.

I had a DVD stuck once before, even though recognised by the system, and I got it out after tilting the computer 45 degrees forward. But this time, whatever I did there was no eject mechanism sound at all, just a very quiet sound of the disk spinning up and slowing down every few seconds.

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So I decided to use good old trick of holding down the mouse button while booting the computer up. Rebooted, held the trackpad button down – but nothing. Even more interesting is that the computer wouldn’t start up at all.

The only thing I hear, following the Apple sound, is the disk spinning, possibly trying to read the boot sector and then slowing down. And this gets repeated forever. The screen stays grey, no Apple logo, nothing.

OK, another try, held down Cmd-Option-P-R, then held down D and finally held down even C while booting, but exactly same result – disk spins up and slows down few times, grey screen and a high blood pressure.

I thought, the computer is trying to boot from the optical drive but is unable to read the disc hence going into the endless loop. So I used a little trick, I inserted a small piece of thin battery pack cardboard just above the disc and twisted it (the cardboard) a little so the disk can’t spin when starting up. I turned the computer on and held down the trackpad button.

I could hear the sound of the optical drive inside, not the spinning sound but rather sound of something moving ever so slightly. I heard it only two times and the third sound was a well known one – the offending DVD came out.

The computer then happily booted the OS X. I looked up the disc very carefully and there were no faults with it at all, no bends, no scratches or cracks, just a perfect DVD.

Oh …  there is ONE MORE THING!  Since 2006 this page was visited about 580.000 times (as of September 2014) and counting. Say 10% of visitors had a problem with their DVD drive. That’s 58.000 computers. Each of those would have paid at least $100 to Apple service centres to get their DVD out, and in some cases much more to replace the DVD / Super drive. This means Silvermac has saved you about $5.8 Million, probably much more thank that.

However, the total for all donations to Silvermac  is $205. That’s in eight years. So once your disk pops out show your appreciation and make your donation here.  A cup of coffee would be just fine. You can use either your PayPal account or your credit card and it’s much easier that getting that DVD out.

 

SmugMug discount coupon

SmugMug is a photo-sharing website and image hosting service which allows users to upload both photos and videos to their SmugMug sites. The site is designed with both individuals and professionals in mind, it’s beautiful and very flexible at the same time. As Trey Ratcliff likes to say “It’s like dating a hot yoga instructor“.

SmugMug is very affordable and at only $40 per year for unlimited data storage it offers an incredible value. By using the link below you will save 20% of your first year subscription.

So head over to SmugMug and register now.  You will love it!

Wacom tablet driver issue

I bought the Wacom Intuos Manga  – Creative Pen & Touch tablet the other day and had quite some fun learning how to use it when editing my photos. However, last week I had to do a complete wipe and reinstall OS on my Mac and couldn’t get the tablet to work no matter what I did.

First of all, why did I reinstall the OSX? The computer I’m using came with OSX10.6, which I eventually upgraded to 10.7,  then to 10.8 and finally to 10.9 as they came out. None of these were clean installs, but rather straight upgrades. Every time it worked perfectly fine, but since upgrading to 10.9 things started slowing down. It came to the point where I had to do something so I did a clean 10.8 install and left it there. No 10.9 for now.

After installing all applications and enjoying my computer flying again, the Wacom tablet driver game me some grief, displaying “A supported tablet was not found on this system” error message when trying to configure it. I searched through number of forums and help files, but the general advice to remove and reinstall the driver, as well as repairing permissions didn’t work.

I’ve basically done all of the following:

  • Removed preferences,
  • Removed driver,
  • Removed Wacom software,
  • Repaired permissions,
  • Installed latest driver,
  • Repaired permissions again,
  • Rebooted after each step…

…but still got the same error message. Argh!

Considering I ‘downgraded’ to 10.8 I thought I’d downgrade the driver, too. I even went one step further (back) and downloaded the driver 6.20-W4, which the site states is for OS-X 10.7 and older, but it worked perfectly fine in my case.

The old driver was downloaded from the Wacom Europe website.

It’s disappointing that one needs to go through this much trouble to get the tablet working, but in the end the result is just sweeeeet.

Oh, by the way, the tablet comes with some software, one of which is Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, so if you are after PSE and were thinking of using the tablet, this might be quite a handy purchase.

Enable colour icons in Finder sidebar

If you miss the beautiful colour icons in the Finder sidebar, it’s time to get them back. Simon Barnett has developed SideEffects, a small application that does exactly that – replaces the boring grey sidebar icons in your Finder sidebar with a beautiful set of colour icons.

SideEffects works on both OSX Lion 10.7 and Mountain Lion 10.8.

The application is free, but there is a link on Simon’s site to PayPal page that helps you in showing your appreciation for his work.

Color Efex Pro 4 Review

Color Efex Pro 4 by NIK software is a plugin that provides an excellent set of enhancements for color correction, retouching, and creative effects. The plug in works with Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements,  Lightroom and Apple Aperture. Color Efex Pro 4 is available in Complete edition with 55 filters, or Select edition with 26 filters.

The interface is pretty simple, yet very intuitive. On the left side is the Filter / Recipe panel and on the right is the  adjustment panel, both of which can be toggled with the Tab key.  Once the image is “exported” from Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture the default filter is applied – Professional Contrast.

Applying a filter to your image is fairly simple, select the filter from the list and it’s immediately applied to the image. You can preview the image in three ways; single image view (after), split preview with slider and side by side view (which can be viewed either side by side or above and below).

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Once the filter is applied you can make your own adjustments in the adjustment panel on the right. Each filter has different options, ranging from the intensity, tonal range, area, shape, to the filter opacity.

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