Armen Chakmakjian

A week with my new MacBook

In Random on February 6, 2016 at 3:49 am

I bought a gold 12″ MacBook last week to replace my 4-year-old MacBook Air. The purchase itself was strange because I bought it, and for whatever reason, instead of just leaving the store with it in its box I agreed to power it up and get iCloud and whatnot all set up. Well, that was a good thing. The first one they brought out was battery dead on arrival. That wouldn’t be so bad, but we plugged it in, and after a few minutes it began to power up. As I started to go through the setup screens, something was amiss. It wouldn’t connect to the store network. eventually it said it did, and then when I tried to connect to iCloud, it kept complaining that the server was down. We tried 3 or 4 times to go back to the previous step and then try again. Eventually one of the folks brought over another machine and asked me to check my password by logging into iCloud on their machine. I was able to log in, and then I tried again on the machine. nada.

This was a bit disconcerting and eventually they brought over a manager who asked me to try again, and then a new machine was summoned. We had to undo my original transaction and then I had to buy the new one again. This one was about 20% power, so we plugged it in again (just in case…we started to attract a small crowd of employees at this point) and I went through the setup sequence and voi la I was able to register with iCloud and a bunch of stuff started to work.

Since I was there, I figured I’d log into all my services to make sure that it was all ok, and brought up Dropbox, Evernote and Skype. Then I installed a couple of other apps that were important to me from iCloud (Scrivener, Skitch, OmniGraffle) and everything was fine. Pictures started to load off iCloud Photos, iTunes seemed to have my songs and iMessage populated with some recent conversations.

I was happy.

I went home and took the thing through its paces and so discounting the oddness of what happened in the store, here’s the next 10 days worth of reactions.

1) I love the way it looks on the outside. I never thought I’d like a gold computer, but it looks really good to me.

2) It’s so damn light it’s amazing. it feels lighter than my 11″ MBA and thinner.

3) The retina display is phenomenal in this size.

4) The new keyboard takes a bit of getting use to. My best explanation is that unlike the rubbery previous keyboard which forced me to press down and get that feeling like I had pressed enough, this keyboard gives way quickly and then I type too fast and not everything is registered. I’ve gotten used to it, but when I go back and forth to my Mac Mini and the wired keyboard, there is a certain niceness to the feel of that keyboard. I make a lot fewer mistakes.

5) I’ve noticed something odd with the network. It seems to take longer to connected than I would expect. I’m not sure if that is MacOS 10.11.3 vs the beta version of 10.11 that I’m running on the other machines. I could register it for the Appleseed program and see if that clears things up.

6) the new track pad with 3D touch is taking a bit to get used to also. there’s an interaction that I seem to be having trouble with. When I try to select more than one word and accidentally press down too hard, I end up selecting only the word I started with and get the definition…it’s taken some learning to not press too hard.

7) Battery life: it seems to charge really fast. I’ve used it extensively and I think I’m getting 6-8 hours of battery life before I get down to 20%. I haven’t gone all the way down to see what the total life is.

8) Sorry to repeat myself, but it’s so damn light I’m afraid that I might damage it, but it is so solid that I get over that. In order to compromise my risk aversion, I bought a sleeve to put it in, so that when I put it back in my briefcase bag, I feel safe.

9) the USB-C thing is a bit annoying of course. When I purchased the machine I knew I would need a connector to use regular USB devices. So I bought one that had USB, USB-C for power, and HDMI to hook it up to non-airplay monitors/TVs. The other day I needed to move a document to a thumb drive for a very specific reason. Now I have to get the 3-1 dongle out and insert the USB thumb drive in the dongle. This sounds more risqué than intended. I know Apple was one of the first to drop the floppy drive, then the CD then firewire, then dvi then Thunderbolt (which I thought was the wave of the future). But I’m not sure what the purpose of this change was as I don’t see USB-C devices out there yet. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

Anyway, I love the machine, even with some of the constructive feedback above. For mobility, I think this is a great machine.

Have fun.


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