I’ve been using my new MacBook Pro and everything has been going pretty good except for sending out email. Apple claims that everything just works but for some reason Mail is not working right out of the box. I’ve tried looking for advanced settings to set some specific ports and encryption but those settings seems to have disappeared with macOS Sierra. There have been a few times in which I’ve wanted to send out mail and it says that my SMTP server can’t be contacted. I’ve done diagnostics, I’ve done verbose diagnostics and I can’t figure out why its not working. I think it has something to do with the 2 factor authentication with Gmail and Hotmail thats causing the issue. I’m too lazy to try and figure it out because it should just WORK!
I’ve gone ahead and downloaded Spark Mail on my MacBook again. I have the app for my iPhone and iPad and I haven’t had any major problems with it. I can do a unified inbox and I can create smart folders as well to catch all of my unread mail. The thing thats great? It just WORKS! There are some things that I’m going to miss like seeing the inline pictures in my message (I can live without that) when I create it and the integration throughout the OS. The interface for Spark Mail isn’t bad, at least its familiar like my iOS devices but the one limitation is that it doesn’t have real time updates to my mail account. I kind of have to wait a few minutes before everything updates. It’s probably because there is some caching involved at the Readdle server side.
I’ve gone ahead and pinned this to my task bar on my Mac and turned off all the notifications for the default Mail app. I hope they fix this in MacOS High Sierra so that I can delete yet another app on my Mac. I don’t want to clutter it with a ton of apps that I’m not going to use. One example is me not installing Flash for Safari. I am fine with not installing it since I’m not missing much. I do however refuse to install Chrome again since its such a memory hog.
I finally received my brand new MacBook Pro 13″ from the good little elves at Apple in China! The computer came in an unmarked box and it said it came from some obscure company in China. I’m guessing they did that so no one would steal the computer from the back of the UPS truck. I didn’t go with the 15″ because it was too big and heavy and the screen on this thing is pretty awesome for a 13″ so I’m pleased with my purchase.
I got the one with the touch bar and so far its been decently useful. I can’t say much about it since most of the things I’ve been using have been pretty standard. It’s been useful for the volume and brightness so far and I’ve also started to experiment with audio and video playback using the touch bar. I just noticed that there are spelling suggestions when you type just like the iPhone but I don’t know if I’m going to use it since I type fast and just let auto spell check do its thing. I’ve spent most of my time trying to get all the data back onto the computer. I didn’t bring stuff back from TimeMachine since there was a lot of junk on my old computer that I didn’t want on my new one. It was a good thing that I was able to move most of the media to my NAS so I don’t have to worry about jamming up the SSD with a ton of files that can live elsewhere.
This MacBook you definitely can’t get in the store. I upgraded the RAM to 16GB and I also increased the size of the SSD to 1TB. I’m used to having large on board storage and I can’t give that stuff up now. Even though I have my own private cloud, my internet connection at home isn’t fast enough to support media streaming except when I’m at home. But that was the purpose anyway from the get go. I am going to start using it more for iMovie which is why I got a more powerful machine this time around. My old MacBook was struggling a little bit when it was trying to splice things together so I’m hoping that this will be better.
By far the coolest thing is unlocking my computer with my Apple Watch or with my finger using Touch ID. When it recognizes my Apple Watch, I don’t even get a chance to use Touch ID! Thats pretty cool! I haven’t found any shopping websites that use Apple Pay (I mostly use Amazon for my shopping and they don’t support it really) but I’m keen to give it a go. I did install some software like Paragon NTFS. That thing costs $20 but I need it for reading and writing the NTFS drives that I still have at home because of my Windows 10 computer. I should probably re-do those drives as exFAT or something so they can be read by Mac and by Windows. I also got a HooToo hub so I have 3 USB 3.1 ports, an HDMI port, and a SD Card reader for my GoPro stuff. I also have 2 adapters from Aukey to change my plugs from USB 3.0 to USB-C. Using the HooToo and the adapters really isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be on YouTube. I was able to use it just fine when I was doing my backups of my iPhone and transferring files over from my external drives. It’s just one more thing to put away but thats a really small thing in my opinion. This computer is really kind of like a desktop replacement for me so its not going to go many places and even if it does, I’m going to be pretty mobile and won’t need a lot of cables to sync or do nutty things like that.
The one thing I was concerned about was the keyboard. I had tried out the keyboard in the store and it was just meh to me. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t too bad but the key travel was kinda not the same. I’ve been using it for about a day and a half and I’m typing up this post on it and I like the keyboard a lot. It reminds me of typing on my iPad when I’m not using the external keyboard, the key travel is pretty short but theres just enough that lets me know its a real keyboard and not a screen. The reason I was hesitant at first about getting this was the lack of input by using a pen to draw stuff. When it really came down to it, I don’t draw that much anyway and it was a nice to have. The Retina display is awesome since my old computer didn’t have it but all my other apple devices do. I can tell there is a difference when I look at the screen and it not being touch doesn’t really bother me in the slightest. Thats what I have an iPad Air 2 and an iPhone 7 for after all.
One thing that I have found kind of useful is using Siri. I was attempting to move my backups from on the SSD to an external drive for iOS. Instead of using finder, I just hit the Siri button on the touch bar and asked for it to bring up Terminal. it was pretty handy since it worked similar to how it works on the iPhone. I just asked her to “Launch Terminal” and away it went. I haven’t had too many problems and its already done a few software updates to bring it up to speed. I can’t wait to try out macOS High Sierra. Unlike my past MacBook Pro, I’m not going to use the beta on this computer. Maybe I should create a VM or something but that would take up precious space on my SSD. Maybe I’ll look and see what software I can use to create a VM so I can try it out and off load the VHD somewhere so it doesn’t take up space.
I’ve got some traveling to do tomorrow so I won’t be able to mess with my MacBook tomorrow but I should have some time in the coming week to fine tune it so I have it just the way I want it. Hopefully this thing will last more than 5 years, I’d like to keep it a little longer than the last computer. It would be sad if my HP Desktop outlasted this MacBook Pro.
Yesterday was Apples WWDC and while normally it’s software focused, yesterday they announced a bunch of hardware updates. One of those updates was to the MacBook Pro which received the Kaby Lake processors. Out of everything yesterday this is the only news I really cared about since it triggered my “buy” order on the Apple Store.
My other MacBook is pretty much dead right now, I’ve tried getting it to boot but to no avail. I’m saving the SSD from it as an external drive or something that I can take with me to transfer pictures and other things. Similar to my now dead Macbook, I just had to modify the configuration. I opted for the 13″ screen instead of the 15″ screen since the 15″ was too heavy to carry around. I also maxed out the RAM and the SSD to 16GB and 1TB respectively. I left the processor alone at the 2.9Ghz i5. The older MacBook I spiced up the processor so it was an i7 quad core but I don’t need that sort of thing. It needs to do iMovie more and more since I take more video which is why the RAM and SSD are important. I also have tons of things that take up space like pictures and video. While I do offload that stuff to the cloud it’s part of my crazy backup strategy so I never lose a photo.
The unfortunate part is that I won’t get the MacBook until next week. It takes 3-5 business days just to get out the door let alone ship it to my home. I can survive a little longer with my daughters computer but I will say it was painful doing Azure on Chrome. This one will hopefully last at least 5 years like my last MacBook Pro. Although if it could last as long as my desktop that would be amazing since it’s 9 years old running Windows 10. With the extra power, maybe I’ll update to Final Cut Pro for video edits. The templates in iMovie are few and far between and the stuff from GoPro is good but the editing interface sucks.
The great thing with the MacBook Pro is that there will be minimal configuration needed. Just a few apps here and there and that’s it! I’m going to find a way to import my iTunes playlists and music from the NAS and keep that crap off the laptop so it’s not cluttering my drive. I had problems with it on my desktop but then again it’s running Windows. Worse comes to worse, I have a time machine backup to make it a quick restore.