Off to new Frontiers

2012 was a great year. It was the year I got married in beautiful animal sanctuary in Kenia, prepared for the last chapter of college life, got to spent spring with my family on the east coast and introduce my wife to wonderful New England.

It was also the year that the retina MacBook Pro was first introduced to the world.

It was the year that I last bought a personal laptop. That MacBook Pro has lasted me ever since. Which is not only a testament to its great build quality, but also to the fact that I basically maxed out the machine when I bought it. Back in those days (close to 10 years ago) 16 GB of RAM was huge, as was the SSD and the shere amount of pixels on that screen.

I loved that machine from the first day.

By now of course, it has definitely started to show its age. The screen has gotten dimmer, the battery is basically depleted, the wifi chip is flakey and the cooling system is constantly running. Time, a good amount of use and some questionable software updates from Apple have clearly taken a toll on my beloved machine. So have decided to transform my loyal companion of eight years into my new home / media / file server for now.

Which begs the question: What should I replace that machine with ?

My life already includes a 12.9” iPad Pro (with a solid keyboard cover by Logitech and an Apple pen) - so I might as well try to go all in on the iPad lifestyle that so many tech bloggers swear by. Now that iOS also has a somewhat decent pointer ( mouse / touchpad ) support, it could well be worth a trial. Or so I thought. Even after all these years though, iOS feels too limited for the power user that I (think I) am.

I already have a well specced 16” MacBook Pro from my company and I can use that machine for whatever necessary. But still, I wanted a new laptop to call my own. However, my past experiences with running Docker (or any form of virtualization) on macOS was somewhat disappointing.

I had used Linux in the past (way back in high school) but I never came arround to liking the UI of any of the major distros. I have dabbeled with Ubuntu, Debian, SuSe, Fedora, Gentoo and many more. But nothing stuck. Linux UIs have always felt kind of foreign to me.

So the only thing left for now is Windows.

An operating system I basically had not touched since end of high school (with the exemption of a gaming session every now and then), when I had first made the jump to what was then called OS X (now macOS). However, I have read many favourable reviews from tech folks of the new Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), which basically enables Windows to run a (kind of) Linux kernel and use all the good tools that we as developers need.

Additionally, the Windows ecosystem offers some truly intriguing form factors - mainly 2-in-1s / convertibles or detachables. Maybe I could even find a machine that frees me from always have to carry two devices (MacBook and iPad) ?

So, to make a long story short…

I have again made the jump.

This past week I ordered a Surface Book 3 15” ( 1TB SSD, 32GB RAM, 1660TI MaxQ GPU). I do not yet know whether this was the right call to make - but I am looking forward to finding it out. Over the course of the next weeks and months I will be testing the Windows and WSL waters and document my learnings on my blog.

If you have any questions or simply want to reach out and exchange tips and stuff, feel free to hit me up on twitter -> @jan0707

One thing is already certain: I haven’t been this excited about a new device for quite some time now…