A month of using my MacBook Pro

It’s been over a month since I got my new MacBook Pro so I thought I’d post a few thoughts on my experience with it so far.

First, I’ve got to say I love it!

It exudes quality in nearly every area.

On the hardware side, the things I love most are:

  • the aluminium unibody construction is rock solid, yet still light
  • the quad core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and 512GB flash storage make it fly!
  • the Retina 15″ screen is very high quality and provides plenty of screen real estate to work with. I was concerned about dropping down from a 17″ screen to 15″ but that’s not proved to be a problem at all
  • the trackpad is the best I’ve ever used… very accurate and responsive and when combined with multi-touch gestures takes it to another level
  • battery life has been very good so far (I get home from my 4 hour commute to London and back with around 80% battery left which is fantastic compared with the 20% remaining I used to get from my old HP laptop!)
  • the sleep and instant-on behaviour when closing and opening the lid is great
  • the Magsafe 2 power connector is so quick and easy to connect with its magnetic connection and useful indicator LED showing charging state

On the OS / software side I’ve found working with OS X on a daily, development-oriented basis quite refreshing. The multiple Spaces (desktops) works very well and intuitively with multi-finger trackpad swipes to switch between them. I’m also using the Mission Control (formerly Exposé) feature a lot to see a birds eye view of all applications I have open, and the App Exposé feature to see all windows opened by the current application.

The recent Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite upgrade looks really nice and makes it even more pleasant to use.

When I’m travelling, I rely on the mobile network connection from my Nexus 5 phone for internet access. With my old Windows laptop I used to use a wifi hotspot on the phone to connect, but on the MacBook I’m using the Bluetooth connection which seems easier and very stable.

The only minor problem I’ve had is that the Moshi iGlaze transparent hard case I fitted for some extra protection started to crack in the corners of the lid cover. This happened just over a month after getting it but Amazon replaced it free of charge when I reported the problem to them. It is a nice case and definitely adds  some valuable protection without detracting from it’s appearance – in fact most people don’t even realise there’s a case on it! – but I think the cracking is a basic design flaw so I’m expecting it to happen again 🙁



An amazing online shopping experience

After having more than my fair share of bad luck with online shopping, failed deliveries etc. I think my luck might have just turned…

Bearing in mind it’s a Saturday afternoon, I’ve just ordered a new Neff combination microwave and dishwasher for our new kitchen from Appliances Online , and not only are they the cheapest I could find online, but they also include free next day delivery. Now get this – next day means literally next day so my two appliances are being delivered tomorrow ON A SUNDAY! Amazing! Well done Appliances Online – you are setting the standard for other online retailers to follow.

And to complete a very satisfactory online shopping experience I’ve also just ordered two Original BTC Titan Size 3 aluminium pendant lights for the new kitchen from John Lewis… and they are offering next day click-and-collect from my local Waitrose. Again, next day being SUNDAY!

Excellent service from both companies – well done.

Energy from Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR) – too good to be true?

I’ve spent a lot of time recently reading up about energy generation because of something which is going on in my life right now (the details of which I won’t go into here). I’ve never really paid much attention to or known much in-depth detail about the various methods of large scale energy generation but I’ve taken the time to learn more about them. And on this little voyage of discovery I’ve encountered the concept of the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (abbreviated as LFTR and commonly pronounced lift-er).

Now I’m no physicist, chemist or nuclear scientist but everything I’ve read about LFTR and Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) in general means they are something that the world needs to be exploring and investing in massively NOW. They appear to have the potential to be able to revolutionise the way we produce energy.

One of the most public and vocal advocates of this technology is a guy called Kirk Sorensen who is an ex-NASA employee who previously had nothing to do with nuclear energy but then found out about this stuff a few years ago and has since devoted his life to evangelising about it. He has a blog called Energy From Thorium which I urge you to read. As part of his campaigning he’s done numerous presentations and tech talks, many of which are on YouTube. I read his blog and watched some of these videos and found them fascinating, which is why I’m blogging about the subject now.

Another guy called Gordon McDowell has also produced some excellent remix videos combining the best bits from lots of different presentations about energy from thorium and I include one here which I hope you will find as compelling as I did. It’s a feature length video (just under 2 hours long!) but don’t let that put you off. Just start watching it and see how long you find it interesting for… hopefully it will draw you in and you’ll end up watching it all (or at least a good chunk of it). And more importantly I hope it will encourage you to find out more yourself and convince you of the need for the world to start looking at this technology seriously.

Dazza recommends… Belkin Snap Shield case for Apple iPad 2

If you’re looking for a hard case to protect the rear of your iPad 2 I can highly recommend the Belkin Snap Shield.

It’s a snug fitting hard case made out of a soft touch plastic which clips around the edges of the iPad, providing plenty of protection to the rear of the iPad without getting in the way of using it. It’s also designed to work seamlessly with the Apple Smart Cover and comes in several different semi-translucent colours.

Highly recommended.