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#870: Amazon Smartphone With 3D Screen?, On Inclusion of Magnets, Failure to Boot...Camp


Hello Readers,

Well, after a week of summer we are backsliding into April temperatures again and we may even have frost tonight. That’s not a bad thing if you ask me. I like gradual season changes, and skipping a step like spring is a bit jarring for me, so I’m happy for a second chance. Maybe this time I will get some grass seed down before it gets hot again!

Anyway, this week you’ll get to join Kyle on an interesting journey through Apple’s Boot Camp process. I’m sure many of you will have fond recollections as you read along. Taylor brings word of a potential new thing in smartphones and Mike has this week’s cautionary tale. Have your tin foil hats ready folks.

Thanks for reading,


  Amazon Smartphone With 3D Screen?  

Amazon is in the process of developing their own smartphones. The coolest thing about one of the high-end models is that it will reportedly integrate a new glasses-free 3D screen. The way that it would work is that there is a front facing camera that uses eye tracking software to create an image that moves in such a way that it appears to protrude from the screen. Think Star Wars style holograms that are only visible to the user of the phone. Unfortunately for us users, this is all still in the rumor stage at this point.

Amazon has long been a purveyor of every imaginable product, but in the past 3-5 years there have been a bunch of rumors that the company is moving into making their own products. I think if they are going to manufacture smartphones this would be a great way to start out on their venture.

I need to send a message to a certain Jedi requesting his aid and it won’t look the same in 2D. Help me Amazon, you are my only hope.

The article referenced in this is available at:

  On Inclusion of Magnets  

The iPad 2 and newer models contain 30 magnets used to affix the Smart Cover to the iPad. This allows you to attach your Smart Cover, or other aftermarket covers, in a variety of positions. Apple has recently been incorporating magnets in a number of their products including the MagSafe adapters and sleep switches in their portables. The glass of some of the newer, but not newest, iMacs is also held on with magnets.

Recently, a 14 year old girl from Stockton, California named Gianna Chien completed a school science fair project with help from her father (her father is a Cardiac Electrophysiologist and was able to arrange some patient testing for this project). In her presentation, she showed how the magnets in the iPad 2 can inadvertently turn off implanted defibrillators for about 1/3 of patients as these devices are designed to be turned on and off via magnets.

Normally this wouldn’t be making the rounds as “big news” in the Mac community, as heart patients who have these devices implanted are warned about magnets when these are installed. Apple’s documentation also warns of the risks associated with these devices (they recommend keeping it at least 6 inches from your chest). The reason this story has become so popular, though, is that despite the warnings provided, many iPad users do not know their device contains 30 individual magnets with no purpose but to attach a cover.

As more of these “intimate” gadgets find their way into consistent daily use, we need to ensure that we are conscious of how they interact with our surrounding environment and bodies, and the risks/benefits of these effects. I’m not saying we need to wear tinfoil hats and keep cell phones on the opposite side of the house, but merely to remain aware of small and proven issues, such as the one Gianna Chien brought to light at her science fair.

  Failure to Boot...Camp  

To give a little background before launching into this article: I am a junior technician compared to some here at Small Dog Electronics. I have spent more time diagnosing and fixing PCs than Apple Products, so the conversion was a complete one-eighty degree turn for me. I have never attempted to install Windows alongside OS X before, but because of needs here at the ‘office’ and data backup/transfer options, having every tool available is a benefit. That is why I attempted to install Windows alongside my OS X installation. The problem is my personal machine only supports Windows 7, whereas I was trying to install Windows 8 which is the copy I owned.

I discussed the installation with the other techs here in South Burlington, and the common recommended jump off point was to resize the main partition using Disk Utility, and create a new partition in a FAT32 or free space format then boot from the Windows install medium. All seemed to work well until I attempted to install the Boot Camp support files into the Windows installation so that I could set up my Mac hardware to work properly. The support files installed successfully, the Windows OS requested to restart the machine, and I pressed the “OK” button. The machine restarted and began to boot into the Windows partition. Then the screen flashed white briefly, went black and stayed that way.

Uh oh…

I rebooted the machine a couple more times only to see the same thing. I tried to use the built in Windows recovery options but none worked. I then booted to my Mac OS partition, erased and recreated the partition for my Windows installation and began the process again. This time I tried to install all the drivers manually, but they didn’t make my touchpad work properly because there wasn’t the Boot Camp interface for me to set up my preferences. I went online, downloaded a different set of Boot Camp support files and installed them. I rebooted the machine and got the flash with the black screen again.

Frustration began to set in at this point. I restarted the whole process again. By this time I had noticed that the EFI section of option booting began to increase the amount of Windows installation options and I couldn’t keep track of which one was the correct one after I installed the third or fourth time. I had retried to create the installation media, and I can only use flash drives for installing Windows because my optical drive is nonfunctional and I don’t feel like spending money on something I’m potentially going to replace soon. The EFI had too many Windows installations and after the fourth or fifth time (each time trying different methods in creating the media, performing a different install, using multiple images and install discs, essentially trying everything I could in order get the install to work the way its supposed too) I decided to wipe and restore the machine. Using Time Machine and an external hard drive, I backed up my computer, wiped everything clean and started the process over again.

I must make note that some of the problems and irritations I was having with my machine seem to have been taken care of with the wipe and restore (things like not waking up when it’s supposed to or freezing on login). That did cheer me up a bit once I realized that I was no longer experiencing those little trifles. I do know there is something wrong with my machine because it was dropped during its lifetime and I expect that it’s only a matter of time before the problems start up again. I tried to install Windows one more time and got the same result, the infamous “Black Boot”. I then decided to hold off on my installation, wiped it one more time, reinstalled OS X, remigrated my data back onto my machine and called it quits. I spent four days trying to get this to work and am not all that happy to have lost the battle. More research needs to be done because I have not given up on the war. I believe that it is my machine that is causing the problem (I fear that it needs a new logic board because of the drop) but I am grateful it’s at least holding on for dear life until the time it finally gives its last and my hand is forced to purchase the latest and greatest.

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