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.


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.


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.

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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.


Another year, another Canada trip and another Macbook [Part 1]

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It seems that every year around this time I make another push to try to be a better blogging citizen of the world.  Some years it works, but some years it doesn’t.  Regardless, the first post that spurs me on tends to be a new toy, a new piece of technology and in this case this post trend this year is no different.

The shiny toy of my new affection? – a 2015 Macbook.  I must start this article by saying that I came to Canada this year (as we do every year) with absolutely no intention of buying a new Macbook.  Indeed, only last October I utilized my student discount to purchase a Macbook Pro Retina 13inch which I was more than happy with.  If you leaf back in the articles that I wrote about it, you’ll see that my aim was to see if it was possible to move as much as possible of my daily data to the cloud – as the device I had bought was the 128GB SSD version.  Long story short, it probably is, but for me 128GB was just a little too tight.  This years Macbook comes in 2 SSD flavours a 256GB or a 512GB version ( i picked the later) – something I’ll go into shortly.

So why did I go and change to maybe a somewhat more “limited” machine, after all, my Pro has a dual i5 2.6Ghz processor, whilst my new Macbook has only a a Core -M at 1.8Ghz (Dual core of course).  To tell the truth I’m wondering that myself.  Firstly a big factor in the purchase was the price (or lack of it) – due to the UK-CND exchange rate at the moment the device came in at just under 1000GBP after taxes and fees.  When I’m in doubt on such things I buy them anyway, with the rational that I’m at least 200GBP under the price I would pay in the UK.  Also with the device still in such short supply I can play with it for a couple weeks and if (unlikely) decide to pass it on, know I can get all my money back and a tidy profit.

I went for the upper of the two models the 1.8Ghz/8GB/512GB model.  Expect a few posts to tell you how I’m going.

New Member of the Fleet

Macbook Pro Retina 13 Inch - 2014

Macbook Pro Retina 13 Inch – 2014- The latest fleet member

For a while now, since I purchased my Mac Pro, I’ve been thinking if perhaps the 15 inch Macbook Pro Retina was overkill.  Certainly carrying it around in a camera backpack with a couple of SLR lenses and a DSLR body was proving to be an experience akin to an Iron Man contest- not what I need on an after party Saturday morning.  I have run the Macbook Pro 15 as my main machine for the last 2 years, after picking it up shortly after it went on general sale.  There is absolutely no qualms about the performance of the machine** with a quad core i7 and and no spinning rust drives it flys no matter what I throw at it.

So I decided to abuse my student discount one last time before it runs out and picked up an absolute base spec Macbook Pro Retina 13 inch (that’s Dual Core i5 2.6 Ghz / 8 GB RAM / 128GB of SSD).  In that spec the only thing that genuinely worries me is the SSD, can I copy with only 128GB of storage space – baring in mind I throw around 2 GB MKVs for fun these days, my camera easily shoots 120GB of raw photo files at a time, and VMWare Fusion machines running to 20-30GB.

Firstly the iTunes library is already in the cloud (thats 100GB sorted out) – and whilst I worry a little about not having a connection and thus no files I hope that the unlimited data contract from 3 plus tethering should make this rarer and rarer an occurrence.

VMware wise – my strategy is going to be to utilise the SD card space in the device.  With 128GB SD class 10 cards appearing on Amazon for 50 quid, my plan is to run the VMs off their own dedicated SD card.

The one inescapable storage problem (at least until I have a 200MB uplink) is RAW files from my camera.  To be honest this is a bit of a non starter as I already face the same issue on the current Macbook.  I’ve purchased one of the Execellent WD 2TB Passport drives (USB3.0) – for on the road, and another hooked to the Macbook.  It might be a quick and dirty backup, but it works!  I’ve got a whole other storage and backup solution scripted that backs the whole lot up onto a Drobo FS drive which has redundancy up until 2 drive failures.

If I can’t make all this cloudy restraint work, then I’ll go to OWC for one of these 480GB puppies but I am really going to try to make the cloudy lifestyle work.  I’m interested to see how the workflow will work out in the field, especially with the DSLR- what I might have to accept in alteration to accommodate the space issue I hope to balance out with much improved mobility and grab.

Now – the big question, will I be able to part with the 15inch Retina or just hoard it 🙂