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

Scrivener comparison: Dropbox vs OneDrive

Dropbox vs. OneDrive smiley_abxe

I recently upgraded my laptop’s hard drive, swapping out the stock 5400rpm spinner for an SSD. Despite the 3Gb SATA motherboard connection, vs the SSD’s own 6Gb SATA capability, the new setup flies in the Dell 3531.

About a 30% improvement in battery life too, quite noticeable.

What does this have to do with Scrivener? Like most I’m sure, I use a cloud synced project file between two computers.

New hard drive means reinstalling the operating system, Windows 8.1 in this case. It’s kind of grown on me, enough to bide my time for the free Windows 10 upgrade. (Win 7 still my fave so far :D)

So let’s get to it, Dropbox vs. OneDrive:

– Both are cloud based and save files locally on the computer, in a folder, just like all Window’s users know. There’s an important OneDrive setting concerning Windows 8.1 but we’ll ignore it and you’ll see why.

– Both are cloud synced. A change to a file on Computer 1 will migrate to all other computers housing that same file, under the same profile/login.

Here’s where it detonates, specifically with Windows 8.1, and, I strongly anticipate, with Windows 10. (this is not actually an issue with Win 7)

You need to LOGIN to your computer with your Live account. It’ll be that info, that profile, that cloud sync across multiple computers.

“Hey, all that sounds great, what’s your malfunction dude?”

Simple, the damn re-install absolutely REFUSED to accept the correct password, insisting that it was wrong. So what did I do? On another computer I logged into my Live account, using the password the login kept rejecting, to change the password. Done.

Does it accept the new password? Nope. I even created an entirely new Live account as a form of getting past the login stage. Right? Nope.

Oh, new install too, did I mention that? Yeah so there are no other profiles to log in with. You have to restart in Safe Mode, use the root Admin to log in, create a ….. forget it, not germane to this discussion.

But, as you’re guessing, without that PARTICULAR login there is no access to your current OneDrive on Windows 8.1. There is no standalone OneDrive program (like there is for Dropbox), to THEN login. OneDrive is built in to 8.1 and that’s just how it is.

With Windows 7 there IS a OneDrive install and you can use it just like DropBox.

“Well just apply the solution that Microsoft has posted.” Good luck finding it.

There is no solution folks, I looked, and I knew it was terminal when I tried that brand new profile.

You’re probably wondering why it worked with the original install but not the re-install. I still wonder that as well.

Anyway, once I used the Cheater Pipe of Victory to force a new profile into Win 8.1, the same sort of profile one would use with Win 7 and before, I set up Dropbox and migrated my stuff onto it. Even after applying the various Windows updates I haven’t even bothered to try to login again with the Live account. I’m not going to risk losing access to my Scrivener projects, even temporarily.

Dropbox is still set up to have it’s own login, making it entirely independent of the computer profile login.
The second reason is that Scrivener’s forthcoming iOS app syncs through Dropbox.

Those two reasons alone are why Dropbox is better.

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