1. 40
  1.  

  2. 16

    I started as a programmer in the early 90s. During that time, the only Windows based computer I ever owned was a dedicated one that ran Cubase for recording. Despite that, about 3 weeks ago I switched off of MacOS after 12 years and got a Surface Book 2 that I’ve been using with WSL2. There are some weird and hinky things with Windows 10 that bother me but all in all, WSL2 is a better development experience than MacOS was.

    When I got the Surface Book, it was because I also need some software that made Linux a difficult choice. I told myself that if I didn’t need that software, I would be using Linux if I could find a good Linux laptop with a trackpad I can stand (I’m rather picky on the trackpad front). Now though, I’m not so sure.

    The workflow of being able to spin up different Linux environments really quickly and be able to throw them away has been a wonderful development experience. Windows itself isn’t really in my mind worse than MacOS, it’s just bad in different ways.

    At this point, Windows with WSL2 might end up being my primary development environment for a long time. Which, strikes me as the weirdest thing I could say because Windows was basically a giant unknown foreign entity for me. I’ve been a Unix*n developer for over 25 years and the idea of using Windows still seems foreign to me.

    ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    1. 6

      I think part of it might be how Apple seems to have thrown away their investment into a platform for creators/hackers in favor of going all in for consumer-oriented platforms. They should’ve done both. They had the money to make their Mac OS the platform that all the best creators would want. They literally could’ve bought most of the major companies creators used, ensured their products were most optimized for Mac OS, made the best hardware that was simultaneously optimize for those companies’ products, and kept the creators coming. They’d have the lead on consumer stuff, creator stuff, and still plenty of money to throw at shareholders.

      Instead, the company whose co-founder was great at making billions off of consumers totally wasted their opportunities on the creators that made it what it was. They might still turn it around if they can somehow connect the dots.

      1. 3

        Perhaps.

        At this point I’ve disliked all the Macbook Pro hardware since 2015 and starting with Sierra, I found MacOS to be a constant series of crashes for me. So, they have a lot of ground to make up in my mind. Not that they seem to care.

        1. 2

          I don’t even like Apple and I still cannot upvote this enough. The iPod was the beginning of the end of the Apple that was worth loving because it showed that there was far, far more money in making classy, expensive consumer goods than in making high quality tech tools.

          1. 9

            Sorry, but the iPod was fantastic. It did it’s job really very well, and it felt well-made and of high quality.

            The reason the newer MacBooks suck so bad is because they are not fit for purpose for many of our peers. A laptop that ceases to function when a spec of dust wriggles its way into the keyboard is not fit for purpose.

            A well-designed product needs to do very well the thing that it was designed to do. The iPod did that. The newer MacBooks do not.

          2. 1

            They literally could’ve bought most of the major companies creators used

            Oh god please no. Why and how would this have been a good thing!?

            1. 2

              It was the creators platform for a while. High-end software for pictures, audio, and video was targeted to it. Them building on the momentum they had with that audience would’ve kept money coming in with fewer reasons for people to use Windows. Instead, they were pissing off their own customers with the Windows PC getting better for those same customers all the time.

              It doesn’t look like it rebounded much from Microsoft doing the Metro disaster or turning Windows into a surveillance platform, either. Some folks would like an alternative to Windows with as much usability, high-quality apps, and hardware drivers designed for it.

              1. 2

                I thought you must’ve been playing devil’s advocate. You’re saying you want the purveyor of an ecosystem to buy up all the players in its ecosystem? I don’t think that’s ever been Apple’s forté, and if they messed up the platform they would’ve definitely messed up a play like this. I think there are other, significantly more prudent ways to invest in your ecosystem.

                1. 2

                  I’m basically saying they shouldve invested in their creator-oriented platform in all the ways big companies do. That includes acquiring good brands in various segments followed up with ensuring they work great on Mac and integrate well with other apps.

                  They can otherwise let them do their thing. Apple isn’t good at that. It would’ve helped them, though.

                2. 1

                  Although Apple might have had dominated the creators market. Maybe they know something the rest of us don’t. The reason why they’re building 6000$ computers and consumer-oriented laptops might be because that’s where the money is right now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRBIH0CA7ZU

            2. 2

              For reference (since I was interested and looked it up), wikipedia says the SurfaceBook 2 has:

              1. 1

                https://shru.gg/r might be of service

              2. 6

                Ports. The t480s has 2 USB-A ports and 2 USB-C ports. It also has a full size HDMI, SD card slot, and full-size Ethernet. Is 0.14” difference in thinness worth access to the ports, user upgrade-ability, and the longevity of the keyboard?

                Given that there are quite a few usb-c hubs[1], or single-use-case (eg. hdmi for presentations) dongles, out there that offer the ports in a breakout/hub/dongle format, I don’t desire a return of all the ports that I use so occasionally/seldom. Paying the size/thickness/weight tax all the time for something I use rarely isn’t a great tradeoff for me.

                Then again, I use a laptop to be mobile, not as a desktop replacement. I realize that not everyone does this, so ymmv.

                [1]: Kingston’s Nucleum has two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a SD and microSD card slot, one USB-C charging port and one regular USB-C port

                1. 13

                  USB-C devices and hubs are pretty bad if you want to run more than one 4k60 display. Some can’t even do one. You can’t just plug in one hub and be done. I had to plug in three different USB-C dongles to get two 4k60 monitors, ethernet, keyboard, mouse, audio going on my 15” rMBP. Worse, USB-C slips and loses connectivity very easily.

                  The whole situation is asinine. Yes they’re meant to be mobile but I’m not paying $3k for something functionally equivalent to a netbook on steroids.

                  1. 6

                    USB-C slips and loses connectivity very easily

                    I missed this part earlier (or maybe you edited it in later). I very much agree with this one. I find usb-c a bit fiddlier than I would like, especially for power in comparison to the old apple magnetic (magsafe) power connectors. RIP magsafe.

                    1. 2

                      Multiple 4k60 displays seems a bit like a job for a desktop to me. That said, I agree that sucks. I wonder if it is a limitation of usb-c or just so few people with that use-case that nobody makes one that can do that yet.

                      EDIT: hmm. looks like a displayport 1.2 limitation, based on some searching. DP 1.2 supports a single 4K 60 Hz monitor, two 1440p 60 monitors, and so on. DP 1.3 supports more (gfx card willing), but I think usb-c/thunderbolt3 is still DP1.2. bummer.

                      1. 5

                        It’s a MacBook Pro. I was running 2 displays off a 12” Thinkpad with the dock years and years ago.

                        1. 4

                          And you can still do so if those displays aren’t 4k. The terrible industry-wide state of getting pixels from ram to screen is not Apple’s doing and any attempt they make to fix it themselves will be met with endless pearl-clutching about “proprietary connections”

                          1. 2

                            I don’t mind how they fix it, I would prefer more port types than just USB-C. I think the decision to only have USB-C is aesthetic not functionality.

                            1. 3

                              There are functional reasons to want only one port on your device. However, their decision to go about it in classic Apple fashion, making the change out of nowhere, was certainly a head-scratcher.

                          2. 4

                            A MBP will absolutely run multiple 4K displays on a single port.

                            Fuck, a Mac mini with just Intel graphics will run 2 4K displays, also from a single port.

                            1. 2

                              I get that it has Pro in the name. Did you use docking at every location where you worked with multiple monitors? Monitors these days also just seem huge to me. I can’t imagine someone having two 30+ inch 4k monitors on their desk ( that’s a /lot/ of terminals! ;) ) and yet choosing to drive it with a laptop. The workflow comparison between that and running undocked seems significant.

                              I do wonder if some portion of people get laptops just because, or on the off chance that they might do something on the go, but then they end up using them docked 100% of the time anyway. Definitely not saying this was you though, as I have no clue how you worked or used your machines.

                              1. 5

                                Some people don’t buy laptops but their company only provides laptops. You have to be able to use the laptop as a desktop replacement if you need/want to. Heck, desktops are a vanishing breed, I imagine 90% of them are sold as gaming machines, these days.

                                1. 2

                                  Chiming in with an anecdote, but I will emphasize this is my singular experience and preference.

                                  I have a 2015-era Thinkpad X1 Carbon whose built-in display is 1440p. Most of my programming uses, I use it docked to an additional 1440p display, sometimes two and turn off the built-in screen in favor of two full-sized monitors. In both cases they are only 25” displays, but the additional pixels are very appreciated. I don’t really see myself upgrading those to 4K screens, but I can imagine others who might.

                                  Some non-programming tasks also benefit greatly from the extra screen real-estate. I do will sometimes design in Figma (full screen on one monitor) with the second monitor hosting two windows: an editor window for referencing existing CSS in our projects, and a browser open to the Spec for the project whose design I am working on

                                  I am very much in the “laptop for the off chance they might do something on the go” crowd, but those times are far from insignificant. A lot of it is on-the-go comms with my team, doing project management and product management tasks. I definitely would not be effective with only a desktop, i.e. only a phone for on-the-go productivity.

                            2. 0

                              Limiting yourself to a USB-C (protocol) dock/device when you have TB3 ports but clearly want a not-average-joe functionality makes no sense to me.

                            3. 3

                              For me, this (multiple do-almost-anything ports, vs several each do-1-specific-thing ports) is the killer thing, but it works specifically for Macs because those ports are all TB3 not “just” USB-C.

                              For basic things (i.e. the common complaint about the pre-TB3 MBP having “USB-A, HDMI and SD card” you can get a single USB-C ‘hub’ to provide all those ports, but whenever possible (and particularly for stuff relating to displays) I actually tend to get/suggest TB3 devices.

                              1. 2

                                My question — and the question of most people I know who have a newer MacBook Pro — why not both? Why not have USB-C ports and a HDMI? TB3 is awesome but it doesn’t have to be exclusive.

                                1. 4

                                  It’s entirely possible Apples reasoning is aesthetic, but to me, a HDMI port is useless, and usually adding a HDMI port means you lose something else (see: the 2018 Mac mini that only supports 2x4k displays over TB3 because the third ‘supported’ display must be over HDMI).

                                  HDMI is also one of the least-hard “problems” to solve: you already need a HDMI cable, so use a different HDMI cable, with USB-C on one end.

                                  1. 2

                                    You’re right. The Mac mini is a really good example of a combination of ports that folks really enjoy having access too.

                                    This is all a tangent though, the reality is Apple is bent on making their laptops like their tablets and I wish they wouldn’t. In the end though it’s all preference.

                                    1. 3

                                      reality is Apple is bent on making their laptops like their tablets

                                      Maybe the reality as you see it, but until they add touch screens to their laptops, I’m going to remain pretty dubious about that viewpoint.

                                      1. 2

                                        You missed my point. Not sure if that was deliberate or not.

                                        The Mac mini has HDMI.. for some reason, but because it does, you can’t run 3 DisplayPort 4K displays from it. You can run two DP, and one has to be HDMI.

                                        I would be happier if the mini had forgone HDMI for more TB3 ports (or even dedicated (mini) DisplayPort would be better than HDMI). I’d even give up the USB-A ports for more TB3 ports.

                                        reality is Apple is bent on making their laptops like their tablets

                                        I really cannot agree with that at all and I wonder if you somehow don’t understand that TB3 and USB-C are not the same thing.

                                        1. 2

                                          you can’t run 3 DisplayPort 4K displays […] I really cannot agree with that at all and I wonder if you somehow don’t understand that TB3 and USB-C are not the same thing.

                                          Well, if we are going to be pedantic ;). If you use DisplayPort 4K displays, you are not using Thunderbolt 3, you are using the USB-C DisplayPort alternate mode. They are separate things, since there are also machines that have USB-C ports that support DisplayPort alt mode, but not Thunderbolt 3, such as the MacBook 12” [1].

                                          So, why do you care about USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports if you are going to hook up a DisplayPort display?

                                          (BTW. it seems that Apple’s wording is intentionally muddy here for marketing purposes.)

                                          [1] https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206587

                                          1. 1

                                            I use a TB3 to dual DisplayPort adapter, so it only takes one port. I can guarantee you it is not using USB-C alt-mode.

                                            1. 1

                                              Now you are adding new data points. The default (and much cheaper) thing to do is to hook up a DisplayPort display directly to a Mac Mini or MacBook. Which is done using a regular passive DisplayPort <-> USB-C cable.

                                              1. 1

                                                No, I’m not.

                                                You asked what’s wrong with a HDMI port. I told you: takes away video streams that would otherwise be available over DisplayPort.

                                                Whether they’re routed over 3 USB-C to DP cables using Alt Mode, or via a TB3 adapter is irrelevant.

                                                Go look at any tech forum with people having issues with displays: a decent chunk of them it’s because they’re using HDMI, because it was literally designed for TVs and receivers, being used for computer displays is an after thought, and it’s very apparent.

                                                1. 1

                                                  HDMI doesn’t “take away” video streams, Apple does. If Apple really wanted, they could’ve added ability to use 3rd video stream using USB-C, but they didn’t. There is really nothing stopping them, except maybe the Intel chip that may not have a 3rd DP output.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    The UHD 630 supports 3 displays over dp hdmi or edp.

                                                    Apple chose to include hdmi which means one of those outputs from the igpu is used or “taken away” from potential as a DP output over USB-c/TB3.

                                      2. 1

                                        It’s entirely possible Apples reasoning is aesthetic, but to me, a HDMI port is useless, and usually adding a HDMI port means you lose something else (see: the 2018 Mac mini that only supports 2x4k displays over TB3 because the third ‘supported’ display must be over HDMI).

                                        HDMI 2.0 supports 4k displays. The Mac Mini specs explicitly state that you can drive three 4k screens:

                                        Up to three displays: Two displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0

                                        https://www.apple.com/mac-mini/specs/

                                        1. 1

                                          That’s what I said. It forces one display of the three to be hdmi, which IMO is garbage compared to DP. I’d rather have no HDMI and be able to drive 3 displays over TB3/DP

                                          1. 1

                                            Your comment was vague, it seemed to suggest that you cannot drive three 4k displays, but the point is that one of them has to be driven through HDMI. Fair enough.

                                            Apple’s rationale is very logical. Quite some people use Mac Mini’s as media centers. They’ll have a TV with HDMI connectors and HDMI cables. So, it lowers the friction for a significant chunk of the audience for a tiny subset that insists on driving three 4k displays through DP. I am not saying that it is not a legitimate use case, but a niche. Apple will probably tell you to buy a Mac Pro or something.

                                            1. 1

                                              What is vague about this:

                                              the 2018 Mac mini that only supports 2x4k displays over TB3 because the third ‘supported’ display must be over HDMI

                                              I would bet money Apple do not include HDMI on a Mac mini for those few people who still try to run a media centre on one. Apple’s “solution” (in terms of what they support feature wise and expect people would use) is AppleTV.

                                              They provide HDMI because it’s designed as a “bring your own display” device and a bunch of cheap shit displays have HDMI input rather than DP.

                                      3. 2

                                        Another reason is that the HDMI connector is bigger than the side of the MacBook Pro. Mini and micro HDMI connectors could fit but hey, even if it’s HDMI you need not-so-common adapters or special cables so USB-C/TB3 is not a bad alternative.

                                    2. 2

                                      The t480s does have 2 USB-C ports for breaking out to more exotic ports but having a nice selection of ports is great.

                                    3. 3

                                      miss but don’t need

                                      I really need to start thinking about things this way, otherwise I’m gonna be stuck with Apple’s baffling engineering decisions for the rest of my life.

                                      I am using System76’s quite nice Pop_OS linux distro.

                                      Cue the open-source purist police!

                                      1. 2

                                        shh don’t point the police in my direction!

                                        The issue seems to be similar to the trashcan MacPro, in 2016 (ok let’s be honest probably 2014) Apple thought USB-C would be the standard I/O port. I think they were left holding the bag a bit by the really shoddy USB-C/TB3 adapter market at first.

                                        1. 2

                                          I always figured the biggest problem for them was that power users simply didn’t want to be restricted to a single type of port. I guess that wouldn’t be as much of a problem with a stationary system like the Mac Pro, but I think it’s much worse for your average MacBook power user who needs to plug into the odd wired TV to play a video via HDMI, or router to set it up via Ethernet. You know, rare problems 😉

                                      2. 2

                                        To take a different perspective, I keep wondering if the tradeoff of standardizing on a single port style (usb-c) could enable one to ‘upgrade’ a laptop over time, either via end-user servicing or some managed takeback service.

                                        (Personally still use a 2013 MBP - it still ‘just works’ after a replacing the battery, and got weary of the macbook 12” when hearing a genius-bar employee describe it’s battery/mainboard maintenance involving a custom harp-style scoopout tool.)

                                        1. 2

                                          If you really like macOS and it’s just the hardware that you dislike, you should try Hackintoshing the ThinkPad. It apparently worked well for someone else’s laptop of the same model. While I’m not a huge fan of macOS as an everyday operating system, I did set up a Hackintosh for a little bit of iOS development and it worked wonderfully on my desktop.

                                          1. 2

                                            I was just talking about this angle on Twitter:

                                            It would certainty be pretty trivial :) However, this is a work provided machine so that’s a no-go in my mind.

                                          2. 2

                                            Is 0.14” difference in thinness worth access to the ports, user upgrade-ability, and the longevity of the keyboard?

                                            0.14” plus the obvious differences in construction quality? Yes. A hundred times yes.

                                            1. 7

                                              From the first look it might seem like cheap plastic. But, the looks are deceiving. IMO, most Thinkpads are second by toughness only to thoughbooks. The build quality is great. The plastic feels good, is resistant to scratches, and even if you manage to scratch it, the texture hides it. It has a metal frame under the plastic, which makes it very hard to break. Meanwhile, Apple sandwiches everything between two sheets of machined aluminum, which while better than plastic, isn’t that strong.

                                              1. 3

                                                I know you meant to type toughbooks, however I would really like to see a thoughtbook.

                                              2. 7

                                                Are you actually implying that Thinkpads are poorly built? Thinkpads are the laptops you’ll find in Fallout-style post-apocalyptic shelters. I’ve been using Thinkpads for 12 years now… Most of them are indestructible by usual hardware standards :-)

                                                1. -1

                                                  Are you actually implying that Thinkpads are poorly built?

                                                  Yes, compared to Apple laptops, Thinkpads are poorly built.

                                                  1. 5

                                                    It’s clear from the language used by others here that Thinkpads are romanticised. I mean, I like them too, but it’s going to be hard for any of us to evaluate them honestly when much of the sentiment in this thread is borne out of “screw Apple!”. I agree that MacBook build quality is second to none (besides the flawed butterfly switches).

                                                2. 6

                                                  I thought this too until I held my t480s in my hands. It’s solid as a rock: no flex or give in the body at all. Everyone who has held it remarks that it feels solid. Time will tell on longevity but I’m pretty optimistic.

                                                3. 1

                                                  Same story here. Always used Macs or home computers back in the day.

                                                  A MBP is just an SSH terminal for me (quite an expensive one, though). All the code I write eventually runs on a Linux somewhere.

                                                  The MBP is still one of the best laptops out there. Touchpad, screen, sound, stability, all very good. The dictionary you get with macOS, the languages support, the interoperability with all the other Apple products, absolutely unbeatable.

                                                  But recently I get more and more crashes for various reasons and the keyboard story is just insanely sad. Right now I’m ordering a T490s, for much less $ than for a comparable MBP. And yes there are significant drawbacks compared to Macs, but I guess life is full of compromises. At least from now on, I only have one operating system to train my muscle memory on.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    User upgradeable RAM. The t480s has 1 open SO-DIMM slot and 8GB soldered to the motherboard. This feels like a nice compromise. Of course I threw in a 16GB stick to have 24GB total.

                                                    And my MBP has 32.

                                                    User upgradeable SSD. I can easily swap the stock SSD. A Samsung 970 Pro 512GB SSD that is faster than what Apple ships in the current Macbook Pro is $150 from Amazon.

                                                    I’ve got a 970 in my desktop linux machine. It’s definitely not faster than what Apple ships.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      And my MBP has 32.

                                                      Right, the number wasn’t the point. The ability to upgrade the RAM myself was the point.

                                                      I’ve got a 970 in my desktop linux machine. It’s definitely not faster than what Apple ships.

                                                      Not sure what to tell you? I was seeing 2700-3300 Mb/s reads in the benchmark I ran on my 970. Reviews of the 2019 MBP 15 inch peg the SSD perf in the 2600 range. Not a huge difference but worth noting.

                                                      1. 2

                                                        Right now if you want to buy a MBP with 32GB of RAM, you have to spend $2799 and go 15 inch. Not even the same ballpark as the thinkpad.

                                                      2. 1

                                                        My wife has been shopping for a new Mac.

                                                        With the current line up, the MBP is almost obsolete in the 13-inch market. You can go only go up to 16GB, nothing can be upgraded. The base model is a 128GB SSD!