The New MacBook Pro Is Kind of Great for Hackers by Adam Geitgey

Adam Geitgey:

I’m not here to change your mind about the MacBook Pro. Yes, it’s probably too expensive and more RAM is better than less RAM. But everyone posting complaints without actually using a MBP for a few weeks is missing out on all the clever things you can do because it is built on USB-C. Over the past week or two with a new MacBook Pro (15in, 2.9ghz, TouchBar), I’ve been constantly surprised with how USB-C makes new things possible. It’s a kind of a hacker’s dream.

I completely agree with Adam here. The opportunities at our fingertips with USB-C are pretty exciting. I will say: it’s ironic that his mobile examples bring out how much more compatible the new MacBook Pro is with Android devices.

How Apple Lost My $1,000 by Katie Floyd

Katie Floyd on the LG UltraFine 5K Display:

I was willing to get over the looks and the cost and accept this was the price I must pay to have the best display available to match my new MacBook Pro. Problem was…I couldn’t buy it. Had the LG/Apple display been available for purchase the day I ordered my MacBook Pro I have no doubt I would have gritted my teeth and added it to my cart. But I couldn’t.

This is interesting. While I don’t see myself giving up on a 5K display for a 4K display, I do see where Katie is coming from. Katie was ready to hand over some serious cash, but because Apple is more and more unreliable when it comes to deadlines they themselves set, she’s now purchased something else. Yes, she’s one person, but a reputation is being built and money is being lost. A thousand dollars is a thousand dollars.

Our Caribbean Cruise

I went on my first cruise and loved it.

James and Kristin Peacock Sloth Porcupine Dad on the boat Kelly on the boat Tim and the sloth
Some of my favorite pictures from the trip.

I’ve never been on a cruise. I’d always been nervous to do it. Watching Kurt Russell die in Poseidon freaked the hell out of me. Plus, I sometimes get motion sickness, and thought it’d be a long week if I got sea-sick.

Turns out, I was just fine! This is by far the most fun vacation I’ve ever taken. We saw all sorts of beautiful landscapes, and water so clear I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

If you’ve never been on a cruise, I highly recommend it. The experience is really great. There’s something to do for all types of personalities.

Now, back to the routine with renewed energy and focus!

iPad-only: Month One by Matt Gemmell

Matt Gemmell after making the iPad his main computer, describes what it was like for him to go back to a Mac:

I went back to the MacBook for five or ten minutes a few days ago to get some files I hadn’t put in Dropbox yet, and I was momentarily unsure how to use it; that’s how quickly the cognitive adaption sets in. There was a feeling of mild anxiety, like when I find myself in front of a Windows machine (just in the sense of something that’s unfamiliar and clearly more complicated than I’m used to). I honestly reached up and tapped the screen to activate something, then I was paralysed(sic) for a couple of seconds, frowning, as I tried to think how I could instead trigger it via the keyboard. It was brief, but it was memorable; I really was lost. Then, of course, I remembered the trackpad. There was also a moment when I saw the arrow cursor in my peripheral vision and my hand twitched, ready to wipe it off the screen.

I’m a huge fan of Matt’s, but parts of this feel melodramatic. Either way, glad he’s found a workflow that works for him.

Goodbye ACL

After almost two years at ACL, I’ve decided to move on.

My last day is tomorrow, Nov 29. I had so much fun working at ACL, and had the chance to work on some really cool stuff:

  • I worked on adding or improving at least 10 features to Results Manager, which is built on Ruby on Rails. I’ve also helped with our transition to React components.
  • I did most of the frontend for a Chromium embedded desktop app last year built with Angular.
  • I had the chance to contribute to our growing design system, both with smaller fixes and components, as well as larger ones.
  • I was project lead for the ACL Code Guide which is a Ruby Gem that distributes guidelines on how we want to write CSS. So far, it’s already helped other teams without dedicated frontend developers to write better CSS.
  • I helped define the new role of UX Developer at ACL which in other places would be called a frontend developer. The company and individual teams have really embraced this role to help bridge the gap between design and engineering.

I’m so thankful to everyone at ACL for being incredibly supportive of me, and how much they’ve helped me grow. On Wednesday, I’ll head to Miami for the awesome Caribbean cruise we’re going on!

If you’re team is hiring, please get in touch! In the meantime, I’m looking for freelance work, so if you or someone you know needs a designer/frontend developer for a project, you should definitely hire me.

Switching Back to Kramdown

Quick update on my markdown woes.

I’ve written previously on switching to Redcarpet to process markdown. Since then, I was determined to find out if I could do the same thing with Kramdown since it’s already a dependency of Jekyll.1

Turns out, that writing Github Flavored Markdown is super easy with Kramdown. So easy in fact, that I don’t understand how I didn’t figure this out earlier. Here are the markdown-related lines in my _config.yml:

# Markdown Rendering
markdown: kramdown
markdown_ext:  markdown,mkdown,mkdn,mkd,md,mdown

  input: GFM

That’s it! No additional gems to install or nothing. In fact, if you were using Redcarpet, you should delete it from your Gemfile.

Happy Jekyll-ing!

  1. I try as much as I can to minimize the dependencies needed to run this site. This site is for fun at the end of the day, but if I can remove things that do the same exact thing, I want to. 

USB-C vs. the Headphone Jack by Manton Reece

Manton Reece on whether Apple’s decision to move away from USB-A and the 3.5mm headphone jack are the same:

USB-C is a standard that is already used in many devices from different vendors. It will become universal. The immediate replacement for the 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 is the Lightning EarPods which come in the box. Lightning is a proprietary cable that will never be used in non-Apple phones, and in fact is not even used on Macs.

You can argue that more and more people will use Bluetooth headphones, but I doubt they will be as common as wired headphones for many years, and there’s no guarantee that an all-wireless future will ever arrive. There is a very clear migration from USB-A to USB-C. The move to Lightning headphones and Bluetooth is much more complicated and not directly comparable.

I’m in favor of Apple’s move to nix the headphone jack, but even I can’t claim that these two things are the same. As Manton himself says, “It’s a convenient narrative”, but a false one. USB-C truly is the future, and the capabilities this one cable has is remarkable. More importantly, it’s an open standard.

The wireless push that Apple made is hampared by it all being powered with a proprietary chip. The magic they’re selling is only accessible to you if you’re in the market for over-priced headphones.

While the push for USB-C is one that is beneficial for everyone, the removal of the headphone jack is only for people who are already committed to an Apple ecosystem. If Apple was really interested in making wireless better for everyone, they would’ve worked on improving Bluetooth. While I’m not excited by the cognitive load of figuring out how USB-C will work for my needs, I’m not about to complain when Apple supports an open standard. 💯, Apple.

Using the iPad for: Blogging with Jekyll by Matt Gemmell

Matt Gemmell:

This entire site is built using Jekyll, a static site generator written in Ruby. I have custom templates, CSS, and even several Ruby plugins, and I’m pretty pleased with it. It lets me keep all my content in Markdown, and edit posts in any text editor.

My host is Linode (oh how I love them), and I have a fully iPad-only workflow for blogging and updating the site.

I love these types of posts. We should all be sharing how we do stuff with our own setup. I wrote about my own method of publishing to Jekyll via iOS, and while drastically different to Matt’s method, it’s documented and potentially helpful to many people. If you’re interested in going #iPadOnly, I definitely recommend Matt’s series on the topic.