MacBook Options in Early 2017

I realized at some point recently that when I teach and when I present at conferences, I am using my personal laptop, putting it at risk when my university should be providing me the proper equipment to do those things. Fortunately, I have a bit of money left over from my professorship, and so I looked into what my portability options are:

One consideration would be the 11-inch MacBook Air, now discontinued (and never given the love it deserved):

Amazon has one for $700: Apple MacBook Air MD711LL/B 11.6-Inch Laptop (1.4GHz Intel Core i5 Dual-Core up to 2.7GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0) (Certified Refurbished).

Apple has one for $849. MacBook Air 11.6/1.6GHZ/4GB/128GB Flash. March 2015.

Or one for $929: Refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air 1.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5. Originally released March 2015. 11.6-inch. 4GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory. 256GB PCIe-based flash storage. 720p FaceTime HD Camera. Intel HD Graphics 6000.

With that price, I thought I should look into something more readily affordable: the 9.7-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi 32GB – Space Gray released in March 2016 lists for $579.

That’s not bad, but I a colleague of mine recently ordered one and I took one look at the size of the keyboard and thought: no. So that leaves the more expensive option, especially since my university won’t buy refurbished gear of the MacBook: 12.0/1.1GHz Dual-Core Intel Core m3/8GB/256GB Flash. April 2016. $1,249. (There was a refurbished version on the website for not a lot less, $1189, but it did have a 512GB SSD. Win some, lose some.)

Sticky MBP Keys

The **enter** key on my MBP occasionally acts like it’s either sticky or mushy (what a word). There’s a good walk-through of cleaning the keys on [Youtube](


Ugh. I think I was having some of [these problems]( before upgrading to Mac OS 10.8, but they are definitely happening quite a bit since upgrading. Both Mail and Spotlight seem to be the culprits: two of Apple’s very own applications. softwater on the Apple Discussion boards suggests turning Spotlight off:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

And then, later, when there is a fix for the problem, turning Spotlight back on:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

I hope Apple straightens this out fairly soon. I’m tired of the regular stuttering in my Mac’s responses to inputs.

[Jon Kulp]( turned me onto [a really nice case mod of an old G4](

An Easy Rails Server on Your Mac

The good folks at 37 Signals have done it again: produced not only a nice piece of software but also open sourced it for everyone else to try, use, and modify:

Pow is a clean, self-contained server that runs as your user without root privileges. There are no Apache extensions to compile, no gems to install. A single command installs and upgrades Pow automatically. And your system files are left pristine and untouched.

Pow is available here. (Here’s a direct link to the GitHub repository.)