My new toy: iPad Pro

There was a nice surprise last Monday: my iPad Pro arrived! Apple have had announced it's delivery on 2nd to 5th of December, but it seems that there are now enough iPad Pro in stock.

I've chosen the biggest one with built-in LTE radio, and I don't regret having spent such a lot of money for it. As Fraser Speirs already pointed out having built-in LTE is one of the big advantages over traditional Mac Books.

Here are some more observations I made during my first week with the iPad Pro:

  • The new iPad Pro onscreen keyboard is great. I've ordered the Logitech Create keyboard too, but I think that the onscreen keyboard is good enough for my mobile work. Because of the extremely high price (150 Euros) I will send back the Logitech keyboard immediately after arrival.
iPad Pro onscreen keyboard in the Notes.app. 

iPad Pro onscreen keyboard in the Notes.app. 

  • If I work for a longer period of time I'm using a Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard (a holdover of my Surface Pro 3 test last year).
Working on the road with the bluetooth keyboard. 

Working on the road with the bluetooth keyboard. 

  • Because of the large screen using Remotix, TeamViewer, LogMeIn and VMware Horizon View to remotely access Windows and Mac desktops is real pleasure. Together with my bluetooth keyboard, it's a seamless experience, and I don't use my MacBook Pro 13" for this anymore!
  • Based on my usage, I calculate with a battery life of around 7-8 hours (high brightness with wifi, bluetooth and LTE radio switched on).
  • Splitscreen is a game-changer on such a big screen.
  • The screen gets smeary very fast. The coating on the iPad Air and the iPhone screen is much better in this regard.

Failure: Windows Server 2016 TP4 Hyper V nested on vSPhere 6

Some days ago a new preview of Windows 2016 was released. I immediately downloaded the iso and installed it as a vSphere 6 virtual machine. My goal was to get some hands-on experience with Windows Containers. There is a really good guide available from Microsoft describing how to test containers on Azure, in a virtualized environment or on bare metal/existing system. I went the bare metal/existing system route. This requires that the Hyper V role is enabled. But this totally failed in my nested environment. To enable nested virtualization on vSphere, you have to configure the virtual machine appropriately.

Although I've done all this the virtual machine got stuck at the first reboot:

Until now I have no idea how to get this working, and I decided to use an old IBM T420 laptop as a physical server for Windows 2016:

Windows 10 on my MacBook Pro 15 - Part 2

Last week I started digging into the basics of HyperV on Windows 10 and what I love is, that you can install the HyperV functionality from the PowerShell command line:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V –All

Afterwards, you have to setup networking for virtual machines. But networking is a little different than you may be used to if you have already setup VMware Workstation, Parallels or VirtualBox on your Mac or PC. Similar to data center hypervisors like VMware vSphere you have to setup a virtual switch and connect this virtual switch to a physical network card. Because laptops have two network interfaces typically - wired ethernet and wlan - you have to setup two different virtual switches and connect the virtual machine to the appropriate virtual switch. The virtual machine gets its own IP address on the physical network. A NATed configuration that is typically used on other desktop hypervisors, is not available. Maybe I can use internet connection sharing as a workaround. Beside this HyperV does not scale at all on high-dpi displays, and so you get a tiny window with nearly unreadable small fonts while installing an operating system on the virtual machine. When the installation is finished, I will use a remote access solution to circumvent this.

I'm going to start with a Windows 2016 TP3 virtual machine to try out some of the new container technology that is currently be developed by Microsoft and Docker.

Windows 10 on my MacBook Pro 15 - Part 1

I'm currently testing Windows 10 natively on my MacBook Pro (via Bootcamp). I'm using many applications, that are already cross-platform, like Evernote, 1Password, Microsoft Office and Dropbox. For other apps, like TextExpander, I need a special Windows app to have a similar functionality and access to the same set of data. In the case of TextExpander, I'm using Breevy to access and use my TextExpander snippet database.
Even on Windows 10 living a high-dpi desktop lifestyle is sometimes painful. Especially when you are going to access remote desktops: The built-in remote desktop application of Windows 10 doesn't scale remote desktops, and VMware's Horizon View client is failing to scale too. The result is that all fonts are incredibly small and often unreadable. But I found a workaround for VMware's Horizon View. There is a hidden registry key you can use to enable scaling on high-dpi desktops. I'm using TeamViewer to access remote desktops too, and Teamviewer is handling scaling fine.
Next I will try VMware Workstation and check, how scaling for a high-dpi desktop is handled there.

Embedded Host Client Fling v3

There's a new version of the Embedded Host Client Fling available. I downloaded the offline bundle of the VIB, imported it into VUM and pushed it to my ESXi.

Just open ESX-HOSTNAME/ui/, enter the credentials and you will get into an interface that is similar vSphere Web-Client:

As William Lam already pointed out, it's possible to edit the disk's partition table. That's very handy while testing VSAN!

(There seems to be a problem if you are using a non-English localization in your browser.)

Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch - Part 2: Software I installed first

The first thing is always to get rid of all the stuff Lenovo thinks is necessary to use the laptop. But this time it was only some Norton Software, Nitro PDF and something from Dolby. I deinstalled parts of the Lenovo Software I never use too.

To get up and running I installed afterwards the most important software first:

  • Chrome - sorry, using Internet Explorer is a no go for me
  • Dropbox - to get my files and my password database for 1Password
  • 1Password - my password safe
  • Microsoft Office 365 - I need Outlook (with Zimbra Connector) and Word to do some work
  • Evernote - to have access to my notes

 

to be continued ...

 

Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch - Part 1: First impressions

Today I got a new Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch (sadly not with a new Haswell CPU inside) and played around a bit. Two things stand out immediately:

  • The touchpad is much better and bigger than in former Lenovo laptops I've used. But the touchpad in my Macbook Pro is still better. For example two finger swipe gestures to go back and forward in the web browser seems not to work.
  • Windows 8 updates are still horrible: It takes some time to download 99 updates but it takes an eternity to install them. So I used this time to write this blog post.

 

to be continued ...

Alfred

Some days ago I rediscovered Alfred v2. Alfred is a tool to easy start programs, search for files (and the web too) and to automate recurring tasks on my Macbook Pro. It's free but the real fun starts if you buy the Powerpack for £17. With the powerpack you can add custom "Workflows" to Alfred and there are many available on the net. For example you can use Alfred to start/stop/suspend/resume VMware Fusion VMs (there are Workflows for Parallels available too, see below):

Some days ago I rediscovered Alfred v2. Alfred is a tool to easy start programs, search for files (and the web too) and to automate recurring tasks on my Macbook Pro. It's free but the real fun starts if you buy the Powerpack for £17. With the powerpack you can add custom "Workflows" to Alfred and there are many available on the net. For example you can use Alfred to start/stop/suspend/resume VMware Fusion VMs (There are Workflows for Parallels available too, see below):

Here is a list of some of my workflows I'm using most:

If you are looking for more these two websites have a great collection of workflows:

With powerpack many extra features are added like syncing to Dropbox1Password integration, theming and clipboard history. Alfred is so powerful that I'm only using a small part of it. But going on I will learn to be more efficient and use the power of Alfred.

CAPS-LOCK

I never really need CAPS-LOCKS but very often I press it accidently. So today I remapped the CAPS-LOCK key to Shift-Control-Alt-CMD on my MacBook Pro.

How to do this is described here:

And these are the required tools:

I'm using a private.xml based on Steve Losh's suggestion because I don't have any for use for the extra ESC bound to CAPS-LOCK:

<?xml data-preserve-html-node="true" version="1.0"?>
    <root data-preserve-html-node="true">
    <item data-preserve-html-node="true">
        <name data-preserve-html-node="true">Remap Left Control to Hyper</name>
        <appendix data-preserve-html-node="true">OS X doesn't have a Hyper. This maps Left Control to Control + Shift + Option + Command.</appendix>
        <identifier data-preserve-html-node="true">space_cadet.left_control_to_hyper</identifier>
        <autogen data-preserve-html-node="true">
            --KeyToKey--
            KeyCode::F19,
            KeyCode::COMMAND_L,
            ModifierFlag::OPTION_L | ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L | ModifierFlag::CONTROL_L
        </autogen>
    </item>
</root>