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OWC videos on how to upgrade your Mac’s RAM, HDD

Been looking into getting the new 13″ MacBook Pro soon and instead of paying Apple more to get a memory and hard drive upgrade, I’ll save a lot if I do it myself.

I’ve already done memory module upgrades on a Powerbook, an iBook, an Intel iMac, and a MacBook before, and fairly recently, replaced a MacBook’s dead hard drive for a new one. In all instances I used the web to find tutorials on how to do the job.

With the 13″ MacBook Pro purchase looking, I was glad to find Other World Computing’s large library of tutorials on how to upgrade a memory module or hard drives on a Mac. They also have tutorials on replacing optical drives on some Macs and replacing iPod batteries.

Other World Computing, by the way, is one of the best online resources for computer hardware accessories. Their e-commerce site, macsales.com, has one of the largest catalog for Mac, iPod and iPhone upgrades and expansion products.

OWC makes the 13″ MacBook Pro RAM and HDD upgrades look pretty straightforward. Each video begins with a skill level rating and the average time it should take for the upgrade to complete. The video also shows a list of necessary tools and also some reminders (like anti-static precaution and all that). There are three video qualities you can choose from, choice would probably depend on how fast your internet connection is.

Skill level rating for both RAM and HDD upgrade are “easy” and time required is only take 10 minutes. If the memory module and HDD upgrades are done in just one sitting, it probably just take 15 minutes.

Removing the memory module

HDD brace

Some notes on removing the bottom cover of the 13″ MacBook Pro:

  • A #00 Phillips screwdriver is required.
  • Ten screws need to be removed from the bottom of the 13″ MacBook Pro.
  • Three screws are longer than the res. These are located near the hinge.
  • The screws go in at angle and not straight down.

Screw at an angle

I’ve read complaints about how the RAM and HDD upgrades are not very user-friendly on the new MacBook Pros. However, based on these two videos I think they’re wrong. It would be interesting to see if someone with little or no experience when it comes to tinkering with computers can at least do the RAM upgrade just by watching OWC’s video.

Finally. A Mac-related post.

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Filed under: iMac, Mac, Mac mini, MacBook, MacBook Pro, , , , ,

Apple In-Ear with Remote and Mic gets minor upgrade

Just when I was about to buy the Apple In-ear Headphones with Remote and Mic, they had to go and upgrade it. I guess I should be thankful that it has taken me this long to decide.

The subtle headphone plug upgrade will hopefully address complaints regarding the previous version’s rubber plug coming loose.

Now, what can I do about the wire becoming brittle after prolonged use?

Filed under: Hardware, , ,

Updates: Final Cut Pro; Time Capsule, AirPort Firmware; Java; Bluetooth

According to AppleInsider, Apple has released updates for Final Cut Pro and a firmware update for Time Capsules and Airport Base Stations.

The Final Cut Pro 6.0.6 update fixes problems with real-time playback in Final Cut Pro with Mac Pro (Early 2009) models and Xserve (Early 2009) models.

Time Capsule and AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.4.2 provides several fixes, including:

  • Fixes some problems with extending and maintaining connectivity with extended networks
  • Fixes an issue with clients that enable 802.11 “Power Save”
  • Fixes connectivity issues with some third-party devices
  • Fixes an issue when the base station is configured for PPPoE
  • Fixes some Back To My Mac issues with connectivity and support for third-party routers

It is recommended, however, that the user first download Airport Utility Update 5.4.2 before upgrading to the 7.4.2 firmware. The utility is available for both Mac and Windows and is needed in order to install the new firmware.

Previous updates not mentioned

Apple also released a few more updates last week including Bluetooth Firmware Update 2.0 and a patch for a a security hole in Java.

Bluetooth Firmware Update 2.0 provides bug fixes and better compatibility with the Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse and Apple Wireless Keyboard. It installs on all Macintosh systems with Bluetooth based on the Broadcom chipset.

The Java plugs a critical security hole that has been around for months again according to AppleInsider. Apple came under heavy criticism in the previous months for failing to patch a hole in a version of Java that shipped with Mac OS X that could leave a user vulnerable to attacks when using the web.

Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) and Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4) versions of the update are available.

You can fire up Software Utility or check out the links below to manually download the files (except for the Time Capsule/Airport Base Station firmware):

Filed under: Airport, OS X, Time Capsule, , , ,

AnandTech: “The best battery life I’ve ever seen”

One of the sites that I trust* when it comes to hardware reviews gave its wholehearted approval for the new 15″ MacBook Pro when it came to battery life.

There’s no other way to say this. If you care about battery life and portability at all, buy the new MacBook Pro.

AnandTech’s review of the new 15″ MacBook Pro only covered the hardware and battery changes as most of the internal and external components remained the same when compared to the one it replaces.

Noted hardware changes were the processor speed bump, the new built-in lithium polymer battery, the replacement of the ExpressCard slot with an SD card slot, and the exclusion of the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M in the low end 15″ MacBook Pro. The hard drive and RAM are still user replaceable but requires more use of the screw driver.

What got Anand Lal Shimpi’s attention was the battery life of the new MacBook. His initial test involved browsing a series of 20 webpages, spending 20 seconds on each page, while iTunes is playing in the background. He describes this as an extremely light test. He was amazed to find he got 8.13 hours on that test.

Eight, freakin, hours. I couldn’t believe it. In my lightest test, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro lasted eight hours and eight minutes. That’s with the screen at half brightness (completely usable) and no funny optimizations. The notebook is just playing music and surfing through a lot of my old reviews. There’s no way this could be right.

A little dubious, he performed to two more tests that added more workload. Even though battery life took a hit, it still surpassed his expectations. With these results in hand, he says:

Either way, Apple’s 7 hour claim is well within reason. For light workloads, even on WiFi, you can easily expect 6.5 – 8 hours out of the new 15-inch MBP… If you do a lot of writing on your notebook, the new MBP is exactly what you’ll want; it will easily last you on a cross-country flight if you need to get work done.

My heaviest workload delivered just under 5 hours of battery life, a figure that the old MBP could only attain while running my lightest workload. This thing rocks.

However, the same can’t be said for Windows running on the MacBook Pro.

On a follow-up review, Anand Lal Shimpi reported that running Windows Vista or Windows 7 on the same 15″ MacBook Pro resulted in awful battery life.

When the new 15″ MacBook Pro was running under Mac OS X 10.5.7 it managed to last 8 hours. Under the same testing conditions, running the MacBook Pro under Vista resulted in a drop of 26% in battery life (6.o2 hours). Worse was the battery life under Windows 7 RC 1 which only lasted 5.48 hours.

Five and a half hours of battery life may not sound so bad but you have to consider the fact that this was tested using a notebook that lasted 8.13 hours running a different OS.

The review also tackled the issue of Apple ‘crippling’ SATA by cutting the speed from 3.0Gbps to 1.5Gbps.  As AnandTech pointed out, the reduction in speed may not matter for those who are using 5400 rpm hard disk drives but it might affect those who are going to use SSDs. He also noted that in the real world, the speed reduction might not even be noticeable but he does take Apple to task for limiting performance.

* I don’t trust AnandTech just because of this glowing review of the 15″ MacBook Pro. I’ve used the site before when I was looking for reviews on different PC components. I don’t visit the site often anymore because I’ve stopped building my own PCs. But if anyone would ask me where he can find good hardware reviews or if I wanted information about a hard drive or RAM, AnandTech would be my first choice.

Filed under: MacBook Pro, OS X, , , ,

Update: Airport Utility Software 2009-002

Apple has just released Airport Utility Software version 5.4.2:

This update includes general fixes and compatibility updates for the following applications: AirPort Utility and AirPort Base Station Agent. The update also installs AirPort Disk Utility on Macs running Tiger.

This 18.9 MB update can be downloaded using Software Update utility.

Software Update

Filed under: Airport,

Updates: iTunes 8.2, Quicktime 7.6.2, iPod shuffle, etc

Apple released an update to iTunes and Quicktime today.

AppleInsider reported that iTunes 8.2 will support iPhones and iPod touches running the iPhone OS 3.0 which is scheduled to be released this month. It also includes “everal accessibility improvements and bug fixes.”

Meanwhile, Quicktime 7.6.2 include changes to “increase reliability, improve compatibility and enhance security”. Also included are some security updates.

Apple, by the way, posted a few updates last week:

  • Third generation iPod shuffle addresses a playback issues and a few bugs plus new VoiceOver Kit languages
  • Garageband 5.0.2 “addresses general compatibility issues, improves overall stability, and fixes a number of other minor issues.  The issues addressed include: improved purchasing experience for Artist Lessons in the GarageBand Lesson Store, and accessing installed Jam Packs in the loop browser.”
  • iWork 9.0.2 ” improves reliability when saving some iWork documents and when playing some presentations more than once per Keynote session.”
  • MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.3 “adjusts the fan behavior in MacBook Pro systems (15-inch and 17-inch) when running under high workload conditions.”

You can fire up Software Update utility or download the updates manually from the links I’ve provided below. (Except for the third generation iPod shuffle. The update is available in iTunes.)

  1. iTunes 8.2
  2. Quicktime 7.6.2 for Mac or Windows
  3. GarageBand 5.0.2
  4. iWork 9.0.2
  5. MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.3

Filed under: iPhone, iPod touch, MacBook Pro, Quicktime,

How to shrink your gear

Dan Frakes ran a series of articles for MacWorld for road warriors which gave tips such as using an Airport Express Base Station as a charger and carrying shorter cables instead of fewer cables.

The last installment of the series covers the incredible shrinking mobile gear. In it he lists down his essential small but powerful tools, like the Apple USB charger, Belkin Micro Auto Charger, Dr. Bott’s T3Hub, and many more. Check it out.

By the way, serious road warriors would be wise to check out his list of essential mobile gear.

Filed under: Airport, Hardware, ,

New white MacBook; free 8GB iPod touch* in Back-to-School promo [u]

First read about the updates to the white MacBooks over at TUAW, with readers tipping the staff  about the quiet upgrade.

The new internal specs are (previous specifications in parentheses):

  • 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (up from 2.0 GHz)
  • 2GB 800MHz DDR2 memory (up from 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM)
  • 160GB hard drive (up from 120GB)

AppleInsider notes that the new white MacBook still uses the same NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card. The graphics card was updated January 21st along with the 1,066MHz front-side bus and doubling of the to RAM to 2GB.

The cheapest MacBook is still priced at $999, and according to AppleInsider the new white MacBook is eligible for Apple’s Back to School promo.

The just announced promo lets qualifying students, faculty or staff members get an *online rebate of $229 when they purchase a Mac and an 8GB iPod touch. Since the 8GB iPod touch costs $229, with the online rebate, it’s like getting the iPod touch for free.

The new white MacBook isn’t available in the Philippine Apple Online Store yet. Perhaps still waiting for stocks to arrive. Non-US TUAW readers have also commented that the upgrade isn’t available in their respective Apple Online Stores as well.

I’m hoping that we’ll have a back-to-school promo here as well.

Update: The Philippine Apple Online Store now has the white MacBook. It retails for ₱ 55,990.00 and estimated shipping is within 24 hours. No back-to-school promo though.

The internal specs between the polycarbonate and the low-end unibody MacBook is almost very similar (the unibody MacBook uses a faster DDR3 RAM). I’m expecting (more like hoping) for an update to the aluminum MacBooks real soon.

Filed under: iPod touch, MacBook, ,

Of market share and accolades

Apple, for the past two weeks, has gotten accolades for their Macs and iPhone and saw an increase in web market share with the help of their iPhone and iPod touch devices.

Consumer Reports [hearts] Macbooks

Apple’s entire MacBook line got top honors in the latest Consumer Reports computer study yet again, according to an AppleInsider article.

The MacBooks and MacBook Pros lead in every laptop size category. In the 13-inch category, the aluminium unibody MacBook takes the gold with a score of 62, MacBook Air takes silver with a score of 60, and the white polycarbonate MacBook takes bronze with a score of 55.

For the 14- to 16-inch category, the MacBook Pro takes top spot scoring a 75, while the the nearest competitor only scored a 64.

The17-inch MacBook Pro won first place with a score of 80 in the 17- to 18-inch category. The second place Windows laptop only got a score of 64.

The rankings were based according to performance, design, versatility, screen quality, and battery life.

The Mac mini and iMac, however, only took second places in the standard desktop category and the all-in-one category, respectively.

Consumer Report also places Apple on top of the list for support services for both portables and desktops. This echoes Forrester’s “Customer Experience Index” report released last month which gave Apple an 80% rating; 14 points above the nearest competitor.

Britain’s got Apple…

…in its top five PC vendors for the first quarter of 2009. Based on Gartner’s April 2009 report, Apple placed fifth on the list with a market share of 4.8%; that’s up 0.5% compared to 2008’s first quarter result.

The iPhone gets honors, too

In JDPower’s “2008 Business Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study“, Apple’s iPhone got top honors, rated as “Among the Best” beating competitors such as HTC, Motorola, Palm, RIM Blackberry, and Samsung.

The study looked at five factors in deciding which smartphone was the best. In order of importance, the five factors are: ease of operation, operating system, physical design, handset features, and battery aspects.

The iPhone received an overall smartphone customer satisfaction score of 778 out of 1,000. It garnered perfect scores in all factors except one: battery life. Second place RIM Blackberry got 703 and Samsung, 701.

iPod touch triples web market share in five months

According to an April 2009  Net Applications report, Apple’s iPod touch garnered 0.15% of web market share. Might not seem much but when compared to the 0.05% market share last November, last month’s 0.15% represents a threefold increase for the multi-touch-based iPod.

For the iPhone the period between November 2008 and April 2009 resulted in an increase of 0.18%; from 0.37% to 0.55%.

When combined, both iPhone and iPod touch give Apple the largest share in the mobile web space.

However, things are different in the desktop/laptop space. The Cupertino company saw a slight dip in web market share from last month’s figures. Mac OS figures fell 0.04% from March’s 9.77% to April’s 9.73%.

Windows has it worse though; shares dropped from March’s 88.14% to April’s 87.90%, and when compared to last June 2008’s results, last month’s figures represents a fall of almost 3% in web market share.

AppleInsider does tell readers that the numbers doesn’t directly translate to actual unit market share and can be swayed by usage patterns.”

Last but not the least…

MacDailyNews reports that Vitrue, a social media marketing company, has released its ranking of the top 100 social media brands of 2008, and Apple has managed to place itself four times on the top 20. Macs are placed #16, the iPod on #7, Apple as a company third, and on first place is the iPhone. According to Vitrue the list:

comprises a mix of blue-chip brands that Vitrue deems to be successfully establishing their social presence and commanding attention and engagement online.

Filed under: Apple, Inc., Hardware, iPhone, ,

The Macalope Speaketh

AntlersThis week on The Macalope Weekly:

The $700 iPad cometh. Or not. But that would be one expensive sanitary napkin.

Verizon will be the carrier of choice for the iPad. When it’s that time of the month, it will automatically be sent to Twitter.

Finally, OS X on netbooks? Fail!

Check out what the horned out has to say.

Filed under: Hardware,

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So www.davaomacuser.com no longer points to davaomacuser.wordpress.com.

I've already got a few new posts over there so please join me at www.davaomacuser.com.

See you there. Thanks!

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