The MacBook Pro w Touch Bar is Great for this Knowledge Professional


Macs are still Relevant to the Knowledge Professional

There are lots of reasons why a knowledge professional would like this Mac. First, it is a Mac which is historically the favorite for creatives. I’m going to assume that knowledge professionals must be creative to do their jobs regardless of the field. If you are operating with knowledge at a professional level and might be a knowledge enthusiast too, this is your brand.

But this gorgeous MacBook Pro is Pricey!

Let’s get this out of the way early. Yes. Apple raised their prices on these better quality Macs. You get your money’s worth, but yeah, it will cost you. As my father used to say, money doesn’t grow on trees. And the last 30-years haven’t been kind to the middle class. But your tools have never been like this.  You are better educated and more knowledge-capable than ever. If you are serious about your career, this big tax deduction is a great investment. It is your primary tool so consider cutting back elsewhere in your budget.

iPad is Not (Yet) Enough. Now that you are preferring Mac and are creating with knowledge whether writing, advising, creating presentations or diagramming, you’ll probably want a Mac not just an iPad to get your work done. I say you need both if you can do it because reading, the primary activity of a knowledge professional, is best on an iPad by a large margin. It feels better. It’s less awkward.

Mac wins when you are writing. If you are reading and typing, you’ll probably be better on a Mac than an iPad just due to the advantage extra MacBook functionality. With a Mac you can still read but you get some extras. The screen is adjustable to any angle and is always with you (you don’t need a stand or foldable cover to prop it up). The keyboard is really good and is built in. It works well on a table or your lap or anything in between. While Apple doesn’t give you a touch screen, it gives you the world’s best trackpad which you can operate and still keep your hands in perfect typing position.

Mac wins when you are gathering and organizing as you begin or review a project. The Finder with its multiple windows and ease of connecting and working with external data, beats the iPad handily in these critical knowledge functions. There are many Mac apps to choose from. I like Scapple for the visual note-taking. I like Ulysses because it keeps my serious writing and important notes in a database so all that stuff is there so I can grab what I need quickly. I think Scrivener is great for long writing projects. But also we have lovely OmniOutliner and Omnigraffle.

Why Would the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar be your choice for your next portable Mac?

Look and Feel

Jony Ive outdid himself with this Mac. I’ve got the space gray model which is stunning. I believe and its been documented that beauty can inspire and energize. What knowledge professional doesn’t need all the inspiration and energy they can get when faced with tough creative challenges? It is smooth as silk opening, closing  and adjusting the screen angle.  The screen is wide color and brilliantly lit. The touch bar is perfectly blended with the keyboard. The 4 Thunderbolt ports are small leaving the sides uncrowded.

Form Factor

I’ve been using the MacBook 12 and I have to say that the small size and 2 lb. weight are wonderful on your lap or in your bag. It’s better for me to have the extra screen size, though. I like big screens because I get a larger canvas just like I like bigger notebooks and note pads when I need to figure out what I am doing on a new problem or project. For me, the 13″ size is as big as I’m willing to carry or hold. I would not have gone 13″ if the MBPTB was bigger or heavier than its compact 3 lbs. I like that it is smaller than the MacBook Air 13 by a large margin and, of course, way cooler. It’s more comfortable on my lap.

The Amazing Touch Bar

I’m typing on it now. I have an iPad Pro 12.7 next to me but it is sitting idle for the reasons I’ve just covered. The Touch ID on the right edge of the touch bar is the biggest favorite out of the box. It’s not to be typing to login anymore. I haven’t learned much about the new touchbar yet, but I like that Apple has given me a small strip of iOS in this new MacBook Pro. That strip is great for discovering the commands available at any given moment. Simply engaging touch in the middle of a writing project may help your brain get a little more creative. I’m thinking it engages with the right brain, subconscious, primitive capacities of the mind where breakthroughs and insights are facilitated.

 Largest Trackpad

With the exception of the new MBP15 trackpad, this is the biggest trackpad around. Apple already makes by far the best trackpads. Turns out as you get into gestures including drag, pinch and zoom, the bigger the better. If palm rejection wasn’t excellent, the size of the trackpad would be an issue. Not a problem that I’ve experienced.

Fastest Solid State Drive

Apple says this solid state drive is twice as fast as previous SSD generations. This affects how fast things start – you are doing one thing and you do another thing. It’s extremely responsive. There’s no resistance to your effort. Faster is better when you work on hard stuff.

The USB-C Thunderbolt Ports

I’m not the best one to judge the downsides of not having the ports that came on previous MacBook Pros. I already have been using a single USB-C port with my MacBook 12 for over a year and a half and 4 ports seem like a complete luxury even though USB-C. They aren’t as compatible so I’ve used Apple 3 port adapters when I wanted power and a backup. With four ports, I don’t need a hub or multiple function adapters. I plug in power in one port and a hard drive and a USB stick all at the same time. I’ve got a 64 gig USB-stick that has a regular USB3 side and a USB-C side so that’s already available and I recommend one of these if you are new to USB-C.

My 2013 MacBook Pro 13 had an SD card slot, 2 USB3 ports and a Thunderbolt 2 port.  Now I get 2 full speed Thunderbolt 3 ports and 2 full speed second generation USB-C ports. I just bought 2 new $89 1-terabyte 7200 rpm G-drive portable drives in space gray from the Apple Store. I can’t find that $89 price anywhere else so I think Apple is helping out on that price a bit to make buying new USB-C drives palatable.

I am a technology enthusiast, so all these really powerful and fast, state of the art ports seem good. The lack of legacy compatibility and requirements to sometimes use an adapter for old drives seems like a very reasonable price to pay considering how small and light the MBPTB is and what I get. You can get a USB-C to USB3 adapter for about $10. Apple has their USB-C to USB3 adapter for sale for $9. Apple is trying to make these adapters affordable to smooth your way into the future.

You can keep all of your dongles at home except maybe take that USB stick with USB-C and USB-3. You already had a USB stick with you anyway didn’t you?


Choosing a Mac Laptop this Spring

Things are changing on the Mac laptop front. When the 2nd generation MacBook 12 was announced and released yesterday, Phil Schiller said that the MacBook is Apple’s vision for the future of the notebook. That’s a big deal.

We’ve also heard rumors of a 13″ and 15″ MacBook. Yesterday, the dates for Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference were announced. Let’s see… Looks like the 13″ and 15″ MacBooks will be the top of the line. I’m thinking we will get larger MacBooks with a little more oomph due to their larger size. Larger size equates to more room for batteries that could handle more power-hungry chips.

The MacBook 12″ would be the entry level model. The 12 is the smallest and lightest MacBook at the most affordable price point. Not sure whether the MacBook 13 will be called MacBook Pro or just the 15. Still, based on the history of the MacBook Pro, the 13 will be intermediate in price and the 15 will be higher and more full-featured. MacObserver was the first Mac site I saw yesterday that forecast the new MacBook Pros would be close in design to the MacBook 12. MacObserver guessed these will support Thunderbolt 3 via the USB-C port and might have a second USB-C port since there’s more room for one to accommodate a bigger 13 or 15 inch screen.

I can’t imagine getting a 15″ MacBook Pro. Great for screen size but I wouldn’t want to carry it or have it on my lap. But what happens if it is under 4 lbs? If so, it gets interesting to more people.

I’m much more interested in the 13″ MacBook. MacObserver predicts it will weigh well under 3 lbs. I will have to wait and see whether 12 or 13 seems more attractive once all the chips are on the table. If you have any doubts about the power of the latest MacBook 12 and would pay a little more if the right 13″ came along, you may want to join me.

2 Weeks with the 2-lb MacBook — Best Mac Ever


In 2015, this MacBook is all you need unless you are a diehard power user. I would rather wait once in a while than carry more than 2 lbs. The reviews on MacBook have been way too conservative and old school.

Advantages. I’m not going to dwell on it. But, a gorgeous 2-lb Mac is a joy to use. Yes, this gold one looks awesome and the warm gray does too. The force touch trackpad opens up lots of possibilities and certainly is the best trackpad Apple has ever made. The backlit keys look better than ever. The retina screen is as good as it gets. The USB-C port is state of the art and better than what you get with a brand new MacBook Pro or Air.  The only knock on it is that there’s only one of them and it’s brand new so there aren’t as many accessories for it — yet.

Power. I’m guessing only 5 – 10% of the computer-using population need more power than this. This is not an unpowerful Mac. Part of that is because it has a very fast state-of-the-art SSD in it. It’s got oomph for video. Yes, some of you need more power but you know who you are. The rest of us can party with a 2-lb Mac.

Only 1 Port Besides a Headphone Jack. It seems that everyone is all concerned about the lack of ports. I got this MacBook over 2 weeks ago and I’m doing just fine. Yes, I bought a $19 adapter to go USB3 to USB-C. That handles connecting iOS devices, USB sticks and hard drives. You’ll live. With 9 hours of battery-life, you don’t need to plug-in all the time. This is the first mobile-first Mac. Times change.

Thunderbolt Monitors — Not so Much. If you like to use your MacBook to drive a large Thunderbolt monitor and sit at a desk, the 2-lb MacBook may not be for you. You paid good money for a fancy Apple Thunderbolt monitor. You aren’t going to be happy that there is no adapter for Thunderbolt for this little guy. I’m not sure Thunderbolt is long for this world now that the powerful and versatile USB-C is rolling out. I still expect to see a USB-C adapter for Thunderbolt before long. There are quite a few Thunderbolt monitors out there and most of their owners have the bucks to buy the latest tech. Apple might even make an adapter if they get enough flak, but don’t hold your breath.

VGA and HDMI Monitors are a Go. If you have a VGA or HDMI monitor or monitors, buy Apple’s new USB-C VGA or HDMI adapters for $79. These adapters let you connect your USB-C power cable, your monitor and a drive or USB stick all at once. Your golden or space gray MacBook, even though tethered, will serve you just fine.

The Always with you Mac. With this tiny 2-lb carry, you can be portable in the living room, bedroom or local coffeehouse with an ease you’ve never known. Maybe you travel quite a bit.  I promise you this 2-lb Mac will compete with an iPad and will be your friend in the air and airport.

We now have a handheld Mac almost. As you probably know, I have an Apple Watch and need to stand every hour come hell or high water. With the MacBook, I can be on a Skype call and stand up, carry it around for a minute, and get my stand in.

If you are in the market for a new laptop this year and aren’t prioritizing on power at all costs, get this 12″ Macbook. It is smaller and lighter than the MacBook Air 11 with a bigger and better screen. The typing was fine from the moment I tried it in the store. I guarantee you the resale value on this state of the art Mac will beat the MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs hands down.

Apple Watch – Day 9 check-in


Which Apple Watch?

Acquired Apple Watch on April 24. I went with the Sport Watch for the price and the lightness over the Sapphire lens. So far no scratches. Part of my thinking was that Apple does an awesome job with aluminum. The iPhone looks stellar, why would I want to spend more to get stainless steel? It’s the same wrist-computer, after all. And, like I said, I wanted light.

Got the Space Gray with Black Sports Band. Working like a charm. Comfortable. Doesn’t bother me to keep it on all the time. Good to go! Yes. This is my dog, Spinner. Kind of fun to have her on my wrist.

Got the 42mm. This was a close call as I have small wrists. So the 42mm watch is pretty big on my wrist but I have worn bigger in the old days from time to time. And I survived. I went for the screen real estate and the extra battery life. No regrets.

Does Apple Watch Meet my Expectations?

It’s working great for my first goal of Standing regularly. This alone may justify the purchase. Actual Goal 1 was to learn about this new wearable computer something I’ve heard about for 20 years back when all this stuff was in the future. Now we have something real and backed by Apple’s economic power to change the world.

My minimum requirements are good. I haven’t mastered notifications so they are hit or miss and sometimes I get haptic notifications and sometimes not. I’m sure more will be revealed but I’m busy right now with work so don’t have oodles of time to sort all this out. At least now the Apple Watch is on my wrist so I’m getting to experience this ground breaking new release from day one.

Experiencing the Apple Watch

The experience is pretty transparent, actually, if you don’t count getting dinged to stand up every hour. I usually beat it to the punch partly because I’m afraid I’ll miss one of my hours and I like to get as many Stands as I can per day at this point in the game.

I don’t notice that the watch is on my wrist. That’s the transparent part. It’s just there. After a good 15 years not wearing a watch, it’s kind of handy to have one on my person. And in addition to my iPhone which might not be in an app that shows the time or is somewhere in the house but not on me. It’s pretty rare to not have the iPhone near, but the watch is really near. Even if it takes a half second to turn on.

I have no doubt I will be wearing this watch for the foreseeable future. At least until next year’s version that is. I would love to be able to control some of the variables myself. One great candidate would be how long the watch stays on before going to sleep. I would push it to at least 20 seconds over the current 15 unless battery life got to be an issue.

Looking forward to learning more and seeing cooler and cooler apps over time. Developers have had little to no time to learn how to take advantage of this device. As they learn and iterate, all sorts of improvements will be made.

Personal Technology for Independent Knowledge Professionals