Muschamp Rd

Apple M2 Pro MacBook Pro, Oh So Pro

February 25th, 2023
MacPro in a bag

It wasn’t that long ago I was forced to buy a new laptop, it didn’t go smoothly. I tried to keep the cost under $2000 but ended up failing because I needed a larger hard drive. If I could have held off a few months more I would have gotten a better computer in all likelihood, maybe even a MacBook Pro.

Last time, I bought one of the last i5 Apple laptops, this would have been a 2019 model but I bought it in 2020 so it is about three years old, which is about when businesses, well some businesses consider replacing computers. Three to five years is about all you can expect to get out of a laptop these days. I still have desktop computers that work that are twenty years old, I always intend to do some retro gaming on them, but I had little time for video games in 2022.

As last year came to an end, Firaxis released more DLC for Sid Meier’s Civilization VI so I returned to that game. It never ran well on my MacBook Air, I think it may have been below the minimum specs, but I just played it no matter how slow it ran or how many minutes I had to wait between turns. So even though my gamer friends of all people made fun of me, one reason to upgrade my computer was to play this one particular game and the next Civ game which was finally announced.

Buying an Apple laptop is super easy, but the models confuse people. Basically they make their own chips, an M2 is better than an M1, a Pro is better than a non-Pro, and a Max may be even better than a Pro. Like I said it is easy to give Apple all the money, whether you need to is the question.

This is my fifth Apple computer and by far the shortest time between upgrades. This computer feels fast. I was originally going to get another MacBook Air, try to spend under $2000, but then I learned from CalDigits that my slow inferior MacBook Air with an i5 chip could power two screens but the new MacBook Air could not. So what about the cheapest Pro model, no it could not have two external screens either. I’ve been working from home and before my current job I never had dual screens, but due to Covid and working from home I now have a dual screen setup and I just remove one laptop and plug one cable in and I’m using another machine and OS but all the same peripherals.

I thought about going to one big external monitor but who knows what a new monitor would cost, I already have a matching set, so after consulting various people and various websites and since I had the money I got the 14″ MacBook Pro. This is a very new machine it came out a few weeks ago. I’ve never been in a financial position to buy a computer when it first came out. I had to save a long time and call AMEX from inside Simply Computing to get my Power Mac G4 and matching screen. That was a great computer.

The next Apple computer I bought was a PowerBook G4. That was largely paid for with student loans and again money I saved working abroad. I used it until it basically died, the hard drive did die while I was in Beijing, so at the time I was probably employed and of course I have a credit card so I got another Apple laptop. Because my career did not go well for a long long time I used that laptop until it almost failed, I think my TimeCapsule did fail and even the backup drive I bought may have failed. That was a harrowing and disappointing upgrade experience to the MacBook Air.

2020 was the first time I didn’t buy the Pro Apple computer. I was a software developer in a previous millennium. Now I’m officially not a software developer but all I do at work is write SQL statements. Maybe in 2023 we can finally start using Python more, that was always the plan. I still could write more code on my own, I have a lot that needs updating on this website, but basically it is a struggle just to keep it online for twenty plus years and try to update it once in a while.

The MacBook Pro may be aimed at digital creators so maybe I’ll finally have to make some instructional videos. It has a fancy built in camera and fancy built in speakers and the attached screen seems to be able to run at much higher resolution than my twin ASUS 24 inchers. The computer definitely starts up quicker, Photos runs faster, though I have yet to edit any photos and I tend to edit in GraphicsConverter after exporting at a lower resolution. I would have to get a different camera to be a true instructional vlogger, my old Panasonic may be able to work but it isn’t an HDR 4K monster.

I just don’t think I have the time to create more content, the only reason this blog is getting it’s first update of the year is I spent a bunch of money and although I consulted a bunch of people I’m still not sure I needed to. My old laptop worked, it ran out of memory sometimes, certain websites including WordPress dot com would just use memory until I had to restart the browser. My old laptop did crash and Apple did release a new operating system, Ventura, which may be more demanding. I’m running 13.2.1 right now on both.

My old laptop won’t go to waste. My mom’s computer is even older and unlike my MacBook Air, Apple isn’t even supporting it, so rather than help my mom buy a new computer, she is on her second Mac Mini, I thought I’d just gift her my small light and not useless laptop. She mostly uses her iPad, she talked about going iPad only, so this might be a bridge towards that. She wants to use her external keyboard so she’ll need a dongle if not a full dock. Amazon has plenty of Chinese made ones, she still has a VGA monitor I believe.

So the restore last night, the copying of approximately 400 GB of data, the updating the operating system took many hours. I just drank beer and played my guitar and waited. I did get my game to work, it runs so much better. I’ve never seen it run that fast except in demo videos where I assumed they were running on fancy gaming rigs. I used to wait many minutes between turns. I still don’t seem to have the new leaders I paid for, I believe China came out then the Sahara. That game used to run out of memory and crash too. It still has problems.

Before all this I switched from one gaming mouse to another older but more expensive gaming mouse. I haven’t had good luck with mice of late. They seem to conk out in the middle of games or work. I can unplug them from the basestation, that sometimes fixes it, but the scroll wheel was also not working finely. I don’t use lots of buttons but I need a scroll wheel. So not seeing one I liked better at Staples or Best Buy and not wanting to take a chance on one I couldn’t feel first in my hand I dug out the Logitech G403 Hero, maybe it will work better with Ventura than the older MacOS, it was but now I can’t seem to adjust the settings.

My memory must be getting hazy, but all my Apple computers were named after women, more accurately songs about women. The first one was Loretta, then I got confused perhaps, but my blog remembers. My PowerBook G4 was named Lucinda, after the Tom Waits song, not Lucinda Williams but both would work. Then the one I at first forgot the name of, was called Evangeline which is a Matthew Sweet song not another different song done by the Band with Emmylou Harris. Then the last one I called Ophelia. Unlike Evangeline this really was named after the Band song. Since I had not planned on buying a laptop yesterday, it just proved so easy, I even paid thirteen extra dollars to have it delivered from the Apple Store in minus twenty-five centigrade. As a result of my impulse buy I never had a name picked out in advance, even though I had talked for months about upgrading in 2023. So quickly I thought what was another song about a woman I admired greatly. It isn’t as unusual of a name, but I went with Marie.

So now I’ll see if I can dig up a YouTube video of the five songs that inspired the naming. Lots of people have covered the first song, but the versions I like are the live Townes van Zandt versions, not sure there is any video of that. Kids don’t realize how easy some things in life have gotten, of course you pay for it, see me spending $3000 dollars only a few years after spending $2000 dollars just to be able to have a fancy computer to type drivel on the Internet.

We’ll see how long that clip stays online, only 26 people have liked it and Norah Jones is pretty famous and I’m pretty sure the person who posted the video doesn’t hold the copyright.

Matthew Sweet never got huge, he wasn’t grunge, apparently he is “Power Pop”. He was great the two times I saw him on tour, once in Victoria and once at Another Roadside Attraction. He’s looking old in 2024.

The next song is from “The Last Waltz”. I’ll have to get the new fancy version of that film. I have the Band boxset from a few years ago, so that might include a copy, but not the new digital transfer Criterion edition.

Finally a song so good, I may have to learn piano. Warren Zevon is the other songwriter I really like who composed a lot of music on piano, but he became more of a rocker than Randy Newman ever did, but only one of them is in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Warren Zevon makes me want to go drinking in seedy LA dive bars, Randy Newman’s songs become cartoon character ballads and tourist jingles, because that pays. Both are great songwriters who never succeeded as much as they’d hoped to when they were younger, but Randy has had a long career, won an Oscar, Warren destroyed his for a while.

I may have to go with a cover here too, because apparently few people actually buy Randy Newman albums. People have played it on guitar so maybe I don’t need piano lessons, but I definitely need to work on my repertoire. Glenn Campbell apparently covered this one, he can play guitar, but let’s go with this little seen Ron Sexsmith cover, he did learn to play piano to change up his songwriting. It only has 44 likes, social media is strange.

Update: Mail Import

A long long time ago I used MailSmith as my mail client and before that I actually used Pine, so I’ve had some old emails that I saved from the 90s, in old formats. I had forwarded some of them from my old university account to various other emails, somewhere along the lines with hard drive failures and upgrades some got lost. While going through a folder marked “Import” I discovered a bunch of vintage spam from 2016 but then also old emails I saved from over twenty years ago. But because I forwarded some of them from UVIC, there are emails from 1996 in the collection, I still don’t see the one from Jeff Bezos in there. I did however find the one from Warwick Kinrade which ties into another blog post I made recently.

Update: A few months later and I may finally get that bigger monitor

We’re allowed to work from home still and though they are trying to encourage people to come into the office more it is not going terribly well. My new job requires me to use a lot of windows in SimCorp Dimensions and check numbers against PDFs, websites, Excel etc. So not only do I like having two screens, I use a third screen on the laptop of my work computer which is a Microsoft Surface 3 15 inch model. I’m not sure what CPU is in it, but I know it won’t do 4K. Supposedly my work laptop will get upgraded, but I don’t know when so I think I’ll just get a bigger non-4K monitor and rotate one of my ASUS 24 inch monitors. That will get me even more screen real estate and I don’t need 4K resolution I just need to be able to look at a lot of numbers at once.

My work laptop can supposedly do 2496×1664 and my ASUS 24 inch monitors do 1920×1080 with my MacBook Pro having the best resolution at 3024×1964. Officially I’ve been retired from video games, especially Sid Meier’s Civilization, for months. I’ve been painting more, trying to go to the gym, play guitar, read books etc. Honestly I don’t miss video games, but I’ll have to at least try Civilization on a bigger screen. I don’t know if I’ll get the next edition of the game, I just feel I’m more productive with video games out of my life.

Buying a bigger monitor isn’t for video games, but at the local Staples the monitor that I think fits best into the space on my desk is an LG Ultragear model 32GK60W-B. Now I can order from anywhere, but I try to support local business and I will likely get mounting arms and a new chair at the same time as I really think working from home has advantages. It isn’t good for teamwork or building a team, but if you are a solo contributor who needs to code, crunch numbers, and check and double check official fund performance, the privacy and solitude of a home office along with a new bigger monitor has a lot of appeal. I’ll probably do another blog post eventually, but I may order the gear I checked out today at Staples.

One YouTube video seems to be down, a lot of YouTube videos have gone down in all the years I’ve been blogging. I think last upgrade I embedded a YouTube video for “Ophelia” which has since been take down. If you have any thoughts on Apple laptops, Sid Meier’s Civilization series, or songs about women, you can leave a comment below. Lucero’s new album came out yesterday too, but I don’t have my pre-ordered physical copy, Ben Nichols has a lot of songs about girls, maybe he’ll start writing songs about women.

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