crowed apple store

Is Mac Support on the way out at the Apple Store?

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

I haven’t been to an Apple store in a couple of years. My last experience wasn’t the best given how little Mac product presence there was. As the iPhone now generates nearly three-quarters of Apple’s revenue and profit, Macs clearly seem secondary to Apple. Recent news on the elimination of the Business- and Event-related positions have led many to believe Apple is ready to abandon the prosumer market. The lack of upgrades to the Mac Pro since late 2013 and the minimal performance upgrades to the latest MacBook Pro are clear indicators. Many wonder whether Apple is still committed to …

Late 2016 13" MacBook pro with AKitTiO Thunder3 eGPU

Update: Thunderbolt 3 eGPU for Late 2016 MacBook Pro

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

As a follow-up to my post on Thunderbolt eGPU for Macs back in September, this post details the next generation of Thunderbolt connectivity for most laptops including the Late 2016 MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3. It is now integrated to the same physical port as USB Type C. The whole industry and Intel itself touted USB-C as the connector that does it all. So much so that Apple decided to drop all existing I/O in favor of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 in its newest MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops. Apple announced the redesigned MacBook Pro at its October event. With …

Virtual Reality on Mac with RX 480 & Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift VR – Making Virtual Reality a Reality on a Mac

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

Are you a Mac user who’s intrigued by the idea of Virtual Reality (VR) gaming? I was too but quickly realized there’s currently no support for VR on the Mac platform. The biggest name in Virtual Reality right now is the Oculus Rift VR headset and sensor. Oculus’ founder said he would have liked to make the device compatible for Mac users but that unfortunately none of the Mac computers in Apple’s current lineup has the graphical horsepower to run it. He’s right. Apple has always taken the safe and arguably low-cost route when it comes to graphics cards, also …

Front of House Engineer for Adele Live 2016

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

Not often does one get the opportunity to work with world-class experts in their field. It was a pleasant surprise for me this past weekend to have met Dave Bracey. He contacted me for help with his 17″ MacBook Pro. Dave is the Front of House engineer for Adele Live 2016 which started the first leg of its North American tour at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. Shortly after getting to town, Dave found his 17″ MacBook Pro no longer powered on. In less than 24 hours I got him back up and running. It was right …

Tiny screws for unibody MacBook Pro

Keyboard Replacement on a Unibody MacBook Pro

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

Keyboard replacement on a unibody MacBook Pro is not a simple process. It involves taking every major component inside the laptop apart and removing many screws. Just how many screws are in a unibody MacBook Pro? The quick answer is around 100. The precise answer depends on the exact model year and screen size of your MacBook Pro. The one component with the highest concentration of screws is actually right under your finger tips. That keyboard you’re typing on is held together by at least 50 to 70 tiny screws. I recently replaced a keyboard on a unibody 15″ MacBook Pro (damaged due …

spinning drives next to standard ssd and Apple flash storage

Flash Storage Data Recovery from Mac Laptops

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

Data loss is one of those things you hope you never have to deal with. Macs are often perceived as well-built and extremely reliable. However the reality is that data loss can and does happen. It may be due to a failing hard drive, full hard drive or liquid spill. As we store more and more of valuable data on our computers, data recovery has become increasingly difficult with Apple’s introduction of flash storage hard drives to their laptop lineup. Let’s talk about the evolution of hard drives and why data recovery for Apple Mac laptops has become more challenging. As …

FirstTech World's first Apple computer specialist

FirstTech – World’s First Apple Computer Specialist

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

FirstTech was an important place to me. It was where I first explored Apple computers and began what is now a decade-long journey into Apple computer repair. FirstTech was not just the first Apple reseller in Minneapolis; it was the first Apple reseller anywhere, right here in Minnesota in 1977. In March 2014, FirstTech closed its door after nearly 37 years in business due to heightened competition. With retail, repair and managed service offerings alike, it had been a great alternative to larger box stores and even regular Apple retail stores. What I liked most about FirstTech was its unassuming, plain exterior …

Custom Mac Pro Modifications

Custom Mac Pro. Built for the Pros.

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

The last time Apple refreshed its Mac Pro was nearly three years ago. Even back then, the components Apple used to build its halo Mac were not the latest and greatest. As longtime fans and pro users, you and I know this is the typical offering from Cupertino. For many years, this wasn’t a big deal because you could simply upgrade the internal components as faster hard drives, newer graphics cards and more powerful processors became available. That was the appeal of the Mac Pro for hardcore Mac users. That upgradability ended with the Mac Pro trashcan design. Almost every component …

Inside view of a traditional spinning hard drive and a solid state drive

Sluggish MacBook Pro? Revive with a Solid State Drive

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

“My MacBook is sluggish and unresponsive.” “My MacBook Pro is insanely slow!” “I can barely use my Mac laptop. It’s crawling and takes forever to get anything done.” I hear these comments from customers all the time. Many deal with a sluggish MacBook for months, even years. If your MacBook or Macbook Pro is more than three years old, the hard drive is most likely to blame for the slowness you’re experiencing. The good news is that the hard drive can be replaced. MacBooks produced prior to 2013 typically contain a traditional spinning hard drive. A traditional spinning hard drive …

2012 MacBook Pro Randomly Crashes, Shuts Down, Beeps

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

I’ve had several customers bring their 2012 Macbook Pro 13″ laptops to me with the same issue. Their MacBook Pro randomly crashes, shuts down or beeps on start up. Pressing more firmly on the casing next to the left side of the trackpad seems to cause these crashes. Here is video capture of this issue. It happens when increased pressure is applied beneath the keyboard on the left side of the laptop. This shows that Apple Hardware test and other software-based diagnostic tools are not always accurate. Apple Hardware Test ran a scan and confirmed no trouble was found. My …

Apple MacBook Pro Battery Replacement and Maintenance

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

If your Mac laptop isn’t staying charged as long as it used to or won’t hold a charge at all, it may be time to consider replacing the battery. When you click the battery icon on the top right of your desktop, you may see these warnings to service the battery or replace now: The life of your Macbook Pro battery is measured in cycle counts. One cycle count is using all of your battery’s power fully. You could use 75% of the battery one day, recharge it to 100% and then use 25% the next day. This would count …

iMac graphic card vs. desktop GPU

iMac Graphics Card GPU Overheating and Failure

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

There is a common flaw in the all-in-one iMac design. Due to internal space constraints, many iMacs develop an overheating graphics card issue that results in a black/blue/grey screen while the computer is powered on or a screen that shows vertical stripes or columns. Early symptoms are an iMac that fails to wake up from sleep or one that wakes up but only shows a black screen. In the iMac heat is transferred from the graphics card chipset via copper pipes. The copper pipes then transfer heat to the silver cooling fins and out the backside of the iMac through …

EU MacBook Pro keyboard layout

Mac Repair for Minnesotans… and International Travelers

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

Throughout the years I have had the pleasure of helping many different customers with their Mac repair needs. Most have been local customers here in Minnesota, while others have been traveling from around the world. I have helped clients visiting Minnesota from Norway, Sweden, Finland, China and Israel. It’s always fun to see the variations in Mac computers from around the world. Here are recent photos of a European model of the MacBook Pro. The keyboard layout is varied slightly. I’ve been able to coordinate both large and small repairs and upgrades for these clients. Some have had the misfortune …

Trackpad Won’t Click on your MacBook or MacBook Pro?

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

Trackpad won’t click? Does your MacBook’s trackpad look like these photos? Or even worse… It’s not a pretty sight. Your trackpad won’t click, can’t click, outright refuses to click! And you’re stuck. This is an issue I’ve worked on again and again. The culprit is not always obvious, especially when the problem first starts. The troublemaker is often no other than your battery. As your Mac laptop ages, the battery can degrade. The cells within the battery can begin to expand. One these unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, the battery is located beneath the trackpad, and as it expands it pushes up against the …

jon music studio

Jon’s Music Studio

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

One of the best perks for doing my kind of work is the many creative people I get to meet. Jon Erickson, owner of Ultimate Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning is a prime example. Besides running his successful business, Jon spends most of his free time with family and pursue his passion of music production. His MacBook Pro was in need of an upgrade to make use of Logic Pro X and Jon hired me for the job. We put a 240GB SSD (solid state hard drive) and 8GB of RAM in his laptop. We then updated the software to Mac …

dust filled imac inside caused overheating

Dead Hard Drive Caused by Overheating due to Dirty iMac Innards

Truong Nguyen Technology Consulting

A couple weeks ago I got a call to assist with an Apple iMac desktop that failed to boot into Mac OS X. A quick assessment over the phone gave me enough information to know it’s likely a dead hard drive issue which prevents the iMac from booting and stuck at the flashing question mark folder screen. I took the iMac home attempting to retrieve the data on it and to replace the dead hard drive with a new one. It’s worth mentioning this iMac was not even two years old – it is very unusual for a hard drive to die in such short …