Tag Archive for ‘Mac’

Hating Apple Goes Mainstream ➝

David Heinemeier Hansson:

This isn’t just about one awful ad. I mean, yes, the ad truly is awful. It symbolizes everything everyone has ever hated about digitization. It celebrates a lossy, creative compression for the most flimsy reason: An iPad shedding an irrelevant millimeter or two. It’s destruction of beloved musical instruments is the perfect metaphor for how utterly tone-deaf technologists are capable of being. But the real story is just how little saved up goodwill Apple had in the bank to compensate for the outrage.

That’s because Apple has lost its presumption of good faith over the last five years with an ever-larger group of people, and now we’ve reached a tipping point. A year ago, I’m sure this awful ad would have gotten push back, but I’m also sure we’d heard more “it’s not that big of a deal” and “what Apple really meant to say was…” from the stalwart Apple apologists the company has been able to count on for decades. But it’s awfully quiet on the fan-boy front.

I would say the downfall started more than five years ago. I would look at the 2015 introduction of the butterfly keyboard as the beginning of this era. An era where they would continue to sell these awful keyboards for around five years, failing to resolve the issue through at least two iterations of the product before finally moving back to scissor switches.

There are still bright spots, which is why I continue to buy Apple products. But I’ve never been closer to switching than I am today.

➝ Source: world.hey.com

Ive Drives, Vol. 3 ➝

Louie Mantia:

It’s been 15 years since the original and 12 years since the sequelVolume 3 contains a staggering 125 hard drive icons, comprising of 25 metal colors (most—if not all—of Apple’s modern product colors), with 5 varieties of each.

I’ll be using these to replace the icons I’m using for the drives connected to my home server.

(Via Michael Tsai.)

➝ Source: lmnt.me

The Magic Is Gone

I remember around ten years ago, whenever I was near an Apple Store, I just had to go. If I was visiting family in Pittsburgh, I had to visit the Apple Store. If I was around Syracuse, if I was in Philadelphia, wherever. If there was an Apple Store nearby, I had to take the time to visit, even if just for a little bit.

From my earliest days with Apple products, in 2004, I’ve always been 2-3 hours from the nearest Apple Store.

But the products felt so cool during that era. The idea of having a half an hour or so with the entire lineup was too much to pass up.

I’d check out every MacBook they offered and chat with my wife (then girlfriend) about which one struck the right balance for my needs. I’d check out the Mac Mini, each iMac, and the Mac Pro and have an internal debate about which one I’d buy if money was no object. Even after leaving the store, I’d spend the rest of the day thinking about my dream setup.

I’d check out the latest iPods, iPads, iPhone, and browse through all of the accessories. Sometimes I’d leave with something — a new pair of headphones, a power adapter, or the like — and sometimes I’d leave completely empty handed.

Today, though, I can’t remember the last time I even went to an Apple Store. It was probably before 2020 and it was more than likely because I actually needed to go there for something. The last time I made a point to go to the Apple Store just to browse was probably a year or two prior.

The magic of Apple’s retail stores is gone.

Part of that is because Apple products are a bit more accessible in my area now. I can go to my local Target or Walmart and toy around with the Apple Watch, iPhone, and iPads on display. If I want to check out a new Mac, the local Best Buy carries a good portion of those.

But even more so, Apple’s products aren’t really exciting to me anymore. Most of what they release is a relatively minor iteration over the previous version. Sometimes with, what feels like, downgrades compared to the previous model. I’m looking at you, Action Button.

“But what about the Vision Pro”, you’re invariably asking? Well, that product isn’t appealing to me in the slightest. I have no interest in augmented or virtual reality. I consider it to be more akin to 3D television or motion controls in games. Neither of those will necessarily go away entirely — they will rise and fall in popularity over time, but they’ll never be the predominant medium or even a major player.

Maybe I’ll eat my words, but I don’t expect the Vision Pro or any other AR/VR computing product to ever be much more than a novelty device.

Outside of the lack of excitement for Apple’s new products, though, there are obviously other factors that have an impact.

I’m at a different part of my life now than I was ten years ago. My wife and I have started a family, I have a great job, and with that comes a bit more disposable income and a lot less free time. I can often just buy products that I would have, previously, had to save for.

And the lack of time means that I’m unable to obsess over all of the little details of an announcement. Or read through every line of the product pages and press releases. All of the things that built excitement for actually getting my hands on the products.

All of this isn’t a bad thing, of course. There are the clear benefits of spending time with family instead of caring so much about the products of a former computer company.

I think the lack of excitement in folks like me represents an opportunity for another company to build something truly neat. To get people excited and start making waves in the consumer electronics industry.

Valve’s Steam Deck and the recent explosion of retro emulation handhelds from Retroid, Anbernic, and others immediately comes to mind. There’s a lot to be excited about in that market.

But I’m hoping for something bigger. Something that will give me the same feeling I got from Apple in the late 2000s. The type of feeling that will have me going out of my way to spend a few minutes with a new product in a retail store.

Apple Versus the World ➝

Chris Hannah:

I’m no longer a die-hard Apple fan, so I’m not going to get overly caught up on any of the arguments for or against them. But there’s a reason people talk about Apple’s “walled garden”. And rightly or wrongly, it seems that more and more people are starting to want to tear down the wall.

Ten years ago I felt like Apple could do no wrong. And feel like I wasn’t too far off on that. They had an incredible run, releasing some of my favorite products of all time.

But today, it feels like they make more poor decisions than good ones. I’m sort-of stuck, though, because of the services lock-in and a small number of third-party apps that there aren’t any good options for on other platforms.

I’ll continue to dabble with Linux, though, and consider whether Android is a viable option. And maybe one day I’ll feel like it’s time to make the switch away from Apple.

➝ Source: chrishannah.me

11-Inch MacBook Air

I often find myself checking OWC to see the used Macs that they have available. Especially the Mac Mini and Mac Pro. Two machines that I’ve just fallen in love with over the years.

I currently own five Mac Minis, all of which are in use throughout the house. They’re great for home servers, retro emulation, or general computing. And they’re dirt cheap now. You can routinely find 2014 and earlier models for around $100 with a decent amount of memory and storage.

As for the Mac Pro, I’ve never owned one at all. But back in my early days of writing on the web, I would find myself jealous of folks like Shawn Blanc and Glenn Wolsey who used these powerful machines as their daily drivers. I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on one yet, but the prices on old Mac Pros are reaching a point where they’re just too inexpensive to pass up.

But there’s one more Mac model that I keep an eye out for — the 11-inch MacBook Air.

The 11-inch MacBook Air is my absolute favorite Mac ever released. Ever.

Aside from the 12-inch MacBook, the 11-inch MacBook Air is the smallest and lightest laptop Apple has ever released. And unlike the 12-inch MacBook, the 11-inch MacBook Air has a functioning keyboard and a great assortment of ports — two USB-A ports, a single Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt port, and MagSafe for charging.

I bought two 11-inch MacBook Airs back in 2011. One for myself and one for my wife (girlfriend at the time). The one purchased for her is no longer working properly. It has a bad trackpad, bad battery, and possibly a bad logic board. Mine is now used by my wife as her occasional non-work machine. It’s still on High Sierra, but it can run LibreOffice and Firefox ESR, which is about all she needs it for.

I could probably put some effort into the broken one and get it working, but for the price of a trackpad and battery, assuming the logic board is actually okay, I’m already about half-way to the price of another 11-inch from a later model year and I would get the benefits of a newer machine — faster USB ports, longer battery life, increased performance, and support for later versions of macOS.

Luckily enough, last week while perusing OWC’s available models, I noticed they had a 2015 11-inch MacBook Air with 8GB of memory, in “excellent” condition, with good pricing on storage upgrades. It, unfortunately, only had the 1.6 GHz Core i5 instead of the higher-end 2.2 GHz Core i7. Nevertheless, I pulled the trigger.

I selected the 500GB storage option, paid $300 after tax, and am expecting it to arrive by the end of this week.

I could probably find a better price on EBay, especially if I upgraded the storage myself, but I’ve bought a handful of used Macs from OWC and have always been happy with my purchase.

When the machine arrives, I’ll give it a once over in macOS. I’ll make sure the battery is still in good shape, the specifications are what they should be, and that all of the ports and whatnot are working properly. At that point I’ll more than likely try setting it up to triple boot macOS Monterey, Windows 10, and Ubuntu using the rEFInd boot manager.

And then I’ll have the coolest laptop setup ever.

My First Macintosh

In late 2006 I purchased a base model MacBook with a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 512MB of RAM, and a 60GB hard drive.

Apple made a big deal about how upgradable these machines were — the memory slots and hard drive were accessible behind a metal plate inside the battery compartment. I upgraded the hard drive and memory myself, ending up with 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive.

I still have the machine today, albeit with a replacement battery, new keyboard, and top case. I actually had the machine out a few days ago after finding it in my office closet — I’ve been reorganize and cleaning up the home office while on parental leave.

The MacBook still boots, but I have no idea if the battery will hold a charge at all. I only booted it up for a minute or two to see if it would still run. It hasn’t seen any regular use in over a decade. I think the last time it would have been used was as a backup machine for my wife when her MacBook Air needed repairs.

As for my use of the machine, it was my primary computer until I bought an iMac in 2008. I continued using the MacBook as my portable machine until it was replaced by an 11-inch MacBook Air in 2011.

I’ve been on a kick of configuring old machines with new uses — most recently setting up a 2014 Mac Mini as family computer in the basement. I might end up installing Linux on the MacBook or a fresh copy of Lion, which is the most recent version of macOS that it supports. I have no idea what I’d use it for, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

The machine is significantly thicker and heavier than any of the laptops I’ve used since then. The plastic casing is prone to cracking and the trackpad has a dedicated button below it for clicking — this was prior to the integrated button built into the trackpad in later MacBooks.

But despite all of that, I still have a great deal of nostalgia for this era of Macs. I feel like the design language of Apple’s software was at its peak and the hardware had a much healthier balance of elegance and upgradability.

The latter of those two seems like we’re continuing to move further away from. The transition to Apple Silicon has all but solidified a future full of Macs that offer zero upgradability. Sure you can still buy a Mac Pro, but you can’t add a graphics card, you can’t upgrade your system’s memory, and you can’t install a new CPU. It’s a lame duck product and everyone knows it.

I still hold out hope for a brighter future in that regard, though. Even if you can’t replace the integrated components it would be rad if you could add new components to augment the system. For example, imagine being able to twist off the bottom of a new Mac Mini to reveal a single M.2 slot. You could use it for additional storage, as a new or alternative boot drive, or as a quick and dirty Time Machine drive.

There’s definitely enough room in the Mac Mini’s chassis for this and I’m willing to bet other machines could offer similar upgradability without having to sacrifice the lineup’s existing form factors.

But that’s all a pipe dream. If you want real upgradability, you’ll have to get used to running Windows or Linux.

Mac Menu Bar and the Notch ➝

I was a Bartender user long before Apple started shipping laptops with a notch in their display. Because of this, I haven’t really run into the issue of Menu Bar icons disappearing behind the notch. I’ve also started using Top Notch to make my menu bar black, effectively making the notch invisible.

Between these two apps, I often forget the notch even exists. The only time it rears its ugly head is when I use Thunderbird, which has enough menus along the left side of the Menu Bar that the notch causes a gap among the menu titles.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Ventoy ➝

From the website:

Ventoy is an open source tool to create bootable USB drive for ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)/EFI files. With ventoy, you don’t need to format the disk over and over, you just need to copy the ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)/EFI files to the USB drive and boot them directly. You can copy many files at a time and ventoy will give you a boot menu to select them

I have an old MacBook Air that has been a bit finicky to get working with some Linux distributions — I suspect the machine’s WiFi and the associated drivers are to blame. I wanted to test out a bunch of distributions and Ventoy made it drop-dead simple.

I didn’t have to flash a half dozen installer images to a USB drive one at a time, I just created a Ventoy drive, transferred all of the installer images to it, and was able to test them from there.

➝ Source: ventoy.net