MacBook Pro 2021 Review

Back in 2018 work gave me a new MacBook Pro. One would struggle to say that it was “well received“. That said, it was just a work machine. Plugging in an external screen and keyboard made it sort of tolerable… not really, just moving the mouse is enough to spin up the fans.

Work is work, but my main home machine was a late 2013 MacBook Pro that had none of the issues of the 2018 model… except it was old and slooow. It also stopped being able to upgrade to the latest o/s versions. The writing was on the wall…

<several weeks later>

The new machine is fine. The screen is amazing, the speakers impressive. Performance is kind of unbelievable – tasks like compiling ffmpeg which used to peg all cores for minutes are over before you’ve even noticed.

The case feels flimsy / thin. The bottom panel is especially flexible, the screen housing is better, but overall the case is a step down in quality / ruggedness. I know i’m not supposed to be trying to abuse it, but it feels too fragile!

The keyboard is only “okay”. It’s still too loud in a kind of “clunky” way that doesn’t inspire confidence in its longevity. The lack of contrast between the keys and the bed makes it harder to use in lowlight. Yes, i could turn on backlighting… but, no. Oh, and the TouchID “key” looks and feels out of place – not that the one on the 2018 model is anyway good / better. At least i’m using it on this machine and enjoying not having to type my password as often.

Unlike the 2016 debacle the above issues are more qualms / quibbles. If i’d been able to walk into the store and see / feel before buying, on balance, i’d probably still have bought one.

In short: still in mourning, and not sure i should have started dating again so soon.

The Fragility of the Moon “Explained”

To tell the truth, I often felt uneasy when I thought of the excessive brittleness and fragility of the moon. The moon is generally repaired in Hamburg, and very imperfectly. It is done by a lame cooper, an obvious blockhead who has no idea how to do it.

Memoirs of a Madman — Nikolai Gogol


That is my (maternal) grandfather and his telescope. No idea why the picture was in the newspaper. If there was any associated text it appears that i forgot to scan it. My recollection is that he built it, but the details are somewhat lost to me. It could be that my uncle still has it… trying to find out.

At the end of the garden there was a concrete post with a steel pin mount. The telescope itself was roughly 2m in length, maybe 20cm in diameter, painted silver, and looked homemade. No entirely sure on that last point… is a actually possible to build a functioning large mirror telescope? Perhaps it was a kit?

My memories of that time are most olfactory – everything smelt of coal, coal itself, coal dust, coal smoke, but i’m sure that at some point i was allowed to look through the telescope. It definitely wasn’t something to play with, and getting to look at the stars felt like a privilege… even it was kind of disappointing!

Recently the sky in Hamburg has felt clearer, with more stars visible… which has got me thinking about buying a telescope and at least try to get a look at the planets. Saturn’s rings, Mars’ red spot… just the obvious stuff.

PaulStretch Plans

There a couple of things that would make PaulStretch more longterm viable. They (mostly) don’t seem that challenging:

  • update the XMLwrapper to use the new Mini-XML 3.0 API. Some of the direct references to fields in Structs has been replaced with method call / accessors.
  • fix minor warnings. There is a method lacking a return that prevents -Wall from being passed to g++.
  • create a brew thingie… the terminology is odd, it might be a Formula or a Cask.
  • finally learn enough Autotools to create a standard build. It’s very likely that i’d get this horrible wrong and hate myself for even trying… but it does seem like The Right Thing™.

There are a couple of pull-requests outstanding in GitHub, some of which have been there for years… no idea if Paul is still in anyway interested in the project. Perhaps i’ll end up creating / owning a fork. Yuck.



How exciting! Simon Schuster India are publicising the IWTFY 2007 – 2017 book:

With a bit of luck that means they’ll put a couple of copies in every bookshop in India that stocks foreign books.

The little fade in of the cover is cool. Wonder if there is anything behind that… i’ve also thought that picture was rather ‘sensual’, maybe it’s a little racy for the indian market?