I haven’t always been Apple’s friend in this space, but this is just a note to say that my current MacBook Pro is by a wide margin my best computer ever. Also, tugboat pictures.
Why share? · I’ve made intense professional use of computers for three decades plus. I’m a connoisseur, if anyone is. If a computer makes me happy, it’s gonna make you happy. Everyone should share their expertise.
Why tugboats? · Because we went to the Vancouver Tugboat Festival and I’m looking for an excuse to run pix and otherwise this is going to be a dreary wall of text. Tugboats are great!
Why Mac? · I’ve often looked enviously at the Linux meatgrinders you can put together with hardware from Lenovo or whoever; more horsepower for less money, and it’s all Free Software. But the Mac has two killer features that I can’t get along without: Adobe Lightroom and the Apple store.
Lightroom is obvious — pictures shot in ultra-high contrast direct seaside sunlight need Lightroom love before they appear here — but let me tell you about the Apple store. What happened was, the Mac frapped out with the weirdest symptom: Plugged into the Dell 4K via HDMI, it run happily. Standalone, it crashed instantly and colorfully.
This happened Friday morning. The next Tuesday afternoon I was taking off to do a couple of fairly substantial speeches in Denmark. So I dropped everything and hit the nearest mall’s Apple Store …kill me now, it’s iPhone 6 release day… Lines of joyless buyers-to-be snaked out the door. I bulled my way to the front and was a little bit rude and pushy to a Genius; I felt bad because the poor dude was stressed out. They didn’t have any Mac types there but he got online and found me an appointment at another mall for 12:45 the next day.
The rest was easy. The second guy listened to the symptoms, said “your video board is frapped but I have to run this test anyhow to prove it” which it did and they took the computer and said no problem about the Tuesday flight.
An hour after I got home I got a call from someone at the Apple store. “Um… your computer has this beautiful decal on it. Unfortunately, to do this repair, we’re going to have to remove it.” I was baffled as to why, but needed the computer more than the decoration, so OK. When I picked it up he said “we accidentally damaged one of the little wires while replacing the video, so we had to give you a new display.” In fact, when I got home, I noticed a few subtle little changes, and I’m betting they took my SSD and put it in a whole new computer. Whatever.
What’s good? · The screen is huge (I run at full max-rez) and without visible pixels, the memory vast, the keyboard excellent, the CPU plenty fast, and everything Just Works.
Plus, compared to back when I got started on Mac, the open-source ecosystem is so much nicer. It used to be a day or two of work to get my blog-publishing machinery running on a new Mac. These days, it all comes in via brew or CPAN or vendor-supplied DMGs and takes maybe an hour, and remarkably little swearing.
What’s not to like? · The price; a maxed-out MacBook Pro is pushing $3.5K.
Also, it’s bigger and heavier than an Air. But really, not too bad; still lighter, I think, than the mainstream Macs I used to carry a few years back. And I guess the battery life isn’t Air-class either, but I’ve never found the need to run unplugged for more than two or three hours at a time.
Like all recent Apple laptops, its style is satin-bland. There hasn’t been an interesting-looking MacBook since they phased out the black model.
Finally, you’re not gonna get much use out of it in economy class.
What I worry about · Apple will eventually decide that nobody should be able to run software on Macs that doesn’t come from their App store.