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Why I Cancelled My New York Times Subscription (and You Should Too)

I am a creature of habit. Doing certain things at a certain time on a regular basis gives my life order. My wife thinks I may take this to extremes sometimes and she’s probably right, but it is what it is. I’ll be the first to admit my behavior may border on OCD, but I like doing things the way I do them. My daily routine is something I’ve developed over many years and I wouldn’t do things the way I do without purpose. The reason I spend a portion of every morning reading newspapers is to stay informed. Not the CNN or Fox News versions of informed, but the in-depth, behind the scenes version one can only get by reading quality periodicals. The periodicals I read frequently fall into three major categories; daily news, monthly news and specialty publications. It’s the daily periodicals, the newspapers, that make up a large portion of my routine and those are the ones I’ll address here.

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Considering macOS Sierra Public Beta? Not Just Yet

I downloaded and installed the macOS 10.12, Sierra public beta yesterday. I put it on my late 2013 15” MacBook Pro. I’m one of those lucky people with multiple (3) Macs, so I never run the risk of upgrading myself out of production. To be fair, I’ve had pretty good luck installing OS X betas. Even before Apple’s public beta program, my developer status afforded me access to early copies of everything Apple published. I hardly ever install a “Rev 0” version of anything, but Apple has a decent track record of releasing mostly stable versions of their OS by the time it gets to “public” status. I didn’t have that experience yesterday.

So, why would a semi-intelligent person like myself risk the utility of a multi-thousand dollar laptop by installing a half-baked operating system? Well, there was one feature of macOS Sierra I couldn’t wait to try. I wanted my Watch to unlock my MBP by simply coming in proximity. I never got there. More on that in a minute.

First, the install went without a hitch. I went to Apple’s developer site, clicked the “Download” button for macOS Sierra Beta 2. That launched the Mac App Store app where I redeemed a code that started the download. 4.86 GB later, the install screen appeared.


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Broken Watch

Well, after a year and a half I did it. I fumbled my Watch onto the tile floor in my dining room. Do you know what an idiosecond is? That’s a segment of time measured from the instant you drop your glass-laden Apple device to the instant it hits the floor/ground. It is right around one-second-long, but due to the time-dilation that takes place, it feels like much longer. Although your entire life doesn’t flash before your eyes, a significant portion does. You think, “Oh shit!”, “Is it in my Lifeproof case?”, “Can I break its fall with my foot?”, “Is my AppleCare up-to-date?”, and you swear profusely against whichever god suits you. All this in the span of a single idiosecond. If you’re like me, you spend the next couple of seconds asking forgiveness from whichever god you just profaned while asking him/her to please let your device be OK. My poor Watch wasn’t. The screen was completely shattered. I could tell immediately which corner it landed on. The scratch-proof sapphire turned to dust on the upper right-hand corner and the rest of it completely spider-webbed. It was so bad that when I did the “slide to power off” thing, my thumb came back bloody.

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A Great 4K Monitor for Under $400

Damn you, Apple! You’ve ruined me for life. In November of 2013, you re-calibrated by eyeballs. Now, I own a bunch of perfectly good hardware that I can hardly stand to look at.
Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but…
It was a faithful day in late 2013 when the UPS driver dropped off my 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display. Within an hour of unboxing the machine I knew I had just started down a path of no return. My epiphany came when I turned 90 degrees to my left, diverting my gaze from my new MacBook Pro to my 2009 27” iMac. What I once thought was the most beautiful computer display I’d ever seen, now looked shoddy by comparison with pixels the size of golf balls. It was almost as if someone had smeared Vaseline on my glasses.
My previous laptop was a 2009 17” MBP. Like always, I did the BTO (Build To Order) thing from Apple’s on-line store when I bought it and, like always, I got every hardware upgrade Apple offered at the time because my MBP is my main machine. I don’t need a “Starbucks Surfer”. As an IT consultant, I need a powerful, portable workstation with as many connections as possible to suit the myriad office setups I typically encounter over the lifetime of a machine (usually 3 or 4 years). I need as much RAM as I can get to accommodate a Windows VM because well, I’m in the IT business and some chores just require Windows. I also like a discrete graphics card to drive a large monitor when I’m “docked” at my home office. If you’ve used Mac portables as long as I have then you understand the word “docked” isn’t 100% accurate (or 75% or maybe even 60…). But I’m straying a bit. More on that in a minute.

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Holy S**t! What a Mac!

I got my first Mac in 2006, a 17” MacBook Pro. Since then, I’ve not bought a Windows PC of any kind. I’ve owned several Macs and tried to keep a fairly recent iMac in my office and a MacBook Pro for when I’m on the go. My current portable is a late 2013, 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display. Until recently, I’ve had a late 2009, 27” iMac in my office. It served me quite well with its quad-core Core i7 processor, 16 gigs of RAM and 512 GB SSD (I added the SSD myself). When I first got it, I thought it was the best Mac a body could own. It performed very well, especially after I swapped the 1 TB hard drive for the SSD. I was 100% satisfied with the machine until I got my latest MBP. You see, once you start using a Retina display, all other displays look like crap. So, when Apple announced the 5K iMac in 2014 my techno-lust reared its ugly head again.

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