Apple Macbook 12 Retina 2016 review

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I’m typing on a MacBook 12 Retina 2016 … and I like it. ūüėÄ

With an iPad Mini I wrote about 40,000 words thumb typing on the split keyboard and I was actually ok with that. ¬†But I was always looking for the right physical keyboard to add to the Mini. ¬†I tried two but in the end it was iOS that ended the Mini’s run as a content creation tool.

So I went with a cheap Dell 3531.

I knew what I really wanted though:  an iPad-ish sized machine with a physical keyboard and glorious battery life, but not iOS.  For a long time I had my eye on the Dell XPS 13.

The perfect combination finally appeared in the Macbook 12. ¬†This past Christmas 2016 I put an order in for¬†a refurbished¬†2016 m3/256 in the correct color, space gray. ¬†I ended up with a new one and a free Apple¬†multi-port dongle for the same price, but that’s another story (caused by UPS).

The thing that made the difference here is MacOS (vs iOS).  There were now no limitations due to software.  The limitations due to having only one USB-C port are mitigated with the dongle.

SIZE:
The approximate size of this laptop is slightly smaller than an iPad Pro.  It is thicker but it will still fit in sleeves designed for a regular iPad.  It will stick out since it is about 0.75 inches wider than an iPad is tall.

 

BATTERY LIFE:

Outstanding.

I have gotten, no kidding, more than 12 hours of casual use, such as typing on this blog.  That was 1/3 brightness.  50% brightness brings it into the the realm of 9-10 hours.  Certainly still fantastic.  Running out of power is not a worry of any sort.  With my Dell 3531 I was always distractingly conscious of the battery life lol.

ERGONOMICS:
When closed it feels awesome, like holding a favorite paper notebook.  Opening the lid can be done one-thumbed, barely raising the base of the laptop, yet keeping whatever angle you set the lid.

And now the keyboard. ¬†Yes, this keyboard. ¬†I like it. ¬†I’ve seen youtube videos and articles online talking about the keyboard. ¬†But for me it’s fine. ¬†Keys are spaced out quite nicely, easy to type on and the feel, or travel, of the keys is again, just fine.

And, they’re backlit. ¬†That may seem ho-hum to you but my Dell was not backlit lol. ¬†I t was something I always wished I had. ¬†I knew what I was buying when it came to the Dell so that’s ok.

TRACKPAD:
Yep, I love the trackpad. ¬†The Windows/Dell combo tried to mimic many of the gestures in it’s own trackpad but smoothness, the robustness of the software, yes, software, simply was not there. ¬†It would take several swipes for the trackpad to recognize what you were trying to do.

With the MacBook trackpad it almost seems to read your mind.  It is awesome.

CONCLUSION:
All told I am very pleased with my MacBook 12 m3/256gb space gray. ¬†It’s a keeper ūüėÄ

TIWIR – I’m adding another series to the blog

I’m calling this blog series TIWIR; an acronym for ‘This Is What I Read’. ¬†ūüėÄ

The idea for this came from various comments on the podcast episode How Bestselling Author Austin Kleon Writes: Part One from The Writer Files (iTunes podcast link).

Austin talks about taking an alternative route to putting drafts online, to instead write about books you’ve been reading, blog about helpful writing tools, talk about the structure of a certain book, decipher the process … to leave drafts to¬†your test readers, your spouse, your writing group, your really close friends.

The goal of this series will be to convey what I’ve learned in reading a¬†book versus writing the typical book review; “Loved it because” “Hated it because” … and so on.

One consequence of this will be spoilers galore!  Thou hast been given notice lol.

 

Thanks to author Betsy Dornbusch – EMISSARY

A big thanks to Betsy Dornbusch, @betsydornbusch, author of The Seven Eyes series, for sending over an autographed copy of EMISSARY: THE SECOND BOOK OF THE SEVEN EYES!

Draken vae Khellian, bastard cousin of the Monoean King, had risen far from his ignominious origins, becoming both a Bowrank Commander and a member of the Crown’s Black Guard. But when cursed black magic took his wife and his honor away, he fought past his own despair and grief, and carved out a new life in Akrasia. His bloody, unlikely path, chronicled in Exile: The First Book of the Seven Eyes, led him to a new love, and a throne.

Draken has seen too much blood . . . the blood of friends and of enemies alike. Peace is what he wants. Now he must leave his wife and newborn child in an attempt to forge an uneasy peace between the Monoean King and the kingdom of Akrasia. The long bloody shadow of Akrasia’s violent past hangs over his efforts like a shroud. But there are other forces at work. Peace is not something everybody wants . . . not even in the seemingly straightforward kingdom of Draken’s birth.

Factions both known and unknown to Draken vie to undermine his efforts and throw the kingdom into civil war. Forces from his days in the Black Guard prove to be the most enigmatic, and a bloody tide threatens to engulf Draken’s every step.

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Bose CineMate 15 review

The Bose improves with a lower price …

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Summary …. by price:

$599 (full retail): 5/10

$299 (factory refurb): 8/10

Yes, you read that correctly. The product improved with a lower price. ūüėÄ

 

Details:

The refurb was purchased at the Bose store during Black Friday 2015.  At $599 you keep walking.  But at $299 it was worth taking an auditory sample.

The sound is great.¬† It’s not surround sound, nor are there connections to add surround speakers, but the center speaker does impressive work with voice, soundtrack and music in the typical living room.

The highs are crisp and the mids are clean with good separation between the two.¬† Another soundbar/subwoofer combo I had was muddled.¬† It was also only $99 on Black Friday ($149 retail).¬† A soundbar/subwoofer combo worth spending any money will be, in my estimation, $250+.¬† Otherwise just save your $250 and use the TV speakers.¬† I’m serious.

The subwoofer pounds nicely and the system has an abundance of useful power, ie: no distortion in scenes such as the ones in Edge of Tomorrow.  A rotary dial on the back of the subwoofer for adjusting bass level is the ONLY adjustment available in the system.

Who is this package for?  The person looking for a clean, compact design for a small space.

The unit comes with four rubber feet with adhesive that you press on to the four legs.¬† These rubber feet isolate the sub from the floor.¬† They also prevent the sub from sliding … and they work extremely well!.
The ‘strap’ on top is Gorilla duct tape that I added.¬† It’s the easiest way to pick the thing up!

The system has three controls:
Power
Volume
Bass setting

That’s it. No Bluetooth, no different equalization options and the subwoofer is wired.

The package does come with an optical cable and multi-function Bose remote.¬† I don’t know how well that works as I use a Harmony One remote¬†I purchased several years ago.¬† The One does operate the Bose just fine.¬† After all, it’s just a volume control lol.

It’s an easy hookup. You have three inputs¬†on the back of the small center speaker: RCA, digital coax and optical.
You can use the coax OR the digital, i.e. not both, with the RCA (say, for a CD player).

I run the optical only.

The system is intended for home theater use (vs use as a pure stereo system).

The most streamlined connection would be for all your inputs; set-top box, media box (like Apple TV), Blu-ray player, etc to connect to your TV.

Then run the optical audio output from the TV to the CineMate 15.

As you can imagine the Bose CineMate 15 is intended for use with later model gear.   Most everything five years old or newer, that connects with HDMI, should be fine.

The connection process is: TV cable to center speaker, then the permanently attached, thick double cable from the center speaker down to where it separates into two connections that plug into the subwoofer.  The subwoofer plugs into wall power.

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Here it as part of a 46″ flatscreen setup:

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