About itllallendintears

An(other) English eccentric.

MacBook Pro 2018 “Review”

My work has provided me with a 2018 MacBook Pro. This is my reaction to living with it for a couple of days. For perspective, i’ve been using Apple machines, pretty much exclusively, for 20 years. Much of that time they were glorified terminals to solaris or linux systems, but more recently (the last decade..) as my primary development environment.

The Good

  • the screen is amazing.
  • the speakers are a huge improvement over the already pretty good speakers in the 2014 model

The Bad / Ugly

  • no magsafe charging… who thought that was a good idea? For years it has been possible pick up a laptop and safely knock the charge cable off the machine with your thumb, but now it’s a cable to pull, and an easy way to drag a machine off a desk. At least usb-c is physically better than thunderbolt 1/2 connector… which is actually negative as it’s now more of a hassle to disconnect the thing!
  • in order to plug in almost anything you need a stupid dongle. Can’t even charge an iPhone without buying a new cable! I get that everything is wireless now, but i don’t want a wireless keyboard that will inevitably need to be charged, have a battery that gets worse over time. It only has a battery because it’s wireless and that’s dumb. Who are these crazy people who are desperate for free movement of keyboards and trackpads? Idiots.
  • on the subject of keyboards – this one sucks. Just looking at it you can tell it’s bad – the keys have no travel, are comically large, and stupidly flat. To make things worse they make a stupid amount of noise when struck. Is that supposed to trick me into thinking they have some kind of sturdy mechanism? It’s not working. Feels like a toy.
  • still on the subject of keyboards, the fn keys are missing. Not there. The replacement for this is a strip of plastic that provides no physcical feedback, and blinks distractingly as if it has some useful purpose. Part of the collateral damage here is that the Escape key is missing. What a fucking joke.

It seems unlikely that i’ll be using this machine as a true laptop for any extended period of time. In order to use it at all i’m connecting a keyboard (wired, obviously), a trackpad (which has batteries that will fail when it is least convenient), and will probably hook it up to a monitor at some point.

Due to the vagaries of corporate IT and Security weenies it’s hard to say if the proceeding four years have yielded any performance improvement. It certainly doesn’t feel any faster, even if it does now handle builds with spinning up fans. However, that could be the slew corporate spyware installed. Hard to say.

In my opinion it’s a hateful thing. A disaster of form over function. A miscarriage of design to hit the wrong targets. I don’t care if it’s n millimeters thinner, don’t care if it’s a couple of grams lighter – the primary interface (the keyboard) is an abomination. Couldn’t give a fuck about a new physical interface in search of a reason to exist – the Touch Bar is utterly pointless and distracting.

Would not recommend this machine, as a pure laptop, to my worse enemy.

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East of Eden

No idea why, but this was playing in my head this morning. When looking at the lyric sites they all seemed wrong. Something wrong on the Internet? Well, we can’t have that!

i was told of a place in a distant land
where tortured souls often cry together in anguish
and the scenes at the show
run rather cruel and violent nature

scenes of pain and cruelty where there to be seen
the arena, the town, the place was set for all to watch and see

i was told of a place in a distant land
where the oppressor ruled with an iron hand
and a nation of sad and complacency
left cold and emotionless by history

scenes of pain and cruelty are there to be seen
all the while i should have known it was you killing me

somewhere east of eden the designs will never change
effected through all this fear the world stops at the end of the hall
we watch the lifeforce fade away
the eventual price we shall have to pay

if it belonged to youth then how come the children have none?

From my 4AD CAD 404 CD UK 1986 release. Probably purchased later, as i think originally owned this on vinyl.

Spielberg…

It’s another one of those ‘Confused Gandalf’ memes that i don’t know how to write:

Spielberg praised the couple for being there for him and wife Kate Capshaw on every step of the Shoah Foundation journey. “When there is need, they are there. Tom and Rita, a dynamic duo that in our world of superheroes, just know this — their superpower is to be human which brings to mind a quote from the poet Iain Thomas.

Here’s the quote: “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

Inside Shoah Foundation’s Ambassadors for Humanity Gala With Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks

It’s really quite amazing how “the little blog that could” has grown up to be quoted by the likes of Steven Spielberg.

As usually, mostly i’m terrified of being found out.

Street Art

IMG_3779.jpg

These are all over Sternschanze / Feldstrasse right now. They remind me of a Picasso style paste up that that i saw around Rote Flora a couple of summers ago. That was an isolated one off piece – at least i don’t recall seeing others, but it really stuck with me. Along with other examples like the above, there was also the following:

IMG_3781.JPG

referencing beg4cred, which in turn leads to a South London artist, Samuel Mead (see instagram, bigcartel). My assumption is they are the same hand… maybe i’m wrong?

The style makes me think of the Austin Osman Spare’s automatic drawings, but more minimal. The fine lines in the one above flow perfectly, must be wonderful to feel them come out onto paper!

Back to NetNewsWire?

I’ve been trying various RSS readers over the last couple of months. Initial Vienna (which felt dated), then Cappuccino (buggy), and now Evergreen… thus far has been lovely.

As noted here, Evergreen is going to be the new NetNewsWire 5.0:

You probably know that I’ve been working on a free and open source reader named Evergreen. Evergreen 1.0 will be renamed NetNewsWire 5.0 — in other words, I’ve been working on NetNewsWire 5.0 all this time without knowing it!

This move back to RSS or feeds in general was a side-effect of getting away from Twitter. Wanting to get away from Twitter was… it’s not important. The end result is that i send less time being interrupted driven, but also miss more things that might be interesting.

My move to Mastodon is a rather lonely affair – without millions of users it lacks the essential “reach” that motivates people’s engagement with Twitter. In order to keep up with friends on Twitter, but without the Twitter “drama”, i’m using TwitRSS.me to scrape RSS feeds.

The RSS returned is a little funky, but Evergreen is doing a reasonable job of rendering. There seem to be alternatives (RSSHub, FetchRSS, etc), although none of them seems to be focused on keeping Twitter at arms length.

Anyway, it’s nice the NetNewsWire is coming back, and if we’re lucky some renewed interest in RSS in general.