MacBook Prod 15″ Retina : Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter


I mentioned in my recent post about Riga Dev Day 2015 I had some trouble with my VGA adapter and had to borrow one from Andrejs. It seemed to be working fine before I left. I was going to buy a cheap replacement from Amazon, but after reading a few reviews I bought another £25 adapter from Apple. Both the new one and the old one seem to be working fine…

The Apple website says the “Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter” will work with either a Mini DisplayPort, like I had on my old 13” MBP, or a thunderbolt connector, like I have on the new MBP.

I did a bit of hunting on the net and it seems there are a lot of people out there having trouble with the retina MBPs when connecting to some projectors. Currently I have the native HDMI connector, which I’m using to connect to a second monitor. I also have 2 VGA adapters and a DVI adapter. I feel like that should cover all the bases, but I still feel like I should be taking my old laptop with me, just in case…

If anyone else out there has a recent 15″ MBP Retina with only thunderbolt connectors, I would be interested to hear your experiences with projectors on your travels. Should I be worried? :)



PS. Macs just work… Sometimes…

OS X Mavericks on MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009)


After getting back from the OTN Nordic Tour 2013, I figured it was time to give OS X Mavericks a go.

I’m currently using a MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009). It’s a little long in the tooth, but it has 8G RAM and a 256G SSD, so it still performs pretty well. At least well enough for me not to replace it just yet. :)

The download took about 30 minutes. I guess I’m a little behind the curve here because lots of people complained about the download times. It pays to hold off for a few days. The installation took about the same amount of time too, so after about an hour I had Mavericks up and running.

Several people reported really slow performance after the upgrade. So far it looks pretty much the same to me.

I had already read Jason Arneil‘s article about VirtualBox 4.3 on OS X Mavericks, which saved me a lot of time. I can’t live without VirtualBox, so any OS that can’t run it is out of the Window for me. I had similar issues to those he saw and fixed them in the same way. Thanks Jason!

So now everything is running as normal. If anything scary jumps out I will report… :)




MacBook Pro Mid 2009 : Replacing hard drive with SSD…


I’ve had my 13″ MacBook Pro since the mid 2009 refresh and it’s been really reliable. Apart from one brief visit to Apple to replace a noisy fan, I’ve had no worries. A few years ago I upgraded from 4G  to 8G RAM, so I’m not stranger to taking the back off it.

Even though it’s quite old by computer geek standards, I really don’t have any performance problems. I do demos with a couple of Linux VMs running Oracle and it works OK. Despite this, I was bored the other night and decided to buy an SSD to replace the internal hard drive. It arrived yesterday, so during last nights insomnia, I decided to fit the hard drive, rather than stare at the ceiling.

The actual hard drive replacement is pretty simple. You can see an example of it here. It takes about 5 minutes.

The transfer of the data proved a little more tricky than I expected though…

Attempt 1:

I use Time Machine for backups, so I slapped in the new hard drive, booted from the CD and expected to just restore from Time Machine. It turns out my Time Machine backups weren’t as complete as I thought. :(

Attempt 2:

No worries. I connected my old hard drive using a USB cable, booted from the CD and used the Disk Utility to restore the old hard drive to the new SSD. That would have been fine, except the new hard drive was fractionally smaller than the old one. That would have been fine for a Time Machine backup, since the old drive was not completely full, but for an image restore it’s a big no-no. Now I was starting to get worried. I could always replace the old drive, but I was starting to think I might have wasted my money.

Attempt 3:

So finally I bit the bullet and re-installed Snow Leopard (the most recent media I had), upgraded to Lion, then Mountain Lion through the App Store. Once that was done I dragged my apps and data from the old drive across to the new drive. Job’s a good’un!

So it got solved in the end, but it wasn’t quite the blissful experience I expected. :)



Update: Thanks to Luis Marques for reminding me about TRIM, with this Twitter comment, “Tim, don’t forget to enable TRIM on SSD (if it supports it) using this  or

Laptop woes… (update)


I’ve just got my laptop back from being repaired at the Apple store. It is now quieter now than it was when I bought it. It seems apple can find a decent fan if they really need to. Fingers crossed now it will stay this way for a while.

Unfortunately I had to brave the Bullring Shopping Center on a bank holiday, so it will take me several months to recover from that experience… :)