The Laptop

I’m not calling this post “The Computer” as I originally intended, and that’s because there are two computers involved. The laptop Hania uses for recording, and the desktop I use for editing. Both these machines deserve individual consideration. There’s that, and also, my desktop is still waiting to be replaced with a new one, so I don’t know the ending of that particular story.

Hania has used a 2010 Macbook Pro 17″ since, well, not long after 2010. When we started recording the lectures, we used the built-in webcam in the Macbook, since that’s what we had.

As I arranged to take this picture, I realized how incredibly large and heavy this laptop is. And just look at that tiny trackpad…

I have no idea what the resolution of the webcam in the MBP17 is, and Apple doesn’t want to say in their specs either. Or maybe they forgot. But I’m pretty sure there weren’t many pixels in that thing.

I’ve already used this picture when discussing lights, but here it is showing off the iSight in the MBP17 in all its glory.

So, the webcam wasn’t so great. That could be remedied, but some other things could not. For instance, the drive in the MBP17 is only 500 GB. It’s an aftermarket OWC SSD, but the size is too small. ScreenFlow produces 20-30 GB of files per hour, so 500 GB won’t get you that far.

Getting those files off the machine was even worse. Moving them across the wifi was agonizingly slow. Over wired ethernet somewhat better, but still a huge pain in the hindquarters. The USB ports on the MBP17 are USB 2.0, so there’s no escape in that direction, either.

Something needed to give, and it turned out that something was me. I needed to give my brand new 2019 Macbook Pro 16″ to Hania, which I did1.

Macbook Pro 16″. I do miss it, though.

This machine has a 1 TB SSD, which is much more useable. And it has Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 and all that jazz, giving me ample opportunity to move files in a more expedient manner. The webcam image is better, though not by any means good enough for online courses.

Also an image you’ve seen already. This one is from the 16″ MBP from 2019. Better, but not that great.

I then got a 1 TB SSD in an M.2 stick, NVMe, and an IcyBox metal enclosure for max cooling.

IcyBox with a 1TB SSD inside.

This thing is fast. You just plug it into the MBP16, copy 100’s of GB of files in minutes, then connect that to the desktop through USB 32. This is probably the quickest and safest way to get those humongous files from one machine to another.

So that’s where we are now. I’ll get back to discussing computers after I’ve received my new iMac and after I’ve given it a whirl.

  1. I gave myself a Macbook Air to bridge the gap between now and the new ARM laptops. I could have gotten another MBP16, and I tried, but it didn’t go well.
  2. My current desktop is a 2014 iMac 27″, but its USB is pretty quick.

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