Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 in retrospect, and looking ahead...

REVIEW: 

Generally, 2013's been somewhat mediocre, and even though it should have been eventful (what, with my graduation), it turned out to be otherwise. Let's look back and see what happened, shall we?

January
So the year started with me planning my future. Or more specifically, which University would I be doing my Masters? I was putting together my personal statement for LSE, Exeter, Rotterdam/Erasmus, Nottingham, although I only sent in LSE and Exeter in the end. But it was a nerve-wrecking feeling, to not know where you will be in 9 months' time – much like what I am experiencing now. Thankfully, Exeter was quick to offer me a place - 14 January, to be exact. Masters, here I cometh.

February
Guild Elections month. I remember I may have lost my cool and, well, got a bit upset with how one of the nights went (Guild President debate, if I remember correctly - technical issues that weren't really issues - the issue with lack of preparation time and trying out new systems). Also, with each major event, I knew the clock was ticking for my time with Xpression and as Head of Production was coming to an end. Also, my 21st Birthday at the Vic was, with all due respect, a sweet yet awkward affair where almost everyone I knew was there, and while the plan was to head to Arena after the Vic, I actually felt a bit unwell (read: chundered - my alcohol tolerance was at an all-time low, following 21 dry days). I remember Nick Howe and Matt Bate taking me home, and we just played Slinky at my steps before I went to bed. An understated 21st Birthday. Oh, have to mention a special thanks to Alex Manning for abandoning his Valentine's Day plan with his girlfriend to come to my Birthday thing (I wouldn't recommend that).

March
March started with the news that I had been waiting to hear – The email from LSE came through, and I had received a Conditional Offer - an Upper Second Class (2:1) and I'm in. This was great news! Yes, I did consider running for XpressionFM Station Manager at this point, because I assumed LSE would reject me because it's been so long, but the offer sealed the deal - it's a rare opportunity, and I've been yearning to get to a less distracting (no offence) academic environment, I can't let this go. So, the Media Elections came and went, and I started winding down my Head of Production role.

April
I don't remember anything exciting happening in April, apart from NaSTA - took photos for it, and actually enjoyed the event - made me regret not getting involved with XTV more in my 3 years in Uni. Anyway, apart from NaSTA, I don't recall much else apart from revision and dissertation. Well, I say "dissertation", I actually went up to my supervisor and we discussed the possibility of getting an extension, seeing as I have 4 exams in May, and I did have a big sample for my paper.

May
Exams finished 18 May 2013 - my final undergraduate examination. And then there was the last ditch attempt to finish my Dissertation by 31 May. Flipped my body clock so I don't get distracted. And, apparently, it paid off. But to be frank, by the time the paper was in, I didn't care. In fact, I stopped caring 4 hours before I submitted my dissertation - I couldn't think properly, and I had no heart in reading through the 10,000 words to spot mistakes by that point. It was painful, to say the least.

June
Post-exams, and I'm still in the UK, enjoying the warm summer in Exeter as a graduand with no commitments. There was the Xmedia Awards, Sushi Night, Paignton Zoo, Beach Trips (went to Exmouth at least twice, and got sunburnt), watched E3 Press Conferences in the A&V Hub, Sushi and board games, and a trip to London for Wimbledon... sort-of.

July
Family got to the UK (barely - visa was only approved the Friday before the weekend they were leaving), and on Tuesday, t'was the Graduation ceremony. Change the world, I shall try, Baroness Floella. Starting with... the final Cheesy Tuesday (Lord, that was emotional - to think I'll never experience it ever again in the capacity of an Exeter student. And Nik, if you're reading this, my penultimate Cheesy Tuesday was much better - that's the one where it was just the two of us. :P). Anyway, post-graduation, the folks and I went to London to see where I'd be for my next stage of education - LSE. Looked around the campus, bought my core textbook, and jetted back to Jakarta.

Back home, I went to the family firm's office to shadow my brother. Had a bit of a tiff about staying in Jakarta to work for the company or, well, otherwise.

August
Work. Oh, and travelling! Because my parents are old and I've got nephews, and apparently, this is the new craze amongst upper-middle class families in Indonesia, we went on a cruise around Alaska. Think you've seen the photos on my Flickr, so I won't blabber on. It was... alright - not my thing, considering my age...

September
Visited Exeter for Freshers' Week, then moved and settled in London, in time for the start of my Masters - Shakespeare's Head and George IV beared witness to the start of new friendships.

October
SRA Nominations Announcements. Massively disappointed, not gonna hide it anymore - thought we'd get more than 2 nominations, but I guess it goes to show the calibre of entries and the competitiveness of the awards.

November
Student Radio Awards. Not gonna lie, 2012's was better. Not only because we won a Gold and got up on stage. Mainly because we went in with lower expectations and the night itself wasn't as enjoyable, once you've lost the magic of being an SRA virgin. Ah well... T'was probably my last, anyway. But in any case, congrats must go to Gareth Jones and Laurence Foreman for the Silver Award in the Best Entertainment Programme category - Wake and Bake shall live on...

December
My worst hangover ever - thanks to Mark Brazil for that - his birthday party was... well... mental.

Also, Christmas! Had a big dinner with my coursemates. (Some of us ended up in Tiger Tiger. That was fun.) Got the train back to Exeter to fix some Xpression stuff and to meet up with old friends. Came back to London, packed my stuff, and then left again - this time, on a plane towards Düsseldorf. For the first time in 10 years, I was back in Amsterdam and Germany - the last time I was in these countries, I was 11, and my grandma was still (barely) alive (she sadly passed away soon after we returned from the trip). Went to places I haven't been to in Germany - Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf. And to be fair, Amsterdam has changed somewhat in the last 10 years, and I don't remember much about where I went, so that didn't matter. Met up with Callum, Nik, and Timon. Did all the touristy stuff, had idle conversation on a Berlin S-Bahn, and learnt a bit of German alongside.

Came back, had a friend from my St. Andrew's School, Singapore days (i.e.: Reuben) over in London. Had a reunion-of-sorts with others from SAS as well - Alex Choo, Sara, and while we were in Leicester Square, I actually met someone who was my classmate back in Primary School, and is now at the same Uni as me! Small world indeed...

--- --- --- --- ---

So, that's a year in summary. Before looking ahead to 2014 with my new year's resolutions, I thought I'd score 2013 against the targets that I set myself at the start of the year...

2013 New Year's Resolution...

Academics & Job Prospects: 3/3
  • I will graduate with a 2:1 minimum, and a 2:1 minimum in my dissertation.
    (Got the 2:1, and a First in my dissertation. Ticked.)
  • I will keep in touch with my friends from Exeter.
    (Gone back 3 times, still actively in touch with people at Xpression, yeah, got this one covered.)
  • I will make it to a Masters Programme.
    (Yep. LSE, MSc Accounting, Organisations and Institutions.)
Society Stuff: 1.67/3
  • I will do a Breakfast Show in the new term.
    (Included this as a plug, apparently. Cheated.)
  • I will contribute to the best damn Guild Election Coverage, Varsity Coverage, and Busking Culture Show. (Didn't do much for Busking Culture, bar making a promo. Apart from that, 0.67/1.)
  • I will hand over every thing I do for Xpression by March.
    (Yeah, like that ever happened.)
Personal Life and Finance: 0.5/4
  • Personal Life Resolution 1
  • Personal Life Resolution 2(Not disclosing what these two resolutions are publicly - they are on my private blog, for the record. But I definitely achieved #1, although not to the extent that I had hoped, and I did not achieve #2 - that's all we need to know for the purpose of this tally.)
  • I will make it a point to do some form of exercise every week.
    (For as long as I shall live, resolutions like these will never be fulfilled. You'd think I would know this by now, but apparently not.)
  • I will not buy any tech stuff worth over £250/€250/S$500/US$400/IDR4,000,000. (Doesn't include bikes and cars, but does include Apple products, phones and whatnot. The only exception to the rule that I will allow is a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L ii USM Lens. Apart from that, nothing over the above-stated prices. Subject to change, with currency fluctuations.)
    Broke this one when I bought the Lumia 1020.
Total: 5.17/10. Decent. But not great.

--- --- --- --- ---

Now, looking forward...

2014 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION...

Going a bit more generic with some of these... and more quantified with others.

Academic
> Get at least a Merit for my MSc.
> Become an MPhil/PhD Candidate.

Finance
> Get funding for the PhD.
> Don't ask my parents for more funds.

Fitness
> Cycle a total distance of 365km with an app or my Heart Rate Monitor.
> Cut down on my chocolate, crisps, salt, Haribos and alcohol.

Personal
> Be nicer to others.
> Cut down on procrastination.

That's it from me. Happy New Year, folks.

Monday, 31 December 2012

2012: A Year in Retrospect


What an amazing year 2012 has been for me...

January
My family kicked off the year with a trip to Kuala Lumpur, just before I returned to the UK for the 2012 Spring Term. Then it's revision, Entered the trial phase with Pat. And to end the month, I started the Breakfast Show on 31 January 2012. Boom!

Song of the Month: M83 - Midnight City

February
February was probably the most insane month for me - a highlight, I dare say. Guild Election Week was a manic week for me as I helped out with the Outdoor Broadcasts and Debate Shows. And to top it all off, I had a surprise Birthday Party thrown at me. Good times!

Song of the Month: Avicii - Levels

March
March was when I got elected as Head of Production - one committee position that will shape the rest of 2012 for me. Speaking of Xpression, we had our Charity Football Match, in aid of Sport Relief. Raised £700+. Good times...

April
So April was the Easter break. Kicked the month off with the Student Radio Conference in Bradford, went to the Exeter Food Festival with Pat for some good food and music (Remember The Voice?), saw Charlie Simpson live. Oh, and revision.

Song of the Month: Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe

May
Did I say revision? Well that's a lie. Because it's the opening of the Forum! Xpression kept me a bit busy, as usual, but it was worth it (see November). After that, things got pretty dull - Exams, things were on ice between Pat and myself. On the plus side, the Olympic Flame arrive in Exeter! Oh, and CIMA GBC Filming started, and we got through to the UK Finals!.

Song of the Month: Gotye ft. Kimbra - Somebody That I Used To Know

June
Halt! Xmedia Awards! Not a great night in terms of awards I hoped to clinch, but great night nonetheless. Then there's the Annual Celebration of Volunteering - Event of the Year? Apparently, that's what the Guild thought of the Xpression Guild Election Coverage! Student Radio Chart Show from Xpression FM. Also, CIMA GBC UK Finals came and went. Held at the Milkround HQ (News International), rubbed shoulders with some interesting people, and our team won the award. #Winning

Song of the Month: Madeon - Finale

July
So, UK Finals sorted, now we set our sights on the CIMA GBC Global Finals. Tough, considering I was back in Indonesia, and I had to juggle the prep with editing entries for the Student Radio Awards (See November). Not the best of times, until Sri Lanka came and went. #WINNING #TRAVELLING #SriLankaIsAwesome Had a great time, met some great people, and to see a country that I wouldn't normally have the opportunity to explore. Fantastic...

Also, watched loads of Olympics on YouTube. #TeamGB #TeamIndonesia #TeamSingapore

Song of the Month: Muse - Survival

August
So, Post-Sri Lanka, I returned to Indonesia to enjoy my holidays. Oh, and editing station sound (See September). Family Vacation to the US East Coast was brilliant - from New York (Times Square, 5th Avenue, all the touristy stuff) to Toronto, then Pennsylvania and DC (saw the Magna Carta, US House of Representatives, all the touristy stuff), and then it's Singapore (Founder's Day, met up with a few of my best mates), then finally Jakarta. Oh, and then, back nice and early to Exeter.

Song of the Month: Coldplay - Paradise

September
New Station Sound at Xpression finally launched. Phew! In non-Xpression Radio news, I listened in to Chris Moyles' Last Show on Radio 1 - and actually wept, because it's one of those things that I sort-of got used to doing - waking up with Moyles, even back from my A Level days in Brighton, when Carrie Prideaux was Sports Bulletin Reader. T'was the end of an era. But start of a new one, too! Did I mention the start of the Mix & Mash Show? Also, I finally got my new laptop. Yep. Retina ftw. New Resolution? Mine's 2880x1800. Hunting for a Dissertation Supervisor - which eventually led me to Dr Petros Vourvachis.

Song of the Month: Swedish House Mafia - Don't You Worry Child

October
Football Varsity Coverage - gave up tickets to see Benjamin Francis Leftwich for this, but worth it? I guess so. We had issues at the start, when the stream from the OB PC sounded stuttery on the Studio PCs and on air. Had to run on to campus with an iPad and minijack-to-coax cable to save the show. And thank heavens that worked out alright.

Song of the Month: Of Monsters And Men - Little Talks

November
Roll on the Student Radio Awards. 2 nominations, which were converted to 2 awards on the night. #Boom. And the 24 Hour Broadcast. And SSB lineup announcement. And even though I had little to do with the Lad Culture Show (props should go to Hazel, Amelia, and the rest of the News Team), The Lad Culture Show was such a bangin' show.

Song of the Month: Anything involving Calvin Harris and Florence Welch together.

December
As the final month of the year rolled on, things slowed down. There was that horrible BEA3001 Financial Management Coursework test. There was the fantastic trip to Reading. Christmas meant another Christmas song from the Sports Team, Christmas Dinners aplenty, and me putting on a load of weight. No snow, though - only rain and floods. And in a totally insignificant kerfball, I celebrated my 2nd year with my iPhone 4 - the longest I've held on to the same phone. Bearing in mind this phone got dunked in sea water in Sri Lanka, and now the camera broke. So, to celebrate this fact, I ordered a new phone. Apart from that, the Christmas Break meant doing some overdue tasks - Masters Applications (Personal Statements, Forms, Reference hunting, GMAT), Dissertation Literature Review and data collection (a bit), editing to add onto the Station Sound, the new Xpression Website (Wordpress), revision.

Song of the Month: Anything Christmasy.

So, loads happened in 2012. What will 2013 be like?

Bring it on!

New Year's Post

So, as is tradition on this fine blog of mine, I post a review of my New Year's Resolution for the year that is about to close on our behinds, and a new one for the start of the new year.

So, let's begin, shall we? Starting with the review...

Review: My New Year's Resolution of 2012


ORIGINAL POST: HERE.

ACADEMICS: 2 / 2
I will finish my 2nd year with at least a 2:1 overall. [1st!]
I will NOT go back to Jakarta over Christmas, so I can focus on my January exams in 2013. [Didn't!]

JOB PROSPECTS: 1 / 3
I will get an Internship, and I will actually enjoy my internship &// find it useful and beneficial. [Didn't.]
I will actually help Robin with his Bubble Today website (have you heard of it? it's really good) [Pardon?]
I will brush up on any sort of code. HTML5/CSS/Objective-C, etc. Seriously, I will actually improve my knowledge of one/more of the above-mentioned computer/web design languages. [PHP, CSS, Javascript. The lot.]

SOCIETY STUFF: 2.5 / 5
I will be in a committee in my 3rd year and not regret it. [Xpression!]
I will submit 6 articles to Exeposé by December 2013. Surely not that difficult, right? [err...]
I will single-handedly work in a team to make Photosoc awesome. [Not sure about this one. Did I?]
I will learn to develop film.[Didn't. Unless Polaroid counts?]
I will get presenter-trained/tested and get my own radio show on Xpression. [Did a Breakfast, Morning After, Afternoon Sessions, and Specialist Slot (Mix & Mash Show). In short: I passed presenter training!]

MUSIC CRED: 2 / 2
I will go to a gig in 2012. [Charlie Simpson! Would have made it two with Benjamin Francis Leftwich, if it weren't for the football varsity.]
I will not chicken out like I did in 2010/2011, and I will actually get tickets to Glastonbury 2013. Failing that, I'd love to go to any of the major music festivals while I'm still in the UK. BBL, perhaps? [Radio 1 Starts The Summer in Torbay counts in my book.]

PERSONAL LIFE: 1.5 / 6
I will get a girlfriend. [Let's not delve into this one, shall we?]
I will give up chocolate for Lent. [Whoops. Completely forgot about this one. Missed the start of lent by 2 days.]
I will wean off my Pescatarian diet by the time the June exams come. And I will then learn to cut the sugars and carbs out of my diet. [Did the first bit, getting to grips with the second]
I will run a 10K (standard triathlon distance). [My longest run of the year seems to be 6.74km.]
I will cycle 40K (standard triathlon distance). [My longest bike ride for the year was 16km.]
I will try to do a triathlon in one day. Yes, I know I've had this resolution as holiday targets that never ever gets done, but I'm going to give it a try.

FINANCES/TECH: 2 / 2
I will NOT ask my parents for any more money until the 2012/2013 academic year, when I really need money to pay my tuition fees. [Didn't]
I'm allowed to buy an iPhone 5 and a new Mac this year. NO MORE. No iPad, no iPod. [Followed through.]



My 2012 New Year's Resolution Report Card: 11 / 20. PASSED!

Moving on to 2013...

My New Year's Resolution for 2013...


Academics & Job Prospects: ___/3
  • I will graduate with a 2:1 minimum, and a 2:1 minimum in my dissertation.
  • I will keep in touch with my friends from Exeter.
    I admit, I'm rubbish at this, so this one's probably going to turn red.
  • I will make it to a Masters Programme.
    Applications have been prepared, and references have been sought after. It all depends on my results now.
Society Stuff: ___/3
  • I will do a Breakfast Show in the new term.
    #plug
  • I will contribute to the best damn Guild Election Coverage, Varsity Coverage, and Busking Culture Show.
  • I will hand over every thing I do for Xpression by March.
    Everything. Website, Station Sound, News/Sports Show Production, Logo, the whole lot.
Personal Life and Finance: ___/4
  • Personal Life Resolution 1
  • Personal Life Resolution 2
    Some things are just not meant to be shared in the public domain. My top 2 resolutions for this section are amongst them. When I see this at the end of 2013, I will know what 2 resolutions this bullet point represents. But for everyone else, just know that there are two resolutions here that I really want to achieve in 2013. From a personal view, these resolutions mean a lot to me, but they are tough nuts to crack. I have been making progress towards resolution 1 in 2012. Here's hoping that things will get better, eh?
  • I will make it a point to do some form of exercise every week.
    Badminton, Football, Cycling, Swimming, Running, whatever it may be. As long as I can get my sorry bum off my bed.
  • I will not buy any tech stuff worth over £250/€250/S$500/US$400/IDR4,000,000.
    (Doesn't include bikes and cars, but does include Apple products, phones and whatnot. I did buy an iPhone towards the end of 2012, a new laptop in September 2012, and I am in possession of a new iPad. So, really, there is no reason for me to be buying anything in 2013. The only exception to the rule that I will allow is a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L ii USM Lens. Apart from that, nothing over the above-stated prices. Subject to change, with currency fluctuations.)
Total: ___/10.
What will I score? Well, bring on 2013!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Albums I'm looking forward to...

It just dawned on me that there are a few albums I'm actually quite looking forward to purchasing listening on Spotify in the next few weeks. So, what better way to present my wishlist than in this section below?

In chronological order...

Misty Eye Aiden Grimshaw
Out 20 August 2012

Misty Eye by Aiden Grimshaw

Already one of my favourite X Factor dropouts (yeah, that's right, Olly Murs! Take that!), Aiden's already made the charts with his first single, "Is This Love". So clearly, there is still some love for this guy. After leaving the competition and going under the radar for quite a while, perhaps doing a bit of soul-searching and finding what direction to take, it's good to see him make a comeback, and to return with an album that plays to his strengths - the raw vocals, the emotions brimming through. He's probably relieved that it's not "Queen vs Gaga Week". With a second single and debut album coming soon, there's quite a bit to look forward to from Mr Grimshaw.






ORA by Rita Ora
ORA Rita Ora
Out 27 August 2012

After lending her vocals to the chart-topping DJ Fresh track "Hot Right Now", and following that with her own Number 1 "R.I.P.", you could say she's done quite well for herself (so far, at least). After hearing the stuff she's released so far, I'm quite looking forward to her album, just to see what direction she's taking with it - we know she can do loud, we know she can do heart-pumping dance numbers, but will she do anything else? August 27 is the date when we'll find out. Either way, she'll probably do quite well with this album, riding on the momentum of her chart successes. 


Beacon Two Door Cinema Club
Out 2 September 2012

Beacon by Two Door Cinema Club




Following the brilliant debut album "Tourist History" (which, in spite of its frequent usage in VTs and TV adverts, I still love) back in 2010, the band has finally cobbled something together for release next month. No previews, apart from their first single from the new album, "Sleep Alone". Judging from this track, seems like the new album will carry on with the same style of music as the first album - so fans shouldn't worry too much, then. They're a great indie alt rock band, and they're right up my street - to be honest, I'm just glad that they're finally releasing some new stuff!



Coexist The XX 
Out 10 September 2012

Coexist by The XX
Mercury Prize Award-winning indie band The XX. Coming off their self-titled debut album from 2009, the music world is celebrating and anticipating this hot new release from these Londoners who have developed some sort of music identity or signature that is unique to them - tracks that sound soft and quiet, with bits of silence here and there, but yet, they captivate the listeners with the deep and dark sounds that were (apparently) made in the middle of the night in a garage (they didn't want to disturb their neighbours, you see). It's become their forté (no pun intended there), and to hear that they are back, it can only be good news for music lovers everywhere.




Babel Mumford & Sons
Out 24 September 2012

Babel by Mumford and Sons
Word has gone out that Mumford & Sons will be back with a new album on later next month. Not much was spilled on what the album will be about, or what it would sound like. But as you may remember, their sounds were quite apt for the autumn season (I blame the banjos), so here's one to look forward to later in the year. 




So, there you have it, the 5 albums I'm looking forward to between now and the end of September...

Saturday, 4 August 2012

New Laptop Time...

So, it's that time of the electronic product life cycle when I should start thinking about replacing the piece of metal and plastics with which I'm composing this blog post on - my beloved, trusty MacBook Pro 5,1 (Late 2008 model).

A few reasons why I want to move on to a new laptop...

1. It's aged to the point where my experience of using it has become slightly annoying.

  • It's 3.33 years old (so my 3-year AppleCare Plan has expired).
  • The RAM on this system has been maxed out at 4GB, and trust me, between Lightroom, Photoshop, Audition, and I can use all 4GB. (I've heard that I can install 8GB on this Mac, but Apple officially only supports 4GB, and I'm going to let someone else do the experimenting if they wish to).
  • I refuse to install an SSD on this thing just because any performance gains I expect from splurging £x will be bottlenecked by the choke of my SATA II connection (and for reasons that you will see later on, I might be incurring an unnecessary expense if I do carry on with upgrading to an SSD)
  • The battery life is weak. And I genuinely mean weak. Even after I spent US$129 on a new battery pack last year (yes, this is one of those Macs with the user-replaceable battery packs), I'm struggling to get past 2 hours of lectures on a single charge (imagine my horror if I have back-to-back lectures in rooms where plugs are scarce!)
  • Call me paranoid, but with the noises that the Hard Drive has been making from time to time, I dread to think of when it will just fail on me one day. I won't be surprised if my cycling (plus, I suspect that the lid opens and closes during my commute sometimes) is killing the internal drive.
2. In spite of what I said above, my MacBook Pro still has some resale value to it - it works fine (even for Photoshop or Aperture work). It's a sturdy, reliable machine that has only GSOD'ed on me once, and it still retains ridiculously long uptimes up till now. And bar a missing black soft cushion piece at the bottom, it's (arguably) the best MacBook Pro around, partly due to the high repairability of this system, and the availability of the very underrated ExpressCard slot. (USB 3? Card reader? No problem!)

3. Student discount: This is probably the last year I'll qualify for student discounts (unless I make it to a Masters Programme).

4. The specs in the current MacBook lineup are not too shabby. Kepler graphics, Ivy Bridge (with those much-hyped 3D transistors), USB3 + Thunderbolt, SSD options (within the top-end of my budget, after student discount). If I want to be future-proof for at least the next 3 years, this is a good base to start from.


So, that's my case for changing my laptop.


Now, let the Ron meet the Macs (bad pun intentional.)


There's one outright flagship Apple product in their Mac lineup right now. If you went to Apple's MacBook Pro page, it's the only one you'll see - the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. (subtext to this is: Apple is saying that if you want to buy the other MacBook Pros, you're buying a leftover - like buying an iPhone 3GS when the 4S is out. Except for the fact that the prices on the "inferior" models haven't dipped at all, as far as I can see).

I have to say, the reality distortion field must have worked on me, because man, do I want a Retina MacBook Pro (rMBP) more than the standard MacBook Pro (MBP). The thin 2.04kg slab of power, with Flash drives standard, beautiful display, and "asymmetrical fans" (honestly, they couldn't bring this down to the rest of the notebook lineup?).

There's one spec that has been catching my attention, though - the 2880x1800 Retina IPS Display. Or, more to the point, how well third-party apps will work on this display.

It has come to my attention that all the Apple marketing/photos seem to show Apple-only software that have been updated to support the retina display - Lion/Mountain Lion, Final Cut Pro, Aperture, iPhoto, etc.

Now, that is nice and all, but that got me wondering - what about apps that I use on a day-to-day basis? Adobe Audition, Photoshop, Lightroom? Microsoft Office? Chrome? Spotify? In short, how long will these apps be updated to look how they should on the retina display?

I have been reading on this issue, and it appears that most Cocoa apps can be ported to the Retina display quite easily and quickly - that bodes well for Chrome, which is based on the Cocoa API. But what about apps that are still relying heavily on Carbon APIs, which have now been deprecated in Mountain Lion? Apps like Microsoft Office, for example. With the exception of Outlook, it appears that Microsoft Office is largely reliant on Carbon APIs at its core (thankfully, they have moved some of their UIs over to Cocoa, albeit in a haphazard manner leading to some questionable UI decisions made at Redmond).

I fear that we may have a long wait before Microsoft will get their act together to release a Cocoa-based Microsoft Office with support for all that is good in OS X - 64-bit (and with that, security), HiDPI, etc. Until then, Office will look pixelated on the Retina display. Worse still, no word has come out from Adobe or Microsoft on when they will release updates on Retina-enabled apps. Adobe has committed Adobe Photoshop to be Retina ready, but no timeline has been released for PS, let alone the rest of their Creative Suite. Microsoft's last words on updates were that they will support LION (read: Not Mountain Lion, so this was a year ago) features such as Autosave and Versions.

As much as Apple is pushing leaps and bounds above their competitors with regards to hardware, the support that the OS X platform is getting from their major software developers are not as breathtaking - if anything, it's disappointing. Perhaps it's Apple's fault, given their habit of secrecy and non-disclosure agreements. Maybe this has given developers mixed messages, maybe they are confused as to how they should be developing for Apple's platform. But then again, a platform is nothing without a great ecosystem. As much as Apple looks down on Microsoft and Adobe, they are major parts of this ecosystem, and they are there to stay (well, maybe not Microsoft, given that their commitment to the Mac platform and to new releases of Office for Mac ended last year). With the lack of developer support for HiDPI and the Retina Display on the MacBook Pro, I might hold off buying the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

To sum up...


Retina MacBook Pro

Pros:
+ Future-proof
+ Thinner, lighter and lightly to be more durable than the standard MacBook Pro (SSD FTW!)
+ Beautiful screen
+ Kills off legacy technology - HDD, Optical drive

Cons:
– Lack of third-party HiDPI support means unsupported apps will look pixelated on this screen
– Lack upgradeability or repairability, with its non-standard and soldered parts
– Expensive. Very expensive.
– Lack of certain ports that I'd use (Ethernet, Audio In)

Standard MacBook Pro

Pros:
+ Cheaper (ish)
+ Upgradeable (ish) (SSD?)
+ Everything you need is there (even FW800!)
+ No issue from lack of retina support

Cons:
– Feels like an older product (or in my case, my current laptop)
– Heavier