Moving to Apple Realm

After 33 years of software engineering using mainly PCs, I moved my operating environment to a Mac Book Pro M2 laptop.

Is this a mistake? Or will I be pissed that all that 33 years passed in vain with the problems of operating systems (mostly Windows and Linux) and incompatible peripherals, which ate my time and enthusiasm towards computing in general and opened up large scars in my soul?

If I like it, I will curse Bill Gates and Linus Torvalds for creating operating systems for engineers and not actual end users. Am I an end user? Certainly not, but I am an ageing computer engineer who no longer has time for the “bs” created by PCs and operating systems.

Linus warned us decades ago that the best operating environment is one of that old Mac hardware with Linux on top. Maybe, I should have listened to him (for a bit more torture on my soul and brain). Nowadays, he wants to install Linux on M2 laptops, the “news” says.

I have an excellent PC at home that I put together with a solid graphics card, excellent CPU, and 16 GB of ram. But it is big, bulky, noisy and churns lots of electricity. The older I get, the less I use this PC and only for mundane tasks like checking email, writing blogs, answering questions on social media, and meetings.

From a sustainability perspective, given that I am a permaculture practitioner and usually write about sustainable living subjects, I am fully aware of the embodied costs of this “move”, rare metals in the battery, the environmental problems it created, and the amount of water polluted during its production. Compared to a PC, it isn’t different. I can feel better if I don’t upgrade often, use less energy, reduce my work, and, most importantly, recycle this device at the end of its life (for me) and give it to a person who needs it at the time.

I no longer do heavy coding, although Visual Studio and some other IDEs were installed on my PC when I wanted to research new technologies and help with kids’ homework. I don’t need this much processing power.

Before I jumped onto the bandwagon of Apple World, I thoroughly looked at all my licensed software, and all of them except Scrivener is working on Mac too. I have to buy a reduced-price Scrivener license for Mac which is fine.

From my master’s degree at the Australian National University, we’ve learnt that Apple was the only company that allocated a budget to Human-Computer Interaction research and implemented the principles before Microsoft. And you can see and feel that within the operating system.

I have a 512 GB model with 8 GB RAM and an M2 chip with significantly less power than my PC. Also, there are only 2 USBC or Thunderbolt ports and a headphone port. As I have a plethora of peripherals, I needed a USBC multi-device dongle, but I wanted to maintain the speed of the ports simultaneously. Luckily, I have an ALogic multi-port to attach my 4K monitor, An Audient ID14 sound interface and a Launchkey Midi keyboard.
While I was evaluating the necessity of all these peripherals, I also culled the numbers and concentrated on what I wanted to do and needed.

I have software licenses for M365, GuitarPro, Neural DSP plugins, Reaper, WebRoot, and other productivity and development tools on Apple Macs.
I am now into home recording and playing my guitars through the MacBook, but I also want to produce material for my other hobbies and develop code and trialling products.

As I get older, I want to avoid dealing with computer errors and bugs because they are supposed to work out of the box. My time is much more valuable than when I am 20 years old.

People trying to play their guitar through a Windows PC know what I am talking about. You need to install an open-source driver called ASIO4ALL because some dickhead in the product development team didn’t think about a simple “user story” of a person who has a guitar and naturally wants to connect it to the PC. Here is one I prepared earlier:

As a home guitarist
I want to connect my guitar to my PC and play without latency
So that I can record and manipulate the sound of my guitar.

It took me an evening to update the operating system and install other required software. I plugged my Ormsby RCOne guitar and fired up a Neural DSP plugin. I immediately liked it as the sound coming from the speakers was so pure; there was no humming or noise, and it immediately fired up my creativity.

If you remove the distractions from your workflow that are like sugar ants clinging on to a mandarin tree, your creativity will flow like a river.

Google Drive and OneDrive are all working and will be helpful to keep all my files created by this new operating environment.

Should I install Visual Studio? I don’t know at this point. I want to keep this system clean. I can still use my PC for these purposes, and I fear I will fill up the 512 GB space very quickly.

Still, I wouldn’t say I like Apple’s pricing scheme and locked-in device mentality. I can’t upgrade the RAM or the hard disc, but I am told that while a PC becomes obsolete in about two years, a Mac goes longer to four or five years, depending on the requirements. As I am getting older, my needs are diminishing anyway. So, regarding ROI, a Mac is a better investment on paper (hopefully, in real life too).

Also, I use less electricity than my PC, which is another advantage. My PC has this 750w power unit, and running this all the time could have been more economical.

I am now on week 2 of my journey. I changed the mouse scroll to the “normal PC” way. Installed a couple more software, and so far, so good. I have recorded some music through Reaper with 5 plugins on one channel and some others on subsequent channels, but I didn’t see any problems, slowness or blue screen of death, which I am sure is specific to MS Windows 🙂

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