Newsletter Edition 10

September 09, 2020

A week in words

10 weeks already since I started doing a weekly newsletter, I can’t believe how quick it has gone!

My relaxing break is over and its back to working! On the personal project side I have made some small tweaks to this website I will cover later and carried on making progress with React Native!

Macbook Pro first impressions

I have been a Windows user my entire life, and a proud one! I had never seen a reason to switch over to mac and never really intended to do so! This being said I did just switch over randomly to mac. so hows it going?

After just over a full week of using the MacBook Pro I thought I would leave my first impressions and see what has changed!

Homebrew makes life amazing! If you have used chocolatey on Windows it’s a similar thing, it just feels faster. It was the first thing I installed. Once that was installed I used it to install everything else from JetBrains toolbox to Discord!

Build quality. I can’t fault the build quality in any way, an extremely premium chassis. This is a solid machine. Its very slick and super thin for a 16” of its spec. the sound quality really did suprise me when I first turned it up, a surprising amount of bass. The screen is the best I have ever had in a laptop. The biggest vice I have right now is that keys are in the wrong place! That’s a bit biased from a lifetime of windows, so I imagine I will get used to it with time!

Speed. So I have not extensively tested this yet but even doing trivial things there is a noticeable difference. When I run a gatsby develop for my website its done in around 4-5 seconds, on my Windows machine this took around 11. Launching the machine and its applications is also blazingly fast, but this is brand new and has nothing clogging it up! only time will tell how this compares to my Dell XPS but at the moment, it blows it out of the water for your average front end development tasks. I found that running expo projects for react native takes around 3-4 seconds compared to the 10+ my Windows machine took.

Battery life. This is a 16” powerful laptop with a big ol screen and a GPU. So logically the battery life should be horrific. Its not, its actually the opposite, I don’t know how! I can run this whilst doing dev work for at least 6 hours as I work away running builds and servers before I even need to consider charging, and still have juice to watch a film. I need to benchmark this properly at some point as I have usually been too close to a source of power to find out its true potential.

Portability. Its not perfect on this one. Its 16” and somewhat heavy(ish) because of the premium materials. This means it’s never going to be amazingly portable, But I have seen some super heavy and chunky 16” laptops before so its never going to be as bad as them! If your buying a 16” MacBook Pro, don’t let the slightly obtuse weight put you off, its not enough to have that much of a negative impact! I just grabbed a bag tht makes it very comfortable to lug around! check out my uses page to see the gear!

Touch bar. I remember when this feature was released, back when I was a full time Windows user. The touch bar seemed like a massive gimmick, and in all honesty it still is. Okay, I like it, but I acknowledge its a gimmick. At least with the new version of the keyboard you get a dedicated escape key, and no oldschool butterfly keys that fall apart! I often use the touch bar to skim my way through a track on Spotify and control media but not really much else, I just think it looks pretty neat. Probably not worth the extra cost it adds on!

Overall, I’m loving this machine! but I am in the honeymoon phase. This needs the test of time.

Project Chat

Quiet week with projects as my week break to Cumbria has wound down! Although the project front has been quiet upskilling on React Native has picked up this week!

  • Added uses page, this is an updated list of my entire dev setup
  • Fixed a very minor footer bug
  • Linked into the header as projects. Might as well link the portfolio project to my website!

React Native - Week 2

Last week I only really managed to finish the intro section React Native course I am running through on Udemy!

This week I finally started to sit down and make good progress. I have run through section 2 up to section 6. Most of the tutorial is still in the basics stage of React Native at the moment but its starting to pick up. The main things I have picked up so far around react native are:

  • Navigation using the stack navigator from react navigation stack. A bit different to my usual react router approach, but it’s well documented so pretty easy to pick up!
  • List building - ReactNative has a FlatList component which renders lists of components and has some handy props making mobile list building really easy.

The other parts of the application/tutorials are plain old React code. State management, Props, Hooks all remains the same.

I have my mobile project idea at the ready and as soon as I have the skills expect to ehar more about what the project is!

Week Coding Breakdown

Check out Wakatime to find out what your coding breakdown is!

Coding stats for the last 7 days (usage > 5%):

Language Percentage Description
.js 75% A lot of JS whilst learning React Native this week!
.md 20%

Off topic

I came back from Cumbria and started back at work this week so ‘its been a busy one, catching up with a weeks worth of email and jumping back into the work project!

Outside of work I have continued to play a fair bit of golf and feel like I’m actually getting better! Got lessons tomorrow too so hopefully they pay off and neaten up some of my worst shots.

Also! Tony hawks pro skater 1+2 remaster came out, the nostalgia is unreal, played a lot more of that in the short time than I would like to admit

Kieran Venison. 2020, Built with