The Apple Conundrum

apple conundrum and devices that i can't plug in anymoreApple, once upon a time, was the go to source for hardware for developers. Some developers may still swear by it. I however, am rolling far away from the Apple tree.

The price of current edition Mac Book Pros have gone up so much that I can not justify buying it. Apple products do not make me money. They are not required for me to do my (entire) job.

Rewind about 12 years. I bought my first 15″ Mac Book Pro. This was the first time they were aluminum bodied. That MBP was a sweet sweet piece of hardware, and as a novelty, I know I paid way too much for it. I fell for the Apple upgrades and spent about $2500 for it. That laptop lasted me about 2.5 years with one battery replacement, and a few other hardware related issues, which was unfortunate.

Move forward to 2009 when Apple released the full body aluminum models. This design was damn near perfect. I got myself a 13″ MBP for around $1700. In 2011 I upgraded the RAM to 8GB because I could. In 2014 I upgraded the hard drive to SSD and retained the original HD as extra storage because I could. In 2017 this MBP still functions fully, albeit a slightly diminished battery capacity. I’ve gotten over 8 years out of about $2200 in total. Unfortunately for me, Apple has deemed this hardware to be “no good!” incapable of upgrading it to the latest OS, which means I can no longer do part of my job (iOS development) on this fully functional hardware. This form of forced obsolescence is, quite frankly, bullshit.

Move forward to today. To get a MBP of approximately the same capacity (500+GB space and 8GB ram), ignoring “slight” CPU improvements, and a fairly under-powered GPU, I’m looking at a minimum $2229 out of the gate. And guess what? I can’t even do my job with that as-is courtesy of Apple Innovation and their desire to remove all of the ports. I’d need to add a pile of dongles or a “dock” just to get back regular USB, ethernet, external monitors, etc. That’s an extra $300 easily.

At the very most in my life I need a Mac OS machine that’s capable of running the latest Xcode on the latest OS.

Which brings me the conundrum. Do I bother to blow money on a new laptop that I (for the most part) know will not last me as long as my prior laptop?

Do I try and buy a used one that’s capable of running macOS High Sierra? The resale value tends to be a bit high too though, but at least that money doesn’t go right back to Apple.

Do I find an alternative Ubuntu capable laptop and just pick up a cheap-ish Mac Mini to do my Xcode work on? I could probably buy both of them for less than $2000 easily. Unfortunately that puts a kink in the work flow, that’s for sure.

What do other hybrid developers do? I work with web, native mobile, and other “creative” code projects. All of which are cross platform except iOS.

Thoughts or opinions welcome.


It’s So Meta

It’s time for yet another meta post.

I’ve redesigned my blog. It’s here, it’s new. It’s tidy. It’s the first phase of change that you may or may not notice.

As it stands right now, I’ve not even looked at it in IE, so I doubt it works. But it’s got some awesome IE Chrome Frame pusher, so hopefully I never have to deal with IE again. Now that that’s done, here’s what it is…

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • See Humans.txt (in the footer) for more.

I’ve also simplified a lot of the WordPress feature overkill that existed. I’ve killed comments, pingbacks, and most user interaction because it’s mostly spam. If you want to say something to me, tweet it, Facebook it, Google Plus it.

I’ve gotten rid of most of the clutter that comes with sidebars and widgets and idiotic things that mean nothing. You know, all that shit that nobody ever uses. I’ll, in the future, keep any experimental items to their own pages.

Some old posts might look like ass. Let me know and I’ll go back and fix ’em. But the handful I’ve looked at look pretty swell.

That is all.

See you on the Twitternets.


The Firefox Switch Back

Early in 2011 I switched from Firefox to Google Chrome. Just before the end of 2011 I switched back.

I switched back because I had ignored Firefox for so long, I was almost damned sure that they should have fixed a few issues I had in the 3.1-3.6 releases. And sure enough, they have.

In my near 9 months of using Google Chrome I missed a couple of features of Firefox that Chrome just didn’t cut it with.

  1. Firefox’s Awesome Bar (aka: the address bar)
    It’s 100 times better than Google Chrome’s ‘search’ bar.  The awesome bar lets me search bookmarks, open tabs, history before searching the web. Google always wants you to search the web and it’s hardly ever necessary.
  2. Firefox’s Tab Groups
    They’re just awesome.  Tab overload has always been an issue. 20-30, more tabs open. With tab groups you can sort them out and only have certain working groups of tabs available. Want to switch? sure, hit the magic button and voila. All your groups are exposed and you can easily switch to them.
  3. Firefox’s Bookmarks
    This might sound ridiculous, but I really like tagging my bookmarks without the need of an extension. Tagged bookmarks really help out with #1 and well, it makes my life easier when I’m trying to find stuff.
  4. Firefox has gotten faster.
    This is always a battle as to which browser is faster, but really, Firefox 9.0.1 is way, way, way faster than previous versions and if you find benchmarks that you want to accept as good, I’m sure someone will say Firefox is faster than everything. But hey, that’s subjective.

And yeah, I’m sure there are chrome extensions that enable these features, but quite frankly, I hate most extensions. There, I said it.

Here’s to an awesome 2012, Mozilla.

(p.s. I only remembered Firefox because Niv mentioned it.)

Randomness Socially Inept

I Dislike Like Gates So Much…

I dislike a “like gate” so much, I’ve conditioned myself to do battle against them. Here’s what I do:

  • Like the page.
  • Go to my profile, remove the announcement that “Darryl Likes [insert like-gate here]”
  • Do what I need to on the page.
  • Unlike the page.

What is a “Like-Gate”?

A like-gate is effectively a gate on Facebook pages that force you to “like” them before you can see the page contents.  Fortunately a like-gate is stuck to only a tab on a page, so you can typically view the wall, photos, and other media without having to like the page.  And, in recent changes, you can now write on the wall and interact with other posts without having to like the page at all, ever.

Like-gates are typically stuck in front of “premium” (aka mostly useless) extra content and contests.

Why I Dislike Them?

It’s pretty simple.  When you use a like-gate, you certainly benefit from the influx of people who are forced to like you.  But it’s just that, they’re forced.  You have absolutely no metric as to how many people genuinely like your product/page.  You only have an inflated number of people that “don’t give a shit” and really, that can’t be good.

I for one would rather have 100 fans that really like me than 10,000 that don’t give a shit.  But hey, I’m crazy.

Randomness Socially Inept

Facebook Timeline isn’t “New” #f8

This timeline feature isn’t the first timeline that Facebook will have attempted to use. Once upon a time, at least 4 years ago, when you joined Facebook and added friends it always asked “How do you know this person?” and “When did you meet?”

Those questions as well as many other little things within Facebook lead to a social timeline that was tucked away in it’s depths. It filled gaps in time in with witty things like “Darryl was underground this year.” and “Darryl wasn’t very active.”

Now they’ve just got more data to make the timeline more interesting. I suspect that this old data will resurface in some way. I’ll be interested in seeing how else they fill in holes this time. It will be interesting to see the mass reaction to it. It will be interesting to see how much I can control.

It will also be interesting to see how many times my statuses show up as “looking for a hottie.”

Linux Randomness Security

You Want Us To Be Secure…

But you make it so complicated.

From a technical standpoint, I understand how simple it is to create certificates for SSL/TLS and put them into configs and use ’em.

From a user standpoint, I can not understand the who/what/when/where/why as to the whole security industry and being so damn complicated.

So many SSL providers out there off you packages from FREE to thousands of dollars and for what? It’s just encryption. It’s just a browser asking “Hey, is this certificate valid still?”

So many providers also make it hard to just register. You’ve gotta jump through hoops and do crazy things like create a CSR and upload it when they could just have a simple, secure (irony) web form to let you generate one on the spot. Sending documents back and forth to “verify” your identity.

Seriously, I just want some encryption.

I also like the “we need to verify you’re the owner” processes… so many loopholes.

There’s a huge opening in this industry for someone who wants to make this whole process simple and easy (and cheaper). Just sayin’.