I’ve been playing about with new keyboards over the last few months - my most recent purchase is the Matias Quiet Pro for the Mac. This is an American layout board that works with Bluetooth on the Mac and has a Mac based layout. It uses quiet Alps based keyswitches, rather than any of the Cherry MX or Cherry based knockoffs. Quality The device feels sturdy enough when being used. However, there are some aspects that make it feel a bit cheaper than it should.
I’ve got a Mac Mini and this is hooked up to a LG 27UL850-W and Dell S2421NX monitor. They’re both setup on my desk, with the LG as my main monitor and the Dell as a secondary monitor off to the side. When using the desktop, I’ve always missed the ability to adjust the screen brightness easily within macOS using the keyboard, like you can on the MacBook and generally any Windows laptop.
I’ve been mixing macOS and Windows for a number of years. This hasn’t normally proved to be problematic in any way and I’ve had the best of both worlds. One program that I couldn’t live with out on the Mac is Alfred. Alfred is a keyboard launcher, allowing you to start and run programs using a key combination and not having to move away from the keyboard. It also provides a quick calculation tool, which allows you to undertake calculations quickly.
I had ditched Ulysses when it went subscription but during 2020, I’d paid for the subscription as I’d managed to get a discount code for it. It was good to be able to use it across my devices and it’s still one of the best plain text editors in my view - however, I don’t view it as being worth almost £50 a year - consider that Microsoft charge £60 for Office plus storage space, whereas Ulysses makes use of iCloud space to sync, so I’m not even paying them for syncing!
I’d been looking at my email clients on the Mac for using with Hook. I like the ability to link any previous email, as it helps me link to emails I’ve received or sent within my Obsidian notebook, and to be honest, it’s paid off a number of times now where it was quicker to look for the specific email that I’d linked in my Obsidian notebook, rather than search for the email I needed.
With lockdown continuing in the UK, and working from home, I decided to look once more at the mechanical keyboard market. I had been using the Logitech K350 on Windows without any issues, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to use this nicely on the Mac - I’d often get drop outs or lag, where what I was typing wasn’t picked up, or was lost completely 1. In the mean time, I’d been using a Windows Dell keyboard - a cheap and cheerful keyboard that did the job, and I actually wasn’t getting RSI by using it!
I wanted to compare the performance per watt of the new M1 Mac mini against that of my Ryzen 1600X powered gaming PC. To throw some additional items in there, I also measured my Ryzen 4300U little Windows office PC as well and my Raspberry Pi 4. The speed of the new M1 Mac has shown that Apple’s move to Apple Silicon has been a good move for them. Benchmarks show that it’s faster than some of the Intel and AMD machines.
I’d posted about my QNAP TR-002 previously and how I was using it as direct attached storage for my Mac. Recently, I moved it to the PC to use it as storage for gaming, as I’d switched my Mac external storage to a Samsung T7 external drive. For the gaming rig, I added a second 3TB drive to the TR-002 and used reformatted to NTFS. RAID 0 should give me some additional speeds over the storage I was currently using.
So whenever I get a new machine, I always run an FDS benchmark on it - purely for fun and comparative purposes. I’ll often run it, even on a machine that isn’t likely to run FDS in a normal situations, such as the M1T Mini PC and Raspberry Pi. So with the M1 Mac Mini, there was no reason not to run the benchmarks as well. However, as the M1 Mac is based on an ARM based chip, I wasn’t expecting it to perform that well - after all, it would be running on the Mac using Rosetta 2, as FDS is compiled for x86 processors1.
I ran in to some issues with my Synology over the Christmas period, involving BTRFS and RAID. I had been running the NAS with an 8TB hard drive for main storage and a 3TB drive aimed at backups. However, I’d noticed a lot of a files deleted a few weeks ago which made me uneasy and then recently I found a corrupt image file on my gaming rig. I wasn’t sure if this was the fault of the desktop, or the Synology, but when I investigated the Synology, I found that the BTRFS file system I was using to help protect against bit rot wasn’t actually protecting me at all.