The fruit of my labor.

in navelgazing •  11 days ago

<insert story about almost getting killed in an accident. Frequent breaks required to type now as the road rash and joint pain prohibit me from typing for stretches longer than 30 or 40 seconds. Check your mirrors when changing lanes, folks, the life you save may be a friend's.>

My first mac was around 2006 when the iMac Core2Duo machines came out. I owned it briefly for about 6 months and sold it for near what I paid for it. A few years later, my job had a dual G5 Powermac sitting on the ewaste pile; no POST or boot. I asked our IT guy if I could take it home and he said sure. Turned out, someone had just popped the CMOS battery out (common reason for it not to POST). Pushed it back in, POSTED fine. Added an HDD (SSDs were too expensive still, IIRC), upped the RAM to 16gb, bought a boxed copy of OS X and that became a fine little desktop until a few years ago when I bought my current gaming laptop (Aorus X3). I suppose Blizzard did me a favor when they stopped supporting G5s and at the time, World of Warcraft was my main escape. Curious: after I shut down the G5 and sold it, my power bill dropped about $40/month on average and it was much easier to cool my apartment in the summer.

I like *NIX environments. I just think they mostly suck for anything that's remotely creative in endeavors. Yeah, I know the exceptions, but frankly, I like my Reason. I like Native Instruments. I like Adobe Premiere, After Effects, etc. I know things are getting better for Linux, but I did the waiting game back in the 90s. I think what I really like is the idea of *NIX, but in usage, I really just want applications that do the things I want them to do and when I want them to do it. So, in reality, maybe it's not *NIX I like: I'm just a user, I want to use my computer, not administrate it.

For example: one of my best friends is a hardcore admin/tinkerer type. He plays World of Warcraft, via WINE, on his Linux box. He's been a 100% Linux user since the alpha days (and I've been playing with Linux since Redhat 3.x off and on). However, when a patch breaks his install, he'll spend hours/days hacking away to figure out how/why it broke and fixing it. To him, I suppose that's part of the fun. For me, it'd frustrate me to no end and I'd just reinstall windows and be back playing by the end of the day. It's not that I don't mind troubleshooting things, it's just that I don't want to troubleshoot those particular issues. And that's what I think OS X is good at: it abstracts those particular issues away from the average user. Sure, there may be the occasional issue, but nothing like what happens with what sudo apt-get dist-upgrade has done with my various mint installs. But I digress.

I've always been wary of the Mac lifestyle. I find the equipment to always be a little bit.. underwhelming or not quite what I want. I've been considering a new Macbook Pro. Why haven't I done so?

  • Everything's soldered in, for one. I like to buy things in the mid-range, and after a few years, upgrade the components.
  • The touchbar.. wtf is that? Looks like expensive frippery to me. Lenovo got the hint with the X1s, and for those of us who still use the command line for stuff it seems like a blatant slap in the face.
  • Never quite exactly what I want. Great idea: macbook Core M (or whatever they've renamed them to) makes for a decent little netbook style portable. But they went overboard on the "design" part of it: Give me a thinkpad X200s with the same guts as the Macbook. Fill the rest with a fucking battery and a thinkpad-esque keyboard for 2 days of computing time. Not some flat-ass keyboard that actually hurts me to type on (disclaimer: I like Cherry MX Browns. I need tactile response. When I have to use my work HP laptop, I have to refrain from throwing it out the window every time it misses my spacebar tap).

Those aren't insurmountable. There's still plenty of 2012 macbook pros floating around, and those fit almost exactly what I want with the exception of the discrete graphics being woefully out of date. But with the advent of eGPUs and what not, maybe this isn't so bad for the latest generations of Macbook Pros (but seriously, fuck a touchbar) and my eventual desire to work with VR stuff.

There's also this fear of getting sucked into the cult. Buy a mac.... get frustrated with Android integration. Buy an iPhone. Next thing you know, I'm riding a Bird in skinny jeans and saying "bro" a lot and tuning into TED talks, Apple WWDC presentations, switching from C# to Swift and FUCK.................

I digress.

So.. I bought a used (barely) Mac Pro. The Trashcan model. It was a fantastic price, came with an iLok for Protools. I haven't hooked it up yet because it will require a major desktop realignment (shelves moved, monitor arm installed, etc) and I'm not quite up to doing that with my injuries. I know I know, "What about upgrades? What about... ?" and I agree fully. I can still work with the RAM and SSD portions, but will have to work out if I can actually swap the CPU and Graphics Planes if they come down in price (I see some D700 pairs on ebay for a bit over a grand.. not sure I want to spend that much... But I would eventually like to throw in a 12 core Xeon.. I mean, why the fuck not? MOAR POWER! I bet it will scroll text really fast). This is really an indictment on the direction of Windows for me. I don't want Cortana. Hell, I don't want OK Google. And both Android and Windows are fucking pissing me off with their data vacuuming policies. It is my understanding that Apple is more interested in selling products, not making me one, and if Apple goes down this road, fuck it. Back to feature phones and *BSD or something. Goddammit.

Anyway, I got a Mac. It sits there, in the box, taunting me. I've got plans for it, beyond my usual upgrades + a second monitor since I lose one with the laptop going away:

  • Recording base - It comes with a fully licensed Pro Tools install. This will come in handy once I start recording my synthpunk volca jams. And VCV Rack. And eventually.. Euro(c)rack.
  • Video editing base - I think I'm going to bite the bullet and just buy Final Cut Pro X. I'm tired of subscription pricing for Adobe.
  • General development environment - it seems all of silicon valley is on OS X or Linux. Time to return to the fold, even though I'm not in SV. :D
  • I can be the Mac Pro weirdo for awhile.
  • You know.. maybe I do want to learn SWIFT (Swift? swift? is it case sensitive? bah)

So, here goes nothing. Maybe I'll let my laptop mine monero or something in the meantime.

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