Speed Up Your Mac

Apparently, I’ve been using the MacBook with crippled fan for over a year. I have noticed a kernel_task using up all processing time. I found out that it was the operating system throttling performance to stop overheating. It does this by running a non-processor intensive task. This task has higher priority than user tasks including the processor-intensive tasks that are heating up the processor. The effect is that the processor temperature is lowered. But also poor system responsiveness and overall performance.

When I found out about this, I concluded that the fan was faulty and opening  up the Mac confirmed it. I ordered a replacement fan and today it finallly arrived. I immediately installed it and the Mac promptly sped up. It felt like the same huge speed improvement when I upgraded to 8GB RAM and SSD. A fan is officially the third best upgrade for speeding up your Mac.

MacBook Pro Battery Replacement

My MacBook Pro’s trackpad hasn’t been clicking properly for a while. It requires considerable effort to push and doesn’t provide much tactile feedback. I didn’t really mind it too much since I just use taps and gestures. I thought it was just my Mac getting old.

But I eventually learned that it is a common issue with MacBooks. It turned out that the battery is swelling and impinges on the trackpad pushing it upward and preventing the full range of motion. Now it’s either an accident or a clever design feature of MacBooks, but when the trackpad act erratically, people would then go to the shop and have it serviced thus averting a possible battery disaster. Of course, that didn’t work in my case :P

One solution offered by people on the net (always taken with a grain of salt, or more) is pricking the battery cells to release the trapped gases that caused the swelling. Intentionally creating a mini ecological disaster in your workspace at best or obliterating it with a mini explosion. Uh huh. Not for me.

The best solution is replacing the battery. But I’m not about to blow away several thousands to replace the battery of a 4-year old laptop. So the next best thing is to find a cheaper non-OEM replacement part. I found one from PCPartPH. They deliver via courier but I wanted mine right away so I did a “meet up”. Transaction was quick and easy and as soon as I got back home, I installed the new battery.

So far so good though I noticed capacity is not per specification (3980mAh vs 5200mAh). I’ll observe for a few days and see how it goes.

Apple Still Has A Lot To Cover


Tomorrow is Apple’s much anticipated October 22 event. They said they still have a lot to cover. So what am I expecting tomorrow?

First, new MacBook Pros will be unveiled along with OS X Mavericks. It’s probably just going to be a Haswell update. Then probably an availability date for the previously-announced Mac Pro. Nothing much to see here. So let’s move on.

Second, new new iPad and iPad mini will be unveiled. We’re looking at unifying the look-and-feel of the tablets, not just in the casing but also in the Retina display. Some are saying since leaked new iPad mini casings are thinner it means there won’t be a Retina display. To support this theory, they go back to when the iPad Retina display was launched which needed a thicker casing. But technology has moved on and I think there should be no need to having a thicker casing this time around. I’m also hoping for Touch ID in both devices.

Finally, some are saying there could be a huge Apple TV announcement. And I think that’s quite possible.

A while back, I told telling my friend Leslie about how Sony flubbed its chance at a whole entertainment ecosystem. It had Smart TVs, Smartphones, tablets, the PlayStation system, and of course music and movies from Sony Music and Sony Pictures. But they don’t co-exist or even work together that well. Maybe they can still catch up. The latest crop of Xperia phones and the launch of the PS Vita and the PS Vita TV are steps in the right direction.

But Apple potentially can do what Sony wasn’t able to do. They have the best-selling (and best IMO) smartphones, best-selling tablets, and a closed and well-protected iTunes content source. What’s still lacking is in the living room. Yes, the Apple TV has done something but it could do a lot more. Currently, it can consume music and movies from iTunes. If it can consume apps and games, it can potentially be a lightweight home computer and game console (and iOS 7 supports game controllers!).

That’s a lot to cover. Is that what we’re going to see tomorrow? Just a day to go to find out!

MacBook Pro Memory Upgrade

Last week, I decided to upgrade the memory of my MacBook Pro from 4GB to 8GB. I did my research and then went to Villman which is my usual go to place for hardware components. Ever since their humble beginnings with Boyet at the People’s Park, I’ve almost always gone for Villman. Lucky for me, they got the modules that I asked for.

When I got home, I excitedly swapped the old memory modules with the new ones. It won’t boot! I  rechecked my research and it turned out that I was wrong. I got PC3-12800 (DDR3 1600 MHz) modules when I should have gotten PC3-8500 (DDR3 1066 MHz). Bummer.

So I went back to Villman and returned the memory modules. They didn’t have PC3-8500 modules but they told me they can order replacements which should be available in 5-15 days. It was quick and painless. And that is why I always come back to Villman.

So today, eight days after ordering, Villman called me that my memory has been delivered to the store. I had no plans of going out but I just had to go and pick them up. Michelle and Jeanne went with me to get snacks. As soon as we got home, I (still) excitedly swapped the old memory modules with the news ones. And this time, it booted up perfectly. And performed whoa so much faster. Memory is definitely the best bang-for-the-buck upgrade!

Joining The Side Of The Light

Now that’s a rather ungainly title. The dark side would be Microsoft. The side of the light would be Apple: somehow it evokes images of a supposedly utopian society, open, clean, orderly, and full of happy, contented people. But under the surface is a dark and sinister truth:  Steve Job’s and his infamous reality distortion field. Those under its spell  goes where he wants them to go and want what he wants them to want.

This is quite ironic since Apple’s famous ad “1984” portrays Apple as the liberator from a controlling entity representing supposedly IBM and, later, Microsoft. The ad is based on the novel of the same name by George Orwell. In the novel, Oceania is totalitarian state whose government  controls the speech, actions, and thoughts of its subjects. The ruler of Oceania is the dictatorial Big Brother. These days, Apple is more and more like the Oceania government and Steve Jobs Big Brother.

Still, it’s undeniable that Apple pulled off a mean feat with the iPhone. Apps is is now an everyday word and the millions and millions of users presents a very compelling argument for developing them. Of course, users buy only apps Apple wants them to buy. What is available on the App Store is tightly controlled by Apple. But hey, just develop what Apple wants you to develop!

Unfortunately, you need a Mac to develop for the iPhone. So today, I pulled the trigger on a 13-inch MacBook Pro. I chose it over the slightly less expensive MacBook because of the faster processor, bigger RAM (4GB!), and, of course, the aluminum unibody (call it higher-end-in-an-egalitarian-society look). Plus I still have the  capability to develop Android apps. I can even play games (that’s the key thing)!

And so begins my journey to the Apple dystopia and hopefully towards becoming an iPhone developer. But first, Starcraft II!