Pseudo Unboxing & Review Of 2017 12″ MacBook

Title 2: Or How I Got My (Almost) Pink On

What is it you do, dear worst-reader? In other worst-words, what do you do between the hell-day that is modern western consumerism run-amok aka Xmas combined with the ending of yet another krappy (worst) year in a universe lead by the greatest land of free to be stupid–that I expat-ed from 30 yrs ago? Obviously, beyond the luv-lust I have for my (beloved & missed) #Americant, there are a few other things that need be considered. Or?

And so, to busy my worst-self…

I don’t/can’t know what you do with your end-of-year time but here’s what I do that is all encompassing and subservient to shopping till I drop: I clean out my friggin basement. In fact, at the behest of my better-half, I cleared and cleaned and even profited from two days of sorting, hauling and picking cobwebs out from under my finger nails and my balding head. That is, after sorting the mess into what can and cannot be thrown away, there was a whole bunch of stuff left over that was totally sellable–and my wife needed it all to be gone. So sort & sell I did. But let’s be clear here. In order for my better-half to get me to do something akin to labour–and I’ve long since surpassed the sex-deal phase of matrimony–she said: But you only get to keep the analog-cash. And don’t you know, dear worst-reader, there is indeed a difference between analog-cash and digital-cash. She’s also the one with the PayPal account. And so goes these modern times of online yard selling, eh?

It’s been a long time since I’ve sold anything online.

Utilising that classified-ad service, and NOT its auction service, and as of the writing of this worst-post, I managed to raise, through analog (cash) means, the required amount to consume-and-survive a new motherfcukin MacBook. Am I getting too old for this sort of consumption? You know: pseudo-bartering? Probably. Can I afford–in these days of forced and/or coerced early-retirement–to buy krapp otherwise? Perhaps. But that’s not the worst-point worth worst-blogging about today, eh.

Things in the basement and throughout sold that contributed to new Mac acquisition:

  • 2010 MacPro
  • 2011 MacMini
  • 2015 MacBook Air
  • Cyclo-cross bike
  • A few vintage portable typewriters
  • Speakers (actually not yet sold but still working on it)
  • Tyres (summer tyres pulled from our new Mini and replaced with all-weather tyres; also not yet sold and will probably wait another two or three months to tick them off)
  • Coffee machine from Jura that was ten years old and broke, sold for scraps, etc.

Things from basement cleaning that were discarded or aren’t worth a hoot and made it to the trash-heap and counted as special work done by husband for wife’s pleasure and laughter:

  • Old luggage
  • Clothes and shoes and belts, etc.
  • Camping equipment
  • Shelving
  • Propane bottles
  • A box full of Xmas ornaments never used
  • Sorted miscellaneous years worth of junk from two major world traversing moves, etc.

So get this.

This was the first time in about eight years, for my own consumption, I purchased a brand new Mac…retail! And, for posterity’s sake, for the record, before that and before Apple’s refurbished sales channel became part of my computing life, I always bought my Apple hardware used. For you see, dear worst-reader, if you want to save some doe but still own great computer hardware, I learned long ago that buying cheap PCs ain’t the way to go. If you know what you’re doing, there’s a plethora of used Macs out there that are worth their weight in gold.

Oh yeah, gold.

Yesterday I trekked to my local Apple store with a wad of cash and bought a 2017 12″ MacBook m5/8GB/512GB… in gold. And since this device retails for 1,800,-€, you’d think that it was actually made of gold. So let us begin this pseudo-review with that colour, shall we? In fact, as soon as the Apple-dude brought out my new Mac wrapped in cellophane my eyes started aching at my choice.

“Dude,” I said. “That ain’t gold.” I stared at the packaging and the image of the device on top of the box.

“Uhhhh… Sure it is,” he said.

“No-no-no. Seriously.”

I pointed to the cover of the box underneath the shinny and sealed viscose material. My mind’s eye was already looking at those silly stickers that Apple includes with these things–that I’ve never used–and whether or not they match the colour I was purchasing.

“Dude,” I continued. “The one I was looking at over there,” I pointed to the other side of the sales floor. “Over there on the presentation table. That one is gold. This one is…”.

“Uhhh,” the dude interrupted me. “That one is the 2015 MacBook. It’s a different shade of gold than this one. But this one is definitely gold.”

It’s gold because Apple says it’s gold, right?

I waved it off in my mind. There are more important things in life. Or? As the sales-dude continued to process my transaction, I pressed him with another issue. From my shoulder bag I whipped out a previous generation Apple bluetooth keyboard. You remember the one, eh, dear worst-reader? The little wireless keyboard with the mushy keys–just like the previous generation keyboard on MacBooks? I told him it when my MacBook is connected to a separate monitor on my desk but it broke a few months ago and I had been meaning to bring it in. He reminded me that hardware service was another part of the store and then he immediately called over another Apple t-shirted dude. I explained to the other dude that I’d like to get this keyboard repaired–if possible. Juggling between the two dudes, I whipped out a wad of analog-cash and handed it to the MacBook-dude. And I was till pondering my choice of colour, the sales-dude got a kick out of counting so many small bills, especially after I told him how I acquired it all. The service-dude on my other side started fiddling with his store issued iPad and informed me that the keyboard most likely is out of warranty. (Damn straight it is!) He also added that it most likely cannot be fixed. Then he informed that he could replace it with the same one for 60,-€. I told him that was fine since I wasn’t interested in buying Apple’s latest over-priced keyboard that–that he tried to sell me first.

Long worst-story short: while the service-dude was fiddling with getting me a new-old bluetooth keyboard I teased the sales-dude while he was still counting the bills.

“Dude. Say. You know I could get the same MacBook refurbished for 270,-€ less…”.

Pause.

Worst-side-note: I’ve since learned that Apple differentiates its hardware sales channels and, although refurbished machines can be picked up at stores, they cannot be purchased at stores. That means, when you sell a bunch of krapp out of your basement and you’ve got cash and you’ve only got an online banking account–meaning I haven’t been in a physical bank for more than ten years–which also means it’s a pain in the a$$ to get cash into my account…

Back to our regularly scheduled pseudo-review.

Yeah, I reminded the sales-dude I could buy the MacBook quite a bit cheaper refurbished. Then I hinted to the question about the exorbitant retail cost of what I was about to do. Not responding to my un-witty challenge to his sales abilities, he turned away for a few seconds indicating he was gonna make me an offer. I turned to the service-dude who was happily fiddling with solving my keyboard issue as he pecked away at the screen of his service-iPad. Then the sales-dude turned back to me. He showed me the screen of the iPhone he uses as his cash-register slash price-calculator. He pointed to the screen and said this was his best and last offer. My eyes opened wide in surprise as this young whipper-snapper mopped the floor with me. He had taken 180,-€ of the MacBook’s retail price. Wow. That was kinda unexpected.

Take my money now!

While the sales-dude and I finished our transaction and he handed me my new MacBook and simultaneously emailed me the receipt as pdf document, I pulled out my wallet to extract the 60,-€ to pay for the new keyboard that the service-dude had just received from some other dude that obviously brought it out from the storage room. The service-dude removed the new (old) keyboard from a cardboard-box and then handed it to me. It was neatly packaged in cellophane just like my new Mac–but obviously less consume-to-survive shinny. I counted out the 60,-€ from my wallet, and at the same time wondered if I had enough left for lunch. Before I could hand the service-dude the cash, he turned around and smiled.

“It’a ok. We’re good. It’s yours.”

He handed me the neatly wrapped keyboard.

Whaaaaa????

Apple replaced my five year old bluetooth keyboard that hadn’t functioned for over a year with a brand new one. Is that cool, or what? Obviously this transaction has to do with going into a retail store and paying a not-so-small sum of cash for a new, under-powered albeit discounted laptop. Yeah, I consider 180,-€ off an already inflated price a discount. Nomatter how you cut it, I think that’s worth calling it customer service, baby.

Review?

Why did I buy a previous year’s Mac for an enormous, overpriced amount of money that is obviously less powerful than practically anything else on the market–especially Apple’s latest hardware offering? The thing is, dear worst-reader, I’ve been using my better-half’s 2016 base-model 12″ MacBook on/off for a year now–along side my trusted (early 2015) 13″ MacBook Air (with the i7 CPU) which I had just sold. The newest MacBook Air, introduced in November 2018, which is very motivating, left me a bit un-dazzled. Apple’s new offering just didn’t rock my world. So here’s some rationale for this irrational purchase:

  1. I’m a MacOS guy thru and thru–so it has to be a Mac and NOT an iPad and most certainly NEVER a windows machine. (But the future is bright for Linux.)
  2. As I’m sure I’ve worst-written somewhere in this worst-blog before (see link above), I never buy first iteration Apple products (but my wife seems to slip one in every once-a-once).
  3. Even though Apple did a pretty good job of finally finally finally coming out with a replacement for my 2015 MacBook Air, the new Air doesn’t cut it. At this point in my digital-world I don’t give a hoot about the latest & greatest hardware. To me it’s all about functionality. My wife’s spontaneous purchase of the 2016 12″ MacBook, which at the time kinda irritated me, did rock my world. The thing is this: the design of the new 13″ Air seems/feels like it’s more of an appeasement by Apple as it may or may not be in a hardware transition phase (Intel > ARM). In other worst-words: the new 13″ Air simply isn’t as appealing to me as the tech and engineering and design of the minuscule but functional 12″ MacBook.
  4. I’ve had to travel here and there this past year. When I travel I always ask my wife if I can borrow her 12″ MacBook–as my 2015 13″ MacBook is too big for economy seats on airplanes. The 12″ MacBook, which is the size of an iPad, is a blast in economy seating–not to mention that I can type on the thing for hours and hours on battery! And so… Nuff said from a guy unwilling to pay for bidnessclass seats so he can afford underpowered, over-priced tech krapp.
  5. I couldn’t bring myself to buy the 2018 MacBook Air because, well, as a first iteration product, it’s not a third iteration product–like the 2017 12″ MacBook. Have I mentioned how much I love typing with ten fingers on Apple’s new butterfly keyboard? While I tested the Air’s third-gen keyboard, I found myself missing the clickity-clatch of the second-gen keyboard–something to do with Apple having put plastic covers underneath the keys to protect from dust. Seriously. The butterfly keyboard introduced with the 12″ MacBook is nothing short of amazing–even if a speck of dust can break it. The good news is: Apple has a four year guarantee on these keyboards!

Oh yea. The colour.

Once I got home and unboxed it I walked around my house holding it up against walls, open windows, light bulbs, etc. I had to get to the bottom of the colour. Is it really gold? Once I had it setup, synced with iCloud, used migration assistant, etc., I did a quick search on the Interwebnets and discovered that the “gold” is actually a combination of the two previous two generation’s gold and rose-gold. The problem is, since I’m partly colour blind, it looks totally pink to me. I think. So I guess I need to trust my better-half who says she only sees gold.

The boredom of performance.

As far as CPU, graphics and hardware is concerned, and having just bought a “netbook” for the price of a real computer, i.e. a friggin MacBook Pro, don’t fret. I’m a writer. My digital world consists of typing, online research, more typing, a krapp load of typing and every once-a-once watching a movie. For blogging I do basic graphic/picture work, which is nothing more than cropping and resizing. I also manage my home network with my computer, which is made up of a bunch of old hard-drives and a single raspberry pi. And since this little thing is as fast–but definitely not faster–than my 2015 MacBook Air with the i7 CPU, I’m good with it. This MacBook is more than enough for my needs, especially since I upped the storage capacity to 500GB. Oh wait. Did I mention how much I love ten-finger typing on this thing–or how much I hated the mushy-keyboard of my old MacBook Air? Nomatter. The world is now pink-gold.

MacOS confusion.

My 2015 MacBook Air came with Yosemite. I eventually upgraded to El Capitan. I avoided moving away from El Capitan for as long as I could. In fact, I totally skipped Sierra but then, eventually, I gave in and installed High Sierra. Result? I hated it. Main reason: the screen. Since the introduction of “retina” displays, which I think was after El Capitan, my guess is Apple did something with the OS that changed how older, non-retina displays worked. After El Capitan my old Air just seemed even more pixelated than before. I might be totally off with this assumption but my guess is retina-OS’s were/are part of Apple’s forced obsoletism. You know, kind of the same as what they do with batteries on iOS devices. Although skipping Sierra was the right thing to do with that version of hardware, giving High Sierra a try was better. Even though the OS worked fine, and I finally got to see the benefits of iCloud, that old screen just didn’t cut it anymore. Apple’s obsoletism works–if you can afford it.

Mojave.

So far, after only a few days of use, I’m impressed with Mojave except for one thing. The light and dark modes are cool. But if I choose light mode (on account I like dark mode to come from whatever app I’m using), I can’t change the menu bar to dark–which was one of the few things I liked with High Sierra. Whaaaaa? Come on Apple! Also. Full-screen mode is much better in Mojave, especially when the screen splits with two apps. Anywho. So far I’m digging Mojave. But experience tells me, either the next or the next-next OS update will ruin something for my new, over-priced, under-powered gem of a device.

There is no pink-gold dongle.

I purchased a fairly cheap dongle for my wife’s MacBook last year. Its cheapness meant you could only use one of the three available USB ports reliably while it was also hooked up to a monitor. Although my wife doesn’t need anything more than that, I do. I’ve learned that the worst part of dongle-hell isn’t the single USB-C port of this machine but instead the dongle makers themselves. The market for dongles is as confusion as it gets. So I splurged and purchased two new dongles. I bought my wife the Apple multi-port dongle that she uses to connect a second monitor, which also enables the monitor as a reliable USB hub. For myself I bought a dongle with seven ports. Although it gets pretty hot, so far, its three USB3 ports work without issue. The only problem remaining is that there is no dongle to match the odd, pink-gold (or is orange-gold?) MacBook. Oh well.

Nuff for now. More to come?

Rant on.

-T

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