Ann Arbor Area Business Monthly
Small Business and the Internet

Older Stuff, Newer Stuff

October 2017

By Mike Gould

I’m leaving the Ann Arbor area, heading towards Jackson. It breaks my heart, but it has to be done. I will continue these articles, writing in my rural office and then probably traveling to the nearest WiFi spot I can find for uploading. Hello McDonald’s…

Following up from last month, I decided to go with ATT wireless for my rural internet needs. Downloading is reasonably fast, but uploading is going to be a bear. A slow, hibernating bear… For TV, we’re going with DirecTV, dish on the roof and all. Goodbye Comcast, and all the goodness and badness of that. Alas.

Getting into training, I am writing this at Roos Roast while my van gets one last winterizing check (“A thousand Points of Light”) at Steve Steeb’s Service.

I’m writing on my venerable MacBook Pro 17”, which dates back to mid-2010. This put me in mind to comment on the old computer gear I use and to compare and contrast with some of my newer gear, namely my iPhone 8 Plus and my iPad Pro.

Oldie But A Goodie
I bought this laptop mainly to use as an adjunct with my photography gear: I plug my camera into the laptop and can instantly show clients the photos I am capturing. The big 17” screen is ideal for this. Unfortunately, Apple in its wisdom has discontinued this size laptop, so I am keeping this going as long as possible.

I have updated the hard drive to a 500G solid state jobbie and doubled the RAM to 8G and it’s humming along. Well, not humming, because it has no moving parts, but you get the idea. I keep it in a heavy-duty aluminum road case and it is virtually immaculate.

It runs most modern software, although I am running the older Photoshop CS5 and Word 2008, all under MacOS 10.12.2. Once I get in my new place and start depending on this more for internet behaviors in public WiFi sites, I will be upgrading all the above. Pretty amazing for a 7-year old laptop.

For me, the main disadvantage is the lack of USB 3 ports – I am restricted to the far slower data transfer rates of USB 2. It does, however, have a FireWire 800 port, which I can use to transfer photos via a card reader. Almost as fast as USB 3, but not quite modern speed.

My main desktop computer continues to be my 2013 Mac Pro, the little cylindrical unit. Apple is woefully behind in updating this, to the chagrin of us, uh, Mac Pros everywhere. They promise a replacement next year, which I will definitely be purchasing. The Mac Pro is still working fine, with the exception that it keeps dropping connections to the drives attached via a 7-port USB hub in the middle of the night. I may be overloading it a bit, as I have two of these and a full panoply of other peripherals – DVD burner, scanner, two printers, Ethernet switch, etc., etc..

The Pro continues to drive my three monitors just fine. My main unit is an old 24” Mac Studio that I bought used on eBay 5 years ago. I think I will be replacing the other smaller monitors with one bigger unit. Monitors are dirt cheap now, and I can buy a humongous 30” or so unit for less than $400. The old monitor is still bright and flicker-free, but in screen real estate, more is almost always better.

New Stuff
Back in May I made some bucks doing lasers for a feature film in Salt Lake City. I invested some of those earnings in a new iPad Pro. I wrote about this wonder back when they first came out (see URL below), and jumped at the chance to score one of these bad boys. I opted for the big 12” model and have been very happy with it This is my go-to device for first thing in the morning news reading, general web surfing, and everything else I need to do regarding content reading or watching. It does have the capability for content creation, i.e., writing, but I still find a laptop works best for me for this.

The other main use for the iPad is as a photo display device, running slideshows to show prospective clients my photo chops, and to display photos and movies of my laser art.

This is a big, somewhat heavy device (once you enclose it in a nice leather protective cover, which doubles as a support when in slideshow mode), but no heavier than the iPad it replaced, and the relative enormity and brightness of the screen are a delight to behold.

My one complaint is that the oleophobic coating isn’t as good as I have seen in previous models. This means the screen exhibits smears of finger goo more prominently. It’s not that apparent when viewing dead on, but from an angle it’s obvious. And it seems to be more difficult to clean with a cleaning cloth.

Phoning In
My wife Salli had been limping along with a battered and cracked iPhone 5 for several years, so it was time for a visit to the ATT store for an update to a shiny iPhone 7. She is very pleased with her new unit, and while she was there, I found out my existing phone plan allowed me to update my iPhone 6Plus to a new 8Plus for a mere $24 or so.

I had to go for it, and am delighted with the high-res lightness and Retina-equipped screen. And I can always justify this sort of purchase as a business-related buy due to the improved camera involved.

My moving saga continues; stay tuned for updates.

iPad Pro article: http://mondodyne.com/b2b/smbiznet.214.shtml

Mike Gould is not looking forward to lame internet connectivity. He was a mouse wrangler for the U of M for 20 years, runs the MondoDyne Web Works/Macintosh Training/Photography mega-mall, is a laser artist, directs the Illuminatus Lasers, and welcomes comments addressed to mgould@mondodyne.com.

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