We upgraded to the new MacBook Pro M1 Max and decided to share our first impressions of the new hardware, how we migrate data and settings from our old machines (or don’t), which apps were “instant installs” for each of us, which apps we’re trying to live without, and how we get our new machines set up for work and play. Nerd out with us!
Play the audio to listen along while you enjoy the transcript. 🎧
Welcome Backstage once again. I am Jerod…
And I’m Adam. What’s up?
We’ve got brand new laptops, that’s what’s up…
New Mac day is a fun day, you know…? You just sit there and wait. I know we waited, for sure, for weeks, for the mail. In my case I had a delay, you got yours early, I was super-jealous… And I actually thought I was gonna get mine way delayed, but it was only a few days delayed. It was waiting customs inside of North Korea – South Korea… North Korea - gosh… [unintelligible 00:00:42.22] My bad.
So I think it went from like somewhere in China to South Korea, hung out there for ten days, and then made its way over here, to Houston. But - new Mac day.
Yeah, I got mine a few days earlier than you… Even though I think you ordered before me.
Yeah, I think like a day or two before you.
You pulled the trigger the night before…
And I made sure to take a picture of the unboxing and put it in our Slack, just to rub it in your face a little bit…
I did zero pictures of the unboxing.
That wasn’t the real reason I did it. [laughs] Just to share the moment.
Yeah… Well, I did like that part; I liked that in Slack. I was like “Dang it, man… He’s playing with it over the weekend, and I’m just sitting here, wishing it was at my doorstep.” That’s how it works out…
Yeah, so as I record this, I’ve had mine a full workweek. So I got it – today is Monday, November 22nd. As we record, I received it the Saturday before last, and didn’t really do much all over the weekend; just opened it up and looked at it, and set it aside. I think I actually did boot it up on Sunday and started to just dork around a little bit… But I started setting it up last Monday. So I’ve had about a week’s worth of activity, which is probably just a couple days more than you, right?
I got mine on Tuesday, I could not resist setting it up that day, so I did… And I think I was ready – we recorded with Jessica Lord the very next day, and I was ready. My new machine was up and ready to record the very next day.
You were on it.
It was mostly about curiosity, like how much will I have to limp along on the other machine in between, because of the – I mean, if it was any other Intel Mac, it’d be different. Easy swap out. This is a new processor, so going from Intel to the M1 - Macs, I guess? Yeah, the M1 Macs chips for us…
We maxed it. We maxed it out.
Mm-hm… All the way except for storage.
Yeah, so it’s a big upgrade because of the Intel to ARM transition… And we’re also coming from different setups in the first place. So we’re gonna get into initial impressions, and then how we set it up, what we’ve done so far, what we like, what we don’t like, what we’re trialing, so on and so forth. All the fun details. But let’s talk about where we were before this, so how big of an upgrade was this… Because that’s gonna color our initial impressions.
I’ll just spoil mine… I’m mindblown, because my working laptop up until last week was a 2017, 13-inch Core i5; a 3.1 gigahertz dual core MacBook Pro, with 16 gigs of RAM. So that’s about five years old; I guess that’s four years…
Almost five, yeah.
You do the math, yeah…
Four years old… Not under-powered by any means, until I started doing more audio and video editing. That’s really where I feel it, of course. As well as livestreaming, when I was doing those live Elixir sessions and I would have to compile code while running OBS, and streaming to somewhere… That’s where I really started to hit up against the power limitations of that machine. So I’ve been waiting for an upgrade, because I wanted this machine that I bought.
[04:10] I didn’t want the MacBook Air edition. I knew the M1 last year was brand new, there was gonna be some transitionary time… We still have – I don’t know if you’ve hit the Rosetta thing already, but I have… Installing Rosetta for certain things that aren’t ported to the new architecture… But what are you upgrading from? I know you were on a beefier machine than I was.
It’s pretty similar… I don’t notice a ton of change, really… Except for apps loading super-fast. Audition in particular - it would take quite a bit to load the plugins, and you have that initial splash screen… That actually is super-fast on the M1 Macs. So I’m coming from an iMac Pro 2017, so similar year at least, but much different machine.
More power, yeah.
Yeah, in this case it was an 8 core Intel Xeon W, running at 3.2 gigahertz. Memory was massive; more than I have now. 128 gigs, DDR4, 2666 megahertz RAM. Graphics was decent, it had a Radeon Pro in there, with 16 gigs of graphics RAM. So it was a pretty beefy machine, and similar storage; it was a one terabyte storage, which - I’m now of the opinion that you should max out your storage if you can… And if you don’t need to go, in our case, 8 terabytes - I think that’s more than we probably need, so we went with four… But I’ll forever regret buying an iMac Pro with 1 terabyte of storage. It’s just not enough for a pro machine. You just need more storage.
Yeah… I think the storage for me is the biggest upgrade, because I was on a half a terabyte disk.
You were always doing the dance, weren’t you? The storage dance.
I was. I was doing it for years. Delete this, and move that, smart sync with Dropbox has been – I actually still use it. I have so much storage now, but just out of habit, I’m still smart-syncing things… And I just kind of like having that control over Dropbox… But I had to. I got down to where – right now I’m looking at the old machines, I’ve got 55 gigabytes free, and that’s on the high side of where I would live… Because we’re always doing this audio production; so you’re having new projects, old projects, you’re shuffling through… You have a bunch of stuff that’s in production, but not shipped yet, so I get down to like 10 gigabytes of free space, then we have to ship a few shows, and I get to archive those off, and get that space back… I mean, this has been a [unintelligible 00:06:43.27] and –
I bet, man…
Now I’ve got four terabytes… I don’t even know what to do with all that. Just look at it and enjoy the freeness…
Yeah. And I think too then as well, with the 2017, I bet you that – so the internal storage is in RAID, it’s NVMe storage, so it’s way faster than your previous storage even.
Yeah, for sure.
Like, sure, it was storage, it was SSD, but in this case it’s NVMe SSD, so… Much faster interface. They’re probably in like a hardware RAID setup where you can’t even control the rate; it’s just there, like that, probably… I’m assuming, at least. I don’t actually know. Even if it’s not NVMe rated; NVMe SSDs are super-fast anyways, but I bet you if you did a speed test on it, it’s probably 2000 megabyte to 3000 megabyte read/write, something like that. That’s my guess. I haven’t done one yet.
Yeah, I think my machine wasn’t that much of an upgrade, honestly… And I went down RAM-wise, but I think what you have with the single-chip design probably makes up for that, where you don’t need that much RAM. So I don’t really feel a difference yet. I honestly think I had more RAM than you need. I think it’s great when you buy a pro machine to buy more than you actually need, because you wanna grow into it. You don’t wanna hit your threshold right away; you wanna have it for five years and enjoy it for five years, and get all you can out of it, and that kind of thing. So I think I really put that machine through its paces, but…
[08:17] Exporting has been faster. I’ve done some exports of Audition. So we have a process when we do our mixdowns, essentially; we have different plugins in place, and it essentially takes all the tracks… In some cases, it’s five to eight tracks per session; a session is a project, essentially. You mix those down, it takes all those and munges it into one single wav file, then you take that wav file and you run it through a process called match loudness, that exports an mp3, that’s ready for broadcast, essentially. It’s got broadcast quality attached to it. It’s got [unintelligible 00:08:48.00] attached to it, it’s equalized, all that good stuff.
But that process would take quite a while, even for my iMac Pro. And for the M1 Macs it’s just like – so far, it’s been really, really fast. I can’t complain, by any means. No crashes yet, either.
Well, that’s always nice.
So initial impressions for me, coming from the 2017, the first thing I noticed was actually something I wasn’t even expecting to be an upgrade, which is the speakers.
The speakers sound good, man…
And I know you don’t unplug very often… So we have studio monitor setups at our desks, because hey, we’re audio people, and we need to be able to hear all those details. But I take my laptop away from my studio often. Every weekend, I take it down to the kitchen table, for randomness… And oftentimes even in the afternoons, if I’ve worked all day, I wanna just go sit somewhere else… We’ll sit on the front porch and work from there… So I’m using the onboard speaker system probably more often than you are. And wow - the detail that you can coming off these new M1 Macs Pro… It just blows – in fact, I lined them both up next to each other and played the exact same song… I timed my start button out, I had stereo going, and then I would mute one and mute the other… It’s so much better.
Also, that’s a four-year upgrade. They’ve been getting better year by year, I’m sure… But I’ve got this four-year gap and it sounds noticeably improved.
Yeah. I wonder if the change really is simply a hardware change in terms of that, or if they’re able to put better stuff in there because there’s more space with the – the not-need to have the RAM over here, and the CPU over there, and the graphics thing over there, where it’s sort of unified in a way, where their hardware architecture can allow for maybe better acoustics potentially even…
I know Rene Ritchie covered some of this stuff in some of his videos. He’s going deep on the specifics around that. I’m sure that either he or MKBHD have gone there. We’re by no means Rene Ritchie or MKBHD.
We’re just folks who enjoy our Macs and share the process of upgrading, which - I think this was an interesting one, honestly. It really was. Because it was – you know, anytime you move to a new CPU type thing, this architecture, you’re gonna get bumps… Especially when you go to the command line, you install your Homebrew, and stuff like that - that’s really where things begin to change. I believe Homebrew installs in different places now versus where it before had installed, so…
Initial impressions for me though are outstanding. I mean, I think the machine itself, the box… I mean, lifting up the box alone, before even unpacking it… Like, the actual shipped box into my hands was noticeably quite heavy. And I was surprised by that.
[11:58] The box opening was different than any other box beforehand, all that good stuff… The machine is just very, very beefy, because you can tell it’s a pro machine… Which I think is interesting, because they’ve always had the MacBook Pro line, but I think they went way pro in terms of hardware, and it’s just very, very dense with this build here. They didn’t hold anything back; they weren’t like “Let’s make the lightest thing possible. Let’s make the thinnest thing possible.”
They were like “Let’s make the actual most capable machine possible, and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to the thinness, or weight.” That’s my opinion, at least. I could just feel it was very, very pro.
Yeah, it definitely seems like a change in direction from them, from the previous years… Maybe the departure of Jony Ive allowed for this, who knows… But they were definitely going “thinness at all costs”, which I’m down with on the MacBook Air; I mean, it’s right there in the name… Like, make that one as thin as possible. But the Pros it got to a point where you couldn’t really differentiate the two machines, aside from the price and some of the internals. They were like the same machines; one had better internals, maybe one had better battery life. But now - I mean, this thing is not trying to be an air. Like you said, it’s beefy. It’s quite a bit bigger than my 13-inch that it’s sitting right next to… And going back to the speakers - I mean, even physically, they’re probably at least two-thirds bigger, just physically, the speakers, on this… The trackpad is huge, the keyboard is bigger, the keys are bigger…
I love the keyboard. The keyboard is so awesome, yeah.
The Escape key is a real button…
You get your rows back. The one addition I loved to the function keyrow is the – and maybe it was there before and I just never noticed it… But it’s the moon. What is the moon [unintelligible 00:13:43.25] again?
Yes. I call it the globe.
Yeah, I think it’s like the Do Not Disturb… I think it’s the Focus mode is their new thing. There are focus modes. So that lets you turn on Do Not Disturb right from your keyboard, without having to like –
Oh, you’re talking about the half moon, the sliver moon. I was thinking down on the Function key, in the lower left, has the globe on it…
Yes, the F6 –
You know, that’s the emoji button.
I love the emoji button, too. The Function emoji button, that’s amazing.
Yeah. That’s new for me, because on my old MacBook Pro it’s just a function button. Now, you could still configure it to be emoji button, but it wasn’t default, so I never noticed it… So I had this claw keyboard thing I would do, which was like Cmd+Shift+Caps Lock… I don’t know what it was…
…to pull up the emoji picker. And now it’s just right there, on the globe. But you’re talking about the sliver moon, F6.
Well, because you get all your rows back, and it’s not this – you know, what it might be, per app, display type, non-functional, tactile, row key. It’s legitimate – I mean, it seems so logical, but… I think it was just a failed attempt. The whole touchbar was a good idea, to some degree, but it just could not be executed. And I’d just rather have function row keys.
Yeah, it just wasn’t good in practice. It wasn’t better.
Especially the Escape key. The Escape key needed to be a physical key. I would tap in the area and just hope I hit it.
That’s the worst one. But even just having the volume buttons be real keys…
I mean, I had touchbar for daily use, for four years, and I got this thing out and pushed volume up, and I just giggled. I’m like, “It’s real. It’s a button!” It’s so much better. Like, it’s just marginally better. Or not marginally; better than marginally. Noticeably better having those physical keys up there again. And the touch ID is super-fast.
Fast. Very fast.
Instantaneous. Which is awesome.
Yeah. I guess one more point to for me is coming from also – so I had an iMac Pro, and I like to go mobile as well, so I had a 13-inch MacBook Pro, which was just the barebones, essentially. I got the lowest that you can ever get, essentially; just enough so I can be mobile, have a mobile machine; because we do travel… At least we were traveling less the last couple of years; we do travel often though… To record, I needed a more capable machine on the road, but not super-beefy. So in that case, I was coming from the touchbar and whatnot, and even the touch ID on that was not very fast. Here, it’s instant.
Instant, yeah. And the cool thing I like about these new machines too is you can get the external keyboard with touch ID as well.
Well, that’s cool. You can just buy it and put it on a Mac Mini…
Yeah, exactly. You could put it on a Mac Mini. In my case, I have a display… And so the actual keyboard – like, the machine’s over there; I’m pointing… And no one on the audio can actually see me point, but you can, Jerod… I’m pointing over there; the actual MacBook Pro is over there, the Pro display is here, the trackpad… My normal setup. Keyboard, trackpad, Wacom. I didn’t have to give up what I like in terms of a single monitor, big monitor setup, going to the MacBook Pro. So I’m stoked about that. But just to point that the external keyboard can have touch ID as well because of the new processor.
Mm-hm. So you probably haven’t noticed the two other things I wrote down as initial impressions. The screen is beautiful, and the notch - I don’t really care. I don’t notice it.
Yeah, I don’t care about the notch.
But you’re clam shell mode, right?
Actually, I keep it up over there all the time. So I just keep it as a secondary monitor.
Sometimes I’ll play Seinfeld episodes over there. That’s my little monitor over there, it’s just chilling there… Which is great. So it’ll play Seinfeld, and the big monitor is just for all work stuff, basically. Or it’s just sitting there, doing nothing.
So I’ll tell you, the reason why I haven’t put it in clamshell yet is because when I did, something weird happened, and I just haven’t done it again. So I have it from a Thunderbolt cable from the back of the display, to the MacBook Pro. But I think you’re also supposed to put the actual plugin. So not just the Thunderbolt plugin to do clamshell. I think that’s what they said online; I just haven’t tried it yet, so… Pending. I’ll let you know. But if I close it right now, something weird would happen with the screen, so I think something was just not right. So I think it needs to also be powered with the actual power brick, in addition to the Thunderbolt power.
Well, I use mine in regular mode. I do connect it to a secondary monitor… But I use both as primary monitors, so to speak. And I also, as I said before, detach and use it standalone quite a bit.
And honestly, the notch is the same situation as it was on the phone. When I first saw the notch on the phone, I was like “Yuck! How did that one get past QA?”
And then in practice I just never even notice it. I don’t even think about it. And it’s the same thing here, up there in the menu bar. I mean, if I wanna look at it, I can see, it’s right there, and I can notice it. But when you’re doing your thing, it just fades into the background, no big deal.
So credits to Rene Ritchie on this, but whenever he – I think it was either him, or MKBHD; it was one of the two. So on the screen on the MacBook Pro, the menu bar above - you still get your normal real estate. So that’s why when you take an application into full-screen, the notch essentially goes away, because that bar comes into play. They took what was normally the 16x9 aspect ratio - I could be off (I’m paraphrasing) and just not correct on some of these things, but the rough idea essentially is they took that display and added the File menu bar above it. So you’re actually not losing real estate anyways when it comes down to breaking down how it works out… But how often do you look in the top-center of your screen and wish “I just wish something was there, that was more informative to my experience of using this machine?”
It just never came into play. So - like you, yeah, “Yuck. What’s it doing there?”, but in practice, it didn’t really bother me one bit.
Yeah. Some people had visceral reactions to it. I saw a guy who created some desktop wallpapers that would be black, thick in the center, so that it would split your screen in half, and you wouldn’t even be able to see – and even up into the menu bar, so you wouldn’t be able to see it… Stuff like that. I don’t know… It just doesn’t bug me.
No. And you know, we don’t – so theories are this is now a design thing that Apple has done, and it sort of makes their machines unique, on the iPhone or on mobile phones, essentially. You saw the same reaction and a lot of pushback on it. But then you saw everyone else essentially copy what Apple had done. And some not, but many had done it; in some cases – like, MKBHD covered this quite well… Some would actually put the notch there and not even really need it, physically. Apple put it there because they used all that space for face ID, and all the fun things they’ve put into the machine and whatnot. So there’s speculation that this is a design type thing that will come into play. Currently not shipping with face ID, but maybe it’s massaging the feels of the future, essentially, to be ready for it. So face ID ready, more sensors ready, essentially.
Like, if this notch is there, you just get used to it.
Yeah. So the webcam is in the notch, but there’s a bunch of blank space on either side of the webcam, because –
Right. It’s just the webcam, which doesn’t need all the space.
Unlike the phone that has five or six sensors in the notch. There’s just the one here.
Precisely. Lidar, and all that stuff. Yeah.
But I think what they’re – I do think they’ve turned it into a design thing, but I think it’s clearly a concession, because any designed who could not have a notch would choose not the notch, I think. But we’re just not there yet. I mean, they have to be able to put the sensors and the cameras behind the screen… Which - that would be ideal, right? Right in the middle, where you’re looking… You know, no interruption. Some sort of way of putting it behind the display, and having it not be obstructed by the display to do its thing, which - I know that people are working on that, but…
So let’s say a different world, where you can not have the notch, and instead of having the notch, let’s say all the sensors can see through the screen, and the graphics on the screen, but the camera can’t. And you just have to have like a black circle, just for the camera.
No, they’re working on the camera as well, that’s what I’m saying.
Like, to see through the graphics of the screen itself?
Yeah, I don’t know if it’s all in software, like it finds a way of reversing that…
Canceling it? Yeah…
I mean, obviously – they haven’t delivered it yet, but I know there’s Samsung, and Apple, they’re all trying to engineer this. Because that’s the perfect situation - great sensors, great camera, and it just doesn’t take up any space.
Sure, of course. Hide it all. I mean, who wants wires…? These notches are like wires, essentially. When you hang a TV on the wall, versus on its typical stand, on a piece of furniture… When you put it up on the wall, do you wanna see those wires dangling down into your other gear, and to the outlet, and if you need to hardwire it into your network… No. You don’t wanna see the wires, never.
So of course, you don’t really wanna see the notch. It’s necessary.
It’s a necessary thing, which - if it’s gonna be necessary, then what do you do? You turn it into an advantage, you make it feel like a design aspect, right?
…which - they’ve definitely succeeded at that. Because like you said - people are copying it, because that’s what they do.
It’s an Apple thing, yeah. Even if they don’t need it, they’re copying it.
[24:05] So yeah… First impressions for me - I love it. Heavy machine, but give me all the Pro. I don’t want you to thin it out, I don’t want you to shrink the machine… I mean, obviously, there’s a threshold, so don’t go overboard… But when it comes to a pro machine, I buy a pro machine that costs what this thing costs, $5,000+, in some cases, fully spec-ed out, I want all pro. I don’t’ want all thin. I don’t want MacBook Air. I want all Pro.
So when it comes to the upgrade itself, on my phone I do the easiest, fastest thing, restore from iCloud backup. I just want my exact phone, transmuted – is that a word? I just want it transferred directly onto this new phone, as if nothing else changed.
On my Mac, that’s not the way that I’m rolling. I’m using it as an opportunity to play Do or Die with – to really re-question every decision I’ve made. Because over 4-5 years of using the same machine, especially for development, and work, and play, and all this stuff, it gets pretty crufty. There’s lots of junk. And it’s like – it starts off pristine. And so… Not so fast; I don’t restore anything. I run them simultaneously, and copy over the stuff that makes sense, when I need it. I think you’re kind of taking a similar tact, right?
A hundred percent, yeah. I don’t know about the people who would do the transfer… Like, what kind of Pro user they would be. I would wanna talk to them. Not so much that they’re wrong or right, I just wanna know.
[laughs] They might be one that’s in a hurry. They’re like, “I just need it to work today.”
Yeah, exactly. But for me, my machine is an extension of me, because we use it so much to create… So I need to know how it works, and there’s particulars with setting it up to know how it works. That it’s sturdy… You know, if you’re using Homebrew, where things are at, which version of Git you’re using, for example, your SSH key, for example, where things get stored… All that fun stuff. And for me – especially the terminal, and different applications, I just wanna know how they work, and know that it’s done the right way, versus just restoring. I just don’t know about people who do that.
But I will say, the very first thing I did on my machine - I spent way too long creating my memoji… I spent at least ten minutes creating my memoji, so… Even before I actually got into the machine, it takes you through that process, and I’m like, “You know what - I haven’t done one of these yet, so I should just create one.” So I spent ten minutes creating my memoji. And now it’s there, and it animates itself whenever I log in and out and whatnot, so it’s kind of fun. It makes it more playful.
I didn’t even do that. Mine didn’t even prompt me to make a memoji. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I’m not sure what happened with mine.
Well, you get to set your avatar. And when you do that, you can choose which, and part of that discovery process of what you wanna use, whether it’s the defaults or not, is the opportunity to create a memoji. So at that time I created it. And I wasn’t even logged in yet.
The next thing it asked me though was FileVault disk encryption. And it defaults to yet. I’m curious if you went with yes, or if you explicitly said no.
I went with yes.
Okay. So I don’t know –
I travel with this thing.
You know, security concerns… I think it’s low enough a level at this point that you’re not gonna notice it on performance.
That was my – I mean, it wasn’t like I’ve put a lot of thought into it. I was like, “You know what - this thing is geeky, I do take it some places… Better safe than sorry. Yeah, go ahead.” You know, they want it as a default, so that’s what Apple thinks I should do… You turned it off.
[27:55] My biggest fear is getting locked out of my data, somehow… And that may show my naivety to disk encryption and how that works and what the possibility is, but… You know, if something happened to this machine, for some reason, and I needed to – in the past I’ve had this happen where you can plug in one machine to another and boot in a certain way, and it acts like just an external disk, essentially. Like, if I ever had to do that with this machine, would that mean that file disk encryption would lock me out? I don’t know.
So my fear and lack of knowledge is what made me say no, even though they had already defaulted me to yes. I was like, “Yeah… Not so fast there, Apple… No. I’m gonna pull back on that one.”
I’d love some education on that front, basically.
Yeah, I guess I think about my data that everything that’s of value is backed up and elsewhere, you know? So… I mean, maybe in practice that becomes not true, especially if I’m in the middle of a project… You know, I did that STDOUT episode of the Changelog, and at one point I was like – I’d been working on that for a couple of weeks, and it only exists on my computer. That’s stupid. If my computer crashed or burned, I would be mad. So in practice I get to a point where I do have unique precious bits on that disk, but in theory, all of that should be in Dropbox. So I shouldn’t have that scenario.
True. Same for me, I would say, too… That’s pretty true, because in the iMac scenario I didn’t have enough local storage. So I have one terabyte of storage, so I had to get an external Thunderbolt 3, which was a super-fast external storage. It was 4 terabytes, so that’s what made me think four terabytes on these machines would be great, because I never used all that… And I always had plenty to consume. But I would Carbon Copy Clone that thing to a separate network drive elsewhere on the network, where essentially I have a RAID setup where – I know RAID is not a backup; if you’re listening to this, of course, it’s not a backup, but it’s a secondary copy. So I would always copy my production drive, essentially, which was that drive, to a different machine, several times a day. I think like three times a day, every six hours… And the same thing now, same concept. But I’m actually gonna move – instead of using Carbon Copy Cloner, I think I’m gonna do it with a cron job and rsync this time around, versus that.
The cool thing about Carbon Copy Cloner is that it gives you a chance to do what they call a safety net. So if the file doesn’t exist on the old – instead of deleting it, it moves it to a folder that eventually purges itself. Whereas rsync, if you use the –delete flag on rsync, it will essentially match your source to your destination. And if it exists on your destination but not at your source - because you’re syncing source to destination if you do –delete - it’s going to delete whatever exists on the destination that no longer exists on the source. So it’s gonna literally mirror it.
It’s a mirror, yeah.
And yeah, I’m comfortable with that. But in the case of accidentally deleting something, and that rsync command somehow falls on the hour of the cron job you ran, or something like that, and you actually didn’t wanna delete it, and you don’t have a way back, the safety net’s gone. So rsync - I would love it if somehow they buffered in some sort of safety net features, like Carbon Copy Cloner. But Carbon Copy Cloner is a GUI, really easy to use, sturdy; I’ve used it for years, I love the application… But the geek in me wants to run a cron job and monitor it with Cronitor, and do it with an rsync command instead, because… Why not?
[31:58] So what are the other things you did right away? I have a list of things that despite my reticence to installing stuff, and doing like a just-in-time installation of things that I absolutely need, there’s still probably half a dozen apps or things that I did or set up immediately, within the first hour.
Yeah. Okay, let’s play first app. What was your first app?
Not an exciting one… Not exciting at all. I needed my files, man…
You did need your files. So did you hand-type in your password then? You had to have, right?
No, because my passwords are in iCloud.
Oh, okay, so you got me there. Okay.
So I use iCloud Keychain, I do not use 1Password. I did not use LastPass. Although I use it for sharing passwords amongst Changelog, but… I’m on iCloud Keychain. It does everything I need, it comes pre-installed on everything… Sign in to iCloud, do your thing, and there’s all your passwords right there, instantly available, at the touch of an ID.
I just touch ID it. Boom.
So I just signed into iCloud, and I used that to sign into Dropbox, download the app, set it up. Not exciting… But I think I went in the order Dropbox, Audition, Slack, Zoom… Which kind of hurt, because I know Zoom does some weird stuff underneath the covers.
That’s funny. Okay…
But I did it. I had a meeting to get to. I think I was meeting with you, on Zoom. I was like “Hold on a minute, I’m installing Zoom.”
Yeah, you were rushed into a couple things. So I would actually discount Zoom because of that, but it’s the truth. It’s the actual ordering.
So these are like just must-haves, because they’re just like communication tools. But the ones that I install for me, that I like immediately - iStat Menus, which I’ve been a long-time user… It puts all sorts of cool data in your menu bar. My CPU, my network –
I’m familiar, but I let it go a long time ago. I used to use that often, but I guess it just informed me less. What is it that makes you keep using it?
Mostly, I like to watch my outbound and inbound network traffic, and see how hard and fast I’m pushing it… Like, “Oh, I’m pulling 15 megs down right now.” It’s an indicator of activity that I like to be notified of…
And I put CPU in there, which is because my old machine was slow, and so I’d wanna know when my CPU is getting pegged. I haven’t cared about it, I just set it up anyways, because it’s just like a habit. I’m like, “Yeah, CPU, network…” That’s it. The network one is the biggest one for me. I’ve watched my network traffic for years, and I just wanna keep doing it, basically.
Yeah. I mean, you’ve got some limitations on it… Fine.
Plus, you click on it and it gives you your external IP address, it gives you… What I like is it’ll actually show which process is pulling the data.
I know Brave browser is doing it, versus Dropbox, versus… And what megabytes or kilobytes up and down, every process is doing. So it breaks it down very acutely, and I can really pinpoint who’s the culprit of this traffic.
That is interesting. I’d probably be curious, but I wouldn’t want it to be in my menu bar all the time. If it could be like a terminal thing, just-in-time when I wanna know it, just run a command. That’d be cool.
I’m sure there’s something out there that gets that done, but… For me, iStand Menus has just been part of my menu bar for years, and I like it, so I installed it right away.
Yeah. We’re definitely different people.
Plus, I wanted to see how this new machine performs, so I was like, “I wanna see if the CPU is ever working hard.” And so far it hasn’t.
Yeah, it’s probably like “Yeah, I’m just chillin’ here…”
And then Homebrew, which I think we’ll both talk about, was pretty fast… Because that’s like your gateway to all the other tools that you need.
It’s a default install, man…
Yup. And then Transmit.
It’s a must-install if you’re a developer.
I installed Transmit right away… And that’s basically it.
Those were my instant installs.
Okay. So for me, first was 1Password, because I don’t use iCloud Keychain. And I think – I would actually probably be okay with iCloud Keychain, except for I use 1Password for more than just passwords. I use it for the gateway, drivers license is in there, credit cards are in there, different things are in there, that are like beyond just logins and stuff. So I like 1Password for that reason; I’ve been using it for a very, very long time. For as long as I can remember using anything, 1Password was like the long-standing application for me.
So that was my first install, because I needed to have my password to then install other things.
So the first thing for me was like “Let’s get 1Password in place, that way I have access to it, it’s good to go.” Any password I need for any website or any service, I’ve got it. It’s done.
So in that case, then I think the next thing was like iCloud. It’s an obvious thing. Which sync should it be - I did all sync. The very next thing I did was name my machine. I don’t know about you, but I have to give my machine its due nomenclature.
I named mine as well. It wasn’t like right away, but I definitely have named it already.
Well, I was then thinking about things like “Okay, what is this machine on the network?” Because I have all my machines named, so I can easily log into them, and stuff like that.
Do you have a naming system?
Somewhat… I mean, for my machines I do. My machines always begin with AS. That’s my initials. So AS- in this case it’s a MacBook Pro, so it’s MBP… And then because there’s always a size, and the size is always uniquely different… Like, I’ve never had two 16-inches, or two fifteens. I may have two laptops, but never two of the same size monitors. So I’ve got a super-old 15-inch, the most recent 13-inch, and now a 14-inch. So they’re all named AS-MBP-screen size. So in this case, -14.
So if Heather (my wife) had a similar machine on the network, she would be HS-MBP-14. So that way it wouldn’t collide with like – Heather’s MacBook Pro, and Adam’s MacBook Pro… I just think those are ugly names on the network, so I just get rid of them immediately.
Yeah. I do the same thing for mine. I let Rachel’s just be whatever it says; Rachel’s MacBook Air.
Well, I don’t tell her what she should do, but I suggested very – I’m the IT guy right here, so I get to suggest…
That’s right. You sit down at dinner, “Hey, here’s our naming scheme. Listen up, you’re HS.”
I probably set up her machines for her too, so I probably just did it on her behalf. Not like, “Hey, you have to”, just more like just a loving gesture, more or less.
So a while ago I realized that the first part of my name rhymes with Air, so I immediately had JairPods. My AirPods became JairPods. My MacBook Air became MacBook Jair… And then my phone, instead o iPhone, it was JairPhone… And then I had JairBook Pro… [laughs] So this is my naming scheme, is put Jair in there somewhere.
Okay… So what’s this machine’s name then?
This is JairBook Max.
Ooh. Well, I like that.
Because it’s the Pro Max.
You know, you’ve gotta have your own style in there, for real.
I think that’s great, too. You’ve gotta have something. It just can’t be like Jerod’s MacBookPro.local. That’s just ugly.
So lame. I agree.
It is lame. And then, because I use Pi-hole on the network too, every machine that has or should have a dedicated IP - so DHCP tends to only issue the same IP, but it can change theoretically through DHCP. So I tend to issue static IPs to particular machines I know I’m logging into… So the Raspberry Pi’s, they have their own. The Linux box I have on the network, it has its own. And like this machine, if I’m outside the network and I’m SSH-ing in, and I wanna get at something on this machine for some reason, I want it to have a dedicated IP.
[40:14] But that actually matters less when you do DNS… So through Pi-hole, you have the option to do CNAMEs, and DNS, and stuff like that. So I have a simple system… Similarly to this, you know, [unintelligible 00:40:27.16] a couple Raspberry Pi’s, a Linux box… So those all get named appropriately, but that first part is whatever the machine’s name is, dot home, dot LAN. So it’s pretty easy to get around the network, especially when adding keys, and logging in… Obviously, I tend to use the same username to get in as my personal user, because hey, it’s my name… So I don’t even have to put the username @ before the thing, because it assumes the username recurrently login as via SSH. So it gets a little easy. So this is another reason to name your machines appropriately, is to navigate the machines well on your network.
The second app for me was Superhuman.
That’s interesting… I did have my email app. I didn’t mention it. I use Spark. But you’ve been telling me Superhuman is like the bomb diggity. What’s the deal?
It’s fast. You can move around it keyboard-wise very easily. For a while there I resisted it, because I thought it was just like this pretty thing on top of Gmail, but it’s not. It’s not like Gmail but just made pretty as an application. It’s actually its own application. I think - I haven’t confirmed this, actually, but I think it’s an Electron app. I don’t think it’s an actual native app; I think it’s an Electron app.
But it’s just fast, it’s easy, I like it… It’s my current email client. My last one I was using, called Tempo, decided to fail as a company. I think they failed because they ended their life; that’s what happened…
That’s what happens with every good mail client, is it gets acquired or fails… So I wonder what Superhuman – I think they were VC-funded, go big or go home.
They just got some major funding recently, this year. A hundred million dollars, or something like that.
So they’re gonna get acquired, and then you’ll end up having a Microsoft app.
Maybe. Until then…
[laughs] Until then…
Until then, I’m superhuman.
Well, if Microsoft can handle it like GitHub, maybe that will be a good thing.
It’s pretty fast though… So what I like about it is a couple of things. Navigating, keyboard-wise - super-fast. Archiving - super-fast. Responding - super-fast. Blocking people or domains - really fast.
When you say fast, do you mean that it’s quick for you to do that, or that the app moves quickly when you command it?
I would say both. What I mean really is for me to do it, but it’s actually both. It’s really fast. It’s speedy.
Because Gmail has all of the shortcuts built right in. So you can do all the things super-fast in terms of that… But Gmail’s UI can slow down, and you’re waiting for it to do things. It’s a web app.
Yeah. Superhuman is fast as an application itself. It’s very speedy. So I’ve enjoyed it so far. I’ve only been using it for about three, maybe four weeks… Ever since Tempo said they were end-of-lifing, which was pretty recent. I liked the application. Tempo was really nice. It was a really beautiful application. You wrote in Markdown, and you could preview before you sent it. So I just love the process of writing in Markdown and previewing it… Just the poeticness, I suppose, of conjuring new emails… And I have to email a lot. I’m sure you do as well, but… I’m attached to email. It’s not a dying thing for me. I’m not on social media only. I’m definitely an email kind of person.
So my client has to be fast, it’s gotta be easy to navigate… I don’t wanna leave my keyboard if I don’t have to, although I’m willing to; I just prefer not to. If I can have a quick key for it, and easily navigate, then great.
But then next thing for me was like which – I really wanted to resist the need to install anything Rosetta. If it required Rosetta, at first –
Pretty much, yeah. So then, to install Creative Cloud, I tried just to have to install only Audition.
[laughs] So did I. I did the same thing. I’m like, “Oh, I’ll direct install.” It’s a Trojan horse.
Well, because Audition says it’s M1-compatible, right? Audition itself. But clearly it’s not, because you have to use the Creative Cloud installer, which is not M1-compatible. It’s a Rosetta application to install it.
No, I think Audition is, but Creative Cloud is not.
That’s what I’m saying, yeah.
But the reason they’re doing that is because they’re trying to shove you in their front door. Like, they could directly install Audition, but they won’t. So when you say “I wanna install Audition –” Because I did the exact same process as you, and I’m onto them. They’re like “Here you go, here’s Audition.” It’s the Creative Cloud installer. They just make you [unintelligible 00:45:03.27]
It’s the same thing, yeah.
Yeah. Which requires Rosetta. So there’s no way – which makes sense. They wanna funnel everybody in through that thing, because they’re a centralized deal… But they should let you just install Audition directly.
I mean, it’s been helpful to keep things updated, honestly… If you have multiple Creative Cloud applications installed, it is a helpful thing.
Yeah, I don’t mind it, at the end of the day. I use it to install Photoshop, and I use it to install Premiere Rush, and Audition… It’s an okay piece of software, but it’s Rosetta; and I was like “Nooo…! I need Rosetta…!”
Precisely, yeah… So I don’t let Creative Cloud run all the time though… I don’t know about you, but I make sure – like, I quit it, and I make sure it doesn’t auto log in or auto start when you log in.
So I get rid of that thing… I only launch it when I need to, so I tend to be behind on the updates as well, which is fine… I don’t think there’s ever an Audition feature and I’m like “I must have that feature.” It’s more just like “Get better. Speed your interface.”
Now, I have noticed in Audition the timeline, and different things inside Audition is way graphically snappier, whereas before it was very jittery and kludgy.
This is like a way different thing. It’s super-fast. Very responsive.
Yeah. Especially for me, specifically, on ripple deletes… If I ripple delete a large project, like a Frontend Feud episode that has nine tracks on it, on my old MacBook, and it’s like right in the middle and has to ripple a bunch of things down - I used to have to wait for that for maybe 10-15 seconds… And this is like always immediate.
Yeah. Ripple delete essentially is whenever you have a large span of time selected, and you wanna delete that time, but also move what’s before it in the timeline back with it when you delete. That’s what ripple delete is. So if you’re listening and you’re thinking “What’s ripple delete?” It does a lot. It moves things around automatically for you…
Mm-hm. It shifts everything down by the delete…
Because otherwise you would delete it yourself, and then you’d have to go and select all those things and manually pull them over. Instead, it does it as one single action… But if you have a nine-track session, it’s gonna be a lot of stuff going on there.
So yeah, I think Audition is super-snappy… But yeah, my second install was Superhuman. I resisted Rosetta until I couldn’t resist Rosetta with Adobe Creative Cloud… But the one cool thing is that Rosetta app seemed to install just like M1 apps. I don’t notice a difference.
They may say they’re Rosetta, they may do whatever, but they feel just as snappy as anything else.
Yeah, it was just a principle, more than in practice. I haven’t noticed any difference. I guess maybe Creative Cloud is the only one that is Rosetta; I’m not sure so far, but…
Yeah. And then Dropbox. So I’m kind of right there with you - the next thing installed was Dropbox. But you know, Dropbox drives me crazy… So there was that recent tweet out there with essentially – there was a support ticket, and someone’s asked about M1 support, and they’re like “Maybe” or something like that… Like, what? Maybe?
How do you say “Maybe” to the next generation Apple processors support? That’s just not a thing; you don’t do that.
Yeah. I think that tweet got enough support that their CEO replied.
Drew stepped in, yeah, and he was like “Well, that’s not actually what’s happening.” But it still doesn’t have M1 full support, so it’s still a Rosetta application… But my main issue with Dropbox is the massive amount of – like, I can go on deeply about it, but I’ll say it more concisely… Just that selective sync bothers me, because I want to – even though we have all this storage, I want to be aware of how I’m using that storage, no matter what
So I wanna keep things in Dropbox for the backup purposes and the cloudiness of what Dropbox is, but not have to have every single Dropbox folder I have in Dropbox on every single machine.
So what drives me crazy is like - sure, selective sync. But if you went and created a brand new directory, it syncs that thing. It just drives me crazy.
So smart sync is the default now… So the selective sync and smart sync are different…
Yeah, they are different.
Selective sync is which folders you want to have on your machine, and smart sync is - of all those folders inside them, I’m only actually gonna have these files exist on the cloud, and then I can make them local at any time, and I can make them cloud at any time. And on the new Dropbox that I installed on this machine, they do default to smart sync, which means you can have the entire file structure on your machine, but none of those files are local, until you go make them local.
Yes, I agree with that.
Now, I think if you do create new local files, it will put them in Dropbox, and it’s not gonna immediately cloudify those until you right-click and say –
Right. I’m fine with that. I expect that. If I’m creating the file myself, it’s gonna be on the [unintelligible 00:49:53.25]
Right. So I think it’s gotten better. I mean, it used to be the case – before smart sync, it was a huge pain, because you had to manage all the files… But with smart sync you can set it up so that you have these little sections. And you can still see everything and access everything, and add stuff, but you don’t need to have them local until you’re ready… Which is why I tried to not put Dropbox on this machine. I know we had some chat in our – was it in our Apple Nerds channel? About Dropbox…
I think so, yeah.
Yeah, about that situation, and Nick Nisi pointed out… There’s a client called (I think) Maestro, which is an open source Python thing that uses the Dropbox API… I thought about that, because it’s like minimal; it’s all about minimal memory usage; just do what you need to do, like with the old Dropbox. But it’s missing smart sync, and I think it has selective sync, but maybe not… And I just at the end of the day was like “You know what –”
I’d be cool with selective sync if it was actually selective sync though… So to me, it’s like, I wanna go in the app and say “Okay, I only want these folders”, directories, folders, whatever, “on this machine.” If somewhere out in my Dropbox ether another folder gets created - sure, it’s online-only, or smart synced, where it’s online only, but it’s still gonna show up in my lists when I go into Dropbox. Selective is just that, selective.
Let’s say today in Dropbox in my root I only have four directories, and I want two of those only on this machine. Great, that works perfectly. I love it. Moved on.
On a whole different machine - on mobile, on a different machine, wherever, a new directory gets created inside my Dropbox. Selective sync only chose two, but that new one that was not there to choose or not choose from there, comes down and gets created and added.
Not if it’s on top level.
Now, it is online-only – yeah, it’s top-level, exactly. It drives me crazy.
No, so there were four, and you selective synced two of them.
Right, I chose two of them.
Now there’s five…
Now there’s five, and that new fifth one comes down.
Are you sure about that?
[52:03] A hundred percent. I tested it today, just to make sure before this call… Because I’m like, “Well, let me double-check before I gripe about it, how true this is.”
Yeah, that’s dumb. That’s not the way it should work.
Yeah. Selective sync to me is selective. It’s explicit. I wanna choose these two.
I’m with you. I’m shocked that that’s how it works.
So that’s my biggest gripe. Yeah. Go test it out for yourself. So if they would fix that, I think I would be 50% happier with Dropbox.
And that’s a lot of percent.
That is. Holy cow.
It’s a lot of percent.
Like, if you had 3,5 stars now, you’d be at 5 stars.
Precisely. Let’s get that figured out. But let’s get into some specifics though… Like Dropbox, all that fun stuff.
What about developery things for you? What’s your first app into the developery setup of your new Mac? What’s the first thing you do?
Sure. So the disclaimer is that I do not have it set up fully for Changelog development. I don’t think you do either.
Sure. I don’t.
We’ve got one week on these things. So some of these things are left to be seen… But step one for me is Homebrew, immediately, in terms of command line tooling, because that’s your gateway to all the other command line tools. Now, I am trial-running everything, I will tell you. I have not changed the default terminal from Z shell yet to Bash… Because I’m willing to just give Z shell a try for a while, and see if I bump up against anything.
Historically, I would use Homebrew to install Git, I’d definitely do those two steps, and then my next step would be to clone my dotfiles. I haven’t even cloned by dotfiles, because they’re all Bash-based, and I’m using Z shell.
So I’m actually going hardcore selection and only pulling in the aliases and the functions as I use them. And you know what - all I’ve really used is the LL aliases, and I do have some command line scripts that I’ve written over the years that are in my bin folder… So I’ve added that to my path and I’ve copied them over from my old laptop, one at a time, as I use them… So like the Ruby scripts, and Perl scripts, or shell scripts.
Are you using SCP to copy those over? How do you copy them? Rsync? What’s your –
You get your bin folder in Dropbox?
I mean, not to execute. Not the one that I’m using. The one on my old laptop. So I just copy them into the Dropbox and I can just pick and choose off of there.
Is that right?
Yeah. I have like a Temp folder in Dropbox, which is exactly that… Just like, “I’m putting crap in here because I’m gonna move it around.”
See, I would use Dropbox. I guess it works, but I would just –
Why not? I don’t wanna have to rsync from machine to machine… Or SCP from this machine to that machine…
Well, SCP would be easier. I would choose that. I was curious which tool – I was actually thinking you have gone terminal on that, not Dropbox. So I’m surprised.
Well, Dropbox is already set up.
Yeah, it’s nothing wrong with it.
I could use something like Airdrop even, but…
It’s more just a surprise. I would probably just –
It is terminal. Like, I use my command line to copy the files through Dropbox. I’m not using GUI or Finder.
Right. So you just don’t need to SCP then at that point. You copy from Dropbox [unintelligible 00:55:04.23]
Yeah, I’m effectively just copying them to that folder, and then I move them off.
Hey man, that works too.
Yeah. Low fidelity.
That is low fidelity. I would not have done it that way. Not that it’s wrong or right, it’s comparative, what’s your behavior. I would have SCP-ed and I would have @ usered a different machine, I would have gone to the path, and I would have copied it to where I wanted to… Right to the bin folder, and skipped Dropbox.
Yeah, so I don’t set up SSH access from the outside of my laptop, unless I would need to. I already have a hole with Dropbox, so I just poke through it that way, I guess.
I guess it’s kind of a hole… Unless you’re using it.
I mean, that’s exactly what it is; it’s an OpenSSH tunnel. It’s a port that’s listening for connections.
Not that – I mean, it’s always on the land anyways, so it’s not that it’s dangerous…
Right. We’re on pretty secure lands, too. I mean, I guess –
…Unify has their issues, let’s just say…
But again, I do go to public Wi-Fi’s, I do connect to them…
[56:10] I move around. So if I can keep as many things not open and listening on my machine, then why not. And I already have Dropbox set up, so I just –
It’d be cool that in that case if they would allow SSH access when on a particular Wi-Fi, or a particular network.
If you can name the network – because I have no problem with SSH being open locally, when I’m here.
But I do agree, I would want that – you’d have to go into your sharing directory…
Section of your preferences, yeah…
…or whatever that is inside of preferences and uncheck that. But I have no problem with SSH being open locally, because… For the reason, like, I would be outside my network, and I have done this before; so it’s not just like a geek want, it’s more like a real want. I’ve done it before. I’ve needed to login for something…
As a matter of fact, one time traveling I had to get a project, because I forgot to clone it to my laptop that I took with me, and it was only back on my machine. I had to SSH in trhgouh, and thankfully, I can go from the main machine I SSH into, and then from that machine I can go to anywhere, essentially, on the network. So I did. I logged in there and pulled it all the way across, and it saved me. If not, I would have been like “Hey, Jerod, we can’t ship that thing this weekend, [unintelligible 00:57:23.25] because I forgot the files.”
But anyways - yeah, that’s how I would have done it. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just interesting to think about how people choose their particular practices. you would have used Dropbox, and still use terminal to copy around, but I would have just SCP-ed into the machine and pulled it over.
Yeah. So if you look at the sharing section of this computer, the only thing I have turned on is Airplay receiver.
Yeah. I don’t have screen sharing, file sharing…
I do screen-share a lot, so I have that on for me. File sharing is on, remote logging, remote management, and Airplay receiver… Which I’ve actually used today for the first time.
And I was like, “Yes, that’s so awesome.”
Yeah, Airplay is awesome.
Well, it never made sense why your Mac couldn’t be in Airplay receiver in the first place, way back. If you’ve got these nice – as we’ve mentioned before, we have studio monitors on our desk, because we do audio stuff… And they’re great for that; like, that’s how we master our shows and they sound so good, because we can listen to the high-fidelity version of it and make it sound good… But if I wanna listen to something on my phone - today I’m actually listening to/reading a new book called We Are Legion (We Are Bob). I’m excited about the book. I’m two chapters in. It’s so good…
So I was sitting there eating lunch, because the family was away, so I was eating lunch in my office today… And I was like, “I wanna listen to this book.” And rather than just pull up my phone and listen to the phone speaker, I’m like “Let me see if I can Airplay”, which I didn’t even do this yet; I didn’t check that box on purpose. It was just done by default. “Let me see if I can Airplay to this new machine.” Boom. Shows up. I push Play and I’m listening to my book on my studio monitors, eating lunch. I was just like “This is awesome!”
It was so cool.
That is cool.
Yeah. So… Other things that I’m doing post-install… So I’m doing some trial runs… You know, there’s some functionality that I had on my old Mac that I’m either trying to live without, or replace with simpler, smaller, freer, open-sourcy tools… And as I said, I’m using Z shell. I did not install Oh My Zsh yet. I thought about it, but I was like, “I’m just gonna use it barebones for a while, and see how that goes.”
I am not installing Fantastical. I’ve been a long-time Fantastical user; I still have it on my phone… And I thought, you know, the built-in calendar has gotten quite a bit better… I’m gonna see how long I can live with just the built-in Calendar app from Apple. So far, so good.
I do miss a little bit having – I like the menu bar dropdown for Fantastical where it shows that nice deal right there, and you can see what’s upcoming, and you can create events inside of the menu bar app… But I haven’t really missed it all that much. I just have the calendar open, and click over to it, and it’s fine.
[01:00:15.29] Dash is an app I’ve used for a very long time, to do two things. It was doing offline code documentation, and it also was my snippets manager. Now, Dash has gone through some changes, and he released like version 6, and it was a paid upgrade… I tried to stay off it for a while, and finally, my version started not working out right, so I went ahead and upgraded, paid for it, no big deal; I love supporting the developer. But the new version of Dash - I’m just not in love with it. Everything is unified through this since interface… I don’t know.
So I thought if I can rid myself of Dash, at least for the snippets, that would be kind of cool. So I’ve found a really cool open source project… In fact, somebody submitted this to us, to do an episode of the Changelog on it, which might end up happening at this point - it’s called Espanso. I told you about this, didn’t I?
Yeah. They’ve missed out, you said, on the name…
Yeah. So that’s the only bummer… It’s like, Expando. Such a cool name. You’re so close to it. Two letters off. Espanso. Hard to say.
So was it Expanso?
No, it’s all s’es. Espanso. I think the author might be from Brazil, or it might be like a Hispanic thing, or Latino… I have no idea. But yeah, this is a project that I’ve wanted to exist. You know I’ve actually threatened to build something like this, call it Expando… But mine was more about collaborating around snippets and having shared snippets amongst team members, because we do that quite a bit. This you can kind of make do that, because it’s all text-based, and you can Dropbox sync, and stuff. But it’s a really cool text expander, cross-platform, open source, well designed, in my opinion so far… It’s all command line based, but it has a little menu bar thing as well if you want it… And I’ve started to reimplement my text expansions as I need them in Espanso, and I’m loving that one so far. So that’s looking like it will replace Dash in terms of snippets.
Now, I know you’re on Alfred anyway, so you don’t really need this… I’m sure you’ve got Alfred on there.
You know, I actually tried to – because you made me double-think how much I actually enjoy it… And in the pre-call I’ve mentioned, you know, I’ve waited, essentially… And when I tried to reach for – like, the third time I reached for it and it wasn’t there, I was like, “Okay, I’ve gotta install this thing…” Becaue I just expect it to be there; it’s muscle memory for me. And I actually like it a lot.
So what I love most about Alfred really is that interface-wise I do – similar to Quicksilver. So I’m an old-school Quicksilver user from way, way back.
So I’ve essentially gone through all the different generations of Quicksilver to something else, and I think there was one thing before… Maybe LaunchBar I think was before –
…before Alfred. So I went QuickSilver, I think LaunchBar, chronologically, and then now to Alfred. So it’s always been Cmd+SpaceBar to open whatever it is… But the UI for the display that shows you what’s available is just very Mac-like. So it’s aesthetically always been pleasing.
It never felt like a bolt-on, or something like that. So the main things I use in Alfred are the snippets that you’d mentioned, clipboard history, and then obviously, launching applications. So those are the main things I use for it. I can calculate things in there, I don’t use it – I use Solver for calculator stuff… I’m usually doing more than one calculation, and even so, Solver is really great for that. So snippets, clipboard history, and launching applications. And it’s got a great interface.
[01:04:06.09] Now, the one caveat to this is the appearance of it. I’m actually a big fan of Zeno Rocha’s Dracula theme, and in particular Dracula Pro… We had him on the show a while back, talking about how he took that from open source to a paid thing, and I think that’s been very successful for him… And I’m excited because I love it; I use it.
So I use a customized version of Dracula Pro, Van Helsing, as my Alfred theme. Same thing with Terminal. There’s a Dracula Pro theme that he has available. When you get the [unintelligible 01:04:40.05] he gives you all the things you can do with it. One of the things is an importable theme that you can use for Terminal. And then I also use the theme that I can use for Oh My Zsh in there; it’s a modified version as well. Just a couple of slight modifications.
So Terminal, Alfred, but Dracula it out. Dracula Pro it out, in particular. That’s my setup on that front. And I love the clipboard history. It’s so easy. I just could not live without clipboard history, honestly. I copy and paste so much as writing and moving and remixing things, and I’m sure you do, too… I just have to have clipboard history. I’m not like a copy and paste one time and move along. I’m in a workflow of sorts, and I need to have history of what I’ve done, and repaste it.
Yeah, that’s the one thing I haven’t set up on this machine yet. So in terms of, I guess, fulfilling those same functionalities that Alfred does for you - I was also a QuickSilver user, and I didn’t use it for any of the fanciness; I saw a bunch of people… You could build your own custom – and Alfred is the same way. You can really do power user things with these launchers.
I never really got into that very much. I would use it for launching apps. And when Apple added Spotlight and made it a launcher, and they put it right in the middle and made it look pretty, I was like “Alright, this does most of what I need. So I’ve just used Spotlight as an app launcher for years.
You hit the one difference, and this is what makes me go Alfred. Because I don’t disagree with that. It’s a great sentiment, that’s true. But if you’re launching Safari, and you do – you can do it right now, test it out live. You do your SpaceBar thing… You just type in S, because that’s what Safari begins with, is an S. Is the first thing Safari?
What’s after it?
Okay, I don’t know if this is – maybe it was the case for me… I don’t know. But the memory of whatever character – so if it’s F, it’s Firefox. If it’s S, it’s Safari. If it’s B, it’s Brave. If it’s C, maybe it’s Calendar, maybe it’s Chrome… I don’t know. It kind of depends.
It will remember the character you choose based upon some sort of weighted algorithm. So if I push an S, and an arrow key down to Safari, and launch it, it will remember that and give it weight. So Safari will always be on top, despite System Preferences and other S applications to be launched.
So I was hoping Safari wasn’t first… Because I think what made me go the opposite was something where I expected me to push one character, not two or three, to get to the application I wanted to launch… And I would have to consistently go back and push in all two or all three characters to get it to – like, the limit down to that one that I’m actually trying to launch.
Yeah. That makes sense.
I think that might be the difference between the two. If it does that, that’s the way for me –
It’s probably a matter of time as well. Spotlight hasn’t always been this good… And when it first launched, I don’t think it would have done that.
And maybe it does.
And maybe over time if I selected – you know, maybe your algorithm breaks and then you’re just kind of broken.
Monitor that and get back to me. I’m curious if that’s actually how it is… Because I didn’t give it a chance. I just moved along and went to Alfred, because…
[01:07:52.21] All good, all good. I mean, honestly, for me - I’m not a character count minimalist… Because I type really fast, so even if I’m launching Safari, I’m probably gonna hit “Saf” before I’ve even hit Enter, just because that’s how fast my fingers move.
My fingers move that fast too, it’s just – it’s a waste of time.
[laughs] I don’t know how much time it takes, honestly…
And energy, I suppose.
…but I get it. I understand.
Cmd+SpaceBar S, Safari. You know? Launch. I mean, for me, I’m just launching Safari just like that; 3-4 keys, gone. I’m done. Cmd+SpaceBar S, Return. I don’t even have to think about it. If I push Return, that’s how fast Alfred is. It’s already selected and it’s launching. On M1 Macs it’s gonna launch super-fast.
I concur as well.
I mean, I like – more so than that, I think Alfred is cool because it’s fulfilling multiple needs for you. So I have now a snippets answer, but I have to go find them separately.
I’d like to try this out though.
Yeah, it’s really neat. It’s nice.
This Expando is pretty cool. I think it’s open source and shareable.
Expanso. Expanso. [laughs]
Maybe we could submit a pull request to his project to just –
To change the name.
Just rename it.
And be like, “Here, this one’s on us. Much better name.”
Would it be Espando, or would it be Expando?
Well, if it was my project, it’d be Expando. Like expansion.
Yeah, maybe combine the two.
So I do like the idea of sharing the snippets. I would love a world where you and I could share unfurls of big things we collectively pull into this thing we call one voice, whatever that is.
That would be cool.
Well, with this tool we could – first of all, he has a built-in hub, so Docker Hub, and GitHub, and npm, and all these things…
He does have a hub where you can share – I think he calls them apps, or groups, or… I don’t know what he calls them. But you can create a package of snippets and share that with the world… Which is cool. But I’m assuming you could use that to share it between multiple people, but also it’s text-based… It’s actually Yaml-based, which is not what I necessarily would have chosen, but fair enough… And you can share that with just a Dropbox sync. So you can have sub-Yamls, and stuff, and we could have Changelog ones, and share those just with Dropbox.
And always automatically – when I create, you would get them.
I think Alfred actually has a similar setup, now that I think about it… Let me double-check.
Yeah, probably… I mean, Alfred’s been around so long. I bet it has pretty much every feature there is.
Well, I have my preferences in Dropbox, so I sync my Alfred preferences from machine to machine via Dropbox on its own. And then I have Alfred snippets inside of Dropbox that I guess I share with myself elsewhere… So I’m sure I can share them with you if we wanted to… Because then you could just add that as a source, that Dropbox directory as a source of where your snippets come from, and get it that way, too. I’m not suggesting that you move away from Espanso…
Right. Well, I don’t have a clipboard tool… I’ve used CopyClip before; I’ll probably end up putting it on this. It’s just a simple does-one-thing-well kind of a tool… But that would be the third thing you’re using Alfred for. So I have app launching in Spotlight, text expansion is this Espanso open source tool… I don’t have clipboard management, and I need it, just like you said.
Yeah, it’s a must-have.
But CopyClip is this little free app that just sits in your menu bar and does exactly that. It has keyboard shortcuts, and… I’ll probably just install that one again. I might look open source first and see what I can find out there, but…
So not that it’s a reason to do it, but I think the one thing that might tie me over is if you’re aesthetically like I am; the launcher has a style, and the clipboard history flow of Alfred has the same theme. So it keeps that same look, it’s got the same – so you’ve done it once, essentially, you’ve themed this extra piece of UI that you use that is not Apple Mac-native, for example, and it still has a good look. So that to me would be – I like that aspect of things. When one tool does multiple things, does them well, and looks good along the way, that’s gonna win me over. So it’s themed in Dracula Pro in my case; Dracula Pro Van Helsing. I’ve got the same look, man…
[01:12:07.05] I’d try it out if I were you, if you so feel the need. Going back to Homebrew, when you set it up, did you notice there was one warning in the process? Did you follow that warning?
I don’t remember. What was the warning?
It’s pretty explicit.
Like a lot of curse words in it?
It’s really mad and cursing at you.
No, it just says – so on Apple silicon machines Homebrew files are installed to the Opt directory. So it’s the Opt directory, instead of the user local directory, which was how it was on Intel Macs. So because of that, it’s not by default in your path. So the warning it prompts you with at install - it installs correctly, no problem, but then it says “Warning! Opt homebrew-bin is not in your path”, and it gives you instructions on how to do that… Which basically is echo a string into the [unintelligible 01:13:13.24] to your .zshrc file. So it’s the eval, and in quotes the opt directory, and all that good stuff. You append that. So did you do that part?
Okay. So you did read the warning then.
Well, I didn’t know it was a warning. I just thought it was like a “By the way, here’s how…”
It says Warning.
Okay. Yeah, so I don’t – I guess user local bin is default in your path on macOS? Is that the situation? I don’t know what the default path is.
I think so, yeah. User local bin is in your path by default, I believe.
Okay. So I guess I’ve for a long time put third-party things in /opt. I think Mac ports might have been in the /opt before Homebrew came out…
So this wasn’t a huge surprise to me. I didn’t realize it was different even between Intel and ARM-based Macs… But I did notice they put it into /ops, and then like “Here’s a thing to put in your Z profile”, or .zshrc.
You could do Z profiles by default. [unintelligible 01:14:10.16] But if you – I think Oh My Zsh moves you to the .zshrc file.
Right. They’re both gonna get loaded, and there’s like a load order [unintelligible 01:14:20.05]
Right. They’re the same, basically.
[unintelligible 01:14:21.19] are you interactive or not?” There’s a bunch of weird rules. I don’t know the rules, but I do know that both of those files get loaded when Zsh boots, and it’s the same system for Bash, just different files. So yeah, I just copy-pasted that and put it in there.
Okay. So you followed those instructions… I did not. So I just trust Homebrew so much that I just installed it. And after, I went away and did more stuff, and I thought to myself, “I wonder if there’s something special about Homebrew on this new M1 Mac.” Sure enough, there was. So I didn’t pay attention, I just moved along. I did not add that reference to [unintelligible 01:15:03.13]
Oh, but it worked anyways? Like, you could homebrew?
I didn’t go and do more stuff. I just installed Homebrew.
And just brew-doctored and brew-updated to make sure I was good to go, and walked away. I didn’t have anything to do then, because I wasn’t setting up a dev environment. I wasn’t going to do Git yet, and other things.
You didn’t install anything. Well, if you brewed doctor, that is calling the brew binary, so it had to be in your path already.
The setup was good to go. So maybe it was magic? I don’t know. But then I came back and added this to my .zshrc file.
It’s possible that your .zshrc already had /ops/bin in its path…
…because it is a common other area where people put executables… Because yeah, you couldn’t brew doctor if you didn’t have it set up in your path. So maybe that was just some Oh My Zsh hooking you up.
To point that out though, for those who are listening and are like “Yeah, I’m gonna do this–” If there’s somebody out there who’s like “I’m gonna set up my machine in two weeks or in a week when I get it”, yeah, just pay attention to that very lightweight warning to do something different.
[01:16:07.19] [laughs] Very explicit or lightweight, depending on how closely you’re paying attention.
Well, I thought it was pretty explicit… Obviously, it was not, during install, because I just glossed right over it, and moved along. And then I went to generating my SSH key. So have you always used the Ed5519 public key signature system, or have you used RSA in the past? What are you moving to now when you’ve done your new key? Have you generated it yet?
I ask Gerhard…
I just say “Gerhard, what should I do here?”
So what did he say?
I didn’t do it yet on this machine.
He’s always been a stickler on regenerating keys, and stuff… I know I was on DSA, and then I was on RSA256, I think…
But I haven’t set up this machine. I don’t have any SSH keys on it at all yet, so… I’d be interested in knowing what I should do.
Well, GitHub says to use the Ed25519 publication as your system, so that’s what I used. I figured if GitHub is gonna suggest something in their process of setting up an SSH key to use GitHub, it’s probably gonna be a secure suggestion.
Yeah, I would trust that.
I don’t doubt that Gerhard has more opinions beyond that; I don’t, personally. I’m moving from RSA, personally.
Oh, yeah. Well, it’s time to move, I know that much.
Okay. So I have…
Or maybe that’s DSA.
Yeah, I wasn’t using DSA.
One of those two is brute-forced at this point.
Oh, is that right?
It might be DSA. I don’t know which one’s which, so I should redact that. I think it’s actually DSA - it’s like, if you’re using that, you’re basically insecure. RSA I think is probably still secure, but not best practice anymore.
It’s becoming less secure, and frowned upon.
Yeah, that’s my top-of-the-head thoughts on that. But yeah, I do ask Gerhard, and I think he’d probably say if GitHub recommends it, it’s good enough.
Yeah. So that’s what I’ve done then. I’ve followed their suggestion to use the Ed5519 public signature key system, as they call it… And that’s what I’m doing.
Nice. It’s all working for you?
Yeah. I mean, it hasn’t not –
It hasn’t not…?
[laughs] [unintelligible 01:18:12.22] Do you really pay attention to what signature system you’re using? I don’t know, I’m just like “Does it work? Can I use it?”
I don’t really think about – I know there’s a speed thing involved, right?
No… Not at this phase.
What would the signature system really impact is just a matter of like “Is it secure or not?”
Yeah, I think so.
It doesn’t have to be different or unique, you know? So the one thing that I do as well is inside my SSH directory, my config file, I do the host splat, so I can add some specifics to any hosts… So I say, you know, “Use keychain: yes”, so that adds my passphrase, which is the next question I have for you… Do you use a passphrase every time? Because some will say no, so you don’t have to put that passphrase in. That’s not very secure.
I do not.
You do not use a passphrase.
But Gerhard does.
So if you wanna go best practices, or do you wanna go…
So in this case you would just skip this part.
…how Jerod does it? I don’t…
Well, passphrase doesn’t require you to have the passphrase stored in your key chain…Because otherwise it’s just gonna keep asking you for it, which is like asking you for a password.
Even if you have the key on the extra machine or inside GitHub, it’s gonna keep asking for that passphrase.
You still need to do it to access it locally here, yeah. Exactly.
Unless you use this, what I’m telling you in the config - you say “Use keychain: yes. Add keys to agent: yes”, and then you point to your identity file, obviously, for all hosts you would SSH into. And in that case, your passphrase can be 28 characters long, or whatever you want it to be, super, super-long, but it’s stored in the keychain. So it can be secure.
Gotcha. And when your machine boots, it gets loaded in the memory.
Exactly. So you don’t have to do that manually each time.
So it’s accessible to the SSH agent.
Precisely. So as soon as you go to SSH-ing anything, whether it’s Git push, or an actual SSH session, it’s gonna pull that from your keychain for you.
[01:20:21.02] And that’s saving you from a circumstance in which somebody steals your SSH public and private keys…
Yeah. But you don’t have a passphrase.
…because if you’ve used them to SSH into other machines, you’d have to have the passphrase. Is that correct?
Gotcha. Can you touch-ID it?
Yeah, I guess… So if I touch-ID into the machine, I’m not having to type in the password to my machine. I just touch-ID into the thing, and away I am. So as soon as you log in via touch ID… I guess on the brand new boot you have to password in, and then touch ID in.
But from there on, yeah. Precisely.
So you leave the passphrase on and then you use that configuration so you don’t have to type it in ever on your local machine.
And it’s worked great. And then from there, obviously you use the – you can store your passphrase in your keychain with SSH add, and there’s a new flag… Before – I forget what it was. Let me see if I have it in my notes correct here… It was something before, and now it’s –apple-use-keychain. That is the new flag they have for SSH add to add it to your keychain. Then you just do that and you point to your public ID or your public key, and it loads it there. And then to add to your key to other machines, just SSH copy ID, which is ssh-copy-id, and then user @ remote.
Right. And then it’ll upload it.
Exactly. So follow that process to set up your SSH key, put in your passphrase in your keychain, and then add your key to your other machines on your network. And I do that often. I’m always logging into the Linux box… I’ve got ZFS on there, with a 6 disk RAID, and we’re gonna have Matt Ahrens on the Changelog soon, so I’m hoping to geeky nerd out with him on that; I hope I’m not too much of a fan boy, honestly… But I’ve really been enjoying ZFS, it’s pretty cool… But I’m always logging into other machines.
You’re a regular sysadmin, man… You’re doing all the –
To some degree, I mean…
You’re like a network administrator.
Well, I think when you run like a home lab… I am my home lab sys admin. I run a Unify setup, I install all of it… I mean, aside from, I guess, some of the wiring for maybe one or two access points, it’s all been done by me. Unify isn’t that hard to get, really… But it’s been fun. I manage our network. I enjoy it.
Pi-hole is great… You know, having a Pi-hole on an actual Raspberry Pi is fun. It’s running in Docker, so I guess in that case I’ve got my ops hat on. But enjoying Docker. I’ve got my Plex… Plex runs in Docker now, too. Too easy, man. It’s been fun.
Hacker. That’s a hacker.
But no dotfiles for me. So like you, I have my dotfiles, and I didn’t pull them down. I just left them out there in the ether, despite them being Zsh-ready. I just kind of moved on to some of the things I was doing before… Limiting and just-in-timing.
Yeah. That’s fun.
It’s a good chance to ask yourself, “What do I really need and use?” versus just like “Whatever I used to do is fine.”
See, for me though - you mentioned calendaring, and I used to be a… What was the calendar again you used?
[01:23:54.01] Fantastical. I used to be a Fantastical user. A die-hard user. And then years ago, when I had a conversation with this guy named Jerod, he said “Why are you using iTerm?” and with that conversation I’ve then questioned every other thing, basically, when it comes to setting up a new machine. So I’m like “Why am I using Fantastical on my Mac?” So pretty much since then I’ve been using the calendar, which has been really great. And I kept Fantastical on my iPhone, and I don’t use it there either, because it’s just… It’s just fine. Calendly does most of the work for us now, so…
True. Well, anything else noteworthy before we wrap this up?
I think – I didn’t leave any comments here on this show, because it’s not about the Pro Display. I think the Pro display is pretty awesome. I didn’t think I’d like it this much. I thought it would just be the most expensive monitor I’ve ever bought in my life, basically… But I didn’t wanna go from the iMac Pro with a 27-inch screen to a 14-inch screen, just because…
What are you gonna do with the iMac Pro? Are you gonna sell it? Are you gonna keep it?
Right now it’s still there in case I need to do our rec stuff.
Right. But let’s go six months from now, or three months from now.
It doesn’t have a plan yet. I don’t know.
Like any machine you move away from recently… It’s like, it’s really valuable to you, but no one else.
Oh, I’m sure you could sell that iMac Pro to somebody and probably get decent money.
Potentially, yeah. And if that’s the case, then it makes sense to do that. But I don’t know. No plan for it yet though.
But the Pro Display is pretty awesome. I’m pretty happy with it. It’s easy to use, works great with the machine… You know the external monitor issue is always like this thing, and so far it’s been just great. So I can’t complain about that.
No other comments though about the M1 Mac. I think I’m happy with it, I’m happy to be on the M1 platform. I was really envious of everyone who jumped the ship early to the initial M1, but I’m glad that I waited to the new MacBook Pros.
And I think I’ll be even more excited when I have to move around more often. So far this last week I haven’t moved around that often with the machine, but… Easy to take somewhere else. So I have a great desktop setup, and a great mobile setup in one single setup. That’s something I didn’t have with the iMac Pro. I had to have a second machine, essentially, to go mobile… And that’s kind of painful. So I’d say… MacBook Pro forever, man.
MacBook Pro forever.
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