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Sunday, 24 January 2016

Revisiting Apple, now with OS X 10.11 El Capitan

Well, I've finally done it. Revisiting the Apple world that is. This Macbook was bought for $300 (Craigslist of course) in pretty good condition. The RAM was upgraded to 4 GB, but I decided to add more. That would become a problem... Feel free to skip the italics and just take note of the underline.

Let's start by stating all the laptop RAM I have: 2x4GB pair from dismantled laptop (became Chromebook's RAM); 2x2GB pair originally from Chromebook (was actually an upgrade itself, they said it was from their Macbook); 1x4GB "made for Mac" RAM (was in my gaming laptop cause BestBuy nearby only sold that kind); 3x4GB triplet originally from my gaming laptop (2 hard to access so I never touched them); and 2x2GB originally in the Macbook. Note that I use a space between the number and GB when declaring overall RAM of a machine.

I first tried the 2x4GB pair from the dismantled laptop. Macbook gave me 3 beeps and wouldn't shut up until I force shutdown. Then the 4GB "made for Mac" RAM, along with one of the triplets. Same result. How would I upgrade from the 4 GB now? I decided to compromise and ended up with 6 GB in both the Macbook and Chromebook, along with 16 GB still in gaming laptop. I basically put the "made for Mac" 4GB and one of the 2GB Chromebook RAM in the Macbook. That somehow worked! The 4GB triplet was separated from its family and put in the Chromebook, along with the other 2GB. The 2x4GB pair was put in my gaming laptop. And finally, the 2x2GB Macbook RAM was left in a bag (mainly because it was the slowest type).

Moving on, here is how I setup my Macbook. First, I had to integrate my iCloud account for Find my Mac, the App Store, iTunes, etc. That means creating a new account and setting that up on first login. Then I upgraded from OS X 10.9 to 10.11, and noticed very little speed decrease. Office 2011 was installed by the seller already, and he doesn't have the license. That means Time Machine must be setup (too bad I had to sacrifice a spare drive for HFS+ requirement, although I could use SuperDuper!). Adobe Flash is unfortunately still useful... After a bit more customization (like rearranging the dock), it was time to install the programs. Here they are, separated by type:

Internet and Safari extensions:
qBittorent, Skype
Clean Links for Google, LastPass, uBlock, WOT

Avidemux, MediaHuman Lyrics Finder, MP3Gain Express, MusicBrainz Picard, SmartConverter, VLC Media Player.

Utilities and Preference Panes:
ClipMenu, DetectX, Disk Drill, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, OnyX, The Unarchiver
AppTrap, MenuMeters

Armagetron Advanced, Battle Bears, Frozen Free Fall, Full Deck Solitaire, Music Racer, SuperTux

I was going to install Google Chrome, but decided against it because I thought it would contain too much personal information after I signed in (which was the whole point), because I thought my family knows the iCloud password... Turns out they forgot, and I have signed into Google on Safari anyhow! Guess the reason not to now is for more disk space, less RAM usage, better battery life, and no more Chrome apps cluttering my Launchpad. Fully uninstalling it was more work than I thought:

That was surprisingly anti-Google... Anyhow, I've also tried Sophos Antivirus Home and found it a completely unnecessary waste of resources. Everything was slower, especially opening the Guest account (which creates temporary files every time and doesn't save your settings). Although there are more Mac malware than ever, the same principles apply: Don't download and install anything outside of the App Store or another trustworthy source without at least double-checking using VirusTotal. And always custom install, make sure to uncheck any offered adware. That will prevent 99.9% of malware that an average person will ever experience, minus the rare exploit or mistake.

Lastly, I was surprised by how many programs OS X already comes bundled with. Not only am I talking about the usual iOS-related apps, but things like Disk Utility and Terminal (which are both more powerful by default than their Windows counterpart at least IMO). I can even create encrypted volumes and erase files without installing anything!

Overall I found OS X 10.11 to be a pleasant surprise, but it wouldn't replace my gaming laptop simply due to the factor of hardware and software incompatibility. But otherwise it works surprisingly well, and I won't have many problems living off of it with only essential tasks and casual entertainment. If anyone has any questions, including why I've installed the above software and games, I can clarify that for you. Have a good one and peace out!

*The black thing is my new Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630. Not only is it really thin and portable, but it supports pairing with up to 2 devices! That means I can switch between my Macbook and Chuwi dual-boot tablet easily without forgetting and re-pairing it.

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