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Apple Macbook Pro Review

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This is my Apple Macbook Pro Review. Having been involved with computing technology for three decades now, I’ve worked on countless Windows, Mac and Linux based machines.

Heck I was even the owner/editor of one of the largest independent Windows blogs on the web and I wrote and edited most of my Windows day to day content on my Macbook Pro.

The Apple MacBook Pro is what I rely on now as my primary tool of the trade. It is what I use through the day, in and out of my office, when I travel, everywhere.

Why a Mac?

Apple Macbook Pro Review

Before I get down to the details, let me tell you why I ended up taking the Mac road. When cost is not a concern, then these macOS powered machines make for a better choice due to their ease of use, simplicity, and more than that, durability.

Yes, you can get a cheaper Windows laptop with better specifications than my MacBook Pro but the real value proposition of Macs is that they just work.

They may be less customizable and feature rich in some areas, but I know that I can work on my laptop without worrying about any major bugs or threatening malware.

They may not be as overwhelming a choice as it was a few years back, but Macs still have their advantages. Primarily, when it comes to hardware quality, reliability, and streamlined software solutions that make the best use of the features added to the platform.

I haven’t used a Windows PC for work in almost 5 years and haven’t missed a thing.

My MacBook Pro is critical to my business, what I primarily use, and what I would recommend to you if you want a secure, stable and speedy option for your business.

Hardware

Start using the MacBook Pro and the first thing you will notice is that it screams quality. With a solid build, refined edges, and balanced weight the device looks and feels even more premium than it is — and that’s saying something!

Underneath, you’ll find some really capable hardware.

I opted for the lower end Core i7 model, as it provided the best balance of price and performance for my needs. My MacBook is powered by a 2.8GHz quad-core Intel chip that works in tandem with 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD for storage.

Nothing too extreme, but still one of the most power-packed packages you can get on a laptop these days. Speakers are loud, and the trackpad, best in the market.

And it flies, no matter what task I throw at it – even  with just 8GB of RAM, I am able to open up multiple tabs in Chrome, play media files, have Photoshop open and much more without breaking a sweat.

That screen, oh that screen

Apple Macbook Pro Retina Screen

The Retina 2880 x 1800 pixels display is an absolute delight, with accurate and vibrant colors, and an adequate level of brightness that makes it great when working long hours.

This is a screen that will ruin your ability to use most Windows PC’s once you get used to it. The high resolution makes working a productive experience, as you get extra screen real estate and workspace in your apps.

The experience

Apple Macbook Pro Touch Bar

So far, I’ve talked about the hardware, without mentioning what are perhaps the three most innovative and different features, even for a long-time Mac user like me.

They have a large impact on the overall experience of the laptop, and frankly, require some time to get used to.

Apple has included the Touch Bar in these newer MacBook Pro models, replacing the function keys that have occupied the top of the keyboard, since pretty much forever. It changes automatically depending on what I am doing, showing me relevant tools and options.

You also get Touch ID for instant logins and faster, more secure online payments.

And finally, the keyboard comes with what Apple calls the butterfly mechanism, which it says allows for greater comfort and responsiveness. This is something that takes the most getting used to. You should most definitely expect a break-in period as some of the keys are slightly stiff out the box.

Other than that, usage is very much you would expect from a powerful personal computer like this. But all these little details combine to craft a really unique experience — one that you will certainly not find anywhere else.

Verdict

This device changed my life and my business. I haven’t had to worry about viruses, malware, Tuesday updates, refreshes and more in years. It just works, is reliable and is beautiful to look at.

It is my daily window into the web and I have to say, while it takes a couple of weeks to get used to using a Mac, once you go Mac, you certainly never go back.

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • 
Top tier performance
  • Suitable for all workloads
  • Great screen
  • Battery life

Cons

  • Not the most affordable laptop around
  • 
Keyboard requires getting used to
  • 
Limited ports selection

It’s expensive but I have to say is the best personal computing device on the planet. You can get Macbooks and Macbook Pro’s at your local Apple Store or here on Amazon.com.

Review - Apple Macbook Pro
  • Price
  • Build Quality
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
4.5

Onuora Amobi is VP of Marketing at Learn About The Web. He has an extensive background in both Online Marketing and Enterprise Technology solutions.

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Editorial

A Failure of imagination – Apple release new iPhone XR iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

Apple have taken the easy way out, avoided innovation and are dependent on incremental upgrades

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Apple iPhone XS

I have an iPhone and I love it so I absolutely hate to be THAT guy.

I hate to be the guy who’s going against the grain, who seems to be contrarian where others celebrate but unfortunately, this is one of those articles.

Apple released their new iPhones today.

They released three new models – the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

The new iPhone XS and XS Max are priced at $999 and $1,099 and start shipping out at the end of this month. The iPhone XR starts at $749 and begins shipping out in October.

Apple iPhone XS

Apple iPhone XS (Image Credit – The Verge)

The iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch OLED display with a 2436 x 1125 resolution. Meanwhile, the iPhone XS Max has a 6.5-inch OLED display with a 2688 x 1242 resolution. The iPhone XR, which you can basically think of as this year’s lower-end offering, has a 6.1-inch LCD display with a 1792 x 828 resolution.

At the end of the day, the screen size is the main difference between these three new models.

  • The XS is smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus but the screen is as big as the screen on the 8 Plus.
  • The iPhone XS Max is as big as the iPhone 8 Plus, and its screen is larger.
  • The iPhone XR has a larger display than the iPhone 8 Plus, while its overall size is just slightly smaller.

The iPhone XS and XS Max have dual rear 12-megapixel cameras and improved True Tone flash, and a front 7-megapixel camera. The iPhone XR, as the more budget option, has one 12-megapixel camera on the back, with True Tone flash.

All the new phones are powered by a new seven-nanometer A12 Bionic chip which can handle 512GB of storage. The iPhone XS and XS Max also have faster Face ID, True Tone display, and 3D Touch. They have support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 video.

The iPhone XS and XS Plus come in gold, silver, or space gray. The iPhone XS starts at $999 for the 64GB option, and has 256GB and 512GB options as well. The iPhone XS Max starts at $1,099, with the same storage options. The 512GB option goes for $1,449.

The Apple iPhone XS Promo Video

My opinion

Unfortunately, this is just more of the same.

Apple have made a larger phone, added more storage and made the camera better. The phone OS will be improved as well but that is really all that happened.

As someone who has an iPhone 7 Plus, I will upgrade at some point but the truth is there is STILL no rush.

I have been waiting for a compelling upgrade from Apple that would force me to head to the store and/or pre-order a new phone and the truth is, this isn’t the one.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 seems way more exciting from a consumer point of view because of the screen, the pen and the TONS of innovative new features they bring to the table.

When Steve Jobs died, there was a fervent argument among the faithful that innovation at the worlds most valuable company would start to slow.

Unfortunately I fear this is the case.

The most exciting features of the iPhone (IMHO) are FaceID and the upcoming multi-user FaceTime. Beyond those two features, it seems like Apple is just keeping up with the competition.

Let’s be really clear, these are REALLY GOOD PHONES.

But unfortunately, Apple is in a Michael Jackson type situation where they seem to be unable to do anything better than their greatest hit.

Apple continues to live in Steve Job’s shadow and unfortunately, his genius is really the anchor against which the company’s level of innovation will be measured. Using that yardstick, the company fails to measure up.

Preorders for both phones begin on September 14 and ship on September 21st in select countries, with rollout in other countries to follow.

What do you think? Will you buy an iPhone XS?

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Reviews

Review Sling TV

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Sling TV Review

This is my Review of the Sling TV App.

TV has changed. It is an activity that I only enjoy sparingly these days. My busy schedule means that I while I can make time for appointment television for content that I absolutely have to see, mindless channel surfing is out of the equation.

This makes me a perfect candidate for a service like Sling TV. It is a godsend for individuals like me that are either occupied throughout the day, or are on the move.

A subscription based, contract free, Netflix for live TV kind of a deal, that allows users to sign up for a selection of live, HD streams of cable channels like ESPN, Comedy Central, AMC, CNN, and more.

What’s not to like?

Sling TV launched in 2015. Developed by DISH Network, this service finally offers cord cutters a viable alternative that starts at $20 per month.

A selection of channel packages is available that you can tack on, ranging from $5 to $10. A DVR option costs you $5 a month. This is where Sling TV excels, in how it sells you the content.

Sling TV

Rather than forcing you to sign up for an expensive package with a bunch of channels that you do not want, the service offers you two basic options. You then get granular control over the offerings, and can easily add in the channels that you want.

The best part is that Sling TV can be accessed from a wide variety of platforms — Windows, macOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One, along with several smart TVs and streaming boxes.

In fact, the only notable exception here are the Sony consoles. PlayStation Vue being a Sling TV competitor means that Sling TV is not available on PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4 systems. But other than that, you are well covered and can carry your virtual television whenever and wherever you want.

Take your pick

And this is its biggest strength. Live TV streaming whenever and wherever, without the hassle of contracts, equipment, and costly subscriptions. The interface does take some getting used to, but on the flipside, it is neither complicated, nor overly busy. You will make sense of it all in minutes.

Sling TV is not without its minor quibbles, though.

The company offers two packages, Orange and Blue. And while these are enough to get you started, you will have to tack on additional channels if you are a heavy watcher.

Sling TV

I personally spend a fair amount of time watching sports, and this is where Sling TV really shines, offering me access to live sporting events right on my phone. All the added stuff is an icing on the cake.

The company has rolled out a host of updates and cosmetic changes to the service, since the early days of its launch. But some issues still remain that result in this being a great option for some people, instead of being an excellent option for everyone.

Most prominent of these is that streaming tends to struggle a bit on streaming sticks. While the app is very reliable and stable, as long as you have a decent internet connection, the same can sadly not be said when using it on streaming devices like Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV.

HD programming regularly slips into low-resolution, and occasionally crashes.

As for the experience itself, Sling TV may be live, but it is not fast. Channels take up to 5 seconds to load, and you should also expect a brief buggering for a couple of seconds — no mindless flipping through an endless ream of channels here.

Mac users beware

Upgrading your Mac Operating System to High Sierra seems to cripple the Sling TV app and based on my queries to Sling customer support, it really seems like they are trying to phase out their desktop apps. They are pushing Mac users to the Chrome browser instead.

As a long time Sling customer, I have to say that even though they offer a lot of value, the inability of this company to simply support an app for a MAJOR OS upgrade is very unprofessional and disappointing.

Thumbs down for that.

Verdict

With a slick app design, mostly lag free experience, and straightforward subscriptions, Sling TV is the best cable replacement options available right now.

The content is varied, and even though the base package may be small, to keep things affordable, you do get a selection of over 100 channels to add on. Its value comes down to what you like, and for me, there’s a lot.

You can check out Sling TV here

Review Sling TV
  • Price
  • User Interface
  • Ease of use
  • Reliability
  • Features
4.0
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Reviews

Review – Snagit screen capture software

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This is my review of the screen capture program for the mac – Snagit.

Developed by TechSmith, this is a complete screen capture and annotation solution, the best in the business.

Overview

This feature rich program can capture anything on your screen, record video from both your screen and webcam, and also provides a range of borders, effects, and other designs elements to edit the captured content.

Available for both PC and Mac, SnagIt offers a complete toolkit to easily capture whatever you see on your screen, and then edit and share it, all from one convenient program. I use it almost daily to share designs, interfaces, charts and pictures with my team.

Not to mention its use in content creation, everything I create for my websites — tutorials, screenshots, guides, you name it. I can simply capture any part of the screen and paste it anywhere, even scrolling pages, menus, and flowing content from documents and webpages.

Its intuitive interface makes it every easy to capture both images and videos.

snagit

The UI is compact, with three modules to choose from. Namely, All-in-One, Image, and Video.

The first allows you to capture what is going on screen, and take screenshots without interrupting your recoding, while the other two are self-explanatory.

SnagIt 13, the latest version of the program, builds on its excellence by revamping existing tools, and adding new ones. A GIF creator is now available, as are new capture features.

Rounding up the feature set is integration with other capturing sources like your webcam or mic, which allows you to capture audio and even record voice calls from VoIP applications like Skype. It also lets you create preset that comes into play whenever you take a screenshot.

Using this extremely helpful feature lets you skip the editing process by automatically applying effects, or even send the captured images to a desired destination. Speaking of which, images can be exported to Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as Google Drive, and the company’s own My Places service.

Moving pictures

TechSmith, of course, is also the name behind Camtasia Studio, one of the finest video capture products around. SnagIt is a sister program to Camtasia, with the big difference being that it since it is more focused on taking still screenshots, its editing tools are almost exclusively designed for still images.

Only minimal video editing tools are provided in the program, but there is enough here to allow you to trim the videos that you record.

Snagit video

My biggest knock against the latest version of the program is that it still does not offer the revert feature that lets me undo all modifications I make to a saved image at once. Sure, it is possible to close an image without saving it, and then reopen it, but that is a troublesome workaround.

Priced at $49.95 for a new copy, or $29.95 for upgrades from previous versions, SnagIt may seem expensive, if all you need is basic screen capping features. But if you want advanced options, flexibility, power, and ease of use, then this program is well worth its asking price.

Buyer Beware!

I had to go to the Mac store for technical support because for some reason a program on my Mac was eating up all my RAM. Yup! It was Snagit!

This is a very powerful program but you don’t want this open in the background unless you are actively using it. It’s a RAM hog on the mac and will eat up a lot of RAM even when it’s idle. Make sure you keep it closed when you don’t need it.

Verdict

SnagIt is a beautifully designed, stable and reliable program to efficiently just about everything a screen capture program should be able to capture. Rival products are nowhere near as feature rich, and the program remains my favorite screen capturing application.

You can download a copy of Snagit here

Review - Snagit screen capture software
  • Price
  • User Interface
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Efficiency
3.8
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