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Mac Upgrade


My MacBook Pro (2012) has had the hard drive wiped once in the last year from clogged oldness. It did make things better. Make sure you have backed up you documents and important things first. I have a 4TB external hard drive set to backup regularly. One thing I have noticed with an external hard drive is the wakeup time. If the hard drive does not get accessed for a period of time, it will go to sleep. Across all software and apps if I use the Open… command, I have to wait for the drive to wake up and be available for access.

So I am not one to run out and buy the new best thing , but I do stay in the know about the change in technology and standards. I weight the pros and cons and think about what will be dropped and what will remain and whether my digital life needs to be adjusted.

With Apple, one must stay on board, otherwise the life preservers do just that, preserve life but it isn’t a very productive one in getting things done with your day to day work flow. Apple sets standards, changes technology and uses seemingly better/more efficient ways of working. For those of us who have their “fine tuned machine” purring like a kitten and able to get work done settled in to a meditative breath, Apple goes and blows an air horn in our ear.

The new Apple MacBook Pro with touch bar with only USB-C ports is that disruption. I will say this, I am so not using the touch bar as you can tell from the photo, as it sits in a vertical stand. My desk is only so wide. See below.

I will report thatI have not put the laptop through any very heavy CPU rigors of video tests, so I am not sure if I am one of the users of the dreaded pink screen problem. I have seen no signs of it with everyday use. Cross my fingers.

Macbook Pro in vertical stand

Macbook Pro in vertical stand

The extra white thing in the stand that looks like folded paper, is just that, folded paper. It is there to close the gap with the Just Mobile stand to fit snuggly. I am using the MacAir insert, and the new MacBook Pros are thinner than MacBookAirs. Sadly I have found that JustMobile has put the AluBase as a legacy product on their site. I did see a couple listed on Amazon as used. I saw others listed, for less than the legacy AluBase product. Kinda feels nostalgic now.

On with the Upgrade

I had been using a small Asus monitor in my desk setup. That just wasn’t working anymore. If I was going to a bigger monitor – two would be twice as nice. Knowing that the MacBook already had a retina display, I pondered the upgrade on retina monitors as well. Wouldn’t you know, Apple has the corner on “the” monitors passing their standards to work with their new MacBook Pro, retrofitted and using USB-C. So I thought, pondered and considered other options. But the geek and tech nerd in me was making all kinds of noise inside my head about, the cons of staying with old technology, you will hate yourself if you don’t, and the new technology will probably last you another 4 years, on and on and on….

So I looked into a dual-monitor display stand. Found one and got the VIVO Dual LCD Monitor Desk Mount Stand Heavy Duty Fully Adjustable fits 2 / Two Screens up to 27″ (STAND-V002). It just barely fits on the overhang on the back of the desk. I purchased from Apple, two 21″ retina LG UltraFine 4K Displays. I am very happy with them. The installation with the dual mount was a breeze.

Dual retina monitors

Dual retina monitors

There is a **gotcha** when installing them. The USB-C cords must be installed a certain way. Knowing that regular USB cords are keyed to fit only one way, well the cords are to be installed and pointing their USB symbol a certain way into the monitors. More specifically both cords have to be pointing in the same direction in each one of the monitors. If one monitors shows up with your desktop and the other lags or won’t wake up from sleep with a tap of the spacebar, check the direction of the cords in each monitor. I was unplugging and replugging one of the monitors in order to wake it up. I didn’t think this was right, so I got on a chat session with LG technical support about that very problem and they guided me through the process very quickly.

USB-C

USB-C

It is quite lovely that you have a built in hub in the back of each monitor. Too bad I have no other devices that use USB-C. But fear not fellow geeks, that is where a handy dandy USB-C to USB Adapter  comes into play with a powered regular USB hub. When I went and picked up the monitors, the Apple employee told me an adapter and a powered USB hub would be a fix in the mean time. I am also using a USB extended Mac keyboard with 2 built in USB ports. That was just dumb luck. I have very infrequently used the ports on the keyboard and keep forgetting they are there, but now they are my life line.

More About the Monitors

On the LG website there is a mac app for the Onscreen Control.

Onscreen Control

Onscreen Control

I am impressed by the app, but not the constant hot pink color. Yes it is hot pink all the time, no there is not a preference to turn this off. There are many options to split the screen and your apps will snap to the closest available target space. You can drag and drop windows into the space and the on-screen target area will light up green, letting you know in which space it will be placed. the app shows up on both monitor menu bars.

Monitor Selection

Monitor Selection

Split Options

Split Options

Overall I really like the rich crispness of the screens. I am very happy with the setup. The only technical glitch was getting the USB-C cords plugged in the same direction. I highly recommend these monitors. Apple must have something up it’s sleeve about USB-C. So far with it’s newness, it is a frustration with so many “legacy” devices, but in time, I am sure the USB-C ports in the back of the monitors will be full of extra awesome devices.

Happy Coding!