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MacBook Recommendation: Q1 2020

It’s been roughly a year since I last wrote about a portable macOS computer, but considering that Apple just announced an updated MacBook Air, the timing is right to update my recommendation.

Context

My views here are based on the daily usage of a regular office person. This means email, browsing, music, file management, and other basic tasks. I’m not considering heavy tasks such as photo or video editing, or anything more taxing.

Recommendation

Get the 2020 MacBook Air.

I’m not bothered about processor speed (and you probably shouldn’t either), but bump the RAM up to 16GB (you’ll thank me in a year or two) and see if you’re willing to stretch for the 1TB storage space, though 256GB-512GB will suffice for most users.

If your computing needs are more demanding, and you can afford it, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is a real winner. Though it really is very pricey.

Benefits

It’s an “affordable” portable macOS computer that is physically lightweight, and yet powerful enough to handle day to day work.

More importantly they’ve rolled out the updated (read: fixed) keyboard that is currently working very well in the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Concerns

  • Dongletown: We’re still living in a world where USB-C devices have a premium attached to them and aren’t as commonplace as USB-A. Things will only get better, but as of now, dealing with dongles and is still going to be slightly uncomfortable.
  • 2 USB-C ports: You only get 2 USB-C ports, and one of those parts is going to be taken up by the charging cable, so you effectively only have 1 USB-C port to use. That should be fine for light use, but it could get tricky when you need additional ports.

In closing

Considering that the keyboard should be fixed, there really isn’t any major reason why I wouldn’t recommend the latest MacBook Air, it’s a great general purpose computer with a small physical footprint. While it’s not exactly cheap, it’s still affordable for what you get, especially when we live in a time where people are happily paying well over RM5,000 for an iPhone.

The last thing I’d mention is that aside from the past few years of well documented keyboard design hubris from Apple, MacBook Pro computers have been extremely durable and age well. I’m typing this on my late 2013 model, and the only time I remember that I’m using an old computer is when I’m typing articles like this, or when the 6-year old battery doesn’t hold up well.

At least I no longer have to recommend folks buy a 2015 MacBook Pro anymore. That’s the real relief.

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Design Updates: 2020

It’s that time when I start to think about changing the layout and direction of this blog.

As with life, I believe this blog should always be evolving as I go along. For the last 10-15 years it’s been through blogging platform changes, server migrations, theme changes, and other little development experiments.

The next step will be a simple one. Cleaning up the layout slightly.

These changes are going to be implemented:

  • WordPress Twenty Twenty theme. While Jenxi and I are still strong proponents of StudioPress themes, my personal blog has never been a design showcase, rather a test bed for me to play with the annual themes from Automattic, and this trend will continue for now. To see the actual designs Jenxi has crafted, you can check out our work at Rubycoded.
  • A static home page. Twenty Twenty uses really big and bold fonts, so it doesn’t quite fit how I feel the landing page should be. A simple landing page will do.
  • Ditching Contact Form 7 for Jetpack Forms. I’m a longtime Contact Form 7 user, but as with support for the Twenty Twenty theme, I want to keep in touch with developments on the Jetpack front too.

Hope it turns out well.

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Switching to a MacBook Air in Q1 of 2019

It’s been a really long time since I did a post on hardware recommendations. I guess it’s better late than never.

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What do you really want?

Social norms are really powerful. The inputs that influence you are really powerful. A great video, talk, or book can convince you that you should be acting and thinking like that.

But the worst thing in life would be a death-bed regret that you’ve spent your life pursuing what someone said you should want, instead of what you really want.

For example, if you really want to make a lot of money, you need to admit that.

If you really want to be famous, you need to pursue that.

If you really want freedom and no responsibilities, or to learn as much as possible, or whatever else, you need to realize it and embrace it.

But whatever you decide, you need to optimize for that, and be willing to let go of the others.

Derek Sivers posted a pretty powerful post that is definitely worth the read.

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How teens of 2016 view social media platforms

It was just after dinner today that I was wondering how a teenager of 2016 views the social media platforms that are currently available, and I stumbled upon this article on Backchannel.

Snapchat has a lot less social pressure attached to it compared to every other popular social media network out there. This is what makes it so addicting and liberating.

It covers the usual platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, and some others.

As for myself. I’m still busy trying to figure out Twitter and Snapchat.