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  • Mac News Roundup: May 22, 2019

    Posted on Nathan Parker Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by

     Nathan Parker 3 weeks, 4 days ago.

    • Author
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    • #1729045 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      Here’s a roundup of some of the latest Mac news this week:

      Nathan Parker

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1734070 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      Nathan Parker, Thanks for the update on what Apple is doing about laptops these days.

      Some people can find something to talk about (and even vent) in the keyboard innovation.

      Interesting those 8-core machines. I wonder about battery discharge and thermal throating issues. It does not seem that Apple wants to provide the ports most people normally use to plug in their peripherals. Fortunately, Apple makes a very nice little docking port, the “USB-C Multi Port Hub”, that is not much bigger than a playing card in footprint and has these ports: three USB 3, one HDMI, one Gigabit Ethernet that can work in 10/100/1000 modes, a slot for one SD and another for one micro SD memory card. It plugs in any of the little USB-C sockets of the Mac. The things that one plugs in can be either “powered or unpowered” (which I believe means that what gets plugged in there can draw power directly from the port, that gets it, in turn, from the Mac. I use this dock to connect a smart card reader, a USB drive, etc., and all those work when plugged to the port without the need to be connected to a wall electric socket.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1734160 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      Glad to give the updates.

      On the butterfly keyboard, from the people I’ve talked to who use it, they don’t care for it. Not only is it unreliable, it is also uncomfortable to type on. The iMac keyboard doesn’t use the butterfly mechanism and is generally solid. I did have a pre-butterfly keyboard fail on a MacBook Pro once, so even the older variant wasn’t perfect.

      The one Mac notebook keyboard I had that was solid was the PowerBook G4 keyboard. My 12″ PowerBook G4 is still going strong, and the keyboard feels great. I wish Apple would bring it back in a future model.

      Does Apple make the docking port or a third party? I thought it was a third party? I also wish Apple would offer a couple of USB-A ports on the MacBook Pros as a transitional while USB-C goes more mainstream (they did on my iMac Pro, offering a blend of USB-A and USB-C). Leave it to Apple to prematurely kill off older ports though to ramp up the industry (like the original iMac was all USB, the loss of the DVD drive in the MacBook Air, and the loss of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7).

      Nathan Parker

    • #1734485 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I stand corrected: the port hub I have is made by a company cold “SMKLink”, it looks like.

      This I got along with other items with the government’s Mac and I have assumed, all along, that was all Apple equipment. This hub has even a sort of “Mac” look to it, all white, small and sleek. Now, looking at its “User’s Guide” closely (having not done that before, because this thing is pretty much self-explanatory), well, it is made by some other company.

      By the way, when looking into this just now, I’ve found quite a few similar docking hubs from different makers in Amazon. I think this situation is not that badly summed up with the old saying: “if mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad will come to the mountain”. Or: if Apple will not bring to people the ports they need, then (some) people will bring those ports to Apple.

      Finally: ” I also wish Apple would offer a couple of USB-A ports on the MacBook Pros as a transitional while USB-C goes more mainstream ” So do I. That is why I bought not the latest laptop, ca. 2016 at the time, but a mid-2015 one. (then still being sold, brand-new, by Apple) Because, on the positive side, it has plenty of ports: two USB 3, one USB-C, one HDMI port, one Ethernet port and one SD card slot — compared to what was to follow. And real function keys, F1 through F12!

      On the negative side, that “keyboard repair offer” described in one of those links is for machines of ca. 2016 and later…

    • #1734543 Reply

      willygirl
      AskWoody Plus

      Hi Nathan! I have a third party 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub with card readers that came highly recommended for my Mac Air. Also picked up on an external DVD drive when I purchased my Mac. Haven’t worked much with these Mac externals yet but will at some point.

      Win7 SP1 Home 64-bit; Office 2010; GrpA/B, when all is said, done and fixed, Mac OSX to help me sleep at night.

    • #1734802 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      SMKLink has some good products. They are behind the Gyration air mice. I had one when I had a PC, and it was good to use it in air, although the scroll wheel was a little sensitive and would move too quickly when scrolling (although I sometimes bump the scroll section on my Apple Magic Mouse as well, my fingers are long).

      Generally, even third-party Mac gear is very Mac-like looking. Manufacturers really know how to build good gear, and Apple has even stepped in before suggesting designs and even product packaging designs of the third-party gear they sell in their stores.

      It is the case with third-party gear generally filling in for Apple when Apple decides to shed legacy ports. Generally, when Apple does so, two solutions fill the gap: 1. Apple comes out with dongles to replace the ports (which Windows PC users make fun of Mac users who carry a bag of dongles next to their sleek Macs) or 2. Third-party solutions in the form of docking stations or other devices come along.

      While I realize that USB-C is the next big thing, it’ll be a little bit before it goes mainstream, and I still have plenty of USB-A devices (in fact, most are). I’m glad the iMac Pro offers both, and it would have been nice to have a MacBook Pro model that still did.

      On the keyboard repair, I can’t remember if the 2015 keyboard had the butterfly or the previous mechanism. It might have been spared from it, which in that case, I hope it’s more reliable.

      The USB Hub with card reader is good for MacBook Air users (as well as MacBook users). I also picked up a USB Apple SuperDrive (Apple’s name for DVD Drive) when I purchased my iMac Pro. I don’t use it heavily, and I have an iMac with an internal SuperDrive, but it never hurts to have a spare.

      Nathan Parker

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1735313 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I also have a “SuperDrive” DVD and CD player (no Blu-ray, though – Apple seems to dislike it) I use it often to watch movies and favorite old TV shows. The sockets in my older model of Mac are helpful for this purpose: the HDMI socket to connect the Mac to a large 27″ monitor, on one side, and one of two USB 3 sockets to connect with the SuperDrive on the other.

      To put a disk in a SuperDrive, one pushes it through a slot in one side of the device. It does not have a tray that comes out, as most optical drives. Instead, after one has pushed a disk to a certain depth, is sucks it in the rest of the way. There is no pinhole where to insert an open paper clip, as in ordinary drives, to force the thing to disgorge a disk that gets stuck inside. Which I find a little unnerving. There are instructions on line from Apple on how to get back one’s disk if the device fails to return it. They sound a bit messy. Fortunately, in almost two years and hundreds of DVDs plays, I have not had the need, so far, of following them. Touch on wood. One thing I’ve not done yet is to burn files on a DVD using the SuperDrive.

      I know that, some day, the thing will give up the ghost with a DVD stuck for ever deep in its belly. That will be a sad day. After I have mourned both SuperDrive and DVD for a decently long period of time, I’ll buy another SuperDrive (they are rather cheap) and maybe I’ll find another DVD. That’s one plan. Or, alternatively, I could buy a few SuprDrives now and put them in the closet where I keep unused electronic things, until needed…

    • #1738571 Reply

      Nathan Parker
      AskWoody_MVP

      I also don’t have a Blu-ray since I don’t own any Blu-ray DVD’s. It does seem Apple isn’t a big fan of it (they’d rather us all purchase over iTunes).

      All Apple made SuperDrives are slot-loading instead of tray loading. Steve Jobs was a big proponent of slot-loading drives. He even F-bombed the iMac design team and threatened to call off the original iMac product launch the night before due to the team putting a tray-loading drive in the original iMac versus a slot-loading drive, and he only moved forward when the team agreed to ship a slot-loading drive in the next iMac.

      I’ve never had a disk get stuck in a SuperDrive, but I did have the little flaps on the SuperDrive become loose on my old 12″ PowerBook and had to remove them (although now the drive is dying so it doesn’t matter).

      There’s a couple of ways to burn files to a DVD using a SuperDrive, and I can post those instructions if you ever need them.

      By the way, here’s more info on the 2019 MacBook Pro Keyboard:

      https://www.macrumors.com/2019/05/24/ifixit-2019-macbook-pro-teardown/

      In terms of WWDC 2019, I’m in an intense Latin class over the summer, but I’ll still try to perform a quick run-down coverage of what you need to know about the event and the news, then watch the event when I get a free moment and elaborate more.

      Nathan Parker

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Mac News Roundup: May 22, 2019

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