Apple Macbook 12 Retina 2016 review


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.

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.




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.

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.

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.

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

Part 8 Surprises in writing a science fiction thriller

Never let the technical overshadow the art.

Then I thought about how I might explain that, and came up with this:
Art always trumps the technical; the grammar, the sentence structure, the etc, the ad infinitum.


What is that mild illumination coming in through the window? ¬†That’s the sunrise, and Juliet represents the sun.


But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?  It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Multiple online results talk about how Shakespeare had more freedom back then to use the English language in the manner in which he did.

Yeah, so?¬† What’s holding people back today?¬† Catering to the lowest demographic or something?

If someone were to ask me about writing in that form I would wholeheartedly encourage them to go ahead and write like Shakespeare.

But if you are ‘terrible’ at art and really have to work at it then how would you tell it?

First of all you can do art just fine, remember that.

Second, you don’t tell it ……. you show it.

Is that the early morning sunlight beginning to come in through the window? ¬†Due to the rotation of the earth the sun rises in the east, and there is Juliet, her inner glow providing it’s own illumination, she’s just like the sun.

But soft! What light through yonder breaks?  It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Early on I was very much inclined to write in the ‘Tell’ format.¬† Showing is moh bettah and moh fun.


There is a last part:

STORY¬†trumps all, including¬†art.¬†¬† Showing is good, but not at the expense of the story and it’s¬†flow. ūüėÄ


Update Dell 3531 Inspiron 15 Laptop

EVO850 250gb SSD for Dell Inspiron 15
EVO850 250gb SSD for Dell Inspiron 15

I couldn’t resist.¬† I went ahead and swapped the spinner for a solid state hard drive.

(HERE is the original review)

Big, BIG, improvement in speed.  I could finally use my laptop the way I use the desktop.

It was ok for a few hours.  Then I ran into the RAM memory limit, with the operating system (Win 8.1) closing down windows every now and then, typically webpage tab(s), again owing to the way I use a computer.

Some might say that I could simply increase the size of the page swap file.¬† Yes, and I did do it and yes it does ‘solve’ the memory issue.¬† For those unfamiliar, the page swap file is what the operating system uses as ‘hard drive RAM’.¬† This activity results in a lot of read/write cycles on the hard drive.¬† Not much of an issue with spinner drives but it can be a problem for solid state drives.¬† Solid State Drives have a finite limit of read/write cycles.¬† It’s way up there in number but still, there’s a limit.¬† One interesting way to differentiate cycles between SSD models is actually to look at the warranty, some are five years, others are two years and the really expensive ones are 10 years.¬† The cycles directly correspond to the warranty time.

So I finally got the 8gb RAM stick (THIS) and swapped out the 4gb RAM stick.  The 3531 uses one stick.  Fortunately the 8gb stick is only $60 bucks or so.  I often maxed out the 4gb.  My usage pattern seems to touch on 6.5GB according to the Task Manager.

Another speed ‘improvement’ of sorts, specifically when web surfing, is to activate the ActiveX Filtering.¬† In IE tap on the Gear graphic, mouse down to Safety,¬† and tap on ActiveX Filtering.¬† What this mostly does is¬†stop the webpage from taking over your computer in order to load those infuriating sidebar videos lol.

This Celeron processor model, with an SSD and 8gb, has the speed feel of an i3 chip model.  All told, given the original price, this is now an $410 laptop.  The SSD was $110 and the RAM, $60.

It appears that the 3551 is the new version of this laptop, as of 7-9-15.¬† Of course the EVO850 250gb is now $97 and the 500gb is $162.¬† But that’s going to always happen and there will always be something better/faster/cheaper.¬† I knew that when I bought the parts.¬† If I didn’t I would continually be waiting and¬†never actually have the components that would be useful.

Yeah, just do it ūüėÄ


The Venusian Gambit – Advance Reading Copy

Front Cover The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez.  That's an actual printed red dot, not a sticker
Front Cover: The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez. That’s an actual printed red dot, not a sticker
Haha! I are being an Advance reader! I knew that 600 SAT Verbal counted for sumtin.

Ok, I keed, I keed.

Through the generosity of author extraordinaire, Michael J. Martinez; myself and Margo-Lea Hurwicz each won an Advance Reading Copy of his upcoming novel, The Venusian Gambit, complete with autograph ūüėÄ .

The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez, complete with autograph
The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez, complete with autograph ūüėÄ

Gambit represents the third and final chapter of the Daedalus series which chronicles the intertwined cross-dimensional adventures of Thomas Weatherby of His Majesty’s 18th/19th century Royal Navy and Shaila Jain of the 22nd century Joint Space Command.

The completed version hits shelves on May 5, 2015!

Back cover, The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez
Back cover: The Venusian Gambit by Michael J Martinez
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