Late 2013 MacBook Pro Battery

Recently I have been having some issues with my late 2013 MacBook Pro 15″ (the model without dedicated graphics).

The trackpad mainly stopped registering a click. Sometimes it only recognized a click when pressed on either left or right side and so on. It did still click though. Also there was a feel on the top case like it’s slightly bulging.

A quick Google search made it clear, it’s got to be a bulging battery that is preventing the trackpad of functioning properly. Self replacing the battery would be out of question for me as I wasn’t willing to start to mess around with disassembly required to do so, and the battery is glued to the top case. And also I wasn’t be able to be exactly sure whether the trackpad problems originate from the bulge or whether the trackpad itself had a some kind of damage.

So it was obvious that I needed this to be looked at, so I made a reservation in Omotesando Applestore and  took it in. The man quickly diagnosed the problem to be indeed a battery starting to bulge. So he offered the repair which would mean replacement of the entire top case with keyboard, trackpad, battery and so forth. It cost about 21000 yen including the repair cost. Now this is OOW; out of warranty type affair. I accepted the offer.

I took my  machine there on Friday and got it back today Monday. They sent me mail around noon yesterday (Sunday). That’s three days. So this morning I picked up the machine.

Indeed, the top case is brand new and trackpad has it’s original feel and perfect operation. I am quite happy with this service. I don’t think 21000 yen is too bad for this. At least it wasn’t logic board.

However, I do notice that the keyboard feels different, a little a bit more spongy. This could be just me gotten used to the old, worn one. It might be that this is how new MacBook Pro keyboards used to feel, at least before the new butterfly mechanism that so many have had issues with.

If I had bought replacement battery and tried to fix that by myself, I well, might have botched the job and ruined the computer. What I understood from poking around a bit in the internet, removing glued batteries require use of some kind of heat-gun or solvent that would dissolve the glue. I wouldn’t be comfortable working with either of them near my computer. And even of this was successful operation, I wouldn’t still have gotten new keyboard and trackpad. Those things do suffer from wear and tear.

So yes, I am satisfied with the service I got from Apple. This computer has been very reliable tool for me. The first one I got suffered from loose Thunderbolt ports and got warranty repair once. The machine suffers from very brief small flicker sometimes in the screen; I believe this is due to wifi interference as mentioned by other people in the internet. I have not used this machine with wifi turned off; I might indeed try that just to see if it makes any difference.

When I was returning from the Apple Store I checked some of the current gen MacBook Pros. I cannot possibly see myself buying one just because of the dreaded keyboard issues so many people are talking about, and also I quite frankly don’t need one at the moment.

I really like Mac OS experience and I can’t see myself moving away from it; no matter how I am tempted to due to the high cost of maintaining Mac. For 3D graphics and heavy video editing I use PC, but for music and pretty much everything else I prefer staying in the Mac platform.

The iMac Pro maintenance thing (as witnessed by Linus Tech Tips and Snazzy Labs) does raise questions about how interested Apple is maintaining their computer line up. I am happy to so far report that my experience was quite good.


Disable Wacom circle in Photoshop CC (Windows 10)

I found a way to disable Wacom circle in Photoshop CC; you know that annoying clockwise turning circle that pops up in in Photoshop CC.

While it’s handy to have brush settings available when right clicking, with pen this doesn’t really work. It’s rather annoying and destroys usability of Wacom Tablet in Photoshop.

The fix is to go to Control Panel, Ease of Access Center and click Make touch and tablets easier to use.

Go to accessibility settings to disable wacom circle in photoshop cc

Under “See also” there is “Make touch easier to use”. Click that and there is the option for “Press and hold”. Select it and press Settings… There, uncheck “Enable press and hold for right-clicking”. Voila!! A way to disable wacom circle in Photoshop!

Disable wacom circle in photoshop cc

This works in the current version of Windows 10. I have heard reports that sometimes Windows resets this setting so it maybe necessary to get back in there and change it back when OS is updated.

It is also possible to disable “Use Windows Ink” in Wacom Tablet Properties, but this will cause Photoshop CC to stop recognizing Wacom tablet pressure so this really wasn’t a fix.

I am using Wacom Intuos Pro M (2014) model. I am not sure if this fix helps users of other tablets, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Also make sure that you have latest drivers for your Wacom tablet from Wacom site.


List of 5 Reasons to use NAS

I recently started relying on NAS (Network Attached Storage) for my work and pretty much whole life. I can’t say how much easy and streamlined and also economical my life has became. I wanted to make a list of 5 reasons to use NAS.

Now, I am what you would call a heavy user. I do music, CG graphics, photography and movies digitally. I own several computers. Having my media stored in one central location is a huge organizational benefit, but also this streamlines my workflow and also backup. I use nothing but SSDs in my work machines. My Lightroom photo library is now living on NAS; setting this up was way more straightforward than I expected.

I can also now keep all other computers turned off or in sleep mode, and only use the one that’s turned on as the work files are no longer scattered on the disks of workstations.

Here is my list of 5 reasons to use NAS

Centralized location

Most of us have more than one device nowadays. The data we store can become quite huge. Having all your data in one place is a big organizational plus and makes managing and backing it up more simple.

Increased reliability via RAID1

I am big fan of RAID1. I have had my share of broken hard disks over the years. But luckily no data loss since I always had current backup. It’s truth that hard disks, like all mechanical devices, break eventually. I always start with the presumption that hard disks are going to die, and I hope to minimize the downtime this will cause.

RAID1 is a mirroring scheme where content is being copied simultaneously on two or more disks. If a disk dies, no problem. My QNAP supports hot swapping; there would necessarily be no down time at all; files would still be accessible at all times as long as the remaining drives work. It’s important however to remember that RAID1 is not a backup. There are still plenty of reasons why RAID1 stack could go bad, so it’s still important to have the data backed up somewhere else, preferably using offline device that is not connected all the time. With NAS this is very easy to do. My QNAP 231+ has automated backup features that allow the whole machine to be backed up on external USB 3 disk or other NAS automatically. This can be basically set-up and forget kind of deal and quite fantastic in my opinion.

Absolutely definitely, please do use NAS hard drives in your NAS, not desktop hard drives. The dedicated NAS hard drives are designed for 24/7 operation and are more reliable for this purpose.

Time Machine & Wireless Backup station

We don’t need to buy Apple’s Time Capsule. NAS often supports Time Machine by default. If you have a wifi it’s possible to enable wireless time machine backups. And of course you can also backup windows machines to it. It’s great and it really works well. For advanced users there are also services such as RSYNC and some support incremental backups and versioning.

Personal Cloud

My QNAP NAS came with a QNAPCLOUD service which allows me to access the files on the device over internet. This is huge feature. I can basically access any file now from anywhere if I need to. I have almost 3TB data now. Cost effective personal cloud service.

Extra features in same package

NAS servers also offer several other features, such as media servers, email servers, web servers and such. Some of these can be quite handy even for home user. My NAS even has a virus scanning built in. If you consider investing into what’s just basically a backup solution, these all come as a free bonus. I would say that NAS is a very worthwhile investment.

Whether you are a home user who has a lot of data or SOHO, I really recommend NAS for data management. This is one investment you will not regret. Getting used to using NAS can take a little time but most of the consumer type NASes have graphic user interfaces accessible via webpage.