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My first 2 not so happy years with a Retina MacBook Pro

I consider myself a relatively new Apple Mac OS X user. I am a technology freak, I love everything around it and I am the point of reference of most of my family and friends when it comes to computers and tech stuff. I write about technology, love to do research and work in IT Service Management in a big company.

At work, I use a Windows 7 computer and at home I use a Retina MacBook Pro Late 2013 15″ notebook. I had to have the experience that everybody was talking about: “Mac is great”, “I love my Mac”, “Everything is so stable”. So when I decided to buy it, I went for the best model available. The extra graphics card, the 16 GB of RAM, the 512 SSD, everything, spending a wooping almost USD 3.000. It was a lot of money and it still is.
Since then, I am trying to feel happy with my investment and with the new experience of “The Mac” and to be honest I still can’t find any joy besides looking at the thing.

I guess working at the office with a Windows computer and arriving home trying to use the Mac, doesn’t help either. I did install BootCamp and Parallels with a virtual machine running Windows, but I forced myself to use OS X since around November 2013 until today (March 2016) for most of the things I do.

I feel frustrated, I am trying to understand this “thing” (and I feel old saying this, but I am “just” 35 years old). Is it that I been too many years used to do things the way Windows works?. I am not sure, but I also suspect there is something on Apple’s side that reflects this inconsistency, for example, why does the “Alt” key is referred as the “Option” key? I think this was many years ago, but why some people still refer it as Option key, who knows.

This is a post in Apple Forums that reflects a little what I am talking about.

This is a post in Apple Forums that reflects a little what I am talking about.

The purpose of the following points, is to explain which problems I have encountered with my rMBP since I got it, and the experience I have had with it. As an IT Quality Manager, I can’t help myself to find potential solutions to several of the issues I have found myself with, so I will also try to explain them under each section.

Finder, oh Finder

When I first started with OS X at home some years back I installed an app called TotalFinder which would enhance the included Finder (file manager) in OS X. With the release of “El Capitan”, I was not able to use it anymore due to some security setting that Apple enabled. This app was giving me some really comfortable and flexible functionalities around Finder that would be really appreciated by former Windows users if they would be included directly by Apple on the native Finder:

  • Possibility of using right click CUT, COPY and PASTE like in Windows. Also possibility to use the CTRL X (Cut) keyboard shortcut with files.
  • Possibility to always display folders on top (without using the type order).
  • Possibility to show two side by side Finder windows ideal when you need to move files around (faster than resizing two folders).
  • Shortcuts similar to Windows arrow right, up, down to dock Finder windows to the right or left when you need to work with files in an easier manner.

Let me dig on a little bit more about the Cutting and Pasting experience:

I’ve noticed that while the CUT shortcut on keyboard with CTRL X works with text for example within an application, it does not work in Finder with files. This is really frustrating as the CTRL X and right click CUT functionalities are something us the ex Windows users and current Windows users at work (like me) really would benefit from having. I don’t expect it by default, but at least an option to enable this on the settings would be really appreciated and it won’t harm anybody, the contrary it would ease the transition to OS X from Windows users. Remember when you didn’t have a right clic on your Mac? Got the point…

Something also awkward is that if you right click a file and select COPY, and then go to the destination folder if you right click you see PASTE, but this would just make a copy of the file, but if you hold your ALT key, then you will see the option MOVE HERE. Now if you try to do this with Drag and Drop, then you need to keep on pressed the CMD key instead, why? Who knows. For me sounds like a design flaw as it doesn’t make any sense.

Finder and managing large amount of files and network drives

I use a DS1513+ Synology NAS at home where I keep all my files, pictures, videos, etc. I like the idea of working like this because I have everything centrally available no matter from which computer I am working at my house (got several devices at home). Its also easy for backing up to local USB hard drives and remotely the cloud.
I have everything connected at home through gigabit ethernet switches to make sure I have the best possible speed without breaking the bank. Still If I try to browse a folder in the NAS with for example 25.000 pictures in list mode,  Finder will really take a long time to display the file list. Want to try to search for a single file name? Forget it, that will never work within such a big amount of files.
Now if you try to do the same with a Windows 10 virtual machine running in Parallels in the same MacBook Pro computer, you will be able to list files quicker and search for files without problems using Windows File Explorer, check the video I captured showing this:

Photos App

I gave the Photos App an opportunity, but I must say, it was a very clunky experience when handling with large amount of files (10K, 20K). I had multiple errors, for example when I tried to export unmodified originals getting a popup saying that the application could not export around 1000 images because they were not found. But still they are shown in the gallery within the app (I guess it was the preview?) still I would have expected a reparation of the DB should have fixed this, it didn’t. Why does this happens? Who knows.

After I managed to export everything directly from the container of the Photos App, I wanted to delete the whole Photos Listing. I couldn’t do so because selecting all the folders and choosing to delete them was closing the app (crash). When I manually did it by bunches I found one  burst image which was occasioning the whole problem. If I try to delete this single burst image set, the app would crash. Let me clarify, all the pictures I had on the library where captured with Apple iOS devices.

The nightmare of importing & deleting pictures on your iPhone with the Photos App

Trying to import files from my iPhone 6 and asking the Photos App to delete the files on the device after import always failed (without any error message). I have been using the app in this way for a long time, so I ended up  having multiple duplicate images, yes, thousands of them. I think I was able to overcome this problem by not using the Photos App anymore and by using another app included on OS X called “Image Capture” that would allow me to import all images directly into a folder (bypassing completely the Photos App) and then would allow me to easily delete all images on my iPhone very fast.
Now I am seeking into LightRoom to handle my pictures, but first I am running through several images de-duplication with PhotoSweeper X app which for the time being seems to do its job pretty well.

Resizing a Bootcamp partition, good luck!

I wanted to resize my main OS X partition to give more space to Bootcamp where I have Windows 10 running. When I did this, OS X immediately created other partitions for the 2 bunches of the space I have reduced from the OSX partition instead of just leaving it empty for me to assign it from the Windows side. Also the Master Boot Record from Bootcamp got lost, losing the ability to boot again from my Bootcamp Windows 10 Operating System.

There is no tool from OS X offering a fix for this situation and I have spent a lot of time reading a lot of Apple Discussions on different ways to fix this. I wrote myself an article in the forums to seek for help and some good samaritans are already pointing me into the right direction.

Some comments about Apple discussions forums

I know that when you develop something, there are certain stages you have to respect before placing something in production. Recently I tried to post a question on the Apple discussions forums to check if I had a configuration question. I was unable to post because I received the following error message: 

What does this error means? Well, maybe I don’t have permissions right? Well, not, nothing to do with it. I had to search on Google how to post something on their forums because they did not display a self explanatory message when submitting the post. The post I found, ended up explaining that you needed to manually browse and select a category and topic before you are able to post. Really far from the message I was displayed. This type of things do not contribute to the user experience and do not reflect too much internal quality control.

Another thing that for my taste the forums are missing is the simple ability to cancel the subscription to a topic you receive email alerts of directly on the email. Most of any other forums have this, so why not following a standard most people is used to.

Conclusion

For the experience I had myself, I would like to use only Windows with my MacBook Pro. Its a powerful machine, its really beautifully designed, but the OS X seems just wrong in many aspects. I guess if you ever used this Operating System and not know that there are other things like Windows 10 which works very well and offers (to my taste) more simplicity and flexibility on certain aspects, you could be happy with OS X.

I thought on selling the MacBook Pro and get maybe a Dell XPS 13 or even 15, those machines look very nice. But the top of the line processor does not deliver the same power as my Mac. Still thinking about doing the switch.

I am looking forward to reinstall or fix my Bootcamp problem and split my 512 GB SSD drive into two equal sizes, half for Windows 10 through Bootcamp and the other half for my OS X. To be honest I am even tempted on making Windows 10 partition even as big as possible and just use this Operating System with my Mac.

I have the feeling that Apple needs to greatly improve the user experience and quality controls they have on their software. They are the most profitable company in the world, the expectation is to have them really do not only things that look nice, but work perfectly.

Nobody is perfect, not even Apple products.

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Web + Tech Junkie = Geek. IT Solutions Specialist and entrepreneur. Process improver fan, food lover and blogger. I try to write about different technology topics in this blog.

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