A Pattern Of Doom, Learning How-To Video, New Refurbished MacBook Air

Reviewing the news this morn. Bored of all the election bullsh*t. When I’m bored of the news I always find myself turning the dial (aka clicking other links). In this case, instead of gawking at pretty cars and pretty sailboats, I clicked through tech news feeds. In it I found something akin to a pattern. But before I get to that, this first. My better half gave me a GoPro for Xmas and with it a note: “Merry Xmas. Love you. Blah, blah, blah. This camera is for our scuba adventures–so no more excuses.” The problem is, I’m a text guy. I don’t know anything about video. But I have complained once or thrice about how we go to all these great dive places around the world and we’re the only ones without a camera or GoPro. Heck, if it weren’t for cellphone cameras I would still not own a means to take pictures. With that in mind, I take threats from my better half very serious. And so. In order to figure out how video works in this digital age and the fact that I won’t be scuba diving for at least another six months, I decided to find something else to do with my new toy. For starts, I made an unboxing and review video of another recent new toy, a 13″ MacBook Air (above). Why? Well, I’ve seen so many of them recently–on account I’ve been shopping for a new laptop. I thought that making a video, then getting the video from camera to Mac, editing it, adding audio/voice-over, is as good a project as any when it comes to learning how to do deal with future scuba material. The first result you can see above. But let me move on. §Allow me to rant about having just purchased yet another Apple product. My previous 2010 13″ MacBook Pro was the last of the Core2Duo, and it served me very, very well over the past five+ years. I was actually hoping to be able to replace a laptop with an iPad. Boy was I wrong. I bought a refurbished iPad4 about eighteen months ago. It came with iOS7 and it was great. (Stop giggling.) At first I was really tickled with the iPad. There was a short period while using it that I thought I could replace my ageing laptop with it. But then I followed Apple’s updates and by the time I got to iOS 8, doom set in. Also, I’ve been reading lately that Apple is having some problems selling iPads and iPhones. Allow me to thread this (see links below). The bad news is, I don’t give a hoot if Apple swims or drowns at this point. I’ve thrown so much cash at them over the past ten years, it’d be worth it watching them implode. Seriously. Apple is only the best of the worst (of a horrible industry). Second, I think I can tell you why Apple is having trouble (even though it’s trouble any modern corporation wishes they had). First, Apple screwed the pooch not recognising how the iPad should be more than just a digital consumption device. Second, OS updates constantly degrade the user experience to the point of not wanting to use it all. Third, because of the closed eco-system that supplies the iPad (and all iOS devices) software, I’m even more turned off. Today my iPad4 serves as a Kindle reader and an Amazon Prime video streamer. With iOS 9 the iPad is so slow it reminds me of my iPhone 4s–which I just replaced with a 6s–but I won’t do the same with an iPad. Obviously it cannot replace a laptop. Oh well. §The iPad debacle does raise a question: what should replace my old MacBook Pro? Long story short, I bought a refurbished 2015 13″ MacBook Air w/i7 cpu, 8GB ram and 250 super fast SSD. Fine and dandy, eh. So far so cool. Yet I couldn’t help but notice one thing through out the buyer’s process. I’m a bit of stickler for making these kinds of buys. Hence I really dig Apple’s refurbished website. I regularly watch both the US and German version of it. For at least two months I constantly watched the website to see if I could make a deal. Heck, I remember last spring that the US Apple refurbished site offered three and four year old 15″ MacBook Pros with up to $1000 off. I just couldn’t justifying buying such a workstation-like device. Unfortunately I didn’t get that lucky with the German site while shopping for something a bit more affordable. But I did notice that, of the 13″ MBAs that I wanted and were offered during two months prior to my purchase, they were always available. Could that mean Apple was unable sell Mac hardware through 2015? Or were there really that many people returning their new purchases? I won’t get into whether or not Apple is on its way back down the corporate rat-hole–but I do remember the 90’s before and after Steve Jobs. It’s just that, as far I’m concerned, iPads really suck these days and the only way to get you to buy one is if they make your old one obsolete. The same, btw, for iPhones–although I think Apple put more effort into making sure battery better controls those sales. Hence, the Apple Watch is a joke, the new iPhone battery case is an embarrassment and I also read that they already have AppleTV4s in the refurbished store. Yeah. Maybe things have peaked. §There is something odd going on in the tech world these days. I did a lot of shopping around before making my choice to buy an MBA. I looked at Dell’s XPS, Lenovo Thinkpads and even the Microsoft Surface. I was VERY impressed with Microsoft’s Surface device–until I looked at pricing and battery life. Almost two grand for a pseudo laptop slash tablet hybrid? $2000? Hello! In fact, for my use, the most competitively priced device that fit my needs is the refurbished MBA with high-specs and a 300€ discount. Ok, the monitor isn’t the newest thing around but it is more than adequate. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not a spec nut. I don’t need the latest and greatest processor, screen, ports, etc. Yet I was really surprised at the pricing and quality of laptop equipment out there. Which brings me to the pattern I think I saw this morning while going through recent technology news and figuring out whether or not I’ll be able to edit scuba video. §What the hell is going on with this industry? Is it in the middle of a flux, a paradigm shift, a cough and burp? Surface devices from behemoth Microsoft are plagued with firmware errors and they are priced as though Microsoft just invented computing. Dell devices are still boring as hell–although I thought the XPS was cool except for that 16:9 screen that looks like it belongs in a view finder of a video camera from 1994. I don’t trust Lenovo anymore as they’ve gotten too far away from the mystique they once had when I used Thinkpads while working for the man. The Google is manipulating https in order to secure future ad revenue. And then there’s the news that Twitter is in trouble? Really? Twitter? A company that allows the digital world to communicate with 140 characters can get itself into trouble? Ok. With that in mind, I need to get out of this post. I digress.

Rant on.


Links that motivated this post: