Passively Cool – The Surface Pro 6 Review

One of the computers I was interested in at the beginning of this yearwas the Surface Pro 6 from Microsoft. I had owned a Surface Pro 3 in the past and was very happy with it. But, as mentioned in a previous article, I had noticed something like a moiré pattern on the screen when white background was displayed. It wasn’t as pronounced on the Surface Pro as it was on a lower resolution HP notebook, but it was there, and I was afraid it would bother me.

I managed to get my hands on a Surface Pro 6 base model with a Signature Type Cover in Alcantara and used it as my main computer for about a week instead of my MacBook Pro.

Guess what: it didn’t bother me, and I could have saved a lot of money compared to the MacBook Pro. But that’s only part of the story.

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The MacBook Pro 13-inch 2018 Review

There are two posts preceding this one which are New Laptop: Windows, macOS or Linuxwhere I try to explain why I’d like to buy a laptop and what options I see for myself and Why a MacBook in Favor of Windows or Linux Laptopsthat explains why I bought the MacBook Pro that I’m reviewing here or, to turn it around, why I didn’t go with a non-Apple mobile computer running whatever operating system.

This won’t just be another review of the kind you can find on other tech or Apple focused sites. I’ll not be showing any performance benchmarks or review every aspect of the device to check off items on a check list. That horse has been beaten to death already by manymanyother sitesafter the MacBook Pro had launched in 2018. Of course, I’ll be touching on a few controversial topics like the keyboard and the Touch Bar, despite which I still decided to buy it. For the past few months I’ve been using the computer regularly and I think I got enough experience with it to be able to tell whether I like something in the long run or not. It’s not just a first-look-kind-of-hands-on. It’ll be a combination of hardware, because that’s the physical good you’re buying, software and on being an Apple user (again).

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Writing a Custom Backup Solution

If you are a user of any form of computer and care one bit about your sanity, then you probably have a backup strategy. Otherwise, if all hell breaks loose and your whole computer burns to ash or the hard drive melts to a heap of metal, turning it into an ugly door stop, you’ll likely be kinda angry, maybe slightly pissed, your pulse most definitely at 180, that you’ve lost all your data. I’d certainly be, especially about all my pictures of all the festivals and places I’ve been to. 

(And maybe some family 😅)

But, to be honest, I’ve been a bit lazy about backups for some time now. I do have copies of all my important files, but that’s not a backup. It’s a copy. A backup lets you go back in time and get an older version of a file or folder, not just the most recent one that has been synced.

So why is it, that I’m not as diligent as I should be? There are a few factors in that equation. It’s laziness for one, knowledge that I do have at least one copy, the fact that I haven’t had any data loss so far and stinginess. Why the latter? Up until now, being a Windows user (not any more though, on my main machine), I was relying on Acronis True Image, a commercial backup software. However, the version that I own – 2014, I think – stopped being reliable in one of the past Windows 10 versions. I simply don’t want to spend the money any more.

I’m not here to tell you that I have changed my mind on that. No. I’m, of course, coding my own solution. Why wouldn’t I? Everything is done multiple times in the Open Source community.

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New Laptop: Windows, macOS or Linux?

I am pondering the idea of buying a laptop and I’m having troubledeciding on the platform. Ultimately, sometime in the future, I’dlike to get rid of my stationary PC and replace it with

  1. a laptop as the center of my data and (hobby) work and
  2. a console for gaming.

The latter is a long term plan because I wouldalso need a better television. Right now, all my gaming is Windowsbased and therefore I’m still somewhat bound to that OS. But that’sa different topic.

I do not explicitly need a mobile computer.There’s nothing technically wrong with my PC. In fact, moving to alaptop would mean to sacrifice a lot of performance. But I really donot like to place myself in front of the desk to get something done.I don’t even play games as much any more. And that’s solelybecause it feels too much like work-work. Apart from it being apretty sleek looking PC tower instead of a notebook hooked up to twomonitors as is the case at work, the act of sitting in a chair infront of a big desk feels too much like being at work. Don’tget me wrong, I like my profession and I even like going to theoffice (again; after switching jobs). I’d even like to tinker athome some more. But, as I was saying, I don’t want it to feel likework. Sitting at the desk is also very constraining. I have to be inthis one particular spot to do some computing. In that regard I’meven more flexible at work because I could just pop out the computerfrom its docking station and go somewhere else. Why can’t I freelychoose where I want to sit with my computer when I’m at home? I amactively procrastinating as a result. I do have ideas for projects tocode and to write and it makes me sad that I do not want to pursuethem.

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Windows Fluent Design – Rendering Bugs?

As an avid listener of Windows Weekly I often hear discussions between Paul Thurrott, Mary Joe Foley and Leo Laporte about Microsoft’s Fluent Design. Microsoft continues to evolve the visual language of Windows and thus it’s a regular topic on one of my favorite podcasts. I’ve been noticing it here and there myself, mainly in system dialogs, but I’ve never really paid any attention because none of the applications I use on a regular basis make use of it – and currently I’m rather happy about that fact. Just recently though, I was struck by one effect in particular and that was the spark that got this blog post going. To be honest, in most cases where I notice these Fluent Design elements I think of them as rendering bugs. Like sometimes in games, when the graphics driver is not yet optimized, or a badly programmed game engine draws odd pictures sometimes, flaws in an otherwise normal picture. I have a few examples to show to you.

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Apple WWDC 2018 Announcements – A few thoughts

As I do every year, I watched the Apple WWDC 2018 keynote, for personal entertainment purposes as well as a genuine interest in what Apple is doing. The same is also true for both Google’s and Microsoft’s developer conferences. This is not a comprehensive summary as done by other Apple news sites and blogs, but rather  a few thoughts on what I’ve seen and how it may or may not affect me.

iOS Update Strategy

Every year, and with good reason, Apple mocks Google’s Android platform for lagging behind in the software update department. This year was no different, as was to be expected, but in addition to that they emphasized the support of devices dating back to 2013. Five-year-old iPhones and iPads! Take that Android.Read More »