The pic above, dear worst-reader, is the latest and greatest desktop setup of my tech world. As you may or may not note from any of my SBC and tech posts (https://worstwriter.com/tag/sbc/), I’m a cheap-o when it comes to tech stupid-money. That said, myself and my better-half are Apple fan-boys. To maintain a bit of perspective, our Apple world consists of iPhones, iPads and a 2015 and 2017 MacBook. That’s right. I’m a fan of the 12″ MacBooks that are supposed to have the terrible butterfly keyboards–and IMHO the 12″ form factor is the bomb. Although mine is a workhorse, my better-half’s MacBook is barely used on account she’s a real iPad user both personally and professionally. If it’s a contradiction to say I’m a tech cheap-o after we buy so much Apple stuff, well, maybe in this one area we do splurge somewhat–even though most Apple purchase for me are refurbished products.
Continue on the cheap-o tech theme. My better-half gets a new iPhone and iPad every few years and I then get her hand-me-down iPad, which is also used around our little townhouse as a media controller and music player for the various SBCs for both audio and video. I try to make my iPhones last for at least four years, which I was able to do with my previous iPhone 7s. My iPhone 11 is about to turn two years old and my wife’s iPhone 10 is pushing three and half years–and if it weren’t for COVID, where she works from home full-time, she would have replaced it already. Back to my desktop rig.
My 2017 12″ MacBook is my favourite Mac of all-time. I absolutely love this thing. It took me a while to get used to dongle hell but that quickly faded the more and more I used it. Considering the new–and for the first time in my Mac-life fairly priced M1 Macs–I’m still hoping that this Intel Mac will hold-out a while longer, especially considering Apple doesn’t seem to have another 12″ MacBook in the works. Anywho. As I first started using the MacBook it never occurred to me that I might want a second monitor connected along with the one I’m already using while it’s in clamshell mode. But then I discovered something kinda cool.
Again. As a cheap-o, I refuse to replace perfectly good devices simply because their I/O changes with the times. Take for example my monitors. On the left is a 10+ year old 22″ Dell monitor. It doesn’t even have HDMI. Using an adapter cable, it’s been a second monitor for this MacBook and my previous 2010 13″ MacBook Pro.
But what about the monitor on the right, dear worst-writer? A 2017 12″ MacBook can’t drive two external monitors.
Good question dear worst-reader. And how worst-right you are. Or?
The monitor on the right is actually a 22″ Samsung TV. It’s gotta be at least twelve years old now. For years I’ve mainly used it as a monitor for AppleTVs. You know, one in the kitchen or in a spare room for $hits&giggles. But I finally replaced my ageing AppleTV3 with an AppleTV4 (refurbished) last summer and connected it to a fancy-pants beamer. It took a few months to figure out what to do with this old little TV but lo and behold… I’m using the old AppleTV3 (also purchased ten years ago refurbished), which is attached to the back, so I can stream (or is the nomenclature in this case “cast?) from my MacBook directly to it. Obviously it’s not a second monitor per se, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s perfect for streaming audio/video while working–and my little MacBook handles it all with ease. I’ve been using this setup for a few months now and I’m sorry I hadn’t thought of it much earlier. But perhaps that’s a whole other worst post.
And while on the subject of cheap-o and neat-o tech discoveries. Get this. The one main problem with using AppleTV and, say, a beamer, especially when watching movies, is that Apple and the tech world still don’t quite have it right when it comes to wireless audio. This is the main reason I refuse to go anywhere near those fancy (and stupid-money expensive) HomePods. I’ve read that they also have issues when it comes to streaming audio from from a video source. That said, I’m using an open-source version of Apple’s Airport technology called Shairport for audio streaming. Shairport is what all my audio/video SBCs use to mimic Apple’s airport technology, which allows me to circumvent Apple’s stupid and greedy eco-system politics. With only audio it works fine and if anyone is a cheap-o like me, but you still want good audio in your home, look into this stuff. Needless to say, I’m often disappointed when watching a movie and the audio constantly goes haywire. Until the other day. I realised (yeah, I’m a slow learner), hey, why not try your AirPods when watching a movie. So I did. I put them in, fired up the AppleTV and beamer and clicked around in the AppleTV OS to add another audio device. My AirPods were immediately recognised. And guess what? It doesn’t only work great when watching a movie, it’s actually some of the best audio I’ve heard in years when watching something via AppleTV. Who’d a thunk it, dear worst-reader!
And there you have it as only worst-writer can present it. Cheap-o tech world from a young #OKBoomer that found a way out of the $hithole that is #Americant but never thought he’d land in #Eurowasteland along with so many $hits&giggles.
Rant (and cheap-o tech) on, baby.
PS Oh yeah. I still use a manual typewriter to write my mother letters.