With the recent purchase of the Mac Mini, I needed to have an external drive - partly for Time Machine backups and partly as I only went 256GB internal drive. I’d got a couple of 2.5” hard drive caddies lying around, but also a 3.5” drive that wasn’t being used. Teamed up with the reduced number of ports on the M1 Mac Mini, I decided that I’d purchase a Direct Attached Storage (DAS) device for the Mac.
After the issues I’ve had previously with the Mac, I wasn’t sure I was going to get another Mac. But I did. I watched the M1 release keynote after it had finished and was impressed with what I saw. If it was true. However, after hanging around the Mac Power Users forum, I’d seen some interesting Mac apps that I fancied giving a go - things like Hook. I also wanted to continue using Photos, as I hadn’t really found an alternative on Windows that really matched it.
My current job sees me using Onedrive as the primary storage location for files, and since the initial lockdown in the UK, we moved to using Microsoft Teams and storing data in Teams instead, rather than our on site servers and mapped hard drives. This took some getting used to but suited me, as it meant that I could use my Mac Mini at home to access the files and work, rather than a work machine, which was good, as I had forgone the standard laptops that everyone else used so I could have an iPad for carrying out my risk assessments on, but this obviously isn’t as good for general office tasks1!
Apple’s Live Photos and Android equivalent, Motion Photos, initially seemed a bit like a gimmick when they were announced. However, there are a number of times now where the Live Photos on the iPhone has been of good use - mainly to capture amusing antics before or after the photo occurred! With playing with Android, I was surprised that this didn’t appear to have the same. However, after some googling, I discovered it does, and it’s called Motion Photos.
There has been much talk on how well ARM processors have moved on and how they can potentially now compete with x86-64 chips. Even though Microsoft have launched the Surface Pro X, which uses an ARM chip and Apple are moving the Mac’s to ARM processors, I hadn’t really considered just how far they’d come. I’ve had a Raspberry Pi and various versions since they were released and have been able to adequately use the Pi3+ for minimal desktop use and I’ve had the iPad Pro for work for a number of years as well, which has performed quite well, but I’ve never really put two and two together on how well they compared to the X86 chips I have.
I’ve resisted the high DPI screens for Windows machines for a number of years - mainly due to the cost of the screens. However, I’ve since upgraded a number of items and they now have larger screens. My monitor is now a Dell S2719DC 27" which has a display of 2560 x 1440 and my Surface Pro 7 has a resolution of 2736 x 1824. Both of which require some Windows scaling to adequately use from my point of view.
After some further experimentation and use, I’ve a few more comments on Inspire Writer. I have been initially impressed with the Windows Ulysses clone. My initial review was written in it and was written using the 10 day free trial period. I purchased the software after using it for a day on the Windows Store - so I’ve been using the Microsoft Store version. There is a stand alone version available as well, though I would hope that there is feature parity between the two.
I’ve been journaling now for years. I started off using Day One for iOS and macOS. However, after this updated to the second version and moved to a subscription model, I decided that I didn’t want to pay for it, and moved. Since then, I’ve been using Zim Wiki for my journaling. This has generally served me well, and ran nicely on Windows and Linux1. It worked and the output was portable and under my control, as each page is a text file and displays images inline.
With the lockdown and working from home more often, I decided that my Synology (DS 116) was due for an upgrade. I wanted to retire one of my Raspberry Pi’s that was running my Pi Hole server and I wanted to have a play with some of the features on the higher end Synology’s - such as virtual machines and Docker, as well as make use of the BTRFS file system, so that meant getting one of the Intel Atom powered Synology devices.
One of the programs on macOS that I felt was missing on Windows was an alternative for Hazel. I spent ages looking around for an alternative, and the best I could find for a while was DropIt! The only issue with this is that DropIt is a bit more of a manual process in comparison to Hazel, as you have to drag and drop files into the program for them to be sorted1.