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Falling Back to an Older MacBook Pro (ericasadun.com)
41 points by ingve on Nov 7, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 68 comments

Surprised she did not mention MagSafe. This is, IMO, the single biggest unforced error Apple has made in a decade filled with them.

Yes, this is really my biggest issue with the new MacBooks or rather was my biggest issue, until I found out there are numerous magnetic connectors and complete cables for USB-C[1].

Now that I use such a cable (L shape, like MagSafe 1), I find it better than the T shaped MagSafe 2 cables, which would disconnect/fall off all the time from my 2015 MBP.

1) Like this one (no affiliation at all): https://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-Adapter-Connector-Quick-Char...

Yes, there are adaptors like that, and my dad uses them. Unfortunately he has to keep removing it to plug in other USB-C devices (e.g. USB-C to HDMI) in the port next to it, because it's so wide that it blocks the neighbouring port.

I am aware that there are alternatives. But none of them are as good as the original (Apple hold some key patents, evidently) and second, it is just another POS to carry around and eventually lose. Steve is rolling in his grave.

The only reason i'm really okay with the USB charging is that i can have one USB-C cable from my monitor that covers monitor and charging hookups. My work desk has is much less cluttered now.

MagSafe had two flaws: the magnetic connector could become unreliable, and the cable around the connector was weak. USB-C is rated for a much higher number of inserts and being able to insert on either side is covering a lot of my old vulnerable cable situations.

I don’t know enough about EE to say why they don’t want a magnet between the USB-C connector and the rest of the cable.

I agree with all these points but i also have a huge dent on the side of my screen from when my laptop fell off the table when i tripped on the charging cable...

I'm still using a laptop with a MagSafe charger and have never seen the connector becoming unreliable (nor do I know anyone has had this issue).

The little MagSafe 1 to 2 adapters have been problematic for me and others, but the original chargers are not something I've heard problems about. I've not been able to find out what happens with the adapters, but it was surprising how many I went through.

My experience is that they work better again when you clean the contacts with rubbing alcohol.

We had a substantial minority of our chargers at work develop the issue. It’s not a black-and-white state so you might just know people who became more deliberate about attaching it over time.

Usually it's just little bits of magnetized crud getting into the plug or receptacle. A gap of even 1mm seems to be enough to disrupt things.

I haven’t seen the magnetic failure, but the cable quality thing is just Apple looking at form over function. The company has an aversion to cable boots.

The MagSafe connected to the computer I'm on right now is 10 years old and in perfect condition.

I own a few USB-C devices, which are all obviously much newer, and none are as reliable as the MagSafe.

MagSafe trained me not to worry overmuch about snagging the charging cable, over a matter of some years. Then they took it away--replaced by a mechanically quite solid coupler for any off-axis forces. (Welcome to the ground!)

I've replaced my MagSafe with a loosely fitting outlet adapter so in case of a cable tug it rips the charger out of the wall.

This sucks.

What is the error? MagSafe is fine, although I think USB-C is a bit better in terms of the whole "not falling out when you brush past it"

I think they meant dropping MagSafe was a huge error.

Does anyone else find it crazy that the base SSD in the Air and MBP is still only 128 GB? The Air I can maybe understand, but for the MBP, it's ridiculous.

I have used a 128GB Macbook Pro for almost two years and only when I go nuts with Docker images do I approach my limit. My projects and saved content (books and images) are fine on an external drive and if I ever need one of my projects when I don’t have my external drive I can just clone the repo. Everything that you value needs to follow the 3-2-1 rule so anything that is even vaguely important can be retrieved from a cloud backup. I guess if I did not have network access it could be problematic but I have yet to be in such a scenario.

Of course it would be nice for Apple to lay off the price gouging but it by no means makes the device useless. I also reinstall my OS frequently and organize my data very deliberately so that takes away a lot of the decision-making that people try to avoid when using one big hard disk. I really only want MacOS and my applications on the device.

For the Air, I imagine it's because they assume people just watch YouTube all day and store everything in the cloud.

For the Pro, it's probably for corporations who want to save money on office laptops. I don't need 128GB for work, only for personal use. Some users would also choose the 128 GB model and fit their own 2TB Intel 660P with an adaptor... except oh no they can't, because the SSD is soldered on to the motherboard now.

I think they use terrible specs just to market a lower starting price.

> Unexpectedly, on returning to the 2015 MBP, I didn’t suddenly go “omgomg the keyboard is amazing again”. The older style was never amazing compared to any good mechanical keyboard. I adapted to the new keyboard just fine, even though my hands never really were big enough for it to be truly comfortable. Yes, the older keyboard’s keys really are less of a stretch but it wasn’t that much of a hardship either way.

New keyboard’s really, really loud, but otherwise (stuck keys aside) agree, previous was only marginally better. Bigger difference if you go back to the generation before that—even more key travel, quite a bit nicer.

Well I for one did go omgomg when I went back. Stuck keys or not, I never got to more than 80% typing speed on the new keyboard and I never learned how to use the arrow keys. I hope my “brand new” mbp2015 will last at least 5 years and then I can reevaluate the situation which might very well lead to me buying a Surface.

Oh my god, the arrow keys. After 2 years still can't use them.

Same here. 2 years in and I need to look down every time I need to reach for the arrow keys.

That said, I do love my 2015 MBP keyboard in general, and loathe the 2018 one.

I now have a silicon cover on top of the keyboard which gives me a slightly better touch typing experience but is worse for other things.

I zomg when I use my 2008 MacBook Pro. That solid keyboard! All those ports!! User replaceable everything!!

Have you updated your hard drive for an SSD? I'm considering buying a 4TB Samsung 860 EVO for my 2007 MacBook Pro. Maybe two, one in the optical bay.

Yes, it’s reasonably speedy for many tasks.

That's how my T480 feels.

I'm using my 2017 Macbook Pro and I hardly use the early 2019. I never liked the touchbar.

Honestly my 2012 MBA with 8GB RAM is still perfectly fine as my daily dev machine. Macs are expensive but if you shell out for the top specced model they can last a loooong time.

Same. Will keep going through the MBA's.

This is exactly what I have, what I'm typing on right now, and I love it.

The 2017 has a Touch Bar, unless it's the entry level version, in which case I don't understand why you would purchase a 2019 which is essentially the same device... but with a Touch Bar that you never liked

I got the 2019 from my company. I have the 2017 no touchbar model.

2012 mbp. Still mostly self serviceable, and I'm on my second display, third hard drive, and second set of RAM.

I'm gonna ride this heavy machine until the wheels fall off.

After hearing about the MacBooks that had serious issues interfacing with audio hardware in 2018 (which would have been an incredibly bad problem for me), I'm too scared to upgrade from my 2013 MBP. It's too much money to spend on something that might have problems.

EDIT: Did Apple ever even fix that? I think it had something to do with the T2 processor.

I sure wish my 2011 17-inch MacBook Pro would come back from the dead! With its two giant removable batter bays! swoon

Two removable batteries? The 2011 unibody didn't have any removable battery. Were you using a case?

You're right, I had it confused with my good old 540c. I looked at the 17 inch one's corpse, and it had one removable battery on the bottom, so it must not have been the unibody.

The thing I loved about the 540c was being able to swap in either a disk drive, a cdrom, or another battery into either of the two bays. And there was even a PowerPC upgrade for the 68k ones, that made them useful for several more years!

I use a MacBook Pro 15" Retina mid-2014 as my main laptop. The screen is beautiful. I upgraded it with a 2TB SSD (Apple OEM from a Mac Pro, but Intel 660P works with an adaptor), and an Adam mDrive SD adaptor (currently 400GB, but hopefully 1 TB or 2TB eventually).

Recently I bought some more Thunderbolt 2 adaptors (they're getting hard to find). A dual USB and Ethernet adaptor has been very useful, I didn't realise how often I need 3 USB ports. The Transcend JetDrive 855 is also great for using the old SSD over Thunderbolt, and also supports M.2 using an adaptor.

Earlier this year my spare laptop was a 2013 MacBook Air 13". My dad's MacBook Pro 13" mid-2015 had a swollen battery, so he bought a new laptop and told me I could inherit his old one if I repair it. So I gave the Air to my girlfriend. The reflective coating is peeling off the 2015 Pro's screen, and that makes it look worse. But the battery life is still much better than my 15", for reasons I don't totally understand but is probably related to background processes.

About a month ago, I repaired a friend's Mac SE, and he gave me his 15" MacBook Pro 2007! That was the computer I had when I went off to university. Oh, how I love that keyboard. It feels amazing. The keys blend together without the holes in between, it's a joy to type on. Now I'm upgrading it with a dual USB 3.0 ExpressCard 34 adaptor and a new battery, and I'm wondering about buying a 4 TB Samsung 860 EVO (or two, one for the optical bay). That would give it more capacity than my main laptop!

I'm still procrastinating the SSD upgrade, because I wonder if new 2.5" SATA drives will be released with even more capacity, e.g. 6TB or 8TB. It seems like Samsung often schedule product releases in November, so if I haven't heard by the end of the month, I'll probably just order it. If a new 4 TB M.2 drive comes out then that would be nice too, for my main laptop. There's also the possibility of a dual M.2 to SATA adaptor, but then the M.2 drives need to support SATA and I think the 2TB Intel 660P doesn't.

A year and a half ago I bought a base-level 13" mbp with 8G ram, 128G ssd, and no touchbar. I have really enjoyed using it, and I fortunately haven't had any keyboard issues yet.

I've been toying with the idea of upgrading for more RAM, so I can do my minimal Windows and Linux work in VMs and get rid of my other dedicated, rarely used laptops. When I found out that all macbook pros have touchbars now, I scoured the internet for a new 13" mbp with function keys. I got the last one from BH Photo, with 16G ram and 1TB ssd. I was very happy to find it. I hope I get a few years out of it, and I hope I don't have keyboard issues with it.

I got my 2015's screen replaced because of Staingate so I get to have a shiny new screen and a computer that's actually usable without 23 dongles. I hope it doesn't die until an actually desirable MBP comes around.

I'm back on my 2013 13" MBP, I am using it with Pop_OS because I have an nVidia eGPU and it works much better with my 4K monitor. I am waiting on an adapter to pair the NVMe drive from my dead NUC and an ethernet adapter. Hopefully that combination will be powerful enough for another year, when I can get a desktop that supports my TB3 eGPU and also supports a PCIe 4.0 alternative later. I was super-surprised to discover it even performs well enough to continue gaming despite using TB2.

Am I and everyone I know the only people using newer MBPs with no issues? I’m not without complaints, but it seems hardly a week goes by without the same stuff being brought up for the past few years. What’s unique about Apple products that draws so much attention, popularity?

I do miss MagSafe, but I love being able to use any of the ports without thinking about it and sharing accessories. I don’t really use the touchbar so I guess that could go.

Does anyone think the TouchBar should be relocated to where the "MacBook Pro" logo resides? That way it'd be in front of your eyes and fingertips.

I think the whole concept needs to be moved to a companion mode for iPhone and iPad. And maybe Apple Watch. As it is you can’t make it part of your workflow if you use an external keyboard any significant portion of the time, assuming you even want to in the first place.

If TouchBar was above the function key row, as opposed to replacing it, everyone would praise it as yet another example of Apple's genius at UI/usability. But it's not, so they don't.

I finally forced myself to spend a solid six weeks using nothing but Linux after decades of using almost exclusively Macs. It's been much easier than I expected. Ubuntu 18.04 on a Dell XPS runs great. It has some rough edges but it feels like my computer, rather than one I'm just borrowing from Apple.

Unless Apple makes a serious commitment to quality and stops prioritizing form over function, I'm done with them.

Linux is great for that feeling. It subsides when you upgrade your firmware and spend 1.5 hours scrawling forums and tinkering in the terminal. Either way I’m happy to be a Pop!_OS user.

Definitely agree about the ports. Whenever I pull out my old 2013 Macbook, it feels like a futuristic luxury to have a builtin (standard) USB port.

Still using my 2013 Air, but the touch pad is getting finicky. I really need to thump it to get a click. I don't know is this is fixable ...

Highly recommend checkout out Dells XPS lines once you've had enough. I find them nicer to use than any MacBook I've had.

dhh is pretty frustrated with apple's years-long keyboard screw-ups, so he had a fresh look at windows:


his conclusion would be mine as well.

yes, apple is making a lot of mistakes, but their story is still miles beyond windows or linux, as far as i'm concerned. the situation would have to get a lot worse before i would consider switching.

Yeah i can't stand Windows. Give Kubuntu a go, just boot a USB and play with it. You'll be surprised how far Linux desktop has come.

I switch regularly between the 2018 15" MBP from work and the personal 2012 retina 15" MBP. The most obvious difference I see immediately is that the CPU in the 2018 model is substantially faster. And boy the the bigger trackpad is nice.

I hate the bigger trackpad. I feel I'm always touching it by accident while typing.

One thing that helped keep my 2015 viable is upgrading to a bigger and faster NVMe SSD. There are cheap adapters that let you install an M.2 drive. There are some pre-reqs and not all drives work but I've had zero issues with mine.

Still working with my 2012 MacBook. It’s the last Macintosh I will ever own, there are far too many negatives and pitfalls with the new models.

My 2013 MPB still does the job, I had acquired an iPhone SE a year or so ago and I'm very happy with it, with both of 'em.

I've come up with a modern version of Gate's saying of "640K ought to be enough for everyone". 95% of people are fine with an i7 and 16GB of RAM. If you're not running a bunch of VM's, that's enough computer. That's my 2012 MacBook Pro, and it's still getting the job done.

> I've come up with a modern version of Gate's saying of "640K ought to be enough for everyone".

he never said that. i personally really don't like the guy, but putting words in his mouth is never fair.


He did say something very close to that:

> When we set the upper limit of PC-DOS at 640K, we thought nobody would ever need that much memory.

The parent is not even using the quote for it’s original effect, I find it amusing that you’d take the time to comment on that.

i've never seen that, but even if he said it, that quote is not even in the same ballpark.

the 8088 had a one megabyte address space, more or less. when the original architects were deciding how to allocate that space to ram, rom, peripherals, etc, it made sense to talk about where to put the dividing line, to say how much of it goes to ram. that's a small-scale technical-decision-type quote, whereas the one that gets repeated over and over and over and over again, erroneously, seems designed to show that gates was dangerously short-sighted about the future of computing.

gates has a lot of faults, but that's not one of them.

It’s quoted in the link you posted yourself.

Maybe you’re reading too much into it? I think he was honestly amazed by a 10x jump, and we hadn’t learned yet that programs will naturally expand to fill all the resources available.

Sounds like my mid-2015. I thrash it with DaVinci Resolve (video) and Lightroom (photo editing), Photoshop, etc - all prosumer tools. It copes well enough that I don't feel pressured to upgrade.

16GB. Interesting. Is this the magic threshold?

My Dell XPS has 8GB. Definitely not enough!

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