Can I be post PC? – This weekends experiment Part I

So there’s several ways I could start both this post and this experiment.  I’m not sure I’d be happy starting with any of them as a standalone explanation of what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and what I hope to achieve.  So in no particular order some facts and developments that have created some questions that I hope to answer.

1. I am getting old, I might only be 37 but I know that I still tend to reach for my MacBook Pro when I’m creating something, the iPad up until now, at least for me, has been a device to consume content and not create.

  
 
2. IOS 11 announced at the recent WWDC2017 really seems to have focused on the iPad (the iPad Pros in particular) and the introduction of several features: the Dock, the Files application and the fact that already by Beta 4 (and now in Beta 6) that the release is so stable I am running it now on my IPad Pro, my Mac Pro & my iPhone (not quite ready to commit for my main workhorse MacBook Pro)

3.  iCloud Drive – not that this is new, but recently Apple have taken the plunge and lowered the 2TB storage option to 1TB (with family sharing looking to make this increasingly useful and affordable). And this in cojunction with No.4 (below) may change a lot of things.

4. Ubiquitous 4G connectivity, with good tethering limits.  I’ve already extolled the virtues of Three in the UK.  Whilst EE gets the headlines, all my family have moved over to Three, which gives great coverage, great speeds, and unlimited data. With home connectivity of a Gigabit, and 30 and 40megabit 4G connectivity on the move, my aim is to see can I be a “roving reporter”.

So with all these points said, what’s the whole aim here.  Well I normally carry a MacBook Pro, a Nikon D810 (at least if not also a 610) a couple of prime lenses, and a zoom.  Tonight I’m off to the Edinburgh Fringe and tattoo and so rather than taking all that gear my kit bag consists of two things basically: an iPhone 6S (64GB) and an iPad Pro 9.7 (128GB) along with the Smart Keyboard.  My aim is to see whether I can capture the memories of the trip, take some great pictures, blog and connect to my social media and examine connectivity and storage via both on device storage, VPN back to home servers and using iCloud.  As well as this I want to see how connectivity works on this two device solution and finally decide if the idea of carrying an iPad for shorter trips with an iPhone for photos can actually live up to the hype of the post PC era.

   

 As of  3.10PM on Friday, I’m getting a fuzzy glow.  I’ll be blogging and sharing through the trip.

Glasgow Free Wifi – Pleasant surprises that maybe indicate Glasgow could be becoming a digital city after all

Well Scottish councils often get a bad rap for a lot of reasons , but credit where credit is due Glasgow City council have hit it out the park with this.  In the Merchant City in Glasgow at the awesome Boudoir bar (it’s a Sunday – I’m “studying”).  Opened the laptop to find this little bit of joy….

Screen Shot 2015 08 09 at 13 42 18

I’m assuming they are rolling it out as part of this project, but still nice to see.  Ubiquitious wifi is the best and only way to solve the capacity problems that the new generation of internet services will create.  No doubt BT are more than happy with this, and to allow their newly acquired EE family of users to roam to this whenever possible.

Kudos Glasgow City Council – Kudos…..

Another year, another Canada trip and another Macbook [Part 2]

I’ve been using the new Macbook for just over a month , and feel that I’m getting to grips with it.  This is the second article I’ve written on this topic and gives a summary of some of the major talking points on thew 2015 Apple Macbook.

Plugs and Ports

New macbook usb c 960x540

I’m still not sure about this whole one port thing, it’s not a huge inconvenience but there’s certainly times when it can get in the way.  I quite often have a camera or memory card reader plugged into my laptop and an

xternal hard disk.  Normally I carry my Lightroom library for a trip on both the internal disk/SSD of my machine whilst having a second backup copy of the photos and the library on an external hard disk.  My normal work flow is to have the disk copy straight over whilst I’m importing.  Having only one USB makes this process which was once a single step; plug in hard disk to one USB plug in memory card – into a two stepper- no biggie, but still not ideal.  In it’s defence I can see that in the future as new 3rd party hubs come to market this will disappear.  Speaking of which the USB-C connector is definitely a step into the future.  It would be wonderful to think that finally, one day we will be able to carry a single jack or plug which will charge our phones, or do data transfer- really folks, it’s 2015 this should have long been solved.

Processor

Being a fanless design, there have been some compromises to get the machine to work.  I find that for most tasks I use the chip more than keeps up (long gone are the days where I care about Ghz or Mhz speeds).  When you move to use Macs you begin to actual care a lot less about specifications and more about the job that machine does.  So for me the machine more than keeps up with the daily grind of blogging, emailing, surfing and even photo import editing duties.  I have to confess to seeing a definitely detectable difference in the performance of VMWare fusion – but it’s still useable.

Keyboard

When I first opened the machine, I definitely was taken aback by the difference in the feel of the keyboard.  I’m used to chiclet boards from my old Macbook Pro and from my Mac Pro, but this new one, as reported, has a lot less travel.  Maybe the cause for the change of feel was the obsession with slimming the machine which required a new mechanism- but regarless, after a few hours its probably my favourite keyboard to work on.  So a plus that’s become a negative.

17270093896 b14891c7a5 k

Final thoughts and take aways

I’m keenly looking for a USB-C hub.  I already have the Apple adaptor, which is fine giving a standard USB port, an HDMI out and another USB-C (passthrough) to allow you to charge.  Why Apple didn’t bang on another USB port to add the transition is beyond me.  I’ve had a look at the marketplace, but it’s a little “Wild-Westesque” at the moment.  I know OWC have some new parts coming so I’ll take a look at them when they come and see what they offer.

The question of monitor connection is fazing me a little bit at the moment.  Does this laptop signal a new wave of Ultra HD Apple displays on the horizon?  What connector are we going for for those? Is DisplayPort dead? Will the new machines use USB-C natively- will there be adaptors.  Being honest, I will never really have call to plug in to a big display, but it’s still worthing considering.  I use the excellent Duet Display created by a pair of form Apple engineers.  Duet Display lets me use a Retina iPad or Ipad2 as a second screen- awesome for on the go editing, or proofing.

Finally I can’t help shaking the idea that eventually once Apple’s e-SIM system becomes finalized, that they wouldn’t consider building in this radio technology to the network stack of these devices- how cool would it be if this thing could chat to the internet whilst in power nap- that really would be the Internet- of-(Some)things!  Regardless as a generation 1 product the new Macbook definitely gives us a glimpse of the future.  When the 15inch Pro goes all USB-C I’ll be first in the queue – I can see it now – 3 USB-Cs, 32GB RAM, the new keyboard and a 2TB of Flash storage- now that’ll be worth seeing.