New Macs in the House


BestMacStudio
I have struggled to justify purchasing Macs over the years since I left Apple in 2004.  Yet there were times when Apple could do almost no wrong with hardware like the white plastic Intel MacBook laptop that I bought in 2006.  It nearly erased the memory of the Aluminum Powerbook G4 that I bought in 2004 which effectively died about a month after the warranty expired.

It was almost like that I was cursed as an ex-Apple employee. While I was at Apple, I seemed to always have the latest and greatest hardware but everyone knows that Apple hardware is not inexpensive. For years I just couldn't justify the prices that Apple demanded. Then in the summer of 2020, I bought a new I5 MacBook Pro because after nine years at a company that uses Macs, my 2010 iMac and 2012 MacMini could no longer handle the tasks.

Still it would likely be a surprise to friends still at Apple that I bought a MacStudio in December and just took delivery of a MacBook Air for my wife.

Using Macs for 39 years has not been a smooth ride by any stretch of the imagination. I have probably recycled a truck load of dongles and proprietary hardware.  Even with twenty years at Apple, I could not protect myself and my photos from Apple’s Cloud missteps.  However, all my photos now reside in places besides Apple’s Cloud.  As I have often said your data needs to be divorced from the hardware not hooked to it. I have achieved that without Apple's interference.

I went with a Mac Studio because my work had become even more demanding and the 16GB of RAM in my Powerbook just was not enough. I did not switch my wife back to a Mac because Apple miraculously figured out how to do cloud photos.  They didn’t as far as I can tell and photos don't matter to her.  I brought her back to the Mac because I believe that Apple has a better security foundation and does a better job handling and protecting passwords without going to a third party password manager.

I have used a variety of password managers including Last Pass (no snarky comments needed) and most recently Keeper which I continue to use.  Apple’s system activated by their touch finger print reader or password on the Mac or by Face ID on the iPad is just simpler and it works. So far there have been no breaches.

Now I don’t just use Macs, I have a Linux machine, a couple of Windows laptops, a Chromebook, and a Google Pixel 6 Pro phone. The Macs include my I5 based MacBook Pro, an M1 based Mac Mini, a 2010 I5 iMac, an older 2012 Mini and the new Mac Studio. 

You don't have to be someone with over four decade of Apple experience (I got my Apple II+ in 1982) to read the handwriting on the wall. If you are going to continue using Macs, you need to be on Apple silicon.  I have been with Apple through all its processor migrations so I am confident that the company will do that correctly and those that don’t get on the train will be left behind. If we are lucky most of the important and needed applications will follow.

So here maybe four months after writing a post that Apple no longer just works, I decided that my problem was that I had made the mistake of buying first generation Apple hardware when I should have known better.  I accept responsibility.  I knew better and thought this time might be different. It wasn't.

My Mac Studio with 32 GB of RAM arrived December.  While it was a little shaky at first, the most recent operating system update seems to have made it rock solid.  Since January I have written over 350 pages of reports using Pages. The reports are backed by multiple spreadsheets, both Excel and Numbers. I have also done several presentations with Keynote.  I use GoToMeeting, Zoom, and Teams regularly. I have had no problems. I was impressed enough that I started thinking about updating my wife’s aging Windows machine with a MacBook Air.  It didn't take long to make that decision.

Thirteen years ago she became a reluctant Windows user.  I got my wife the Mac Book Air because I felt like that once she got over losing a touch screen, she would have a good safe computer to do all our banking and accounting needs. She has a Google Pixelbook Go for browsing and social media.  She likes to separate business and play computing so I am fine with that.  Losing the touch screen has been more painful than I imagined but she will get through it.

Part of the reason I did not buy her a new Windows machine is that Windows 11 has become very irritating or maybe pushy is the word.  I have a very capable Yoga 9i but it seems like Windows is always trying to sell me something or get me to do something that I don’t want to do. I don’t really care that Windows 11 is built for gaming because I don’t do gaming.

For many years I was an iPhoto fan, then a Picasa fan, and eventually a Lightroom user because I had run out of choices. Recently I have had a lot of trouble with Lightroom on my two screen setups with the menus not displaying properly on Windows and then there is that Lightroom licensing nightmare. I have two separate licenses but it seems I am always having to deauthorize something. 

It also appears that Apple is taking Photos a little more seriously than it has in the past. While it doesn’t have everything that I need, it is a lot closer than it was in the last few years.

In 2023, I think Apple is a better choice, maybe not for everyone but for us it is.  Likely I will spend more on Macs but they do have some trade-in value and we likely won’t need too many more computers at our age.

If you are considering a Mac and have an iPhone, we will likely be very happy with a Mac. If you are a Windows users who is tired of the pushy Windows 11, a MacBook Air is a solid computer. I don't think there is an equivalent Windows machine to the Mac Studio. The Mac Studio is the product that many of us have been requesting for years. It does not disappoint. If you are a power user and the Mac has software that works for you, I can also guarantee that you will love it. I do not miss the jumble or cables and stuff on my MacMini.

I can highly recommend a few programs but I doubt that anyone has the same needs so I will just list them. If you want to ask about a specific product, contact me.  One of my favorites is Bear because it lets me write on multiple Macs and my iPad without worrying about files. I also use Coda2, RapidWeaver, BBEdit, Fetch, Squash, Nisus Writer Pro, Numi, Yojimbo, Greenshot, Snagit, CleanMyMac, Kiwi Mail for Gmail, Spark Desktop and Marked 2 along with the full Microsoft suite including Outlook.

The one thing I do a little different is that I have a LaCie 1GB SSD drive.  It comes with a program that creates a folder on your Mac called Mirror. All my work files are in that folder. It is automatically backed up to the LaCie drive regularly.  At lunch and at the end of the day, I do a manual back up from the Mirror folder to both the NAS in my office and the appropriate folders on our cloud-based Box drive.

At this moment in my life I am a happy, somewhat contented computer user. My Windows computers won’t disappear because I can only run ExpertGPS Pro on Windows.  I do like the way that Windows will show you all the images in a folder. The Mac doesn’t do it as well.  The Mac is also terrible at searching my NAS but Windows does a good job. A Windows touch screen is also something that I miss greatly when navigating my screen real estate. Apple isn't quiet the Open Standards company that I believed it would become but OS X is still Unix. On balance, prefer to work on a Mac because it is less intrusive. It does try to make me use something like teams when I don't want to. Our company's email which is hosted with Microsoft used to work on a bunch of clients but they keep tweaking things and that is no longer the case. At least Apple understands that IMAP is IMAP.

There is only one caution when buying a Mac. If you are new to a Mac it helps to have a friend who is a Mac user if you aren't close to an Apple store where you can find experts. Google search isn't nearly as useful for solving Mac problems as it is for solving Windows problem.

I have been writing about Apple computers for a long time.  Here is one of my early article, Computer Battles.

 


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