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MacBook & MacOS First Impressions

from miscellaneous on 2018-07-25 ↩ back

A week ago I bought a new 2018 13" MacBook Pro. As my first dive into the Apple ecosystem, I'd say it went quite well (even if the thumbnail says otherwise). Here are my initial thoughts on it.

Hardware

These are some of the things I care about when looking at computer hardware in no particular order.

  • Keyboard: I actually like it more than normal membrane keyboards, especially laptop keyboards, mainly due to the short travel time. I would be using a mechanical keyboard instead so this wouldn't be an issue, except the next point makes it a lot harder.
  • Output Ports: There are only 4 USB-C ports. That's it. It's cool that there is a headphone jack (that shouldn't deserve praise, but here we are), but 4 ports is not nearly enough for anyone, ESPECIALLY when the charger takes up one of them. I don't have any peripherals that even use USB-C, so I would have to buy dongles for all 4 ports, which is very stupid and a waste of money.
  • The Touchbar. I kinda like it. I've been using it a lot more than I expected to. Going between a tactile keyboard to a touchscreen can be jarring, and I always have to look at what I'm trying to press, but I don't hate it. Except for the fact that it replaces the ESC key. THIS is the probably the thing I hate the most about the touchbar, even if it sounds stupid. The problem is that I use Vim for everything, which means I press ESC very often. I don't know where the ESC key is on the touchbar (because it's not tactile), so I always miss it. So now I've had to map caps lock to ESC (which was very easy to do actually), but this messes up my muscle memory as caps lock would normally be mapped to backspace for me.
  • The CPU & RAM: I got the base model MacBook (i5 + 8gb) which is actually fine for me. So far I haven't come across any issues with it being too slow, nothing I do is very hardware intensive as most of the code I write is more I/O intensive than computation intensive. It gets the job done, although $2500 AUD for and i5 and 8gb of RAM is quite expensive.
  • The Chasis: It looks nice. Actually, it looks VERY nice. I have no complaints, it feels like a premium product. Although, I haven't had much experience with other modern laptops, I'd say it's the best looking, and best feeling laptop on the market.

So far these impressions are pretty mixed. It certainly doesn't look like it's worth $2500, but that's all changed with the software (sort of).

Software

I've used switched between Windows and Linux as my daily OS for most of my life, although Linux has been sticking around for much longer during the past few years. I've never touched MacOS for any more than five minutes before. So we are just going to look at whether we can do the same things on MacOS as we can on Windows and Linux.

Windows

Can it play video games? No. Not the ones I want to play. Turns out that video games is all I use Windows for. Guess I'm still going to have to keep a separate computer for it then.

Linux

Can you rice it? Yes, I think. Haven't looked into it because it already looks pretty good.

Is the terminal powerful enough for me to be able to ignore everything else? No. Even though I use zsh just like on Linux, MacOS doesn't let you do everything. It is good enough to do most of what I want however (it's light years ahead of Windows).

Does it have a good package manager Not really. Homebrew is helpful, but is in no way a replacement for something like Pacman, let alone the AUR.

Does software constantly break because nobody supports Linux? No. MacOS also has Sequel Pro, which is probably the best MySQL viewer in existence.

Does Xorg break every time you update the computer? No.

Do you constantly have to go into conf files to fix things? No.

Ok, it looks like this starting to become a rant on Arch Linux so I'm just going to stop here. The point is that MacOS, with all it's shitty proprietary software restrictions, is incredibly easy to use. Even though most of my issues with Linux are mainly from using a distro like Arch, it's been a whole week I haven't had any problems with it. I haven't had to mess with any drivers or config files, everything just worked out of the box.

A few years ago I probably would have hated this, because I preferred constantly breaking my computer and learning how to fix it. But now I have a job and actual things to do. I don't have time to spend a whole weekend reading man pages. Although I would say I have learnt enough where I could fix a problem that would have taken me a day to now only take a few minutes, I can't be bothered with it anymore.

Right now I have three computers running on three operating systems. Windows at home for video games, Linux at work (even though I probably shouldn't), and now MacOS for personal use. Based on this short experience I can pretty safely say that Windows is the worst operating system ever created, and is holding video games as hostage. Hopefully I'll be able to ditch Windows very soon and never have to come back to that dumpster fire ever again.

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