2016-08-28

The Trick to Properly Fixing the Rubber Feet of a MacBook Pro

A black rubber foot of my trusty old MacBook Pro finally broke off, and I didn't like how it made the laptop wobbly.  A fix was needed, and quick!

First I bought some replacement feet, the kind that just stick on.   These feet are nice because there is no need open up the machine to fix a broken foot.  They're very inexpensive, and the ones I bought have adhesive tape already applied - just peal and stick.  I bought feet like the ones found here.

I have read many complaints about how the adhesive doesn't stick, but I think that's because people don't know the two tricks required to get the new feet to stick properly.


New Feet to replace a lost Foot


Important Trick 1: Make sure to remove all remnants of the old foot - including the pieces in the hole.   My factory-installed foot was attached both mechanically and with adhesive, but when the old foot sheared off, some pieces of the old foot remained in the hole.  Those plastic bits would have prevented the new foot from seating properly.  I used tweezers to carefully break up and extract the remnants of the old foot.  Of course, never dig too deep - there are sensitive electronics under there!

Photo 1: Be sure to fully remove the old foot.

Important Trick 2: I used some solvent to soften and release the old clear adhesive tape.  I didn't even know that this adhesive tape was on the laptop body until I managed to loosen it up with some nail polish remover.  The tape is in the shape of a small transparent disk, and will prevent the new adhesive from sticking well unless the disk and all the old transparent adhesive is completely removed.  Of course, again, never let anything get into the hole.  That could do some damage.


Clean the recess very well

Whoa!  A little transparent piece of old adhesive tape appears!  Tweezers help me pull it away

Remove the old tape, and finish cleaning out the old adhesive from the recess


Once the recess was completely clean and dry, I properly aligned the new foot and stuck it in place.

Now my MacBook Pro is steady on its feet and ready for more years of computing bliss.  

2016-08-07

Not the End of an Era: the continuing life of a 2009 MacBook Pro

The 2009 MacBook Pro's days are numbered.  As you likely know by now, the 2009 MacBook Pro will not be supported by Mac OS Sierra.  I have one of these beasts, and it is a wonderful machine despite 7+ years of heavy use.

But that doesn't mean my 2009 MacBook Pro is dead or will become immediately useless.  Quite to the contrary, I expect to use my MBP securely for several more years.

Mac OS X El Capitan will continued to be supported by Apple with security patches for some amount of time.  How long?  My research shows that Apple supports a deprecated operating system for at least two years after the release of its subsequent operating system.

So if Sierra is released on October 1st, 2016, El Capitan will be supported by Apple until at least October 1st, 2018.

Then what?  Well, by rights, most people should no longer use El Capitan as it becomes security-obsolete.  But some more technically-minded people might have some options:
  • Hack Sierra onto the machine.  This may extend the security of the machine until Sierra is obsolete, perhaps around October 1st, 2019.  No one can promise that Sierra will continue to operate properly on a 2009 MBP, but it could.
  • Manually patch El Capitan.  This may be reasonably possible depending on the security vulnerabilities revealed after obsolescence.  For example, there is an NTP security patch that can be manually built and applied to the obsolete Lion.
  • Install another operating system onto the machine, such as Linux or Windows.
  • Use the machine in an off-line way.  For example, the machine could potentially be used securely if it never shares data with the outside world.
So see?  It isn't all that bad.  After all, a notebook computer with a 9+ year active lifespan has done well.  Even if El Capitan gets all obsolete in the 2018 - 2019 time frame, my  machine will continue to be able to provide good service for years to come.


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