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#6837 - 12/19/09 12:13 AM Strange video and other doings...
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
My Early 2009 White MacBook/2.0GHz Core 2 Duo/4Gb RAM/OS X 10.5.7 (Build 9J61) has experienced a laundry list of symptoms...

1. This has now happened 5 or 6 times, always after I've been using my deuced Mac(hina) steadily for several hours, it has always happened while I was visiting FTM, and I've been unable to see any evidence of it on any other website:

I click to an FTM page, and rather than my expected theme ("ubbthreads_finetunedmac") I see only shades of blue. (It would actually make a great theme.)

If I take a screenshot it's blue.

If I upload the screenshot the thumbnail is blue, although the rest of the upload page is not.

If I link to the upload it's blue.

But... All indications of the blue disappear after I restart, and it's like it was never there in the first place...like it was an overlay on my screen (like the cursor) that I could see but not capture in an image, even one burned to a CD. (I may have to buy a digital camera to document this.)

2. This happened once. (The yellow appeared in every pane of Mail's preferences.)

I remember hitting an off-the-wall key combo (which had nothing to do with the color wheel) immediately before it happened, but I've been unable to reproduce the effect nor have I found any references to it.

3. I experienced a kernel panic while I was listening to iTunes over AirTunes, with Safari, Mail, and, possibly, Excel open. (It may be the first kernel panic I've ever experienced...certainly the first one since Jaguar.)

4. My MacBook's hinge occasionally gets so hot that it's almost too hot to touch, but I have yet to connect this to symptom #1.

I ran my Apple Hardware Test disc in "Loop Mode" for 18 hours/12 passes with no reported errors. (The fans were blowing full-blast directly at the hinge, so even if it had been inclined to overheat I doubt that it could have done so.)

I'm prepared to do an erase and install, but I'd rather not waste a day if it will be non-productive.

Does anybody see any connection between any of the symptoms? (Could they possibly be related to the Crucial RAM I installed about 2 months before the first occurrence of symptom #1?)

Thanks for any insights or help.

Addendum: I recently went through a period of several months during which my fans ran more than they had been running at the same temperature; that has now stopped...I think since I ran AHT for 18 hours.

It could it be that the extended running of the fans blew out some accumulated dust, but could there be some other, possibly connected, reason?
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#6842 - 12/19/09 08:13 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
roger Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Vermont
I was going to mention RAM, but that's just a fall-back position for me.
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#6851 - 12/19/09 06:05 PM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
In spite of the AHT results it does not sound like software or system related issues. If I were to name my "usual suspects" in a case like yours the list would include in rough order:
  1. RAM
  2. CPU
  3. Logic Board
  4. environmental issues (ambient temperature, local air circulation, air circulation around the MacBook, etc.)
Since you are dealing with an early 2009 model, it sounds to me like time to take your MacBook to the Genius Desk and let them run their diagnostics which are more comprehensive than yours. FWIW I have always found Marcel Bresink's Hardware Monitor to be very reliable in checking internal system temperatures, power levels, fan speeds, etc.
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#6853 - 12/20/09 02:14 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: artie505
Does anybody see any connection between any of the symptoms? (Could they possibly be related to the Crucial RAM I installed about 2 months before the first occurrence of symptom #1?)

Thanks for any insights or help.


The screen shot of things turning yellow looks suspiciously like bad video RAM to me. If your MacBook uses "shared" video and system RAM, then bad memory from Crucial could indeed be the culprit.
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#6862 - 12/20/09 11:52 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: tacit]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
I would not expect vram to cause that selective of a problem. It looks like its affecting specific elements of the screen (rectangular areas) as drawn by quartz. (operating system problem)
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#6913 - 12/21/09 05:36 PM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: Virtual1]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
I would not expect vram to cause that selective of a problem. It looks like its affecting specific elements of the screen (rectangular areas) as drawn by quartz. (operating system problem)


I've seen VRAM failures affect specific elements of the display, because on modern Macs the drawing of display elements such as windows is handled by the graphics processor (a window in OS X is a 2D object with its contents surface mapped onto it, which is why you can do things like move windows even if the spinning pinwheel is up). If the place in VRAM where the texture map is stored is faulty, you can see weird things happen to certain elements rather than to the entire screen.
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#6927 - 12/21/09 11:52 PM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> If your MacBook uses "shared" video and system RAM, then bad memory from Crucial could indeed be the culprit.

Indeed it does:
Quote:
Graphics and video support:

NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory(3)

(3) Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 256MB.

That leaves me in the nasty position of having to swap out DIMMs with absolutely no idea of how long an issue-free period I have to go through before I can be certain that my deuced Mac(hina) actually is issue-free.

So, with hindsight, and after digesting the responses to my post, I'll say that the excessive fan running (The fans running when my HD temperature was lower than that at which they normally ran. [It's nowhere near out of the question that a spider got inside my deuced Mac(hina) and spun itself a little web.]) and the "blue" were the first two symptoms to appear (as well as the recurring ones), and that since the fans have reverted to their normal state I'm going to allow the status to remain quo and see what, if anything, happens next.

Hmmm...

I think the most important thing for me to do is buy extended AppleCare before my year is up.

Thanks, guys, for your insights.

(I'll post back if there are any further developments, but this is one instance in which no news will, truly, be good news.)


Edited by artie505 (12/22/09 02:49 AM)
Edit Reason: Rewrote "With hindsight"
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#9143 - 04/02/10 02:02 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I finally brought my deuced Mac(hina) to the local "Genius" Bar and detailed my assorted symptoms, and the genius noted the possibility of sensor or logic board failure, but when I got my Mac back I found that the only thing that had been replaced was...my fan assembly.

Does the fan assembly include sensors, and, if not, does anybody see the point of changing it when its excessive running appears to have been the result of something overheating?

The fan does seem to be somewhat quieter at the moment, but the erratic nature of my symptoms makes that fact more or less meaningless.

More as more transpires.
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

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#9146 - 04/02/10 10:13 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
they may have replaced something just to replace something.

The only sensor in the fan is a tach sensor, to let the computer verify the fan is spinning at the speed the computer wants it to spin at. If the fan is gummed up, the computer can send the fan more power if needed, to meet the target RPMs. If the sensor isn't working properly, the fan is usually pushed to max voltage as a safety.

Some macs will push ALL fans to max if a single sensor isn't working or is unplugged.

Maybe your mac had a bad fan that wasn't able to spin fast enough, and your mac was overheating? I use TemperatureMonitor here for a lot of things. The macbook only hast the one fan so you won't get the sound of other rushing fans if that one has problems. Still, it'd be nice if the mac would pop up a warning or something? Though in all the cases I've seen, an overheating macbook just suddenly shuts off.
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#9151 - 04/02/10 10:39 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: Virtual1]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
they may have replaced something just to replace something.

Yeah... That thought crossed my mind, particularly in view of the fact that my principal symptom is unreproducible.

Guess I'll just wait and see. (It would be nice if I had either a digital camera or cell phone so I could take a picture of the blue screen if [I'm being very optimistic.] it happens again.)
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#9165 - 04/02/10 05:41 PM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Use the built-in iSight with a mirror.
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#9173 - 04/03/10 12:30 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: dkmarsh
Use the built-in iSight with a mirror.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I already tried that a coupl'a times with no luck; the coloration is so subtle that it's virtually unnoticeable other than when I'm viewing an FTM page with the ubbthreads_finetunedmac theme (hence my original thought that you guys were playing with alternative themes), and it was so washed out in the mirror image that it was virtually invisible... Patience...technique...I dunno.

I'll try again if the opportunity arises, but
  1. I hope my new fan has made the suggestion pointless, and
  2. It will likely be an exercise in futility even if I'm successful, because I very much doubt that even an excellent "screenshot" will be any more informative than my description of the issue has been.
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#9195 - 04/04/10 08:43 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
sometimes a digital camera or a good 'ol firewire sight is the only way to get pics of things like that. I've had to spend time with an isight, working the angle of the screen, the focus on the camera (iglasses), and the angle of the incoming light to get pictures of subtle screen contrast/brightness/color defects. (usually backlight-related or from liquid spills)
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#9500 - 04/16/10 03:52 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I wonder if this will mean anything to anybody in the context of my previously posted issues...

I just spent around five hair-tearing hours testing an unreleased beta of backuplist+, a front-end for rsync, and a brand-spanking-new issue temporarily reared its ugly head because, I suspect, of the temperature-raising workout I was giving my deuced Mac(hina). (Note that this happened only when I booted into my main volume, not when I booted into either my external HD or my flash drive.)

After the "gear-wheel" stopped spinning, but before my desktop appeared, for a brief moment my screen displayed four alternating, top to bottom, vertical color bands (of equal width), blue - gray - blue - gray, that covered the entire width of the screen, with two short horizontal bars, the longer of which was solid and the shorter of which was dashed (both long and short segments), (Edit) in the middle of the right side of the screen. This was reproducible until (I'm guessing) my Mac cooled down.

Does that, in any way, shape or form, fit into the scenario with which I've been dealing for the past 6 months?

Thanks for any input.


Edited by artie505 (04/16/10 10:53 PM)
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

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#9508 - 04/16/10 11:12 PM The plot thickens... (Edited) [Re: artie505]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
This evening, after waking my deuced Mac(hina) from a three hour nap, I lucked out and noticed this:

http://img245.imageshack.us/slideshow/webplayer.php?id=desktophg.png

For the benefit of anybody who can't make othem out, the three images are (command-shift-3 screenshots of)...
  1. My desktop,
  2. my iTunes window, and
  3. a Safari window.
After shutting down my Mac and starting it up I could not reproduce the anomalous behavior.

Does this in any way clarify the growing body of knowledge about my MacBook's issues?

Again, thanks!

Edit: Sorry... I wasn't clear on the fact that those screenshots do not show what my screens actually looked like, they are how screenshots of undistorted screens came out.


Edited by artie505 (04/17/10 06:49 PM)
Edit Reason: Clarification
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#9533 - 04/18/10 12:48 AM Blue screen captured!!! (I thought :( ) [Re: artie505]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
A new mirror, better technique, and some extra patience have paid off, and here, FINALLY, is a screenshot of the rarer than hen's teeth "FTM blue theme" with which this episode began! (The title of the topmost "Last Post" is rather ironic.)

The blue cast subtly affects whatever screen I'm looking at, but, of sites I visit and apps I run, can be seen distinctly only in an FTM screen. (I use the ubbthreads_finetunedmac theme.)

Maybe I can now get the "Geniuses" to do the job right?

Edit: Well... I thought it was captured, but even Photo Booth couldn't turn the trick (and damned if I understand why); as soon as I restarted my deuced Mac(hina) the blue disappeared from my screen and the uploaded image.

I'd swear that the Photo Booth window didn't shown the blue even when I thought I had it captured, but I wrote that off as a trick of the light.

(And NO... I absolutely do NOT do hallucinogenics!!!)

This is insanely frustrating!!! confused mad


Edited by artie505 (04/18/10 04:53 AM)
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#9560 - 04/19/10 04:51 PM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
dianne Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
artie505,

I think you have a hardware problem which has not yet been accurately diagnosed.
Quote:
Edit: Sorry... I wasn't clear on the fact that those screenshots do not show what my screens actually looked like, they are how screenshots of undistorted screens came out.

Just for comparison:
  1. MacBook Problem - Lines in Screen
  2. MacBook Screen Issue
  3. macbook display blues


Edited by dianne (04/19/10 04:59 PM)
Edit Reason: changed Subject of reply from Re: The plot thickens...(Edited) to correspond with original title to help the FTM Search function.
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#9571 - 04/19/10 10:55 PM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: dianne]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> I think you have a hardware problem which has not yet been accurately diagnosed.

I think you're 100% correct, dianne.

The problem is having something substantive for the "Geniuses" to look at, and, while those screenshots are something, the "blue screen," my only recurring symptom, will probably be the clincher (if I can ever capture it).

I still don't understand what happened with Photo Booth, but my next steps are to try to borrow a cell-phone or camera, followed by hiring an exorcist.


Edited by artie505 (04/20/10 03:26 AM)
Edit Reason: Exorcise dumb idea
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#9578 - 04/20/10 08:36 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: dianne]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
example 2 is a loose video cable or damaged LVDS cable.
example 3 is a bad LCD panel. (entire sections of a display out are a row/col address problem on the matrix)

example 1 looks like 2, but you see it only affects a section of the display so it's actually like 3.

In any event, if you have a mac that's got the display as a single piece for replacement, the whole display panel needs to be replaced since the cables and panels can't be ordered separately. (from apple anyway)


A video of the problem would be very useful.
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#9673 - 04/24/10 06:44 PM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
Starmac Offline


Registered: 04/23/10
Someone may have suggested this before but I did not see it. Freeze your Mac. Get it good and cold. If the problem does not reoccur until it has warmed up, you have a heat problem. It really sounds like a heat problem.

Heat problems can cause vram and vprocessor malfunctions, cold soldier joints, and kernal panics because of RAM and CPU malfunctions.

Don't freeze your Mac on a humid day --> condensation.

Could also be an intermittent open. I had similar problems, but no kernal panic, with a bad DVI-VGA adapter. Just wiggle the cable to get the right colors.

Have you tried connecting to an external monitor? That would rule out/in your LCD screen and the ribbon cable that passes thru the hinge, and the connectors of same.
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#9675 - 04/24/10 10:42 PM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: Starmac]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> Heat problems can cause [...] cold soldier joints [....]

Make it damned near impossible to fight a war in the tropics, don't they?

Thanks for your suggestions, Starmac.

1. Freezing my deuced Mac(hina) is pointless, because the "blue screen" issue is unguessably intermittent.

2. The "Geniuses" were apparently guessing at a heat problem when they changed my fan, but the end result was a recurrence of my main issue along with some new ones.

3. No external monitor available, and same problem with "intermittent-cy."

I've got a request in to borrow a friend's camera, so I can maybe capture the "blue screen" the next time it shows up, but I've also got a new beta of the rsync front end I've been testing, and I think my best bet may be to try to push my Mac to a precipitous, catastrophic failure (when I can afford the down-time).
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#9677 - 04/25/10 03:31 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
Freezing my deuced Mac(hina) is pointless, because the "blue screen" issue is unguessably intermittent.

Not to mention the fact that your 2009 MacBook's minimum operating temperature, according to Apple specs, is 50º F.


Edited by dkmarsh (04/25/10 07:16 AM)
Edit Reason: corrected link
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#9679 - 04/25/10 04:13 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: dkmarsh

Quote:
Freezing my deuced Mac(hina) is pointless, because the "blue screen" issue is unguessably intermittent.

Not to mention the fact that your 2009 MacBook's minimum operating temperature, according to Apple specs, is 50º F.

But it would warm up past 50 in relatively short order and still be colder than it would ever get otherwise.

Under any circumstances, though, I don't think I'd ever really be inclined to subject my deuced Mac(hina) to the stress (and possible resultant damage) of even kitchen freezer temps as a troubleshooting technique.

Edit: It just occurred to me that even on a really dry day a defrosting Mac's "Liquid Submersion Indicator" would likely be affected by condensation from the defrosting, and its warrantee would be voided...and in the name of uncovering a reason to need said warrantee, to boot.

BAAAD IDEA for any Mac with an LSI!


Edited by artie505 (04/25/10 04:44 AM)
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

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#9681 - 04/25/10 07:15 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
...even on a really dry day a defrosting Mac's "Liquid Submersion Indicator" would likely be affected by condensation from the defrosting, and its warrantee would be voided...

Not so, if the information relayed from unnamed Apple sources by a University of Hawaii computer technician is correct: "these indicators are 'very accurate' and 'will not be affected by humidity or environmental factors,' so customers should not have to worry about false readings."

Pluswhich, your MacBook's minimum storage temperature is -13º F...so you'd think the LSI would have to have a reasonably high threshold of moisture tolerance before being "tripped."
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#9684 - 04/25/10 10:28 AM Re: Strange video and other doings... [Re: dkmarsh]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Frankly, I wouldn't take that tech's word for gospel, especially since the implication is decidedly not user friendly. Scroll down to 'Water world' in this MacWorld article to get an idea about the why of my take on things. At the very least we may expect to get some hard data on the responsivity and reliability of the much maligned moisture sensors. shocked

As to the temperature range a device can be used, it's questionable whether subsequent effects like condensation played a role in establishing those. You don't want to compound things in tests like these. For instance, it's quite conceivable that the test devices were packed in a dry atmosphere inside a waterproof package. tongue
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