Why I Returned My MacBook Pro 15 With the Touch Bar

November 20th, 2016 No Comments »

 

The Basics

Since I mentioned on FaceBook a few days ago that I returned my MacBook Pro 15, several people have asked me why so I thought I give some feedback on that decision.  It was not easy because on one side, there were things I loved about it and on the other, it was not good enough to work though the issues I was having with it.

What caused the knee jerk reaction to return it was the 5 crashes I had on it (full blown, screen fuzzy, frozen keyboard, must power off).

Three of the crashes were similar to the one you can see above where I was in the middle of encoding a video using Adobe Premiere Pro and two were more random but after I had been doing encoding with Premiere Pro. I have no idea if they were related but still very disconcerting. I did call both Adobe (who had no insight besides "try again") and Apple support who said "Well, we can create a case and submit your crash report but it will be more than week likely before you hear back". That would put me past the return for full refund policy so the choice to return was a not brainer.

What did I love about the new MacBook Pro

  • Audio is unbelievably great
  • Touch Bar is Very Useful
  • New Keyboard is Great
  • TouchPad Bigger (not sure if better)

Here is What I don’t like

  • Similar Performance to Previous MacBook
  • Slower Video Encoding With Premier Pro then Previous MacBook (30% slower)
  • All My Old MacBook Power Adapters Obsolete
  • Just USB-C ports (PIA)
  • External DisplayPort Monitors Not Supported by Apple

 

Crashes

 

So, I did return it so that’s all I got now.  Maybe I’ll buy it again if I read better things but likely I’ll wait until the Kaby Lake version comes out and hopefully they have different discrete graphic options.

I also wrote up some details on a previous post regarding  how to connect external monitors and performance (refresh rates).

MacBook Pro 15 With Touch Bar External Monitor Options and Experiments

November 18th, 2016 3 Comments »

 

TLDR;

  • Impossible to get 4K external monitor working at 60Mhz (Only 30Mhz), DisplayPort or HDMI
  • DisplayPort monitors only work when going through Belkin Docking Station (not directly plugged to USBC –> Thunderbolt2 Apple cable –> Belkin Dock –> DisplayPort Little to Big DisplayPort cable
  • 3K (2560×1600) external monitor works at 60Mhz with HDMI only

 

The Experiments and Results

I called Apple Support regarding how to get my new MacBook Pro 15 (with TouchBar, 4MB Video memory, 16GB RAM) to work with external display port monitors. They said that IS NOT supported.  On my older macbook 15 (version before the touchbar) I could drive just one 4K DisplayPort monitor directly from my Thunderbolt2 port at 60Mhz (that does not work at all on new Macbook Pro 15 with touch bar, nothing comes on display).  Apple confirmed this wit this article:

https://support.apple.com/kb/ht204154?viewlocale=en_US

DisplayPort Solution:

USBC –> Belkin Docking Station –> DisplayPort Cable –> 4K* 30Hz

* From some odd reason this only worked when going through Belkin DisplayPort cable that was little connector to big connector.  Not the small Apple Thunderbolt cable.

SNAGHTML17e47693

 

 

USBC –> Belkin Docking Station –> DisplayPort Cable –> 3K* Fails (no video, go figure)

 

* From some odd reason this only worked when going through Belkin DisplayPort cable that was little connector to big connector.  Not the small Apple Thunderbolt cable.

 

HDMI Experiments on New Macbook 15 with Touch Bar

 

USBC –> Apple Dongle Pictured Below –> 4K Monitor 30 Mhz

 

SNAGHTML17f1f79b

 

 

USBC –> Apple Dongle Pictured Below –> 3K Monitor 60 Mhz

 

SNAGHTML17f69f61

Three Monitors on a MacBook Pro (2015)

March 29th, 2016 No Comments »

ThunderBolt1 – 4K Monitor (60Mhz)
ThunderBolt2 – Belkin ThunderBolt Dock
HDMI – 4K Monitor (30Mhz)
USB1 – Hard Disk
USB2 – USB Port Expander

Belkin Thunderbolt Dock
Thunderbolt1 – VGA Monitor Through Converter
Ethernet
Various USB Devices

4K Monitor Asus PB287 Fail with Macbook Retina

June 18th, 2014 1 Comment »

Sadly, I’ll be returning the new Asus PB287 monitor I just bought ($675).  It looks wonderful but unfortunately (confirmed by apple support) will not work with another external non-apple display port monitor.

As soon as I plug it in to one of my thunderbolt ports on the Macbook Retina (late 2013 model with 2 thunderbolt ports),  my other external monitor shuts off.  Apple says that if I had a real thunderbolt monitor from apple, I would be able to drive this one in addition to that but sadly I do not so back it goes.

 

2014-06-18 09.26.44 2014-06-18 09.27.14

Voyager Legend, Great Noise Reduction Bluetooth Headset

May 21st, 2014 No Comments »

In the spirit of using the bluetooth on my mac, I’ve found that the Plantronics Voyager Legend works great!  It also works great with my mobile phone.  I’ve found myself on busy noisy city streets and the person I’m talking to does not hear any background noise.

image

Screen Resolution When Running Parallels Windows 8 On Macbook Pro Retina

February 7th, 2014 No Comments »

Conclusion

Run Windows at 1920×1200 on your Retina Screen.

Reasoning

If you run native retina resolution (2880×1440) and set your fonts to 200%, you’ll find strange behavior with windows. Certain dialogs (like the file open dialog) run incorrectly as well as many other anomalies. My experience has been that the native retina screen does a great job of presenting 1920×1200 so that is my choice. Pictures are great, speed is great, everything works well. It also means I don’t have to change the font s when I go back in forth between external monitors and my notebook.

Adobe Premiere Pro On The MacBook Retina

January 1st, 2014 No Comments »

Because Parallels does not seem to work with Adobe’s Cloud (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, etc.) I’ve had to switch to using Adobe’s products on the native Mac OSX Side. So far, they work really well. I think I will stick to that.

Finally Learning to love the Apple Magic Mouse

November 1st, 2013 No Comments »

Having struggled now for over a year with the Apple Track Pad, I’ve decided to give the Apple Magic Mouse another try.  I’ve bought and returned the Magic Mouse twice but decided once again to give it a try.

I’m really liking it! It seems I’ve either gotten better at the MAC way of doing things or the mouse has improved.  I did have problems previously with accidentally touching the top all the time and causing scrolling by accident but now, that does not seem to be the case. 

Who knows, but I’m a happy camper now.

 

image

Sad Your IR Control no longer works with your macbook pro retina?

September 5th, 2013 No Comments »

Me to.  Today, I finally spent the time and found a program call rowmote that solves the problem for me.  let’s me control the volume on my safari or google browsers playing video as well as pause and resume.  That’s all I wanted!

rowmote

 

http://www.regularrateandrhythm.com/apps/rowmote-pro/

Why Apple Will Survive and Thrive

August 22nd, 2013 No Comments »

As you know if you’ve been following my blog, I’m now pretty invested in Apple hardware.  Two Thunderbolt monitors, the most expensive MacBook Retina you can buy, lot’s of keyboards and trackpads as well as an IPad and various other apple accessories.

Yesterday, my trackpad that I bought something like a year ago started acting up (would not click every so often).  I went by the apple store here in San Francisco last night and explained this to the guy at the main desk (not the genius bar).  His response after looking at it for about 2 minutes was

I really don’t know but let me just give you a new one

No receipt, no long story, just a new one.  All I had to do was accept it by putting my name and email into his iphone.

I don’t know that Apple will stay the biggest company in the world, but I’m sure they will be around for quite a while.