posts tagged with the keyword ‘macbook’


Three Apples

Milwaukee-based developer Josh Dean wonders what Apple product he should get?

Well, I’ve got two of the Apple product he’s considering, so I thought I’d share my opinion…

I’ve only had an iPad about two months now, and for me, it’s a consuming device. I do very little creating with it. That said, it’s an amazing consuming device. I use it for reading, mainly with Google Reader, for which there are many good clients. I also use it around the house as it’s often much more convenient to grab it for quick searches than any full-fledged computer. If you took away my iPad, there would be a hole in the way I access information around the house. That “around the house” bit is key to my usage. I rarely take it out of the house, but that’s just me. I could live without an iPad and still get all of my work done. For me, the iPad is much more about enjoyment and fun than it is about work.

MacBook Pro
I have a MacBook Pro, and before that, I had an iBook, and before that, a PowerBook… A laptop, for me, is a supplemental device to get more work done, or be able to work anywhere. I tend to do probably 80% of my work on desktop machines, but having a laptop lets me take the show on the road, and also lets me do two things at once. As a sidenote, the iPad has filled in much of what I used to use the MacBook Pro for around the house. As for work, the MacBook lets me do (almost) any work I need to do away from the office. It’s got FireWire, USB ports, an SD Card reader, video out, etc… The MacBook Pro is a full-fledged computing device for creating anything I need to create.

MacBook Air
I do not have a MacBook Air, and I don’t think I’d get one. It looks like an awesome netbook (though Apple will never call it that.) I used to use an Asus Eee PC 701, the first real netbook to hit the market. I loved the small size and light weight of the device, but it left a lot to be desired (not running Mac OS X was one thing.) The netbook was limited, but I learned to live within those limitations. I think the MacBook Air would be a little limiting for me, but then, I tend to want to do hardware as well as software stuff, and I need FireWire. If was just a developer writing code and didn’t need to worry about interfacing with certain hardware or having an optical drive available, the MacBook Air would probably be fine. Still, I tend to prefer the extra features a MacBook Pro affords, but again… that’s just me.

I don’t know if this will help Josh, or anyone else, make a decision, but I figured I’d share my opinion.

Here’s a few previous blog posts that may also be helpful:


If you’re on location with the RED, it’s a good idea to have a Digital Imaging Technician Station (or DIT Station) which will allow you to backup up all the footage you are shooting while you are in the field, and will also allow you to view the footage and make sure it’s all good before you leave the field.

If you’ve got an unlimited budget, I’d recommend the top of the line MacBook Pro (which can easily run $3,000-$4,000+ depending on how you deck it out) as well as a few external drives. Look at the G-Technology offerings, as they have various solutions depending on your budget and needs. The G-Raid mini is a nice, small, bus-powered drive with a quad interface (FW400, FW800, USB2, eSata.) Get a few of these. You could go with the 1TB, but the 500GB might be fine. You want your data in two places, and not “RAID two places” but “two different physical drives” places. The RED Drive holds 320GB, so if you are dumping a full RED Drive, you could just dump it to a 500GB drive (well, two drives) and mark it as “DONE” and move on. Oh, and since we have gobs of money, pick up an ExpressCard with eSata on it to put in your new MacBook Pro.

RED DIT Station
For the “dumping” of data, you can either use something like R3D Data Manager which does all sorts of checksums for the data, can backup to multiple locations at once, and has other nice features, or you can do a standard Finder copy. R3D Data Manager is $79, which is not too bad… again, what is your footage worth? If you want to fly in the Finder, and can review everything you dump, that can work too.

Speaking of software, RED has provided a number of excellent tools for free. Grab REDCINE-X, RED ALERT! and whatever else you may need at RED’s support site. REDCINE-X is a nice little app for checking the footage you just shot.

So where’s the “Low Cost” part come in? Well, let’s say you don’t have the budget for the top of the line MacBook Pro… that’s fine, get the bottom of the line MacBook Pro (at least get a Pro, you want Firewire 800!) and with that get some drives. I still really like the G-Raid minis, but you could probably find USB bus-powered drives that are cheaper (and slower!) if needed, but again, we do want as much speed as we can afford. (Bus-powered drives are nice because you never know where power will be when on location… if there is power at all.)

If you are shooting to CF Cards, do yourself a favor and get a Sandisk Extreme FireWire Reader (about $65) which will dramatically speed up transferring of footage compared to a cheap USB Card Reader. (The low end MacBook Pro has just one Firewire port, but you can plug the Firewire CF Card Reader into the the back of the G-Raid mini, which has two ports.


So we’ve go the MacBook Pro, which is $1,300 before adding AppleCare (but here’s a tip, you can get a refurb, plus AppleCare for it, for about $1,295) add in two G-Raid minis (the 500GB) at about $450, and a CF Card Reader for $65. We come in under $2,000 for this set up, which is not the ULTIMATE portable RED DIT Station, but it’s a Low Cost one, that is effective enough to get the job done.

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