Posts by davelawrence8.

Where Apple and I Differ

November 2nd, 2016

Apple’s release of the new Touch Bar MacBook Pro has made a lot of news. There’s good reason: it’s a signal to us longer-term fans of Macintosh computers that things are different now.

I don’t have a whole lot to add to the commentary that’s circulating, but what I do have is personal thoughts about my working relationships with Mac, sprinkled with a bit of sentimentality.

The Chime

You don’t buy a Mac because it does spreadsheets and websurfing better than any computer. You buy a Mac because you appreciate the design, enjoy using the operating system, and love the little personality quirks.

Like the start up chime.

The Mac start up chime doesn’t add anything to its usability or purpose. It doesn’t make your work stand out, or help Safari render websites faster. What it does do, however, is help you appreciate the computer on your desk, or on your lap. It’s the spark of personality that inspires people to name their computer. It’s a signal to say, “I’m going to work on this computer that I enjoy using.” It’s the orchestra warming up before the big performance.

The lack of the chime, while not the end of the world, is another example of the Mac losing its personality over time. And that makes me sad.

(I mean, the sound is so iconic it’s in a Pixar film!)

While surely it added nothing concrete to the Mac user experience, taking it away eliminates a bit of the spirit that was in the Macintosh all these years.

Ports and Dongles

I get it: introducing and picking a winning port has historical precedent, and maybe it’ll all end up just fine.

But Stephen Hackett’s point that a G3 PowerMac held on to legacy ports is apt – in fact, it’s why I keep my blue and white Yosemite around.

For “pros,” a diversity of ports is important: photographers’ needs are different than audio engineers’ needs are different than illustrators’ needs. Over time, it may be that USB-C takes over the world, but we don’t live in that world yet, and pros have to get work done today.

Now it seems Apple is in the dongle business more than the personal computer business.

Limiting Options

Only so much hard drive room. Only so much RAM. Only one kind of port. No upgradable hard drive.

You thought Steve Job was insistent about limiting your options on a Mac, Apple of late is taking his philosophy to another level.

Recent Macs’ lack of upgradability has been a real downer. I’ve owned my 2009 iMac for seven years now, and it’s lasted this long because I’ve kept up with upgrades – especially RAM. Memory needs change, and the fact that you can’t touch a lot of the parts of the make is depressing.

Want an upgrade? Buy a new Mac.

Not Meeting Eye to Eye

I feel like Apple is making a computer that works less and less like I do.

I’m a photographer, so the lack of an SD card slot stinks. The personality is leaving. The upgrade path is non-existent. Maybe the only saving grace is that Macs still run macOS, still the best operating system out there.

And it could be that I would be just fine owning one of the new MacBook Pros. It’s just that right now I’m in the market for a new iMac, and those options aren’t all that appealing either. If/when an iMac update comes, do I see things getting better or worse?

Worse. That’s what makes me nervous.

Celebrating #Apple40Years

April 7th, 2016

My internet and classic Mac pal Riccardo Mori of System Folder is celebrating #Apple40Years over on his Twitter account, and it’s been a ton of fun to follow along.

What’s amazing to me is how even some of the recent (past 10 years or so) Apple products seem like classics now.

A true trip down memory lane. Thanks Riccardo!

How to Disable Auto Log Off on Mac OS X

August 31st, 2015

So your Mac keeps logging you off automatically? After about 30 minutes?

My work iMac, running OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks, kept logging me off after a period of a half hour or so. I would leave my desk for a meeting, say, and come back to find me logged out and all my applications closed. Grindingly frustrating.

After lots of searching, I finally found the solution – almost by accident.

Pref pane on Mac OS X

Head to Preferences, and the Security & Privacy pane (above).

Advanced tab in Security & Privacy

Go to the fourth tab at the top, “Privacy.” Hit the “Advanced…” button at the bottom of the window.

Uncheck the automatically log out

UNCHECK THIS BASTARD.

And done.

Hope that helps!

Apple II Watch

April 9th, 2015

Amazing. Sign me up.

[via Kottke]

Looking back at Newton packaging

November 25th, 2014

Great look back at the style of Apple packaging in the early ’90s by Christopher Phin over at Macworld.

For a child of the ’80s like me, that style of photography—moody, low-lit, with shafts of light picking out form and texture—is still desperately exciting. And even as a kid, I was excited about the idea of working, of business, of being productive, so the kind of language and lifestyle you see in the pictures was terribly beguiling.

Indeed. Like a haircut, you can tell what era you’re in from the packaging. But Christopher makes an interesting note: all the work done to market the MessagePad on the packaging may have been for naught if they were hidden behind a sales counter.

Apple still offering Aperture with new Macs

August 1st, 2014

Interesting find: I’m spec’ing out a new iMac and find that Apple is still offering Aperture as a pro software upgrade.

But wait, didn’t they officially say they’re discontinuing Aperture? And that support will be kaput by the end of the year? Why would they continue to offer a pro-level application if it’s not long for this world?

My only thought is that, since they don’t have the Photos app ready to replace Aperture, they have to have something in that video/audio/photo lineup.

Aperture is also still listed under their “Pro Apps” section of the Mac page on Apple’s website. And nothing on the Aperture page about being discontinued. App buyers can still plunk down their $79.99 and purchase it with no warning.

Quote of the Week: After the Revolution

January 27th, 2014

“I can easily imagine how foreign, odd or slightly mad all this effusion must appear to those on the outside, to people who have never quite understood this emotional tie to a pile of circuit boards, chips and glowing icons.”

- Patrick LaRoque, in a lovely set of photos and thoughts.

Happy birthday, Macintosh.

Off-The-Grid Productivity With an eMate

August 8th, 2013

Apple Newton eMate 300

Matt Gemmell on “Working in the Shed“:

We live in an age of ubiquitous information and communication, so distractions have never been more pervasive. We have too many choices of what to look at or focus attention on. The internet is a glittering carnival of diversions, and that’s wonderful – until you need to get some work done.

So what does he do to help? Work on an eMate, of course.

A great read on distraction-free productivity using classic hardware.

[via Minimal Mac, photo courtesy Matt Gemmell on Flickr]

20 Years Later, the Newton Lives

August 6th, 2013

Head over to Wired.com for a lovely write-up on the 20-year-old Newton Community from Cade Metz:

After its debut in early August 1993 — twenty years ago — the Newton was widely derided as a flawed machine that no one wanted. The Simpsons made fun of its handwriting-recognition software, as did Gary Trudeau with a Doonesbury gag. In Trudeau’s cartoon world, the Newton recognized “Catching on?” as “Egg Freckles?” — and the die was cast.

The piece features some regulars in the Newton family, like Grant Hutchinson and Steve Capps.

You get a sense of the Newton’s continued usefulness from the story, like Ron Parker using his MessagePad on the hiking trails around Lake Tahoe.

(Also, check out how handsome all those Newton guys are.)

[Via @splorp]

Apple’s White Period

July 9th, 2013

Apple eMac

Andrew Kim has a lovely collection of Apple’s “white period” Macs over at his blog, Minimally Minimal:

The designs of this age were so calm, warm and pure, despite the brutally honest and analytical design. I especially love the way the clear layer interacts with the opaque white inner shell.

Agreed. And while Kim includes the G5 iMac in his Mac trio, I’d throw in the lovely harbinger (along with the eMac) iMac G4.

The current aluminum lineup of Macs makes for good design as well, but “white” says “Apple” to my mind. And I’ll always favor white Apple products: the iPhone, iPods, etc.

It’s not always a practical design choice, as Kim points out. A lot of these Macs show their age because of smudges and scratches. I think it’s worth it, to have that gleaming white machine brightening up a room.