Late last year, I bought two new computers. The MacBook Pro shown in the image was bought just before Apple announced the new models (my bad). It is a 14-inch model with the best processor, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD space. It replaced the aging i7-based MBP that I bought back in 2016. It also replaced an aging i5-based iMac I bought in 2015.
The latter two computers were showing their age, the MBP less so than the iMac. But the MBP was nearing the end of its useful life.
So, I replaced two computers with a single unit. When I return home I will add an external monitor to it for desktop work.
The second machine is an ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop. It replaces the aging desktop tower that I bought several years ago (2015? 2016? earlier?) and upgraded a couple of times. This computer is based on a Ryzen 9, plenty of RAM and SSD, and a solid NVidia RTX display adapter. It will handle the numerical modeling and GIS work chores very well.
In fact, it is handling them very well. Having a strong notebook computer released me from the house for work. I can now prepare and operate my numerical models while traveling.
Now, I left a 15-inch MBP for the 14-inch model and I really (really!) like this change. I find the 14-inch machine to be a perfect size (the Goldilocks size!) for portable work. The 15-inch unit was fine on a tabletop, but always felt too large when operating with a lapdesk or on my lap. I am currently writing with the 14-inch MBP on a lapdesk and it is as close to perfect as I can get.
The smaller screen is not a bother; it works. The computer is big enough that the keyboard does not feel cramped. The new Apple processors are speedy, run cool, and are stingy with battery power. My computer’s battery is currently about 50% and I have been running it for two days since the last charge.
The G14, though, is a power hog. That Ryzen 9 and the NVidia RTX use a lot of power. That machine will run for a couple of hours on a charge. That, however, is good enough. I do not expect to do a lot of work away from mains power.
Aside: I also have a relatively large Lithium-Iron-Phosphate based power bank that can run the G14 (and other things) long enough away from mains power.
The bottom line is that my changes to my computer stable enabled me to leave the house and go mobile over the holidays. I am still able to work and take care of my clients while visiting family and friends. I really like that freedom.
I recently started thinking about my hobbies. It is clear (if you have been watching my weblog), that I picked up my cameras again this summer. Photography is something that has been part of my life for more than 50 years. i was thinking about my first real camera a few days ago — an Argus-Cosina manual SLR. The only thing electric in that camera was an internal averaging meter than ran on a silver oxide cell. The camera was completely mechanical but for that meter and used M42 screw mount lenses (Pentax mount).
In the 1970s, when I started learning about photography, a new friend (photographer) took me under his wing and taught me the basics. I remember being a little envious of his Canon F-1 camera, which was a suitable object of lust.
He taught me Ansel Adams’ Zone System. I still have a scanned copy of my notes from that time. He taught me how to develop my film and how to make a print. I cannot remember his name for the life of me. I wish I did. (Maybe I will, who knows!)
At the time, I wondered about the real applicability of the Zone System to roll-film based cameras, like my Argus. Adams shot mostly sheet film, which he then developed one frame at a time. So, he could tailor his development times (and chemistry) to the exposure he made when he visualized and metered the shot. In other words, he worked each frame one at a time, both in the field and in the darkroom.
That does not work for roll film, unless one dedicates an entire roll to each subject. I do not.
What I finally came to understand was that for me, a user of roll-film cameras, the Zone System is a very useful tool for visualizing a scene and metering the scene so that whatever is important to the frame (highlights, shadows, or both) will have detail for the process (film, digital, print, all or none of the above).
So, I retain my interest in the Zone System for exposure control. It just does not work as Adams used it for field and view cameras and single-frame processing. The use of the Zone System also increased my awareness of the expose-to-the-right (ETTR) emphasis of the digital age.
I retain my interest in amateur radio and continue to work Parks On The Air whenever I can get out. I recently activated Compton Hills SRA a couple of times and there are more new parks in the area. It is just so cold at the moment that it is dangerous to be outdoors for the dog and for me.
I still want to pick up my guitar again. That is the last thing on my list of hobbies that feeds my soul. I intend to do that this year.
I recently listened to Stanley Yates’ arrangement and performance of Mozart’s Fantasy in D-minor. He displayed the score as he performed in the background. I was able to follow the sheet music as he played, which pleased me as it has been years since I looked at notation. This made me want to pick up my guitar and work my fingers again.
I do not do annual resolutions. That has seemed to me to be a trivialization of goal setting for as long as I can remember. It might be a fun social activity, but it is not a useful tool. However, setting goals and intentions are powerful tools.
So, I am setting an intention and a goal to pick up my classical guitar again and do some work. In fact, I have Yates’ playing in the background as I finish this rumination.
It is cold here in southwest Missouri. It will be a good day to stay indoors, as much as I want to get out.
Life is still good.