2 Weeks with a Macbook Pro 2017 in New York

Things change

Since I last posted, I’ve left my job of 17 years and started a new adventure with MongoDB.  My daily work machine  is no longer a Dell Latitude running Windows 10, but a 2017 Macbook Pro 15.  I still have my personal Dell XPS 13 happily running Solus and Windows 10, but how does the Mac stand up.


Moving from Windows to Mac OS would be a big leap, but moving from Gnome 3 to Mac OS is not a challenge at all.  Some of the keyboard shortcuts are different, some of the touch pad gestures are different, but essentially most things work just about the same.  That’s a very good thing.

Software Differences

Not having a package manager and having to go to websites and download things was a bit of a pain but easily solved by installing brew.  Windows not snapping to screen edges has been annoying me for some time, but I’m sure that can be solved.  Hitting X to close a window but instead the app minimizes to the dock and resets is actually closing confusing me daily.

The amount of times I’ve x’ed my web browser, then clicked it again a few minutes later expecting it to reload my tabs from the previous session, but instead being greeted with a fresh browser with no tabs.  So I mentally have to tell myself to do Command+Option+Q if I want to close something.

Hardware Differences

CPU/Memory and disk speed are as near as makes no difference.  I’m not going to complain about only having USB-C ports, I have one dongle with HDMI/USB-A and that’s enough.  My laptop is not connected to anything with a cable long enough for it to be a problem.

The keyboard is shocking.  I’ve tried really hard to get along with it, but it just slows you down constantly.  I used it for 2 weeks exclusively while in New York without touching another computer or external keyboard and still don’t like it.  I hope that changes soon as I type a lot.

Fingerprint sensor is great.  So quick and easy to unlock the machine when you have a complex password.

Touchpad is supposed to be amazing, buts its just average to me, nothing special.


You can get work done on this machine, you can install everything you need and get focused on the task at hand.  It would not be my first choice, but if your employer hands you one you’ll be very happy with it.  Just try get a Magic Keyboard/Mouse also.  Given the choice I’d go with a XPS 15 Developer Edition, but the difference is almost insignificant.



In September I spent more than 2 weeks in Lithuania, it was an adventure, lots of food, people and moving around the country.


We started by flying into Kaunas Airport, a tiny airport outside the countries second city.  Landing at midnight you don’t really see much.   We jumped straight into a taxi and headed out to our hotel.  Monte Pacis is a converted monastery that is still home to a number of nuns, but also functions as a hotel and a restaurant.

Its a strange place on the outskirts of the town, you can get Wine and Beer but not much else, the bar is outdoors only.  Fantastic if you want a relaxing couple of days

Comfortable room, decent food, peace and quiet.  Pretty soon though it was time to go explore and meet some people, but being a few kilometers outside the city we had to choose, taxi or “Trolley Bus”


So we walk down the road, see this old electric trolley bus and decide to ask the driver if this is going to the part of town we are interested in.  Bad call!  She practically had a meltdown that someone had the cheek to ask her a question.   From the banging of doors and shouting I guess that customer service was not high on her list of priorities.  After she chased us away, we waited for the next bus driver who gave us a free ride just 3 minutes down the road to a bus station and told us to get on the number 9.  That guy was much nicer.

So we got the number 9 trolley bus for €0.80, and that took us into the town.  I got a lot of funny looks from the locals, they seemed to be wondering why would someone from somewhere else want to be here on this bus.  Most of the next couple of days in Kaunas were spent visiting people.  After that we moved to Panevėžys for a few days.


The fifth largest city in Lithuania was our home for a number of days, we spent a lot of time in peoples homes and visiting people, and a little bit of time in the city center.  We had great weather..

As it was September 1st, all students where dressed up for their first day of school, suits and dresses everywhere, the town was full of people looking their absolute best, great atmosphere, every restaurant was packed.


My fiancee’s home town was next, a town with around 16,000 people only, we spent some time in family homes, visiting the gardens where people grow wonderful food and enjoy the great nature and weather as much as possible.  We spent some time at the Tyzenhaus building a site which has traditional Lithuanian buildings and crafts on display.

More to come in part 2..

SSH tunnel as socks proxy

You need:

  • A machine you can SSH too
  • Putty on your Windows client machine
  • A web browser you can change the proxy settings of

Configure your putty session and go to SSH/Tunnels.  Set source port to something like 8080 and destination to “Dynamic”.  Log in to the remote machine.

Configure the browser socks proxy to be

Now all traffic in the browser is redirected to the proxy (port 8080 on your machine) which then flows out the SSH Tunnel to the remote machine, the remote machine gets the data from the Web and returns it back down the ssh tunnel.

So it looks like a normal unblocked connection to you, just a bit slower.  However in the background your actually encrypting your data and sending it to a remote machine that does then makes the request.  If you have a bandwidth limit on the remote machine remember your doubling up your data usage, so if you try download a 1 MB file the remote machine has to download it then send it up to you, that’s 2MB of data transfer.


Android Basics Nanodegree with Udacity

So I’m currently learning all about Android application development.  I’ve made an app before while experimenting but decided to go with the Udacity course so I would not run into any trial and error rage quit scenarios while learning.

So far most of the apps have been simple single screen affairs with a few buttons slowly introducing Java concepts along the way.

Part 4 however is where the multi-screen fun starts, realistically I can’t wait to get to info exchange with a back end server and maybe build my own backed service.

Next though I’m going to try Android Studio under Arch Linux ?


Grimes, Dublin Concert

So I took some time off work because I had days to use up before the end of March.

I went to the Grimes concert in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre, it was a weird one, the show was cut short due to technical issues.  During one of the tunes we all heard these loud bangs, Grimes went crazy on stage and stopped the song, she explained she was getting electrocuted and wanted cables changed.  Technical guy comes out and changes cables, song starts again and problems came back.  Eventually they did a song or two without this “pedal” that was causing the issues, before they decided that the pedal was a fault and could not fix it.   They did a final song without the pedal and called it a night.

I think the songs without the pedal where actually pretty damn good and the ones before the issues too, the support act “Hana” was pretty cool too.

A bit weird though, you get this really quite good show, but then you also feel like it would have been off the charts without all the problems.  It is true to say that everyone in the crowd was supportive during the issues, I heard one guy boo (there is always one) but he was quickly drowned out by 1000+ people cheering.

Also had St. Patrick’s day yesterday, kept it simple, local parade, enjoy the sunshine, home cooked dinner with the fiancée and a couple bottles of wine.

Anyway, need to get my brain out of this relaxed mood so I’ve got a FreeBSD server to deploy to serve out a WSGI/Python website.