Kbase Article of the Week: Sherlock, Sherlock 2: Finding Invisible Files or Folders »

This week, we look back at how to look for files:

As the name implies, invisible files and folders are those that cannot be seen in the Finder, whether they reside on the desktop or in a window. Invisible files and folders have an internal flag set that tells the Finder not to display them.

A file or folder is typically invisible for a reason. Deleting or modifying one of them may cause unpredictable results. Unless you know the outcome of your modification, you should not make changes to an invisible file or folder.

Relay FM Meetup at the WWDC App Camp for Girls Fundraiser »

Myke Hurley, on our company blog:

As you may know, Relay FM is hosting a meetup at WWDC this year, but our tickets sold out really quickly. But for those of you that may have missed out, we have some great news!

We are working with women@wwdc and James Dempsey and the Breakpoints to host a mini Relay FM meetup at their App Camp for Girls benefit on Wednesday, June 7.

At this event there will be a special Relay FM meet-and-greet section inside the venue. So grab your tickets now, and be sure to get there at 7 PM to meet up with fellow listeners and some of your favorite Relay FM hosts.

Hope to see you there!

Review: 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar 

The 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar is a weird computer.

In many ways, it’s the new MacBook Air. If Apple could have sold it for $999, perhaps it would be the new MacBook Air. If the 12-inch, single-port MacBook had earned the Air name, maybe this computer would have been the MacBook.

Naming stuff aside — including the need for ATP to dub this computer the “MacBook Escape” — it’s a pretty enjoyable notebook. It strikes a great balance, as I wrote in my review:

In shopping for a notebook, I wanted something that offered a balance of weight and power that I felt was acceptable. If this computer was my only machine, I would have opted for a 15-inch with an i7. For something that I’m only going to ever use after carrying it out of the house, I wanted it to be thin and light.

This thing being smaller than a MacBook Air and having a Retina display is was what sold me. The new design is 12% thinner and is 13% smaller in volume (and weighs the same) as the Air. In my bag, they are feel exactly the same, but this machine comes with a far better display and is far faster.

All of that stands up nicely six months later, but I don’t have that computer anymore.

I needed a second Mac to cut open in a YouTube video and bought a base-model 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar:

  • 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
  • 8GB 2133MHz memory
  • 256GB PCIe-based SSD1
  • Intel Iris Graphics 550
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID

My intention was to return it but… yeah.

Here it is, on my desk.

Most of my earlier review still stands. The keyboard is loud, the trackpad is huge and Thunderbolt 3 requires dongles.

The increased speed is nice, but the battery life on this model seems even less predictable than it was on the Escape. Switching from Chrome to Safari helped, but run time is can be uneven across sessions.

The move from two to four ports is really nice. I use my MacBook Pro for a lot of media work when I’m traveling, and some things would just not be possible with two ports:

Even though the Thunderbolt 3 ports on the right-hand side of my notebook aren’t as fast the ones on the left, I haven’t run into any problems. All I’m really doing is adapting out to USB 3 most of the time.

Then there’s the matter of the Touch Bar. I think I fall into line with most thoughts on the new technology. It’s very clever, but not super useful at this point. A lot of Apple apps have adopted it, but third-party support has been slower to come.

Control Strip — the right side of the Touch Bar full of system controls — is nicely done and can be easily modified. For example, I ditched Siri and replaced it with a shortcut to launch Mission Control and show my desktop.

I was initially worried that I would get used to the Touch Bar on my MacBook Pro, and then be frustrated that my iMac — my main machine — was missing it. In reality, that hasn’t been a problem. The Touch Bar adds niceties like an emoji picker that makes sense, but I’m so wired into keyboard shortcuts, I don’t feel hampered without it.

I think the Touch Bar has a nice future once it’s adopted more widely, but for now, it’s just polish on top of the Mac experience.

Touch ID, on the other hand, is a huge deal on the Mac. Logging in, making purchases, unlocking 1Password and more are just a thumbprint away. It’s fast and easy to set up, just like on iOS.

I look forward to seeing Touch ID ship on all Macs.

All in all, it was probably a little silly to keep this MacBook Pro and sell the Escape, but I do like this laptop. It’s fast, light and the additional ports are a nice upgrade. It’s not the best MacBook Pro I’ve ever had, but it’s the lightest and the most forward-thinking, for whatever that’s worth.

Unless you need four ports or more power, I’d probably recommend you just buy the one without the Touch Bar for now.

The NYT’s Take on the Original iMac »

This article got sent to me by several people, and I can’t pass up linking to it. In it, Peter Lewis responds to the then-new Bondi Blue iMac G3:

Apple was certainly “thinking different” when it created the iMac. The new personal computer, which goes on sale on Aug. 15, has already won popular acclaim for its creative design and its refreshing departure from the computer industry standard of boring beige boxes.

By rushing the iMac to market, Apple succeeded in getting on the radar screens of buyers before the next school year starts. There is a pent-up demand among owners of older Macintoshes for an affordable upgrade, and Apple is expected to sell all the iMacs it can make in coming months.

So far, so good…

Sources who say they have seen prototypes of other Apple computers report that the company may be thinking of adding translucence to desktop machines later this year. Although some reports say the new desktop systems will be smoky black, others describe the color as a translucent midnight blue, the same color Apple used in its new translucent Studio Display monitor.

Turns out, one of those was true.

Then there was the software:

The iMac also acts different from most computers. Like all current Macintoshes, it uses the Mac OS 8.1 operating system software, which is incompatible with more than 90 percent of all other computers. The Mac OS still sets the standard for ease of use and innovation, and it is arguably a superior choice for the consumer and education audience that Apple hopes to impress with the iMac.

It’s easy to forget the iMac shipped with Mac OS 8. That operating system feels further back in time to me than the iMac’s hardware.

(I wrote a whole book about this. You should read it.)

The iMac has a modest hard disk drive (four gigabytes, half the capacity of many new computers), but it lacks a built-in floppy disk drive or other removable media, like disks, for backing up files. A few customers may be able to work effectively without some way to transport data physically, by backing up files to a network server or to the Internet, but most of the consumers Apple is trying to appeal to live in a world where floppy disks are important.

Apple contends that the 1.44-megabyte, 3.5-inch disk drive is a thing of the past and that putting one in the iMac would have made it last year’s machine instead of next year’s.

Instead, Apple left a hole called a Universal Serial Bus port that allows a customer to attach storage devices to the iMac.

Lewis went on to quote a bunch of industry folks on the pros (but mostly cons) of this move.

This passage is why this link is getting passed around. It is easy to look back and mock this response. Of course, we think, it lacked a floppy drive. They were going out of style fast!

That turned out to be true, but wasn’t evident in 1998 to all. Apple was pushing the ball forward, breaking things as it went. That’s been the company’s modus operandi for years. I just have to look at the side of my new MacBook Pro to understand it today.

I think includes a lesson for those of us who review and talk about technology professionally. We shouldn’t hold our opinions too tightly. The move to USB was a little crazy for 1998’s world, but it made possible our world today. At the time, it was seen as a mistake by some, but that’s not how things panned out.

MacStories: The Long-Lived iPad 2 »

This month on MacStories, I spent some time with the first iPad to really stick around more than a year, the iPad 2:

While that doesn’t seem remarkable today, it was an eternity when it came to iOS devices at the time. The iPad 2 was one of the first devices Apple kept around to fill a lower price point on its product matrix.

Introducing Originality & Roboism »

This morning, we’re announcing two new shows on Relay FM:

Originality is hosted by Aleen Simms and K Tempest Bradford. The show is all about exploring the wheres, hows, and whys of creative genius. The hosts are joined each episode by a diverse assortment of guests from a variety of fields.

Roboism is a podcast mostly about robots. Alex Cox and Savannah Million care about how robots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are affecting our culture.

I’m really happy to have Aleen Simms back on the air, and to welcome K Tempest Bradford, Savannah Million and Alex Cox to the network.

Enjoy the shows!