WordPress – New Block Editor

Let me start by saying that I am happy with the look and feel of the macbitz website and I don’t want to change it. First up, I wanted to convert the word macbitz above into italic text. There is no toolbar, however when I move the cursor away from the text I’m typing, a minimalist toolbar appears with an italic button on it. Sue enough if I highlight the word macbitz, I’m able to switch it to italic. Assuming I can do bold and underlined text as well then that’s basic feature test one successfully passed.

Starting a new paragraph seems as simple as before, you simply hit the Enter key. What you don’t necessarily notice is that you’ve just started a nex ‘text block’ when you do this. The new block is entirely separate to the previous one, it just happens to sit directly under the previous one, giving the appearance of a new paragrahph. For now we’ll call test two a pass.

iMac Concept (courtesy of Behance.com)

On to test three and that is adding a picture to the page or past. A lot of the time when creating new content, I am adding new images rather than existing ones stored in my media library. So let’s get going by trying to add a picture of a new iMac concept on to this page. Previously I’d just click the Media button, choose ‘Add New’, upload the image and then coose the alignment and any caption I wanted. I’d like the new image to appear at the start of this paragraph and to be aligned left so that the text flows to the right of it. I’ll start by placing the cursor immediately to the left of the word ‘On’ above and then click the + button top left in the editor. Sure enough there is an image icon in the menu that appears and so I click it. Unfortunately the new editor has defaulted to putting a placeholder for the new image directly below the paragraph where I wanted to use the image. Not a good start. Perhaps I can drag the image to where I want it? Well no actually, you can’t do that because the image is a new block in its own right. After a while playing around and experimenting, I find that placing the cursor over the image I see a new mini-menu pop up above the image. If I then place the cursor over that new menu bar, a new ‘cell’ pops out to the left of the menu bar with what appear to be scroll bars on it. Seems this is the way to move your image and trusting to luck I click on the ‘Up’ arrow and my image moves up to the top of the previous text block, which just so happens to be where I wanted the photo originally. This is an extra step for which the thinking is – insert your image, set its properties then move it rather than the old way which was – insert the image where you want it and then set its properties. Not sure why WordPress felt the need to alter this logic but I dare say after using it for a while I’ll get used to it. By the way, thak you to behance.com for the image (linked here).

On to my next challenge – converting the words above ‘linked here’ into a link to https://www.behance.net/gallery/69322509/iMac-Concept. With my + menu open to the left of the editor I start searching for something to allow me to add a link. Nothing. I use the handy search tool and enter ‘link’ to be given 5 results that look nothing like what I’m trying to do! Seems I missed the painfully obvious, it was there on the mini-menu all the time. With the mini-menu showing, highliht the text you want to turn into a link then click on the (-) button on the mini-menu. Not sure why that icon represents a link, it just does. So that’s the third test passed – adding a link. My next challenge is to save this post and publish it on the site. I am hoping that it will appear in the same style (font, size, etc.) as the other posts so here goes.

2013 – Breathe In And Wait…

The time is late 2013 and having used my trusty 2008 ‘cheesegrater’ Mac Pro for some five years I bite the bullet and purchase a late 2013 27″ iMac. Five years of daily use out of the Mac Pro was already a record. As an IT person with a background in hardware and software support, I was constantly building and upgrading PCs that I used at home, but apart from some storage upgrades on the Mac Pro it pretty much stayed the course in it’s original form for five years.

iMac-2013With the new 2013 iMac I opted to max out on the processor with a 3.5GHz Quad-Core Core i7 together with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4Gb graphics option. Not much by today’s standards but back then it was all about going for the best CPU and graphics because upgrading those components is screen-off surgery of a type I didn’t fancy. I opted for a 3Tb Fusion drive primarily because space was everything and I needed lots of it for VMware virtual machines I’d be running. Top that all off with 24Gb of user-upgradeable RAM and I was all set. What I didn’t realise was just how long I’d be set for!

Everything was good, the system ran like a dream and rarely if ever gave me any problems. Working with multiple clients was a breeze with each having one or more dedicated virtual machines I could run alongside each other. The consumer iMac was the way to go with that delightful built in 2560×1440 display. Naturally I assumed I’d follow Apple’s consumer desktop roadmap and never return to those dark days of Windows PCs. Roll on seven years and what has Apple been up to?

Well the following year in 2014 we got new iPhones, MacBooks, an iPod Touch and iPad Airs. We even saw the 27″ iMac get a new 5K display. The years rolled on with watches, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Mac Mini’s, both the ‘trash bin’ Mac Pro and then the 2019 Mac Pro, Air Pods, Air Pods Pro, an iMac Pro (in a very familiar looking body), Home Pods, countless services and other initiatives and Apple’s ecosystem grew and grew. But in one little corner of their empire, gathering dust of amost biblical proportions given their expansion everywhere else sat… the consumer iMac! Still wearing its wide-bezelled, big

27inch-iMac-2013

27″ iMac (late 2013)

chinned display, it’s non-height adjustable stand, its hopeless cooling. Despite one or two minor spec bumps to the CPU/GPU options it saw no new technology. Touchbars, amazing cameras, fantastic sound, Touch Id, facial recognition, all manner of wonders for an eager public. The model of 27″ iMac I bought into was actually launched in December of 2012 so in six months time it will have been more or less wearing the same clothes for EIGHT YEARS. In product development terms that isn’t so much taking your time so much as wanton neglect. I can only assume that Apple has felt like it either doesn’s have the capacity to develop this space or that there really is no market for consumer desktop machines these days. Sure if you’re a profesional with deep pockets and can stretch to the iMacPro (which still looks like a 2012 model albeit with better cooling) or the eye wateringly expensive Mac Pro, then you have options. But as a regular Joe I have been wandering the consumer iMac desert for over seven years now with no oasis in sight!

My once trusty iMac is now becoming as flakey as Windows PCs of old. At least once and sometimes twice a week I’ll have to reboot it because applications stop responding. The 3Tb Fusion drive has started to eat itself and over the past six months the number of errors revealed by DriveDX has been growing, to the point where I wonder if it’ll come back the next time I reboot it. Sure I could blow two to three grand on a ‘new’ 27″ iMac but all I’d be doing is investing in eight year old technology that’s way behind the rest of Apple’s curve. As for the prospect of replacing the Fusion drive to eek out some extra life from this old lady, well I really don’t fancy the surgery this involves.

So what to do next? Can’t say I fancy some sort of MacBook with an external monitor and dongles galore as I’d be paying for portability I don’t want. I’ve dropped a couple of hints to popular Apple pundits, but they’re all so busy covering other aspects of Apple-world that they can’t see the elephant in my room. It really is a waiting game, during which I’m, sure I’ll hear more about Apple Glasses and Apple Cars than I will about a new iMac!

PS – looking back at the last few posts (which I admit have been very few and far between) I can safely say that even in macOS Catalina, Apple have still not sorted out multi-monitor support on iMacs. Every time there is a point upgrade in macOS, screensaver choices and display options get wiped clean for no good reason!!