Replacing a MacBook Pro Fan

One of my MacBook Pro fans went crazy loud a couple months ago and started making more noise than a jet airplane taking off. One could try to make a case for it by stating that the white noise helps avoid distractions but that’s not a long term solution.

So, I went to an Apple store where a “genius” told me it would take 3 days and $85 to replace the fan. That seemed ridiculous, so I ordered the fan online ($48.95 at the time) and installed it myself in less than 30 minutes once it arrived. Here’s how:

MacBook Pro Fan Repair

This is what worked for me.

1. Power down, unplug, and remove your battery.

2. Unscrew all of the screws around the edges. Also remove all screws within the battery area. Then lift up the keyboard from the front. There are a couple latches near the front, so it helps to push back a bit against the front before lifting.

3. As you lift up the keyboard, you’ll have an attachment (brownish orange) between the keyboard and motherboard. This can be disconnected by carefully lifting the connection from the motherboard.

Here is what things look like under the hood:

MacBook Pro Fan Repair

In my case, the right fan was shot. Of the two, it seems like it’s a bit easier to deal with due to less chords overlapping it.

4. Remove the fan’s mounting screws and tape, then pop it out:

As you can see, there was quite a bit of link built up between the fan and case:

MacBook Pro Fan Repair

5. Unplug the fan’s power. This is a delicate job. Probably the most stressful part of the work. It pulls straight out with a little effort.

6. Plug in the new fan and reassemble.

Considerations:

1. Be careful with the keyboard. The screws removed from the outside were attached to drop down threads on the keyboard. Make sure they remain inside the case when reassembling. It’s like putting a pizza box back together.

2. You can power up the computer while the keyboard is up if you keep the keyboard’s power attached. This is a good way to verify that you’ve installed the fan correctly and that it works.

3. You’ll need a some special screwdrivers. I picked up this set at Radio Shack that did the job:

Macbook Pro Fan Repair Screwdrivers

In the end, I paid less than Apple charged for the repair and was without a computer for 30 minutes rather than 3 days. I’d call that a win.

Does the MacBook Air's Thinness Cause Eating Disorders?

The MacBook Air is one thin computer. That’s the selling point. Apple has done an impressive job associating thinness with coolness since the launch of the laptop.

But could Apple’s “You can’t be too thin.” campaign be extrapolated by young women into apply to things other than computers, such as their own bodies?

That’s what one woman from the Eating Disorders Institute in St. Louis Park, Minnesota is concerned about following the launch of the MacBook Air, according to a report by Christina Capecchi at MinnPost.com:

Apple’s ‘Thinnovation’ marketing strategy — and Air itself — troubling to some

[Shannon McCartney-Simper] can’t help but consider the parallels between ultrathin computers and people who are striving to be ultrathin. “These laptops are really thin and portable — almost like you can hide them,” she said. “And then you take that to another level, and you think of how women so often want to hide their bodies.”

Perhaps, “You can’t be too thin.” was a poor slogan choice, but how exactly are you supposed to market a product that is differentiated by its thinness without discussing how cool the thinness is?

Personally, I chalk this one up to “unintended consequences.”

College Standardizes on Dual-Boot Macs for Computer Labs

When I was in college, we had a few different choices for computer labs, including Macs and PCs. But they were in separate locations and generally had different audiences. I tended to use a Mac lab for writing papers and surfing the web with the Mosiac browser.

However, if I went to Bemidji State University in Northern Minnesota, I could sit down at any computer in any lab, THEN choose whether I was going to use a Mac or PC.

Another Minnesota university embraces Mac

Turns out the university “superlab” for students has been converted to recent-model iMacs that can run Windows as well as the Mac OS X. That’s about 110 iMacs available to students, along with several dozen other iMacs around the campus, all booting as either PCs or Macs via a customized, easy-to-use screen.

(A few of those iMacs triple-boot, with Linux added to the mix.)

The above quote comes from an October report by Julio Ojeda-Zapata. It looks like the program has been so successful that it’s quadrupled in scope in less than 2 months:

BSU’s Ground-Breaking Experiment With Apple Computers

[Director of Technical Support Brian] Allen estimates the cost savings to the University due to the dual-boot hardware project could approach $2 million over a three-year period. Reducing the number of computers on campus from 810 to about 400 during a future hardware refresh cycle could save the University $800,000 in hardware alone.

However, the dollars saved might not be the most visible impact of the program on BSU’s students. For them, the benefit comes in saved time and increased productivity.

“This program could end up being a tremendous benefit to the students on campus,” Scott Theisen, a technical support analyst at BSU, said. “Today, if a student needs to go into a lab and, for whatever reason, there’s only Macintosh or only Windows computers open, they’re stuck with what’s available. Now they can sit down at any machine and do what they need to do.”

This seems like a smart move to me. Save a ton of money on hardware. Give students easier access to whatever software they happen to need to use. And desegregate students from different departments who can now work side by side on very different projects (accountants mingling with artists?).

The First iPhone Unboxing at the Mall of America

Joe Dowdell was the first in line at the Mall of America Apple store, was first out of the store with his new iPhone, and was first to do an unboxing ceremony for iJustine right outside the store.

I think Justine may have been more excited about this than Joe, but this could be caused by Joe’s sleep deprivation at the time.

Congratulations to Joe on being the #1 buyer and for sharing this moment with us.

For more on the story of Joe’s trip to the first place in line, check out Your Tech Weblog.

iPhone Coverage from Minneapolis' CBS Affiliate

WCCO, the Minneapolis CBS affiliate ran an iPhone story by their techno-geek, Jason DeRusha, which featured iJustine and the voice of Technology Evangelist’s Cariann Higginbotham (off camera when Justine is explaining the awesomeness of the iPhone to the camera).

It’s worth checking out what someone who’s capable of using 17,000+ text messages in a month in a month is all about. Yes, it’s time for unlimited texts.

iPhone Countdown: Less than 15 Minutes

Less than 15 minutes to go until the launch of the iPhone.

Here is a shot of the line growing outside the Apple store at the Mall of America. It’s not outgrown the three turns they thought they’d need to contain the crowd.

Line at Apple Store at Mall of America

And here is the line for the iPhone forming outside the AT&T store at the other end of the Mall of America. So, if you’re at the MOA and want to snag a phone without a wait, head up to the 3rd floor to the AT&T store.

Line at Mall of America AT&T Store

We’re not down to around 10 minutes to launch.

iPhone Countdown: 16:38

iPhone's Current Market Rate: $999-$1299 on Ebay

What are iPhones going for on Ebay? Find out for yourself by checking the “Competed Auctions” section of the iPhone cell phone page.

Right now, it looks like Buy it Now auctions are closing in the $999 – $1299 range based on promises. People are advertising that they’re, “In line right now!!!!!” and people are buying on faith:

iPhone's Market Rate on Ebay

Would you buy a product the seller doesn’t physically have yet?