fixed : “Service Battery” warning

Question :

When I started up my Mac today, and looked at the battery indicator in the top menu bar, I noticed that there was something unusual… so when I clicked on it, the pull down menu did not show the usual battery info. It showed a warning saying “Service Battery”.

As I do not believe my battery is dead, this looks like a bug to me… is it ? And what can I do about it ?

Answer :

The “Service Battery” message (a.k.a. warning) just indicated that your battery has not been calibrated for a long time… this might occur when you have not once fully used your battery ; you have not used your fully charged battery until it was completely empty once in the last three months… this is noting serious, you just need to do so again.

More on this can be found on Apple’s website :

In short, for any MacBook or MacBook Pro that has a removable battery, the battery calibration routine is :

1- plug in the power cord and charge until the battery is fully loaded (so until the LED-light in the connector stays green) [ during this you can still use your Mac ]

2- leave the power cord connected for at least 2 more hours [ during this you can still use your Mac also ]

3- unplug the power cord and leave your MacBook (MacBook Pro) running until the battery is empty [ during this you can also keep using your Mac, but remember to save all your open work when you get a warning that your battery is nearly empty ]

4- when your MacBook (MacBook Pro) goes to sleep when the battery is completely empty, just let it.

5- then let your MacBook (MacBook Pro) ‘rest’ for at least 5 hours

6- when the 5 hours are over, reconnect the power cord and fully charge your battery again [ during this you can use your Mac, in a normal, modest way, just don’t exaggerate : use as little applications at the same time as possible and shut down any non-vital applications that are running in the background ]

That should be it, but if it doesn’t work for you, you might want to try this :

Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC)

More info on doing so, can be found on Apple’s website :

And if that doesn’t help either, you will probably have a non-original Apple battery, or if you do have an original Apple-battery, it is probably broken due to falling or shock.

Either way, you’ll probably need to buy a new battery… [ note : from experience, I can tell that an original Apple-battery is better value-for-money even though the price is high ; imitation batteries usually start out right, but then suddenly die within about one year… ]


test : iPhone 5 covers compared

Searching for a good cover for a brand new iPhone 5, I had to do a lot of searching, since most iPhone 5 covers do not meet these three minimum requirements :

1- anonymity : it should not be too easy for others to see that I am holding an iPhone, so the Apple logo must be covered (the cover should preferably be plain black, distinguished in design and not too bulky)

2- small cut-out for the rear-camera : different from iPhone 3G(S) and iPhone 4(S) covers, most iPhone 5 covers have an extremely large cut-out for the rear-camera – this should be considered a design failure, since there is no technical need for this and it means that there will be two differently colored materials from the back of the iPhone visible in the cut-out… which looks extremely un-stylish…

3- ports & screen protection : the ports (audio headphone jack and lightning cable port) should be covered to not gather dust or sand, and the screen should be protected from accidental scratching (without having to turn to a flip-case design)

Luckily, during my elaborate search I found the solution(s) for the third requirement :

– the best ‘dust stopper’ is by far the “(unbranded) iPhone 5 Combined Headset and Lightning Dust Stopper“, because it’s flexible/elastic and you will not easily loose it since it stays fixed to the iPhone (thought the headphone jack) when you have to unplug it for charging

– probably the best ‘screen protector’ I’ve come across is the “Colorfone Screen Guard (Clear) for iPhone 5“, because it leaves the screen colors and sharpness intact, it has  extremely minimal cut-outs (for the menu-button, the front-speaker and the front-camera) and it took little effort to place without bubbles or dust-particles

The first two requirements however where too much for most cases, including my initially preferred brands like Belkin, Marware, STM and Griffin (and other ones like Kensington, Macally, Incase, Incipio, Gear4, Muvit, Rocketfish, Ozaki and Xqisit). So I ended up comparing these five iPhone 5 cases :

Speck CandyShell for the new iPhone (black)

SwitchEasy Tones for iPhone 5 (black)

Artwizz SeeJacket for iPhone 5 (black)

Terrapin Protector IP5 (black)

iGadgitz TPU Cover for iPhone 5 (black)

And the winner is…

even though all of the five cases tested (or rather : compared) are good products, and you might personally favor another case…

…my ‘best buy’ choice goes to the iGadgitz TPU Cover for iPhone 5 (black) because it it without a doubt the best value for money at only 1 GBP (ca. 1,50 euro), it is not bulky in any way, it fits tightly, the design is very chic, and it even has a screen protector film included (with rather minimalistic cut-outs)

my full comparison of these five iPhone 5 Covers is available here :

comparing 5 iPhone 5 covers

Note : judging from online reviews, I had high hopes for the Speck CandyShell and SwitchEasy Tones : they might provide slightly better protection than the iGadgitz Cover, but the very complete SwitchEasy Tones turns out to not be black at all (despite the name) and it’s tiny buttons are rather uncomfortable in use …and the Speck CandyShell turns out to look rather cheap due to low production quality and there’s a design fault since the perforation for the speakers doesn’t line up (which might even degrade the audio quality)…

fixed : Time Machine backup error “sparsebundle in use”

Question :

When Time Machine tried to backup today, it returned an error saying “Time Machine Error. The Backup disk image ….sparsebundle is already in use”. As I am the only one using this backup, I hoped that just trying to do the Time Machine backup manually would help… but it didn’t… it returned the same error…

Restarting my Mac didn’t help either…

How can I fix this ?

Answer :

The “sparsebundle already in use”-error occurs if something went wrong during the last backup (which could be because your Mac froze during the Time Machine backup). In that case your Mac did not properly disconnect from the Time Machine backup, so you will have to do so manually.

Fixing this is rather simple :

If you still have ‘the old’ Airport Utility 5.6 on your Mac (more info on this can be found here : ), you should do this :

–  open Airport Utility 5.6 (which is in the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder)

– select your Time Machine backup drive on the left (e.g. your Time Capsule)

– click on the “Manual” button

– then select the “Disks” icon

– and click on the “Disconnect All Users…” button

– then exit AirPort Utility 5.6 and run Time Machine normally

– …and do not forget to check in the time Machine Preferences if Time Machine is switched ‘ON’

if you do not have AirPort Utility 5.6 (since your Mac has OSX 10.8 “Mountain Lion” in stalled, which only has the stripped-down AirPort Utility 6 without the “Disconnect All Users”-option), you could either download and install AirPort Utility version 5.6 (directly from Apple : ), or you should try this :

– shut down your Time Capsule a.k.a. “pull the power plug” (or other Time Machine backup drive)… and leave it disconnected for about 5 minutes or so

– restart your Mac

– power up your Time Capsule a.k.a. “plug the power cord back in” (or if you have some other sort of Time Machine backup drive, turn it back on)

– go to the Time Machine icon in the Finder’s top menu bar and click “Back Up Now”

– …and do not forget to check in the time Machine Preferences if Time Machine is switched ‘ON’

That’s it !

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tip : using Evernote on an iBook G4 or iMac G5

Question :

I have Evernote running on my iPhone, my iPad and my MacBook, but I would also like to use it on my old Mac which has a Power-PC (G4/G5) processor.

On the Evernote-website I can only download the latest version of Evernote, which is Intel-Mac only…

How can I use Evernote on my old iMac G5 and iBook G4 ?


Answer :

If you are running MacOSX 10.5 “Leopard” on your PPC-Mac (G4/G5), you can use the previous version of Evernote, which can be found here :

If you are still running MacOSX 10.4 “Tiger” (or newer) your only option is to use the online version of Evernote, which can be accessed here :