HDD to SSD: new lease of life for 2012 Macbook Pro

A few weeks ago I swapped the hard disk drive in a 2012 Macbook Pro with an SSD. It’s worked really well; the laptop runs faster than I have ever seen it, and it’s easily added 3 or 5 more years to the laptop’s life. If you have one of these old pre-retina Pros, I highly recommend it.

I used this 250GB Samsung Evo SDD and this CNET guide, although an iFixit one ought to be better. Having the right torx and pentalobe screwdrivers is key.

The process, including the macOS re-install and data restore, took about 4 hours. The actual disk swap took no more than 30 minutes; it’s not very difficult as long as you are careful:

I created a macOS Sierra installer USB pen drive on my own MacBook Air.

In parallel, I created a Time Machine backup of the MacBook Pro (which ran Yosemite) on another disk.

Opened the MacBook, swapped the drives, reattached the bottom panel as in the guide. Here is the machine with the drive in:

The SSD is at bottom left

Then booted from the USB pen drive (hold down the Alt/Option key when booting). In the installer, used Disk Utility to erase the SSD and create a HFS+ partition. Then installed Sierra on it

During the installation, was asked if I wanted to restore from a Time Machine backup, and used the one I had created earlier.

Boom. MacBook Pro has new lease of life.

PS: The machine had 8GB RAM and a 2.6GHz processor. It’s a rather powerful machine let down terribly by its hard drive.

On Password Managers

Tim Bray on what a password manager should do, the risks of syncing your passwords via a centralised web-based store, and 1Password's move to this very (subscription-based) model for business reasons. Succinct, well-written and worth a read: we all use a password manager now, even if it's iCloud Keychain on iOS and macOS or the password auto-fill on Chrome or Firefox.

Misunderstanding Aadhaar as proof of identity

This week, I collected my passport from the collection centre at BKC in Bombay using the credit-card-size version of my Aadhaar card as proof of ID. Just to see if it would work – no problems at all.

This is serious. I could have forged another person's Aadhaar card easily and picked up their passport, or someone could have forged my card and collected my passport. Mere possession of an Aadhaar card means nothing; it needs to be verified via any of an OTP, fingerprint scan or iris scan.

Or take this message SBI has sent its customers, demanding a photocopy of their Aadhaar card in order to link their A. number to their bank accounts:

It is trivial to link your Aadhaar number to someone else's bank account, or have your account linked to another's number.

When the largest bank in the land doesn't understand fundamentally how Aadhaar works, we have a big problem [1].

The government needs to launch an aggressive educational campaign if it is to build confidence in the mandatory use of Aadhaar for public and private services.

[1] If done right, Aadhaar-based verification (or linking) is far more efficient than processing paper. Imagine if I could walk into an SBI branch, type in my bank account number and Aadhaar like you do at web check-in counters, scan my finger and walk out. It would take less than a minute per person and no staff. Each branch likely has a fingerprint scanner already given that it's how they sign up new accounts.

Small Identity

The solution is to give your identity a very small footprint. The fewer things you define yourself by, the fewer constraints you have on further growth.