Tag: Dell

Using a MacBook Pro OS-X Yosemite

So I never thought the day would come. I started on the new job three weeks ago and I was issued a MacBook Pro running OS-X Yosemite (10.10) I had a somewhat crestfallen look on my face when I saw it but I’ve adapted nicely.

I have to say functionally not much different than Windows and vice versa. Things I do like about it are I’l list.

  1. The Retina display is REALLY nice and sharp.
  2. The OS is intuitive – well, only because I’ve used Macintosh computers in prior days all the way back to the origin. So it wasn’t such a stretch to remember where things were. And there’s very little difference now between OS-X and Windows.
  3. The design of the case is really slick.

Now the problems I have with the machine:

  1. Only two USB ports. Oh sure they give you two thunderbolt ports too. But like Firewire what the hell can you attach to those thunderbolt ports that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
  2. There’s no easy way to install things on the command line in OS-X. You have to download an app called Brew to do it.
  3. The App store isn’t used for just apps but systems updates too. And you cannot update without a god fucking damned Apple ID. That really irks me, plus you have to tap in a credit card too. After all they don’t distinguish between systems and applications so they need to bill you somehow for the apps.
  4. The machine is plenty fast but every now and again I’ll detect a freeze up – just wait a couple seconds and the mouse will return.
  5. As to Safari – the behavior of hiding the scroll bar over on the right in a web page is stupid.
  6. The clickable gesture touchpad. Ick! I know, everything is going gestural, even my Windows 10 box at home uses them. But the other thing, the whole mouse pad clicks down. It’s really annoying. PC manufacturers figured out detecting force on a touchpad long ago – why the hell is Apple still using it. It feels cheap.
  7. No on board ethernet port – which means you have to suck up on of your USB ports with a network dongle.
  8. No easy dock capability. My Dell E6420 has a big old dock connector on the bottom of the machine. The Mac world you have to buy a $300 to $400 Thunderbolt dock. The dock for the E6420 is less than $100.

So there you have it, my honest view of a brand new 15″ MacBook Pro. I honestly doubt I’d buy one for personal use knowing what I now know. And I still have the memory of an older MacBook that could not connect to an 802.11G network, only 802.11A/B. Of course they fixed it – for $79 you could download the next version that DID connect to 802.11G.

It’s funny the place I work is a mixture of these Macintoshes in the dev side – and Lenovo T420 and T440 machines on the business side. And I will be the first to admit even the Lenovo boxes feel cheap as hell. But then even IBM’s ThinkPad felt poorly constructed and mostly plastic too so nothing changed there. I’ll stick with my Dell machines – they’re built solid. In fact the E6420 I have – I could get the external casing and turn it into a ruggedized machine. And I bet it wouldn’t cost a fortune. Plus the case on the this E6420 is magnesium.

Unbelievable lifespan for a computer

So one finally bit the dust tonight. Old Dell XPS M140’s. By reckoning those machines were 9 years old. But the conundrum – if it could be called that is when the last one failed this evening I have no way of getting data off the machine. Or so you might think.

Since they’re vintage computers they use ATA-100 drives. So I got an ATA-100 to USB converter. Just plug it in and turn it on. Ordered a refubished Dell Latitude E6420 to replace the old machine. Cost about $300 with tax. I’m picking it up tomorrow. I got it from MicroCenter.  A warning, their site doesn’t play well with Chrome or Firefox – you have to use Internet Exploder/Explorer.

But the reason the machines lasted so long is that yours truly did a hell of a lot of preventive maintenance. Just to give you an idea, at age 4 I replaced the hard drives on them. And I can’t count the number of keyboards I replaced on them. Or the screens I replaced. In fact the only thing original on the machines were the motherboards. Oh yeah, wifi cards got replaced too.

In essence I get my moneysworth out of computers. But this upgrade is sort of necessary as the ‘new’ machine is Windows 7 Professional which will upgrade to Windows 10 with no issues.

Dell Sucks

There I’ve said it. 

We bought a PowerEdge R420 server. From the git go the thing had a problem with the RAID battery going south. They came in and repaired that. 

Then recently we had to put both HFS+ and NTFS support on the machine. But when we did the rear chassis USB ports and the add on USB 3.0 card stopped functioning. We had chalked it up to the NTFS driver but I rolled back the software and still couldn’t do anything. 

So today I contacted Dell. Spent over FIVE hours on the phone and in emails back and forth with them. It ended with me telling them to escalate the problem and ship us a new server configured exactly as that one and we’d cross ship the broken server. We’ll see if they deliver on that one.