Disclaimer: Although I do own a Mac I am by no means a Mac fanboy. I believe that each OS has its good and bad points but being the owner of a Mac for several years I believe that I am qualified to make a call as to why I love it and why I sometimes hate it.
I’d like to put one thing to bed before we start with this, a common misconception people think is that when you sign up to Apple then you only really begin to feel the benefits if you always choose to use Apple software. This is really not true, there are some benefits of doing this but not always. I personally have an Android based phone and use online storage like DropBox and Google Drive to store any information I need to access everywhere. The main reason I use these services over Apple’s Cloud system is that I really don’t feel like it’s good value for money at all. I also use Google to store my address book since that can also work across multiple devices and anywhere I have access to the internet. Music wise I have yet to be drawn into Apple Music. Google provide a pretty good service that allows me to keep 50 GB in my music account before they charge me, but my music purchasing platform of choice (right now) is Amazon. The great thing about Amazon Music is that it’s DRM free which means that I own the music that I buy. Not to mention if you already have a Prime account you get streaming music thrown in. Compare this to Apple that has to constantly make calls back to the internet to ensure that the purchase sitting on my internal storage is real. I have yet to be utterly convinced with a service like Spotify or Deezer, yes they provide a good range of music and if you have unlimited data and a good connection it’s a great way to listen to music on the go.
Being an internet developer, I use a lot of technology that works alongside major web servers. A fair majority of the servers out there use some brand of Linux or another and although it is entirely possible to develop and deliver websites using Microsoft solutions but it’s not where my expertise lies. Now I can use a Windows or Linux machine to put together a development environment, especially if I use something like a Virtual Machine. However, if I had to choose between all three I would choose a Mac or Linux machine, because it is closer to the technology I am working with.
Free OS Updates
Okay, you could argue that Linux updates have been free for a very long time (and you would be right). You could also argue that Windows 10 was the first OS that Microsoft have issued for free but I would argue the massive condition that you need to take advantage of that before a certain time. Since 10.10 updates of Apple’s operating system have been free, no if’s no but’s, just free and thank goodness because their hardware costs so much.
Backlit Keyboard as Standard
Yes, these are becoming more popular and if you spend enough money on any laptop, then it’s likely that this will come as a standard option on yours too. Having one of these as standard means I can still easily type in low light conditions and I love that.
It’s essentially Linux but easier
I have used Linux for years, I still would try to choose it over Windows and this is mostly because I do so much web development. My main issue with Linux is that if you don’t quite know what you’re doing then it is very easy to break and then fixing it can be a quite tricky business. I remember a headache I used to have to get certain video or sound boards working in Linux and yes this has improved a great deal but there have been a few times where the OS has just refused to boot and then I am thrown into a very user unfriendly safe mode, using my phone to google what the problem might be and a way to fix it. This may be a very person thing but I want to be able to just use my computer, I don’t want to have to spend hours trying to fix some random thing that has gone wrong in the OS somewhere. I would much rather spend my time developing or writing and OSX gives me exactly this.
The price. It’s no secret that Apple equipment is expensive, their phones and laptops are obviously overpriced. I will say that their screen technology is second to none and maybe that is where most of the price goes. It’s true to say that I have a day job that enables me to be able to spend a little more on a laptop than most people, but that does not take the sting out of tail when I am considering buying a new one. Apple products have generally a good resale value on e-bay so if you look after them, you can still get some of your investment back. I bought my last MacBook Pro back in 2011 as a refurb (I very rarely buy new) and that has been serving me well for the past 5 years and probably has another 4 or more in it before it becomes obsolete.
I enjoy playing games, I even write for a website that encourages me to not only play them but write something critical about them, which I enjoy doing. But you know what I don’t enjoy? I don’t enjoy the fact that to get any kind of decent video card on a Mac, you have to shell out a fair amount more than the overpriced nature of the machines anyway. Games that I think should run okay on it often are laggy and unplayable, regardless of how many options I switch off. I had hoped that they would do some deal with either Nvidia or ATI to put some basic graphic accelerator inside their laptops and they did, but only for 15″ machines and upwards. I don’t really want to carry the extra size and the price hike, for me it’s just not worth it.
Being classed as an Apple Fan Boy
As stated in the disclaimer I am no Apple fanboy. I have never and will never queue up overnight in order to get the most recent hardware from them. In fact, I really cannot understand the people that do this, but I have an “each to their own” attitude about the whole thing. When Apple released their last MacBook (the one with the mobile processor in and the USB-C port) I thought that someone at Apple had completely gone mental. I get the fact that they are trying to appeal to a market that uses laptops just to create documents, write e-mails and the sort but I seriously thought that this was a poorly designed bit of hardware. I am sure Apple being Apple have sold a lot of them and people have even paid the extra money to have it with the gold tint (which in my eyes is just weird). I thought (and still think) that the Apple watch is overpriced and not a piece of tech that I have any interest in, but then again I bought and subsequently sold a Pebble Time because I found myself not really benefitting from it as a device. No, I will happily criticise Apple when I see fit, and I will happily listen to other people moan about them and sympathise.
It’s a status symbol
I generally disagree with buying things just to show that I have money. I have known several students that have let their parents buy them a Mac just so that they can look cool in class. These people probably take a lot of notes on their machine, look at Facebook, maybe the odd video which probably rarely (if ever) fires up anything more than a single core. To these people, I say what you should of, bought is a Chromebook or second-hand laptop from someone. I had to work hard to be able to afford my hardware, I feel like I have earned the right to buy one.
Okay.. rant over. So before I work myself into a lather and burst a blood vessel or completely lose my calm exterior I’m going to quit while I am ahead. Now it’s over to you, what do you love/hate about the OS that you choose to run. What makes you irate and what makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because it just works. Tell us your OS stories via Reddit, Twitter or Facebook.
Me and Joel discussed what we would do for our Happy New Year post, welcoming in 2015 and we decided we’d split up and do a separate post. Once you’ve finished reading my post, please do go check out Jaberwock Joel the Jemmy’s look at the year ahead of us. Yes, I just called Joel a nonsense crowbar because he’s great at bludgeoning the rubbish out of the best of us. Including me, it would seem. To think, I’ve not even begun my new years celebrations yet.
We could have done these posts on New Years Day itself, I mean you’d think that’d be a better way to welcome in the new year, right? But no… We figured we’d look at what was going to be a fantastic year coming up, offering what we’re most looking forward to and what we’re hoping to achieve this year.
My 2015 plans
Let’s begin with the thing that really made GeekOut South-West come into existence: Conventions.
So far, I’ve got 5 conventions in the works for 2015:
London Anime and Gaming Con this February – I’ll be on the reception team, so please do swing by if you’re going to that event and please say hello to me. I’d love to see you there and you should join the Shonen Heroes team, since heck – I am an awesome hero there. Not only this, some of the GeekOut South-West group will be there at London Anime and Gaming Con! Come make yourselves known to us.
After LAGC, I’ll be attending EGX Rezzed with the 1001-Up crew. I’ll be there as a member of press and I’ll make every effort to go and speak to anyone and everyone about upcoming games. Not only this though, I’ll be speaking to the cosplayers of EGX Rezzed and let’s see what I can throw together for my part of the deal. Hurrah for Rezzed!
Next up, I’ve got Kitacon, where I will be joining Joel and many others. Originally Kitacon was going to be available for registration as of January 1st at midday, but they have suffered a technical set-back. Nevermind, the team were diligent enough to tell us in advance that this has been pushed back to Thursday 8th at 18:00. So please do come join in and come meet up with me and
Joel! We’ll… Sign your… Things..? Wait, that’s the silliest idea ever! But do come and make yourselves known to us and chat geek with us!
Then there’s a combination of Cardiff Anime Convention in August and then Bristol Anime Convention in October. I believe I will be the head of the registrations team for the Bristol Anime Convention and I will be on the registrations team again for Cardiff, so please do come and say hello – Yes, GeekOut South-West are officially involved with conventions now! We’re super excited to be bringing some smaller, local conventions to the scene!
Last but certainly not least there’s BristolCon which I intend to take the group to once more. It’s a fantastic experience and I’m considering doing a panel on Sci-Fi and Cosplay. If you can make it to Bristol and this sounds interesting to you, please let me know in the comments below, or if you think there’s a topic I’d be better suited for that should be covered, let me know! I think the local Bristol conventions need to be made aware of the presence of cosplay, why we do it and more importantly: How it can help any/all geeky scenes out there.
What about GeekOut’s plans?
Some of these things I have been keeping close to my chest, so close that maybe even Joel doesn’t know of some of it… So here we go:
One thing about blogging is you have to pay close attention to the demand for your website. Whilst we’re not quite ready yet to be moving to self-hosting, it’s an option that’s ahead of GeekOut South-West. We’re looking towards a bright future, but this means we’ll need to move to our own hosting service. I’m keen to stick to WordPress, but moving away from the WordPress.com platform will be a big leap. We’ll see if we make it there in time next year.
You’d have noticed if you’re a regular reader of this website that we had an advent calendar which wasn’t so spectacular. The original idea was to have windows set up for each and every day, so that every day it would open automatically and show the post behind it. There was no way to do this via our current WordPress hosted server, so if we want to do anything as ambitious as that in future, we’ll seriously need to consider moving to the .org platform.
Anyone who has seen our mobile website will be aware it’s not the prettiest one in the world. It’s pretty ugly. So I’m working on making mobile more optimised and better looking for everyone, as well as looking at potential other avenues for mobile technologies to get involved, perhaps with integrated Meetup features.
I’ll keep everyone informed as to what’s happening, of course!
Yep, this one was a given, but it’s important to note that we’ll be keeping our posting schedule up as hard and as fast as we have been. We believe geek culture has so much to discuss, so we want to chat about it all! We also wouldn’t mind getting more people guest posting for us, much like our friend Kevin Kutlesa has. Please do get involved if you feel you have an article that you want a platform to launch off of!
Also, do note: I’ll be doing a return soon. More on that later in the week.
What are your plans for the new year? Any resolutions that you have made? Anything particularly geeky that you’re interested in this coming year? As always, please comment below and remember to check out Joel’s New Years post!
Welcome back to The Week in Geek, our weekly summary of all our favourite pieces of nerd news. Tim and Joel keep watch for stories that interest us, but let us know if there are any stories you’d like us to talk about next week!
Ok, we’ve all heard about this already. The short version is that iPhone 6’s are structurally weak enough to bend is subjected to a minimal amount of stress. You can destroy one with your bare hands, or by putting it in tight pockets. Leaving aside all of my own pro-android view points, let us take this time to bask in the hilarity that is a bendy phone:
Seriously, Google “Bendgate” because the responses from corporations are hilarious. Somehow it’s funnier when businesses start ripping on each other than when the gleeful masses of the internet do it. Corporate trolling! It’s a thing.
Joss Whedon’s series to support the Marvel Cinematic Universe enters it’s second season this week, and already the show is taking a turn for the dark. Those of you who watched the first season to the bitter end [SPOILERS] will remember that following the events of Captain America: Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D is officially dissolved, but unofficially operating under the directorship of Agent Coulson to try and route out the forces of Hyrda. [SPOILERS OVER, you can come back now] No character has been left unchanged, the plane is gone, and things are more intriguing and action packed that ever before.
The first season was slow to really get started, but was an excellent introduction to the show at large and a great accompaniment to the film franchise. It’s storyline compliments those films that set it up and have been released alongside it (although I’m not sure it stands up on it’s own merits so well) and goes that little bit further into Marvel lore that may not have seen the light of day without the smaller-scale project. Look forward to Agent Carter, another supporting series that follows S.H.I.E.L.Ds beginnings that will premier in January.
Adobe buys Aviary
Aviary is a photo-editing platform for mobile devices, it is also a creative SDK of sorts. It’s no major surprise then that Adobe, the guys who run Photoshop, are interested in the platform that is Aviary which last year alone saw over 10 billion photos be processed through its various apps.
So why is this interesting at all? Adobe are doing something known as “the Creative Cloud”, a cloud-based creative software system where you pay a set monthly fee (£27.34 per month for the first year) and get access to all of Adobes software. It’s aimed at enthusiasts, hobbyists and small to medium sized businesses. It’s a more affordable way to run programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and more! Of course, in the long-term it’s more expensive than out-right buying the software, but if you don’t necessarily want to own the software for some reason, then this is a chance to get the whole works without buying the software.
So where does Aviary fit in?
Aviary delivers SDKs (Software Development Kits) to mobile platforms, which allows the creation of creative software. So integrating this in the Creative Cloud makes sense, as it means Adobe are also able to support those who want to work with the Aviary SDKs (which is now being renamed to Adobe Creative SDK.) It seems like a smart buy for Adobe, best of luck to the employees of both companies!
That’s it for this Week in Geek! If you know of anything happening that you think should get a small piece on this site, let us know! Drop us an e-mail or even use the contact form below. If you don’t want your name to be featured or if you want some information to be displayed should your news make it in, then please let us know what you want and we’ll accredit you as expected!
Until next week, keep it geek!
Welcome back to The Week In Geek, our weekly summary of all our favourite pieces of nerd news. Tim and Joel keep watch for stories that interest us, but let us know if there are any stories you’d like us to talk about next week!
After the “leaked” test footage starring Ryan Reynolds hit the internet like an atom bomb, talk of a real Deadpool movie reached an all time high because it was just so beautiful. Fans of the Merc with a Mouth were livid with his portrayal in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in spite of the fact that the casting choice was wildly hailed by both fans, and by the casting choice himself who has been very outspoken about wanting to reprise the role, so long as it was done properly.
Yup, that looks properly like Deadpool to me!
Well, Fox have tested the water and this week they officially took the plunge and announced a date for the movie we’ve been waiting for, February 12th, 2016. Now, that’s a long way away, and projects this popular have been mired in the past to the point where they’ve vanished off the map (Duke Nukem Forever for example) but things have never looked better for Deadpool the Movie!
Encryption by Default
In case you were unaware of the recent announcement by Google and Apple, the Android and iDevices out there will now be getting encrypt functions enabled by default. For the record, both Googles and Apples devices have had encryption on their devices from the get go, although only the savvy knew about the features previously!
To me, it’s a no brainer! By having encryption set up by default, we can expect a lot less damage to our data when we go to a nefarious website. Of course it isnt the end of the worlds problems from them naughty hacking black-hat types. In fact, it doesnt really affect them that much at all with the power of decryption, but at least its one small step back to bringing the power to the average user!
Tell your family, tell your friends: Mobile devices are becoming safer and more ready for more serious usage around offices and indeed day to day activities. Just be aware that this is but one step towards security on your mobile devices.
One thing that wasnt made clear is when this is set to roll out. We will keep you informed about this one if we find out anything else.
Crescent Bay Kit
You might have seen my post from yesterday, but if you haven’t then please go check it out! I think this is quite exciting news!
Crescent Bay then is the latest development kit for the Oculus Rift! How exciting it is then that there is finally integrated speakers. Whats more, a new demo has been made by the developers of the Oculus Rift, a demo that lets you explore all of the new features from the built in speakers to the 360 head tracking!
Its an exciting time for the Virtual Reality headset but to keep abreast of any new changes, dont forget to keep your eyes (and now ears) open to the game conferences out there, as well as the Oculus Rift Kickstarter page, which they STILL keep updated!
- This week sees the premier of the new Batman prequel series Gotham.
- Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm Kickstarter has been announced, more on that later in the week
- And this week (today actually) GeekOut South-West passed 10,000 views! Thanks everybody :D
Thats it for our week in geek, check back with us next week for more geeky goodness! Until next time, keep it geek folks!
What do you think about these exciting changes and developments? Have you got a good tip for us and our week in geek articles? Let us know in the comments below! We dont bite and we love to read your emails too!