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#373423 - 02/08/2021 18:09 Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3797
Since I haven't logged in here for a while, I figured it's time to launch a new thread on a classic topic.

Google just pre-announced the Pixel 6. The top-line news is that it's going to be a "premium" phone with a high refresh rate, as well as three cameras on the backside (very wide, normal wide, and "4x telephoto"), plus a new in-house CPU that has some sort of AI/ML acceleration hardware and extra security goodness. I kinda only care about the improved camera, and a good telephoto (presumably with AI cleverness to deal with camera shake) would be a welcome feature.

Meanwhile, my kid who has been mostly kinda okay-ish with Pixel phones (I'm currently using a Pixel 3a XL, and she's got a Pixel 3a), was grumbling about SMS, and ultimately it came out that she's feeling the pain from "all her friends" having iOS devices; her inability to do iMessage is a serious problem. The available workarounds tend to involve things like keeping a Mac running to proxy messages to your phone. I'm probably going to have to give in and get her some flavor of iPhone. Currently waiting for whatever Apple's going to announce soon.

Also meanwhile, I hand-me-downed my 2018 MacBook Pro to my kid, for her from-home Internet school experience during COVID, and then I needed something new for myself, so I got one of the new M1 MacBook Air laptops. This thing is amazing. I threw a bunch of benchmarks at it, scalar or parallel, and it consistently runs twice as fast as my older MacPro 6-core desktop (3.5GHz Xeon). And it does it on a 30W power supply, with no internal fan.

The only downside is that various dev tools don't quite work right. Like, in my case, I couldn't get some Python code using numpy to run, because numpy has a bunch of native C code that comes along with it to make it go fast. (Yes, I know there are workarounds available, but it's not a pressing issue for me. Yet.)

What *has* worked great is Java. You just download an OpenJDK that's compiled native for the M1, from Azul, and everything else just works.

My plan, then, is once there's an M1-variant with at least 32GB of RAM, I'll retire my circa-2013 MacPro desktop and move along with the new M1 Mac universe.

P.S. During the COVID lockdown, my LaCie 5-big JBOD cage decided to die. Turned out that the JBOD cage was fine, but the power supply died. To my astonishment, Amazon sells a no-name replacement power supply that worked perfectly. Deciding not to push my luck, I decided it was time to update to newer disks and ultimately went with the OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini, which I loaded with 2x 4TB SSDs (for my bulk storage) and 2x 4TB spinning disks (lower cost, for backups). Smaller, quieter, and requiring me to buy a Thunderbolt 2 -> 3 adapter to talk to my MacPro. Eventually, it will just be Thunderbolt 3 straight through to the replacement M1 Mac to come.

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#373425 - 02/08/2021 20:47 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3579
Loc: Columbus, OH
We too have been extremely satisfied with my wife's M1 MacBook Air. It doesn't feel like we made compromises like our previous generation MacBook Airs did (we've had two others), and the battery seems to last forever.

My MBP is getting long in the tooth (Mid 2014) and I'll likely replace it with a second M1 MacBook Air soon. I recently saw them advertised at Best Buy for $800. I think I paid at least 2.5x that much for my MBP back in 2014, so that seems like a screaming deal.
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#373426 - 03/08/2021 12:36 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1513
Loc: Arizona
I got a MacBook Air M1 a few months ago. It is my first Apple computer since our //c. The reason for getting it was admittedly weird, I spend half the week away from home, and needed something to play a few games on. My girlfriend plays the same games on her Air M1 and they run pretty great. That, coupled with the inability to get any Windows gaming laptops that I was looking at, convinced me.

The GUI is weird and makes no sense to me, but it does what I need it to. I did install XCode tools and other dev stuff, but haven't played with that at all yet (I use my school laptop for school development work).

Macs are weird, but that hardware is impressive. I'm kind of excited to see how the new MacBook Pros do when they finally come out.

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#373427 - 03/08/2021 17:34 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3579
Loc: Columbus, OH
Give the GUI some time. You'll get used to it. Even though I've been exclusively Mac at home for about 14 years now, there are still a few things I miss from PC's (home and end keys, shift+delete, etc..), but in the end very little.

I have both a recent Lenovo ThinkPad and a recent HP ProBook for work and I find the 7 year old Mac more usable than either of them.
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~ John

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#373428 - 03/08/2021 18:48 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: Tim]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31501
Loc: Seattle, WA
What games are you playing on that mac? I've found that fewer and fewer games run on my mac, as they keep updating the operating system to remove the gaming features. It used to be that most of the games on my Steam account would run on the mac, and now hardly any of them do.
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#373434 - 04/08/2021 12:16 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: tfabris]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1513
Loc: Arizona
Right now, I'm only playing Path of Exile and Final Fantasy XIV. Both run exceptionally well. I haven't tried anything else, but I think I might see how other games do when I get some free time.

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#373442 - 08/08/2021 20:36 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3797
So here's the first actual gotcha I've had with my M1 Mac: I can't get it to talk to my ancient Samsung CLP-620 printer.

Okay, that's not entirely true, but it's a lot harder. I had to follow this advice to install a jumbo pack of drivers, and it's got a bunch of printers listed that don't match my exact printer because it's too old.

One possible option is to install Gutenprint (discussion thread, home page), except that my printer isn't listed there either.

For now, the workaround is that I print from my existing Intel Mac, but the writing is on the wall for buying a new printer. This bugs me because the old one's hardware is still just fine, and we have plenty of replacement toner cartridges as well.

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#373443 - 09/08/2021 00:11 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 793
Loc: near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
If memory serves I had to retire one or two Samsung CLP-620 (or some very similar model) a few years back because printer driver support was becoming a project.

We moved on rather than fight a losing battle, and are now quite happy with the replacement Brother MFC-9340CDW (also not a current model). At least three in use around the various family residences. Nice to have modern features like AirPrint built right in. Toner (third party) and even drum cartridges are inexpensive enough.

The toner cartridges are ‘dumb’ so the printer just counts pages to operate the ‘replace toner display. Happily there is a simple keypad sequence that can reset each toner (and drum) counter individually, so we can run each toner cartridge until it is fully consumed and the printing begins to fade.

The only ‘feature’ it is missing is the print output is not suitable for high quality photos. It will print the photos of course, and depending on the caliber of the toner installed the prints can look ‘ok’. But it is certainly not a photo printer.

Color text and chart printing, works just fine.

Scanning six ways from Sunday, plus all-in-one photocopying and so on.

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#373444 - 09/08/2021 01:47 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14414
Loc: Canada
+10 for Brother stuff.

Cross-platform, and the printing also "just works" as generic Postscript or hpcl printers in a pinch.

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#373445 - 09/08/2021 14:46 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3797
Fun fact: my Android phone just magically talks to my Samsung printer. It even supports the duplex feature.

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#373446 - 09/08/2021 21:41 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3797
Surprisingly clear slide deck, dated May 2021, explaining the status of OpenPrinting, CUPS, etc.
https://ftp.pwg.org/pub/pwg/liaison/openprinting/presentations/cups-plenary-may-2021.pdf

Slide 15 is what really hits for me:
Quote:
Deprecations - Printer Drivers
  • a Why deprecate printer drivers?
    • At least 98% of all printers sold since 2010 support IPP, Apple/PWG
      Raster, and JPEG; many (about half) support PDF
      • Holdouts are industrial label printers and certain vertical market
        printers
  • PPDs and drivers have been holding us back from offering a better user
    experience (ready media, localization, full range of printer options/
    values), improved document processing, and improved accounting
    • PPDs and drivers are a security and distribution nightmare

And, of course, this printer was originally shipped in 2010, so probably before all of this standardization happened.

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#373536 - 18/10/2021 19:16 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3797
So now Apple just announced two new MacBook Pro laptops (14" and 16") and a corresponding update to the M1 chip, the "M1 Pro" and "M1 Max": https://www.theverge.com/2021/10/18/22726444/apple-m1-pro-max-chip-processor-arm-macbook-fastest

Of course, the ghost of Steve Jobs gives, and the ghost of Steve Jobs takes away. In this case, they're not offering the Pro or Max chips in either the iMac or Mac Mini form factors, and of course there's absolutely no reason not to, unless they're supply constrained.

This is unfortunate, because the only thing I want that's keeping me from retiring my old x86 MacPro for a new M1 Mini is that I need more RAM than 16GB. And I can get that today in one of the new MacBook Pro laptops. I just can't get it in a desktop form factor. Grumble.

I'd also been predicting that they'd do some sort of NUMA contraption with these chips, allowing Apple to do multi-socket MacPros that integrate a mess of these individual chips into a single system. Maybe that's sensible, but it's not here yet.

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#373537 - 18/10/2021 19:41 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5900
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: DWallach
In this case, they're not offering the Pro or Max chips in either the iMac or Mac Mini form factors, and of course there's absolutely no reason not to, unless they're supply constrained.


I'm sure they'll do that, they just don't have the capacity to get everything out as quickly as everyone would like.

Interestingly they are sticking to their "two year transition" plan, so in theory everything should be on Apple Silicon by this time next year. So plenty more to come yet.

P.S. I just ordered a 16 inch MacBook Pro Max, to replace my 2015 15 inch MacBook Pro. I can't wait to get this beast of a machine.
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#373538 - 18/10/2021 23:30 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: andy]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 793
Loc: near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: andy


P.S. I just ordered a 16 inch MacBook Pro Max, to replace my 2015 15 inch MacBook Pro.

I can't wait to get this beast of a machine.
I have also ordered a MacBook Pro Max 16”.

This shall replace a top of the line 2019 MacBook Pro 16” which I often seem to load with enough heavy tasks that it noticeably struggles. Connected to four external 4K displays, which is also pretty much the most it can do.

I am really not sure whether I will have sustained and sufficient peak workload to justify the top tier of this new range of hardware. It is nice to have fast new hardware but I might feel silly if half the new cores barely yawn when I do something ‘heavy’.

This reminds me of epoch from long ago when every year (or so) Intel would just double the speed of the top models. Again, and again, and again.

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#373546 - 21/10/2021 19:32 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12309
Loc: Sterling, VA
Lol. Dan, given the refresh cycle on the Apple Mini, they still have 4 years before they need to put another one out laugh
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Matt

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#373549 - 21/10/2021 22:11 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: Dignan]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31501
Loc: Seattle, WA
I love how they took away all the ports on the last Macbook lines, and left everyone with only a few USB-C ports, and then now they're touting the new SD card reader on the new macs as a big new feature. laugh
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Tony Fabris

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#373550 - 22/10/2021 01:31 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14414
Loc: Canada
SD Card ports have always baffled me. Does anyone here regularly use one, and if so.. what for?

Thanks

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#373552 - 22/10/2021 04:51 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: mlord]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 793
Loc: near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
SD Card ports have always baffled me.
Does anyone here regularly use one, and if so.. what for? …
Memory cards from our big(ish) ‘real’ camera. And some Action Cameras. Easier and faster than connecting the actual camera via USB cable.

We mostly use Micro-SD memory cards these days, but SD to a micro-SD card adapters are easy enough to use.

On my older MacBooks I had a compact Micro-SD to SD adapter that when inserted would sit flush (or nearly so) with the outside edge of the laptop. So the card could stay inserted and not be easily dislodged or broken off.

This made it quite convenient to add another chunk of ‘disc storage’ that was always present but not taking away from the precious built-in SSD capacity. I mostly used it for bulky files that were essentially read-mostly so the speed limitations were not a big problem.

I see there are now micro-SD cards with 1TB capacity selling for a few dozen dollars. That is, um, rather inexpensive for adding a TB of ‘solid-state disc’ to a laptop.

Some laptops used to be able to (alternate/dual) boot from an SD card containing a bootable disc image. Is that still a thing?

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#373553 - 22/10/2021 13:20 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14414
Loc: Canada
My XPS 13 has the option to boot/run from SDcard.

But I always just use an external xxx-card adapter for the rare times I need to pull data from any variety of flashcard. Seems strange to me that they go to the expense of including the mechanical slot and special chip, yet cheap out on real USB-A ports.

Cheers

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#373554 - 22/10/2021 13:23 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5900
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I use my SD card slot all the time and yes it is for "cameras":

- my two GoPros
- my DJI Mavic drone
- my Canon DSLR

With all of them in theory I could use the manufacturers app + wifi or plugging the "camera" into USB.

But in practice neither of those options are as convenient, fast or reliable as taking the SD card out and sticking it in the laptop SD card slot.

And I can't see that changing any time soon, unless Apple or the industry generally comes out with some sort of wireless transfer framework* that people like GoPro/DJI/Canon get on board with. Which I don't see happening, sadly.

So I expect to be popping SD cards into my laptop for a very long time to come, I've very pleased the new MacBook Pros have reinstated the SD card slot.

* I'm guessing that if I went searching there may well be such an attempt(s) out there from parts of the industry, but clearly if that is true it has not worked out...
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#373555 - 22/10/2021 13:32 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: mlord]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5900
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: mlord
Seems strange to me that they go to the expense of including the mechanical slot and special chip, yet cheap out on real USB-A ports.


The lack of at least one USB-A port is the only thing I'm not happy about on the new MacBook Pros.

I have a Logitech Unifying adapter plugged into one of the USB-A ports on my current MacBook. It is so low profile that I never have to remove it, even when the laptop goes in my bag (though I do make sure it goes in adapter side up).

And why do I need a Logitech Unifying adapter ? Because Bluetooth still (at least using my 2015 MacBook) sucks.

If I try and use my Logitech MX mouse with Bluetooth it works, but I can always detect the lag. With the Unifying adapter the lag is undetectable.

Sadly Logitech still haven't created a USB-C Unifying adapter, I assume either:

- they can't get the electronics inside the plug as they do on the USB-A one and they've decided a relatively bulky USB-C isn't an improvement over the USB-A one and an adapter
- the USB-C signally that close to their transceiver screws things up

So when I get my new MacBook Pro, I'll give Bluetooth a go again (might even get the latest MX mouse). If I can still feel the lag I'll have to put up with plugging/unplugging USB-C to USB-A adapters frown


Edited by andy (22/10/2021 13:32)
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#373557 - 22/10/2021 13:57 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: andy]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12309
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: andy
And why do I need a Logitech Unifying adapter ? Because Bluetooth still (at least using my 2015 MacBook) sucks.

If I try and use my Logitech MX mouse with Bluetooth it works, but I can always detect the lag. With the Unifying adapter the lag is undetectable.

This 100%. Exact same experience. I hate bluetooth so much. I don't know how it's received so many upgrades and still blows.
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Matt

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#373558 - 22/10/2021 13:58 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: andy]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12309
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: andy
I use my SD card slot all the time and yes it is for "cameras":

- my DJI Mavic drone

Haha I was going to post the same response. I hadn't plugged an SD card into anything in years until I got my Mavic Mini.
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Matt

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#373559 - 22/10/2021 14:01 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: Dignan]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5900
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: Dignan

This 100%. Exact same experience. I hate bluetooth so much. I don't know how it's received so many upgrades and still blows.


The most frustrating thing is that I know it can work better.

Bluetooth between an iPhone and Apple AirPods works well, it also works well between the iPhone and my Bose headphones.

And Bluetooth between the Apple Magic Trackpad and my MacBook works well, I can't detect the lag there.

But yet most other Bluetooth I've tried is either laggy or fragile.
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#373560 - 22/10/2021 14:05 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: mlord]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 793
Loc: near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
… including the mechanical slot and special chip, yet cheap out on real USB-A ports. …
Apparently a lot of ‘professional/YouTube/whatever’ video work involves the use of external audio recorders and self-contained microphones which record to SDcard.

Modern video files can be enormous, especially when recording at 4K/60. I can see that SDcard slot getting a lot of use with mobile video content folks. The newly announced 8TB MacBook Pro model combined with the very nice built-in 16.2’ display seemingly fits with that work type.

Apple has often not been ‘shy’ about omitting older physical port standards. Sometimes that rubs me the wrong way, often enough I find that within a short while after I make the change I rarely need/use whatever older port is ‘missing’ from my new laptop, iPad or iPhone.

I have one (older) Apple laptop with built-in USB-A ports and two laptops with only USB-C/ThunderBolt ports. One is plugged into a desktop ThunderBolt docking station which provides USB-A ports (and a bunch of other ports).

I also have a small handful of compact/portable adapters between various port types. I find that I make use of a USB-A connection/adapter now and then but the frequency has been trending downwards.

Cables to other devices, I now have USB-C versions that connect to most other things I have around. So yes I did have to buy USB-C versions of some cables, but that is a one time expense. I do like being able to plug in USB-C stuff without fiddling around with which way is ‘up’.

Regarding the legacy USB stuff, I find micro-USB to be the most annoying as the connector indexing shape is hard to distinguish quickly and often the device has no marking to match the cable logo for ‘this side’.

My iPad has USB-C and I have a small portable docking adapter for it. With 1TB of internal iPad storage, that combo allows us to do a lot while mobile, including inhaling camera micro-SDcard data and HDMI out. The same adapter also works with the USB-C laptops.

This is the kind of USB-C thing I find interesting - external SSD storage that is fast and compact. I suppose similar things exist with USB-A, but this seems tidy and should work with my next laptop and iPad.

https://satechi.net/products/usb-c-hybrid-multiport-adapter?variant=39673064325208
Quote:
Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport Adapter. Combining the convenience of an external drive and USB Type-C hub, the USB-C Hybrid Multiport Adapter features a built-in SSD storage compartment, 4K HDMI display output, USB-C PD charging, and two USB-A 3.0 data ports – all using just a single USB-C port.

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#373565 - 27/10/2021 13:13 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: K447]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5512
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: K447
I find micro-USB to be the most annoying as the connector indexing shape is hard to distinguish quickly and often the device has no marking to match the cable logo for ‘this side’.
I have a 7-port hub dedicated to all my "temporarily installed" peripherals, each port with its own dedicated permanent cable. I mark the cable ends with white-out on one side to define orientation.
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#373566 - 27/10/2021 18:13 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: tanstaafl.]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31501
Loc: Seattle, WA
I agree about micro-B USB being hard to distinguish. Very poor design! There's even a micro-A specification that's even worse, if you can believe that. I use a silver sharpie to put a little "dot" on the "top" side of my micro cables and their corresponding ports.

Though the USB-C specification is a hot mess from a power/digital point of view, the physical design is great. I wish I could go back in time and make them do USB-A be that physical spec.
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Tony Fabris

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#373567 - 28/10/2021 11:56 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3797
At this point, I've managed to finally banish USB mini-B from my life, but I still have several devices (mostly related to stuff on my bike: lights, etc.) that use USB micro-B for charging. I would really, really, like to retire all of those and have everything use USB-C.

Related: I've got a Pixel 6 Pro on order, but there's some consternation on various forums that a USB-A-to-C cable, which can only deliver 12W, isn't recognized and the phone won't charge at all. I had already upgraded our various home chargers when I got the M1 MacBook Air, so I'd have 30W chargers in various places. I decided it was now also time to upgrade my car chargers. Some links below.

Anker 30W teeny tiny: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B091DS2M8X
Anker 4-port travel charger: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B088TFZ942/
Spigen 2-port car charger: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PRZ815M/

First two work great. Third one is on order and should be here shortly.

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#373569 - 28/10/2021 14:03 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: DWallach]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14414
Loc: Canada
Yes, but have you also now upgraded your vehicles so that you can use wireless Android Auto rather than the USB connection that may not work with the Pixel 6? smile

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#373571 - 30/10/2021 07:46 Re: Heya, it's the new phone / computer thread [Re: mlord]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3212
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: mlord
Yes, but have you also now upgraded your vehicles so that you can use wireless Android Auto rather than the USB connection that may not work with the Pixel 6? smile

*sigh* Technology changes so fast. My 2018 Forester doesn't even *have* Android Auto support. It has some MirrorLink thing, which seems like it might be nice, but my phone doesn't support it, and it doesn't seem like it's overly popular. Samsung ended support for MirrorLink last year, so it seems like it's a technology following in the footsteps of BetaMax.

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