Love my new MacBook Pro M1 Pro 14-inch

This is my first new computer in 8 years. I ordered it right after the presentation on October 19, and it arrived yesterday. I can’t think of a negative thing to say about it. It’s blazingly fast compared to my late 2013 MacBook Pro retina 13-inch.

I ordered the base model, plus upped the RAM to 32 GB (compared to 16 GB on my old computer) and increased the internal storage to 2 TB (compared to 512 GB on my old computer). This was important because I couldn’t even fit my Photos library on my internal drive anymore; it had been on an external SSD. Photos app is much quicker now, and it will make backups going forward easier too.

Using the Migration Assistant it was very straightforward to migrate my data by connecting my Time Machine drive to the new MBP using a nifty, lightweight, inexpensive adapter I got that includes three USB ports and an Thunderbolt 3 compatible Ethernet connector, replacing the old Apple Thunderbolt 2 Ethernet connector I had. It works very well. My network speed is great, and I am able to connect my external drive and my old hub with the Time Machine drive and Carbon Copy Cloner drive to it.

Absolutely no problems so far. It’s beautiful, bright, and did I say fast? It’s amazingly fast compared to my 2013 computer. Everything is like instantaneous.

Here are some photos, with some more details.

The box arrived! That’s Pao’s stuff under the dining room table. The box itself is unusually sturdy, with thick walls. I only mention it because I’d never seen such a nicely constructed cardboard box before.
Removing the seal.
Opening the box. Apparently there’s some controversy over the non-illuminated new black logo, but I think it looks great.
There has also been some debate about the new MBP because it’s thicker than those of recent years. But it’s actually slightly thinner than my 2013 version. Part of this has to do with restoring the kind of keyboard people like and more ports.
It handles fine even with one hand. The weight is about the same as my 2013 model.
Ports on the left side: MagSafe power connector, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a headphone jack.
Ports on the right side: An SD card slot, one Thunderbolt 4 connector, and and HDMI connector. So the total number of ports is actually one less than on my old MBP, but the new ports are more flexible.
The charger “brick” – about the same size as my old one, but 67 W instead of 60 W. Apple also offers a larger 97 W charging brick, and people who got it seem to be complaining about how large and bulky it is. I’m good with this one.
Everybody seems to love the new MagSafe cable, which is textured, instead of just a plain plastic covering like the old ones.
Opening the new MBP for the first time. It still has a protective screen sheet on it. The MBP was sent fully charged and chimed and started running as soon as I opened the lid.
I hooked up my Time Machine external drive and started the migration assistant. It took about 5-6 hours to finish transferring 500 GB of data and over 2 million files, but worked without a hitch.
This is the very lightweight, inexpensive, multipurpose cable/adaptor I got that includes an Ethernet connector to attach to my router, and three USB plugs for attaching old drives and whatever. Works great.

Here’s a link to purchase the Uni adaptor from Amazon (note, this is an affiliate link). But I do highly recommend it.

Ethernet speed is at least as good as it was with the original Apple Thunderbolt 2 to Ethernet adapter I had – 760 Mbps download / 861 Mbps upload on my home fiber optic: https://www.speedtest.net/my-result/d/367497809

My new 2021 MBP on the left, and my old 2013 MBP on the right.
Even though the body is about the same size and weight (it’s even a little thinner), the new display is larger (14-inch vs 13-inch) and much brighter. I haven’t experienced some of the new specs like 120 Hz motion yet, but the display really is beautiful. There’s a notch now (which I don’t notice) for the improved FaceTime camera, which I haven’t tested yet.
The keyboard is beautiful. The top row are full-sized function keys, instead of half-height like on my old MBP, and in the top right is a TouchID sensor, which has already come in handy when opening up certain settings that require extra security. No need to manually enter your computer password each time.
Here’s my new MBP on my desk, in front of the external display.

Anyway, I have most things up and running now. I needed to update Chrome to the Apple Silicon version (otherwise it would use Rosetta), and I still haven’t set up BackBlaze to “inherit” my old Mac’s backup. And I really don’t know what’s new in MacOS Monterey yet. But so far it’s great.

There’s this cute article somebody recommended that semi-sarcastically skips over the last 5 years of MacBook Pros, with various keyboard and port complaints, and praises this new MBP from the viewpoint of many years ago. It’s a fun read, so check it out. I didn’t have any of those intermediate versions, so it’s all good to me!

I do think I will change the new default screensaver though. It looks sort of apocalyptic when swirling.

Anyway, it’s fun to have a new computer after all these years. Now to get some work done!

Tech Talk: New keyboard and battery for my 2013 MacBook Pro

I have a late 2013 MBP 13 inch retina, which is going on 7 years old. It has 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD.

In late 2016, just before my AppleCare warranty expired, Apple changed the top case for me because some keys were worn out. That included the keyboard, battery, trackpad, and top case.

Over the next few years keys started getting worn out again (not sure why) but everything worked fine.

Over the last few months though some keys stopped working well. Sporadic no response from certain keys like “i” and “u” and a few others.

I tried removing the errant keys and using an air duster and then replacing them but still it only helped for a few minutes, if at all. And I think I messed up the scissor mechanism under the “i” and it’s not back in right.

Anyway, it became impossible to use reliably for coding and just general use. So I started using an external bluetooth keyboard and mouse, which worked surprisingly well. With that setup, the external keyboard was in front of my MBP and behind it I have an external 27″ LG monitor as a 2nd screen.

This is ok at home but obviously not great when used portable. I do that very rarely though. But still, it makes travel difficult.

I brought my MBP over to a 3rd party repair shop in Shinjuku where they said they can change the keyboard, and they claimed the battery was also enlarged! I can’t tell, but they swear it is so. More cost. But also worry, because I don’t want the computer blowing up on me in the meantime! I felt a bit strange about that shop, though, and left without getting anything done.

I was also thinking of upgrading to a new MBP, but with the new “Apple Silicon” Macs coming out later this year I feel like I want to wait for that. I would feel uneasy buying into a new Intel version at the moment.

After checking around with other shops, I went ahead and had the replacements done at a little hole-in-the-wall repair shop in Asakusabashi. Very friendly. It cost 50,000 yen = $466, and I think it was well worth it.

First, the battery was definitely expanded. See photo compared to normal.

The repair guy said the battery would not catch fire or explode but gases would start leaking. I’m not sure what the effects of that would be though. But of course it would impact on the trackpad.

The keyboard was messed up due to spilled liquids over time though I swear I never spilled anything on it. There may have been splattered food from time to time though. I guess over time it had a bad effect. I hope I can be more careful going forward.

The repair guy said the key surfaces themselves wearing out over time happens no matter how careful and clean my hands are.

But now it’s like new and I’m a happy camper, and I’m happy to wait for the ARM ones now.

I would think this would have pretty good resale value with the extra RAM (16 GB) and large-ish SSD (512 GB). I can’t think of a reason why it shouldn’t resell for at least the cost of a new basic MacBook Air when it comes time.


On a completely unrelated note, I’m leaving politics off my personal blog this year. But I’m really into the election and, as most of you know, am voting for Biden and really hope to Trump goes down to defeat. I have a completely separate blog devoted to these kinds of politics, and I if you are interested, I hope you subscribe. You can check it out at unitednewsreports.com. Also, I have a FaceBook group for the election for people wanting to work to defeat Trump at https://www.facebook.com/groups/victory2020 – so feel free to join that as well.

New MacBook Pro USB-C-only ports – Flexible? Messy? Definitely expensive.

The more I think about it the weirder it seems that the new MacBook Pro only includes USB-C ports. There isn’t even an HDMI port anymore. That’s pretty standard. If you upgrade you will need separate adapters for everything. And they aren’t cheap.

On the one hand I suppose you could say this is maximum flexibility. Any port can be used for any purpose. But you have to spend a couple of hundred dollars just on basic adapter cables. It’s messy and not very consumer friendly.

You can’t even connect your iPhone directly to the new MacBook Pro anymore! You need an extra $25 lightning to USB/C cable! That’s a bit over the top I think.

You even need to use one of the USB-C ports for charging.