MacBook Pro 16"
I got a new MacBook Pro 16" laptop in mid-February, right before everything locked down for COVID. I wanted a better machine for work as the standard issue 13-inch was too cramped on the go for my tastes.
Well I’m not really much on the go anymore but I still really like this laptop. It’s great!
I upgraded from an old Retina 13-inch (2015?), pre USB-C with the MagSafe power.
This is my desk/WFH set up:
Nothing to write about which is good. My home laptop is a MacBook that has the controversial butterfly keyboard and yea, it’s different but I can type on it just fine. I definitely prefer this keyboard though, my biggest complaint about the butterfly keyboard mechanism is that it’s loud. This one is nice and quiet, I can aggressively take notes on a conference call and no one will hear a thing.
This is my first time using a TouchBar. It’s ok, my main point of frustration is that I have accidentally triggered shit when resting my fingers up there. I recently found out that you can customize the buttons, I got rid of the Siri button and added a button for “Do Not Disturb” mode which is incredibly useful. I got BetterTouchTool to provide some buttons for Emacs (mostly org-mode related capture stuff). Overall I’m neutral on it. When I’m at my desk I still use the laptop keyboard and trackpad so at least I don’t have to transition back and forth between having and not having a TouchBar.
I’m living the one cord dream. I got an HP Thunderbolt 3 dock which works well. Got my monitor, nice webcam, Ethernet, microphone, and power all coming in through one cable.
I thought I would miss MagSafe but being able to plug in on either side of the laptop is pretty handy. In addition to my desk (where I plug in on the left), I have a USB-C power + HDMI dongle going to my 4K LG OLED TV which is a nice option for hanging out on the couch (where I plug in on the right).
Speakers / Mic
The speakers in this thing are awesome! This was a pleasant surprise. I don’t hook up external speakers, but then again I’m not blasting tunes that loud.
With working remotely I spend a lot of time on video calls and I use the built in microphone, it seems to work well as folks seem to be able to hear me fine.
It’s fast I guess. Go read some other review for more details.
I dig it and am glad I bought it. I look forward to sitting in a coffee shop with it someday.
The only thing I don’t like is the USB-C only thing, but I get it. I bought a bunch of cheap dongles off Amazon and have accepted this new reality. The screen real estate is a big improvement.
- Alfred for launching stuff and doing web searches. The ability to make custom web search targets is super useful for internal work sites.
- Magnet for moving around windows with the keyboard.
- Flow for Pomodoro timin'. I like it because it allows you to blacklist apps (OUTLOOK and CHATS) while on the clock.
- Doom Emacs for editing. I actually don’t write much code in Emacs, but I use org-mode for all my TODOs, notes, and journal. My config files are here.
- Bartender to keep my menu bar tidy.
Not really related to getting a new machine but I thought I’d share this here. I get distracted really easily. When I start my day at work I run a script that does all the 2FA and stuff I need to SSH around and whatnot, and at the end of that script I blackhole the DNS for a bunch of distracting websites using entries in
I put entries in my
/etc/hosts like this for sites I want to block:
# 0.0.0.0 www.thehardtimes.net #PDPFUN
When it’s time to work, I run
worktime, which makes sure that my overrides are in effect:
#!/usr/bin/env bash sudo sed -i.bak "s/^# \(.*\)#PDPFUN/\1#PDPWORK/g" /etc/hosts cat /etc/hosts sudo dscacheutil -flushcache sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
This enables those override entries in
0.0.0.0 www.thehardtimes.net #PDPWORK
When I want to take a break, I run
funtime, which comments out my overrides so I can access all those fun sites:
#!/usr/bin/env bash sudo sed -i.bak "s/^\(.*\)#PDPWORK/# \1#PDPFUN/g" /etc/hosts cat /etc/hosts sudo dscacheutil -flushcache sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
Perhaps there’s a better way to do this, but this has been pretty effective at keeping me from drifting off while compiling or whatever.