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Monday, 27 February 2017

Comments

Mike.

You are not alone.

George Andros

I'm with you Mike. I dread the day when I will need to upgrade from my "oversized and utilitarian aluminum box", as it's the apex of design for a desktop computer. I think it could be configured to .... dare I say? ... rule world!

I've been saddened that Apple, under Cook, has followed the profitable but mercilessly volatile path of becoming a "lifestyle" brand. Frankly, my next "upgrade" might be to get some eager young college student to do my image processing. It seems to have worked well for many of my peers. It would leave me more time to nap, too!

Good luck with your Max Mini. Perhaps Cook will get the message.

Just give in and buy a Windows 10 machine. Plenty of choice .......

Yes it's a problem. I am planning on upgrading my pre-trashcan Pro with a 5th hard-drive, SSD, and the current OS, so that I can boot back to earlier OSs for various tasks. It'a a PITA but Apple has forgotten us as a market.

I am less pissed-off at them because I bought a lot of their stock a while ago at what now is one dollar and sixty six cents a share. So a few thousand shares makes forgive them for being kinda stupid about some things? I guess so, but I ain't buying a trash can.

Concerning the Mac Pro being a "good video workstation", consider this blog post from Apple writer John Gruber, referencing an article from last year:

http://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/02/22/video-mac-pros-gpus

Looks like the trashcan doesn’t even serve video pros too well anymore.

Well, for what it's worth, your Mac Mini sounds a lot like mine. Mine is a late 2012 version, with an i7 processor (I don't remember the speed), 16GB RAM, a 500GB SSD and a 1TB HDD.

It has served me well using Lightroom and Photoshop Elements and other applications for going on five years. It is starting to get a little bit laggy here and there, but nothing serious. BTW, I did the hack work to install the SSD, move the HDD to the second slot, and crank the RAM to 16GB myself, the day it arrived.

But I feel your conundrum, as I've been thinking it's nearing time for a replacement, but like you, I have nowhere to go.

I'm a great fan of the Mac Mini and was as well disappoint with the 2014 hardwired version. And with the lack of a monitorless midrange option. Last year after much going round and round on what to do for an upgrade I too ended up with a 13" Mac Air and a 2012 i7 Mac Mini with 16G and an SSD & HDD. Bought used from a local software development shop. They seemed trustworthy and the mini was a good deal at $850 CDN. I have to say it works quite well. The limitation being the max screen resolution. No 4K monitor yet.

Why did you go with the 13" MacBook Air instead of a 13" MacBook Pro? I use a 2012-vintage 15" MacBook Pro connected to a 2009-vintage Cinema Display most of the time. I like this setup because I always need the portability of a laptop.

In the long run, I think I'll switch back to a 13" MacBook Pro and something like your NEC monitor when my current gear gives up the ghost.

I haven't owned a desktop computer since the original iMac, the little bulbous one. My problem with iMacs is that you have to dump the monitor when you upgrade ... seems like a waste. This is the same reason I prefer an ILC (e.g., Sony A6000) vs. a "integrated" camera like the Sony RX10 ... I'd hate to throw away a lens like the one on the RX10 variations.

Steve Jobs: "Think different."
Me: "Linux."
Steve Jobs: "Not that different!"

I too am an Apple veteran, having purchased my first Mac on April 18, 1984, that fateful year of the lemmings. I've stayed with Apple with a brief PC "affair" in the 80's. I feel like I own or have owned everything they make. I was happy with my "cheese grater" Mac Pro tower; it had space for four drives, I could get inside it to vacuum it or add memory, it was impressive. Then, for reasons not at all clear to me, I developed a lust for the "trashcan" and after frustrating waits, eventually purchased it. It's a nice enough machine for photography, and very fast with its SSD, EXCEPT it was ridiculously expensive, AND has no internal storage. So from having a clean neat desk, I now have a cluttered desk with a big black box which holds my four photo and backup hard drives, and a hub and WIRES EVERYWHERE. As do you, I love my NEC monitor, so an iMac was not really a choice but I too am disappointed in Apple. I recently had an issue with the Mac Pro and had some lengthy, as in hours, conversations with a most pleasant fellow from AppleCare. When I asked him about these frustrations, e.g. the new laptops with no ports except Thunderbolt 3 and the need for dongles, he said "Apple is for those who want to move forward." I don't know what I'll do if my MacBook Pro dies or if my Mac Pro packs up. From my reading on the web, I am not alone and I am a mere solo photographer, not a videographer or high production hotshot. Oh, well, these are most definitely first world problems. Our country and world have worse problems than Apple's refusal to produce a usable desktop computer.

Mike, I really agree with you, and it IS a dilemma with no perfect answers. You and I are part of Apple's past, they are looking to cultivate different customers now.
Apple no longer has any interest in helping us solve our type pf computing problems. They want to sell us an iMac or MBP with no ports.
I recently bought an iMac for my Daughter. i5, single spinning HD, with P3 Gamut display & 10bit Graphics, I added 16gb RAM for 24GB and an external thunderbolt 1TB SSD as a fast working drive. All in about 2K It's a very nice serviceable machine (so roughly what it cost you for an NEC + Mini)
It can support a second display, but Apple chose P3 Gamut (designed for cinema projectors) rather than one specified like every other wide gamut computer display. They want to make it hard for you to use a 3rd party display, even though they don't offer a display anymore.
Your NEC is a beautiful 10bit display, but your mac mini's graphics card is 8bit (the Air was either 6 bit with interpolation or 8 bit)
So you still won't get to see the nuance with which the NEC can operate, but it will still be a beautiful display.
I don't think the mini's graphics card is replaceable. (not sure OWC would know)
So in fact, the widest gamut you are likely to see on any mac (except the MacPro) is on the P3 iMacs
There are other benefits besids gamut and bit depth that com with an NEC or Eizo like the ease and precision of hardware calibration and you will still get to enjoy those.
I too have been using Mac's since 1984,and have been nursing along an old MacPro with Dual displays, I'm also an Apple stockholder, I appreciate their success, but I truly believe it would be easy and inexpensive for apple to make an upgradeable MacMidi that did all the things we want. I think they would sell a bunch.
It almost seems a little spiteful of them to actively ignore our segment so obviously.. Shame on them for that.

PS Go to OWC and check out the Mini Stack Max, a perfect accessory, tons of ports, a big HD, an optical drive in a mac mini case

I've been an Apple computer user for 16-17yr.

The Apple computer lineup is looking increasingly bleak, with no relief in sight.

I'm looking at PC's for the first time since then and seeing real solutions to my needs. Had you told me that even 3yr ago I'd have laughed in your face.

Things change. That's ok.

I hear ya! It's even worse for those of us who actually like (and use) an iMac. Understand that they are just laptops glued to big screens, and the compromises make sense, but in your case the screen is not what you want, so an iMac is too much compromise. Good luck with your new-old computer!

In my case, my iMac 12,2 (2011) is bumping along just fine with it's original quad 3.4GHz i7 processor(s). After a video card failure (fixed under recall warranty), I started looking at the "latest" iMacs in the Apple Store. Oh wow; high-res screens, but they haven't gotten appreciably faster in six years! Six years!! Shouldn't they be three times as fast now, or levitate, or make perfect waffles... or something?

So, even if you do come slinking back to an iMac in a few years, you will probably be buying exactly what your MacBook Air had in 2016, just with a bigger screen glued to it.

Thanks for summarising this so well.

I purchased an old second hand Mac Mini recently as a music server. I would have preferred to purchase a new device, but refused point blank to purchase a device where the components are glued in.

Mike the easiest cure for hot apple laptops is a heat sink
The cheapest way is to go to Home Depot and but a plasterers hawk
((a 12"x12" piece to thickish aluminum with a removeable handle)
Simple contact draws an amazing amount of heat out of the machine.
I made mine a bit more elaborate but the principle is the same.
There are gizmos with fans too, but this has worked so well that the computer's fans rarely spin up.

I finally bought another desktop workstation for my photo editing tasks last autumn. I had been dragging my feet on this because my existing system, albeit ancient and more than a little slow, at least worked with the high-end 24" inkjet printer and calibrated monitor I was using to make large prints.
But the monitor finally died. So I had to get a new monitor...which meant a new calibration system, since the old one no longer worked with any current monitor. Which meant a new desktop computer, because the newer calibration device demanded a newer operating system. Sigh.
Like I always do, I checked out Macs because of their fabled ease of use...and promptly rejected the idea because they cost literally twice as much for the same processor/RAM/disc space as a PC. A fully loaded PC was a mere $749, while the equivalent Mac was about $2,000; I just couldn't bring myself to hand that much gratuitous profit over to Apple for something made on the same assembly line in China as a PC.
On the other hand, this meant spending a weekend installing and connecting things, and an all-night download of Photoshop on our excruciatingly slow rural DSL.
But now it all works, the printer is working fine with everything color-calibrated, and I no longer have to use the utterly loathsome Windows 8.
I hope I don't have to do that again for at least a few years.

And this is essentially why I'm PC now at home. Have to use Macs at work, and don't like them. I too used Macs in the 80's and 90's. It's over now for me with Apple. Not a customer centered company. if you don't give a hoot about me, why should I give you my business? And that's before we even get started about costs.

Oh Mike, this sounds all horrible. Would it be worth renting a PC just to see if it's road you could go down?
This reminds me, for some reason, of when I started digital photography and I tried every are converter. At the time only Lightroom was 'intuitive' for me - I tried every other one - really every one at the time - and bought into that. Now on Fuji x and Windows I find Capture One so much better, but the pain, the pain. I feel yours.

Hey Mike, I share your feelings about Apple's approach on "pro" machines. To me, it goes even further than that. I've bought a Mac Book Pro with all bells and whistles a couple of years ago and was patiently waiting for the world to catch up with Apple's genius on their Thunderbolt 1/2 connectors so I could enjoy the miracles of all the speed and convenience it promises with third party "pro" peripherals. For instance, I also bought a Thunderbolt-enabled Drobo when it became available, only to find out with the recent new MacBook "Pro" launch that they've switched yet to a different connector tech, rendering my setup somewhat obsolete. I know there are adapters and after having bought about 679 of them I'll probably go and buy some more of them soon... Let's not even talk about the missing SD-Card slot and the myriad of new adapters one needs to make a new MacBook "Pro" useful. In the same time, I am still a fan of the OS and can't stand the thought of going back to Windows (don't hate it, just don't like it as much). So it seems no wonder that so many people build their own "Mac Pro" desktop machines. If you are really adventurous going down the path of taking computer purchasing "risks" this might be an avenue for you as well. Good Luck!

So, I'm not the only one who thinks Apple is becoming a technology gizmo company rather than being a computer maker. I've had a great deal of success with Macs, except for the G5, which lasted maybe three years before it crapped out for good. No Applecare; the Apple reseller where I took it for repair just happened to have a new first-generation quad-core machine for the same price as a new second-generation dual core machine, so I snapped it up. I've upgraded the RAM and installed an SSD as the boot drive and knock on wood it still hums along pretty well.

But I probably won't buy another Mac Pro. (I have to confess, when I looked at the post and saw the Mac Pro and a photo of a roll of toilet paper, well, I had a thought different from the copy.) Why would I buy a black cylinder that is primarily a hub and costs far more than a comparably outfitted Windows machine? None of my friends whose Mac Pros have died have replaced them with the new version. They've all gone to iMacs which, I have to say, are pretty impressive. And when the time comes I'll probably go the same way.

What really bothers me is what I'll do with the Mac Pro when the Dell Ultrasharp display dies, which I'm sure it will well before the Mac Pro has to be put down. Knowing I'm likely to upgrade to an iMac doesn't incline me to the purchase of a really good, calibratable display like an NEC. I suppose I'll just buy some middling unit and transfer it to the basement scanning station where an old G4 sits connected to a SCSI scanner.

And, while I'm kvetching, why doesn't my iPhone just show up on the desktop like any other device? Why does Apple make me treat the phone as an expensive iTunes accessory?

I love you, Apple. Why do you treat me so badly?

I'm still using an old Early 2008 model Mac Pro. It works beautifully, but cannot be upgraded to Sierra. Someday, I'll need to replace it, but I can't afford a Trashcan and would not buy one even if I could. iMac is a non-starter to me, too.

I think when this dies, I will have my son build a Windows machine for me. He and I built one a few yrs ago when he was in high school and it works flawlessly for him.

That roll of Angel Soft might be targeted at professionals, like caregivers and nursing assistants.

"I'm bad with computers, which is one reason why I've always used Macs in the first place."

Windows 10 might be a great solution then. It's really very good. I gave up on all things Apple a few years ago and I don't miss any of it.

At home I am running essentially the same set up as you--a 2012 era mac-mini which I maxed out with RAM and upgraded to an SSD and a NEC Multisync monitor. It works great for my purposes which is image processing and other general computer stuff. I don't do much video rendering or PS file with fifteen 16 bit adjustment layers, so the computer seems zippy enough. I think the biggest speed improvement occurred when I replaced the HD with an SSD. Night and day. I think this set up will serve me well until the new operating systems and software outstrip the capabilities of the CPU in my computer.

I share your concern about the direction that Apple has taken when it comes to desktop computers. Actually, all computers (the new MBP with all USB-C jacks is an example). I love the ease of working on my Macs and don't enjoy the Windows computers I sometimes use at work. However, I fear they have lost their way since the death of Steve Jobs. His attitude was to not give people what they thought they needed, but through innovation to give them what they didn't realize yet that they needed--to lead them to a better place. My impression so far is that he was a heck of a lot better at that than those who have followed him. I haven't seen any paradigm shifting products since his death. And, as you described, their present design sensibilities have left many of the creative professionals, who carried Apple through good times and bad, stranded.

You write like a curmudgeon who complains about how the world has changed, with out the realization that your actions are part of the very reason for the change.

You buy the lowest of the "consumer" computers in apple's line, kept them from for a very long time(well past a "pro" life cycle) and evidently buy them used. So it looks like you are the very problem that you complain about. Maybe if people who claim they need "pro" versions actually bought the pro versions they would see the market as more profitable. Tell AAPL what you think by putting your money where your mouth is and buy a windows PC (or better yet build one) and move on. Adobe CC and online file syncing makes working in two operating systems a breeze if you want to keep your MBA for travel.

[This is the first used Mac I've ever bought; I've owned more than 13 Macs since 1984; and I currently own a desktop, a laptop, a tablet and a phone, all from Apple. I can't fairly be accused of not supporting Apple. --Mike]

The Samsung 850 EVO is an aftermarket drive for the mini. It's a great drive (I use a few in my hackintosh), but Apple doesn't turn on TRIM support for aftermarket SSDs by default. However hey do have a utility to allow you to do so. You really want TRIM on to get the most longevity out of the SSD, as well as maintain the performance over time.

See http://randomnerds.com/execute-sudo-trimforce-enable-to-keep-your-ssd-healthy/ for an explanation, how to check if the previous owner enabled it, and if not how to turn it on. It works perfectly on the 850 EVO in my experience and is one simple command.

I feels more and more like we're nearing the end of Apple for -computer- users. My early 2013 13" Retina MacBook Pro is feeling like the last Mac I might buy unless Apple goes through some significant shift in direction. It is close to the max-spec, since everything is soldered and glued in, and I'm hopeful I will get another 3-4 years out of it. My daughter inherited my 2012 i5 Mac Mini, while my 10 year old has our 2014 Mac Mini (I discovered post-purchase that it has the crippling soldered-in RAM). Meanwhile, my Wife's 2016 Lenovo ultra book weighs less than my MacBook Pro, is nearly as fast despite being an i5 machine, and cost $750. *Sigh*

The new generation of MacBook Pro machines just might be the end for me, not because of the frivolous touch bar gimmick, but due to the awful "butterfly" keyboard, which isn't a serious tool for a serious writer. I have a late-2012 Pro that I (rather stupidly, in retrospect) bought fully optioned for big money; it also has a newish system board due to a warranty swap in 2015. Right now Apple makes NOTHING that would replace this machine for me; I've reached the same point with them that I've reached with new cameras: don't need 'em, don't want 'em.

This is amazing.

Apple is the only company who can break Moore's Law and revel in it.

You learn something every day. I never knew Angel Soft has a pro line.

I agree! Apple is offering lifestyle products with soldered in RAM and SSDs. No expansion allowed. The problem of getting older products (2012 and such) is that soon enough mighty Apple will obsolete them no longer supporting them in newer OS versions. The first couple of years that happens it's OK, but after that applications start not running in older OSes and at that time they must go.

I have always used Mac desktops and I now work with a mac mini (2010 vintage). I too don't like the direction Apple seems to be going. I haven't bought any Apple products lately and I find I look at all of them with a much more critical eye than I used to.

As for Eric being told "Apple is for those who want to move forward"....well, I think perhaps they're getting out in front of their headlights in their vision of desktop stand-alones.

You have hit the nail on the head! This has been driving me nuts since the trashcan appeared. I finally gave up two months ago and built a Hackintosh. It's great, and just as stable as my old retina iMac! I figured that if I couldn't get it stable, I would finally just make the move to Win 10 (which I dread, but Apple leaves little choice). My hackintosh was much cheaper than a "real" mac, nearly silent,and dramatically better performer. It has room for all the video cards, drives and RAM you want to plug in - what a concept!

A few metrics: (retina iMac vs i6700K hackintosh)

Geekbench 4: 11,250 vs 17,400 (before overclocking)

Cinebench 15 Rendering: 85 fps vs 116 fps (with a budget placeholder video card)

Import 10 a7rii RAWs (85MB 14-bit size) from drive to Lightroom and convert to DNG: 58s vs 15s

Export 10 full sized JPGs from RAWs: 74s vs 33s

I'd much rather pay more for a real, expandable proper desktop mac, but as your story says, it may never come from the new "lifestyle Apple". Makes me sad...

Thanks for the post, Mike! The post and the comments reassure me that I'm going to continue to be a PC owner!

If you get frustrated with your new old machine, you might consider assembling a hackintosh, or having someone do it for you. I'm a Windows guy so I have no direct experience with configuring this, but I've seen MacOS running on PC hardware. There's a somewhat complicated article on it at RedmondPie. (Doing the reverse is fairly easy; a friend has a dual-boot MacOS/Windows setup on her MacBook Pro so she can use the machine at home and at office.) Usually this is done in an emulator or virtual machine, but I've seen PC hardware boot straight into MacOS. Almost certainly you'd lose direct support from Apple, but maybe you could find a replacement for that as well.

A month ago I gave up with my 17" MacBook Pro quad core i7 late 2010. I turned 65 (5 more than you Mike) and it was to heavy to carry around. I work with it at office and at home. So I went to an Apple Store here in Chile and wasn't happy with the new MacBook "Pro"s. Fortunately they were retailing the last 15" retina MacBook Pros of mid 2015, so I got one at the discounted price in 12 installments without interest :-). The guy at the store told me that they were selling tons of them since the las generation came up. He told me that professionals such as engineers, medical doctors, software developers, university professors, photographers, video editors, etc. were the main buyers, because they didn't like the new MacBooks Pro. Unless they are to arrogant, I'm pretty sure Apple must be interpreting this behavior.
Anyway, for my photography I'm using an old MacPro dual quad core Xeon of late 2008, that I heavily used for thousands of hours of microchip computer simulations in the past, and still working just fine.

Hi Mike,

You and I have been running almost in parallel on the Mac computer front until now. We both "discarded" older iMacs (mine with 32 gigs of RAM no less) for 13" MacBooks - yours an "Air" and mine a "Pro" - each with just 8 gigs of RAM. And we both have/had heating problems. I solved mine easily with an inexpensive USB powered fanbase. I do recall posting that point as an effort to help. I run 2 monitors in addition to the laptop's screen. I especially had heating problems when all 3 screens were up and running. Now the laptop chassis only get lightly warm. I run Photoshop just fine as is, though it obviously isn't super fast at it. I regularly handle multi-gig sized files.

ALL that said, you obviously have landed yourself a better computer for Photoshop and all your blogging. I would assume you need another monitor to replace the Air's screen. If you still have your iMac, you could use that as a screen only device. And, as always, I too hate the way Apple now prevents us from doing our own upgrading with the newer models. Wouldn't I love to be able to throw another 8 gigs of RAM into my MacBook Pro!

Good luck with your new setup.

Oh, one more quick comment. Interesting to see the folks comment that they're switching to Windows. I totally agree about the thriving hardware options available on the PC side. However, the key reason I stay with macOS is because I can clone my main drive (using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy) and use it as a boot drive on another Mac. If I ever have a hardware failure, I can be up and running on a different Mac in no time ... back in business until I can get my main system repaired/replaced (or is that repeal and replace, LOL). I have always found backing up on Windows way more complicated.

>>"Apple is for those who want to move forward."

Funny, my idea of moving forward is towards more convenience, not less. If Apple isn't careful, they may soon find that their serious professional users move forward to another platform; i.e., Windows.

"Windows started out as a copy and the courts (unfairly, in my opinion) let them get away with it, but after all these years it's still an also-ran, catch-up one-off."

You are displaying a rather poor and biased knowledge of interface history. Apple stole all their ideas (Windowing interface, mouse, etc.) off others (Douglas Engelbart's group at XEROX, mostly). Then they made a big noise about how "different" they were. This is far sadder than Microsoft's pragmatic approach.

Apple became the most profitable company on earth by doing only one thing... ripping off its customers. I wonder why people brag about being among them?

Anything you can do on the Mac you can do on Windows or LINUX cheaper and better.

Be sure to download the 'Macs fan control' app. I have the same mini as you and fan control ramps up the fan with heavy loads but runs quietly most of the time. It takes something like batch conversion of many images to get it blowing hard.

A note on the extraordinary value of used hardware these days: I haven't used Windows PCs personally for almost 10 years, but for technical business reasons I recently bought a couple of 2009-era Dell Latitude E4200 small/light laptops (with Windows 7) on eBay for about $80 each. Original list price of these was $2300+ and they have many current features like SSD storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, backlit keyboard, etc.

They are outstanding! Fastest booting Windows machines I've ever used...and I've used a lot. I was so impressed I got one for my wife to use for VPN-to-China reading and music. If I hadn't told her the machine was 6-8 years old, she'd have never guessed.

@Rick_Shelton - Would you be open to publish your hackintosh details?

I use an iMac 27" and run an Eizo 24" self calibrating monitor off it. Works great.

Computer users are like ILC users—less than 10% of the population wants/needs either ILC cameras or computers. Sorry, but true.

Another problem is that some computer users refuse to change, sorta like film-shooters in the early oughts. They have settled into a comfortable, but inefficient workflow, i.e. modern carpenters often use pneumatic staplers, instead of driving nails with a hammer. Like it or nor, time marches on.

BTW I like the new port system. Being a leader has always given Apple's base fits—than they accept and wonder how they got along with the old stuff.

I'll always need a low-power computer, simply to have an IP address for e-mail, Netflix, etc. To find out your IP address, type IP into Google to get the answer.

As they say at the Supreme Court, I concur in part and dissent in part.

I'd really like to see Apple offer a higher-performance Mac Mini with enough heat dissipation to handle 64 GB of main memory and a graphics subsystem capable of driving a couple of large monitors, like your (and my) NECs. It would be the perfect machine for most still photographers.

But I think Apple made a considered decision when it fielded the 2013 "trash can" Mac Pro: namely that (1) more and more professional graphics people were working from home, and needed a machine that was small and quiet, that (2) one or two terabytes of mass storage was sufficient because most professional users would back up their datastores either to network-attached servers or into "the cloud," and (3) that the software industry needed spare graphics processing capacity, not to drive additional display devices but as a way to boost computing performance.

It's turned out to be more difficult to utilize GPU capacity for general-purpose computing tasks than many people believed five years ago, but a lot of work has been relocated from leased spaces to home offices and the back-up/storage options are so functional, reliable and inexpensive these days that I can't imagine why anybody would want to stuff—and maintain—a bunch of spinning disks in a deskside machine.

My "trash can" sits on my desk right next to my working position, but I can't hear any fan noise unless I stand directly over and a few inches from it. It generates no perceptible heat, even with 64 GB of main memory and two GPUs. Its performance running Lightroom and Photoshop is outstanding (I don't do video) and I figure it probably will serve my purposes for another three or four years before I feel the need to retire it. I back it up across a wired Ethernet to a network-attached server appliance in my basement whose "hot-swappable" disks I can replace or upgrade, if necessary, just by yanking them out while the machine is running, and I back up that machine to inexpensive cloud storage that I rent from Google.

To be sure, the Mac Pro was a considerable investment, but probably not more than 20 percent more than I would have spent if I had assembled a WIntel PC with similar performance characteristics. And the Mac not only offers me a very compact form-factor but also a UNIX operating system, which for all practical purposes is as reliable as the enterprise UNIX systems I used to be responsible for as an IT manager—i.e., I've never experienced a software-related crash.

psss, Mike, Macs are for cranky, creaky, old- and worn-out-looking middle-aged guys...

I'm in the same boat. We do iPhone/iPad software development, I could do with much faster hardware. I did some research, and it is not just Apple. The problem seems to stem from a lack of capable CPU upgrades. Somewhere around 2011, Intel just stopped trying. Over the last five years, CPUs have become more energy efficient, but not significantly faster. The fastest Intel Core i7 of late 2016 is a mere 50% faster than the early 2012 offerings. And that's being generous. Compare that with the consistent doubling every other year in the decades before.

Compare that with massive improvements in GPU performance the last five years... either we've hit a CPU brick wall or something else is up. Personally, I'm rooting for AMD and their Ryzen CPU. I hope they kick off a new CPU arms-race.

Apple certainly has a loyal customer base.

My first micro computer was an Apple II. Then, in 1985/6, I upgraded to a Macintosh Plus. I replaced that with a John Scully special. Then, in 2001, I founded a market consulting firm. I had to migrate to Windows to accommodate clients and prospects. I haven't looked back. Most "creatives" use PCs. I guess I am a renegade because I started my photo business in 2006/7. I held onto the PC platform. I liked being able to have machines built-to-order and were easy to upgrade--especially graphics cards. I also liked having expansion slots galore and being able to swap out components. Some iterations of Windows have been dogs while others quite good. I love my Windows 7 workstation. I'm used to Windows 10 that runs on my Surface 3. As long as users practice good internet hygiene, PCs run well.

Since the late 80s, my wife has been an Apple devotee. But now that her six-year old 13" Macbook Pro is wearing out, she's having second thoughts about purchasing another Mac. She realizes the user-friendly gap has narrowed and cost of ownership favors Windows machines.

I'm not sure about Apple's current business model. Jobs had visionary ideas. But now that he's gone, who knows? Warren Buffett is gung ho over Apple.

We live in a topsy turvy era.

I could have written this. I was just forced to buy one of the "crippled" Mac mini computers because my Mac Pro died. I have had macs since 1984, and I am disgusted with the current directions of Apple. I am a big fan of Lloyd Chambers apple rants, totally agreeing. I guess this is what happens when a bean counter runs the show. Grrrrr.

I've said it before and I'll keep on saying it: somebody needs to tell Apple that dysfunctional elegance is just another kind of ornamentation — though of course for certain purposes, i.e., selling "Veblen" goods, the dysfunctionality of a product is potentially (albeit tacitly, of course) a selling point, similar in concept to the peacock's tail … the design message being "you too can look so rich that you don't need to be bothered with products that really work."

I'm afraid that the fact that functional equipment has become so declassé says something not at all positive about our society, which did also just elect "He Who Must Not Be Named" to serve as the "so-called" president of the — "former"? — USA.

Fortunately I'm still able to get by with my now six going on seven year old 17" MacBook Pro and an even more ancient 30" Apple Cinema Display … I dread the day when I have to replace either or both of them.

r

I feel your pain, Mike.

I have a 2009 Mac Pro which has had regular memory, video and disk upgrades and runs just fine. However it has been EOLed by Apple and I'm stuck on El Capitan. Not an immediate problem but I need to start planning a replacement in the longer term.

I've discovered there's a very lively trade in refurbed Mac Pros which look to give me a way of continuing to use a big Pro for some years yet.

This is a UK specialist company http://create.pro/solutions but I'm sure that there are plenty of US equivalents.

Like everyone else, I'm not happy with Apple's current movements re. desktop machines. Currently I have a "Late 2012" iMac (21") which is doing OK but not great - Lightroom takes a long time to get going, though that might be LR rather than the iMac. But I have been wondering where I go when the iMac meets the end of the road, and increasingly the answer I'm coming up with is "PC".

I do in fact have a PC, which I built myself about 18 months ago to do some gaming with. It has Windows 10, and occasionally I even fire it up, just to check that it's happy (you'll gather that I'm not actually doing any gaming....). But more and more it occurs to me that LR and PS will look pretty much the same on the PC as on the Max, and certainly do the same things, so when the day I might just upgrade the PC components and switch. That'll be the end of 16 years (so far) with Mac desktop machines. Ah well.

Think ya coulda thrown in a Leica analogy if ya wanted to...

Apple's own attitude toward its target market for the Mini, which is PC users who are switching ...

This isn't what I've seen in the real world. A colleague, who already had 1/2 a dozen Macs, bought a Mac-Mini to run Capture One Pro. The camera was tethered to to the Mini, which drove a monitor, that's all. When shooting still life/product you could get-it-right in camera in just a few minutes. A huge time saver, in both shooting and retouching (mainly clipping path). Later, it also worked great for shooting green-screen video.

Yeah, when the new MacBook Pros came out, I hurried out and bought the year-old version just so I could have the connectors I want. I'm sure the newer versions will eventually connect to everything without dongles, but we're not there yet, and might not be for a while. I'm just hoping we'll be there in four years or so, when I'll be in the market for a new laptop...

I bought a maxed-out iMac on Ctein's recommendation a few months ago, and I'm happy with that. That might be the machine you should have bought under ideal circumstances, but mine was nearly $4K -- maybe I should have gone to Windows 10.

I gotta say, I looked at a Microsoft Surface Studio and watched a young woman using it -- she seemed like she knew what she was doing -- and was seriously impressed, though I am for the time being too lazy to learn a whole new OS. If Apple keeps going in its current direction, though, I may have to.

Hi Mike, a few thoughts:

Virus / malware protection: Get it! Avira has a free OS X version, and Webroot has multi-year, multi-device offerings at a good price. I encountered my first OS X- specific malware a couple of years ago, and fortunately it was just ad-ware and not ransomware.

I periodically vacuum keyboards and air vents too, to reduce accumulation of dust (amazing and kind of gross what can build up there)

Very rarely, I need to reset the SMC:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295

Windows: Besides my 13" MBP, I also own a 15" HP Spectre X360. Equipped with i7, 4K display, Windows 10 Home and 256 GB SSD, the last time I checked, it was selling for about $1200 (USD). I like it. No need to pay extra for the "Pro" edition of Windows unless you need disk encryption or need to join an Active Directory domain (99% of users probably won't)

The bulk of my data including raw files resides on a QNAP network RAID device, so it's pretty painless for me to switch between different platforms.

Laptop or desktop, from $700 or $800, respectively: https://system76.com/

With Linux Mint installed.

No Adobe or Apple software available.

Apple is stuck in what I call a "post-Disney" malaise. By this term I mean that, just as the Disney company seemed rudderless for many years after the death of its visionary founder merely churning out the things he initiated with little innovation (e.g., EPOCOT went from Walt Disney's original vision of an actual living community to a theme park), Apple has been stuck in a creative rut since the death of Steve Jobs. Where I once used other Apple products (e.g., iPad) extensively, I have now moved on to Google as it provides far greater resources for me to complete my work efficiently and effectively. As for photography, its still Windows for me as much as I loathe it. Though, I am looking now for an alternative to Lightroom because I have no interest in Adobe's subscription model. After much searching, ACDSee Ultimate seems to have what I need.

My Desktop machine has no fans, no moving parts - no noise at all. i7 processor, 32 GB of Ram (but 64 is possible now). Running three 1 TB SSDs. I can fit a fourth SSD by opening a slot; after that it might take me a few minutes with a screwdriver.

Running two 27" monitors. Totally stable. Relatively cheap - it's a PC of course.

I feel you. I am also not looking forward to replacing my 2012 MacBook Pro when the time comes. The good news is that computers, like cameras, have been good enough for most of us for some years now, so you may actually be fine with your “new” Mac Mini.

(Written on my iPad 😏)

Hi Mike;

A while back my studio mate bought a very expensive Phase One back for his Sinar. He does food photography. The package came with a G6 work station & $2600 monitor. His assistant does most of the post production work. The assistant is usually camped out on the studio floor. We are in offices just above the studio.. "shouting distance". I heard the following over several weeks: "ANOTHER DEAD PIXEL". Meaning the monitor. I think 6 in a month. I kept asking my friend when he was going to return the monitor. I'm the only one on site with any electronics experience. The Phase back uses 12VDC from the Fire Wire tether for power. I get called for help when the whole rig goes south. Repair so far is a simple re-seating of the Fire Wire card to the mother board. When asked his assistant, a PhotoShop wiz kid says, Apple products are over rated.

Me too, worried for the future and with wires everywhere around my Mac Pro !
robert

I am glad that you can clearly and honestly describe the situation and make no excuse for Apple's lineup. At the same time, you absolutely want to be able to keep using MacOS at almost all costs (not strictly monetary)—which is fine. All I can say is this: It sucks to be in your "hostage" position.

Despite that, in kind of a "Stockholm syndrome" way, you still maintain that it would be a "smart idea" to switch to Apple. By saying so, you dismiss all those people who are happy with Windows—and that includes people, like me, who have switched to Windows and wouldn't even want to come back if the situation was reversed (so it's obviously not just a matter of "not knowing what you're missing").

I don't have a problem with someone preferring an OS over another ... but don't try to tell me that I'm the one in the unfortunate situation here! Maybe that's your way of rationalizing your predicament?

All the best.

I'm typing this on a Retina MB Pro 13" (Mid-2014) that I've bought used in 2015, before moving to Norway (I'm originally from Italy) for a temporary contract. Needed the portability, and this MB only costed me 850 EUR back then. Works ok even with only 8Gb of ram for my photography (I use Lightroom, and my camera's RAW files range from 16 to 24Mp).

But my main machine which I will duly upgrade when I go back home is a Hackintosh, i.e. a standard PC where I've installed MacOS. I recommend this route if you have the nerd gene and don't mind (or even enjoy) tinkering with hardware and software (but honestly, the last experiences have been painless and smooth; however if you're the sort of guy that actually need the help of the hilariously called Geniuses or if you buy Apple Care then maybe the Hackintosh route is not appropriate). Go check http://www.tonymacx86.com/ for build options, infos etc.

I do love MacOS but I don't love Apple anymore (my first mac was an iBook G3). I'm now using my computer mainly as a LR machine for photography; my entire music library is now on Google Play and not iTunes; docs and sheets are on Google Docs and Sheet; my work is done in Python (also my blog runs on Pelican); I don't use any other of the fancy apps developed on Mac.

So I could either go Linux which I would love to do but... no LR! Or Windows 10, yes, and I could setup all the gizmos to have Python and my other shit running but that doesn't make me smile. The problem is LR you see... I remember the talk about being locked in by Apple once you give away all your stuff to the 'ecosystem' but my feeling is now that I feel locked in by Lightroom! Il remember the pain when moving from my beloved Aperture to LR -- I still have projects and RAWs to be updated and it's been years now since "THE MOVE".

I dream of Adobe releasing LR to Linux but that will never happen. The other dream? Some magic converter of my entire library with all the edits to Darktable. But until then I'll probably stick with MacOS and my Hackintosh.

You have described the reasons why I use Windows for my image and video editing needs: Apple hardware would be inflexible and prohibitively expensive for my needs. Now for my professional needs I have an Apple laptop, the 15" model, but for image and video editing I don't feel the lure of Apple.

One word of advice: get rid of the old spinning disk and replace it with a new: a disk that old has an increasing risk of failure and new disks have higher capacities and are faster.

If you want to explore building a "Hackintosh" (a MacOS friendly PC built with standard OTC components) look here:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/

And if you have a "Pro" budget, here is a guy who is "turbo charging" slightly older Macs to keep them competitive:
http://www.pindelski.com/MacProTurbo/

Andy K.

I've used both Mac and PC computers. I've been happy with both, but ended up using PCs precisely for the ability to add components, monitors, and so forth. My current PC is extremely fast - boots in about 10 seconds - with a 1TB SSD for the OS (Windows 10), another SSD for Photoshop scratch, a 5TB hard drive for files, and room for more drives when needed. It runs two monitors - a NEC PA301W and a Wacom Cintiq 21UX - with no hassles. Most of my Photoshop files are over 2GB and load/save very quickly. I know that many people swear that Macs are superior - however, I know of at least one happy PC user... me.

Been reading the blog for a while. Great stuff. I appreciate all your work. First time commenting. I almost sent this link after your last apple rant. I think that was the removal of the SD card slot on the Macbook "Pro". Anyways, I couldn't pass it up! So here you go! Warning! there is some colorful language that some of your readers may take offense to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgBDdDdSqNE

[Definitely NSFW! --Mike]

A bit confused here. For decades I have heard that the main big advantage of Apple gear is that you trust Apple to make most of the decisions for you because they know better than you do about what is good for you. Much less flexibility, but you gain in other ways. Aren't Apple users getting *exactly* what they wanted?

The toilet tissue shown is 'professional' in the sense that it is marketed and sold through business to business channels. In other words, you can't buy that particular product at your local market. Kimberl-Clark, where I work, has a similar sector, called Kimberly-Clark Professional. Bit of a misnomer, that 'professional' bit in our name, but it stands still today. I can see how that would be amusing to those used to more sensible marketing practices!!

As for Apple...count me in as one who feels they no longer service many of their core users. I will purchase my next computer as a pc, directly from the windows store so I can buy one devoid of useless, performance robbing software. Wake up Apple!!

I also long for an expandable box like the late G5 Pro. However, for the most part I muddle along nicely with a 2010 17" MacBook Pro maxed out with a replacement SSD and second hard drive as well as a recent 5K iMac with 48gb of RAM, quad i7 and SSD. The screen on the MacBook Pro is hardly the best, but I run a decent 24" screen on it when needed and the iMac screen is surprisingly good. I had initially intended to add a calibrated screen, but the built in one is going to do just fine.

All that being said, I am also not too happy with a lot of Apple's recent decisions, and it seems clear that Apple (and its fans) seriously miss Jobs. I don't think we'll see another like him soon, for better or worse. No significant product nor innovation has come out since his passing, and the system software has at best gone sideways rather than forward.

I'm not too interested in Windows, having had to use it on and off over the years since IBM's 8086's, and have personally had a Mac since April '84. Sometimes I still boot into Windows 7 on the MacBook Pro, but that is getting less and less. I'll probably stick with Macs, but I still get unhappy each time I have to reach around to the back of my iMac to insert an SD card.

That's why I am still using my 2007 MacPro and just bought a second one, in case the first dies!

My first computer was an Apple IIc. I switched to PC because, in those days, it appeared software choices for Apple were going to be its end. With the introduction of Ipod I graduallly started moving back to apple. Now everything I have is Apple. Like you, I am not a sophisticated computer buyer, but it seems to me that Apple is becoming a company in which the corporate push is such that function follows form. Maybe it has always been that way. I did give up the optical drive with my current 13" MacBook Pro. I think that is about as far as I am willing to go.

Hey, don't knock the Windows PC. Like anything else, some are consumer products, some are enthusiast products, and some are really "pro" products, intended for the Photoshop geniuses and/or rabid gamers.

About, I think, seven years ago, I built up a custom PC for my wife, homing in on Photoshop performance optimization. It's still kicking butt. Of course, she has the advantage of me being around for tech support. Still quite a fast machine, though when I have the time and she has the money, I'd like to put a couple SSD's in it.

Wait, what?
why don't just use two monitors?
I must admit i don't know if color calibration is possible with such setup, but being able to watch an image full-screen while your sliders are somwhere else is a wonderful thing to have.

minidisplay-to-something-else adapters are surely available

[Two screens would block my speakers, and music is very important to my, er, mindflow. --Mike]

Apple discontinued your 2012 Mac Mini in October 2014, so they will provide hardware repair support until October 2019. If you need Apple repair after that, you'll need a shill in California, where they are legally required to provide 7 years of support.

Ultimately, your support question is when Apple stops providing OS and security updates on that platform. Unlike Microsoft, they will not provide any advance guidance on this. But you've probably got a decent run there as well, the 2008 MacBooks (not pro) just started falling off the software cliff, Sierra (10.12) will not run on them. But El Capitan (10.11) is still getting security fixes for a while. So that's an 8+ year run.

I've been using the mid-2011 Mac Mini Server for years. Quad-core i7 as well, but a little slower than yours at 2GHz. About the only time the fan comes on is if I use DXO OpticsPro 10's Prime noise reduction, which I suspect forces it into the 2.9GHz mode, or the 8-core mode (four virtual). The video card isn't cutting edge, but it runs the 32 inch HD TV I use as a monitor just fine.

Mike, I thought you might enjoy this: http://www.pcworld.com/article/3112726/hardware/the-15-highest-performing-pc-components-you-can-buy-today.html It's a guide to all the great hardware you are missing by stubbornly clinging to MacOS. Windows 10 is really nice software in the best sense that you are not aware of it's existence. It just runs in the background supporting your apps. Mikey, try it - you'll like it!

Owned a Mac since 1984. Many of them. Upgraded many with the big cases and towers. Those days ended in 2012.

I went with a maxed out mini until it was crapping out recently. Then I, too, ordered a used 2012 maxed out mini after considering all other alternatives. I sent the used one back for a refund. It no longer makes sense for me.

I've gone to the dark side. Lord, please don't cast a shadow on my soul. I went out this weekend and purchased a name brand (for support) pc mini tower with an i7 processor, added a SSD for a boot drive and 64 GB of ram. Very fast with Photoshop and I can add a 4k monitor when I want. I can upgrade as needed for the future. For far less than a Mac.

What else can I say?

Another Mac Mini user here. Except I got the upgraded mid-2011 version with the dual core i7 (2.7 GHz), but for me the balance/utility of better graphics with its dedicated (*gasp*) GPU won out over the server quad core version. I believe in real world usage, benchmarks are showing that only now are the integrated graphics have started catching up! The kicker for me is the possibility of triple monitors!!! (Thunderbolt/miniDP to dual monitors, plus a separate HDMI port, which could technically drive a 4k monitor too!!!)

Apple has lost the plot of late, so much so in my mind, that I've switched to a Windows phone!!!

I have had stable and reliable hardware and operating systems from Apple meeting my needs for almost 20 years: 1 x mid-90's Powermac (I think it was called) running OSX9, 1 x G4 iMac (with the little round hump) which had OSX10.1 and maxed out at OSX10.4 (and which still runs perfectly well in original condition, including the hard drive), ditto 2 x those white laptops (iBooks ? - used as print servers until dropbox ceased supporting OSX 4), ditto 1 x original aluminium powerbook, 2 x white G5 iMacs (1 given to my neighbour, still running; 1 with failed power board and not worth fixing), 1 x Intel iMac from 2009, which is in daily use and 1 x iMac retina screen, which is also in daily use. I am sure that linux or Windows machines would be more flexible, possibly cheaper, or even better; in fact, apart from OSX, my software is almost all non Apple: Adobe (creative cloud, acrobat pro), Microsoft (Office), Google (apps, chrome browser), dropbox, etc (and I loath iCloud / apps, except for find my iPhone). But I value reliability and consistency and the quality of the hardware sufficiently that I imagine I would only move from Macs if they ceased to run software that I wish to run, or support the peripherals I use.

@A_Diaz. I built my hackintosh using the guides at http://www.tonymacx86.com/ . Check the "recommended builds" section and "golden builds" in the forum. I am fairly tech-savy, but it wasn't all that hard given the very useful tools available on that site (and others). A hackintosh is great if you are reasonably geeky, and don't mind spending a little time getting things right. That said, mine has been rock solid with zero issues. I suspect I will need to be very careful when doing upgrades, etc....

Hmm. I find it tough to emphasise with these sort of gripes about expandability and Apple Macs.

The closed box with a couple of proprietary connectors approach is, absolutely, written into the DNA of the system from the original Lisa onwards.

Hi Mike,

there's lots shared pain here. Glad you give us a chance to vent a bit! :)

Count me in the group of those who don't know what to do anymore with anything Apple, as I almost gave myself a fit doing some calculations last month when considering an upgrade:

*) amazon did show that a workstation class Win 10 Pro machine (loaded enough to run circles around anything Apple makes), liquid cooled for absolute silence, and a pair of (yes: 2!) Eizo CS2420 24" monitors, would be several hundreds of euros *less* than the top-specced iMac 27"!
I couldn't believe my eyes.

And the Mac would need also need external storage, so a drive enclosure with corresponding disks: 800€ upwards.

So, 800€ *less* would net me a Win machine (sigh...), much much faster, that can be upgraded, and two high quality and high gamut monitors.

Do yourself a favour: don't run these calculations yourself.
The aftertaste is not pretty.

Dear Mike,

I fully understand that you are annoyed regarding Apple's change of direction, which is rather frustrating for the avid 'MAC workers'...

But there is an interesting go around, and that's what I did.
In order to replace my MacPro 2,0 (mid 2006), I bought, in 2013, an used Mid 2011 MacPro 5,1 equipped whit 2x6-core 2,66 GHz processors and 12 RAM.
Then I gradually 'pimped' this machine by inserting (in the PCI-e Slot) an Anglebird SSD 512 GB (boot disc), 6x8 GB RAM and an AMD Radeon R9 280X videocard (4K).

Now I am lusting for an upgrade of the processors towards 2x6-core 3,33Ghz (€ 509,-). By doing so, my machine will come rather close to the MacPro 6,1, but yet not equally.

The refurbished and 1 year warranted MacPro 5,1 costed € 1 700,-, the Anglebird came at € 420,-, the AMD I had for € 469,95 and the RAM upgrade was € 198,- (all 21% VAT included).
I run two monitors, which I already had: one Apple ciné 24" and an Eizo ColorEdge CG 24". The MacPro holds 5 HDD discs all together for 10 GB.

There are a few company's over here offering the processor upgrading service. The most notorious is in Ipswich UK: create.pro and an other in Holland: mac4us.nl. There must be more of them, and an handyman can do it him self, but this proves that the MacPro 5,1 is still a good and performing machine particularly for the creative pro...

Cheers,

Philippe

The Imac-type computer (integrated display) is to computers what a fixed-lens camera is to photography.

Hi Mike. I am a semi-prolific (haha) photographer on-the-side and have had the mid-spec 27" iMac since 2014. I run Canon Digital Photo pro for CR2 processing and Gimp for editing if needed. It has worked great and I can highly recommend it. Love it, and if it blew up today I'd be back there tomorrow for the same again. A Macbook air is fine for the odd bit of travel. Good luck, BvR

Pro toilet paper? I suppose that signifies that the user is a professional ass-wiper. Not a very fortunate look.

As for Apple's attitude towards consumers, I completely agree. It's always been an elitist company, smugly satisfied in its conviction that the company knows better what you and I need and want than we ourselves do. They've been getting away with it on the back of solid products, but there's bound to be cases where they're just plain wrong and their lack of flexibility loses them certain market segments. I recently got a used iPhone 5S for free from my father, who had upgraded; it's an excellent phone, but it annoys me to no end that I have to pay a professional to change the damn battery, instead of buying a cheap third party one, which is what I would have done with an Android phone.

"Two screens would block my speakers"...
... one above the other? ... Two vertically?

I can't imagine doing any kind of writing work with one screen. Even the laptops run an external 27" monitor; both desktops run two 27" monitors. There are six 27" screens plus a couple of laptop screens in our little two person office (and a pair of 3 foot high vintage speakers for the hifi).

Terry Pratchett used 8 monitors to write with... when asked why, he said "because I can't fit any more on the wall".

Ouch. I remember how cheap the 2012 mac mini was at remaindered pricing at B&H a few years ago. Sad to see how deliberate Apple has been on destroying/hobbling its desktop computers over the years in the name of insane profit margins and planned obsolescence that you see in the increasingly non-user upgradeable or easily repairable laptops and iMacs.

I remember how Lloyd Chambers talked about what it would take to turn the Mac Pro "trash can" into something approaching what he normally would have used. Amazing that the Mac Pro hasn't been upgraded since then.

Hopefully, the rumors of Apple releasing a strong lineup of desktop Macs sometime very soon is true.

Well this pro uses a trash can. I prefer Windows 10 to the modern Mac OS, which is now more iPad than Mac but the Mac Pro kills Lightroom and Photoshop.

Got to say the Surface Studio looks cool...

Gordon

I also went the 'used' route. My old 2009 MacBook Air was has never been the same since a Singapore tropical rainstorm swept across its keyboard. Nothing much below the asdf row worked consistently after that. But it seems Apple have discontinued the 11-inch Macbook Air, that I wanted for portability. Normally while on the desktop I use it plugged into an excellent 27-inch (I think) Dell screen. You have to use mini-displayport to DisplayPort if you are going got get the full resolution. So I have just bought an Apple-refurbed early 2015 11-inch, 2.2 Ghz, 8GB memory. Looks as new, works with many fewer quirks than its predecessor. Very happy. Not much fan whirring, as it happens, although I can never quite predict when it will start up.

The only problem is that Outlook (that I use for email in conjunction with Gmail) is behaving completely differently, and I am completely at sea in that respect. Lots of unwanted synching going on.

I'm right in there with the same problems, Mike. Back in Australia, about five years ago, I moved to a MBP 13" with an Apple Cinema screen plugged into it.

Now in paradise, Rabaul in the New Guinea Islands, the supplementary screen is out of the question; we have lots of blackouts.

About five years ago, I switched decided to switch to an MBP 15" for everything. On eBay, I lucked into one with a Hi-Rez matte screen, which has served me faithfully until now. Recently, though, the USB and SD ports began to be unreliable; just worn out. Then a spilled my cup of tea on it. Dried it off hurriedly, it worked fine, but next morning, three keys had lost their zing. :(

This is a mid-2010 model. I can't go past early 2011 for a replacement since I stick with X.6.8 -- the last "real" OSX. :) I need it because I run three legacy programs which are part of my business life: Canvas X, Personal Organizer, and Eudora. Haven't found a replacement for any of them.

In addition to running these programs (or should I sound modern and say "apps"?) and others, I dislike the shift of OSX to be iOS-like, and in particular, the way so much is hidden. When stuff was upfront, Apple was easy to use.

So if I can't get a replacement on eBay when I visit Australia next month, I will be looking at a brain and hands transplant for the MBP 15" to take me forward another couple of years.

By the way, I did have a Mini for a couple of years back when a bit; it sat on a LaCie 500MB HDD (oh boy, so big!!!) in a mini-like case with a bunch of USB and FireWire ports. A friend of mine recently took it as a gift; he put in a modern drive but his primary interest is in having the ports hub. Very neat.

Oh, right now I am on my stand-by computer, the MBP 13" mid-2010. I just unscrewed the backs, swapped in the SSD from the 15", and away we went. But I dislike both the glossy screen and its tiny size.

Which is a hoot when I think how I produced magazines and books on the 512 Fat Mac using PageMaker v.1.1 back in the day…

Cheers, Geoff

Time to sell your iPhone 8-) Found this on MacRumors this morning.

...Additionally, in a new claim likely to cause much debate, the paper (the WSJ) reports that Apple will replace the Lightning connector with a USB-C port. Indeed, all of the next iPhones are said to feature a "USB-C port for the power cord and other peripheral devices instead of the company's original Lightning connector". https://www.macrumors.com/2017/02/28/iphone-8-oled-screen-usb-c/

Seems like the iPhones will use the much hated, by some, USB-C port. My guess is that the next generation iMacs will use USB-C as well 8-) Time marchers on.

I've said this before in this forum, and it's not a particularly popular answer, but the reason that Apple does not make the machine that you want: (i.e. relatively generic box with a motherboard and various slots/bays where you can add things to the machine after the fact) is that there is no money in it. I mean, not zero money, but not the kind of money that Apple needs to be able to make on the thing to make it worth their time to sell, support and repair it.

Apple sells hardware at retail, and it's important for that hardware to be mostly pre-integrated and mostly turnkey to use. Both of these things describe the laptops and iMacs that make up most of their computer sales, but which are so maligned by the various types of relatively mature users who want something that is not quite so packaged.

I am not really here to *defend* Apple's actions, per se. It's more to point out that it's not some arbitrary and irrational conspiracy brought about by people who don't know what they are doing. I think it's an understandable move given where Apple is these days and how they make their money. You have to realize that since (say) 2001 Apple's revenue has gone up by around a factor of 60 or 70, most of that obviously on the strength of the phone, but the Mac revenue is even up by around a factor of 10. So the question is, who is buying those machines and what kinds of machines do they want? Apple has probably made the calculation that those people want iMacs and laptops, and that the marginal cost of supporting other machine configuration is high enough that it's not their first priority.

FWIW, I think if you had gotten a newer generation Macbook Pro (13, or 15, with an SSD, and an external drive) rather than the older air it would probably have been perfectly fine for routine Lightroom, Photoshop and website maintenance tasks, and you can use your external screen with it. These are the machines I use for exactly those things, and also for light and not so light code development. If you run them with an SSD these machines can do almost anything that fits in their memory.

OTOH, I'm not sure what your gripe is with the iMac screens. The 5K screens are as good as any I have used. But I know better than to argue with people over their personal preferences for such things.

Two things I definitely know about Apple hardware though: the windows for OS support of older hardware keep getting shorter. And, never, ever, ever, use a newer Apple desktop OS without an SSD or hyrbid drive as your main drive. It's just not worth it anymore. I put an SSD into an older iMac (from 2011 or so) and it became almost as good as a new machine. The difference is that great.

The irritating thing is that Apple could probably set up a pro photo/video support division out of their petty cash but they'd rather sell iWatches that do I don't know what.

But you know what, we deserve it. We wanted unbelievable applications but didn't want to pay for them. So the manufacturers chose to sell us tablets instead to twitter each other with.

What a terrific market opportunity this might be for someone.

I remain fascinated that people are still exercised about computers, laptops or desktops today, but then I feel the same about phones. Apple lost their appeal to me once Windows XP arrived and PCs entered "the computers as commodity stage" with attending low prices. Just what exactly is the practical advantage of buying an Apple computer today? I really suggest you take a look at the PC solutions out there, as all this hand wringing and torment is really just unnecessary.

See what Lloyd Chambers hast say about Apple and any future "Mac Pros" -- https://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2017/20170223_1300-next-MacPro.html

I have the quad core 2012 Mac mini. I have owned it for a couple of years now, and I am satisfied with it’s performance when I edit RAW files in Lightroom.

However it gets really hot when I watch a lot of video, especially in the warm summer months. Sometimes I put a brick of blue ice wrapped in an old hand towel on top of the mini to keep it cool.

I didn’t know about the shapeways replacement base. I will have to look into that.

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