Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Category Archives: Apple

13 Inch 2011 MacBook Pro vs 2012 13 Inch MacBook Pro Retina

After some “fun” with UPS missed deliveries I have my 13” MacBook Pro with a Retina screen in my hands, this is a quick hands-on set of photos for anyone considering an upgrade.

My reasons for the upgrade were as follows;

  • I replace my Mac’s annually – and they hold their 2nd hand value so well it’s cost-effective to do so (compared to HP, Dell etc.)
  • I wanted the higher resolution screen, that is the only thing I didn’t like about my 2011 13” model

The only down-side is that I upgraded my 2011 model to 16Gb RAM (see this link) and the maximum in the 2012 model is 8Gb, upon reflection most of the lab VMs I now run live on my vTARDIS lab so I am less dependent on running large sets of VMs on my laptop, a MacBook Air doesn’t quite cut it for me in the amount of available storage and CPU but the 13” MBP is perfect.

Here are some side-by-side photos incase you were wondering what the difference is..

The 2012 model is slightly smaller in all dimensions..

2012-11-06 19.51.40 2012-11-06 19.53.07

 2012-11-06 19.54.13

Lower-profile case..

2012-11-06 19.54.242012-11-06 19.52.55

Hope that is useful.

16Gb RAM upgrade for MacBook Pro

I have a 2011 13” MacBook Pro (Thunderbolt model) which is my main workhorse machine, I wanted a highly specified machines that was very portable and this absolutely fitted the bill (if it was VERY expensive) – buy the best, or buy twice as someone I know always says, and I’ve come round to his way of thinking!

When I ordered it the maximum amount of RAM you could order was 8Gb, Crucial have since released a 16GB upgrade (2 x 8GB SODIMM modules) – you can find out if your MBP can take it from this link

The following is what I ordered..

  • CT2625478 16GB kit (8GBx2), 204-pin SODIMM Upgrade for a Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2011) System    £242.99 (Ex. VAT)
  • CTSCRDRVRPH0 Screwdriver for Upgrading Notebook Memory    £2.49 (Ex. VAT)

Obviously you don’t have to order the screwdriver but I needed a new one and it perfectly fitted the small screws to remove the underside of the case.

It’s very simple to fit, just remove the screws from the underside, making sure you note which hole they match up to as there are two different lengths, pop out the existing modules and screw it back together. done.

And, the finished result..


Very cool as I can now use Fusion 4 to run a multi node nested ESXi cluster (ala vTARDIS), Hyper-V and my normal Windows 7 VM all on a single machine, mine also has an SSD so it’s about as fast as it can get with that workload.

Crucial probably isn’t the cheapest place to get these from, but by the time you factor in your effort tracking down cheaper modules and running the risk that you may have to return them if they turn out to be incompatible just isn’t worth the bother IMHO.

They seem to have a 5% discount offer which may or may not work in your country – the code is BOOKFIVE which applies to DRAM, solid-state drives and a variety of accessories.

This sticker was part of an overall upgrade process, and was secondary in importance to the following sticker for anyone who regularly reads Smile


Where is the wireless iTunes Sync?

A lot of i* devices from Apple have turned up in my household over the last few years, it started with iPods until we all had one (or more!) then an iPad, an iPhone, a MacBook pro and most recently an AirPort Express and most likely an Apple TV in the future (for streaming music in the family room and/or kitchen).

But there is still one Achilles heel for these device; iTunes – they all rely on this awful application to update their content, sync photos, music etc. from my own collection. I own a lot of music CD’s and I have lots of DVDs ripped to MP4 format – I don’t buy everything online (despite Apple’s best efforts).

Why, when almost all of these devices have built in WiFi do I still have to sync them via a USB cable with iTunes, particularly as my iPad has 64Gb of storage, that takes ages to sync over USB.

Apple has had all this chatty bonjour p2p networking stuff in the products for year and home-sharing was a long over-due feature but still nothing in the iPad 2 and most recent OS updates.

I can see this being integrated into MobileMe; but for people like me with a *large* multi-TB media collection that’s going to be an expensive (and for many folks) impossible solution.

Come on, Apple – your stuff is generally great but this is rapidly becoming a pain point!

Using an Apple Remote Control to drive PowerPoint in a Windows VM using Fusion

I recently purchased a remote control for my MacBook Pro so that I could use it to control presentations without having to be at the keyboard, rather than opt for anything flashy I just assumed I could use the normal Apple Infra-red Remote Control, install the Bootcamp drivers to my Win7 VM and use it with PowerPoint, ah how wrong I was!

Even with the Bootcamp drivers installed Powerpoint does not recognize the IR remote as a “clicker” so after some head-scratching and a bit of Google-Fu I came up with the following solution;

Insert your OS X installation CD into your Windows VM (not the Mac, the DVD seems to be dual-format and has some partitions that only show up in a Windows host) you can do this via the virtual machine CD/DVD menu in Fusion as shown below


Install the BootCamp Drivers from the DVD (will require a reboot)

When it’s finished, run Apple Update to get the latest version (you’ll probably have an older version unless you have a brand-new Mac, reboot required)

Map the Apple IR receiver to your VM (screenshot shows it already connected here)


You will get some driver being installed mumbo-jumbo in Windows

Download and install the latest build of EventGhost

Download and extract the configuration file I have created here

Run EventGhost

Choose File/Open and locate the configuration file you downloaded.

I would also suggest setting it to run at logon via the file/Options menu


If you get an error about loading the HID plugin, then you may need to add it manually, right-click on HID: Apple Computers Inc IR Receiver and choose configure (you may have to remove/add it again as the file I exported may have device-specific IDs that don’t match yours exactly)

Now when you are in presenter mode in PowerPoint the left button will back-up one slide, the right and centre buttons will advance to the next slide.

the up/down buttons still map to the Mac volume control.

This is a pretty basic configuration, but it works reliably – it doesn’t seem to recognize the Menu button on my remote so I assume this is a limitation of the generic HID driver.

iPhone SDK & Roadmap


Now, I’ve been a bit skeptical about the iPhone, I’ve played with a few – nice to use but very much a 1.0 product from a software point of view (great hardware – except for the battery), this link from engadget gives a transcript of the SDK announcement/press conference – more here too.

Looks like there are some good apps coming and support for Exchange over the air via ActiveSync (EAS) – this will be a big selling point, most current EAS compatible devices are Windows Mobile and IMHO are quite poor from a usability point of view, this could change all that… the touch interface opens up a lot of interesting possibilities.

Interestingly apps will be available for the iPod touch too (at a nominal cost), making that a compelling proper PDA/media platform rather than “just a big video iPod”.

Will see how things go, but that’s the only announcement that’s even piqued my interest in getting one at some point, iTunes is neat and easy to use (bit slow, but) and will be the primary method for downloading apps.

**update: BBC iPlayer now available for the iPhone. Cool  – shame it’s not 3G capable yet or that really would be compelling!**