Back to the Mac - Part 5

July 12, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

So I've finally been able to spend a few days with my new MacBook Pro Retina and it's been a bit of a life changing experience. As I've always claimed, there are pros and cons to both Windows and MacOS worlds. Here are some observations I've made.


  • Where's the Bluray support? There appears to be none natively in the Lion operating system. To watch movies will cost money buying a third party app, and burning the bluray disks might require yet another.
  • Parallels is amazing. Running Windows applications so seamlessly inside another operating system is amazing. I never imagined emulation would converge to this point. I'm using it to run Oloneo PhotoEngine, my preferred HDR processing app and so far it's flawless.
  • The screen is a amazing...but. The Retina display is fantastic and light years ahead of what I'm used to. It's a step up in a big way. That said, the applications aren't there yet. For example watching an HD movie or Bluray looks good but isn't as sharp as on my HD TV. I suspect the screen is doubling the pixels and actually running at less than 1080p. It's the only reason a 40" TV should look sharper at 10 feet than this screen should at 10 inches. I have no doubt, like with the iPhone and the iPad before it, that things will not take long to catch up.
  • It's supported by my Drobo! After a big scare last year with some lost data, I bought a Drobo FS networked RAID array. It's a fantastic device but didn't work with Windows as seamlessly as I'd have liked. I used Synctoy to manually push my files across when I needed them to be. I've just learned that the latest Drobo firmware allows shares to be created on the Drobo which have full Time Capsule compatibility. I don't know much about the Time Capsule app yet but I've heard good things.
  • The Trackpad is great. I was originally planning to use my Microsoft 6000 wireless mouse. Loading Microsoft's Mac drivers resulted in several crashes and a completely intert pointer. I can't handle that level of unreliability so I ditched it and just went with the one button track pad. Soon after I learned that the track pad driver is very versatile including 3 and 4 finger gestures. A two finger tap gives me what I'm used to being a right click...good enough for me. Being able to move whole windows, access the desktop, and open the Launchpad with just a few fingers is fantastic and just the kind of convenience I like.
  • No NTFS. I could read NTFS volumes but not right to them. This stalled me as I'm currently using several USB hard drives from my Windows computer to work with video. I had to buy $20 worth of third party drivers just to get back to work. Not a terrible price but something I would have expected to have been free in the Windows world.
  • iTunes. I was never a huge fan of iTunes but had to have it as I've got an iPod, an iPad, and a wife who loves her iPhone. Now that I see how all these devices integrate together with the full computer, it's actually a pretty amazing piece of software. Combine later innovations like iCloud and Airplay which I've not really looked into before and it's already become a staple for managing most of my media. I just wish it liked more formats of video as I've ripped many of my old DVDs to hard drive and it's not crazy about all of them.
  • Magsafe is genius. Having damaged notebooks by dropping them on their plug, I can appreciate how smart this is. Apple really did strike gold with this innovation and I'm not sure I'll ever go back. I only wish they could do the same with the plugs for iPod/iPad/iPhone.
  • Thin is king. I've been carrying it around with me every day since I got it and I can honestly say that it hasn't been a huge burden. I've certainly had a sore shoulder a few times but since the bag also carries cameras, lenses, and other heavy stuff, that likely would have been the case regardless. An ultra book or Macbook Air would be easier to carry but the MBP Retina is a much better computer per pound in my view.
  • Getting my wireless printers to work has been so easy I almost don't believe it. Even scanning over wireless from a multifunction Canon works natively. Compared to my experience with Windows lately, this is a real joy.
  • One down side is that there are far fewer free programs available. So far I've had to buy several smaller programs ranging from $10 to $50 just to get the basic functions I was used to having for free in Windows. Quicktime Pro, NTFS write drivers, media encoding programs which support the formats I need, etc.
  • The Battery life is impressive. I use stand by all the time and would have no problem closing the screen and leaving it for a day or two.
  • Boot time. While some Windows Ultrabooks might claim a faster boot time, the MBP Retina boots fast and comes out of standby/hibernation really fast. I can pull it out, bring it out of standby, check and send several emails and have it back in my bag in the time it took my Windows notebook just to boot.


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