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Aftermath: The October 27th Apple Event
Ok, I was maybe, just maybe, a little over-amped for the recent Apple Event. Most Mac categories have been in real need of a refresh, and I thought this was gonna be THE ONE. I fully expected several new models, and maybe some entirely new redesigns.
It was not to be.
Now don't get me wrong, Apple introduced some sweet new laptops. They introduced 3 new models: two 13" MacBook Pros, and one 15" Macbook Pro. The major new features include the Touch Bar. You know those keys along the top of your keyboard? The ones you never use? Well Apple has replaced those keys with a touch-enabled strip of glass like that on your iPhone. The display on the glass changes according to what you are working on. You can use it to control things on the regular screen. Cool!
Other items of note on the upside:
- Touch ID, like on your iPhone. You can spend your money on the web even faster! :-)
- Louder Speakers
- Better keyboard - it feels nice. Its easier to hit my targets.
- Thunderbolt 3
Items of note on the downside:
- Non-upgradeable RAM and SSD storage. Yikes! You better make sure you get enough of both when you buy. There will be no upgrading down the road. This is a big bummer. I have upgraded many Mac laptops over the years, as RAM and drives get cheaper. On most models, you could add more RAM later than you could initially when the laptop was first sold. No more. I shudder to think what they will do for repairs. If a RAM chip or SSD goes, do they have to replace the whole logicboard? Sheesh!
- The Touch Bar is cool, but I think it'd be better suited for a separate keyboard. In the Apple keynote, they demoed its functionality by using it with an external display setup for editing with Final Cut Pro. In that type of setup, I think the laptop's display just gets in the way. I think a new keyboard with Touch Bar would be a great input device for the iMac, Mac Pro and Mac Mini. It feels shoehorned into the Macbook Pro.
- You will have to stock up on adapters. USB-C is in, everything else is out (except for the audio jack, which they got rid of on the iPhone, but kept on the laptop. Go figure.) There was some blowback on this, so Apple has reduced its prices for adapters for a short while. This is not such a huge issue for me. Adapters are always going to be needed for this or that. Apple has always had the guts to drop old tech when the time comes. I did not miss the floppy drive when they nixed it. I rejoiced when they got rid of SCSI. The only port I really will miss is the Mag Safe connector. My laptop used to fly across the room when my dog tripped on the power cord. But there is a USB-C to Mag Safe adapter.
The vigil continues
I will keep hope alive for refreshes of the rest of the desktop lineup. An iMac refresh in early 2017 is not out of the question, and almost a certainty. But the wait for the Mac Pro and Mac Mini has been ages.
Apple has now officially gotten out of the standalone display business. I don't know what that might mean to the Mini and Mac Pro, which have no built-in displays. What I like about the Mac Pro and Mini is that if my display fails, I can get another one inexpensively and right away. If the display fails on the iMac or MacBook, then I am in for a costly repair, and I'm without my Mac for a while.
I'm lighting the candle now...
Mac Tips: Again with the Passwords
Ok, so this is not going to be the sexiest Mac Tips post. But it bears repeating: respect the passwords!
No amount of complaining and gnashing of teeth will help you get past the absolute need to manage your passwords. Accept them for what they are: your first line of defense against hackers. You have a password (or should) for your computer. You have a password for your Apple ID. You have a password for Facebook. For your Email. Your Bank.
You must have a system in place, and know how to access your passwords at all times. Some folks use a dedicated program like 1Password. Some people have an old-school paper notebook (Don't lose it, keep it updated). Some people use an encrypted spreadsheet. I myself advocate using Keychain Access, the program that comes with your Mac. This is where the macOS stores all your passwords. For instance, if you use Safari to browse the web, your logins are stored here. If I need to find out my password, say if I'm logging in via my iPad or some other new device, then I know I can go to my Mac, open up Keychain Access, and find my password in there. Ditto for email passwords, etc. You can also create your own notes that will be safe from prying eyes.
If you don't use Safari, Firefox stores passwords here. Chrome stores passwords here.
Respect the password, embrace the password, don't fight it, or ignore it. You will save yourself so much aggravation.
Gadget Jam: Son of Gadget Class
Gadget Class returns under a new name.
At the Belding Library in Ashfield, October 25th, 6:30PM. 1-1/2 hours. Fee: $30
The September Apple Event
Apple's latest event was on September 7th. I watched the keynote on their live streaming feed (on my aged big screen TV connected to my aged Mac Pro).
I would prefer to keep a steady, first week of the month blog schedule. But I needed to wait to write about it. I waited partially due to the work load of the Ashfield FilmFest and the Old Deerfield Arts & Crafts Festival both happening on the same week. But I also wanted to absorb what I could, before presenting my thoughts here.