Struggling with my MacBook Pro


I spent a good amount of the afternoon struggling with my MacBook Pro because for some reason it wouldn’t boot up.  During the boot sequence I kept on getting green lines going horizontally across the screen and it would never finish its boot sequence, the computer would just stay at a blank white screen and proceed no further.  I spent almost 2 hours trying to get this thing diagnosed and fixed.

Things I tried:

  • Resetting NVRAM
  • Resetting the SMC (normally done when you put in a new battery)
  • Getting into recovery mode (every which way mentioned by Apple)
  • Getting a call back from Apple phone support and trying the above resolutions

I did eventually get into the computer and I started a backup of my MacBook using Time Machine but then I tried to backup and sync my iPhone and that crashed the computer immediately and I struggled another hour or so just trying to get into the OS again!  I did manage to get into the diagnostic tools twice but the only error it could come up with was that there was a problem with my battery and I knew that wasn’t true because I had just replaced the battery not even 2 years ago with a fresh one.  After getting into the OS again, I ran a backup with Time Machine and this time I just let it run all the way until it finished without touching the computer except to check up on progress.  After that was complete I ran a disk utility diagnostic (you can only do it if you’re in the OS or can somehow get into recovery mode) and it found some inconsistency errors on my hard drive.

Using the disk utility and an article from Apple, I ran the fix utility but it didn’t fix it at first since I was logged into the OS.  WTF!!  I was afraid of trying to do a reboot because it had taken so long to get to this point.  But no matter what I did the utility said I needed to be in recovery mode and run the disk utility from there.  I held my breath and rebooted the system and somehow I got into recovery mode.  The screen looked all messed up with lines going vertically up and down and my mouse cursor wasn’t even visible, it was just this really thin line and I had to guess at what buttons I was pushing some of the time.  The screen also looked like it duplicated itself on the left 1/3 so that was weird too.  Surprisingly the utility still was able to run and it fixed my problem!  I did a reboot and all seems well for now but I’m taking more Time Machine backups for sure.  I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to use the computer again that I was researching what computer I was going to replace it with.

I had written a post a few months ago that picking a new computer was going to be hard since I had a lot of legacy things to plug into it.  I narrowed it down to a MacBook Air, a Dell XPS 13, or the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.  I eliminated the MacBook and MacBook Pro because I don’t want to use dongles for my crap and the cost of the machine just didn’t seem worth it if I had to buy more junk just to plug in my junk.  The MacBook Air was my “compromise” machine, it wasn’t as powerful as my current MacBook Pro but it had all the ports and stuff that I needed but it wouldn’t have the retina display and I craved something nice to look at.  I eliminated it after looking at the cost of it against a Windows machine.  There are apps like DayOne and Noteability that I like to use on the Mac but its not deal breakers for me to use them.  There is Photos and Messages that I would miss, but again I have an iPhone and an iPad to manage that stuff.  Downloading photos I’m not even worried about anymore with Google Photos and my NAS.  I eliminated the XPS 13 mainly because I have had bad experiences with Dell over the last 20 or so years going back to when I was in college.  While all the online reviews have been stellar, dude it was a Dell!

That leads me to the Surface Pro 4.  Granted it was about a year old already and there was a new Surface Pro 5 coming out soon but I needed a new computer (well I thought I did but now my Mac works again) and it had the ports that I wanted.  It also had a pen which was something that I’ve been wanting so I can draw shit on the screen.  The only barrier was cost.  The thing costs as much as a MacBook Pro when you load it to the gills (I like having 1TB of space on my drive, mainly its all pictures and music but I have a NAS to take care of that now at home) so the requirement wasn’t really there.  I could get away with a 512GB SSD but then I remembered there is micro SD slot under the hinge!  I poked around on Amazon and there are 256GB micro SD cards!  Instant expand-ability and I can get multiple cards so I can switch it out based on what I wanted to save on the Surface Pro!  There was also a deal on the Sufrace Pro, it would come with the docker accessory for free!  That adds even more ports and I could hook up a monitor to it too if I wanted.  Alas my computer is working now but I think I know what I’m going to get to replace the desktop computer or the MacBook Pro.  It’s definitely going to be a Windows 10 machine unless Apple comes out with something compelling and that doesn’t require me to get a fuck load of dongles and new cables!

OK quick rant about Apple’s new direction.  If you’re going to make a computer and other crap, make it all compatible!  I mean I think its cool that your new MacBooks have the newest and latest tech but your iPhones, iPads, and event he new AirPods have no way to connect to the damn thing because they use older USB 2.0 and 3.0 technology and connectors!  I hook up my iPhone and iPad to my MacBook Pro as a charger when I’m home because it charges really freaking fast.  Not to mention trying to sync your iPhone over the air when you have configured a USB drive as the backup target for the iPhone is SLOW!  iTunes sucks so hard in the syncing department, I prefer to sync using a cable since the data transfer is faster.  They need to design iTunes to run from a NAS or something, their cloud design is garbage and I’m not putting all my music in the cloud given that net neutrality is about to make data caps and throttling real.  OK quick rant over!

I’ll be watching my MacBook over the next few days and hooking up the Time Machine drive to it more frequently.  There aren’t any good tools out there to transfer data from a Mac to a Windows machine (I found plenty of articles that pretty much say, go to Finder, copy your files to an external hard drive, and re-copy them to Windows….. fucking genius, why didn’t I think of that???)  If my desktop also decides to breath its last, the only personal computer at home is my daughters under powered and frustrating as shit to update HP Stream (I happen to be writing this blog post from it and I even updated it to the latest Creator Update).  Maybe I can get permission to get the Surface Pro 5….. oooo that would be awesome!

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