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  • 26th Aug, 2022

    Mac Recommendations

    “Which Mac should I buy?” comes up fairly often in communities I’m in. There are a lot of options – especially as Apple haven’t completed their transition from Intel to the M-series chips yet – but here are some general recommendations.

    All the usual caveats apply to this: your mileage may very, question all advice (even this), etc...

    Don’t buy an Intel

    Only buy a MacBook with an M1 or M2 chip. Support for Intels will decrease significantly over the next year or two and the M1/M2’s wipe the floor with the previous chips from a performance POV – a different ballpark altogether.

    Avoid the 13” base model MacBook Pro

    If you buy an M1 or M2, don’t buy the 13” base model MacBook Pro – these are the worst machines in the M1 and M2 line-ups (a spec-matched MacBook Air is usually a better choice despite the ‘Pro’ name).

    Airs and Minis

    Related to the 13” MacBook Pro advice above, M1/2 MacBook Airs and Mac Minis are excellent computers for most people. With upgraded space and RAM they’ll suffice for most use cases.

    If you’re coming from an Intel, an M1/M1 Pro will likely be a huge upgrade from what you’re used to and it may not be worth spending more on a Max or Ultra. If you need that extra power, you’ll probably know.

    Upgrade the M2 disk space

    If you buy an M2 MacBook Air, be sure to upgrade the disk space to at least 512GB – there’s a bit of a performance dip on the base storage model (256GB).

    Processor upgrades are optional

    The old advice for Intels was “max out the processor”, but this is much less important than it used to be due to the way to M1/M2 series chips work. In lots of testing, the upgraded chips offer little-to-no real-world improvements.

    If you can afford it, do it – if it’s a choice between that and extra storage or something else, the processor is probably less important.


    Similarly, your RAM needs on an M-series chip may be lower than previous Macs. I’d still recommend buying the maximum you can afford, probably a minimum of 16GB unless your laptop use is incredibly light and/or not business critical.

    Any 14”/16” M1 MacBook Pro should be good!

    The choice mostly comes down to screen size.

    Laptop or desktop?

    With Apple’s transition to M-series chips, there is no real performance difference between a desktop and laptop machine equipped with the same chip (i.e. an M1 Max Mac Studio vs an M1 Max MacBook Pro). So if you’ve previously had a desktop and laptop, you might be able to consolidate the machines.

    Apple Studio Display

    The main reason to buy an Apple Studio Display over other options is that it’s one of the only displays on the market that offer a 5K resolution at a native size. That means that the pixels aren’t scaled up like they are on 5K displays at bigger display sizes.

    The build quality is excellent and, despite the poor reviews, I regularly get comments on the quality of the camera – despite previously using a front-facing iPhone 7 camera.

    Last updated: 26th August, 2022

  • 24th Aug, 2022
  • 13th Aug, 2022
  • 22nd Jul, 2022
  • 18th Jul, 2022

    182.5 days alcohol-free

    182.5 days ago, I unintentionally gave up alcohol for good. For now, at least.

    I had no intention of joining Dry January, but by the middle of the month I’d decided to give alcohol a little break. Nothing in particular triggered it, but I downloaded a copy of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober and started listening.

    A few interesting takeaways included:

    • The author, Catherine Gray, talks about where she was on the scale of alcoholism (1–10), which is an interesting concept in and of itself
    • Recognising that alcohol intake – and one’s position on that scale – often creeps up by the breaking of small, seemingly inconsequential rules. “I’ll have a dry night…ok just one…ok just two…”
    • Everyone knows that alcohol is an addictive substance, but society doesn’t recognise it. There should be no shame in abstaining because drinking in moderation might be difficult due to its addictive nature.

    As Gareth K Thomas put it, I’m an abstainer, not a moderator (origionally inspired by Gretchen Rubin).

    Gray recommends that anyone interested in reducing their alcohol intake takes at least 90 days off. If that seems too difficult, start with 30.

    So, in mid-January, I decided to take a break for 30 days and go for 90 if that went well.

    Here’s what I’ve learned:


    Alcohol-free beers are amazing, and I wouldn’t have got this far without them. Lucky Saint, Beavertown’s Lazer Crush, Free Damm and Brooklyn’s Special Effects are all worth a look. Even Heineken’s alcohol-free beer isn’t bad.

    Update: The Guinness 0.0% is incredible. I rarely drank Guinness, but this AF version is pretty close: it tastes great and has something of an ale-y quality. Easily the best AF beer I’ve tried.

    A key realisation for me was that drinking alcohol-free beer gave me about 70% of the enjoyment and relaxation compared to an alcoholic beer. Of course, it’s not the same, but it’s close enough. And, for me, the downsides of drinking aren’t worth that extra 30%.

    Day tracking

    I never thought that day tracking would be for me, but I’ve found it incredibly effective.

    At the beginning of my alcohol-free stint, I hit lots of mini milestones. These generally prompted one of two thoughts:

    1. “I don’t want to break this streak”
    2. “I don’t want to have to start this streak again”

    It’s so helpful I’m now day counting a reduced sugar intake. As I write this, I haven’t eaten chocolate in three weeks.

    I use Days Since.

    Day 40

    About 40 days in, I realised I didn’t miss drinking at all and I was going to give up for the foreseeable future. It’s amazing not to ever wake up with a slightly hazy head, regret having that extra drink or saying something stupid while your inhibitions were suppressed.

    There’s something wonderful about waking up each morning with a totally clear head. It’s not impossible that I’d drink again at some point in the future, but for now I’m enjoying life alcohol-free.

    There’s no decent red wine alternative

    Or not that I’ve found. The only time I ever miss alcohol is when food would traditionally be paired with a red wine – but now that feels like a taste thing rather than desiring the alcohol per se.

    If you know of a decent alcohol-free red wine, I’d love to hear about it!

    Alcohol is no social lubricant

    Like many people, I felt that alcohol helped me in social situations. But I’ve realised I feel no more relaxed or less awkward with an alcohol-free option.

    Over the past six months, my choice of alcohol-free beverage has prompted lots of discussion about giving up alcohol. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to has said they want to cut down, it crept up over the pandemic, etc.

    It turns out that ‘The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober’ is a brilliantly accurate title for the book. I didn’t even finish it as I’d decided to give up forever when I was about halfway through.

    I’d wholeheartedly recommend it if you’re thinking of taking a break from alcohol for any reason. It’s honest, relatable and full of revelations on how we view alcohol and the pressures around it.

  • 17th Jul, 2022
  • 2nd Jul, 2022
  • 1st Jul, 2022
  • 23rd Jun, 2022

    Small habits don’t add up, they compound.

    Measurement is only useful when it guides you and adds context to a larger picture, not when it consumes you. Each number is simply one piece of feedback in the overall system.

    In our data-driven world, we tend to overvalue numbers and undervalue anything ephemeral, soft or difficult to quantify. We mistakenly think the factors we can measure are the only factors that exist.

    But just because you can measure something, doesn’t mean it’s the most important thing. And just because you can’t measure something, doesn’t mean it’s not important at all.

    “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”
    – Goodhart’s Law

  • 22nd Jun, 2022
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