How Long to the Major macOS Text Editors Take to Open Huge Files?

A part of my work often involves taking massive CSV files (1GB+) and analyzing the data in them. I typically use Visual Studio Code to do this, as it has the best search functionality out of the box than any other editor I've tried. But while the functionality is great, the performance is not always mind-boggling, so I've wondered if this Electron app could be beat by another more "native" Mac app. Today, I took a 1.5GB file I needed for work and opened it in the 4 editors on my work Mac (a 2015 15" MacBook Pro, 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7, and 16GB RAM).

Here's how long each app took to open the file:

Basically, BBEdit was remarkably fast at opening the file, being 4x faster than Visual Studio Code and 20x faster than Sublime. And then in terms of saving changes to the file, most apps were in the same ballpark, which I assume is because this is reliant on my SSD's ability to save the data, not the app doing anything special.

I'll leave the functionality differences be discussed by others, but is still think VSCode has the most for me, but it does have an annoying limitation of not showing more than 20,000 search results, while BBEdit shows you as many as there are in the file, even if there are over 1 million results. This isn't always an issue, but it can often be a problem with data sets this large. Sublime Text and Atom also show you unlimited results, but Atom feels sloooow most of the time and Sublime takes forever to load large files, so they're not my preferences.

Update: Patrick Seemann has some numbers from command line-based editors.

Update 2: Per Michael Tsai's request, I've tried TextEdit, Excel, and Numbers as well. Excel took 84 seconds to open just 83% of the document (1,252,352 rows) and would not load the rest. Meanwhile, I gave Numbers 10 minutes and it didn't load the file. I have no idea if it ever would have, but I didn't want to subject my CPU to more time at full blast.

Update 3: I updated the chart to look a little better and accurately reflect Excel's open time. Numbers was removed due to it never actually opening the file.

Same Phone Lines, Different Results

As of this Spring, these are the flagship phone lines offered by Apple and Samsung:

The two companies have remarkably similar lineups in terms of prices, features, and even names. Both companies have the clear ‘Main” phone, the same thing but bigger, and then the cheaper one with one fewer camera, a slightly worse screen, and basically all the same hardware otherwise.

Yet, the companies have seen very different results in terms of sales for each device. Apple is selling the XR hand-over-fist, with it being their most popular iPhone since it launched. Meanwhile, the S10e is a distant third in popularity of Samsung’s lineup.

If you have any insight into why this might be the case, I’d love to know, but I find it interesting that phone lineups that look strikingly similar can have such different sales results.

Microsoft Office for iPad: My Beginner's Guide

My overview of Microsoft Word for the iPad over on The Sweet Setup:

Microsoft Word on the iPad is currently a solid app. It has the core functionality nailed down. Editing documents is as pleasant as it’s been on any version of Word I’ve used in my lifetime. If you use Word for basic to medium-level work, then there is a good chance that it will work well for you. However, if you are an advanced Word user or rely on some of the customization options present in the desktop apps, then this will likely let you down.

I don't use Word a ton, but when I do I'm usually impressed with how well it works. Those of us who write in text editors will of course not get as much use out of it, but if you work in rich documents or as a team, then Word is pretty darn compelling.

Thanks to Josh Gitner from The Sweet Setup for letting me use his awesome mockup at the top of this post!

Charging Speed on Galaxy S10e (vs OnePlus 6 and iPhone XS)

I just got the Galaxy S10e in hand and decided it was only right to see how fast it would charge using the included fast chargers in the box. Spoilers, it’s fast, and right up there with the best out there.

The sort of it is this: the Galaxy S10e charges ever so slightly slower out of the box than the OnePlus 6, but a little faster than the iPhone XS using the new iPad charger.

Over the first 20 minutes, the iPhone is the fastest, getting up to 40% while the OnePlus and Galaxy are at 38% and 35% respectively. After that, the iPhone slows down a bit and the other phones catch up and get to 100% 10-20 minutes faster than the iPhone.

Honestly, I’m a little disappointed the results are so boring. The good news about this is that no matter which of these phones you get, you can get really fast charging no matter what. Sadly, the iPhone just needs you to either own a new iPad or drop a couple bucks on a new charger.

On Foldable Phones

We’ve seen a bunch of companies unveil their foldable phones over the past week and I will be getting precisely zero of them. On the one hand, I have no place for one of these in my life right now. On the other hand, I also don’t have $2,000+ I’;m looking to drop on a single Android phone, like…ever.

Of the models shown so far, I think Huawei Mate X looks the best, and looks to be the most palatable version of the foldable form factor we’ve seen yet. But even that one looks pretty rough compared to what normal smartphones look like today.

But all that said, I’m very excited about this tech getting into real products people can actually pay money for and use. These are not concept devices, they’re consumer products that will sell very poorly, but will at least be in the world. This means two things.

First, this means that these companies will get feedback from users on what works and what doesn’t with this foldable design. It will help them understand what way the device should fold. It will help them understand what tasks people like to get done on the larger screen. As they learn what their customers like, they will be able to work in a specific direction to make the experience better and appeal to more people.

Second, the fact this tech is making its way to consumer products at all is a huge hurdle to cross. Again, it will be a very small number of people who get one of these, but the fact that companies like Samsung can get this tech into shipping products is a big deal. If the first models come out in 2019, then we very well may be just 2-4 years from really good versions of this coming from other manufacturers.

I say all this because I think it’s important to get excited about this sort of technological advancement. I know some people have a “if it’s not ready for Apple, then it’s not ready period” attitude towards tech, and I find that attitude very tiresome. It leads to simply mocking everything anyone else does, and then backtracking when Apple adopts that same tech soon after. See big phones. See the notch. See wireless charging. You get it.

And Despite All Those Things, I Love It

I use a Mac at work amongst a sea of Windows and Linux fans. As such I sometimes get drawn into friendly banter about why Macs are terrible and Apple is the worst. As a long time Apple fan, none of this is new to me, this is just how it goes.

We had one of these brief discussions today and at one point I said “yes, those things can be annoying, but I love my Apple stuff anyway.” As I mentioned in yesterday’s podcast, It’s a sentence you don’t often hear when discussing this sort of thing. When we debate why something we like is better than something someone else likes, it is surprisingly hard to give even an inch in the debate. But if you never give even an inch, you start to argue for things that you don’t actually believe in.

For example, today we were comparing the app upload process for the App Store and Play Store. I will not hesitate to say that the process for uploading an update to an existing app on the Play Store was easier than it was on the App Store. It was faster, easier, and had no human involvement, so I was able to release when I wanted with little hassle. The App Store has a worse upload experience, more frustrating UI1, and took days to approve. I’m happy to say that this experience was better overall in the Google tool than the Apple one.

But that doesn’t mean I find Android to be a general dumpster fire in terms of productivity. Nor do I think it makes trusting Google with all of my data easier. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I would prefer to use a Chromebook to do my work than a trusty MacBook or iPad Pro.

The world would be boring if we all liked the same things. Especially in tech, things are rarely a zero sum game. You can love all things Apple/Google/Microsoft, but if you find yourself defending literally everything the company does (something not even these companies do themselves) then you might want to consider a slightly more critical view of your pet company.

  1. It has some nice things going for it and I think it’s structured more clearly, but it’s so god-forsaken slow that I can’t say it’s better.

Buying a Hammer

Imagine you are doing some work around the house and realize you need a hammer. You don’t have one yet, and you need to get something; what do you do?

Odds are you will probably drive down to your local hardware store and buy the first hammer you see that is a good price. You might even go to a big box store like Target and get whatever hammer they are selling in their 3 aisles of home improvement supplies.

You’re certainly not going to shop around from store to store for the best hammer deal. You’re not going to watch YouTube videos demoing an array of hammers, and you’re not going to read reviews for the top 5 hammers this season. You’re certainly not going to check to see if Craftsman is going to release a new hammer in the next few months that will be better than what’s on the shelves now.

Nope, you’re not going to do any of that, you’re going to go to the store, pick one that seems fine (they all seem fine, don’t they?), make sure it’s one of the cheaper ones available, and get on with your life.

This is not how any of us would shop for a computer, tablet, or smartphone, but it is how a lot of the world does it. So the next time you think someone is crazy for not recognizing how much better “X is than Y” remember that you probably couldn’t tell a home improvement expert a damn thing about why you bought your hammer, it was just the first one you saw at a decent price. And you know what? Even though it’s not the best hammer, it totally works for what you need, and that’s all you need.

People who don’t buy the best computer/phone, or even the best device for the price, are not unusual and they’re certainly not acting irrationally. They just hve different priorities than we do, and sometimes that’s easy to forget. So by all means, help the non-techies in your life make the best decisions possible, but don’t be offended if they choose something different than you’d expect.

Keyboard Micro-Review Collection

My wife tells me I have a keyboard problem. You know what, she’s probably right, as I have more keyboards than I really need, but I’m always on the look out for the perfect solution for me. In light of this, here are all the current keyboards I own with basically tweet-length reviews for each.

Apple Magic Keyboard

$99 from Apple

This is my favorite all time keyboard. The key travel is less than most, but feels perfect to my fingers. The clicks when typing are perfectly satisfying, and the butterfly switches that are such a problem on the current MacBook Pros work wonderfully here.

I don’t love the arrow key sizing, as the up/down arrows are just a little small and sometimes lead to me hitting the wrong one. But the rest of the layout is very comfortable.

The sleek look is fantastic, pairing with a Mac is as simple as plugging it into the computer via a Lightning cable (this also does the Bluetooth pairing, so you never need to go to the Bluetooth settings screen), and I’ve never had issues with the wireless connection dropping or lagging like I have had with other keyboards.

I used this for about 6 months with my PC at work and it was a champ there too.

Microsoft Surface Keyboard

$99 from Microsoft

This is my current favorite for Windows machines. While the Magic Keyboard was good with Windows, it also lacks some keys that are pretty darn useful on Windows, most notably they Delete key.

I’ve only been using the Surface Keyboard for a few weeks but I really, really like it. The key travel is much deeper than the Magic Keyboard, which I don’t like as well, but it is pretty good once you get used to it. The keys don’t make much noise when typing, which is nice, but it also means it can be less satisfying to type on. For an office environment though, it’s low volume is welcome.

One limitation of this keyboard is it is Bluetooth only. There are zero plugs on it so you can’t plug this directly into a computer even if you wanted to. This could be a problem for some, especially if you ever need to do things before Bluetooth turns itself on, but if you can rely on always having a wireless connection, you should be okay.

The device is powered by 2 AAA batteries, which is a pain because nothing else in my life uses old school batteries, but they work and should last for months on a charge.

Royal Kludge RK61

$39.99 from Amazon

This keyboard is a disaster!

I picked this up after reading Ben Brooks’ review and boy was I let down. This is a “60% keyboard” which means it has 60% of the keys of a full size board. As someone who loves the only-slightly-bigger Magic Keyboard, I figured I would do fine with this. Turns out, no.

There is no function row, so all media controls and function keys need to be executed with a key combination. Now this is the case with some other keyboards and it’s not a big deal, but wait, it gets worse. Because the arrow keys are shared with other main keys, typing very common characters is a pain. Typing a question mark, for example, is done by pressing Shift+fn+?. It’s only one more key than usual, but it makes a big difference when you have to do it all day long. There are more of these, but basically it makes using a keyboard less convenient as most non-letter actions require some sort of combination of keys to perform. It’s a royal pain.

The keys themselves are quite nice and feel good to type on. It uses blue switches, which are incredibly loud, so this doesn’t work for office workers. Even putting on key dampeners and even super-gluing some foam in the base to muffle the sound, it’s still very load (especially the space bar). This is more of an opinion thing, but it was too much for me.

The $40 price tag is appealing, but I really find it hard to recommend this keyboard unless you are really prepared to do some finger gymnastics to perform very common tasks.

iPad Smart Keyboard

$159 from Apple

This was a surprise winner for me. The key travel on this thing is tiny, but I actually love it. I’m incredibly fast on this thing and I find I can type for a long time on it without any fatigue.

My biggest problem with this keyboard is that it lacks media controls of any sort. iOS lets me do a decent number of things straight from the keyboard, but having to use the iPad’s side buttons to change volume or accessing Control Center with a swipe to pause something feels like a pain compared to using a keyboard with media controls on it. I get that room is at a premium on this since it’s built into a case, but it does bother me every so often.

Overall, this keyboard is better than it has any right to be and I’m totally happy to have spent the relatively high price tag for it.

Lofree Keyboard

$149 from Lofree

This is a controversial keyboard and I myself am torn on it. On the one hard, it looks amazing and the build quality is out of this world. The thing feels solid and the keys are very well put together. It’s clicky, but has a very satisfying sound to it. It’s not as bad as the Royal Kludge mentioned above for office use, but it still is decidedly loud.

But the hard part of this keyboard is the layout. Not only are keys circular, which means there is more air between keys and therefore less space to actually hit the keys you want, but the layout is just a bit off from most keyboards. Unlike the Royal Kludge, you don’t have to do any finger gymnastics to do anything, but some keys are just offset by a little that has lead to confusion for me as I move from keyboard to keyboard through my day. If this is all you use, then you’ll get used to it and be fine, but it takes some getting used to.

My favorite tech buys from 2017

I haven’t done something like this in a long time, but I thought it would be fin to look back on some of my favorite tech purchases from 2017. Not that it matters, but I loosely sorted these by joy they’ve brought me this year.


My review.

These have been totally worth every penny! At $159 they sounded a little too pricy last September when Apple debuted them, but after using them for the better part of a year I can safely say they are the best headphones I’ve ever used. They’re simple, reliable, and are just a joy to use. It would be great if they were less expensive so more people could justify the purchase, but if you can make that justification then I think you’ll love them.

Nintendo Switch

My first impressions.

I love video games, but I kind of despise the video game culture that you see online. I’m also getting burned out on the type of “AAA games” that accumulate tons of attention. Nintendo Switch is a perfect respite from all the junk that I don’t like about the industry, and you should read my first impressions in the link above to see what I love about it, but suffice it to say I love this little console and am very, very happy to have it.

Logitech MX Master S2

This is the newest item on the list, and I just got it a week ago. The mouse feels great in the hand, and it looks very nice in the back and gray model I have (the original’s brown look didn’t do it for me), but the killer feature of this mouse is the Logitech Options app that you can use with it. There are 6 customizations you can make to the behavior of the buttons/wheels on this thing that make it easy to perform many simple tasks. Not only that, but you can set universal rules as well as app-specific rules, so for example the top button will publish an article for my blog in Ulysses, build and run a project in Xcode, and open Chrome in Safari1.

The original MX Master was widely considered to be the best mouse out there, and the follow up is better in basically every way. From my understanding people who own the last model don’t need to upgrade, but it is an excellent mouse in its own right. If you want to get all the features listed above but save a few bucks, the older model is going for $60-70 right now on Amazon.

Sketch (Mac)

I get more use from this $100/year app than I ever expected. I had previously done all my mock ups and wallpaper design in Photoshop, but Sketch has made those processes much faster and have allowed me to do more in less time. I recommend the Sketch Together YouTube channel as a great jumping off point for seeing what makes this app so wonderful.

Lofree Keyboard

My review.

This is one of the few Kickstarters I’ve backed and it was totally worth it. I use this to type up basically everything on my iPad and it’s great. The key layout definitely takes some getting used to, but once you get the hand of it it’s a pleasure to type with.

Newton (iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows)

I never expected to spend $50 on an email app for iOS, but Newton is the first app to combine simple interactions with powerful advanced features when I want them. I used to bounce between Spark and Airmail and Outlook and Mail, and I was never really happy. Newton is the first time I’ve been totally satisfied with what I have. I don’t know if this app really should be $50, but hey, I paid it, so I guess it is to me.

It also helps that the app is available for all platforms I use. Basically, as long as you don’t use Linux or Windows Phone then you’re good!

Google Home

I struggle to decide whether I prefer the Amazon Echo or the Google Home. The Echo is great for performing simple tasks and integrating with third party services, but it’s absolutely terrible at answering general questions or hearing me or my wife’s voice unless we’re quite close to it. The Google Home integrates with far fewer services, but it is generally faster than the Echo at doing the things we ask it, hears our voices better, and is much better at answering random questions we throw at it.

I expect to get an Apple HomePod this winter and then things will really get interesting, but for now I think I like the Home is my pick for most enjoyable smart speaker.

Studio Neat Glyph

This was a purchase I waited far too long to make. This is just a piece of plastic that lets me mount my iPhone to my tripod, but having that ability is priceless. All of my recent videos have been shot on my iPhone, and this tool makes that a lot easier.

Those are the big wins from me this year, but I’m curious what you think I missed. What have you gotten this year and loved? Let me know on Twitter!

  1. For those Google pages that Google blocks other browsers from using. 

Don't Get Too Used to Net Neutrality

The FCC’s Ajit Pai on net neutrality's place in the Trump administration:

The commission "need[s] to remove outdated and unnecessary regulations... We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation,"

Oh, fuck you.

This doesn't square with Trump's hands on stance towards the AT&T and Time Warner merger:

As an example of the power structure I'm fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few

Trump does not have consistent positions; he wants the government to step in when he feels like it, and stay out of it when he feels like it.