Humble (Apple) Pie…

Backstory

You may have read my previous post about not liking the new Apple MacBook Pro with TouchBar… it was fairly “screw them, they aren’t pro any more” and a bit of “I can get more for less elsewhere, vote with your wallet people!” … well… yeah… turns out I was wrong. Put the resistance on hold.

Part of my move away from MacOS (I don’t like the small m Apple, please stop it) was going to involve having a dedicated Linux machine with a native install, as I did a lot of development using Ubuntu and had become really comfortable using the OS and thought I could use it as a daily driver. I still believe I could do that, and I could live with the small issues I had if the hardware worked a treat. But it didn’t …

Now, I have a big iMac 27″ with a 5k display, so I don’t need another desktop, it’s a gorgeous machine, but I wanted portable power. I also didn’t want a 15″ beast, I wanted as capable as possible a machine in a modern 13″ enclosure (which is closer to the 11″ MacBook air of old). The onus is on LAP in laptop here for me. That involves trackpads working really well… I had so many issues with the trackpad on the linux machine, that I ended up sitting at my desk and using a mouse with it. I had hacked lots of files, tweaked lots of settings, and got it as usable as I could (why anyone would enable top left/right of the pad for copy paste by default baffles me) but frequently it just shit it’s pants and became annoying, missing clicks, losing cursors and pissing me off. Fine… I’ve got Windows 10 on here, I’ll use that… Nope.

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Accurate depiction of me using the Dell for half an hour

Windows update swooped in and ruined my graphics drivers, meaning that the display was totally ruined, I had to roll back drivers and fight with it to ignore that update. Which pisses me off, I like to keep everything as up to date as possible (if you have 24 App Updates needed on your phone… I will try and update them when you aren’t looking).

It was at this stage that I thought… This was £1,500 worth of laptop.. I shouldn’t have to fight this hard with it! That was my hard earned cash. I was talking to a friend, and the conversation veered into a rant on my part, by the end of it, without him having suggested anything I had decided to sell the thing, and order something else…. something Appley.

Decision to change

I took a hit and sold it on eBay for £1000, which was a £300 loss (I saved £200 off retail when I bought it) and ordered about £1,800 worth of 13″ tbMBP. 16GB RAM, 3.1 GHz dual core i5 (6th Gen) and 256GB of SSD Storage. Nowhere near as powerful as the Dell offering, but wow, what a breath of fresh air to use after fighting for months.

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When you move your finger on the trackpad and the cursor follows

I don’t even feel bad about it, I really gave the Dell a chance, in both Windows and Linux, I fought hard with the configs, and lost a fair bit of cash in trading it in. But when push comes to shove, spending a bit more for a machine that I look forward to using, is better than wasting £1,300 on something that I basically avoided using.

Conclusion

I am almost glad I fought with the Dell, if I had just got the Mac first, I might have not realised how much better it was (for me) than the alternative, and may have thought I had spent too much for another Apple device. But now I really appreciate my new machine.

It’s a gorgeous machine to work with, I LOVE the new keyboard, I don’t really care about the touchbar, I would rather the fn keys if I was honest, it doesn’t add any value, but I can live with it. The Dell’s main port was a Thunderbolt USBC so I already had the cables I needed to use with the Mac’s ports. Lesson learned, think twice before moving out of your comfort zone with technology you are investing a lot in, and don’t let internet opinions sway you (including this one, I guess). Try things out, think how they will work in your workflow, go with what makes you happy, and you will actually use.

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Clearly I’m not a photographer, but you got to admit, it’s pretty

 

Importance of space

Space.. the final frontier.

Well… not quite. But it’s really important to me. I value space, both personal and physical. I have lived in a bunch of different houses and apartments over the last decade, and I never really felt I had enough space. Laptops were sat in the living room, kitchen table or wherever was the least noisy place in the house. Raspberry Pis were scattered in drawers and gathered dust at the back of a desk, PCs were left whirring in bedrooms… we all know the frustration.

When my girlfriend and I bought our first place together, one of the most important things for me was a place to put the technology, with enough space for me to tinker with various projects.

We got the house from a couple with two young girls, as we don’t have any kids (yet) we didn’t need a huge amount of rooms, one for guests (Georgia’s pet project) and one for me to put laptops, desktops, xbox, raspberry pis, important documents… everything.

It started off a pink, fairly grimy room, and with a few days of work, it’s become my favorite room in the house. My ‘office’.

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Pre and post officification

Technology has become such a fundamental part of all our lives, and it’s still frequently confined to a secondary status in a lot of our homes. If we ever need an extra bedroom, I am now comfortable enough to say “Ok, time to move house” as opposed to giving up the office and having bits of tech scattered about the place. My iMac runs 24/7 as both my main PC and our home media server. The Xbox and 32″ TV gives me a place I can come and watch a movie or play xbox with my friends with out taking over the main TV in the living room, or escape when programs about baking/dancing or wedding dresses are on. I also don’t feel like I’m being relegated to some damp cold corner of the house we currently aren’t using, I’m in the office.

The desks were made with the IKEA room builder, which is a fantastic piece of software

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It also prints off a list of everything you need, prices it, and can be ordered in the correct way so you can pick up all the bits in the store without going back on yourself. All in all the office in my pic came to £220 plus about £50 on a good set of paint. A tiny investment for a great creative space.

I now have all the space I could want, all the house’s tech is tucked away out of site, I have somewhere to escape to and my (much) better half has somewhere to work when she is studying.

You spend thousands of pounds on all your tech, invest a bit of space in it too.. a dedicated office allows you to feel much more creative, isolates you from distractions found in every other room (dogs barking, washing machines running, TV blaring away etc), it also means I can setup my work laptop, a nice monitor and work away without having to shove everything off to the side and feel like I’m typing on my knee, the freedom to work from home, and actually feel like I can properly work makes life much easier.

I’m not saying kick the child out into the porch, but if you have some spare space, or could make some, consider creating your own tech room/office where you are free from distractions and can really get creative.

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