2018 MacBook Pro TB 15" Setup Questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MushroomMan, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. MushroomMan macrumors regular

    MushroomMan

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Location:
    Thailand
    #1
    I finally bit the bullet and ordered one of these new machines, could arrive by the end of the week: i7/32GB/1TB/V20.

    I'll try to be brief, but I have a few points I'd like to get some direction on.

    Background:
    My last MBP 15" unfortunately was completely Radeon-gated 8 months ago, after suffering the nasty GPU symptoms for about 3 months. This was really annoying, as despite being 7+ years old and the 2.2Ghz model, I had upgraded - RAM to 16GB, 240SSD, 750HDD in Optibay, & Hi-Res Screen....so it was still running like a champ for many things.

    In May I was offered a new job (I'm a teacher) at a University where all the students have iPads, all the rooms have projectors, and all the lecturers are required to teach using a laptop. Due to being fiscally restrained at that moment, I had to do the unthinkable and pick up a 2nd hand junky windows laptop (US$180) for the short-term until I was able to arrange the sale of a few vital organs to fund the MBP purchase. This 'temp' laptop has been painful on many levels.

    So, I've got the new i7/V20 on its way.

    1st issue: Video Output
    As I mentioned, a lot of my work involves connecting a laptop to a projector (or sometimes a large monitor / TV screen... 65-70"??) via HDMI or VGA. For some reason my windows laptop can only connect with VGA and you can imagine how fun that is.

    Obviously my new situation will be working with USB-C and the world of dongles....no dramas there, except which one? After lots of hunting and reading, and bang-for-buck analysis, I started to think about the idea of just using an AppleTV as my 'dongle'. This would actually assist my teaching enormously as I would be able to get the students to stream video directly from their devices which would save lots of time and provide some new opportunities. It would obviously be bigger/heavier etc. than a normal dongle and require power and more $$.....but given the potential benefits I think it's actually justifiable.

    So, my question is: Would there be any downside I am missing when using an AppleTV as an expensive HDMI dongle? ...in terms of how a laptop talks to a projector vs. how the AppleTV would?

    Does anyone do this, and if so how is that working out for you?

    I will still need to get a dongle for USB A / Ethernet and others, but the AppleTV would be my main work dongle and be taken everywhere the laptop goes.

    2nd issue: Setup for different users.
    In the past I have had dedicated work laptops (always cheap Window's POS), so it was easy to separate my work/personal life digitally. Currently, having to use my personal device for work (especially projected in front of up to 200 people) can cause a few dramas... nothing major, just search history and things in google / YouTube etc. which often pop up on the screen when I let the students use my device for the presentations.

    So, I hope to be able to utilize the Touch ID and even Touch Bar (flame away) to help me better manage things. I figured I would create 2 accounts on the computer - one for personal use and one for work/teaching. I thought the TouchID would be great for this - one finger for each 'user' and away I go.

    But I have not actually used different users on MacOS since the 90s in high-school, and I don't really know how it works these days (I am guessing it's set up for multiple people as opposed to one individual having multiple accounts?). Would I have problems accessing things from each user, like my iTunes library for example? Could I create shared folders if I needed cross-user access of things occasionally?

    My question is: Am I thinking about structuring things the right way by creating 2 user accounts on MacOS (each accessed with a different fingerprint) to keep my work/personal life separated? Or will it cause other issues with having to have copies of Apps and iTunes libraries on each users account, for example?

    I am also hoping to map a lot of nice buttons to the touch bar to help with the things I do at work - nothing major just save a few steps on things I do all day everyday.

    3rd issue: Protection
    On my last MBP I had a cheap Chinese eBay special hard plastic shell. While not everyone's cup of tea, it worked well, was light, and appropriately sacrificial. Given all the talk about throttling and heating/cooling with these new MBPs, I was wondering if anyone would advise against putting anything over the laptop case permanently as it may make the situation worse?

    My question here is: Has anyone been using a hard/rubber clam shell-like case on the TB MBPs with no problems, or would I be best advised to consider other ways of protecting it?

    4th issue: Getting my data from my old laptop
    I'm pretty sure I still have my old SATA to USB-A cable around somewhere and my little toolkit as well. So, I was planning on ripping the drives out of my old MBP and using the cable to transfer data (approx 100GB on SSD and 700 on HDD) but I guess this would take a while. I have seen some generic USB-C to SATA cables online - would these be ok? I am kind of scared of non-Apple USB-C-anything due to the fact it is relatively new technology and through the TB protocol a lot of power can be carried / potentially do a lot of damage (but I really have no idea what I am talking about here).

    * I should mention that I don't want to 'clone' my old system or anything, I actually want to start fresh and just copy the old data for backup / data storage

    So, my question is: Would you guys simply use the USB-A to SATA cable to transfer data or would you get a USB-C to SATA cable instead? And if so, would it have to be an Apple-approved one? I am fairly sure I will be able to get at least a generic one locally.

    And a couple of other small questions:
    1. I have seen a nice little Dell (HDMI/VGA/Ethernet/USB-A) dongle. Is there any reason this wouldn't work properly on a MBP for the jobs I mentioned earlier? Or do the 'Apple / Apple approved' dongles have some secret magic powers that I am not aware of.
    2. I would like to have the desktop/background for my work OS display a 'live' view of my calendar in full- or partial-screen mode...is this even possible, any ideas on what I need to be googling? (seems some people just use screenshots).
    3. Backing-up: in the past I've been happy to just manually back up, and use a folder system to keep things simple. I am now scared that with the new designs, 'complete' back-ups are absolutely critical. I assume Time Machine is the simplest and easiest (but i've never used it). Are there any other options worth looking into, or is Time Machine just the best system & works effectively?

    Thanks and any input would be much appreciated!
     
  2. hildar macrumors newbie

    hildar

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #2
    Good morning. I may not be able to answer your questions as well as others but I'll try to give you a little insight on what I have experienced as a teacher that uses a MBP to run my classroom.

    I've tried an Apple TV in the past and it wasn't as intuitive as I would've liked. Our internet is locked down pretty hard here at school and I couldn't get the Apple TV to connect and broadcast from my MBP. I ended up using a Chromecast with Google Chrome on my MBP to cast to my smart board (I use Google Slides instead of PowerPoint these days). I have transferred everything to Slides so I don't have to rely on a HDD or external HDD to keep my files.

    You can create a Guest account on your MBP that will allow a student to access the computer without seeing your personal files. Just have them login to it (you can set a password on it) and I'm pretty sure they will have access to the same apps installed on the machine.

    I use a TwelveSouth Journal on my MBP 15 w/ TB and haven't had any issues with heating; although I do not push my machine very hard so it doesn't really need to start the fans for cooling.

    Honestly, I don't know much about transferring data but I would definitely look into using an Apple-approved cable because if something goes wrong, you can show the cable to Apple and they can't say much in terms of warranty repair.

    I hope this helped!
     
  3. MushroomMan thread starter macrumors regular

    MushroomMan

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Location:
    Thailand
    #3

    Thank you very much for the reply Hildar - nice to get feedback from someone with similar experience.

    Despite being in a developing country, the internet where I am is actually pretty good. That said, I was always thinking of a Plan B, and intended to use a 4G USB dongle to manage any internet issues. The network seems to be pretty flexible (not too many dramas with my phone or current laptop) so hopefully that won't be an issue in the future. Interesting points about Google Slides - a lot of people at my Uni. use Google classroom.... but I've been pretty keen to give Schoology a try. So I will have to see how that works out.

    I guess the main task (AppleTV benefit) I was hoping to make super easy was for the students to display whatever was on their screen basically instantaneously on the projector (notes/outlines/presentations/research results/project or homework stuff). I imagine Chromecast must have changed things big-time for the better for you.....but I shouldn't get off-topic!

    And good to hear about the 12 South Journal.... while a bit different than what I'm after, it looks nice and I'd guess it would hinder the cooling more than a simple 'thin' case. So thanks for that info. - good to hear it's running fine.
     
  4. hildar macrumors newbie

    hildar

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #4
    Oh yeah, I totally understand the benefits of Apple TV with a room full of iPads! Google Chromecast would be able to do the same thing inside apps. I cast my Slides presentations from my MacBook and no notifications or anything are shown on screen, just my slides!
     
  5. cobracnvt macrumors 6502

    cobracnvt

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2017
    #5
    I would suggest getting the HDMI dongle for the laptop. It's easier than dealing with any Airplay issues to the Apple TV.
     
  6. MushroomMan thread starter macrumors regular

    MushroomMan

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Location:
    Thailand
    #6
    Cheers for the advice - could you be more specific about the Airplay issues? I've only used it on a couple of devices, but one was 1st or 2nd gen ATV and still seemed to work ok (only home situation of course).
     
  7. cobracnvt macrumors 6502

    cobracnvt

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2017
    #7
    Just with any wifi issues. You, your students, and the Apple TV will have to be reliably on the same wifi.
     
  8. MushroomMan thread starter macrumors regular

    MushroomMan

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Location:
    Thailand
    #8
    Fair point - I'm hoping that I'm not actually the first person doing this, but either way only a test would confirm I guess.
     
  9. unglued, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018

    unglued macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2016
    #9
    I don't know if the Apple TV would work as a dongle to its fullest. It would make more sense to connect the Apple TV to the projector using HDMI and both you and the students can connect to the Apple TV via Airplay (wifi) and take turns mirroring/sharing your screens. But if that's the case it would still be good to get a USB-C dongle with different connections including HDMI incase there's problems and you need to bypass the Apple TV.

    Your old SATA to USB-A cable should work fine as long as you have a USB-C to A adapter/dongle for the MBP, you may have to enter logon credentials if your data is encrypted. Time Machine is perfectly fine and simple for backups.

    I’m not sure about the Dell dongle/dock it may have a hardware compatibility list you can check, I personally would get something more Mac friendly.

    Sounds like a fun project, check out YouTube videos for real world setups and problems you might see something you never thought of to improve your teaching environment, good luck!
     
  10. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    #10
    Not a fan of hard shell cases. Prefer skins. Bestskinsever.com has great coverage options.
     
  11. MushroomMan thread starter macrumors regular

    MushroomMan

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Location:
    Thailand
    #11
    Sorry, I wasn't being very clear. I was intending on using it as a 'dongle replacement' not an actual 'dongle'. I am hoping to be able to use it exactly as you suggested.....and as you also mentioned I will need to get an additional dongle too, so cheers for that, and hopefully it will be fun and not full of drama!
    --- Post Merged, Dec 4, 2018 ---
    Cheers for the link - that is quite an interesting product and seems very good value for money.

    I am looking for a bit more protection ideally - just haven't figured out if it would cause heating issues. I've had Otterbox Defender cases on my iPhone 5S and the phone is still in very good condition at 5+ years....so in a perfect world I'd like an Otterbox Defender case for the laptop too (just because it will always be traveling)....but don't think I'll have much luck with that lol.
     
  12. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    #12
    I use the skin and a good bag to transport. I just sold my 2012 MacBook Air. Peeled off the skin and it looked brand new.
     
  13. MushroomMan thread starter macrumors regular

    MushroomMan

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Location:
    Thailand
    #13
    Fair point - always nice to see that after so long.

    The current bag I am using is an old Crumpler one:

    [​IMG]

    This new laptop will be the 4th one it has taken care of!

    Regardless, I'd still like to have some decent protection (clam-shell case) given how much I have to move it around. I think the skin you mentioned will be worth buying as well.
     

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12 December 3, 2018