Linux Blog

I got a Mac

Filed under: Linux Hardware,The Linux Blog News — at 2:05 am on Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I’m not really a huge consumer of hardware, but I today I got a Mac, more specifically a MacBook Air. It is my first brand new computer since I built my desktop which I probably never wrote about. I didn’t pay for it, as it was promotional item from training I signed up for. I had a choice of a Toshiba Ultrabook that never really closes, or the MacBook Air. After I thought about it, the choice was not too hard, I choose the one that would have the higher re-sale value, the better of the two OS’s, and probably better Linux support.

So far I’m impressed, it is a very elegant design, the internal hardware is meh but it does have a SSD which is the first I’ve owned. It would be nice to try and hook up an external monitor, but I’m not sinking any money into it, because I don’t really want to pay the standard $79 apple accessory fee, and am not sure if the thunderbolt port even converts to HDMI, and I’m sure as hell not going to buy a thunderbolt display. There is only two USB ports, which is rather pathetic, even my Netbook manages to squeeze 3, a VGA port and a media card reader in. As far as OSX, I’m not so happy with, it has a few nuances that will take some getting used to, such as the command key which changes the way I use the keyboard (command+t, command+w, etc.) There is probably a fix for that and I’ve already changed some settings to make it more familiar.

My DNS-323 NAS had to have some changes to the Samba config using funplug as it doesn’t connect with SECURITY=SHARE, it has to be SECURITY=USER, not sure why that is. I’m happy to report that my SDR experiments were just as hard with OSX as they were with Linux, I blame that to not really knowing much about radio theory. Other than that, installing XCode, Macports and writing this post I haven’t really had much time to play with it. I’ll stick out using OSX until the training is over, then I’ll look at another OS. Until then, it’ll be VM’s and SSH connections into the desktop PC, which while aging still has more horse power than the Air.

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Comment by tayhimself

July 23, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

You can use mini displayport to HDMI/DVI-D/Displayport that Monoprice sells for $13. Works just fine with my MBA. And your lamenting the lack of VGA made me sad. The only proprietary part here is the SSD which OWC sells for cheaper than Apple replacement but still at a 50% premium over PC equivalents.

Comment by

July 23, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

You are right, after I wrote it, I discovered the thunderbolt adapters, there are VGA ones also, the reason for commenting on the VGA port is because my KVM does not have DVI/HDMI/DP. Also, not sure how to chain devices if I wanted to use the thunderbolt Gigabit LAN with external monitors without buying a $300 TB hub.

I guess there is USB 3.0, but with a 3.0 network adapter, and external hard drive, there would be no room for the SDR / mouse, since I don’t want to use Bluetooth so that would require a $20 USB 3.0 hub. Kind of solve the mouse while in the office with Synergy, but when traveling, it’s just more stuff to carry, which kind of defeats the purpose of an ultraportable, when the 13″ Macbook Pro w/ Retina has two thunderbolts, two USB, SDXC + hdmi port. I guess it is $500 more, and still doesn’t have AC Wifi. Guess when the refresh comes around it will, but it doesn’t really matter as the Air was free. Doubt any of the models wouldn have been my first choice if it were my money.

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