Boss Birthday

Thursday, Nov 25, 2021

Today is my oldest daughter’s fourth birthday. Though only her fourth birthday, it feels like her twentieth birthday. Four going on twenty — is that a thing?

A child’s fourth birthday is no place to get emotional.

But we may be jumping for joy around here. At least slightly. We’re 50% of the way through “Terrible Threes” in our home, so there’s reason to celebrate. And we’ve noticed a pullback of that three-year-old attitude — this now-four-year-old is significantly more reasonable than she was six months ago.

More than anything, I just want to take a step back and admire the progression of a little human. Here’s our little one four years:

And here’s Boss Emryn four years later:

Children are the absolute best. They push buttons I didn’t know I had. They frustrate in unforeseen ways. They make me want to throw a baseball through the window. (As I type, Boss Emryn will simply not go to bed.)

Then they say “I love you Dad.” Or they give their sibling a hug. Or they count from 1 to 10 for the first time. Or they score their first goal.

And all that frustration is washed away.

Time flies.

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A Photo Essay of the 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021

You can find a thousand insightful reviews of the 2021 MacBook Pros at this point. I’ve enjoyed reviews that showcase a power-user’s workflow being completed with ease, and I’ve enjoyed a few reviews of PC users trying to adjust to a MacBook Pro.

Now I’m by no means the best product photographer on the planet. If you’re looking for that person, check out this guy’s work.

But I do find these types of photos essays to be the most enjoyable pieces to put together. Sometimes the goal is to tell a complete story with as few words as possible. Other times each image is about showcasing design choices and aesthetic beauty. Other times it’s all about being as minimal as possible.

Shot for The Sweet Setup.

Wherever this lands on the scale is up for you to decide. But this was a fun photo essay to put together for The Sweet Setup on the new 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro. Head on over to the site to check it out.

Why I Chose Two LG UltraFine 24-Inch Displays Rather Than One LG UltraFine 27-Inch Display

Monday, Nov 22, 2021

MacBook Pro users are clamouring for an Apple-made external display that doesn’t cost two arms, a leg, and a kidney. Given the quality of an iMac display and the cost of an iMac, it’d be reasonable to think Apple is capable of making a great inexpensive display. It shouldn’t be impossible to create a 27-inch Retina display for under $1,500.

That reality doesn’t exist right now. Instead, the main options on hand are LG’s 24-inch and 27-inch UltraFine Displays and the Pro Display XDR. The XDR will not be discussed today.

I opted for two 24-inch LG UltraFine Displays rather than one 27-inch display. My perusal of the r/MacSetups forum and other cool setups on Instagram would suggest this is not the common decision. Most folks seem to choose the single larger 27-inch UltraFine.

I opted for two 24-inch displays for a few reasons:

  • Thunderbolt 3 Ports — The 24-inch UltraFine Displays come with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, enabling multiple Thunderbolt devices to be daisy chained through the displays. The result is a single cable tethering into the MacBook Pro. If you want to run two 27-inch UltraFine Displays, you’ll have to connect each individual display to separate ports on the MacBook Pro — still totally workable, but clogging up one extra port on your notebook.
  • I/O — All UltraFine models come with an additional three USB-C ports for plugging in accessories. By having two 24-inch displays, I have a total of six USB-C ports available and an extra Thunderbolt 3 port on the end-chain display. Right now, I have a scanner, an external keyboard, a wired ethernet connection, and an iPhone MagSafe cable connected to the back of my UltraFine Displays. This leaves three unused USB-C ports plus two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, and an SD card port on the MacBook Pro. I have connection ports available for days, especially when compared to the prior M1 MacBook Air/Pro notebooks or the 27-inch UltraFine Display.
  • Screen real estate — One single 27-inch UltraFine Display has almost as many pixels as two 24-inch UltraFine Displays (my math suggests one 27-inch display has 89% of the pixels of two 24-inch displays). But it’s how those pixels are handled — the 24-inch UltraFine Display isn’t as sharp as the 27-inch UltraFine Display, but scaling provides more room for more windows, documents, and screens with two 24-inch displays. I’m not in the business of needing pixels so much as needing space — space to spread out spreadsheets, PDFs, browser windows, and other space-consuming digital paraphernalia.

Now, of course there are drawbacks to this approach as well:

  • Lower resolution displays — If you do need resolution and pixels, there’s no doubt the larger 27-inch UltraFine is the better option. At Retina scaling, the 27-inch UltraFine Display will appear sharper and more accurate to just about every eye out there.
  • Webcam — The 27-inch UltraFine Display has a built-in webcam, while the 24-inch UltraFines do not. There is a sole small sensor at the top of each 24-inch UltraFine Display to adjust for ambient lighting and that’s it. I have a much-improved webcam inside this MacBook Pro, but if you’re connecting a Mac mini to the display, the 27-inch Display is the only option with a built-in webcam.
  • Cost — Two 24-inch UltraFine Displays do indeed cost about $100 CAD more than a single 27-inch UltraFine Display. To me, this $100 was absolutely worth it given the I/O and actual screen real estate improvements. But if cost is the ultimate factor, then this should be considered a drawback.

I’m also not very happy that these UltraFine Displays are not ready for True Tone. If you close the MacBook Pro lid, the displays immediately revert to their non-True Tone colouring, which is very bright and very white. True Tone is almost like during-the-day Night Shift and I find it much easier on the eyes. I wish that single sensor on the 24-inch UltraFines was capable of adjusting for True Tone purposes.

Overall, I am (so far) quite happy with my choice to go with two 24-inch UltraFine Displays rather than a single 27-inch UltraFine Display. I have substantially more I/O. I can connect everything via a single Thunderbolt cable. And I have more screen real estate. This fits my workflow quite nicely.

I’m also impatient — I am sure Apple is working on an external display for the masses, but we’ve been talking about this for ages already. I believe one is coming. But I am not willing to wait until it hits.

In the meantime, I will use these surprisingly great 24-inch UltraFines.