Paris, France Now in the Photography Section

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

I am continuing my build-out of The Newsprint’s Photography page. It’s rather simple. It also now takes advantage of Ghost’s cool bookmark embeds.

Up today is my Paris, France photoset. You’ve seen these before, to be sure. But everything is now in one nice, clean spot here on The Newsprint.

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The Pro Default

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

It's time to whip out the good old fashioned linkblog back-and-forth commentary made famous a decade ago. Here's Greg Morris yesterday on his fun blog:

These Pros are for those that need serious power on the go, yet I have a feeling I will see these all over the place in a few weeks. Apple devices have always been a status thing for some. Like designer clothing the enjoyment comes from brandishing something just for the cost – or so I am told. I can’t wait to be able to pick those notched screens out with not too much trouble and have a look at what tasks are being done on a machine that is at least a thousand pound more expensive than required.

I wear designer clothing quite regularly. I’m wearing a new swacket this morning, in fact. There is a very distinct line between enjoyment due to cost and enjoyment due to quality of materials. In fact, I think enjoyment greatly diminishes after a certain price. At this particular price, you know you can buy equal-quality garments but for less money.

Matt Birchler wrote up a bit of a response as well:

What's great is that the M1 processor is so impressive that it makes the consumer-grade devices some of the best money can buy period. If you buy a MacBook Air today, you're getting one of the fastest laptops on the market, and you're getting it in a thin, fan-less body. You're not getting some throwaway, slow machine, you're getting something awesome. Do you need the extra-awesome new Pros? Maybe, but I think the non-Pro Apple lineup will make more people very happy than ever before.

I think comparing the M1 MacBook Air to the incoming M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro works very well in the MacBook Air’s favour. The MacBook Air may be the highest value notebook Apple has produced ever. It outpaces my 2019 six-core Intel iMac in every Geekbench test at less than half the purchase price. Checkmark in the MacBook Air box, to be sure.

But the M1 MacBook Pro is an entirely different story, if you ask me. There’s an $800 CAD difference between the M1 MacBook Pro and the baseline M1 Pro MacBook Pro. For that $800, here’s what you’re buying:

  • An inch of extra screen real estate
  • Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Six more GPU cores
  • An extra 8GB RAM
  • Faster RAM
  • An extra 256GB SSD storage
  • Faster SSD storage
  • ProMotion
  • A better 1080p camera
  • An improved sound system
  • A better headphone jack
  • Expanded I/O including an SD card slot
  • No Touch Bar

Really, the only thing you gain with the M1 MacBook Pro is the better battery life. The M1 MacBook Pro boasts up to 20 hours of battery life to the M1 Pro MacBook Pro’s boasting of 17 hours of battery life.

I think this might be some of the most consequential $800 you can spend on Apple’s entire store right now.

Of course, Morris’s original point is always going to be correct — you probably don’t need one of the shiny new MacBook Pros. The best value Apple laptop in the last decade is the M1 MacBook Air after all. Despite being a year old, I’d still recommend this laptop to any consumer looking for a laptop.

But the other question I think needs to be asked is whether it’s worth buying the shiny new MacBook Pro. If you’re earning dollars with your computer, then the extra investment is 30% cheaper because you can deduct the amount on your tax return and it buys you more of Apple’s best features than ever before.

So, no, if you aren’t a demanding user, you probably shouldn’t be looking at the M1 Pro MacBook Pro. This recommendation should continue to be the M1 MacBook Air.

If you’re a user who has eyed the M1 MacBook Pro for the last year though, you really should consider what that extra $800 is going to buy you.

In my mind, there should be just about nobody buying an M1 MacBook Pro at this point. Unless you absolutely, undoubtedly, unabashedly need an extra 3 hours of battery life beyond the 17-hour mark.

I Got What I Wanted at Apple’s Unleashed Event

Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021

As a quick reminder, here’s what I stated late last week regarding my hopes for yesterday’s “Unleashed” Apple keynote:

My ideal setup would be a 13-inch MacBook Pro that is capable of running two 27-inch displays. There’s an Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro capable of this right now, but I’m hesitant to double-down on an Intel-based Mac given the inevitable Apple M-chip future. I’d like a laptop so I could work from home in the evenings during tax season rather than beaming in via Screens from my home office M1 MacBook Air.

And then:

Assuming Gurman and all the Apple journalistic community is correct, we’re getting 14-inch and 16-inch high-powered MacBook Pros on Monday. There is no way these MacBook Pros debut without 32GB RAM options. I’d also be utterly stunned if they only supported a single external display.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I came away from next Monday’s keynote with pure excitement. I think the odds are high Apple debuts the computer I have hoped for since I converted my iMac to office use.

Hindsight is 20/20, of course — some sophisticated keyboard warrior is bound to say “Well duh Josh, it was so obvious they were going to debut a high-powered MacBook Pro.”

But then the years 2015-2017 happened and it feels as though we’re sort of accustomed to Apple falling short in the Mac delivery department. Here’s Matt Birchler in a tweet thread last night:

I feel like Apple has been absolutely on fire in recent years when it comes to hardware. 2015-17 seems like slow point with aging iPhone designs, a terrible MBP refresh, an awkward Apple Watch launch…
But 2018-2021 has been almost exclusively home runs on the hardware front.
2018 iPad Pro still slaps, the iPhones 11, 12, & 13 all winners, M1 revitalized the Mac as a category instantly, 2021 iPad Mini, AirPods (all of them), Apple Watches, they all absolutely kill.
The 2021 Apple TV is the only exception I can really think of, but it was still solid.

I’m still getting used to this Apple which overtly listens to its customer base. It's almost like they fixed every single mistake they made on the MacBook Pro from 2015 t0 2020.

Now that’s an anecdotal tangent. Here are the specs of the MacBook Pro I ordered yesterday afternoon:

  • 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro — Silver
  • 10-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 32GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD

There’s no world where my personal computing workflows and Sweet Setup contribution workflows would call for a MacBook of this magnitude. Instead, I’ve been on this experimental path to convert my entire Windows-based accounting workflow to a Mac. This is hardly the “professional user” Apple has in mind when they discuss the MacBook Pro’s potential, but I’ll kindly ask to be a part of this group.

The Windows-only part of my job seems to be a hardware pig. Tax software eats RAM for breakfast, accounting program files and backups can take up ridiculous amounts of storage space, and bloated Microsoft Excel workbooks can require heavier lifting than some may think. I received a general ledger in the last few weeks that was 35,000 lines long, 400 columns wide, and formatted top to bottom. Searching for “Repairs & Maintenance” resulted in a 45-second process to find a single result. I typed "Repairs and Maintenance" the first time only to be met with an empty search result.

Guess what I never do in that general ledger anymore? Search for specific terms. It’s legitimately faster to ask the client where to look than to go down the path of searching in Microsoft Excel.

Which is to say, I want to be part of the “Needs a powerful MacBook Pro” group. Running two OSes side by side with archaic hardware-hungry software takes some power under-the-hood.

This MacBook Pro appears to deliver in spades. I’m excited to see how the one-MacBook-for-all-the-jobs idea works out in practice.