Macbook Pro?

So the new Macbook Pros were announced a few weeks ago.  I’m so happy that I decided to move away from Apple.  These laptops are clearly designed for them and not the users.  Aside from the dumb key strip that no one really wants, they’ve managed to price themselves into a tier that will essentially force their users to iPads, which I believe was their strategy all along.  I’m not sure how much money Apple is putting into cars right now, but I suspect that it’s a substantial investment.  Just seems to me that I just don’t understand the direction they are going in.  As a user, I feel like I now have nothing in common with this company.  I think they want to be like Tesla.  But in the end, I’ll care about them as little as I care about Tesla.

Still happy with my move back to Microsoft.

iPhone 7

I guess I’m confused why Apple decided it needed to get rid of a standard/ubiquitous port on the new iPhone.  Some will contend that Apple needed the space for something.  Not sure what.  It wasn’t for a speaker.  Even more confusing for me was the fact that they went after an additional cash grab of making the sole port a Lightning port.  Why not USB-C?  It’s a standard, passes power, and already has hubs from Apple and others that would allow people to simultaneously charge and listen to their music.  Just seems to me that if it was time to eliminate the 3.5 port it would also be a good time to eliminate the Lightning port as well and move forward with USB-C…

I won’t be upgrading my iPhone 6 to this new version.  Even if I ignore the port changes, there just isn’t enough for me to justify moving away from my current device.  For camera aficionados, I would imagine the device might be pretty compelling.  Cool camera improvements.

Back To Windows…

Well, I finally got tired of waiting for Apple to start updating their hardware and made the decision to move on.  I’m now convinced that Apple has no intention of innovating in the desktop arena.  To me, it’s a decision they’ve clearly adopted and it might work for them financially.  But this long drought of hardware updates has really made me aware of how locked in we are when using Apple’s platforms.  Their commercials have made it clear that they consider the iPad pro to be a suitable desktop replacement.  Many of the people I admire and follow on Twitter have started the adoption path as well.  For them, this might be the right move.  But I know many of these people are now having to alter or recreate workflows that have suited them fine for years.  This seems to me to be a less than ideal situation.  What’s the point?  Maybe I’m just cynical.  Anyway, regardless of how I got to this attitude about Apple and their platform, it’s been clear to me that the PC market continues to produce updated devices with increasing quality.  Microsoft is clearly innovating and turning Windows 10 into a very nice operating system.  It hasn’t been an entirely smooth process for them, but I’ve been impressed with their direction.

Some of the features that I’m liking is the introduction of the Linux Subsystem for Windows.  It’s basically a bash shell based on Ubuntu.  It works pretty good so far and seems like it’s going to get even better as time goes on.  Also, I like to write most of my code in C# and being back on Windows is where that coding should be done obviously.

I’d like to some improvements with the way Microsoft handles security updates.  They clearly want to make sure all systems are updated.  But it would be good if they didn’t just force unexpected restarts on their users.

On the hardware side, after numerous laptop purchases, I’ve settled on a Lenovo T460s laptop with 16Gb of RAM, 512 Gb SDD, and a i7 6600U processor.  I wasn’t sure I’d like this laptop as much as I do due to the dimmer screen, but I have to say this is one well built laptop.  Very solid combined with great performance.  Battery life is pretty good as well.  It’s not in the range of a Macbook, but it’s really very decent.  I’ve never understood why Thinkpad users are such die hard fans of this hardware, but now I’m starting to understand why.  Oh yeah, it’s got a pretty neat keyboard too 🙂

Another Experiment

Once again I’m trying something new.  I decided to try the iPad route yesterday.  Why not test it out and see if it’s what I thought it would be.  So far I have to say this it’s not too bad.  They external Apple keyboard is actually not too bad.  I do have to admit that I miss having F keys and an Esc key, but I’ve been able to find work arounds for that in my terminal sessions.  Going fullscreen in apps is actually pretty nice.  I find that I’m a bit more focused on the task at hand.  Task switching is easy enough when I need to do it though.  My other applications are always a command-tab away.  For terminal sessions I’ve been using vssh.  Works pretty well so far.  Vim and all other tools work fine there.  Took a few minutes to figure out what the keyboard shortcuts were for the Esc key.  Tweetbot works fine as well.

Oh, I should mention that I’m using the 12″ iPad.  It’s good, but it is large.  Using it can be a bit awkward at times.  And it’s big enough that using the onscreen keyboard can be pretty much impossible at times.  I’m going to keep testing this out though since I think working on the 9.7 model would be just a bit too small for me and my tired old eyes.

XPS, no more…

Well, I got the Dell XPS 13 and it’s going back to the store. It’s not a bad device, but it has issues. I loved the screen, it was every bit as good as anything Apple has ever put out. The specs on the machine were good as well. Battery life wasn’t bad. The only issue I had with the hardware was the F4 key was defective. It would stick and typically would require extra effort to fully press the key down. Usually with an audible click. Probably something that could have been fixed.

The part of the computer I had issues with was the track pad. For the most part it was ok, but scrolling on websites was odd and annoying. When I would scroll down the page using a 2 finger swipe, the page would scroll down until I lifted my fingers and then it would immediately snap up to the previous page location. I would repeat the motion and it would snap back again. Then I would try to change the speed at which I was dragging, but this time it scrolled to the bottom on the page. It would take 2-4 attempts to scroll to the section of the page I wanted. Interestingly, when I would scroll using the touch screen, it worked fine. But alas, I’m not a screen-toucher. I get freaked out by fingerprints on my screens. So the issue seemed like the operating system wasn’t optimized to work with the trackpad. Seems like a little thing, but it’s not. At least not to me. So it’s going back. Not sure about what direction I’ll go in. Likely will just hang out with no portable for a while and wait for the next round of updates from various vendors.

So right now I’m clearing the XPS of all the software and personal info so I can send it back in the morning.

New Laptop Ordered (Dude, I bought a Dell!)

Bought a Dell XPS 13 today.  I’ve been messing with this laptop at MicroCenter and have been pretty impressed with it so far.  So I splurged today and decided to go with the i7 chip, 16 Gig RAM, 1TB SSD.  Only time will tell if this is a mistake but I’m prepared to live with it.  I’m just tired of having a single source for my hardware on the Apple platform, regardless of whatever miracle solution they come up with next week.  There’s always the Hackintosh route if I change my mind (been there an have done it before, so easy now).

Switch to Windows…. continued

The move to Windows continues.  I’m currently prepping my 3 Mac laptops for sale.  Regardless of what they come out with in WWDC, it’s time for me to move some of this old hardware out.  Wiping and reinstalling the OSs now.  Will be selling the following:

  • 11″ Late 2010 3,1 Macbook Air – 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB Ram, 60GB SSD, new battery ($200) – SOLD!
  • 13″ Early 2011 8,1 Macbook Pro – 2.7 GHz I7, 16GB Ram, 256 Gb SSD, DVD, Intel 3000 Graphics ($350, now $300 forgot about the broken ethernet port, included dongle gets you wired ethernet) – SOLD!
  • 15″ Late 2013 11,3 Macbook Pro – 2.3 GHz I7, 16GB Ram, 512 GB SSD, Intel Iris Pro/NVidia GT 750M Graphics ($800), includes an extra power adapter, full external Apple keyboard, Apple Trackpad – SOLD!
  • 27″ Cinema Display – 2560 x 1440 ($200) – SOLD!

All are working good and will be up on Craigslist today.  Of course, I’ll throw in a 10% discount on any item if you mention my offer code of “GarbledCode”  🙂  LOL, since I know no one reads this blog there is little to no change the code will be used.  Limitations are that you must be in Denver and it’s a cash only deal.

Update: All sold.  🙂

A Small Change

At work I spend 100% of my time doing data work on SQL Server.  Run a website on IIS.  And occasionally dabble with Python.  At home, it’s been Macs for the past 10 or so years.  I have a PC that I use for gaming.  But lately I’ve started to use it more and more for hobby projects.  Now I find that I’m spending time doing C# coding in my spare time and am starting to actually enjoy using the PC a bit more again.  Windows 10 is growing on me a bit more than I’d like to admit and I admire the direction Microsoft is moving in.  Since my PC is in the basement, I’ve considered purchasing a new Windows laptop to work on when I’m not at the desktop.  I suppose I could use my work laptop, but I’m not comfortable using work tools for personal use.  You never know what your IT guys see.  But instead, I decided to install Windows on my Macbook Pro.

So far it’s been a pretty smooth experience.  The install went as expected.  Bootcamp was simple enough to figure out and install.  I’ve installed Visual Studio, some text editors, Chrome, etc and all is working fine.  Battery life on the laptop isn’t quite what I had with OS X, but that’s understandable.  The good thing is that my laptop is plugged in most of the time and running out of battery isn’t an issue at all.  All of the hardware works as expected, except for the trackpad in Chrome.  For some reason, scrolling with the trackpad in Chrome is a herky-jerky mess.  Scrolling everywhere else seems fine.

So I’m going to keep test driving this configuration for about as long as I can stand it.  If I had to summarize my Mac/Windows preference, I’d say I have one foot out the door with the back foot reluctantly dragging behind.  I’m still very interested to see what Apple announces at WWDC.  They haven’t made a desktop I care for in quite some time (I’d like to pick out my own monitor thank you) and I’m hoping for some Mac Pro changes that might help get me excited about the platform again (get us better graphic card options and update those damn CPUs!).  Who know’s what we’ll get though, apparently OLED function keys are important now and must have feature we’ve all been waiting for.  Dumb.

Anyway, until then I’ll keep chugging along with this configuration until WWDC and decide what new direction to go in afterwards.

Reflection

I read a post from someone whose work I’ve enjoyed for some time.  He’s been in my Twitter feed for a while, in podcasts I’ve enjoyed, and now I read his blog.  I was bummed when the podcast ended, but was happy to see him writing on his new site.  Over the past few weeks, he’s been struggling to keep up with a promise he made to himself of posting something new every day (that’s a tough promise to keep when you work and have a family).  Today was the day he decided to stop writing on the blog.  Not sure what this means for him yet; time will tell.

His journey is somewhat familiar to me and gave me cause to reflect on my own situation.  I’m no writer and this blog has an audience of one (me); so writing here is a bit of an echo chamber.  But I do like programming languages.  I like reading about them, dabbling in the constructs and learning what they can do.  Am I a programmer?  Not even close.  My problem is attention span and focus, or lack of.  One day I’m learning more PHP, then it’s some Perl, then some Python, then some Swift… I think you get the idea.  I know I’ll never become a programmer if I continue to remain this unfocused.  It’s frustrating because I love learning new things.  I’m not going to stop though, I know the skills I have learned by my broken process have helped my career.  I’m not close to being a programmer and that does frustrate me.  My process is broken, but I’m still motivated to keep learning.

The passion is there, but it may be time to alter my process.  🙂