Archive for the 'Thoughts' Category

Jun 16 2021

Get vaccinated

Published by under Thoughts

Covid-19 is an undeniable reality and it actually has killed people in my direct neighborhood and it also has killed friends, relatives and loved ones of people around me.

Even though I’m in Germany and a member of one of the risk groups, and even though I had registered for a vaccination as soon as I could, I had to wait quite a long time before I could receive a vaccine against Covid-19.

I also was not given an actual choice to pick the vaccine that I wanted. BioNTech would have been my first choice, mostly because I’m fascinated by the technology behind it, but also because it is the most effective of the available vaccines. However, had I instisted on receiving BioNTech, I would have had to wait several weeks (or even months) longer for my shot.

So I got “Janssen” by Johnson & Johnson in the end, which was relatively new in Germany and available. The undeniable advantage of the J&J vaccine is that only you need one shot and then you’re done. The possible downside is that it might not be as efficient as any of the others.

I got my dose 2.5 weeks ago and the only side-effect that I had was that I was suffering from a numb arm and hand for several hours. I was expecting a worse experience, but truth be told, it went just fine for me.

The ultimate benefit: For the first time in 1.5 years, I no longer suffer from the fear that any random contact with some other person could actually kill me. I might still get infected, but even then I still have some protection against the worst. It also significantly reduces the risk that I might unwillingly and unknowingly infect someone else.

The air has gotten breathable again.

If you have the chance to receive a vaccination against the Coronavirus, do yourself and the world a favor and take it.

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Sep 18 2020

Apple Silicon: We’re done here

Published by under macOS,Thoughts

I still have a Mac Pro 6,1 – the “trash can” Mac – at work. Since Monday last week, it’s running Windows 10 natively and it also has a VM with Ubuntu 20.04.1 on it.

macOS is gone from that machine completely.

Apple is moving to ARM-based CPUs, and that CPU architecture doesn’t work me on a desktop system. Your mileage may vary, but that’s your mileage, not mine. x86/AMD64-compatibility is a requirement for me on such a system, one of the reasons being that I run virtualized versions of 64-Bit-Intel Linux distributions and Windows 10 in parallel on a desktop system for development and testing purposes.

Big Sur will be the last version of macOS that will run on Intel CPUs. With the timeline that the Apple executives have outlined, at the end of 2022 the transition to ARM will be completed and as we know from the PowerPC-to-Intel transition years ago, the version of macOS after Big Sur will be ARM-only.

Big Sur will not only be the transitional first version of macOS to officially support ARM, it will also become even more restrictive than Catalina, and Catalina already was an overly controlling bitch to work with. Apple not only killed the fun in their platforms, they’re turning them more and more into straitjackets. When your main job is to support the IT needs of hundreds of scientific users, every single day brings you a new example to prove that macOS is the worst platform to support. No, in the reality of a huge work environment, Macs do anything but “just work”. In fact, they are the oppsite of systems that “just work” – and they don’t play well with others at all.

And with the “Apple Silicon” announcement, over night, Intel Macs have turned from a support nightmare to a support nightmare that is also dead meat. If you’re thinking about buying a Mac now, save your money — you will be investing in the past and your new Mac will be short-lived. (But what is not short-lived in the Apple ecosystem?) In two years time, you won’t even get a new operating system version for that box anymore. You’ll be lucky if you still get security patches. Despite all their marketing, Apple has always sucked at long term support.

I decided to pull the plug now. Other members of my team must support the Apple platforms, but I have the luxury that I only need to observe this from a distance. I won’t invest my own time in Apple computers anymore, and I also won’t buy another Apple machine for myself at work. The Mac Pro is now a beautiful designer PC, but it’s no longer a Mac. And believe it or not, that machine feels twice as fast under Windows 10 than it felt when it was running Catalina. I will upgrade the RAM one last time on that system (to 64 Gig), and I will keep using it until it dies of old age (but probably not for very much longer as my main work horse).

Throughout the last 15 years or so, I’ve spent A LOT of my own money on Apple equipment – more than the nominal capital of a German GmbH, which is an insane amount of private money. Luckily, I have given up spending my own money on Apple products years ago already. I’m not trolling when I say that I have written off a large personal investment.

Using Apple systems at work is another story, because I work in a multi-platform landscape, so I still needed to buy and use Macs. As a group leader, I’ve decided to hand that baton over to my younger colleagues: Let them deal with a platform that constantly moves from migration layer and restrictions to another migration layer and more restrictions, and let them try to find a fix for something that worked in the previous release and that Apple decided to break or remove in the current version. I’m tired of it, I want to spend my time on more interesting things.

Apple, we’re done here.


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