MacBook Pro Dark Screen Rescue Sequence?

I was recently working on a MacBook Pro (2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, with OSx 10.5.8) when the dreaded dark screen goblin paid a visit. I had actually left the machine to make a cup of coffee, and the screen was dark when I got back. Well not completely dark, as the faintest outline of the authenticate dialogue box was visible if you looked hard enough.

The unusual thing is, I could see that the machine was still running, as I had a second display plugged into the external graphics adaptor, and the screensaver had been showing there. Moving the mouse pointer to the second display stopped the screensaver, and I was able to successful log on, even though I could not see the main screen. This brought up the desktop on the external display, which showed that machine was still running.

After I Googled MacBook Pro Dark Screen, which showed lots of people have had the same problem, I concluded that there are a lot of expensive sounding fixes involving changing Screens, Inverters and Reed switches! I really want a simple, no cost, fix for the dark screen problem. I tried the recommended F5 keyboard backlit dim followed by F6 brighten sequence, but to no avail. I also tried a Command-Option-P-R sequence, as someone suggested that it might be a power management problem.

The idea that the MacBook Pro power management may have become confused gave me an idea. Yes I know that is anthropomorphism, but sometimes it helps to understand what is going at a higher level of abstraction, without bothering about details like facts. So having made that mental leap, I tried the following sequence:

  • Repeatedly press F5 until the keyboard went dark
  • Pull out the magnetic power connector.
  • Close the lid as if putting the MacBook Pro away for the night.
  • Open the lid and reinsert the power connector as if waking it up.

As if by magic, the machine sprang back to life and displayed the login box, and all was well. This was the first time I had experienced the dark screen without resorting to rebooting to fix it. Celebrations all round!

Now logic would suggest that pressing backlit buttons F5 and F6 could have no impact on the screen. Pulling out the magnetic power connector has never made a difference to the dreaded dark screen before, nor has closing the lid and reopening it. How about the sequence of steps, exactly as listed? Well I have never tried it before, in my recollection, so perhaps it is the sequence? We will see, next time the dark screen occurs.

In the meantime, if anybody actually knows what causes the dreaded MacBook Pro Dark Screen, or repeats my sequence and has it work for them, please let me know. You can click here to contact me via TechCo Support, or post a comment below.

Remember that all sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic! Have a Happy New Year!

The Power of Viral Marketing

Everyone has heard about viral marketing right? You know, where a marketing campaign uses social networks to increase brand awareness and boost product sales. Who would have guessed that a man in a gorilla suit playing the drums would have been one of the most talked-about ads of the decade?

The term viral comes from the spread of information, and hence brand awareness, by word of mouth or self-replicating viral processes, which is analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. The power comes through fans downloading and forwarding the ad to friends. Some notable examples are:

Bear Fight – John West Salmon
Released in November 2000, and starting out as a nature documentary, this witty ad quickly turns into a fight between a man and bear over a salmon. The bear was in fact a stuntman in a 7ft-tall bear suit from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Written by Paul Silburn and directed by Daniel Kleinman, this was one of the first ads to use the viral power of the internet.
Click here to watch John West Salmon ‘Bear Fight’

Cadbury’s Gorilla
Cadbury’s Dairy Milk 2007 Gorilla advertising campaign was heavily popularised on YouTube and Facebook. This ad had a massive impact, being viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube, spawning numerous spoofs and winning a string of awards for its director, copywriter and art director Juan Cabral.
Click here to view Cadbury’s Gorilla Advert

The Return of Monkey – PG Tips
When PG Tips wanted to revise the Monkey character and reconnect with its advertising heritage, they called on copywriters Mark Waites, Ben Mooge and Al Maccuish, along with Mother creative directors, Rob Saville and Mark Waites to produce a witty storyline. In the first ad from January 2007, Monkey returns drenched and dishevelled as a mascot on the front of a truck. Ten thousand people signed up to Monkey’s MySpace page within the first few weeks of its launch.
Click here to watch PG Tips ‘The Return’

T-mobile adverts
Real-life aspiring musician, Josh Ward, has been challenged by T-Mobile to put together a band of hundreds or even thousands of musicians, using its free unlimited texts and internet on mobile for life rewards on pay as you go. Josh appeared in the first part of the campaign in September 2009 which saw real people being stopped in the street and asked what they would do with free texts for life. Josh, who was originally filmed on his way to a gig in London’s Brick Lane, said he’d use free texts for life to set up a superband – so T-Mobile challenged him to make his dream a reality. Since he started his quest, over 24,000 people have logged onto Josh’s MySpace profile and his videos have had more than 6,000 views on YouTube .
Click here to view T-mobile What would you do with free internet for life?

Comparethemarket: Comparethemeerkat
One of my personal favorites is the meerkat ads on TV from VCCP. Aleksandr Orlov is an aristocratic meerkat, and the founder of, which is constantly being mistaken for the other site, which is in no way similar! The character is voiced by Simon Greenall, and Aleksandr now has in excess of 600,000 Facebook fans, and 31,230 Twitter followers last time I looked. The insurance site increased its market share of UK insurance comparison site visits by 76% between January and August 2009. Not bad for some cute but simple puppets and a good idea. It even has a great jingle which just goes round and round in your head all day – com-pare-the-meer-kat, dot-com! Simples!
Click here for the Official Compare the Meerkat Advert
Click here for the Official Compare the Meerkat Bloopers

Although marketing experts acknowledge that the basic form of viral marketing is not infinitely sustainable, the successful campaigns can be spectacular and have world-wide impact. If you are planning a viral marketing exercise, you just better be prepared for it to be a success!