Think Different(ly)

In a recent conversation with Knightwise we were musing that it doesn't seem that it's very long since we were both ragging on Dave to get off Windows and get a Mac. Today we're both seriously entertaining the possibility that our next primary computing device might be running an OS from Redmond. What changed? Has Windows gotten that much better?

Yes. It's undeniably better.

But we're also different.

And Apple is different.

I think when we switched to the Mac we saw it as the Valhalla of everything we were looking for. A better system with a unix terminal which would give us the best of both worlds: open source, and a first-class GUI driven OS.

In a lot of ways the Mac hasn't progressed since the Intel transition. Sure there have been feature additions, and if you use iOS regularly there is a lot to help you work with those devices and in that ecosystem.But for switchers and sliders there hasn't been significant change in the Mac operating system for the better part of a decade.

Long in the Tooth

And the hardware? Well as of this writing, the best rating for the "when to buy" page for Macs is a neutral rating for the Macbook Pro.

  • iMac: 16 months since last refresh
  • Mac Mini: 28 months since last refresh
  • Mac Pro: 38 months since last refresh

These machines need some love if you expect knowledgable people to buy them. And if you don't well then I guess that'll be where we part ways.

  • Mac Pro
    • Ships with a CPU released in September 2013
    • Costs the same as it did when it was new
    • Pretty much every component is outdated
  • Mac Mini
    • The best CPU option was released in July 2014 -- there have been 3 generations of i7 CPUs since then
    • The max RAM is 16GB
    • Costs the same as it did when it was new

And Windows? Well you can get BASH on Windows now, on reasonably inexpensive and current hardware.

Book Report – Hamlet’s Blackberry

Title: Hamlet's Blackberry Author: William Powers

I've been trying to get this book read for about the last 18 months. It had come highly recommended by a friend who found the book to be a good look into the technological overload of our modern times, and the inherent constant connectivity to the crowds provided by the Internet.

It took me quite a while to get into this book. Powers' continual assertion that the technology that we have come to rely on is disconnecting us from ourselves, and our reality. The same technology that we use to keep us connected and allow us to collaborate and communicate with people all around the globe was, in turn, not allowing us to actually experience and enjoy that connection because it's giving us the attention span of a squirrel on speed.

Ultimately there's more to it than that. Unfortunately Powers doesn't get into most of the rest of the minutiae and the possibilities for managing the technology that tries to take over. It feels like 80-90% of the book is spent framing the problem and drilling it into your head over and over again without offering much in the way of strategies or tactics to deal with it.

Overall, this book is ok. It raises some valid points and will make you think about just how critical it is to have your phone on your bedside table (I use mine for an alarm clock, so I left it where it is) but it does little to help address these challenges.