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Friday, 05 March 2021


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Small correction. The original Mac came with MacWord and MacPaint. MacDraw came out about a year later. r

[Correction made, thanks. --Mike]

It’s backed up, right? (He says hopefully…)

Bill Gates, famous software thief, has produced gear and software that Steve Jobs, famous software innovator and gear genius, will never match. Ignore for the moment that Steve is no longer competing.

Lots of Mac gear over the years. Just now the main ones are the 27" fairly recent, fairly well tricked out iMac that runs Lightroom and not much else. There's a 12 year old iMac for email and my wife's browsing and some other odds and ends. The end is in sight for it, and I hope it makes it till when the M1 chip comes to the iMac line. Then I'll upgrade and bump the lightroom computer to be the email computer. Then there's a writing laptop. And an old Cube with flat screen monitor. An iPad. An iPhone.

And yet, I'm getting sick of all of it. The constant, meaningless, annoying upgrades. Reaching around to the back of the iMac pisses me off every time I have to insert an SD card, and that's nearly every day. I've got more USB devices than conveniently plug in, and I don't want to buy a hub till I get the new computer.

Yeah, I know. First world problems.


I hear ya about a nice place to live but a drive to get stuff - drove an hour and a half to get my second COVID shot yesterday. And it's even farther to get to an Apple Store. On topic, I did upgrade from an iPhone 7 Max to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and I couldn't be happier with it. The cameras are scary good, especially the 'normal' focal length which has IS. set to DNG RAW and run through Camera raw and then Silver Efex (my preferred workflow) the results are well nigh indistinguishable from a 'real' camera. I've sold prints made with an iPhone and got an Honorable Mention at an art show with a shot made on an iPhone 4S.

Mendocino, CA

Back in 1984 we decided it was time to join the computer revolution, both for our small consulting business and home use. There were only two realistic choices: an IBM PC with limited specs and a $10,000 price tag here in Australia or the brand new 128K Mac for about $4,000 with all the bits and pieces including a printer. We played with both and decided on the Mac. The operating system was the main deciding factor. Few people now remember that Microsoft Excel and Word were available on the Mac before they were released for windows machines. When apple lost their way in the mid 90s I decided to try PCs instead partly because a few specialised work programs were only available for Windows. That began a very frustrating dozen years with constant computer problems and many trips to get technical help. When Apple brought out the first aluminium 24” iMac in about 2008 I gladly abandoned windows and embraced Macs again. My partner and I have owned about 14 Macs since that original 128k version and they’ve all lasted 5-10 years. In that 12 year Windows window we had about a dozen PCs most of which rarely lasted 12 months without serious and ongoing technical problems.

I'm so unhappy with Apple that I'm actually thinking of trying a Windows PC. The problem is that Word for Mac 365 is not *really* compatible with Word (for Windows) 365. Almost, but not quite. There are several known and widely discussed problems. The one I most detest (and fear) is the one that moves a possessive apostrophe. It happens when you have a possessive ending in s. For example, "The Johnstons' house was on fire..." When you send that to a publishing company in a manuscript, and they import it to Word (for Windows) it will change it to "The Johnstons 'house was on fire." If you have, as I do, a 100,000-110,000 word manuscript once or twice a year, it drives you mad. And there are other problems, less common but also disconcerting. (The whole I'll problem.) I suspect the problems happen because Apple updates its operating system almost annually, so new bugs are introduced every year -- and Microsoft doesn't feel compelled to change the Mac version of Word every time Apple updates. I sort of despise Windows for most browsing and photography tasks, but if I were only to use the PC for Word, how hard could that be?

Speaking of the "styleyness of the Apple stuff", I once read that compared to an Apple computer, everything else looks like a piece of Soviet military equipment from the Cold War.

Only happened to me once. I revived it with a DiskWarrior boot disk.

"If it were a house and everything on it were a physical object, I'd be on "Hoarders.""

How to avoid digital clutter: Don't make backups, just start from scratch every time the system fails.

I’ve used iPhone cameras on the 4, 4S (very little with either of them - really rubbish), 6, 7, XS and now 12 Pro. The 6 and 7 were better than the 4/4s, but the big change (for me) came with the XS - and I think the 12 Pro is better still. Any recent iPhone camera - X, XS, 11 Pro or 12 Pro - will be light and day compared with their 7 Plus.

You need to get the Pro model, however. In the case of the 12 series the Pro has two significant advantages: 3 lenses instead of 2 (the Pro models have a telephoto, 56mm or 65mm equivalent), and they access to Apple ProRAW. For me, these have been well worth having.

Sorry to hear about the Mac Troubles. I started the same time as you and have had a few problems along the way, but never have had one brick up.
One relatively easy thing you can do is keep a bootable clone of your Hard drive. Carbon Copy CLONER (and several other applications can create one for you AND keep it up to date.
This is different than a regular backup, as it is directly bootable. So you can essentially unplug it, then plug it into any other Mac that can run the OS version you were running and you are up and running in 30 seconds. It night be a little slower if the host computer is less highly specified, but you are running. It also works as a perfect way to res new operating systems for problems before updating the internal HD.

Hopefully Apple will be able to fix it. Good Luck

I've used the same custom built windows machine for the last 9 years with zero issues. It was built by avadirect.com. It still works great and is fast and powerful. When I need a more powerful computer, I'll go with another by this company. No way I want to change computers every year or two.

I have been for a while an iPhone fan and do want the 12 pro or maybe wait for the 13. The screened joy of my life is my iPad 11 pro (late 2018). Amazing screen and except for a few tasks like film scanning it has pretty much replaced the old desktop and laptop. Via cloud it is synced with my iPhone XR so they have the same apps and kindle even remembers my bookmark from one device to another. Life is good.

Having to learn how to do all the crap you have to on a computer/phone/etc, just so you can do the simplest task... it's life-robbery.

It's like mastering how to fly the Space Shuttle, just so you can use its onboard coffee machine. I. JUST. WANT. A. DECENT. COFFEE. ROGER THAT. Okay, not my crowning glory of analogies but to heck with it. I'm cantankerous today dagnabbit.

[You're not the only one. --Mike]

Sorry to hear about the dead Mac, hope they get you up and running again soon. Regarding the iPhone 13, the software-aided photography on the newer iPhones is impressive. I recently upgraded from the original 2016 iPhone SE, basically the same guts as the 6S, to the 12 Mini - the images are great in good light (my reference is m4/3), and after dark Night Mode does some neat tricks blending a short burst of shots into a low-noise finished product. I just wish the default focal length wasn't quite so wide… (it's about 26mm-e).

If it turns out you need a new computer, then by all means replace your current Mac Mini with a new M1 version. But because upgrades will be next to impossible, make sure you opt for the version with more RAM and enough storage - which will be solid state.

On the subject of iMacs, the thought of a new one with Apple silicon is very appealing. Again, make sure you buy enough RAM because you'll be stuck with whatever you buy on a "system on a chip." I have a 2019 27-inch iPac right now - the last generation with Intel processors. But I was able to upgrade to 64GB of RAM cheaply because of a sale at IWC. It'll be a while before I replace this machine.

Meanwhile, I usually keep my iPhone four or five years and I found upgrading from a 7 Plus to an 11 (a specific offer that was too good to refuse) made quite a difference. I would definitely wait until the iPhone 13, however. You might as well get the next processor for some future-proofing. More importantly, it will be the second-generation iPhone with 5G. The new 5G modem that will go into the 13 will mean substantially better battery life than the 12 has. And, yes, the camera will be better. The camera on my 11 is better than the one that was in my 7 Plus.

Self-appointed copy editor says:
“Role” in paragraph two. The original Mac applications were MacWrite and MacPaint; vector drawing came later.
The first iMac was Bondi Blue. Blueberry was a darker shade in the second batch.
Current iMacs are 21.5”, not 23. The rumored next version might be, though.

Mac consultant says:
Wait for the M1 iMacs. There is currently exactly one external monitor that uses a panel as good as the iMac’s screen (from LG). This means you pay a high price for the modularity of the Mini if you care about screen quality. I recommend Minis for all kinds of other jobs, but not for visual artists unless you prefer something like an Eizo calibrated monitor.

[All corrections made, and thank you. --Mike]

My older brother bought an early Mac with his summer house-painting money, and to use at college. MacWrite and MacPaint were a delight. And I remember (when I got it as a hand-me-down from him) cracking up my dorm-mates with this plug-in called the "Talking Moose." I could code in Pascal on it, and write my papers.

I've been a Mac fan ever since. I think the design and the attempts to keep things simple, whether successful or not (depends on the product) are a realy good thing. Think of what engineers produce, a knob or a slider for every single thing, organized arbitrarily (I'm looking at you, Microsoft and Olympus OM-D). Apple and Mac work hard to not let that happen.

I have a strong recommendation related to your situation. My Macs see a lot of abuse. I'm not a kind owner and I have to use them 12-16 hours a day for my work. I like using them everywhere. Lately the iPad has become a very regular and able back-up computer. Replacing a keyboard? A screen? Fixing some software glitch? I have my iPad in the meantime. It's sometimes a better carry-around. Can't spill coffee on your laptop at the coffee shop if you leave it at home.

There is one product that makes this substitution work: I have a Brydge keyboard. It makes my iPad into a little carry around clamshell computer. I love it. It's my laptop's "mini me." (Mike Myers pinky sidewise resting on lips.) Highly recommended.

I have moved over to the dark side of the moon and purchased my FIRST Apple computer.

I was a computer technician for 35 years or more and the last several years I was a PC tech. I built them, and repaired them. Most repairs were taking a vacuum to the PC and charging an ungodly amount to do so. Number one piece of advice is never put the computer on the floor.

I have used every version of DOS and almost every version of Windows.

But with the introduction of the new Mac M1 computers I'm starting to move over to Apple.

My first purchase is the Mac mini M1 basic version. This will end up being my everyday computer. Eventually I will get another Mac mini M1 for photo editing, etc. I will probably get the 16GB version.

I should add that I'm cheap. So I purchased a refurbished Mac mini M1. I saved another $110 in doing so. That $110 went towards a new monitor.

So why the move from PC to Mac Mini M1? First is price. At $700 it is the best bang for the buck. Second it is supposed to be very fast. Finally it's quite, cool, and small.

I will wait for the M1 version of LR and PS before I purchase them. I went to the Adobe beta site and there isn't even beta versions for LR or PS. So I will probably have a long wait before I can test LR on my basic Mac mini M1.

In the meantime I need to learn MacOS. Bought David Pogue's book, Mac Unlocked. It's over 400 pages and the print is small. Glasses required and probably a magnifying glass.

PS: I still have my so called fast Dell XPS i7 laptop that requires 2 small fans to help keep it cool for my main work station. And I can't wait to get off it. The sooner the better.

Great post, Mike. Best of luck with your Mac issue. My first Mac was a Mac Plus with a 20 MB hard drive--the big one that sat under the machine--that was given tome by Apple as part of a writing gig I did for them in the 1980s. The thing I remember most clearly about that time is how the Apple guys would take their machines to conferences, setting them up in their hotel rooms for use. This was, of course, some years before the first laptops. We thought of those 20 mb hard drives as gigantic. Now I routinely process single images that are larger--on a Mac, of course.

Count me in for the iPhone camera bandwagon. I have an iPhone 11 Pro, and love it.

My iPhone 11XS produces as good of files SOOC as a 16.7 megapixel Canon 1DS2 or a 21.1 megapixel Canon 5D2. I shot advertising and editorial, and nothing was ever printed larger than a double truck.

Today nothing is printed on a Web Offset Printing Press, because printed magazines and catalogs have mostly been replaced by digital. A 5K Retina screen has a resolution of 5120×2880, which has an aspect ratio of 16∶9—I can easily do that with a 12 megapixel iPhone.

To paraphrase Billy "The Kid" Emerson, My iPhone is red hot, your ILC ain't doodly-squat. 8-0

@Oskar Ojala: w/r/t shooting RAW on iPhone, I believe some of the newer phones support it in the first-party Camera app.

Yeah, here we go: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211965

Full disclosure: I work for Apple.

@Oskar Ojala: I also use 3rd party camera apps on my iPhone 11 Pro (Halide is my camera of choice).

You can very easily set up a shortcut that opens 3rd party cameras & then set the shortcut to activate with the "back tap" feature on the new iOS (14 & up). So now I look at my phone (it unlocks) & then I give it a couple quick taps on the frame & my camera is ready to go.

Heres a link to set it up:

I don't know about the camera in the iPhone 12 models, primarily because I rarely study the specs unless I'm really in the market for a new iPhone. This prevents IAS - iPhone Acquisition Syndrome.

I will say however that the camera in my XS is, as you know, so good for a tiny little camera. When you can make 30" prints that are exceedingly good, that's the proof.

My next Apple purchase will probably be a Watch. The medical & health applications have gotten so good that I consider it almost essential, at least for me.

@Ben Rosengart: That's a fair point, the new ProRAW format is an interesting new development. But It's not available for prior models, seems to be a fully software based feature and my phone is not that old so I don't feel like I should encourage not offering the feature for a previous generation model (the top model I might add) by upgrading. And every user obviously has their own requests, but since the Camera app doesn't apply low contrast default processing, it would be very desirable to be able to tweak the parameters of the processing applied. Can't have it all I guess, but it's a letdown for me after taking many pictures I liked on my iPhones.

@Sandeep Sidhu: Thanks, I was aware of the shortcut, but not of the back tap feature. I must try it out.

The “back tap” works on my iPhone 8. Thanks for the tip @sandeep sidhu
I use Camera+

I was thinking of buying a Mac Mini M1, but have second thoughts after reading the breakdown story.

Greetings from Utrecht

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