It's the end of the week

This has been posted without my usual proofreading and editing. Expect their to be misstakes. 😉

Nothing more interesting to write about has happened. Also I'm quite tired. In fact, I'm in bed writing this. On a laptop. It's the first time using a computer—other than my phone—in bed for a long time.

Me using my laptop in bed used to be the norm some five or so years back, but not any more.

But for some reason, today, of all days, I grabbed my laptop from the shelf and went to bed.

It's the 2017 iteration of the 2016 Apple one with no touch bar, the revolutionary clicky low travel keys that were prone to breaking if you looked at them the wrong way, no magsafe and only two type C ports. This particular one was manufactured in January 2019.

See, I actually had the 2016 one, but after a bit over two years of service, in March 2019 (by then it had at least two keys that sometimes gave double input), it suffered a sudden, very unexpected and total death. Screen just went black as I was using it. No signs of liquid damage or corrosion on the board, still taking 20 V from the charger, but it was very very dead.

I was living in the Philippines at that time, and I was not able to find anyone in the Tacloban area with board level experience for the model, and it being out of warranty Apple would have wanted quite a lot of money for a complete logic board replacement, not to mention the hassle of shipping it as there are were no apple service partners nearby, so I never got it fixed.

I just had to bite the sour Apple and buy a new one. I had work to do after all, and SSH with my phone and a blueooth keyboard got old really fast. Was lucky enough to find a small store in the mall that had the 2017 model without touchbar shrink wrapped on the shelf. Only 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD though, but that would have to do. 85000 peso. That hurt, but it had to be that model.

See, thing is, my last backup was a few weeks old. Yes, I know I'm an idiot. I could probably have managed if I really had to, but if there was any way of getting the data out of the old laptop, that would be a lot better.

Now, I was in luck. The 2016/2017 models without touchbar were the last machines Apple ever made with removable storage drive. The drive is a completely custom SSD used only in those machines. It is not considered replaceable, but if you have the right screwdrivers and peel away some tape it's possible.

The drive transplant was nerve wrecking, and I could actually not be sure it would work. Whatever had failed in the old computer could very well have taken the SSD out as well, especially if a power regulator had shorted. I manage to take the 512 GB SSD out of the old 16 GB machine and put it into the new 8 GB machine, reassembled it enough to test, hit the power button and waited what was some of the longest seconds in my life.

Suddenly the screen lit up and it booted.

It really worked.

I could never 100% trust the machine though. I made sure to do frequent backups, and every time I opened the lid to wake it up I held my breath, being mentally prepared for it to not come to life.

I used TG Pro to adjust the fans to 100% if the temperature went above 60°C, made sure not to load it too hard and kept it sitting at the desk at all times. The ambient always being 30 degrees and these CPUs running very hot might have contributed to the old one dying. Not sure really.

It kept working however. It's now four years old. It has had problems though.

After a year or so the trackpad stopped clicking intermittently. This model has haptic feedback, it does not click if the power is off. At first I thought the clicker thing was going bad, but soon enough it stopped clicking entirely, and was also getting harder to push to register a click.

We were now well into covid lockdown. I was not even allowed to leave the house, only my wife had a pass for going to the grocery store while I was stuck inside. Even traveling to the next city over required getting a medical certificate and permit from the local authorities and traveling out of the province was only permitted for special reasons. Getting the trackpad fixed what simply not possible. And I needed the machine to do work. So I kept working with a broken trackad.

Little did I know that the trackpad was actually not the problem.

One day I happened to notice that the trackpad was actually poking up a bit above the top case. That's not how it's supposed to be. Opening the bottom confirmed my suspicion. The problem was actually that the battery was expanding.

The expansion was not that big, and the battery showed no other signs of being bad. It was a bit unnerving though.

Going back to Sweden in November 2020 (flying during a pandemic is not fun) I was finally able to get the machine to a repair place. Turns out the almost two years old machine was still under warranty for keyboard replacements and battery replacements.

Apple, in their infinite visdom, decided to glue the battery to the top case for this model. It's possible to separate them, with alcohol solvent and some prying, but the official procedure for a battery swap is to replace the solid chunk of aluminium that is the entire top case, along with the riveted in keyboard and battery.

So I got it fixed, free of charge. And then promptly put it on a shelf and pretty much never used it again.

See, November 2020 was when Apple released the M1. I knew immediately that I wanted one of those. I spent a long time deciding which model, but ended up going with the Mini. 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD.

Having used only laptops for the last eight years I was back on the desktop. I have never regretted getting the Mini. It's now two years later, and the thing is as fast as it ever was, hardly getting warm, hardly ever turning on the fan and still being my main computer.

Though I have started casting glances towards that new M2 Pro version … I have absolutely no reason to get one, really, but on the other hand, that never stopped me before.

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I don't do much computing in bed any more. And really, that's probably a good thing after all.

But sometimes it can actually be quite nice.