MacBook: Air vs. Pro: F-Keys or Touchbar?

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by K2QO, May 5, 2020.

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  1. K2QO

    K2QO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    So I cannot find this answer anywhere on the web. I need a new laptop for logging and I'm a Mac guy, but I do use N1MM+ in Parallels along with WSJT and ACLog. I'd love to get a Pro but all the new ones have the Touchbar. Only the Airs have real F-Keys. The question is, what is it like contesting w/o the F-Keys? Sure, they'll be there on the OLED bar, but they won't be actual raised key switches. Has anyone made the switch? Must be lots of guys as the Pros have had the Touch Bar for the last 3 model years. Comments?

    Thanks es 73,
    Mark K2QO
  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    External keyboard maybe?

    N6HCM likes this.
  3. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

  4. N7EKU

    N7EKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    A Haiku.

    Function keys of old
    Handily there on the left
    Lost friends now above
  5. KA8NCR

    KA8NCR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a first-gen touch bar model and for the most part, don't miss the function keys. On OS X, F1-F12 were subkeys anyway. I do miss however, a real escape key.

    You're going to be sitting at a desk while contesting, grab a Bluetooth keyboard.
  6. K2QO

    K2QO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks KA8NCR. That is exactly what I wanted to know. In the shack, yes, I'll be usign an Apple BT keyboard, but I do a lot of VHF+ roving and in that setup, the MacBook will be in a table right in front of me and I'll have to use its keyboard. Turns out, as I'm sure you know, the new Air and MBP have real escape keys. My old mid-2010 13" MBP just ran out of processor, cores and RAM to handle Parallels/WSJT/N1MM+/FlexRadio, etc. :)
  7. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My employer issued me a MacBook Pro (15 inch, 2019) with the touchbar. I don't use F keys enough to matter, but I need a tactile ESC key for vi and emacs. I've remapped the caps lock key for this function.

    The touchbar is nice for things like the volume slider and the screenshot button. The fingerprint sensor is a real timesaver, reducing the time spent typing passwords. But the missing tactile keys are a problem. The function keys are especially annoying, requiring you to press and hold the fn button to make F1-F12 show up on the bar.

    I'm working from home these days, and I'm using an external keyboard. It works very well. A couple of times per day, I'll reach up and use the touchbar.
  8. K7GQ

    K7GQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's a lot of overhead to run a contest program! May I ask why you're not using skookumlogger from K1GQ, a serious contester? Not only is it a native OS X application but I doubt it's lacking any function that N1MM has. And I'd add that there's no difference in the PC, Mac and Linux versions of WSJT-X.
  9. K2QO

    K2QO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi K7GQ, so this laptop, while mostly dedicated to the shack will also be used for professional engineering events that I'm involved with, taking to FD, logging in my rover, and being a backup to the iMac that lives in the home office.

    As for Skookum, I've been a die hard user for about 8 years and all of those have been with a K3. Now that I have a FlexRadio 6500 as my main rig in the shack, I'll have to save Skookum for FD, roving, /M and /P stuff. I spoke to Bill Meyers and he said he'd be happy to get Skookum working with Flex if someone would be willing to loan him a radio for a while.

    As for overhead, my mid-2012 dual core i5 MacMini can handle smartSDR, ACLog and WSJT-X and two monitors with CPU at 60-70%-ish but if I then go and open a browser window with look at QRZ I'm at 100%. A weekend of contesting will keep the case of the Mini VERY warm. At this point it would be better as a Plex server and extra backup location for files.
  10. K2QO

    K2QO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I should have also mentioned that there is a native Mac solution for running the FlexRadio 6000 series and that is dogparkSDR. While I can easily run my radio from basically anywhere from a Mac or iOS device, the real problem is contest logging. If Skookum could talk to the virtual comm ports of the control software then I'd have a 100% Mac solution. Now I wonder if RumlogNG can talk to the Flex. Hmmmm...

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