AMITIAE - Wednesday 13 November 2013

Latest MacBook Pro Models Arrive in Thailand (3): Filling in Some Blanks

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By Graham K. Rogers

MacBook Pro

The latest MacBook Pro arrived at my office early this week. They were announced last month and I had to make some compromises with screen size and storage capacity. I compensated with the addition of an extra 8 GB RAM, bringing the total to 16 GB.

When I examined the new MacBook Pro on Monday, I was more concerned with preparing the older 15" Mac Book Pro, with its 500 GB hard disk and managed to offload a good amount of data. The SSD in the 13" Mac is 512 GB so with about 227 GB spare, that should hold for a while. Once I had done the preparation including backing up the 15" Mac several times, I was ready to transfer the accounts and data to the new MacBook Pro 13". I started late in the evening and with 18 minutes still to go, went to bed. Not long after I dozed off, the Mac start up chime woke me for a moment. The login screen was ready to use.

When I logged in the following morning, there were a number of corrections to be made:

  • Little Snitch Rules - I had to confirm that the backup rules were to be used

  • Time Machine offered to inherit the backup to use on the new machine. That needed to have the whole thing on board, so took a while for the 21.65 GB backup.

  • gfxCardStatus showed it was not supported: this has a single graphics card.

  • Dropbox went round and round with me unable to connect, a need to enter account details, but no way to enter those details. I quit for the time being. A restart brought it back up and I was able to enter account details.

  • Mail first needed me to update the Mailboxes which took a while (13531 messages). Connections were not so easy as the update had nudged out some of the passwords I had entered, including the Wi-Fi. The Mac had also renamed itself to the same as the old one. The network did not like that. The network did change the name of the old one to something acceptable. Then we were online.

  • Fetch crashed immediately, but on restart was impeccable.

  • Feed for All (another app that requires FTP access) needed me to update a single feed that I had sent out after the update, but was also perfectly behaved.

  • iBooks showed all the books and PDFs in my collection correctly.

  • iTunes had all the music, all my apps, and even recognised the iPhone, but I was not sure if I needed to change any settings (like before) as the iPhone was associated with the other computer. While I thought about it, I pressed Sync and the iPhone disappeared: try again later.

    A message on the iPhone told me that the phone number had been added to the new Mac (that was something) and in the settings, the device was recognised OK., but still declined to sync. Indeed, while trying the iPhone managed to syncronize with the older Mac. More work here. I would have to look up some of my old notes.

  • Aperture needed a straight repair. This took a few seconds, but there was a lot of processing afterwards of more than 3,000 images: that went by fairly quickly.

Time Machine finished its backup by the time I was ready for work, so the Mac went into the backback. A number of students and staff were suitably impressed. I was able to confirm that the video-VGA connector I had used on the other Mac for a long time, still works in the Thunderbolt port. I will have to take some time setting up the VGA projectors as the older one I was given today only had a small profile. The settings on the Mac meant that the Retina display was wasted. Those I usually access have a larger resolution and the output is far better.

The students - several of whom have Macs - looked closely at the normal display on the Retina screen. So did a colleague with a MacBook Air: lines on the icons on that older machine were evident. He expressed his dissatisfaction with a loud snort. My colleagues and students were also impressed with the speeds at which the 13" MacBook Pro was able to restart from sleep and to go into sleep mode.

Back at home, more software was ready to be downloaded. That came down in the background while I went through adding passwords to Keychains as certain sites were accessed. I added the Little Snitch registration and then deleted this app from the 15" Mac.

In the end, linking my iPhone to the new Mac was quite easy. As in the morning, it was identified. I made sure the Mac was authorised for the iTunes Store and synced. None of the earlier transfer of purchases, no backup (now in iCloud), no reinstall. I just carry on using the device, but now sync with the new Mac.

Throughout I had been using the Mac on the battery, despite work this morning and at the office, late evening has arrived and there is still 23% left. That will help. What will be less help is the poor repairability identified by iFixit. With the way the circuits, processor, chips, RAM and battery all look like one, repairs are likely to be a problem. AppleCare will be added to my shopping list fairly soon.

I looked again at the display used on the Mac when the AppleTV is accessed using the icon on the menu bar. The screen changed to a thinner display and added another alternative to the Scaled types: of 1080p (also shown were 720p and 2560 x 1440 for both Mac and TV. Selecting "Best for AppleTV" made zero difference to the Mac's screen.

MacBook Pro
Screenshot from MacBook Pro 13" Connected to AppleTV

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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