In the middle of 2017 — roughly four and a half years ago — I went on a search for a monitor to pair with my MacBook Pro while I was at work. I wanted something that was “retina” quality — which means roughly 220 PPI.

While not terribly scientific, the rules of thumb I landed on were:

  • No more than 24" at 4K
  • No more than 27" at 5K

Back in 2017 — one thousand six hundred and sixty five days ago, as I write this — I compiled a list of options. At the time there were five. Two Dells, one run-of-the-mill LG, and the two LG UltraFine monitors.

The Lineup

1665 days later, let me revise my findings:

  • Budget Option: LG 24UD58-B 24" 4K Monitor — ~$300
    This is what I used, eventually two-up, at work. In 2017. The panel is unremarkable, but for developers, it’s more than serviceable. Honestly, I liked this setup. Even two-up, it’s cheaper than the next available option.

  • Moderate Option: LG UltraFine 4K — ~$700
    A fancier version of the above, which includes the option of daisy-chaining a second 4K display. It also has a small USB-C hub internal to it, offering more connectivity options.

  • Deluxe Option: LG UltraFine 5K — ~$1300
    The same thing as the LG UltraFine 4K, but without the option of daisy-chaining a second display. It, too, has a small USB-C hub. I recently bought one secondhand, and the rumblings are true: the stand is straight-up trash, and the monitor itself is unreliable on the best of days. When it does work, though, it’s great!

  • Ridiculous Option: Apple Pro Display XDR — ~$5000 without a stand
    Apple’s too-fancy-for-its-own-good option. It costs $5,000 without a stand. To add their official stand is another $1,000. Oh, and if you want the fancy nano-texture coating, that’s another $1,000. So, all-in, the Pro Display XDR is $7,000. Which is, charitably, absurd.

The above is the entire lineup. That’s it. Four options. Three of which existed 1665 days ago.

In [effectively] 2022, there are four options for retina-quality monitors to attach to your Mac.

If there are others, please let me know, as I’d love to share them. I know that others have existed at some time in the past — like the Dells I featured in the first version of this post — but they’ve been discontinued and/or are not readily available here in the States.

The Future

Last month I bought a 14" MacBook Pro equipped with a M1 Max. This machine is as fast as my iMac Pro, but considerably more portable. The battery life is by no means infinite, but it’s enough to go work without power for several hours without stressing. MagSafe is back — finally — and the keyboard is both reliable and excellent. I have a HDMI port for when I travel, and an SD card reader. The M1 Pro and Max MacBook Pros are possibly the best machines Apple has released since I’ve been observing the company, for about fifteen years.

Furthermore, the display on this machine is phenomenal. My buddy Jason Snell in particular has been banging this drum for a while: on any other machine, the displays alone would be the star of the show. They’re “true” pixel-doubled retina, they have wide color gamut, they’re backlit by mini-LED, and they sport a fast refresh rate of 120 Hz. They’re nearly perfect.

Why can’t we have this in an external monitor?

Granted, refreshing roughly 15 million pixels 120 times per second requires an immense amount of data/bandwidth, so maybe that isn’t possible. However, everything else about these panels should be possible in an external monitor. Even if we have to suffer through a pedestrian 60 Hz. Why can’t we have an Apple-produced 5K screen that has mini-LED and wide color?

Why can’t we have an option between the unreliable $1300 LG 5K and the $5000+ XDR?

Over the last year or two, Apple has been doing a phenomenal job of filling the holes in their product line. For my money, the completely embarrasing monitor situation is the lowest-hanging fruit. By a mile.

Take my money, Apple. Give me a monitor made for professionals that don’t do video editing for a living. Please.

The non-UltraFine 4K and the XDR items linked above are affiliate links.


 

Judge if you must, but one of my favorite places to vacation — money be damned — is Walt Disney World. I’ve said many times it’s much like a geographical manifestation of Christmas: it’s possible to be in a bad mood while you’re there, but it takes some work. The last time I was there was for Declan’s fifth birthday, back in October 2019, or approximately 14 years ago.

Naturally, a lot has changed at Disney World since then. It shut down for a few months due to the pandemic, and has been reopening slowly since. Like many corporations, and many places, Disney is using this as an opportunity to press the proverbial reset button. New policies and techniques abound!

In this episode of Starport75, I sepnt some time with my friends Chris and Glenn discussing all the changes Disney has put in since I was last there, in the before-times. In a very Siracusian fashion, Glenn had compiled a plethora of notes, but we only were able to get through the highlights.

Nonetheless, I enjoy going on Starport75 tremendously, in no small part because I feel like I have such great chemistry with both hosts. I think you’ll enjoy the episode — especially if you’re also a Disney fan that hasn’t been to Disney World in a long time.


 

Only on Clockwise can you discuss stereos, monitors, NFTs, and robot vacuums… all in the span of 30 minutes. Today, that’s exactly what I did with Shelly Brisbin, Dan Moren, and Mikah Sargent.

In this episode, you can hear moments such as me telling Mikah to get off my lawn, and witness the birth of a gift exchange between the four of us. Interestingly, 3/4 of us will be buying each other the same gift.

Clockwise is always fun and fast. There’s never a bad time to start listening.


 

Don’t take my complete forgetfulness to write this post as an indication of a lack of enthusiasm. I’m trying desperately to get a new app I’m working on across the finish line, and as such, I’ve been pretty distracted. 🤪

Nearly two weeks ago, I had the utmost pleasure of returning to visit with my Canadian pals Angelo and Brian on their podcast Double Density. Despite their completely incorrect opinion on bagels, Brian and Angelo are good guys, and I enjoyed chatting with them again.

On this episode, we discussed how wrong they are about bagels, my thoughts in ordering my new MacBook Pro, audiophiles, and FUD about COVID. I surely made somebody mad when recording this, but at least the three of us had a lot of fun in the process. 😇


 

This past Saturday, I joined my pals Kathy Campbell, Jean MacDonald, James Thomson, and Jason Snell to discuss the final episode of season two of Ted Lasso.

Without spoilers, this season of Ted Lasso hit me differently than the last. I really enjoyed talking with this fine panel of people about this final episode. The discussion helped me interpret the episode differently, and gave me a different perspective of the season at large. The focus of this episode of Football is Life is just the last episode — not the whole season — but we naturally had some broader conversations as well.

Ted Lasso remains one of my favorite shows of all time, and doing these wrap-up shows is immensely fun. If you’re a Ted Lasso super-fan like me, you’d surely enjoy Football is Life.


 

Football is, as they say, life. And though this season of Ted Lasso has been somewhat divisive, I’m overjoyed to have appeared on another episode of The Incomparable’s rewatch podcast, Football is Life.

On this episode, I join host Jason Snell, and fellow panelists Kelly Guimont and James Thomson to discuss Headspace. It’s a varied and long conversation about heel turns, parental issues, and running an enjoyable but meaningful comedy-drama.

I’ve praised Ted Lasso until I’m blue in the face. It’s a phenomenal show, and I’m extremely stoked to see where the bottom half of season two takes us.


 

When I was a kid, Star Trek: The Next Generation was airing new episodes, and I was really obsessed. I watched every episode, and loved every one of them. I read the Technical Manual cover-to-cover about a zillion times.

Once I stopped watching ST:TNG, I basically stopped watching Star Trek altogether. I never really gave Deep Space Nine a fair shake, and I had moved along by the time Voyager aired. I was obliquely aware of it, but had never seen an episode.

My friend Jean MacDonald asked me to join her on Voyager Revisited to re-watch the season 2 finale and season 3 opener. Having never seen Voyager before, this seemed like a tall order, but it was more than worth it to have an excuse to talk to Jean.

I enjoyed the episodes, and very much enjoyed chatting with Jean. Whether you’re a lapsed Star Trek fan like me, or a super-fan like Jean, I think you may enjoy our discussion.


 

As Jamie Tartt would say, I’m not just a loser. I’m the loser.

This is because I completely forgot to link to my appearance on Football is Life last week. I joined Jean MacDonald, Peter Hartlaub, Jason Snell, and James Thomson to discuss the second epiosde of season two of Ted Lasso: Lavender.

In our discussion, we recapped the episode, discussed theories for where the show is going, found repeat appearances of old characters, and generally had a good time. Ted Lasso is easily one of my favorite television shows of all time, and it’s a complete pleasure and honor to be able to discuss it with such a great panel.

Watch the show, and then have a listen.


 

Many podcasts are best when they’re longest — it gives the hosts a chance to really air out their thoughts and go deep on subjects. Some, like Clockwise, are best when they’re so quick they end before they begin.

On this week’s episode, I joined fellow guest Simone De Rochefort, as well as hosts Dan Moren and Mikah Sargent. We discussed subscriptions we’ve added or culled during the pandemic, how we could make TV shows out of our Twitter bits, wielded magic wands and de-IPO’d companies, as well as gushed about our favorite technology used for travel.

Every episode of Clockwise I do is super fun, but this one in particular, I felt like all four of us were firing on all cylinders. It’s a great one to try, if you haven’t yet.


 

I make my living in an odd way, but I have many of the same career goals as everyone else. Most especially, I aspire for my work to be recognized by the press or — most especially — my heroes.

I’ve been lucky enough to have that happen from time to time. This week was one of those times.

It is an absolute honor to share that I guested on this week’s episode of Do By Friday. Do By Friday is nominally a weekly challenge podcast, but is so much more than that. I don’t really know how to describe it, other than a tour-de-force of pop culture, current affairs, and, really, life.

On this episode, Alex and Merlin were silly enough to give me a soapbox to continue to spread the gospel of Fahrenheit, colleges in the State Commonwealth of Virginia, Irish Spring, Cheap Trick, and more.

Don’t sleep on the after show, where we really go off the rails. As you do.

I’m so lucky to have been asked to join the show for an episode, and even more so to call these two wonderful humans friends.