Valerie and I were looking at getting new laptops for the last couple months. She was looking to get a laptop as she hasn’t had one for a while. I was going to replace my 2016 MacBook Pro. After looking over all the various configurations, it looked like we were both landing on the same 13″ MacBook Pro specs. Meanwhile, in the background, the new Mac mini launched and I was looking to get one fur use at home as an “always on computer”. Then it hit us; we didn’t necessarily need a laptop, what we needed was access to a Mac. I have been doing most of my daily personal computing on the 2018 13″ iPad Pro, and Valerie has been on a 2018 11″ iPad Pro. Those are our portable computers, so really we just needed some mac that we can both have access to, both locally and remotely. So why not just get a high performance Mac mini and share it? That’s exactly what we did!
Mac mini Configuration
Processor: 3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7
RAM: 32GB 2666MHz DDR4
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 (Option for eGPU if needed in the future)
Ethernet: 10 Gigabit (for future use)
BYOKMDS (Bring Your Own Keyboard Mouse Display Storage)
Keyboard: Keytron K1 (blog post about it) / Magic Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech MX Master / Magic Trackpad
Display: LG 27UK650-W 27″ 4KUHDIPS Monitor with HDR10
External Drives: G-Drive 4TB USB-C Drives
Fast User Switching
In the last ~20 years of using Macs, I don’t think I have ever setup a personal Mac in a multi-user environment. Well, that changes now! We are running two accounts on the Mac mini using Fast User Switching so we can switch back and forth quickly when either of us needs the machine. Having multiple user accounts also give us the ability to have a shared space that is fully RW for both of us. Finally, this enables either of use to have background services running in the background while the other user is utilizing the machine.
Unlock with Apple Watch
Since we went with the Mac mini instead of the MacBook Pro, something we didn’t get is TouchID. I definitely miss TouchID (and the Touch Bar!), but the ability to unlock with Apple Watch at least makes logging in a little more automated.
What are some things I want to do with this Mac mini?
Download and backup all original photos
Filter and file mail
iCloud Drive offline copy
iOS content local cache
File archive storage
Auto process tasks from iPad
Who knows what else!?
As it always has been, the Mac mini is a great all around machine!
Ok, so with the addition of dual sim support in iOS 12.1.2 I went and got an iPhone XS Max so I could consolidate my iPhone X (personal) and iPhone 8 (work) into a single phone.
My Cellular Accounts
When I initially called T-Mobile to setup my primary number as the eSIM, I was told it is “not possible to do with post paid accounts at this time”. Fast forward, that was bullshit and it’s totally possible. Once I got that going, I then popped in my work AT&T physical SIM card as the secondary line. This was now working, but there was one major caveat. Only one line on a phone can be associated with iMessage and FaceTime. This was unfortunately a deal breaker since I needed iMessage for both of my numbers.
It was definitely weird to see two sets of signal bars in the iOS status bar! It was also interesting to see how the system handled the distinction of your primary and secondary number when it came to calls, messages, etc. The system added a distinct “P” or “S” logo prepended to entries to identify which line they belonged to. This also carried over to my Apple Watch.
Unfortunately because of the inability to use iMessage with both numbers, I had to go back to two separate phones. For now..
I am going to revisit this in September with the next batch of iPhones and iOS 13.
This is a weird one that almost no one cares about, but it’s been on my mind lately for some reason. 🤷♂️
Ranking Cable Connectors! Strictly on the physical connector itself, not its speed or capabilities.
Disclaimer: 100% opinion and nowhere near a complete list
Data Connectors (speed not a factor)
USB Type A / USB 3.0 Type A
USB Mini A
USB 3.0 Type B
USB Micro A
USB Type B
USB 3.0 Micro B
Video Connector (video quality not a factor)
Apple Display Connector
The interesting thing is that we are finally at a place in time where a single cable can do everything! USB-C is great and I am trying like hell to get everything I own converted over to this connector.
I ordered a Keytron K1 87 Mac Mechanical Keyboard from a Kickstarter and it just showed up this past week!
*They changed their name to Keychron at some point.
Wireless or wired
Mac and Windows layouts available
19RGB led effects
87 and 104 Key versions available
One key activate Siri
Can be connected to 3 devices with ability to switch between them with keyboard shortcut
The mechanical keys feel nice. They are a good level of “clickyness”. It is taking me a little bit to get used to them as I have been using the iPad Pro Smart Folio case mostly lately.
The visual and physical quality is very good on this keyboard. I would have expected this to cost a lot more than it did.
Some people like lights, some don’t. I had the option to get no lights, only white lights, or RGB lights (at different price points). I went full RGB because I am in the camp that likes lights! The lighting effects are really cool. Each key seems to have an LED under it, rather than zones, which is great. The only time this isn’t good is when a key has two rows of text on it (example: Page Down). In these cases, only the top row is fully illuminated.
The top row is dedicated to F keys and Media keys. It also has a dedicated key for: Screenshots, Dictation, and Siri.
I am sure I will have more to say about this thing as the weeks go on, but it’s looking good so far. Also, it works well with both my MacBook Pro as well as my iPad Pro. 👍