Why you are running out of time to buy the last great Windows computer (a Macbook Pro 16″ 8tb w/64gb of RAM)

Mar 11

Normally there is not great urgency with tech – you wait until your current device _____ (dies, fills up, bogs down, fill in your own ad-lib)

Ideal office setup

We are in a turning point for a generational change for computers – wheter you prefer desktops or laptops, you have a 30-60 day window of time to take advantage of this change.

Believe it or not, this is the last great Windows laptop.

Why the last?
Apple is moving away from Intel chips. If you are a Windows 10 user, you may have seen the headline and not given it much thought. Without a doubt, Apple makes the best engineered laptops with the most versatility. My macbook pro 16” checks all of the boxes – fast processor (8 cores) – check
– loads of memory (64 gigs) – check
– tons of storage (8 terrabytes) – check
– charges from USB C (no huge wall warts) – check
– offers an enviroment that allows me to move seamlessly from my iPhone to iPad to Windows and back and forth (inlcuding the clip board) – check

I started this journey to a new lapto for one simnple reason -I wanted a portable machine that run more than 2 monitors at the same time preferably over a USB C cable. My surface book 2 was constantly overheating and taxing itself running 3 screens and I had to cobble together a nest of adapters and cables to make it run. What encouraged me to make the leap was when Apple offered a laptop with 8 terrabytes of storage – even now, a year on, I have not been able to find a laptop that offers that much storage internally.

What I gained in moving back into a hybrid Mac OS / Windows 10 was the upgrade of using Parallells instead of Apple Bootcamp.

Primary reasons I love this machine and its ability:

  1. Large harddrive – first time in decades I can have access to all my data on one machine – 8 tbs covers 32 years of work, personal records, terabytes of real estate/drone photography and 3 tb of music and movies + 1 tb dedicated to my Windows 10 + data (about 400 gb). Nice transition from using a laptop which maxed out at 1 terrabyte,
  2. Thunderbolt 3 – 4 ports, 2 sides are on seperate I/O Busses which allows for up to 4 monitors at same time. (Some docking stations will allow more than 4).
  3. Fast computer processor – this machine with its Intel i9 processor runs Windows faster (while running Mac OS at the same time) than the Microsoft Surface Book 2 did.
  4. Merge my iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) with Windows 10 with airdrop file swap across all platforms
  5. You can copy/paste from windows to your mac to your ipad to your iphone just like they were all one big machine
  6. Allows 2 dropbox accounts and drive letters to each so in Windows it looks like they are in the same machine – I use one drobox for my work files (mostly to share large files with clients) and I have a seperate personal account that I only use to backup my large photo library. (I keep highres version of every photo in this dropbox – I move the lo-res versions into my main data directory).
  7. Cross OS setup – Windows 10 and Mac OS at same time – which allows for amazing flexibility – moving info from iOS devices to Mac to Windows is seamless – whethers its files, photos, or just copy/paste from clibpard.
  8. iTunes sync my media library better from Mac OS than Windows to my iPhones and iPads
  9. With Parallels essentially two computers at same time
    1. Parallels is a better windows than Windows
    2. Amazing migration feature moved my Microsoft surface book setup in one swoop into Parallels – all the serial numbers, passwords, and fiddly personal windows settings.
    3. Parallels toolbox has some great tools – photo resize, window manager (like windows cursor key for slamming windows to edge) and dozens more
    4. Master puppeteer – amazing to watch how it controls Windows
    5. Ability to run Windows side by side with Mac (Coherence mode) and drag and drop info from one to the other
    6. Run multiple versions of windows at the same time
  10. Legacy – I have some old Windows programs that will not work no ARM Chips or likely make it through the next upgrade so I wanted the most powerful mac on an Infel chip I could find
  11. Intel cross compatibly – likely last generation of Mac to allow this
  12. Find at https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro-16/?afid=p238|sI74p1tcc-dc_mtid_1870765e38482_pcrid_487960499943_pgrid_101595807247_&cid=aos-us-kwgo—slid—product-
  13. fullbackup to Apple time capsule = 8 tb takes 48 full hours to restore, but once its done its 100% of where I last left it. If you only have a 1 terrabyte, it would go much faster.
  14. Also highly suggest you run turbo boost- Turbo Boost Switcherhttp://tbswitcher.rugarciap.com/ as this app has helpd me keep the Mac from burning our its processor while using both Operating Systems at the same time (My belief is that one of the reasons Apple moved away from Intel processors as they were not able to keep up with faster processsors, so Intel has offered a gamer type hyper mode known as Turbo Boost. I have not needed the processor to overclock to run what I need and I have watched my Mac burn out its motherboard (on one bus). Since then I have been using Turbo boost app to disable this feature).
  15. Also just traded in some airline miles for an iMac version that runs my zoom meetings and classes at 5k.
  16. Price at configured $6,699

Data by GB

Data by Number of files

I know its pricey, but I so believe in this, that I now have three of these machines – my main machine (pictured front center on my desk setup), an identical backup machine (this was the one that burned out that Apple replaced under Applecare – took 2 weeks to turn around because it was not a stock machine). That backup laptop sits in a safe and I pull it out once a week to update the data that has changed from the main laptop to it. The third machine is the iMac which as now become my Zoom machine (I could write a whole other article on the importance of getting Zoom offer your main computer). This iMac is likely going to be the last 5k (screen resolution) Intel processecor Mac.

One final though on the cost of having an identical backup laptop. Last time your machine died – add up how much time you were out finding a laptop, installing software, moving your backup (you do keep backups right?) data to the new machine, tweaking all of the settings, adding all of the serial numbers, adding all of your logins, etc. In my case, I spend 8 to 16 hours on such a project. Take your annual income / 2080 work hours (in a year) multiply that by 8 (or 16) and that gives you the value of having an indentical backup to move too.

As a kid I was a huge NASA fan, and one of the takeaways from the space program is that concept of backups – 3-2-1. Three backups are two, two backups are one, and one backup is none. I mention this because I have previously written about a small laptop – the Lenovo Yoga C930 and my primary use for this laptop is just as a daily backup of most important work data – it is a super small laptop that I can safely carry on a trip, toss in a bag, leave in the backseat of a car, or take to a meeting where I meet need to access data, but do not want to lug around a 4lb to 8lb laptop (its smaller than in iPad and runs Windows 10).

Ideal Zoom Setup

Dec 27

2020 has been an odd year – and it has accelerated our future faster than most of us were ready for – and that includes moving meetings from the physical world to the Zoom world.

As we spend hour after hour in the zoom world, I have come to recognize a number of setups including:

  1. Laptop with webcam in the crack between the bottom of the screen and the top of the keyboard – otherwise known as the nostril cam.
  2. Laptop with poor webcam quality (that includes most Apple laptops) – otherwise known as fuzzy cam.
  3. Laptop that stills has plastic film over the webcam – otherwise known as the blurry cam.
  4. Desks with the owners back to a bright window – otherwise known as soon to be in the witness protection program silhouette.
  5. And the list could go on and on an on.

Knowing this, I decided to design a portable zoom setup that I could use reliably for meetings. In order to come as possible to resembling a real meeting, it needed to cover the following items:

  • Good lighting so you could read facial expressions
  • A camera located approximately at eye level and was physically separate from my primary laptop (Macbook pro 16″) or my Zoom /teaching laptop (Microsoft Surface book2) or our conference room setup (Microsoft Surface 4).
  • Adjustability both in depth and height to take into account two person meetings (my wife and I had many parent teacher conferences or school meetings this way) or allowing me to stand
  • A dedicated microphone phone with a clear to read MUTE indicator
  • A dedicated volume knob
  • (and as it turns out, some sound insulation between my office and my wife’s office )

I did some quick research on Amazon and chose the following items:

  • Webcam stand – $27.98 – envision the adjustable desk lamp you might of had in your childhood – without the lamp – it has a solid weighted base, but can also be removed if you want to put small holes at different distances in your desk.
  • Dedicated webcam – $29.88 – I wanted HD – so 1080 was minimum – and I wanted one that was adjustable.
  • LED Ring Light – 10″ – $19.79 – if you have watched any YouTube videos – you will notice the YouTubers have a ring light around their camera – this lights up your face and is adjustable as well.
  • Microphone stand with visual cue if mic was muted – $15.99 – this one has a big button on the front with a red light (that I put a sticker on to remind me that RED was Live, dark was MUTED). This has eliminated one of my largest frustrations with zoom meetings – when a speaker is speaking and they are not aware there mic was muted, or they are fumbling around in settings look for the unmute button
  • Volume Knob – $27.19 – For a long time I was using my Apple Airpods for Zoom meetings, but when I moved to the microphone and after waring our 3 sets of Airpods – I realized I needed a dedicated volume knob.
  • Sound paneling – $23.99 for 6 pack that is 12″x12″x0.4″ – this has worked really well – my daughter and I installed them from desk top to ceiling in my office – not only has it improved the acoustics and eliminated the odd echo I experienced on phone calls, it has done an amazing job of blocking my sometimes loud teaching voice. My wife has her office down the hallway – maybe 15′ from mine – and this has virtually eliminated any sound transmission.
  • Some miscellaneous velcro, or 3M double sided tape.

For $150 to $250 (depending on how much acoustical sound paneling your office needs) – you can setup your own Zoom studio.

PS: I am a big believer in always having a sperate zoom computer for meetings because:

  • Zoom is a resource hog and I have watched it melt down a laptop doing too many other things at the same time
  • Zoom constantly reorganizes all of my carefully laid out windows
  • If you screen share, you do not really want to screen share work you are doing for other clients
  • When I just need to listen in on a zoom meeting, I can roll my desk chair about 24″ to the right, and be on my primary computer getting work done.
  • Speaking of that – I would add a 2nd HD webcam to your setup – my 2nd cam is not on the stand, but is located between the two monitors (for better eye contact) and I can switch to that setup when I have moved computers as it looks like I am still engaged on the original zoom meeting.
  • One more thoughts – next time you are in a zoom meeting – do a quick screen shot of your live photo – I do mine looking thoughtful – and then post it as my avatar – so I if need to leave the room to answer the door, make tea, etc. It is not disruptive to the attendees.

Microsoft Duo – tablet, computer or phone?

Sep 10


I have been using the Duo for about a week – once I got passed the setup phase (finding all of my favorite iOS apps and installing them) – I must admit I really like the device – I like holding it, I like carrying it, and I like reading from it, especially the Kindle app. I screencast it to a portable projector (photos below) and I can see the potential of teaching a class with the powerpoint on one side, and a PDF of the book on the other side. I still have not setup the phone, and not sure I would really use it that way.

I received my Microsoft Duo today via Fedex and I will admit I was really excited to see what a foldable dual screen pocket device looks like and to see how functional it is.

These devices have only started to land today, so some of my favorite tech reviews (Marquez, Unbox therapy, etc.) have not done hands on reviews yet.

As a mostly iPhone/iPad user, it took a while to get Google (Android) all setup on the device and download my favorite apps – Office, Kindle, the remote web cam at our cabin, etc.

Office 365 did run out of the box and I was able to test out Powerpoint and Adobe acrobat side by side – which allowed me to run a CCIM presentation next to the CCIM textbook.

I was even more impressed that I was able to screencast the device to a nearby monitor – which allowed me to run a PowerPoint wirlesslessly, all while holding something about the size of a moleskin notebook.

Microsoft started selling the Duo today – you can find it at their website here.

My first impressions are:
-amazing build quality (hardware)
-its going to take some time to get used to Android software/setup
-it is really cool to read a two page Kindle book side by side
-the dimensions are slightly wider than my iPhone X, about the same height and each side of the Duo is much thinner – when folded its about 125% of the depth of my iPhone X (in short, very portable)
-the software adjust nicely to the mode you hold in it – one screen, two screen, tent mode, laptop mode (w/virtual haptic keyboard) – it all is seamless and fast
-the size, heft and holdability of the device is amazing – part Moleskin notebook, part cigarette case (with that cool Airpod case clicking sound)

As I have more time to use the device, I will be pushing out updates this to this website.

CCIM announces new technology and social networking course

Jan 22

Technology and Social Networking Tools for Today’s Real Estate Professional
This 1-day course, taught by Todd Clarke, CCIM, teaches how to implement the latest technology and social networking tools into a real estate professional’s day-to-day business and add value to clients. Participants will review the latest hardware available, including smart phones, iPads and netbooks, and find software and data storage solutions. In addition, develop a business strategy for using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, through hands-on exercises.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Make an informed decision on hardware and software solutions for your business
  • Determine which social networking sites are best suited to expand your business and inform your clients
  • Communicate to existing and potential clients through blogs, tweets and other social media
  • Learn how to add value to your clients’ needs and NOT become a spammer
  • Course location and pricing
    Chicago, IL ~ April 5, 2011 ~ 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
    Levine Learning Center
    430 N. Michigan Ave Suite 800 ~ Chicago, IL 60611

    Members $295 Non-members $395
    Instructor: Todd Clarke, CCIM

    Click here to register

    My latest computer is… a Mac?

    Dec 06

    Yes its true, I’ve migrated into a MacBookPro for my primary laptop.

    Was it the allure of Mac OS X? no.
    Was it the sex appeal of a sleek machine? no.

    It was simply, the best built machine money could buy. After decades of taking apart my Sony VAIO’s and Toshiba Tecra’s, Portege’s and Librettos, I’ve come to realize that the design of these machines is grossly inferior to the MacBookPro. Within the first few months of owning a laptop, I often end up pulling it apart to upgrade the memory or hard drive. Some of my favorite machines are Sony’s (TX, TZ, P), but I am appalled at how difficult it is to replace simple components like the hard drive. Unlike my Acer netbooks that I can replace a hard drive in minutes (or my Samsung, that has an external access port), I can spend hours on a Sony, carefully taking pictures as I remove each layer, only to find some “switch” or button has been booby trapped to make reassembly very difficult.

    When my Sony TZ needed a windows reformat and redo, I realized its hard drive space was just too small, so I upgraded to a Samsung R480 (now for sale)

    which offered a 500 gig harddrive, and a blu-ray drive that would allow be to read my backups.

    Unfortunately, the Samsung just ended up being to big and clumsy to take to meetings, and although I had removed the Blu-Ray drive and added a 750 gig harddrive for data, I was concerned about jostling the machine, so I ended up restore the blu-ray and resetting the machine to its original settings and then set off on my quest to find a durable long last machine.

    I wanted a machine that could easily hold all of my data and media (i.e. iTunes) – check
    I wanted a machine that could be my hub for synching the iPhones, iPad iTouches and iPods, in our family.
    I wanted a machine with enough USB ports and a SD Card reader to be helpful – check
    I wanted a machine that felt solid to travel with – check
    I wanted a machine that had a large high resolution screen (1680×1050)
    I wanted a machine that was fast enough to be my main machine during the day – which means a lot of multitasking (which ruled out most netbooks) – check
    I wanted a machine that was well built and easily upgraded – check
    I wanted a machine that would let me create apps for the iPhone and iPad – check

    While I liked the idea of a Mac Air, the hard drive and processor speed ended up being a limitation.

    I purchased the 15″ model with the Core i7 and 4 gigs of RAM and a 500 gig hard drive. I had the hard rive replaced with the 750 gig model and had the superdrive (thats a DVD to PC users) replaced with another 750 gig for a toal of 1.5 Terabytes.

    For the first time in a long time, I can carry ALL of my data around with me.

    (this photo shows the now replaced Superdrive with an additional hard drive above the existing hard drive.

    What was appealing about the design?

    Start with the original concept – instead of a series of plastic parts held together by a bunch of screws (if you’ve taken apart an Acer, Asus, Sony or Toshiba you know what I mean), the MacBookPro starts out as a solid aluminum brick:

    and then they carve the keyboard out of the top,

    followed by the computer innards out of the middle, leaving a small sheet of aluminum on the bottom to seal the machine in. In short – remove ten screws and you have access to the elegance of design of the laptop and easy upgrades to the harddrive, memory and DVD-drive.

    Word of advice on upgrades and using Bootcamp: don’t move the DVD drive until after you’ve installed Bootcamp – I spent easily a day of time trying to figure that one out. Also if you plan to run Parallels (Macs version of allowing you access to Windows while running the Mac, as opposed to bootcamp which switches between the OS’s on bootup), install bootcamp first, then windows, the install all of your software, and BEFORE you activate, go back into parallels, install it, run it and then tell Windows (office, etc.) to activate- this will save you from having to repeatedly activate for what is essentially the same machine.

    Finally, for those CCIM instructors, Designee’s, and candidates, you should know that the new Microsoft Office 2011 for the Mac now works with Macros for our CCIM spreadsheets.

    Has the upgrade been seamless? Not quite, but I have enjoyed it and I love the laptop. I still use my Sony netbook P for meetings during the day, but I prefer the MacBookPro for all other tasks.

    I think my new Mac, fits right in – how about you? (bottom right of all the monitors)

    helping kickstart a tool iPhone users could love?

    Oct 05

    I love the idea of a large group of people, with a small amount of money, can put someone in business and allow us to turn a simple concept into a real project. I’m talking about more than an add on for the iPhone, I’m talking about Kickstarter.

    My dream machine (for 2010)

    Sep 27


    Now this is my idea of an ideal laptop – something that would “store” my iPhone, my iPad and an external USB or Harddrive – each of which would be components that I could remove AND that I could use as an extra screen, storage, etc.

    More info can be found by clicking here.

    Thanks to Gizmodo for the article.

    A quirky website might be an innovative way to do business.

    Sep 23

    Meet Quirky.

    Quirky connects inventors with investors with consumers.

    If you have a product that you want to produce – you can design it – price its development and sell it on this website. As a consumer, I can “invest” in the product by placing a pre-order – if enough pre-orders are placed, the product is built and shipped.

    Today, I placed my first preorder for the Trek Support backpack – a TSA friendly backpack with a built in battery for all my tech tools and a charger as well. I was order #69 out of the 1,200 buyers they need.

    I’ll let you know how it turns out…

    The presentation from this weeks technology lunch & learn

    Nov 15

    Can be found here .

    Items that were featured:

      How to earn a 207% IRR by going paperless.
      The benefits of using a netbook
      circitcity-netbooks Circuit City is offering a number of good deals on netbooks and Gizmodo has a advanced copy of Office Depot’s Black Friday advertisement offering the Acer netbook for $199

      We also covered Livescribe’s Pulse Smart Pen and how I use this fabulous tool for homework review for my students.

    wi-fi in flight – thanks American Airlines

    Aug 26

    I tried out the onboard wi-fi service offered by American Airlines today Gogo – and I have to admit, its worth the $9.95 to be able to check emails/research on the internet for my almost 3 hour flight to Chicago.

    Speed test results below