1 Month on my MacBook
I’ve only had my own laptop since 2018. While the first one ran Windows and had Microsoft Family Safety, almost for a good half of that time I knew of or was using Linux in some way. In fact, I made it almost an entire year using only a Linux distro, so I’ve definitely gotten used to some aspects of that.
It has been around a month since I received and started using my M1 MacBook Air, and the experience has been quite nice so far! Here are my thoughts (and also tips & tricks) on it.
The laptop itself
Specs: 7 Core GPU, 16GB Memory, 128GB SSD
There’s really not much to say that here. The performance is great with the M1 chip, keyboard is ok, and the battery is a huge improvement over my previous laptop: lasting roughly a whole day vs 2.5 hours unplugged.
The silence is also extremely nice, my old laptop would start its fan and gradually get louder even after just a few minutes of Zoom.
One thing that’s not talked about much is the quality of speakers and microphones compared to other laptops: here’s a video I found on that.
While the screen is nice, it does seem to be a smudge and fingerprint magnet – here’s what it currently looks like. It’s not as noticeable while in use (except the black bezels), but the area below the front hinge is also an area for dust and crumbs. A quick 5 minute cleaning and it looks much better!
Apple’s keyboard shortcuts/ layout differ from others. I recommend going through all the system preferences, especially tweaking your mouse, touchpad, and hot corners settings, and the settings for each app.
- It seems that the Command key is used like the Control key, Option as alt, and then Control for some things not on the Command map
- To select words, use Option-Shift-Arrow keys
- Locking is done with Command-Control-q
Over time, I learned that in Finder, Opt-Cmd-Delete is to delete a file permanently. Hidden files can be shown with Cmd-Shift-, and you can move files with Cmd-c and Cmd-Opt-v.
If you come from Windows, GNOME, or KDE Plasma, the traffic lights are weird. Close doesn’t always quit (that’s Cmd-q), minimize doesn’t make windows accessible from Cmd-tab – instead going to the dock, green makes apps full screen most of the time… I typically “hide” apps (Cmd-h) I use often and minimize windows that I won’t need for a while.
Rectangle is great for window management! It gives keyboard shortcuts to things like maximize and a few window layouts. The “almost maximize” is also quite nice, I’ve assigned it a shortcut of Ctrl-Opt-0.
Lastly, Hidden Bar is great for hiding some menu bar items. There are several apps like Vanilla and Bartender, it’s just that this one is free and open source.
It’s nice to have Office (although I’m not using it as much) and Adobe CC apps without dual booting. A core app I use often is Notes, which is great for having quick notes accessible on any device.
Most, if not all of the apps I used on Linux have macOS releases or good alternatives.
For file syncing, I use my self-hosted Nextcloud instance most of the time. This syncs certain folders under my home folder. You can ignore files/ folders or choose not to sync certain folders.
Transmit is great for interacting with a lot of my cloud storage accounts (including Nextcloud!) and SFTP with my servers.
For backups, I’m running Time Machine every few days manually, although I may set up restic at some point to back up to the cloud too.
Homebrew was used to install almost every program. It does have its issues, but has worked extremely well for me so far.
There are many other useful apps that I’ve installed that I may write another blog post on.
I have the usual Ansible, git, hugo, go, and python installed, which is good enough for updating my servers, websites, and solving some Project Euler questions.
For heavier projects and those involving Docker, I still prefer to do them on a Linux system. My dotfiles applied without much issue though! Alacritty + tmux remains my terminal of choice.
VSCodium had some odd behaviour (probably due to not being built for M1), so I’m using VSCode directly.
Gaming: most games aren’t going to run at all or well, it depends. I don’t game a lot, so I’m fine with using my old laptop if needed, although performance isn’t as good.
Virtual machines: I’ve yet to figure that out, but the choices seem more limited, in terms of both FOSS virtualization programs and operating systems you can run.
Ports: there are only 2 USB-C ports and a headphone jack. This doesn’t bother me too much, though.
I’m excited for Asahi Linux to keep improving. If it weren’t for this laptop as a whole and the fact that I have an iPad/iPhone/Watch, I would have gone for a non-Apple laptop.
In terms of the “ecosystem”, it works quite well. Things like Airdrop, Facetime and iMessage being able to make phone calls and messages, and the universal clipboard are quite nice to have.
I wouldn’t say there are less issues or glitches than a Linux system, as both have performed generally very well for my me and my needs.
If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider supporting me 💜